I’ve been on a quest all year for silence, the natural kind. I found it on midsummer night on Mount Caburn, in a bivvy bag surrounded by rain and wind and a host of fireflies. I found it on the Isle of Wight in a hotel on the beach, waking up to the sound of waves and sea. Then I had a whole glorious week of it in a secluded, off grid, yurt in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees, with only my family and cicadas for company. We swam in the mountain rivers, we bathed in the intense heat, showered with water pumped up from the spring and cooked together in a simple outdoor kitchen overlooking a valley. Graus, the nearest town had only Spanish people in it; the sound of Spanish people chatting over a beer in the square in the coolness of the early evening is somewhat like a natural sound and it rang in my ears for some days. We visited hillside towns that had been abandoned, and some that had been squatted or reoccupied by young people starting a life on the land.
It was a little shocking to return to Barcelona to catch the wonderful and inexpensive overnight train hotel back to Paris. So many tourists visiting the Gaudi places, his work is impressive, particularly the Sagrada Familia with its architecture and decorations inspired by nature. But, personally, nature herself, especially wild nature, is my cathedral.
I’m off to Sunrise Off Grid festival in a mo, where I will be offering a workshop on low-carbon food storage and preservation in the ‘Off-Grid College’ - a 13 module series of presentations and talks looking at various aspects of sustainable, locally resilient, low impact, off-grid living.