Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's nice to have some sun

Sunny weather and blue skies makes such a difference to photographs; we do have them here of course, but they have been few and far between over the last year and have tended to fall on days when I have been unable to get out. Finally the good weather has fallen on a weekend so I leapt at the opportunity.

The first outing was an early morning walk with Sparky to see the (almost) finished state of Terrace D; it is looking fantastic, and seeing Becky have a morning drink on the terrace soaking in the sun made me more than a little jealous! Our time will come..

The second was a somewhat over-ambitious run to the top of Caton Moor; some 12 miles and a long ascent of 340 metres. My muscles can testify to the climb.

The view from the top is excellent with snow capped mountains all around. I was forced to go further than I planned in order to obtain my desired view of a snow capped Ingleborough.

To me, the windmills are objects of beauty, which enhance this hillside, but I realise that not everyone shares this view.

There is a great feeling of peace up there, apart from the gentle whooshing of the blades. I tried to capture it on video, but it sounds like I am standing in a gale. There is a good reason why Frances is the film maker and not me!

Happy Easter.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

River Footpath Open At Last

Good news for all those who have missed walking along the river footpath - it is open again!
We had hoped it would be open for Easter, but could not be sure until we saw the last of the fencing being taken down today.
Let's just hope we see a little more sun over the holidays.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fancy helping us paint our bike shed this Sunday?!

Your handiwork here?
When we were trying to balance the project budget, we took a few things out that we thought, hey, we can do that ourselves later. One of them was painting the bike shed... it really ought to look like the lovely bin store just further down the street, but at the moment, well, it doesn't. It's one of the original buildings that we retained, and it's not the best view for the residents of Terrace A.

So we're going to get started on it this Sunday, March 24th, which is also a site Open Day -- all friends and interested observers are welcome to visit our Forgebank site.

We will be serving a simple brunch from 11am followed at 1.30pm by a site tour, including a tour of one of our homes to find out more about the technology that makes a Passivhaus.

You are welcome to pick a brush and join the painting team, there will be other tasks underway too, or you can retire to our common house and sample some tea and cake. We have a children's room to entertain any little people who don't want the full details of Passivhaus technology, and we have guest rooms where any of you who might be travelling some distance could book in for the night. 

With many of us now moved in, we are proud of what we have achieved and keen to show it off to all those who have followed us on our journey but for varying reasons haven't joined us in permanent residency on the street. Come and have a nose around, a chat, and of course, there are the last couple of homes still available to tell your friends about.

Please let us know on if you are coming, to give an idea of numbers (we need to make sure we have enough cake!) or give Lucy a call on 01524 812843 if you would like to know more details.

Hope to see you on Sunday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Working on the land

Although I moved into Lancaster Cohousing last year I work away at least half the week, which usually means setting off back to Glasgow on a Sunday. A few weeks ago, instead of our usual monthly meeting, we had a day of work-groups, and this novice gardener was very pleased to get a chance to help in a tree-planting session - the 'land group' events usually happen on Sundays so it's been months since I was able to take part in one. Here are three of us helping to prepare the orchard for our new little trees.

Catriona is in charge and showed me what I needed to do to make our beautiful big rowan tree happy in a new pot in the pedestrian street. And this is a small sample of what you get when 30 or 40 households pool their garden tools!

While we were planting trees in the rain, another group looking at the wellbeing of the community and its members was meeting in Pam's house.


 That Sunday we planted more trees in their new home on Butterfly Bank, a piece of meadow land by the river where we are encouraging a diversity of native flowers, grasses and trees. 

The Land group was out in force and with willing helpers we planted six oak and six alder saplings that we had saved and now are transplanting into this site.

We are also cutting back invasive non-native buddlleias and rooting out the masses of himalayan balsam that has invaded the meadows.

Despite the rain, we kept ouselves warm digging, planting and staking then repaired to the cosy Common house for tea and had a fabulous cake made specially for us by Pam.

Another busy weekend in the Lancaster Cohousing project. Come and join us - we still have one flat and 2 houses available to buy!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Loop O' Lune

One aspect of the Forgebank that I look forward to enjoying is the fact that we are on the edge of the countryside; from the front door there is mile after mile of uninterrupted tranquillity and beauty. Yesterday I took the opportunity to run ("gentle jog" might be a more accurate description) upstream in a loop of about six miles.

My starting point for the journey was Terrace D, which the builders are busily finishing off, even on a Saturday. Elizabeth, the kids and I are all getting excited now that we are close to moving in, given that we started planning this move in 2007!

Moving up the path we can see the weir, where the Halton community hydro is planned to be built; pending a final decision by the  Environment Agency, who seem to find an endless list of reasons for not approving the application.

We then pass through the five acres of "extra land" which a group of eight of us bought when it became available a couple of years ago. We have no plans for the land yet, but once the build is finished we will have more time and energy to think about it.

Gutterflat Wood is beautiful in spring - full of bluebells and has a delightful beck, which the kids love to play in.

The view from the Crook O'Lune is just a short walk away, and on a clear day the distinctive shape of Ingleborough can be seen in the distance. Even on a misty day, the views are still good.

There are paths on both sides of the river from this point, though we are now on a flood plain so some parts become impassable  or very muddy!  Luckily the snowdrops are at their peak at the moment and seem to be everywhere.

You can pass across the Lune using a grand Victorian(?) bridge, which looks very incongruous stuck in the middle of nowhere, but nonetheless very useful if you want a circular route.

Returning to the Crook O'Lune, Woodies is as busy as usual on weekend with various walkers and cyclists dropping in for a refreshment.

On this side of the river, there is a tarmac path running to the mouth of the Lune estuary at Glasson Dock, mainly following the route of a defunct railway line. You can see the "crook" in the river on the here, along with the real-life view. It can become very busy at the weekend with cyclists and walkers. 

Within a few minutes you reach the opposite side of the "extra land" - the panorama shot gives you a better feel for the space, and also another view of the weir.

Terrace D is looking good, the balconies are just beginning to be installed and the gabions finished. 

Unsurprisingly, one regularly bumps into other cohousers; today it was Lucy, Toby and Martha who had just cycled/walked to Woodies...with Martha enjoying her new bike.

The old station at Halton is now used by the local rowers for storage. It happens to have a car park there, so is the starting point for many walkers.

The narrow bridge at Halton is a short-cut to the motorway and Lancaster, but more importantly it provides access to the cycle path. It is easy for walkers and cyclists to get across, not so easy for cars, especially wide ones - lol. It provides a good view up the river.

Finally we return to the starting point. The six three-bed homes of Heron Bank are steadily rising, and I am guessing that the roofs will be on before long.  There is at least one home still available for anyone interested!!