Integrate rather then Segregate

I’ve been working on a permaculture design, focused on how I can integrate into my new community, where I’ve actually started with no friends what-so-ever! My sister is half an hour away, which is great, but while it can take a person years to make good friends, it is important to me that I am proactive about finding my way into my new community smoothly. I just don’t want to sit at home on my own for the next 6 months, twiddling my fingers!

Having a 3 year old is helpful. Sorry. 3 and 3/4 year old. She’ll get mad if I don’t add that bit on….She walks up to any stranger with a dog and asks if she can stroke it. She made me sit with her next to a lady on the bus the other day, requiring her husband to get up and move across. The lady had a lap dog. Matilda wanted the dog to sit on her lap. So I got to chat to the lady on the bus for half an hour about the river, the market, and dogs, the people. There was another lady in the park I got talking to, due to my daughter wanting to hug her dalmatian, and the man on the street…It goes on. I have a lot to learn from Matilda’s ability to talk to, and make friends with complete strangers.

I’ve highlighted 5 main groups of people I want to meet: the Transition Tavistock group, mums, climbers, my neighbours, and I want to find a job and make work friends. I also want to find where people in these groups overlap, like an overlapping Venn Diagram of 5 circles. The circles are all within the larger circle of the Tavistock Community Members. My design was then a brainstorm of how I could go about meeting these groups, and creating relationships with them, rather then just bumping into them again in 6 months time. I wanted to come up with lots of different ways to meet different people- the principle of multiple elements, and I wanted to create a yield– people I can invite over for tea, swap preserves with, go cycling with, have play dates with, share ideas with….

I started by going to the Transition Tavistock AGM, and met a lovely bunch of people who are doing amazing sustainable projects around the area. I met Max, the man who I had chatted to on the phone almost a year ago, who without knowing me, (I was just a stranger who had found his number on the internet, and was calling him to ask for advice on the area) had invited me over for dinner with his partner and himself. He is doing a wonderful moneyless pilgrimage in the spring, to get the word out about “Peace One Day” (I still don’t have Internet, and I’m tapping away on a phone, so you’ll need to look the link up yourself!) We’ll be having dinner soon I’m sure.

Then I went on20120218-203847.jpg an open eco-house tour, and met a lady who turned out to be a neighbour with an identical cottage and garden, who is really into Permaculture. (Overlapping Neighbours and Transition Group circles!)

She came round the other night for hot chocolate, and we have lots of plans for a collaboration in designing our gardens. This is my base map- any ideas welcome!!

My favourite friend making adventure so far, has been when I decided to hitch hike to the local climbing centre. It’s 7 miles out of town, and I’ve been told not to cycle on the road due to its meandering nature and national speed limit.
20120218-204159.jpgSo I made a sign out of one of my moving house boxes, and stood out on the road in the right direction. This is very important. It’s something I learnt in New Zealand, when I got dropped off by some guys who needed to turn off the road to go hog hunting. They had to turn around and come back, to tell me I should be standing on the other side of the road, unless I wanted to go back the way they had just driven me…..So anyway, 15 minutes later, and I’m getting picked up by a Land Rover full of people my age-ish. It turns out they were all going climbing too, and after we spent a few hours puzzling over crimps and jugs, we all went to the pub for a pint of local cider. I have their phone numbers and will definitely be climbing with them again soon.

Last night I invited all of my neighbours over. It was a Matilda moment- I said “Hi, my name is Rebecca. I’m your new neighbour! Fancy coming to my house for some wine?” They bit! One of them teaches trapeze. Another has rabbits who like 3 and 3/4 year olds! They’re all stoked about my plan to foster some ex-battery chickens, and seem keen to have eggs. I might need to get more chickens then I originally thought I would.

Matilda has already named them: Ruckit, Muckit, Duckit, Luckit…
I like Henrietta.
I know you might not find that funny, but I do. It’s the simple things!


About thehouseofjam

I am a Trustee/Director of the Permaculture Association of Britain, and I make jam with wild food. Lots of it!
This entry was posted in community, Earth care, Fair Shares, Gardening, Low Impact living, Multiple functions, Organic, People Care, philosophy, Produce no waste, Self Sufficiency, Tavistock, transtion towns and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Integrate rather then Segregate

  1. jsrreynolds says:

    I prefer Ratchet, Kratchet, Matchet, Patret, Spratchet, Lmatrgg, Knmgdae… etc.

    Well done for being so pro-active, it’ll all fall into place I promise.

  2. I love that you are using the permaculture principles to strengthen your human community not just your environmental one.

    • Thanks for highlighting this – I think they go hand in hand. Everything is connected, and I think true resilience comes through have a strong interconnecting web of people who are conected with their environment.

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