Thursday, March 31, 2011

Membership spring forward!

We had another busy social Sunday this month, with our regular monthly brunch at the Whale Tail in the city centre followed by a tour of our Halton site and an integration meeting at the Centre @ Halton for people who want to find out more about what is involved in cohousing, how we make decisions etc. It was great to talk to both new and regular visitors to Lancaster, and also to see some Halton residents, who came along following our presence at the Halton Eco Fair on Saturday 26. 

We've reached a point where we only have a few houses left in the project (see details of these here) -- which is exciting, but at the same it's almost disappointing, as there seem to be so many lovely people just finding out about the project for the first time who might miss out. But maybe some of them will be tempted by Heron Bank instead -- two are reserved already, but we still have four left -- so there's still time to be our new neighbours! 


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Glasgow get-together: Weds 6 April - all welcome!

I have been away from the project for six months, 'exiled' in Glasgow where I've been getting a full draft of my PhD completed. I can't wait to move back to Lancaster and get involved in the project again. 

But in the meantime, I'm not the only Lancaster Cohouser in Glasgow - Pam lives here too, and we have decided to have a Lancaster Cohousing get-together in Glasgow's sexy West End. We'll be meeting at my favourite cafe, the Bay Tree, by Kelvinbridge on the Great Western Road, at 7 pm on Wednesday 6th April, and we'd be very pleased to meet anyone with even the slightest interest in our project.  

We will talk about what excited us about Lancaster Cohousing, and answer any questions that you may have before you take the trip south to look into buying one of our very few last houses....  All welcome, email or just turn up and look out for us - we'll have some Cohousing leaflets on the table! 


Land Team at work

Members of the Land Team have been busy over the past three months.
In January and February people were cutting off 30 cm strips of ivy from around tree trunks, as it was a planning condition to clear ivy from the trees. Sometimes this was a challenge, as the ivy stems could be 6cm across, which takes a lot of cutting, and some trees were very close to the river, which was often hair-raising.
In February and March we dug up saplings of beech, alder and ash, to transplant and grow on, ready for replanting once we have moved in, as some of the replacements for all the trees we have had to cut down in order to build the houses.
And recently we have taken our last opportunity to save some herbaceous plants before the demolition crew moves in – daffodil, astilbe, peony, solomon’s seal, primrose.

Since the trees have been cut down, and brambles cut back, more and more of the former planting scheme has become visible.

Some of the cut brambles have been piled up into a wonderful spiral habitat for small animals and insects, which Pete and Diana are calling a windrow.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Halton Skate Park Open

The new skatepark at The Centre@Halton is now open, much to the delight of local kids and teenagers. Fergal and his friends think it is awesome. The Halton Community Centre has been very successful in obtaining grants for both a new playground, new skatepark and significant refurbishment of the building itself. The Centre is only a few hundred metres up the road from our site.

At our last General Meeting held at The Centre, there were literally queues forming around the skate park with kids wanting to use their BMX, scooter or skateboards. I am in awe of some of the tricks I saw - not for the faint hearted!

The playground is also progressing well - new equipment appears every time I visit the site. There is nothing of this size or quality in Lancaster, so kids of Halton are very lucky.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cohousers at Halton Mosaic workshop

It is a while since 13th February when some of us took a break from a weekend of cohousing general meeting. That morning we went to Halton Community Centre to take part in a workshop led by Maggie Howarth, making clay figures of local people past and present, to be placed in a mosaic at the Centre.

Some of us made ourselves or other cohousers, such as a wheelbarrow load of the 2 youngest members, Martha and Polly, while I made Colonel Benirski (right), who, after the second World War, founded the engineering works on what is now our site.

We expected to enjoy chatting to each other but were completely engrossed in the making, and were companionably silent for most of the morning.

I hope that we can spend more time together like this, a foretaste of how it may be when we live together, rather than the current endless round of meetings...


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First photos from the build now on our website...

One of our members - Frances, who also shot and edited our videos - has started taking photos on site as we enter the demolition and build phase. She's planning to take photos from the same points on site regularly as the work happens, so we can see the changes unfold.

Her ambition is to do some proper time-lapse photography, which would be really cool, but we're not sure yet if that's affordable and feasible. So in the meantime, have a look at our 'before' photos. Some things are happening already: there's scaffolding up on the Mill for its new roof and windows, and we've cleared some leylandii and other trees and undergrowth.

It's all starting to happen...