It soon became very obvious that we would need some kind of shelter to protect us from the weather…. hot, cold, windy or wet…. somewhere we could make a hot drink, heat up food and eat in relative comfort. All sorts of ideas flitted through my mind, from camouflaged metal containers to luxurious yurts! But I finally settled on a shed with a long window (with a shutter) and a stable half door. It is just 12′ x 10′ but perfectly adequate for the purpose. It is our “Hafod”. In Wales in years gone by, this was a little temporary dwelling up on the high summer pastures where the shepherd would live with his sheep, or even the whole family would reside there in cramped and basic conditions while they did seasonal work on the land.
Once I had made up my mind I lost no time. I visited Gwynedd Garden Buildings and chose what I wanted and it was delivered a fortnight later. In the meantime, we had to clear a site for it to stand on. After much deliberation, I chose a place up at the far western end of the field near to the stream, as this is our source of drinking water. It is also relatively sheltered and commands a good view of most of the land.
Again, Neil came to my rescue and we tackled the site together, he first levelling it with his mini digger, and then both of us working on laying the breeze blocks and eight 3 metre beams (each measuring 4”x4”) which constitute the foundations.
All this sounds straight forward enough, until you consider that everything has to be carried several hundred yards by hand over very uneven and rough terrain! Just assembling all the supplies was a mammoth task in itself! And the life of a workman’s mate, or “go-fer” is not an easy one either. Together Neil and I measured, placed, remeasured, adjusted and readjusted, and measured again; bending and stretching, lifting .
Carrying digging out and replacing. This strenuous activity went on for four hours until the base was completed to Neil’s exacting standards. Who needs a session down at the gym?
The day arrived when the shed was due to be delivered. It was supposed to come at 1.pm. But the two delivery men obviously couldn’t find the place, (they had tried asking me for a post code!). They eventually arrived, nearly 11/2 hours late, and then were quite stunned at the distance that they were going to have to carry the panels, even though I had most firmly warned them.
We were all there to help them, Holger, Dafydd, Neil and I, and we eventually got everything transported to the right spot. After that, the building went up and was complete in a matter of a couple of hours, and at the end of the afternoon we all enjoyed the novel experience of sitting down inside to eat our tea!
Facilities might be basic in the Hafod, but do not need to be uncomfortable. I had been busy on the internet and tracked down the little wood burning stove that I wanted for it, both as a room heater and water heater.
I had also sourced a gravity water filter to ensure we have a supply of clean drinking water. And, looking ahead to the summer, I had found and purchased a metal tripod and cooking pots to hang above a camp fire outside the Hafod.
Smiling sweetly, I extracted the promise from Holger to build me some customised furniture for the inside of the Hafod… a trestle table and benches and a dresser and some storage lockers. But before any of that could be started, we decided to insulate the building with cladding and plywood panelling. Again, this sounds simple, but I have begun to notice that when I decide to do anything, it takes four, if not eight, times longer than I had originally envisaged! But this is all part of the gift of Cae Non, it teaches patience, perseverence and appreciation, and develops an acute sense of humour!
All I could… and can… see when I look at the Hafod in it’s various stages of completion are all the wonderful gatherings and meals, discussions and friendships that it will see within it’s little walls, and I am inspired…. and enchanted!