Sunday, 19 August 2012

Build It Where You Are

We're just recently returned from the Radical Routes gathering, and when I say recently, I mean within the last couple of hours. As usual it was busy and tiring and intense, but also incredibly inspiring. Being around other co-op members is a great reminder of why we're doing what we're doing, and more importantly, that we ought to be doing more.

Sven and I had a great blather, both at the gathering and on the way home, concerning the lack of co-ops in south Wales and what we could do about it. It's not that there aren't co-ops, but in an area with a significant need for affordable housing and relatively low property prices, it's genuinely surprising that there aren't more. We'd like to be surrounded by co-op people more of the time, and so it's up to us to build it where we are.*

So this is our** plan, which I am recording here in order to help it happen, and also to start garnering interest from you lovely lot. Just to point out that Sven and I are in no way experts, but we are keen learners with lots of contacts, and most importantly, we have done this recently.

We're going to plan a detailed set of modular workshops covering the whole housing co-op set-up process and related topics (such as consensus decision making), and then offer to run them for small groups in South Wales who are interested. You can tell us where you are in your process (anywhere from random, interested people who are wondering what a co-op is, to registered co-ops who are looking for funding inspiration) and we'll come and run relevant workshops in your garden/living room/community space.

So, are you interested? Could you get together a group of 3+ people who are also interested? Let us know and when we are ready to roll, we'll get in touch. And if we don't get around to it, please feel free to tell us off.

- Hannah

* A concept that is often talked about, summed up nicely in a phrase from Sven.
** Other members of Golem might be interested too, but I was too excited about the idea to run it past them all before posting this.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Keeping the Pace Up (more work weekends)

This is sort of a post letting you know a thing, and sort of a post reminding me about a thing, and sort of a post to remind all of us Golems to do said thing.

I'll explain.

I've been feeling like we have big surges and slumps in our energy when it comes to doing work on the house. We all pulled together and got loads of work done on the kitchen, and then all had a rest and settled in a bit. And then we got all dedicated to the garden and then we had another rest and some of us went on holiday. That's a simplification, but you can hopefully see what I mean. We need to keep the momentum up and the motivation going.

So in the noble pursuit of getting off of our arses more often, we're going to start having a monthly work weekend. It will be on the fourth weekend of each month, which means the first one is on the 25th-26th of August. The next one will then be on the 22nd-23rd of September. We'll try to post in advance to let people know what we'll be doing, so that if you want to join in, you can.

I've volunteered to co-ordinate the first one, so if you are interested, please get in touch. These are the jobs I'm hoping we'll attempt:

- finish the kitchen, which involves some tiling, the building of some shelves from some reclaimed wood, and re-fitting a pane of glass to a window.
- bashing out the flowerbed in the front courtyard and lift the paving slabs, perhaps clearing the drain along the way.
- if we have time, another job, which might be bricking up the smaller window in the downstairs bathroom.

You'll probably get food, potentially biscuits and certainly a lot of appreciation and tea. Let us know if you fancy it.

- Hannah

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Mystery Object Revealed!

Do you remember the mystery object buried in the garden? To recap, here it is, in it's mysterious glory.

Well, I have good news! It's a mystery no more. Joe spent his time digging around it while we've been away, and good grief, there's no way any of you could have guessed what it was.

It could have been a lovely garden trellisy thing.

(image nicked from the intertubes)

It could have been the metal remnants of a barrel...


... or some kind of iron cart wheel.

(I'm basically a massive tea-leaf)

But no. In the true spirit of extraordinary weirdness that pervades our house and garden, it is...

a fire escape.

It's hard to photograph, but so far about 8 feet of it is visible. Yikes!

You know, one of those ones with the ladder and the metal cage thing to stop you falling off. All of one, or at least it looks like it. It's been there for a while, as the small wall which runs across the garden is built right over it in a most nonchalant fashion.

I think it's safe to say that none of us were expecting a huge thing like this, and we haven't even started to contemplate what to do with it, but I thought I'd at least relieve you of your suspense about what on earth it was.

- Hannah