Seems a while now since I wrote anything, and then it was only to voice my at being ripped off by the Spanish Post Office (CORREOS), a battle which still continues.  This one is more like my old self.  ln fact it is the same old message, only this time will probably irritate even more people.  Though this is not my intention, so please bear that in mind before posting any negative or nit-picking replies, they will only be deleted.

My inspiration came from a film/ DVD kindly sent by a friend (who having shelled out £25 for it, sight unseen, probably wants to try and recoup some of that), entitled: wetheuncivilised.  A documentary made by two young people from Lewes (E Sussex), who set out in a van to seek an alternative way of living in the UK, and on the way paid a visit to friends and communities, interviewing, plus having an unexpected baby.  All apart from the last bit, just up my street.  Especially living in a van (though I have to say ours was much better fitted-out, see the photos: https://elpocito.wordpress.com/living-in-a-van-nomadism/).  Likewise I have a strong interest in finding or setting up a community of like-minded souls.  Anyway, based solely on the wonderful packaging it came in, I was really looking forward to watching this.

The film however is a total disaster.  And in so many ways.  Including: having no real story or direction/ its main two protagonists lacking any credibility/ constant side-tracks and padding with clips from other sources/ appalling camera-work/ inane soundtrack/ boring (well over-long at 141 interminable minutes)/ plus incredibly self-indulgent (rather like being forced to watch a neighbour’s holiday videos).  Though the biggest howler of all was the contribution from the (and I quote) grass-roots activists and leading figures of the UK ecological movement.  All of whom are esteemed and respected beacons of the ecology movement, some of them for decades.  Yet total embarrassing, because what they had to offer was ego/ human-centric, total claptrap, or simply unintelligible, like listening to a foreign language.  Their worst crime being none of them mentioned, or even appeared to realise, the two major issues facing us right now.

Namely, overpopulation by our species, and the environmental impact of money.

At this point I would like to introduce a chart to try and give an idea of the scale this represents, because I still don’t think people actually get how far we’ve moved away from what is/ was normal.  I’ve chosen just the period from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which is when we really started to lose the plot.

year UK population world population UK household income (annual)
8000BC   5 m  
1700 6 m 0.6 b £12.75
1800 16.3 m 1 b £27.55
1900 41.6 m 1.6 b £52
2000 58.8 m 6 b £20,000
2017 65.5 m 7.5 b £35,000


Population.  All life on this planet has a definable sustainable limit to its numbers.  This is managed instinctively and allows for a maximum diversity of species to exist/ develop, as well as protect the (finite) natural resources of the planet.  This is difficult concept to grasp/ justify, I know, it implies there is some kind of shared intelligence among all life (or over us), but as we are the only species known to have deviated from this pattern there must be something to the idea.  Anyway, just in terms of being totally dependent on a diverse ecology for life itself it is necessary we abide by this rule.

For whatever reason we chose to disregard it and increase in numbers, especially after so many millions of years while our numbers remained low and stable, the effect was that other species then started to suffer and die out, this happened from (around) 8000 BC.  Slowly at first, then speeding up exponentially when those who rule over us began wholesale enslavement of the entire human race with the Industrial Revolution.  Since then it has continued to increase in speed, but with an equal destructive effect being wrought simultaneously by the spending of money.

These two indices therefore are the only reliable measure of ecological meltdown.

So why aren’t we doing something about it?

I think we were, or at least the ecology movement was getting their message across.  That is, until the advent of internet and mobile phones (around 2000), when vested interest regained the advantage.  Since then all information has been under their control, to keep reinforcing their message that procreation and spending are good (for them).  It is only those (shades of FARENHEIT 451) who remain disconnected that are able to think differently.  See the obvious comparison between the seemingly limitless buying opportunities of today, their effect on the planet, and the much better life of our forebears who had nothing by comparison.

At the end of the film I stepped outside, out onto the patio of El Pocito, from which there is a very steep slope downwards, so you are looking out onto a 180 degree vista which stretches into infinity, nothing but countryside as far as the border with Portugal.  The sun was directly in front, casting its golden glow directly into the house.  And what I saw/ felt then was something never experienced/ appreciated before.  The dogged belief that had kept us searching for a different kind of life for over twenty-five and more years, had finally earned me a place in paradise.  There is no other way to describe it.  And I wouldn’t swap the highest salary for this.  Hard to explain, but there are ways to live an incredibly fulfilling and beautiful life without spending (any) money or procreating.  And if we all chose them instead, then maybe we could save the planet.

Visitors welcome any time, to experience the difference.



The first in what I hope will be an occasional series about how wherever there is money/ power/ or influence, corruption lurks also, usually in equal measure.

This is not something in the UK most people know much about, at least not first-hand.  Probably because being one of the richest/ most powerful countries in the world, those who stand to gain most from it want to retain that privilege, otherwise if everyone realised just how corrupt those who rule over us actually are they’d no longer have that right.

Except in Spain the opposite is the case.  To be accused of corruption here (especially to get away with it) turns you into an overnight celebrity.  The daily prole-fodder mediums actually encouraging this down through all levels of society, so those who are not involved have now become the absolute/ tiny minority.

My experiences (first-hand) have been innumerable, the worst being public services (who still owe me nearly 20,000 euros), the latest of which is CORREOS, the spanish Post Office.  In particular MARINA PADILLA ALFARO, who while merely an employee for this company, still feels it is perfectly just to defend a scam which illegally fleeces thousands daily.

This concerns packets/ parcels entering the country from outside the EU (letters for some reason are not affected).  As a matter of course now, when they arrive in Madrid, they are automatically subject to three forms of taxes.  One, on the value of goods enclosed.  One, for the extra cost of delivery within Spain.  And the other, VAT/ IVA on the former.  Typically this adds 100+% to the cost of buying anything from outside the EU.  BREXIT supporters please note, this will happen in the UK eventually.  Prepare for massive inflation.

All fine you may say.  There is the choice of buying solely within the EU.  Except all of this is totally illegal.  In spanish and EU law, if you receive something as a gift then it is not liable for any import duty.  If it is a book, likewise.  If the sender has already paid the full cost of delivery then it is also illegal to charge extra (plus VAT/ IVA).

Oddly though, if the parcel/ packet was sent via a third-party (like AMAZON/ E-Bay), then it goes straight through without attracting any charges.  How?

As with all spanish public services, it is impossible to complain.  You have to pay up or not be able to receive the parcel/ packet.  Obviously MARINA PADILLA ALFARO has never had this problem otherwise she wouldn’t defend it so vehemently.

shelter photo

(with translations below in: Français/ Deutsch/ & Español)

In 1973 Lloyd Kahn published his third book on alternative architecture and overnight it became a bestseller, in turn changing the lives of a whole generation.  This was SHELTER (ISBN 0-936070-11-0), an anarchic look at examples of self-build and homesteading around the globe.  Maureen saw a copy in COMPENDIUM BOOKS, that legendary bookshop in Camden High Street (London), and from then on we knew exactly what we were going to do with the rest of our lives.

More titles have appeared since, all equally inspirational, including HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1) and TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN 978-0936070-52-0), which are both a must for anyone interested in off-grid/ self-sufficiency.

But more importantly, 44 years on, there is yet another one to equal SHELTER, entitled SMALL HOMES/ The Right Size (2017,  ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1).  And this time the roles have been reversed and El Pocito is one of those featured.  Without doubt the highest honour Maureen and I could ever have wished for.

Obviously you have to get yourself a copy, but first please SHARE our joy by telling everyone you know to visit our internet site and see for themselves how small and simple can be beautiful:



En 1973, Lloyd Kahn publiait son troisième livre d’architecture alternative, qui devint un bestseller du jour au lendemain et changea la vie de toute une génération. Ce livre était SHELTER (ISBN 0-936070-11-0), une collection anarchique d’exemples d’habitations construites soi-même et d’installations auto-suffisantes à travers le monde.  Maureen tomba sur un exemplaire à COMPENDIUM BOOKS, cette légendaire librairie de Camden High Street (Londres) et, dès lors, nous sûmes exactement ce que nous allions faire du reste de nos vie.  D’autres ouvrages sont parus depuis, tout aussi inspirants, comme par exemple HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1) et TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN 978-0936070-52-0), qui sont tous deux incontournables pour quiconque s’intéresse à la vie alternative hors-réseau en auto-suffisance.

Plus important encore, 44 ans après, il y a un ouvrage qui égale SHELTER et dont le titre est SMALL HOMES/The Right Size (2017,  ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1).  Cette fois les rôles ont été inversés et El Pocito est l’un des habitats présenté.  Sans aucun doute le plus grand honneur que Maureen et moi pouvions souhaiter.

Il va sans dire que vous ne pouvez pas manquer de vous procurer votre propre exemplaire, mais, d’abord, ayez la gentillesse de partager notre joie en demandant à vos connaissances d’aller visiter notre site internet, afin que chacun puisse voir par lui-même à quel point un petit habitat en toute simplicité peut être beau.


(translation thanks to Jeanette Compte)


1973 veröffentlichte Lloyd Khan sein drittes Buch überalternative Architektur und es wurde über Nacht ein Bestseller,der das Leben einer ganzen Generation veränderte.  Es war SHELTER (ISBN0936070-11-0) ein anarchistisches Beispiel über selbstgebackenem Eigenheime der ganzen Welt.  Maureen sah eine Kopie im COMPENDIUM BOOKS,die legendäre Buchhandlung in der Camden High Street (London).  Und von da an wussten wir,was wir für den Rest unseres Lebens machen wollten.

Mehr Titel sind seitdem erschienen.  Alle genauso inspirierend.  Auch HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN978-036070-52-0) und TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN978-0936070-52-0) die beide ein Muss sind, für alle die Interresse an besonderer, einfacher Architektur haben.

Aber noch wichtiger:éin seit 44 Jahren existierendes Buch ist das SMALL HOMES/ The Right Size (2017,  ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1) heißt.  Und dieses Mal haben sich die Rollen umgekehrt und El Pocito wird vorgestellt.  Das ist die größte Anerkennung die Maureen und ich uns nur wünschen konnten.

Du kannst dir selbst eine Kopie machen aber bitte.  Teile erst unsre Freude,indem du jedem den du kennst,bittest unsere Webseite zu besuchen,um selbst zu sehen wie wundervoll KLEIN und Einfach sein kann


(translation thanks to Babse Bippus)


En 1973 Lloyd Kahn publicó su tercer libro sobre la arquitectura alternativa y durante la noche se convirtiò en un best seller, a su vez cambiando la vida de una generación entera.  Esto fue el SHELTER (ISBN 0-936070-11-0), una mirada anárquica en ejemplos de autoconstrucciòn y colonizando todo el globo.  Maureen vio una copia en COMPENDIUM BOOKS, una librería legendaria en Camden High Street (Londres), y a partir de entonces sabíamos exactamente lo que íbamos a hacer con el resto de nuestras vidas.

Más tìtulos han aparecido desde entonces, todos igualmente inspiradores, incluso el HOME WORK/ Handbuilt Shelter (2004, ISBN 0-936070-33-1) y TINY HOMES/ Simple Shelter (2012, ISBN 978-0936070-52-0), que son ambos tanto una necesidad para cualquiera interesado en construcción autónoma y afincamientos alrededor del mundo.

Pero lo que es más importante 44 años despuès, hay otro SHELTER igual, SMALL HOMES/ The Right Size (2017, ISBN 978-0-936070-68-1).  Y esta vez los papeles han sido invertidos y El Pocito es uno de los presentados y destacados.  Sin duda el honor más alto que Maureen y yo podríamos haber deseado nunca.

Obviamente se tiene que poner una copia, pero primero por favor COMPARTIR nuestra alegría diciendo a todos a quienes conocen que visiten nuestra página de internet y vean cómo algo tan pequeño y simple puede ser tan hermoso:


(translation thanks to Emilio Romero Márquez & Jetske Brand)




… or how we need to start developing a real sense of perspective, or perish.

What got me started on this one will probably seem rather silly, but it made me laugh and I think makes a valid point.  It’s about a friend of a friend here, english though has lived in Spain for many years, and recently moved to Nerja, which is a popular spot for expats near Malaga.  He is your typical brit flat-earther type, refuses to believe there is any other culture.  On this occasion he was trying to order a take-out from a local eatery, and in order to facilitate this he used the usual form of communication when dealing with foreigners, enunciate each word slowly, at considerable volume, while reinforcing by gesticulation of the fingers.  Hence the title, F-O-U-R   R-O-A-S-T  C-H-I-C-K-E-N-S.  Oh yes, there really are (very many) people who actually believe english is an international language.  What made this even funnier (for me) was the person it was addressed to turned out to be english.  This may be Spain but in Malaga it is as rare as hens teeth to find a native living/ working there.

Perhaps you had to know him to get it.  Nonetheless what he typifies is a very real issue.  That no matter how many experiences we have, or the passage of time, we don’t change how we see the world.  Two people can even witness exactly the same event and yet still see it in different ways.  This is a big problem, especially in the wealthier parts of the world.  With such a distorted perception, combined with an extremely inflated sense of self-worth (as a species), we are actually fooling ourselves that we are good for the planet, even when the plain facts say we are the most destructive force ever.

It hasn’t always been like this.  If it were possible to turn the clock back just 10,000 years and look at a satellite photo of the world as it was then, the most striking difference would be the complete absence of any evidence of our existence.  Yet we had been around by then for three million years.  okay there were only about 5 million of us, but surely there would be something to see?  Apparently not, because throughout that time we existed in totally harmony with all other forms of life.

Of course after that things started to change.  Instead of being nomadic/ aboriginal we started to settle, permanently, and the effect of this was that forests, which had until then covered most of the surface of the planet, were clear-felled to provide the materials for this new form of culture.  And by the time the Industrial Revolution came along, our numbers had increased dramatically, to 795 million.  A mere two hundred and fifty years later (now), to 7.4 billion.

Looking at satellite photos now, all that diverse lushness has disappeared, replaced instead by millions of tiny brick and concrete cages, where we now live out our short impoverished lives, imprisoned by debt to provide golden eggs for our masters.  Surrounded by a patchwork of non-organic fields growing our feed.  There is no longer a single example of that primeval forest left (which incidentally was there to give this planet life).  We have made 99% of all other species extinct.  We have contaminated everything (soil/ air/ water) with chemicals and radiation (from nuclear testing/ nuclear power station emissions/ and nuclear accidents), which will remain deadly for at least 2000 years.  And now the oceans are dying too.

The rate at which all this is happening (consuming/ reproducing/ destroying/ spending) is increasing by the second.  Exponentially.  This means it is so fast it is impossible to calculate when the remaining resources (those that provide us with life) will be used up, but given that this has all happened in less than 0.3% of our total time on the planet it can surely only be a matter of a few years.

Why can’t we see this?  Why hasn’t our natural instinct for self-preservation kicked in?  Why?  Because we are no longer able to think for ourselves, trust our own innate senses.  In fact none of what we know, believe in (our views/ values/ attitudes) is actually true.  It has all been drilled into us by the state/ royalty/ big business, to suit their needs/ motives.  The only way we can escape that conditioning is to disconnect from their channels of persuasion: internet/ tv/radio/ newspapers, believe nothing you are told and only half of what you see for yourself, and flee the social pressures from living among the un-dead.

Which is what we did.  Found a place as free as possible from any kind of human pollution, tune out and reconnect with nature and our natural selves again.  Which hasn’t been easy, it is not that simple to just cut off completely and rediscover senses that were cauterised at birth.  But this week I had an incredible breakthrough.  Eight years ago (to the day almost), when we first came to see El Pocito, I thought Maureen was mad to think this was the place for us.  How?  The entire six acres was totally devoid of vegetation, nothing whatsoever was growing, it was a desert.  But she was adamant, so we set about doing what we could to improve it.  All that land, and on a steep hillside, is a very big area (25,000m2) to do anything with, so to focus our limited resources we started with just one acre, and forgot about the rest.  This bit got all our experience, of all the previous gardens and isms that had come and gone over the previous 25 years, plus lots of love.  And gradually it has responded.  Still a way to go, but it is noticeably greener now and trees when they are grown from seed then planted out don’t die so much anymore.  Meanwhile in the other five acres, a miracle has been going on without us knowing.  Left totally alone (including no annual brush-cutting, or “cleaning” as they like to call it here) a total regeneration has taken place.  What was once like a desert is now lush and full of diversity.  Seeds which had lain dormant for decades have now decided it is time to germinate and despite the predators have grown.  There are even trees as high as 5m.  It is like a miniature Eden.  I, without any effort or money, have discovered what Science and Progress miss consistently, Nature knows best.

We are not custodians of this planet.  We are not intelligent.  What we are (have become) is no more than battery chickens.  Pecking at each other on Facebook, developing unsocial behaviour with armaments, living in a totally unnatural environment, fed on the cheapest crap, to die pointlessly and early, just to provide an income for someone else.

250 years we’ve been caged like this.  Duped into believing Science/ Progress know best.  60 years of the organic movement/ industry doing likewise.  When in reality nothing has been done to improve our damage to the precious ecology, or replace the trillions of other species we have killed for no good reason.  Unless we wake up soon and realise this, we will all be roast chickens.


In town there is a shop which sells virtually everything, including tickets for the state lottery.  I’ve never bought one of these, but watching those who do has become a fascinating insight into the current psyche of the populous today.

It seems to have gripped everyone, including the long-term unemployed (who here don’t have the benefit of a welfare state) and the super rich (of which Almonaster numbers more than average).  Which on one hand is crazy, because statistically we all know no-one actually wins (at least more than they spend), but it is also easy to see why.  Ask anyone, they will say without hesitation, it is because they feel they neither have sufficient money or happiness.

They are also obsessed about illness.  The local surgery here even beats the bar as the place to hang out, so much so the council has had to install free wi-fi.

This however is not a city/ suburb/ or a blighted area.  We live among 182,000 hectares of incredibly unspoilt countryside, where the pigs outnumber people.  Almonaster is the friendliest town I’ve ever come across.  And where else is it possible to live well on virtually no income.  So what is creating all this discord?

As it happens I am reading an excellent book at the moment, A PLACE OF REFUGE – An experiment in communal living – the story of Windsor Hill Wood by Tobias Jones.  One of the answers he proposes is that we are currently in denial about our rural past, we don’t want to go back to what we consider were the bad old days, working with our hands and living off the land.  Here that is certainly the case, hand-in-hand with wanting to forget all about the Franco era, which only finished in 1975 and then took another 20 years for them to begin to catch up with the rest of Europe.  Behind it all I would claim social media and advertising as the major cause.  That holy triumvirate of royalty/ state/ & business, who are the real ones behind how we are allowed to live/ think/ and feel.  Not in a scary dictatorial way this time, but subtly/ unconsciously, by polarizing us into becoming ever more selfish and less communal/ less physically connected to nature/ and more focussed instead on their proscribed narrow and infinitely controllable virtual reality.  Which they use to induce I us fear/ anxiety/ and unrest, as a means of compliance, and then offer their products/ services to assuage it.  Hence the beauty of the lottery, which incidentally makes them an obscene amount of profit EACH and EVERY DAY, where for as little as a euro you can feel normal again for a few hours while deciding how to spend those winnings (even if 50% will be taken back in tax).

We are being controlled like lab rats.  The lottery is a scam.  As is the illness thing.  Or at least what they are selling us (the current trend is we are dying younger).  Products which calm and reassure, allow us to continue our toxic lifestyle unfettered, and of course live healthily and happily forever.  All total crap of course, but for most people now that’s all they have left to believe in, they no longer want to take back the responsibility for their own life.

These are the hard facts.  There is no diet which will counteract an unhealthy lifestyle.  Supplements have no benefits whatsoever (even if a quarter of the UK believes they do), possibly the opposite.  And most certain of all, organic now means nothing.

Because everything you buy is a con.  The only reason ANY product (or service) exists is because someone somewhere came up with an idea to make money.  Nothing else.  And to do this they will use the cheapest materials, cut corners, poison the planet, fatally harm those who produce and labour for them, and of course downright lie/ cheat wherever necessary.  Including labelling ingredients as organic when in virtually all cases they will have been grown/ sourced using conventional/ chemical/genetically modified/ non-organic methods.  Wake up.  This is the real world.  Just follow the path of anything if you don’t believe me and discover for yourself.

Nothing we buy or eat (even grown ourselves), or the way we live, is actually healthy or good for us, or any of the other species.  We simply wish it was.  We were never designed or evolved to be like this.  Ask your parents/ grandparents, read about what life was like just two hundred years ago.  We have to wake up and see what we are doing to ourselves and the planet.  Stop this crazy addiction now, before it is too late not just for us but the rest of the planet.


Here’s another classic on the theme of living a more simple life.

Though the idea for this blog actually comes from something that happened yesterday, while getting on with the daily task of trying to market El Pocito to a suitable buyer.  Working my way through the infinite number of Facebook pages and groups, I came across yurts.  Not something I thought there would be much about, maybe a few makers, but turns out this is a whole new sub-culture which goes by the name of glamping (remember I don’t have access to the media).  Apparently Portugal and many parts of Spain are now covered in them.  Which in turn answered another perennial question, how do all these people who have suddenly emigrated from the wealthier parts of Europe, to Iberia (and cheaper), survive financially?  Money, pots of it.  They come, build an instant showcase organic smallholding, then as soon as possible run holidays and courses from them.  Which is fine, I have no objection to that.  But what gets me is they labelled this enterprise as organic/ ecological/ sustainable/ or some other green ism.  And that is not right.  In the same way claiming to be a vegetarian/ vegan/ frutarian (or whatever) doesn’t help save any animals or plants.

What am I talking about?  Sustainable/ self-sufficient/ being compassionate about other species, can only be achieved when you remove money and reproduction from the equation, anything else is simply a distraction.

The book charts the life of a family from the end of the Second World War until 1981.  Who by choice leave London to be closer to nature, and how that requires sacrifices.  For example nine years without running water, and forty years with only enough income to live a day at a time.  And which they revel in.  Such a refreshing read, especially today, when everyone is so fixated on what they haven’t got, it should be prescribed instead of antidepressants.  I found it a real tonic, especially with all the people contacting me about El Pocito, wanting to buy something ready-made, it is getting me down.  A life like this is an ongoing process, not an instant fix to sell off (at a massive profit) once the novelty wears off.  A place where you put down roots and there is no rush.

Two other things struck me recently also.

What happened to all the concern about mobile phone masts?  When they first appeared (1G?) there were public campaigns to remove them from schools and places where people would be subject to radiation for hours at a stretch.  Now we have wi-fi in our homes, 24 hours a day, and the intensity is up to 5G, probably several tens or hundreds of times more harmful.

And the other is, don’t wait until it is too late.  Many of those contacting me recently are 50+ and finally in a position where the mortgage is paid off.  They are desperate to escape the craziness of urban living, but now find they lack the courage to make a move.  Do not be afraid.  You are only middle-aged, plenty of time left to acclimatise and settle into a better way of life.  Go for it.


What is worth knowing about self-sufficiency and sustainability has already been published, so why duplicate this precious legacy of wisdom, destroy even more of our precious ecology, lining the pockets of eco-parasites.  This book by William Cobbett, written in 1821, is as apt/ witty today as then.  Get yourself a (second hand) copy rather than inflate any more egos.