Saint Julia home-school massif

Some photos of the Saint Julia de bec home schooled crew hanging out with me on a Thursday morning.

Water and animals

Water and animals


After a hot play session Pablo led the others in stripping and diving into the stone trough of icy spring water

After a hot play session Pablo led the others in stripping and diving into the stone trough of icy spring water

Butterfly face

Butterfly face


Jasper gazes thoughtfully at Pedro through his fire ring face

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.

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.

Separation, our family transformed!

Anika and Mara sit astride Opel the Archers horse

Anika and Mara sit astride Opel the Archers horse


People say this area is a powerful place. Travelers I meet that pass through here are all taken aback by the magnetism of the landscapes. Linger a little longer and something starts to nibble at you. Open up a little, be receptive to the unseen forces, and you will find yourself undergo an inner transformation. Is this a legacy of the Cathar? Or a more ancient magic formed under the earth?

Well, our family have been in a state of transition for many months. Perhaps it started in Africa. Perhaps in London whilst I was sunk into Occupy London – Occupy the Stock Exchange. But our paths have been separating until a point when we could acknowledge the separation to ourselves. Then to each other. Now to the world.

It could be sad. It is sad. But it is also exciting. It is change. Change is good, natural. To let go off the past and look to the future.

Both Mara and myself have reached a beautiful point of serenity. There is no arguing, shouting, tears, coldness and frustration. That was what our relationship would have become had we not surrendered ourselves. We have a beautiful daughter that we both love. We shall continue to both look after her and love her. Anika is happier now. The fog has lifted and we are all truthful once again. Anika will come down stairs in a moment, sleepy faced, with a smile. I realise that whilst we want the best for her, she too wants the best for us.

Anika astride Opal Dust. To the right is the archery trainer, Jak

Anika astride Opal Dust. To the right is the archery trainer, Jak


So what have we been doing this past few weeks?

Anika has started her horse riding. She is great at it. Classes are in Granes.
Mara is about to start horseback riding and archery combined! I am jealous!
I have been caving. Two trips into the Galamus caves where legend says there is an entrance to the underworld. On the second trip I spent 18 hours below ground with a picnic, sleeping bags and extra candles. I did not go alone! Naima came too. The caves were themselves an initiation into something new.

And we make new plans:
-We are planning a trip to Austria in the Zil in late autumn. I feel I need to retrieve my possessions that I left there before our Africa trip. Mara needs her therapy equipment – she has an exciting new opening here at the yoga center.
-Next year I would like to take Anika to Portugal.
-Mara plans for next year to take Anika to Sicily and Tunisia (with another mother, our Argentinian friend Mariana).
-I have a plan that is still on paper to go to Kyrgyzstan in 2015. But for this trip I need to learn to horseback ride! I hope Anika will be able to come for some of this trip.

And finally – Anika is starting school on Monday!
But more of that when it starts.

Anika rides Apash the pony

Anika rides Apash the pony


Horseback archery in Granes

Horseback archery in Granes

No more sweat on those mountain roads!

radiator rebuild mechanic
The Zil has finally got its radiator sorted out. After returning from Africa the radiator was struggling to keep the heat down. Leaks, bunged up core, water thick with rust. It was not pretty.

Rather than order a new one from Russia at E350.00 (then add freight and tax), I opted for a rebuild. This is not easy as it is a specialist job. An art. Almost a forgotten one. It was alot of work finding an engineer that could do it. I tried all the garages to no avail. No leads. A local Saint Julier spent an hour on the phone with me calling around. Eventually we found a guy near Prades. He works out of his house. Retired 12 years ago from Paris, he lives the good life now in the shadow of the Canigou, sacred mountain of the Catalan people.

A rebuild cost me E430.00 and took one week. It looks new!

Zil radiator after Africa
Zil 131 Radiator re-Cored

The Radiator after being rebuilt.Notice the shine on that copper! And the manufacturers stamp that I had never noticed before.

The Radiator after being rebuilt.Notice the shine on that copper! And the manufacturers stamp that I had never noticed before.


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