El Pocito, Oficina de Correos, Almonaster la Real, 21350, Huelva, Spain
Hi, and welcome to a site about a simpler way of living. A real life example, based on what I and my soul-mate have learnt over the years, as we travelled along a very deliberate path towards finding a meaning for our existence. Stuff like – having our own ideas (as opposed to buying into faiths and isms)/ living without the need for a job/ taking back the responsibility for our own healthiness/ making & growing all we need/ and above all, doing it in a way which is always as sustainable for the rest of the planet as possible.
What it definitely isn’t, is any kind of manifesto. Either for others to agree with, copy, or feel they have to knock (get a life of your own instead!). Neither of us ever felt we had become experts in any of this. I’ve written it down solely because it’s a hard and lonely path, and it would have been a lot easier had we known there were others like us out there.
We were Maureen and Phil Rooksby (until recently, when Maureen died). Both originally from South London, where we grew up. Then after qualifying as art teachers, taking ourselves off to somewhere a little more inspiring. First to the lovely village of Stony Stratford in Milton Keynes (during the city’s formative years). Then when we had more confidence, the wilds of North Yorkshire. Which is where we first got inspired by the idea of becoming self-sufficient, spending the nine years it took to sell our house learning all about that. Following that came nine years living in a second-hand van and travelling, in search of the one place perfect enough to settle down for the rest of our lives (roaming free is nowhere near as romantic as it sounds). Exploring: NW Spain/ Portugal/ an island in British Columbia (Canada)/ and finally SW Spain. The latter where we found El Pocito. The one place in all that time that seemed to fit most of our criteria:
- somewhere we would be able to live without debt. No mortgage/ rent/ utility bills/ or any other charge on our time, and had 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.
- our own water supply. Originally we wanted it to be a spring and nothing less, but they proved so hard to find we settled on a borehole instead, where the water is as natural/ unpolluted/ and plentiful as possible.
- high up. At +/- 600 metres. This is because the higher you live the less extreme the climate (all-year-round)/ humidity is lower/ pollution less/ and right now, probably most important of all, there’s absolutely no risk from rising sea-levels.
- 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 a soil that is as sandy as possible. All the others just make the job a lot harder.
- where neighbours are as far away as possible. Which is not as easy as it sounds. Even with 2.5 hectares (6 acres) we are still only at best 200 metres from other peoples land. Luckily here there isn’t anyone else, not for 2 km.
- proximity of the local town was crucial too, no further away than an easy walk/ cycle. And small, +/- 500 people. While at the same time as far away as possible from any cities (Sevilla, the nearest, is 120 km).
- well away from all roads and any other hazards to healthiness.
- a climate where we can grow the widest range of crops all-year-round.
- where we could have the perfect house, the most practical/ healthy/ and inspirational living space possible.
How this has all worked out in practice is explained on the following pages. Plus there are some of the many influences/ ideas we have come across along the way. I hope you enjoy dipping into them, and please feel free to make contact should you have any questions, I am always keen to hear from fellow travellers (especially if you are on the same wavelength as Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury).
Sadly, on the 29th of October 2013, Maureen departed this life (aged 56), and now it is just me to continue the work. It’s been a terrible eight months, trying to pull myself together (without the aid of family/ bereavement councillors/ or anti-depressants) and decide what to do next (see the blog page). I really want to stay here at El Pocito if it is at all possible, but currently the task of keeping it going is both too awesome and expensive for just me. So I am looking for someone who would like to combine energies with (here or where they are). A soul-mate. If after reading the following pages (especially looking for a soul-mate) this appeals to you please get in touch. Either by writing the old-fashioned way or email. El Pocito does not have internet access but I can read messages at least twice a week using the connection in town. Or if you know anyone who might be interested in this please pass on the information.
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)
“There is only one cause for the ills of this world, and that is money. The purest souls among us are those who have none, for they spend nothing and harm nothing. It is an oxymoron to claim to be righteous, walk lightly on the earth AND have money.”
“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 …”