500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Cherry picking

June19

We now have guests at Novy Mlyn… Jiri and Pavouk. As a result I am trying to spend as much time as I can at the house.

This afternoon, after a DIY shift I set off for the bus stop at Vlceves – a half hour walk. It’s a beautiful walk, the roadside is full of wild cornflowers and chamomile, however a car pulled over and a girl gave me a lift to Vlceves.  She has a horse which is kept in the cowshed on the hill.  I was early for the bus so I walked up the hill a bit and spent a little time hooking ripe dark cherries from the trees by the roadside.  June is a lovely time to be here… so many flowers – bright red wild poppies & lots for which I don’t know the names.

Eco friendly but moth unfriendly

June13

Hmm, now we have our stuff at Novy Mlyn I have a new problem… moths. So, I did a little bit of research & came up with some strategies.

There are two different types of pest moth that will affect us – the sort that like to eat our food – such as cereals, grains & pulses, and the sort which will love to eat my knitwear & yarn – especially anything containing nice and tasty wool, cashmere & angora. Geraniums are used extensively to deter flies, so I have mixed geranium essential oil with a carrier oil and placed it in bowls between the two layers of window in the bedroom. I have made a similar concoction with peppermint to deter the clothes moths. I will ask my friends to bring a huge bag of cloves & whole chillies over from the fantastic Pakistani shops in Birmingham, and I need to buy some oranges so that I can make orange peel & clove pot pourri, which is also said to have moth repellent properties (finally I get to find out why pot pourri exists!). The whole dried chillies I will thread on string interspersed with bay leaves to hang in the kitchen cupboards (when we get kitchen cupboards!).

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What to do with an angry blacksmith?

June13

We need 24 curtain rails. We’ve checked out the local stores & what’s available is expensive & low quality & badly designed, so M suggested we contact a blacksmith and ask him to make them for us directly. I phoned to arrange a meeting with him, but later that evening he texted me to say that he was not interested in doing them without being paid. This came as quite a surprise because I think it would be very cheeky to ask such a thing. He said that there is a rumour that we are looking for sponsors for Novy Mlyn – meaning people to do work for free. How strange! I am curious about there being rumours about Novy Mlyn … I wonder what this is all about? As ever, reality is far more boring than the stories people tell each other. We will see what happens on Friday morning.

Beautiful Bathrooms – a small scale miracle

June13

It’s probably difficult for anyone who’s not lived without drainage to appreciate this… something marvellous happened yesterday. I poured some water down the loo – in a ‘devil may care’ can’t hurt to try it again kind of way – and it went down!!!

On Monday night we had a short conversation with an older guy who was passing by. I have no real idea what he said, but this is the impression I got (remember my Czech is really rubbish and I currently understand 1 word in 5) … it was him who wrote ‘god’s work’ on the side of the barns, as some kind of funny joke. Our neighbour had been ordered to unblock the drainage from Novy Mlyn. Equally he could have been talking about the Iraq war. I only came up with this interpretation of the conversation on Tuesday night, after discovering we had drainage from the toilet.

Now, in a radically eco way, our plan is to have separate 1’s and 2’s toilets. I think that the Monday night guy said that our drainage goes straight into the stream. So, our temporary solution is to use the bathroom only for number 1’s and continue using the outdoor toilet for 2’s. This will make staying at Novy Mlyn suddenly much, much easier. And we can use the ‘super solar shower’ and hang it over the bath. Once we get the GROW system over from the UK, we will be able to put all waste water through this, rather than into the pretty little stream called ‘maple brook’, and run a basic composting unit as soon as we can purchase this.

Can’t wait to take an ‘after’ photo to contrast with the image below! I spent hours yesterday scrubbing the place from top to bottom. It now looks like a slightly grubby student share bathroom, but the bath has come up well & I’ve managed to remove all cement, watermarks & unidentified other coatings. Must find my camera. Now, if by ‘flushing’ you include emptying a bottle of rainwater, and in saying ‘hot shower’ you’d get by with solar heated rainwater – we’re perfectly set up to start inviting guests to stay at Novy Mlyn!

Our beautiful bathroom…

June11

In all it’s glory:

A picture of a rather nasty bath

More DIY SOS than Grand Designs

June11

On Friday our stuff from the UK finally arrived in John Davey’s van. Though we did the sensible thing… living in the Czech Republic for 3 months before we made a firm decision to move over here… it still feels a little strange – not now having a home to go back to in the UK. Suddenly I feel rather far from home.

John Davey did a grand job for us. Every single item arrived safe and sound – unlike our last move… of 2km – the casualty being my Ming Dynasty china (a grand name for what in fact was a soy sauce bowl!). I still have the bits & will one day find someone capable of fixing it for me.

So, as well as moving lots of boxes about we started some of the tasks we can handle ourselves, such as removing the alarming light fittings in some rooms:

M fitted a new main light in our bedroom & I cleaned up a pretty chrome light I found in the attic for the kitchen. We also noticed a big push button we’d not seen before in the dining room. We had no idea what it was for, so M pushed it and a red light came on, followed a couple of seconds later by a loud explosion. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to normal?

June5

So, I’m back at my computer, back in Tábor. The only difference from two weeks ago is being physically exhausted from the horrible daily slog of the last 14  days, and the fact that our remaining worldly possessions are in a transit van somewhere.

Things went to plan… sort of. Many people turned up as arranged to collect their various Ebay purchases. This was mostly fine, though I spent a lot of time cleaning – especially garden furniture & the fridges & freezer… but I wanted people to be happy with their purchases. There were a couple of times where the buyer has not collected the item, & not bothered to contact us about it. Annoying to have to move things that we had sold in principle, in a van with absolutely no spare capacity. The charity shops and scrap metal merchants did very well out of us!

There were some great coincidences – like the day some students knocked on the door asking if they could have the enamel bath just as I was wondering how to dispose of it. They wanted to actually use it as a bath as their house was without one. I sent them away with that, an armchair & the radiator cover cupboard from the bathroom. And one guy asked if he could buy the ornamental grass I’d planted in the front garden!  Read the rest of this entry »

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