Archive for the ‘alternative shelter’ Tag

Larkhill Tipis

We’ve just come back from four beautiful days at Larkhill Tipis in West Wales. Larkhill is a wonderful site run by Fran and Tony and combines a picturesque location with all the facilities you’ll need. The site is ecologically friendly from the water which is supplied from a local spring to the compost toilets.

The tipi was extremely comfortable and we cooked some lovely meals over the open fire, using some of the plentiful supplies of site-grown firewood. I took the opportunity to make some pine pitch for various projects, using pine resin, charcoal and egg shells (from the free range hens wandering around the site) to make two pitch sticks (lower right image). I used some of the pitch to haft my arrowhead on the arrow I started on Native Skills 2. It’s nearly finished and I’ll post pictures here when it’s done.

Larkhill tipi holiday

We also visited Oakwood, Castell Henllys Iron Age Hill Fort and the National Wool Museum. We hope to return to Larkhill in the future.


The Hermitage

Telling Stories to the TreesThis is a wonderful blog, written by Rima Staines, illustrator, painter, maker of things and teller of tales. I was led there because of Rima’s illustration for Telling the Bees‘ debut album, ‘Untie the Wind’ – which I have been listening to a lot lately.

Rima’s curiosity leads her through the many worlds of words, languages and lettering, books and stories, puppetry, nature and interesting people, music, superstitions, folklore and fairytales, and most of all the otherness that can be found on the periphery of our lives, the strange and grotesque, the absurd and unnerving … that topsy turvy in between place where things are not quite what they seem…

Rima's home

Her days are spent with her partner in this converted Bedford horsebox. Living in a mobile home isn’t easy, especially in England where the authorities are likely to move you on after a couple of days and locals are often less than accommodating, but it is possible … if you’re prepared to keep on the move and take advantage of offers from friendly landowners – which Rima appears to have done through her extensive community of online friends and followers.

Inside Rima's home

The interior of the home has been painstakingly fitted out with wood panelling, stove, sink, cupboards and hundreds of decorative and functional items each telling part of the tale of Rima and her partner’s shared life.

Also, check out Rima’s main website and Etsy shop. I’m off to look for horseboxes on eBay…!

Simon Dale’s low-impact homes

After reading Radical Simplicity, I have signed up on Simon Dale’s website to get involved in some low-impact building.

Simon built his family’s house in Wales with help from his father-in-law, passers-by and visiting friends. Four months after starting the family moved in.

The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature. Being your own (have a go) architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass produced box designed for maximum profit and convenience of the construction industry. Building from natural materials does away with producers profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings.

Simon applied for planning permission retrospectively, and while this has not yet been resolved, the family have had at least four years’ worth of use out of their home.

Radical Simplicity

I’ve just finished reading Radical Simplicity by Dan Price. This is an illustrated story of how Dan gave up the everday life and went to live in a meadow in Oregan US, which he leased from some neighbours for $100 a year.

Starting off with a tipi, Dan recounts the various bright ideas for alternative shelter over the course of a number of years, from elaborate connected domes to simple holes in the ground. As time goes on, he realises that he needs fewer and fewer possessions and a smaller and smaller amount of space, until his shelter is little more than a sleeping bag and plastic sheet.

As his possessions and responsibilities decrease he feels a wonderful sense of freedom and connectedness that manifests itself in the things he notices and the way in which he describes his world through his writing and illustrations.

After the process of minimalising reaches its peak, Dan settles for a simple and effective hobbit hole, measuring little more than eight feet across, in which to live out his days. This is complemented by a small office constructed of sturdy planks and boulders from which to send out his illustrated journal, and the ever-present ‘Old Man’, the sauna.

This book has put my mind into overdrive with possible designs for alternative living and a desire to get rid as many of the things I own (or the things that own me) as possible!