Friday, June 29, 2012


Wow, that all happened a bit fast.  One minute I am with french friends planning the summer, playing boule and chilling french style.  Forty minutes later I am in another hamlet a few miles away, seemingly back in england, surrounded by english speaking people drinking a good cup of tea (with milk) and discussing the weather.  I had been warned that the Dordogne was like little england and whoever it was, wasn’t wrong.  That statement was reaffirmed this morning at the local market when the stall holders automatically speak english to you and the dominantly overheard voice is not of the local tongue.
I feel as if I have been transported into a different world.  The weather has been scorching hot and sunny all day, my bedroom is a yurt in the corner of a sloping field overlooking rolling arable countryside and my main task for the day has been weeding along side a New Zealand girl called Nic. She is one of 6 other helpers here, all the rest are english through and through.  Disappointingly so are the hosts, so I won’t be getting much french practice here.  On the positive side the location has been on my favourites list on HelpX for at least two years and have been invited a couple of times in the past.  
The location is an off grid luxury camp site that is in the process of getting off the ground.  Two yurts up and running and a third in the process of construction.  The wooden frames are hand crafted on site and the canvas cut and sewn to fit. Alongside the third yurt site is a partially build ‘hobbit’ style round house that is to serve as a kitchen and showering area for the accommodation. It will be semi underground, with a grass roof, solar shower and old style larder food storage.  
At present the framework for the third yurt is being whittled, drilled and threaded, the roof poles are ready and a large roll of canvas awaits final measurements before being transformed into a weatherproof cover.  There are no straw bale walls to the roundhouse, nor flooring, water supply or roof.  The area is a building site and has to be completely transformed by early next month when the first paying guests are due to arrive for a relaxing and tranquil holiday.
I know that I have been weeding today, but I can hardly wait to get stuck in to helping out with these projects on hand.  A brilliant opportunity is unfolding before my very eyes to pick up those carpentry skills (and more) that I have been pondering about for the last few months, to glean first hand information about yurt building and rustic constructions that have been on my mind and to see just what it is like to run a camp site.  It is fortuitous, I feel, that the french hosts that I originally asked to stay with were unable to find space for me at this time.  Hopefully I will get to visit them a bit later on this summer.


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