After I complained about all my family that might challenge Monica if I skied into the canal, cousin Chris tipped us off to the problems of being common law spouses in quaint old England. If we don’t get married, we’d have to write complex wills to ensure the survivor’s inheritance doesn’t get swiped by family. Even with those in place, there’d still be a 40% tax bill. Time to get wed!
The laughs started at the Registry Office. I went for interview first with a particularly unamused officer. She was stressed by my changes of name, finally agreeing that I could get married under the name of “David Michael Andrew Warland previously known as David Michael Andrew Templeman previously known as Andrew Michael David Harvey”. Poor old Andrew Gill had to be missed off because there weren’t enough boxes.
Then she asked if I was already married. “No.” “Do you consider yourself married?” “Under Australian law we have a de facto relationship which protects our inheritance somewhat like a marriage.” Ka-Boom! I’m sure the second question was her own confection just to trip me; it worked and everything stopped until we could get the Australian High Commission to explain the Marriage Act 1961 to her (no party, no payment, no marriage).
Anyway, the schedule is back on track and we’ll be doing the Civil this Friday at 10.45am. Only cousin Chris and his wife plus Monica’s brother, Kevin, will be there because it’s not really a wedding. We are planning to have a huge wedding-cum-housewarming party, probably next summer, at which no guest or gift will be shunned. Just have to build the pigsty bakery, slurry pit dance floor and tipi marquee first.
In other news, I’ve just completed the first good draft of a plant list for the forest garden and other purposes. With the help of Incredible Edible, who finally showed up, I have a plan for the high and low canopy layers and they’ve sold us fifty fruit trees cheaply. Their gardener, Mike, is using Warland as the case study for his permaculture diploma and we’ll cooperate to get planning permissions, tourists etc in the future. Mike is also the local foraging expert so I’ve included the local plants he’s shown me on the plant list.
Still struggling through snot and phlegm to get the workshop swallow-proofed and the meadow sheep-resistant before Spring is upon me. Snow is flurrying all about so I’m staying inside today. Yesterday I carried a few hundred ash whips up to the top heath and knackered myself. The ash were left by the tree planters because the law said they couldn’t take the excess off the property. I’ll stab them into the ground right at the top, to cheese off the neighbours—if the trees live—and obscure their view of any wind turbines we might like to build.
We had a restoration architect here a week ago to start designing the One Planet building in the back field. He walked around the farmhouse and pointed out a number of features and has piqued my interest in its history. His theory is that it was originally a timber long house and that it faced up the hill. Following up with my own research, I have three books by Brunskill that describe how this type of dwelling was typically developed and which explain Warland Farm well; he also explains how to observe, analyse and record theories of how the farmstead has grown through the ages. Another task for the pile but an interesting one for a winter’s project.
The One Planet thing is currently entering debate about its functions and form after the council didn’t laugh at the idea. It still shocks me how little imagination most people have when faced with a blank canvas. Monica and I had to kick off the discussion with a list of functions and a mood piece about how it felt to arrive at and explore the building. The architect was relieved that someone could describe it beyond its eco-credentials and the work-experience student at the architecture practise currently has it sketched as a crab with its rear buried into the hillside. So far, so good.