Archive for May, 2009

May 24, 2009

Bales, bunnies, bikes, and bread.

Last week I got in touch with Talamh and am planning to get over there at the beginning of next month for a week or so to help with liming their strawbale building. Yes! Am excited coz that’s what I’ve been missing, getting stuck in to some DIY eco build and getting my hands dirty AND it should be a chance to get this blog kicked off in the right direction with some interesting posts – hopefully input from other co-op members.
Lister isn’t exactly a ‘hands-on’ co-op, it’s a whole big block of flats and houses but with no DIY communal projects that I know of, though apparently there’s a wee garden party in the summer. Talamh seems to be more of an intentional community, and I’m looking forward to learning more about them and their place when I visit. I’m hoping they’ll be interested in contributing to this blog too. At the very least I’ll be blogging about my visits there, and any renewable power tech – I think they have wind and solar. Check their Life Centre.

In the meantime I’m settling in to my new home, happy to be somewhere with The Outdoors right on my doorstep. Yep, Sun’s been shining at last. A 10 minute bike ride and I can be sitting with wild rabbits munching the grass right next to me, or even on the beach! This city is great for cycling, though the cobbled streets in town are taking their toll on my poor bike. Already lost one wheel nut, I think it was probably literally shaken off, and the front shocks might be on their way out. But it’s all good coz there’s a bike co-op here!
Actually there’s a couple of things I miss; the bits of bike laying around in south London that I could just grab to fix mine when I needed, and the food co-op at 56a. I checked out the food co-op here at ACE – Leith Wholefoods, I think it’s called – but seems they don’t have any fresh produce. Correct me if I’m missing something there – or point me to any other food co-ops here in Edinburgh, please. Not that I’ve got much to complain about really, there’s a weekly farmers market 5 mins away with good veg and bread stalls.

May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Radical Routes!

I see Radical Routes are celebrating their 21st birthday with a party in London this weekend (23rd May), with a free Practical Economics conference the same day.  Dammit, I really fancy that and am tempted to get down there so’s not to miss out on what sounds like some great workshops and a bloody good party.

I also noticed the Confederation of Co-op Housing conference – bit more of a formal event I suspect, with it’s “entertainment and leisure facilities”, he he.

I’ve been reading about a new housing co-op in Glasgow that is starting its own communications co-op and is kind of twinned with a Malawi housing co-op. And Inside Housing mag had a nice piece: ‘10 reasons why co-operative housing is due a comeback‘.

May 14, 2009

Half Hang’d

Discovered that my new place here in Edinburgh is a listed building and that I am living in a UNESCO World Heritage Site! From our front door, along Flodden Wall, steps lead down to the Grassmarket (read about Maggie Dickson here). Did I mention the view from my window? I’m looking out at a castle as I write this, it’s silhouetted by a pink sunset sky!

Lister co-op was started in the early 1970s by the then tenants’ association who petitioned to save the whole block from demolition by the University of Edinburgh who were planning to build a new dental school on the site. Lister was the name of an aneathetist who the original housing Trust was named after.

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May 9, 2009

3 months in 3 minutes


No, Tomo isn’t taking a bite out of the digger, this is a wee photo montage by Jason Brooks (also a Sanford resident) which shows the design and building of the bikeshed. Pretty much everyone you see working in the vid is a Sanford resident. It’s a complete self-built project, from the digging and removal of shitloads of earth to digging out and laying the foundations to moving, stacking and placing the sleepers. No contractors, just co-op members.