“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
It was around this time last year that, after a particularly expensive trip to the butchers, I got home and sat on the sofa thinking how ludicrous the price of meat has become. That was when I began thinking how nice it would be if meat was free, then I began thinking about all the other things that “could” be free. A couple of hours later I had decided that come Spring the following year, I would build a treehouse and live off the land for 6 months. I suppose, at the time, it was no more than pure fantasy.
One year on, it has been done. Six months of treehugging and Neanderthal dietary requirements came to an end yesterday. Friday night was spent sat around a small bonfire with a few chaps who helped me get the idea off the ground, enjoying many of culinary treats I had been denied for too long. It was a fine evening and grand send off for the place that had become my home.
I have learnt a huge amount, both about myself and the surrounding landscape. I went to the woods thinking I knew it all, only to find I had barely brushed the surface. I am still learning and will be for a long time. Certainly there have been good times and bad times, mostly the former…
So what now? What happens to the treehouse? My Arboreal home is to be entrusted to my landlord’s youngest son, Henry (11). I think it will be safe in his hands, as long as he doesn’t mind me staying there from time to time! Now is the time for writing the book, followed by a month in France with the fiancée: Can’t wait!
As for next year, I am looking at taking on something a little more challenging…its about time I got off the treehouse ladder and on to one of the property variety. Watch this space! So to all of you who have followed my exploits, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have and thanks you for all the kind comments. I am currently enjoying the use of light switches and running water, perhaps even a spot of TV? Best take it slow!
Moving to the trees has been the best thing I have ever done with my life. Waving goodbye to London was perhaps one of my more smug moments, having had the city of sin almost suck the soul right out of me. Being out in the big open spaces of the British countryside is a wonderful thing, to carve out your own existence and live comfortably by your own hand is something few of us in the developed world get to experience. Having spent six months living this way has, I think, changed me forever and for the better.
And for that, I am truly grateful.