500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Project plan


Scope of the project:

A cost effective reconstruction of a countryside house embedding sustainable principles to provide accommodation for business and leisure visitors.

Elements of the project:

  • Roof based solar electricity generation
  • Roof based solar hot water generation
  • Rain water harvesting for use in toilets, washing machines & dish washers
  • Wood burning winter time heating & cooking
  • Reed bed system to clean grey water
  • Ultra low flush liquid only toilets alongside dry toilets for solids
  • Highest standards of insulation


  • Replacement of the existing asbestos roof
  • Rewiring
  • Plumbing


  • Refurbishment & reuse wherever possible in prefence to replacement


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Baker’s boy hat knitting pattern



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Quick gloves knitting pattern – mobile phone perfect



There has been a sudden drop in temperature. I needed gloves which were quick to make, warm and practical. The solution was to knit a glove that is made in one piece with no sewing required; and for speed, knitted horizontally instead of vertically in a chunky wool.

Because of the cold, I don’t personally like fingerless gloves or mittens, which have to be removed every time you need to do anything with your hands. These are a good compromise. Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving mushroom season


We came, we saw, we copied. In this case, the great national pastime of the Czech Republic, mushroom collecting, indulged in by 80% of the population here. We’d been watching people walking past the house with overflowing baskets for some 3 months before we decided to give it a go ourselves. As with the apples, we nearly missed the boat.

Now the temperatures have dropped and the season has finished, I’m really missing it. It was lovely to take 1/2 hour or so every day to meander through the forest together & I now feel like I know my locale that bit better. I wonder if the start of the hunting season is also a push factor to the conclusion of mushroom picking here – as some varieties still grow now… if you’re wondering around in the forest, there’s a risk of being mistaken for something else (two easy ways to die through misidentification in mushroom picking). Read the rest of this entry »

Altitude & temperature calculations


I’ve been working on our project plan today, and thinking about heating. One very useful website I found today is called Gaisma, the data from which I should be able to use to calculate what will be the most effective way of heating our home.

Nový Mlýn is at an altitude of 540 metres above sea level. It is this factor which is the main influence on our climate. We’re about 90 metres higher than our nearest town, Tábor, but close in altitude to a neighbouring town Pelhřimov. The average temperatures are likely to be above 10 degrees c for six months of the year (that includes night time temperatures).

Our approach to heating is decidedly ‘suck it and see’. This winter we will use the traditional heating method for this area – i.e. wood burning stoves, and see how successful this is. Will we manage to keep warm? How much wood will we need? Will the daily work of setting fires become a grind? There’s one way to find out.

We’ve moved our bedroom so it’s above the dining room & kitchen, which we keep warm during the day. The bedroom is now adjoining the room upstairs with the super efficient barrel shaped stove. So far, so good, but the temperature outside is a mere 0, and it has much further to go.

Why do something when we’re not sure?


Rock Bog – how to make an effective low flush female friendly urinal


Make your own Rock Bog, it will save loads of water and is really simple, and best of all free.

Convert one of your toilets into a Rock Bog by putting one or two large stones in the bottom of the pan, then reducing the amount of water in the flush with stones or bricks so that you have just a 1 or 2 litre flush.

Why? You’ll have a super efficient liquid only loo which can be used by men AND women (no not so mellow yellow splash back for the ladies). You will save water and money AND it will look nice (a Zen garden in your loo!).

A free idea for you from Bog – the accessible eco bathroom Read the rest of this entry »

Project Management for beginners


We have been drifting. Drifting, and meeting new friends, and slowly figuring out how Nový Mlýn works, and appreciating our good fortune to be here and now, however, drifting. It’s time to take charge of our destiny & put the Nový Mlýn show on the road.

When I lived in London, I wanted to do an MBA (masters in business administration), but there was no way in hell that my employers would commit to this. Instead I researched the syllabus of a decent MBA & studied each area in turn, using resources such as the library system. I don’t have the kudos of the qualification, but what I learned has been incredibly useful.

So… I will employ the same technique to learning about project management. I’ve project managed before – market research, events & playschemes, but I’ve had an inkling that there must be more method to complex projects than a business plan and a Gantt chart. Read the rest of this entry »

Eat local… but who’se heard of Cep mushrooms in Britain?


Something has happened in my brain… I seem to have lost the ability to hazard a guess at English pronunciation of unfamiliar words. My pronunciation has completely czechified, as a result, I shall now be teaching people here the Italian word for Hřib mushrooms: Porcini. I think that very few British people would know what Cep were, or that they are the very same thing as those very exclusive Porcini mushrooms:


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