Dec 20th 2012, Christmas and January 2013

We spent the last six weeks in Lancaster staying in friends’ houses. We like it here in Lancaster – it’s hard to think of leaving – we have good friends, lots of network, family up the road. Sometimes it seems crazy that the only thing that is dragging us away is a planning policy.

Visit to Felin Uchaf 8th January 2013

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Felin Uchaf is an amazing social enterprise on the Llyn Peninsula where we’d like to volunteer. How beautiful is the Llyn Peninsula? Utterly! Sunsets and surfing in January! Shame about the plastic rubbish chucked up by the tide on the wonderful Hell’s Mouth beach; so named because of the history of ship wrecks there.IMG_1468

We met Daffydd and volunteers and Alice who seems to be key to coordinating the greenwood barn build which will ultimately be for boat building. To think that this amazing structure was built pretty much by volunteer help is impressive. Many volunteers stay for long periods. The iron age round houses are beautiful and for IMG_1464the hardy that’s for sure: lots of blankets. Residential volunteers eat and socialise in the little farm house where there is also an office. Seems that architectural drawing takes place here as well as the fund raising, volunteer coordinating and other admin.

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The poly tunnels and outside beds were all ready to go for spring. Local volunteers oversee them and tend them. We helped lug barrow loads of gravel to help with a drain they were putting in. More flooding had prompted attention to channelling water out of the tunnels.  In the space of a long morning we spoke to local folk, native Welsh speakers (alas not in Welsh), volunteers from York, Paris and Ukraine! If we want to make a start to learn Welsh this is definitely a good place to come.

 

CANW (Rob’s bit)

Early on a frosty Saturday I was up with the Sunrise and on my way to a volunteering day with the Coppice Association North West.  I’ve been thinking, more and more lately that our future livelihood would depend on working the woods and planting short and medium rotation coppice for our heating needs and for our land based income. So I jumped at the chance of volunteering in the woods.

So our task was to clear the track either side by 5 metres, mostly Hazel and some Birch. Mostly this was achieved with a billhook and a hand saw but one or two of the larger stands were removed by chain saw. We cut, stacked and bundled the wood by product.  Hazel hurdles 1 ½” to 2 ½” in diameter,  8-10’ in length fairly clean no knots. Hedging steaks 2” to 3” in diameter,  5’ in length. The larger diameter Hazel was cut into shorter lengths for the production of bobbins. And the thin branches of Birch were bundled up for Besom brooms, and the brash was bundled to make Faggots (used in natural flood defences). Other products were pea sticks and bean poles. All in all there was not much left over.

CORK RD allotment

After a year of being the secretary here I handed over at the AGM on the 29th. Feels like it has been a good role but hard work especially since I have been absent for a while. Fingers crossed for a positive 2013 and some community spirit to make things happen. Our chickens are lovely! And the veg beds are looking ok.

Our respective livelihoods

I managed 8.5 days supply teaching mostly secondary English but a little primary experience! Rob did a little electricianing and passed his Part P electrical assessment! He is now able to sign off his own work.  It was the main reason we stayed in Lancaster through January. So with the bank account recharged we are keen to set off again – first stop Redfield.

 

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