Well, we have finally found a place we feel we can settle in. Its a small hamlet in the south of France and it feels like home.
The last village we were staying in – for nearly a year – was just not working out. Apart from the house being dark like a cave, cold and gardenless, the village under its surface was just not very friendly. Most of the village were related in some way or other. One big family. We were not going to be able to integrate into it (perhaps after three generations thing would be different).
So we are in our new hamlet. tucked away in a small valley.
There are seven households living here permanently and two holiday houses. The population of permanent residents is eighteen. One family is moving away so that will drop to fourteen.
French – seven
British – five
Austrian – one
Kids – five
When the farm is sold – and family moves out – the demographics will shift to
French – five
British – four
Austrian – one
Brasilian – one
kids – three
More info to follow…
The Hamlet of Les Tougnets
An alien life form eats its way through a rotting tree stump
Its been a busy few days. Our family continues to grow strong but separate. Mara, Anika, and I have separate rooms. Last night Anika came and slept in my bed. She fell to sleep to my improvisation on the Hobbit tale. The night before she crept into Mara’s bed. Anika has an intuition on who is needing comfort!
I have begun exploring the forest of Fanges. An incredible forest near Saint Julia that was once the domain of brigands. There is an enormous pine tree there but I have not found it yet. The forest is dripping in moss. The topography is strange. Like under the moss is a landscape of craters. Holes sunk into the ground. The rock here is the same as Bugarach and Galamus – very old (Jurassic/Triassic). I also heard that this is where there are 54+ cave entrances! I think I found one of them.
In the early morning light the condensation evaporates in a fine mist that rises above the forest floor
This week has also been Anika’s first day at school! Yesterday. She was hesitant to get out of the car. After all we are calling this school – the same horrid word that is used to describe those institutions! But she knows the house, the people, and this was the first time she saw it dressed for kids. Lots of wooden toys. A play house with fancy dress rack and mirrored dressing table (Anika spent the day as spirderwoman). A crafts room. Sand pit. etc.
In the evening Anika also had horse riding. She loved it. I hear that she can now direct the pony and is showing an aptitude to learn fast.
The campers cabin.
The moss rises like forest spirits
A cave entrance – a drain hole into the ground, it is partially filled in by several enormous rocks but I think I could squeeze through.
At times the forest feels primordial. There are virgin pockets that have escaped the timber industry
Some photos of the Saint Julia de bec home schooled crew hanging out with me on a Thursday morning.
Water and animals
After a hot play session Pablo led the others in stripping and diving into the stone trough of icy spring water
Jasper gazes thoughtfully at Pedro through his fire ring face
Trampoline fun in the Cornish family garden. The Conish kids are all at the Quillan system school today.
Play in the village does not last for ever, school starts on Monday. But fear not. This is not going to be an ‘abattoir of imagination’ (as Herbert Read refers to Government controlled education). It is a radical new experiment in how to raise children that recognizes a need in our kids upbringing that reflects contemporary society but is not been met from State sponsored programs.