El Pocito, Oficina de Correos, Almonaster la Real, 21350, Huelva, Spain
00 34 633 731 906 (text messages only)
For the very latest news at El Pocito visit our blog page.
Hi, and welcome to a site about simple living. A real-life example of what my partner and I have learnt over many years, as we travelled a very deliberate path towards finding a meaning for our existence. Stuff like – following our own ideas (as opposed to buying into faiths and isms)/ living without the need for a full-time job/ taking back the responsibility for our own healthiness/ making & growing all we need/ and above all, doing it all in a way which is as sustainable as possible. Putting the planet first.
What this definitely isn’t, is another kind of manifesto. Either for others to agree with, copy, or feel they have to knock (get a life of your own!). Nor have we ever considered ourselves experts in any of this. What I’ve written down is solely there because it’s such a hard and lonely path to take, and would have been a lot easier had we known there were others like us out there to talk to.
Until October 2013 we were Maureen and Phil Rooksby. 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). After which, when we had more confidence, the wilds of North Yorkshire, which is where we first got inspired by the idea of becoming self-sufficient. Following that came nine years living in a second-hand van and searching for the one place perfect enough to settle down for the rest of our lives (roaming free is nowhere near as romantic as it sounds, see the living in a van page). Exploring: NW Spain/ Portugal/ an island in British Columbia (Canada)/ and finally SW Spain. The latter being where we found El Pocito and are at now, the one and only place 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 with 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 nothing less than a spring, but they proved so hard to find we eventually settled on a compromise, a borehole instead, where the water is as natural/ unpolluted/ and plentiful as possible.
- high up. At +/- 600 metres. This is because the further up you go the less extreme the climate becomes (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, for even with 2.5 hectares that’s still only at best 200 metres from the perimeter, except here all the land that surrounds us is owned by the council and used only for forestry.
– proximity to a local town was crucial too, no further away than an easy walk/ cycle. And small, +/- 500 people. Almonaster la Real being perfect in all regards. 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 worked in practice is explained on the following pages. Plus I’ve included 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 happen to be a lover of Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury).
Sadly, on the 29th of October 2013, Maureen died (aged only 56), and now it is just me. I want to carry on with what we dreamed about and worked for so long, but currently that task is lonely/ awesome/ and hard to earn the small amount of money* I need to live. If after reading these pages you feel you can help in any way, please get in touch.
Many thanks. Phil.
* if you are able to make a small donation it would be really appreciated.
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 …”