How much fun this is!

6pm Saturday

I so appreciate this house now – our shelter. Last year we lived in a yurt for 2 months, without insulation or stove, so a large, canvas tent to be more accurate. This was complete with double bed, rugs, cupboards and a few slugs taking refuge from the wind and rain, in May. Now I think, so much we take for granted. The feeling of contentment reminds me how lucky we are. Few places seem safer, on the planet, than Orkney. This was probably true in the stone age too, with all the resources the settlers discovered. A good place to live.

Without the tv I become aware of so much time – the weekend grows and is far more splendid, so much more special. A cup of tea is now special. It feels good to appreciate the litttle things normally taken for granted.

I wish it were dark already. I want to light the candles, to continue this adventure. No news or outside contact, so mabe a wind up radio would be useful. There is always the car.

8pm – eating fresh Ling, cooked in the semi dark. Had to sniff the herbs to identify them – no bad thing. Food slightly overcooked, as unable to see and overly cautious.

8.30pm – there is something really magical about walking around by lantern light. Everywhere you go there is this warm light around you and shadows moving as you move. All seems to be lit from beside you instead of from above – and the quality of the light is quite unlike anything electricity has produced. But it is the movement that mesmerises, that is magical. And when you leave a space it is dark again, the light follows you (obviously!). So no wasted light. And you are so aware of the night, the passing of daylight, the rhythm of the planet’s day.

With a fire and lantern we have texture and gradients, instead of uniformity. I can understand the delight my parents had with the advent of central heating and electric light – but now I feel what is lost too. In place of a sterile space, the room lives. I think a bit more of this would be welcome, even when normality resumes.

This evening I am also aware of the friction and tension – about our respective childhoods and experiences, our different enthusiasms for the simple ways of living. I am aware of how much this is my experiment. It brings me closer to my childhood, so close to my dad and happy memories of the farm. I am sad that this is as close as I can bring R to all that, and my father. However, we plan a centre, a place in the future, inspired by this. He would be proud.

I am also thinking of water putification and filters, disinfection, soaps, hygiene, refrigeration and the food going off downstairs.


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