Bad booze

My letter to co-op about the poor choice of real ale in their new store. I wait in anticipation for their response!

Hi there,

I’d just like to let you know that the choice of real bottled ale in your new converted Somerfield store is awful! When it was Somerfield it was pretty bad but the choice of ales is now less than 1/2 dozen.

Llanidloes does not have an off-license so we rely on the co-op and spar to provide good alcoholIc beverages.

I have noticed in your larger stores that you have a good selection including a reasonably priced Badger beer. Please please please can you improve the choice here as we don’t have an alternative (apart from brewing our own which I will have to do unless something happens soon)…

Many thanks,
Andy Wright

Working harder than before

Although we now only work “officially” for 2 days a week, I feel that I’m doing more than I ever did before. How did I manage to get anything done when I was working 35 hours a week plus commuting?

I suppose the answer to that is the more time you give yourself the more exposure you get to interesting opportunities that come your way. Working in an office environment was generally soul destroying and most of the day would be spent thinking of what to do when I wasn’t there! Now I’m not there so I can do all these things.

But it also requires a bit of self-discipline. It’s all too easy to lounge around on the sofa all day surfing the net when there is a world outside waiting to be explored. I blame the winter weather, we have been hibernating and going to bed before 10pm every night. Slowly but surely thoughts of planting things (gotta get on with the seed potatoes) and digging and building compost bins are popping into my head. Come April and there won’t be time for the internet!

In between my bread baking sessions and Internet surfing, I’ve been reading The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel, a good book but it left me feeling a little confused so I’m going to have to read it again. In it he shows the fallacies of the current capitalist market driven system and how it has failed to solve societal and environmental problems – in fact by it’s very nature it is destroying them. He suggests we need to radically change the system to something more akin to a Buddhist Marxist ideology (and I won’t pretend that I completely understand the meaning of that either!). I think he is saying that we need a more communal society where needs are based on the well-being of people rather than just profit. I hope that’s what he means anyway as it sounds like something I’d sign up to.

He goes on talk about the Via Campesina, a network of “peasant” (not used in the Western derogatory way) groups who have campaigned and protested to change the way they are treated by the state. They are fighting for food sovereignty, if you have control of how and what food you produce, you have the power to change other things. He also looks at the group structure of the Zapatistas in Mexico. They have a much more democratic structure than our supposed democracies where we vote for men (and occasionally women) in suits every few years….

We need to embrace our political structures in the UK and give them a jolt. The current system is not working and we need a more democratic way of making decisions, more collectively and less individualistically. Not just by ticking a box every once in a while for someone who rarely cares about what you think, do or say.

Home at last

It’s been over a year since I updated this blog, but we are now living under our own roof after nearly 18 months and it’s somewhere I can finally call home. So perhaps I should attempt to resurrect this website one last time? I think a bit of an update is in order…

Last Christmas we set off on an adventure overland from the UK, finally arriving in Malaysia last June. There are just too many incredible experiences to mention so you can read all about that on Leanne’s eggbutnobacon website. On our return we decided we still weren’t quite ready for settling down quite yet, so we continued on a mini-journey around the UK. We ended up housesitting, WWOOFing, camping and festivaling. This continued until mid-November when a chance encounter at a housing co-operative party turned into us moving into the house within a month. This also meant us moving to a another country….

… Wales. Passports were not required for this trip.

December was three weeks of packing, unpacking, deadlines and festive meals. It flew past rapidly and before we knew it we had to leave again, but just to visit family for Christmas this time. As we pulled out of the drive we were pretty upset to leave. I knew that was a good feeling to be having – we would soon be back.

Christmas and New year came and went. We travelled to Wirral, Leeds, Manchester and had a great time with friends and family. Then we farm-sat for a week at a place where we had previously WWOOFed. The snow covered the fields with a thick layer of winter whiteness and the ice made each task take twice as long as it would have done on a warm summers day. Our toilet froze, pipes buckled and the fire struggled to fight off the frost but the warmth of the sun rising into a clear blue sky made us forget all of that and we had a great experience.

Now finally we are back. The frost also hit our flat in our absence. A pipe burst above the bathroom and partially flooded the flat. Luckily for us we were still away and the rest of the members of the house sorted out everything for us. On our return we heard stories of torrents of water gushing along our hallway.

2010 promises a lot and the year is still very young. We have our new business (or busy-ness, something to keep us busy…) called The Loop Project. The premise is simple; we are trying to live our lives in the most beneficial way possible to both ourselves and the environment whilst also being able to support ourselves. The concepts are evolving and the site will change as our ideas do, but we feel we have moved to a place which allows us to fulfil this. We can “work” (for cash) for a couple of days a week but then spent the rest of the week really working. This could mean growing vegetables, volunteering in town, learn how to fix and repair things, make bread. That time isn’t counted on any government spreadsheet or in any GDP figures, but for us it is infinitely more constructive. The more you work for money the more money you need. We have jumped off the “hedonic treadmill” and won’t be getting back on – a walk in the woods is free and you don’t need to be in a gym!

By moving to a small town in Wales we hope to become part of the local community and economy and it seems in Llanidloes the possibilities are endless.

All the best for 2010.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-19

  • Why do journalists write so much rubbish about twitter? #
  • Medialens weigh into Monbiot vs Guardian "debate" on advertising and climate. Really powerful stuff once again #
  • and Leanne have reached Kuala Lumpur. 11 countries, 173 days, 17 days of travelling, 15300 miles covered by train (and a few buses). Phew… #
  • Cheers @EdPisco Last journey was accompanied by me listening to the Fall. Really rather enjoyed it, watching the documentary helped! in reply to EdPisco #
  • @EdPisco This Country's Saving Grace. Just hit it at random. I like it though. Spoilt Victorian Child…. in reply to EdPisco #
  • Dimitry Orlov's incredible presentation about how the world is going to change and what you can do to be ready. Powerful. #