Do Hippies Dream of Electric Yurts?

What is forgefieldsolar and what’s the point of this blog? Well, sitting here waiting for a lift to A&E after an errant 240V went through me I thought it would be a good time to ponder what this blog is all about.

We are a collection of 4 normal nutcases in our 30’s and 40’s who dream of giving up our comfortable, central heated terraced houses in order to live in a field, isolated from the buzz of modern living. The dream is to find a field within the beautiful Norfolk countryside where we can pitch a pair of Mongolian yurts (or gers) to live in full time. While we will still rely on modern services at the beginning, the goal is to move as off-grid and self sufficient as possible. We will grow our own food, tend some cute livestock (goats are a must) and build our paridise with our own hands.

Technominx and I have been besotted by yurts since we stayed in one in 2015. The luxury of a real double bed, tables and chairs, kitchen area, while effectively camping. Heavily insulated and heated by a central woodburner it was an incredibly habitable, cozy and romantic way to spend time closer to the outdoors without the limitations of a modern tent. But much more important than what we had was what we didn’t have. There was no Xbox, no TV, no clutter of years of collected junk, nothing to distract from the simple pleasures of just ‘being’, quietly. This is something I have grown to covet more and more, the simple joys of life, lying on your back in a field whilst covered in dogs, the satisfaction of crafting a hot tub to spend your evenings in blissful luxury in your own home. I have reached a point where I’m not satisfied with thinking “why isn’t life all like this”, it’s time to make it like that.

How will we make it work?

This is a question that comes in two parts. How will we actually make it happen, legally and without confrontation? And how will we make it a viable way of life? The answer to the first is simple; barns. One issue we always invisioned was planning permission. It’s very hard to get planning permission in the UK for anything other than a normal house on residential land, and as we cannot afford residential land in the middle of nowhere there was certainly no chance of use getting permission to live on amenity or agricultural land. The solution? Converting a barn. You are allowed to live in the UK in temporary dwellings (such as a yurt) on site while you are building your house and, with a change in UK planning permission in 2018, given certain restrictions you do not need planning permission to convert a barn. So that’s the plan, find a barn, convert it ourselves and live on the land in our yurts while we do so.

Making it a viable way of life is more complicated. It’s something we can only really answer a few months in, after using the outdoor, composting toilet in the middle of a cold winter’s night. We have plans, and roles in our group. I am the main builder, combining woodworking and a desire to forge steel I can craft most of what we need to provide shelter and comfort. Hooksforeverything is an exceptional grower, she can provide crops, vegetables and all manner of plant goods as well as crafting from wool to keep us warm. Technominx is a great seemstress to keep us wrapped up and protected from the elements, but more importantly as a healthcare professional, she is our resident medic as well. Spaced Terror is the only one of us above 6′ tall, this may put quite a workload on him depending how high things get.

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