The Life Out There

Whilst preparing for our ‘Transition in the Pub’ presentation I’ve been looking through a lot of photos from the last year (and beyond). It’s funny that some photo’s that I previously didn’t think much of or about now stand out for me that much more.

A view from our space, or to it?
A view from our space, or to it?

I was trying to find photos that acted like a bit of a visual metaphor for what we are trying to achieve and whilst I don’ t think this is it I really like the way it’s darker where the camera is, there are several barriers real or imagined to cross but the street is clearly where the life is. It was taken at our second street barbecue just minutes before the heavens opened. I think one of the things that this year has done, for us is move our (and others) concept of what our space is from just the borders of our property out in to the street.

This has come through in the last week in a number of ways. Not least during the recent black out in our area (amusingly coined the ‘hipstergeddon’ because of the quite trendy areas that exist south and east of where we live). Whilst I was happily off playing basketball our entire area was plunged unexpectedly into darkness. No great drama for us, we have a lot of torches and candles are never far away, but the calls for help from across the street suggested others weren’t finding it so easy. It turns out the ‘elders’ of the street (92 and still going strong) had been caught unaware and as it turns out, in the bath. So off Nikki and the kids went bearing torches and candles. F (4) followed the lady of the house with a torch whilst P (2) dutifully provided light by putting a torch on her head and following the man of the house in search of his own torch. Even when Nikki ducked across the road to get more candles the kids didn’t bat an eyelid in fact expressing that “she should go and they would stay here and look after J”.

Our second occurance came when a lady from the other end of the street came to explain that her husband had almost certainly over-estimated the size of skip that they needed to dispose of the kitchen that they were having replaced. Normally people are very protective of their bin space, or at least begrudging about letting people put stuff in so I was pretty pleased that she had walked up to our house for the express purpose of sharing it with us. As it turns out in remodelling the chicken coop we had removed some concrete so I was only to pleased to load up the cargo bike and roll down the hill. The fact that we picked up a tray for chicken scraps and a couple of bread tins was an added bonus.

And finally as you can see we have been olive picking. In our street we have a lot of people originally from Europe and as a result we have a lot of lemon and olive trees. Most of them are fairly quickly and efficiently picked and bottled by the residents and that is the last we see of them. Some of them are picked by random connections such as the priest who seems to stop by the neighbours down the street to chat annually and do a bit of picking whilst he’s there.

But this tree seemed to have been forgotten, I’ve never actually spoken to the owner (we figure we are on first name basis with about 50% of the street) but I recognised her as she wandered past picking olivesthe house and I took the opportunity to hat a natter. Turns out she doesn’t like olives, though she likes the tree and she would be very disappointed if the birds got all the olives. So off the kids rolled, bucket in hand and now we have a bucket full of olives and a new project.