Sunday, 25 May 2008

Nightmare Dog-Owner Graduates School(-house)

May I speak about my great running week first? I've had two 15-year Personal Bests. Having kept at it since last summer, I finally got a run below 7 minutes per kilometer, 6:58 to be precise. Babies crawl that fast, but you know how childish you can become as you age. And I did my first 10K run today. O.K., 9.5K; I need to dream up a new course.

We are selling our house, the Valley School, as it translates into English. Or Combe School if you're English. Funny, we've lived here for fifteen years, at least 3 times as long as I've ever lived anywhere, but I feel no regret at leaving it.

We are going to build a straw bale house. (Please, we've heard all the 3 Little Pigs jokes.) And we're building it ourselves. If things go well, we will be leaving the schoolhouse in August. If they don't, we'll be leaving sometime, anyway. We don't have land, yet, but we have hopes and will keep you posted.

More than posted. I am setting up a new blog, name to be decided, to journal our activities. In France, anyone who is building their own house (un auto-constructeur) blogs or joins bulletin boards. They share techniques, budgets, resources, mistakes and other joys of building with like-minded souls and some of the like-minded souls show up on your building site to learn and to help.

We, in fact, have been helping some friends in the next village build their hemp brick house. We've learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. When their house is finished, they will help us. (Don't feel that you have to be a friend or acquaintance to volunteer. Anyone who wants to help will be welcome. Free room and board. How hard can it be if I'm doing it?) Last week we spent a day plastering (clay and lime) a 6² meter of this house to learn the technique. And learned more of what to do and what not to do. I feel certain, however, that there are plenty of mistakes left for us to make, too.

Nothing daunted, armed with little cash, several animals and a ton of books on straw bale building, we march forward.

Ah, no, we don't yet know where we're going to live in the meantime.