I'm sat outside what was once a stately home, has been a school and is now home to a few families. I'm not sure exactly how many live in the house bit, as the stable block is lots of homes as well, with about 20 families here, about 50-60 people.My breakfast included soft fruit from the walled garden, which is wonderfully tidy and productive- that's a huge difference from here to Crabapple, which I was fighting a battle with the nettles taller than me. And, as usual, this place is completely different to all that we've been to already.
We're at Canon Frome Court, and the big difference here is everyone has bought their 'unit' to live in at market price, and then pays a monthly fee for maintenance, and then a seperate subscription fee for the 40 acre farm. My initial response is surprise- no matter how much or how little you work in the farm, the fee remains the same. My gut feeling right now is requiring cash isn't good- I would prefer some scheme where people who work more (e.g.full time hours),would pay very little if at all, and those who go out to earn but have little time for the farm, would pay more.
We've only been here a couple of days and already I'm thinking how I'd change things-so much for being open minded!
I'm finding it all interesting, and an awful lot to think about and mull over. I didn't realise how many pre-concieved ideas I had about communities, and now we've been to two very different places ( though only two!) I definately need to reconsider.
Thursday was moving day for us, and very relaxed as we were only moving an hour down the road. We stopped quite a few times, mainly to look at caravans. We've had some interesting conversations with the retailers, so we've changed what we want to do. The latest idea is a 'van with twin bunks, NOT fitting the woodburner on the basis that at least initially we won't have a free source of wood- and buying firewood gets mighty expensive. Also, as caravans are not designed to cope with such fierce heat, everything would be damaged. I like the idea of some fitted things working for a while ( we're thinking of a new-ish 'van so we get reasonable insulation), so sounds like the woodburner in the 'van isn't a good idea.
We're considering getting a 'van quite soon, as we also reckon we're going to want to do this again sometime- this trip is seeming like a taster, we get so see so many places for a very short time, and making friends we'd like to visit again. We're also considering NOT renting a house as soon as we get back, and seeing how we manage in a caravan for winter.
So, we're at a beautiful place in cider country, so we were able to visit Weston's yesterday. They have pedal tractors in their 'farm' area, which the girls LOVED and were so dissapointed that by the time we got there after the tour they had shut that area. We had an interesting tour, and tasted several ciders, one of which even I could drink ( I normally HATE cider).
Right, being harassed - I promised to make cordial- and can't think so must go. Apologies for typos, I can't face leaving this to edit later!
2 days ago
An ex-stately home with a walled garden - sounds like bliss, if a little busy! So does everything run like clockwork there? With a hierarchical structure? I suppose I could go and read their website for answers to those questions!ReplyDelete
I didn't know you were even thinking about joining a community - is that a new development based on recent experiences then, or something I'd just missed before? I can see the sense in it, but potential problems too - I suppose it would depend on how financially committed to it you were, and whether you could just hitch up your van and move on if needs be.
Yep - some answers here.ReplyDelete
We aren't directly considering a community Gill, but also trying to think of ways that enable us to live as much of our dream as possible. I've identified if we really have to start a profitable business ( for the field to farm plan) we'd really struggle to home educate, simply from lack of time. So, I'm trying to keep our options open to do as much as we possibly can AND home ed. Until we got to the last community I'd've said we're just being 'tourists' but now I feel we've a lot to think about. I'm not sure we've been a place 'just right' for us (especially as all the kids are schooled or flexi-schooled) but I feel I've had my eyes opened. The girls are so much happier with others to play with, so it makes sense that playing happens outside a door, with others to play with while parents get on with what they want but can listen out. Lovely as it is to go places where children can be together, washing doesn't happen in the background, I can't always take wood carving everywhere, etc.ReplyDelete
Canon Frome has all sorts of problems- everyone agrees its a beautiful place to live, but the community part of it can be a problem. They try to agree by consensus, but apparently at least one person will say 'no', without explanation, reasons, etc. DH has more issues with communities than I have, but I love a shared meal on a weekly basis!
A traditional community with a free school, or shared/ co-operative home ed might work then? The trouble is, you can't really rely on other people to educate in your preferred way! But then that's not necessarily always a bad thing, although it sometimes would be.ReplyDelete
"The girls are so much happier with others to play with, so it makes sense that playing happens outside a door, with others to play with while parents get on with what they want but can listen out. Lovely as it is to go places where children can be together, washing doesn't happen in the background, I can't always take wood carving everywhere, etc."
I love this - it's what I always wanted our family life to be, although we only managed it for short periods of time. You need more than a few people around to achieve it properly I think.
Consensus is very time consuming and exploitable, isn't it? Would hate to feel stuck in a community like that. But as to finding better solutions.. hmmm, it's a conundrum, isn't it?
Totally with you on shared meals.
Its tricky coming up with a community idea, as I agree with someone I spoke to recently (of course, I can't remember who but might have been you or Mari) that communities whith a more specific remit tend to struggle- the more successful ones tend to be quite open or general in aims. Dh likes the idea of setting up our own community, but I think that'll have a whole other load of issues to go with it.ReplyDelete
I'm much more interested in the idea that there may well be a community out there that has the home ed, not buying in ( or cheap buy-in), a business-like farm co-op.
I think if we have to do the planning fight to get our smallholding then we will- but if I can avoid that level of conflict then I'd be keen to find an alternative!
I hope when we return, if you haven't started before that we can do 'home-ed' community meals. We all have to travel a bit- and perhaps your family has the largest indoor space to accomodate us all, which might be a bit hard.
We'll have to get started on a community room in your field as well :-)
And, all this community- makes your/your neighbours drive quite attractive!
"I hope when we return, if you haven't started before that we can do 'home-ed' community meals. "ReplyDelete
YES! Great idea.
"We all have to travel a bit- and perhaps your family has the largest indoor space to accomodate us all, which might be a bit hard."
Nah, that's fine. Would be a regular treat for us.
"We'll have to get started on a community room in your field as well :-)"
YES! Now you're talking! IMO we'd need the compost loo first though.
"And, all this community- makes your/your neighbours drive quite attractive! "
An ever-open offer to you, which I think could be a win-win situation all round. :-) In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.
Sounds like a plan Gill- though we might not be after drive space until after Christmas now- depends on my parents but sounds like they have more travel plans than I knew of, so we can use their house without them there much until Christmas.ReplyDelete
After Christmas will be good for us too.ReplyDelete