It’s funny how I find writing about anything; travelling, building, events, etc., much easier after some time has elapsed. Last year’s cycling extravaganza in Portugal is no exception to this rule. Having had some time to galvanise the memories, I wanted to share some stories and anecdotes for anyone else wishing to take themselves off into the sunset on their faithful steel steed.

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Why FerroCement Water Tanks?

Having the ability to store water seems to create an innate sense of secure satisfaction now that our ferro-cement tanks are finished. Collecting and holding lovely cool, clean and fresh water in a passive way.

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Compound interest is a term few really understand, yet it adds a significant cost to what is already the largest investment most people make in their lives, the mortgage. This impacts everything, our car, our credit card our store cards and we end up, as a friend put it, running in order to stand still. I want to turn this concept on its head and talk about compound savings.

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A little over two years ago, I put together a small powerwall (battery pack)ย to store solar energy in our caravan. Read more about the process of putting it together here.ย  We have been off-grid for this entire time, with free power, no stress and an immense sense of connection with the sun! So, here’s an update: Read More

International Women’s Day is a demonstration that our modern world fights the good fight daily in terms of equality, anti-discrimination and liberty to transcend gender boundaries. Some areas are making this transition in leaps and bounds whilst others are laggards stuck in their traditional ways with little or no thought towards progression. Thinking about this started a reflection process about our house build and the stereotypes which I unwittingly fought (and still fight) against on a daily basis.

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I blinked and it was gone… Yes, summer has flown by! Suddenly the leaves are starting to turn in colour and float to the ground announcing autumn’s arrival. Summertime was exceptionally hot, not to mention dry, here in France, although I have the impression that it was the same throughout Europe.

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“Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery…”

๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿผย …According to Ruskin, who seemed to know a thing or two. And in my mind, their awesomeness is unparalleled. After a month working and hiking in the Spanish mountains I had plenty of time to ponder both the scenery aspect and the people who live within them.

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With winter well and truly behind us I find that now is the time to reflect upon some of the successes, failures and surprises which the winter and spring had in store for us and our straw bale house.

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Shakespeare knew where it was at; windows really are making all the difference to the house. It’s starting to feel like an indoor space now. Surprisingly we found the windows super easy and satisfying once we had all the right components. At the beginning, as with each stage of the house, it took a while to get our heads around it, and of course things weren’t standard because it’s a straw bale build! Despite the fact that everything else on the house is non standard, we decided to use standard, off-the-shelf windows and frames which made assembling the two together quite taxing at first, mainly due to the window ledges.

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To Render Or Not To Render

Earlier in the summer we really thought we wouldn’t be able to render the house until spring 2018. Everything we had read pointed to the fact that lime render needs to remain frost-free for three months after application. We were told by our straw bale building guru, Barbara Jones, that the only way to effectively protect it is to wrap the house up in bubble wrap each evening to protect it from the ice. So, we decided in September that it was too late and we wouldn’t be able to get the three layers on in time around the exterior of the house.

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Anyone close to us will know that for the last couple of years our lives have been dominated by our straw bale house. After the foundations got underway and finished last year, we began building upwards in earnest on July 15th this year. The aim was to have the superstructure of the house completed by winter time.

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