How it all began #1

In the early part of 2010 I went to Sri Lanka and began working at an animal rescue centre there. Tom and I first met when he arrived as a volunteer towards the end of that year. We got on brilliantly and realised how much we had in common right from the start. One of the first discussions we had at that time was of a dream we both had of the future, I remember us both being quite shocked at the coincidences in our vision, as though we shared the same dream….
We both wanted to find a large piece of land and to allow the greater part of that land to be returned to nature, allowing the ecosystems to return bringing new habitat and healing to the plants, trees and wildlife.

The land would be filled once more with trees and hedging that we plant, we would work with conservationists to encourage declining populations of wildlife to use this area where they could thrive. The land could be offered as a place where injured or endangered wildlife could be released, to give a place of safety and the best possible chance of survival and continuation.

We envisaged that this place of harmony could also be of benefit to those who are struggling in life in some way and who could come and spend some time in this place, healing and reconnecting with the earth. For those who are without any place to be there would be a place of safety where strength could be gained and there would be opportunity for workshops and courses learning the art of working with nature – natural building methods, self-sufficiency, crafts using natural replenshible materials and the growing of vegetables, herbs and fruits. There would also be the ability for children to visit and to learn about the importance of living in harmony with nature, the importance of taking care of this world that we have been allowed to share.

We both shared this vision and felt that one day, it would be possible for this to happen, that we could bring this dream to reality….. Fast forward 8 years and we are currently living in our little stone cottage in Brittany, we purchased this late 2014 and have been working to renovate it ever since. It has been a fun but tough experience, exploding septic tanks, leaking roofs and falling down walls. We are not far off completing this adventure now and for the last few years, have both been pulled back to the dream we both had when we first met.

Back in the spring of this year I watched an episode of BBC Springwatch. On this particular episode a sound recordist was discussing a recent event in his life. He had decided that his 9 year old son was old enough to come out with him one evening to listen to and record the sounds of Nightingales. He went to an area where in the past he had always heard them at that time of year. This year? Nothing. They went to different areas and in the end had to admit defeat and go home. To ease his son’s disappointment he played him a previous recording of Nightingale’s singing in the woods that they had just visited. The emotion of the situation was clear to see on this man’s face, his fear that children of the future would only know what certain song birds sounded like from a recording rather than real life was just too much to bear. This touched me so deeply, it is a big fear for us. We do not have children of our own, but we both have children in the family who on the whole show a great interest in nature. How would it be if by the time their children are growing up there are no more Nightingale’s to be heard? No more hedge sparrows antics to be amused by? No more ladybirds to sing too? and no more Mrs Tiggwinkle scuttling through the garden and eating all those pesky slugs?

For us both this is unthinkable and is why we are now more determined than ever to push ahead with our dream, turn that vision into reality and start to make some positive changes now for the future generations to come. I have started this blog to record our experiences as we work towards changing our own lives in order to help change others. So, please follow us along the way, we welcome all the help and support we can get!

These blogs are just short excerpts of much bigger chapters! I am currently working on getting a book publiished about our journey so far in order to assist funding for the Earthkin project. If you would like to be informed when the book is available, please subscribe to our newsletter, thank you.

11 Responses

  • I first heard my first Nightingale 45 years ago. It was the most fabulous sound I’ve ever heard! Sadly I’ve never heard it since.

  • So glad to see this up and running Debs. Watch it blossom. BTW, at around 2:30 am this morning we had an orchestra of owls outside our bedroom window. Nini said they were serenading us. Just wish they could have serenaded a bit earlier. Then 30 mins later, we were re awoken to some strange sound in the garden next to the cascades. I will have to have a talk with Tom about putting up some CCTV’s to catch footage/photos of the goings on chez nous. It’s like the Champs-Elysees out there.

  • Wildlife is my main reason for wanting to live here in Brittany.
    In UK we rarely saw much wildlife and now have all sorts visit.
    Sadly our foxes which visited nightly have disappeared for the first time in seven years. I fear mange followed by infection has finished them off. No sign for two months now.
    Love stepping out in the middle of the night….noise can be quite incredible with all the creatures .
    ps love the site Tom and Debs X

    • Thank you Liz xx It is so worrying the decline in all these species in the UK particularly, that is why we want to get on and do something about it. I worked in a wildlife centre in the UK and we used to give out food with mange treatment in it for people to feed the foxes, it certainly helped. I hope you have a new generation returning soon. xx

  • Please post pictures of the cottage today, after all the work you guys have done on it this year would be great to see it, if all else fails you could go into the building trade, you’ve enough experience !!! ha ha.

    • HaHa Bren! Good job we have had some practice as the next one we will have to build from scratch. I will post more photos of the cottage as the blogs go on the site xxx

  • Well you know now that you can put a roof on when you get to that bit, the rest of it will be easy now you have done that!

    I have really enjoyed seeing numerous foxes during the summer months, watching the ‘twins’ (two youngters that I saw from tiny) growing and gradually doing ther own thing but, sadly, now that the mais is cut and the hunting season has begun I haven’t seen any.

    You need to be where there is no hunting and then realise your wonderful dream, as I’m sure you will xx

  • I hope the foxes have just gone into hiding BB, I hate hate hate the thought of the hunters finding them. I know nature can be harsh but what man does in the name of sport is not good in my eyes! Our wood pigeons seem to have reduced in number since the season started which makes me very sad. We will do this, I am determined, thank you for your love and support xxx

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