Hello to those that are still with the EarthKeepers journey, it’s been 7 months since I last wrote an entry…wow 7 months and so much has happened both personally and in the world it seems, where do I even begin to reflect on it all?
I’ll just start where I left off which was somewhere in Dorset.
Shortly after I had moved and my fairly new partner moved with me, I found out that the managers were looking at a complete restructure of the teams within Children’s Services, changing the service completely and the roles with it, being told that they would still need agency workers to stay and that they were never going to fill the posts as they hadn’t been able to do so for a long time…the opposite happened, and they recruited 12 new members of staff into permanent posts and after just 3 months, I had to leave my job.
‘That’s ok’ I said, ‘it wasn’t meant to be’, and I was hatching a mega plan to travel around Europe in the truck visiting different projects along the way using the ‘Workaway’ website, picking up new skills, meeting new people, with my new partner in tow who was also keen to join in the adventure and plenty to write about to! We took a mini holiday to Dartmoor and the birth place of Ruby, Cornwall and thought about plans ahead.
However, in that special way the universe likes to do, it laughed at me and said ‘ha ha, no you’re not, there is just one other thing…’
I then found out I was pregnant.
The idea that I was going to be responsible for another life other than myself and my dog, admittedly scared me a little bit and as you can imagine, this was not planned, however nothing ever is and we decided to embrace the news and return back to East Anglia on a WWoofing site to gather our thoughts and make plans.
We stayed at a WWoofing site in Ipswich on a 16 acre plot of land which was managed by a man who set up an artisan bakehouse in Hackney, London and had bought land to live and grow food on in Suffolk. He had set up his own market garden and needed an extra pair of hands or two in exchange for a free stay which we gave gladly.
We pitched up the truck on the other side of the field for some privacy for them and us, however we learned pretty quickly that a mucky field with no hard standing is no place for a 7.5 tonne truck, we already knew this when we drove on but was hopeful (naive?) it would work, and it seemed to be ok for the most part, however after some relentless weather which seemed to stay for a good few weeks, truck life became difficult with the surrounding area becoming quite mucky, keeping the indoor space clean was near impossible and then we became stuck pretty quickly and had to be pulled out by a neighbour who thankfully had a very powerful tractor, he saved the day and Ruby left the field for the most part unscathed, but we had to move on.
It’s amazing how pregnancy can sometimes instill a ‘nesting’ mentality, craving more stability and engaging those ‘homemaker’ instincts over spontaneity and the unpredictable travelling lifestyle I had set myself up for. I had suddenly developed a need for a longer term set up, wanting to grow my own produce, have my own chickens and smallholding, craving more privacy and quickly thinking about what adaptations I needed to make inside the truck to comfortably house a new baby in.
After I had put a message out on Facebook marketplace (and the universe), listing what I was specifically looking for, a lovely couple answered and explained they had an off-grid summerhouse in need of work and someone to watch over, it just so happened to have already established vegetable beds, and having previously housed pigs, sheep and chickens, would have no problems allowing us to set up our own smallholding there in exchange for rent and a hand, and this would be available long term.
Interestingly the couple seemed to be an older version of me and my partner, having lived off grid for over 20 years and raising a family right next to the river Nar in Kings Lynn, we were all excited to meet. Not to mention that one of the previous sculpture artists that had established ‘Heaven’ where I first parked Ruby up, had also rented this cabin several years ago, what a small world!
I quickly changed my address for most of the important things and realised how much I missed having a proper address where I could receive post to, something I completely took for granted.
And yes…I finally got my chickens.
We also made a quick weekend trip to the beautiful region of Castello Branco in Portugal to see a Chapel house conversion which had 4 hectares of land surrounding it, toying with the idea of relocating to a warmer climate with the thought of setting up an eco-touristic business there involving horses and organic farming. Portugal is the perfect place to do this as there is plenty of land to purchase at very cheap prices and planning permission is more flexible there particularly if you’re looking to build in an environmentally friendly way.
However raising a family now means taking into consideration things like access to the local community, reducing isolation and thinking about things such as schools or access to friendship groups, it’s all well and good living like a hermit as an adult, but not so good for the little ones who crave social interactions and ‘play’ and the chapel house although ticked most of the boxes, was a little too isolating so we parked that idea for the time being.
Speaking of isolation, shortly after our arrival back from Portugal, things quickly deteriorated around the world and the Corona virus became an epidemic, the rest you all know as we are currently living it.
Being now almost 8 months pregnant and needing to self-isolate has forced me into a period of reflection, what does life have in store for us all? I am grateful given the circumstances for being in Ruby more than ever, being able to drive anywhere if needed, being self sufficient is becoming even more important and having a survival fanatic such as Roman in my life (he has purchased a bow and broad head arrows set for hunting..you know…just in case) means I am a little less dependent on the economic system in place which appears to be in a state of vulnerability at the moment.
Nevertheless I remain hopeful it will blow over at some point and we will all be hopefully stronger for it if we look after ourselves and loved ones, for now we could all take advantage of working from home, self-isolating and connecting back with nature, and with springs arrival, what better time to do it.
Stay tuned for more info on truck adaptations and upgrades!