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  • Clare Tindal

Fretting Grannies

Updated: Apr 17

Feeding Time,  Living Off-Grid, Donegal Ireland
Tea for Two

We don't really like the term 'Glamping', I personally prefer 'Boutique Camping' (as we called it in my Electric Picnic days). Whatever term you choose we have decided to set up an eco yurt campsite. We had been pondering an alternative way to earn a crust, one which didn't involve a numbing commute or working to fund someone else's retirement. So...a small number of nicely furnished, heated yurts positioned a distance from each other for privacy, each with its own lake view, verandah and en-suite loos and showers. And to serve these a communal lodge, a central hub for guests with a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, a comfy hang-out space with wood burning stove, library, games, kiddie corner, etc. It would also hopefully work well for the odd musical shindig too. This is the plan.

We would like to make the lodge a bit special, in keeping with the natural landscape. A strawbale structure (not as mad as it sounds - See Wikipedia) with a round reciprocal 'living' roof (See Wikipedia again... scroll beyond the first pics!) and french windows with panoramic views of Lough Mardal, Donegal Bay in the distance and the mountains beyond.

In the meantime, however, having just moved to the West heavily laden with all our worldly belongings including 2 babies (who have managed to accumulate even more worldly belongings than their parents), crate-loads of idealistic dreams and bags of naivety...we were now officially homeless and unemployed! And there was the small matter of living.

So this is how we now find ourselves in a 16ft diameter yurt, with no electricity or running water, 2 babies and 2 kittens (thanks Steve, life just wasn't complicated enough!) on the side of our hill in what is turning out to be the wettest, windiest, most abysmal summer in 50 years. Needless to say the Grannies are fretting.

After so many years in the rat race it sometimes feels good to have stripped back to basics and to appreciate just 'living'. Other times, on those long and endless monsoon days, having banged your head for the umpteenth time on the yurt doorframe or nearly twisted an ankle again trying to kick off the wellies (which appear to be welded to your feet) at the door while carrying at minimum one 10 kilo baby - it can honestly feel more like an extreme sport. (On reflection that sums up motherhood in general.) I'm so not the sporty type though.

Spending the summer here has been beautiful despite the awful weather, primitive living conditions, confined space, did I mention awful weather, and off-grid challenges! The view most mornings catches your breath. The wildflowers are all late this year, each few weeks we say goodbye to some varieties as new ones blossom...which we furiously google to identify. We got a couple of swims in. (By we I mean Marcus. I needed to be coaxed into a pool in Greece!) We've had a few intrepid visitors and some late-night campfire debauchery and look forward to many more as we now start to hone our hospitality skills for our new life ahead.

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