EL POCITO, Oficina de Correos, Almonaster la Real, 21350, Huelva, Spain
Hi and welcome to some pages about a simpler more sustainably kind of life. What we’ve learnt over the years as we travelled along a very deliberate path towards finding meaning to why we are here. Stuff like – coming up with our own ideas instead of 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 all, doing it in a way which is as beneficial to this precious planet as possible.
What this isn’t, is a manifesto. I don’t claim to be an expert at anything that’s written here, only that I’ve had some experience. So why write it? Because when we started out we felt so isolated, it would have been good then to know there were others out there like us, and it worked, despite the overwhelming pressures against such a way of life.
I am Phil Rooksby. Originally from South London, but after school/ college met up with Maureen and together we promptly took ourselves off to somewhere more inspiring and rural, to the lovely village of Stony Stratford in Milton Keynes (during the city’s formative years). After that to the wilds of North Yorkshire. Which is where we first became inspired by the idea of becoming self-sufficient, and spent nine years there learning how while trying to sell during one of the worst lulls in the property market. Then followed nine more years living in a second-hand van and travelling, searching for the one place in the world perfect enough to settle for the rest of our lives. Taking us through NW Spain/ Portugal/ an island in British Columbia (Canada)/ and finally here to SW Spain. 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.
Sadly in October 2013 Maureen died (aged 56), and now I am unsure what to do next. Everything has gone into stasis. El Pocito is too big a project for me to continue alone, but I want to do that more than anything, and I know Maureen would have too. So I am looking for someone who would like to join me as an equal shareholder and life-partner. If after reading the following pages this appeals to you please get in touch as soon as possible. Or, if you know someone who might then please let them know.
I hope you enjoy what I’ve written and find the many influences/ ideas we have come across useful. Also please feel free to get in touch should you have any questions, I am always keen to hear from fellow travellers (especially aka Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury). Old-fashioned post is always the most preferable, but email by all means. El Pocito does not have internet access but I check messages at least twice a week in town.
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 …”