We spent Friday afternoon doing some detective work on a 1978 Mini which had only done the incredibly small mileage of 11,000 km [in 1985]. It turned out to have belonged to an old lady who used it mainly for going to church. Admittedly the old lady had had to have the clutch repaired twice because she used to sit at crossroads, revving like mad and slipping the clutch until there was a gap in the traffic. Otherwise I thought it was a bargain. The jack was still in its original plastic bag, unopened!

Not to mention my accounts! for some reason I have let them run on for just over three weeks in which time I seem to have spent $40 in cash which I can’t account for – and I seldom spend any cash in quantity these days except on petrol, which goes into a book in the car, and groceries when I shop for X for which I generally get a chit from Woolworths – so I am at a loss, I suppose it’s just a stream of small things which add up, as you know! [Oh yes!]

Thank you for your letter and the pamphlet about the new bike. It looks gorgeous, and six gears sounds almost superrerogatory. I am distinctly jealous. A 4 stroke that peaks at 10,000 revs sounds fantastic to my pre-war experience! They must work to very fine tolerances to get such a good balance, even allowing for a twin being easier than a single in that respect. But half the size would do me very nicely now – though I’m not all that likely to get it.

I wonder whether it wouldn’t be worth getting yet another mowing machine – a rotary. The thing is that X doesn’t want me to swop the little electric one as she can manage that so much more easily than the motor-mower if I’m laid up again any time; and it really would hardly seem to conform with Franciscan simplicity (part of yesterday’s sermon) to have three mowers!

Last month X and I and two very good friends purchased 20 acres of land on the island which is a beautiful, wild island 121 miles long and 3 miles wide off the coast. This is where we are going to make our house and hope to reach self-sustenance (i.e. not work for a living!) by growing our own food, keeping a goat for milk, chickens etc. The first year will involve a lot of expenses: tools to clear the land and build our house, seeds, animals, etc. But after all the initial expenses we should be able to be our own masters. Such freedom and whereas before I thought it was all impossible, very day now it’s becoming clearer in my mind what a simple and obvious and possible thing it is to do. [!] Another friend of ours is going to live on the land with us, too – so with five of us, none of us will be tied to the land. If X and I want to travel or work in Europe we’ll be able to go, knowing that the others are there to look after our garden and animals. The land is magnificent, very secluded with huge trees, a stream, ferns, enormous maples, wild flowers and plants and birds of every description – we saw deer on the land one day, too. Now, of course it’s just forest, but we’re moving up there next spring to start work on it. A lot has to be cleared but a lot of the forest we’ll leave as it is. X and I bought ten acres and the friends bought the 10 acre property next to us.

Obviously we will share the land, but we’re going to build separate houses.


The others are going to build a log house – X and I are building a geodesic dome. Read ‘Walden’ by Thoreau and you’ll understand why we know it’s possible to do all these things as an alternate life-style. X is working for next three months and we’re saving money hard.

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