We're in a race now to move into the house by the end of October. A date that is realistic (at the moment) but does require working at least six days a week (extra days off allowed to welcome visitors). The plan is to have one floor habitable (a bedroom/ living area and a bathroom) which will be sealed off from the rest of the house to stop dust from entering. We'll be back to cooking on the camping stove in an outdoor kitchen but that will be a small step back for a massive one forward. Florent and I spend an unhealthy amount of time talking about things like where best to put a socket and what light switches we should have. Definitely the least inspiring part of this project especially as it turns out light switches are almost invariably ugly. I'm sure somewhere there are beautiful ones but not those in our price range or those that conform to norms we need to respect to we don't risk short circuting the house or something.

And the most exciting development... We have a courtyard behind the house which I have great visions for but is, unfortunately, for the moment storing debris, building materials.. So for the moment we have found a garden to use at the other end of the village. It's a long thin strip behind a house which is for sale which means we have no idea how long it will be before it's not ours anymore... It's an exchange whereby we have a garden rent free and we also maintain it so that prospective buyers aren't overwhelmed by a jungle behind the house. In my deludedly optimistic budgetting I factored in growing our own vegetables so now I really have to. I'm determined not to be put off that it is almost the end of August all ready and will hold a vision of feeding my children freshly pulled carrots to spur me on. The fact that the house may be sold at any moment will be a lesson in not getting too attached and trying to cultivate a garden that consists soley of veg that has a three month growing cycle (about the same time it may take to complete the sale/purchase of the house). A challenge awaits. The first thing will be to make a sand pit to keep the girls entertained long enough for me to actually plant something. After three years of doggedly trying to include children in all our gardening in hope of fostering a deep connection with the earth and instead fostering a sense of deep frustration in me as another plant is uprooted, I'm promoting a deep connection to sand instead. At least we might get some vegetables.

As well as gardening to be doing we've created a variation of trying to catch fish in the river and now instead build pens from the stones which the fish swim freely into, and then out of once again. This is much more fun and despite Little I using them as her personal paddling pools, provoking fits of rage from Little L, it's a staple daily activity. We've diversified a bit too and have introduced ; oragami boats (planes, frogs and failed attempts at dinosaurs), painting and colouring pebbles and creating minature land art on the beach and letting Little I climb the river bank which allows me about one page of my book before I have to retrieve her. I'm celebrating my resourcefulness, however boring it may be for anyone else to read!

We've taken more walks and discovered more trees and bushes to add to our Wild Food Map (lots of figs, bramble patches and sloes) and hunted out hidden beaches on the river bank for our next picnic. Most of all we're loving the absence of a restrictive routine, of course it's there in the daily work at the house but mostly for the girls and I, we feel very free. Just as summers for little ones are meant to be perhaps.

All the above mixed in with days of chipping plaster and vacuuming immense amounts of dust...



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