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I was woken up in the early hours by a faint scratching noise coming from outside. Finding a pair of yellow eyes staring back at me from the window I shot out of bed looking for the nearest substitute for a lethal weapon, only then realising that the eyes belonged to a miaow. It’s a bit early for morning cat cuddles so I try to shoosh it away but can’t then get back to sleep so give up and start laying the fire. I’m going to have to get to grips with strange noises and wildlife if we’re moving to the country, although as anyone who has ever shared a house with me will testify, even re-runs of Dempsey and Makepeace scared the living daylights out of me. I tried to watch an episode of ’24’ once, and ended up climbing over my flatmate in my haste to escape the room as Kiefer Sutherland tried to cut someone’s finger off.

The firewood is damp but eventually Rich is able to bring some warmth into the room and we set about preparing a leisurely breakfast. He’s really enjoyed putting his boy scout skills to the test on this trip, even if he does initially complain that it’ll be impossible to get a fire going because the firewood is too damp/cold/big/small. With a little gentle encouragement he’s become quite the fire starter, and yes he really does prance around the room pretending to be Keith Flint once he’s successfully lit one.

We’re flourishing with all of this physical activity and slow living. It’s really making us appreciate the luxuries we take for granted back home, like washing machines. We must be starting to look fairly skanky by now as the water was filthy after washing just a few pairs of socks, and we’ve grown accustomed to always smelling of wood smoke.

It’s stopped raining so we spend a few hours exploring the 20 hectares of native Chilote woodland which Andrea and Roberto own, accompanied by one of their very affectionate collies who has decided not to let Rich out of her sight, and on the inital hill ascent by two of the cats  – we’ve never seen domesticated cats move up and downhill so fast! We return to a lovely warm cabin and slow burning fire and after a quick lunch washed down with ginger beer  we decide to make the most of a dry day and take the open topped kayaks out in the bay. The cows from the neighbouring farm watch us from the beach, and in turn we watch the passing ferries. We don’t even mind getting soaked – it’s just so peaceful here, and provides a unique perspective to the hillside cabanas. We dry off on the veranda whilst drinking hot tea and the gluten free biscuits which Lider very kindly stocks, watching the early evening wind whip up small waves. After feeding the last of our manky ham to the cats who are our new best friends, we cook up what’s left of the unidentified meat, and start preparing to leave Chiloe tomorrow. It’s going to be hard leaving this place behind.

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