Hi, and welcome to a site about our life. Some of what we’ve learnt over the years, travelling along a very deliberate path towards finding meaning in why it is we are here. Stuff like – coming up with our own ideas as opposed to buying into the faiths of others, living without the need for a job, taking back the responsibility for our own health, making/growing what we need, and above everything, doing it, everything, in a way which is as sustainable for this precious planet as possible.
At the same time, what it definitely isn’t, is a manifesto put out there for others to agree with, to copy, or feel they have to knock (go get a life instead!). We are definitely not experts in any of this. It exists solely because when we started out we felt so isolated, it would have been so good to know there were others out there like us, and it was working for them, despite the overpowering movement against such a move.
We are Maureen and Phil Rooksby. Originally from South London, but after school/ college promptly took ourselves off to somewhere more inspiring, the lovely village of Stony Stratford in Milton Keynes (during the city’s formative years). Then the wilds of North Yorkshire. Which is where we first became inspired by the idea of becoming self-sufficient, and spent nine years learning about that while trying to sell up, during one of the worst lulls in the property market. Followed by nine years living in a second-hand van and travelling, in search of the one place in the world perfect enough to settle for the rest of our lives. Exploring: NW Spain/ Portugal/ an island in British Columbia (Canada)/ and finally SW Spain. The latter where we found El Pocito. A place that seemed to fit all our criteria:
- where we would be able to live without debt. No mortgage/ rent/ utility bills/ or any other charge on our time, and all the natural resources not only to build a home, but provide our food/ fuel/ other building materials/ electricity/ medicine/ plus earn cash when necessary.
- have our own water supply. Originally it was to be a spring and nothing less, but they have proved so hard to find we settled on a borehole instead, so the water is as natural/ unpolluted/ and plentiful as possible.
- situated high up. At +/- 600 metres. This is because the climate is lot less extreme climate (all-year-round)/ humidity is lower/ pollution less/ and probably most important of all there’s absolutely no risk from the inevitable flood.
- south-facing. Having tried all the other options this is undoubtedly the best. For crops/ minimising frost damage/ solar & wind power/ as well as being a lot warmer and lighter indoors.
- with soil as sandy as possible. All the others just make the job a lot harder.
- where we can put a distance between us and any neighbours. Which is actually quite hard. We have 2.5 hectares (6 acres) here but that still means we are only 200 metres from other peoples land. Luckily there aren’t any other people living nearby, not for 2 km. Proximity of the local town was crucial too, no further than easy walking/ cycling distance. And small, +/- 500 people. While at the same time we wanted the nearest city to be as far away as possible. Sevilla is 120 km.
- well away from all roads and any other hazard to health.
- a climate where we can grow the widest range of crops all-year-round.
- have the perfect house. Create the most practical/ healthy/ and inspirational living space possible.
The following pages hopefully explain how successful (or not) we have been with all these, plus some of the many influences/ ideas we have come across along the way. We hope you enjoy dipping into them, and please feel to write should you have any questions, we are always keen to hear from fellow travellers (especially aka Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury).
many thanks to Nacho Suárez Obel who provided many of the photos for this site
“…each world has a song that is begun with the first life on a world, a song that sounds within the world to foster life and variation. All living creatures are a part of the song which shall be sung forever, until the last star goes out… sometimes living creatures do not wish to be part of the song, they do not hear it, they rise up against it, they cry that they are larger than the song and more important than the music, and when their words drown out the song, then the world begins to die…”
(Sheri S Tepper)
“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear”
(Jerome K Jerome)
“The rule of thumb for sustainability is simple. If it involves money, any amount, then it is still responsible for destroying yet more of what is left of our precious ecology”
“The longing for Nature, strong, silent and healthy, is the vital phenomenon of our time, and is the counterbalance to an inorganic civilisation, which we mistakenly describe as culture.”
“…by making the choice, not to have or do what everyone else considers right, you not only no longer have bills to pay but can experience that unique freedom of being able to live your own life …”