There can’t be many people who have major surgery one day and complete on the purchase of a house the next —
Our association with Lancaster Co-housing (click on the link above) began much earlier in the year, and our decision in principle to give up the country estate and move towards Lancaster was taken much earlier than that. Lake House Barn is a great place to recuperate in largely good weather, but the transport challenges -in the wint er especially – have seemed increasingly onerous. If the roads aren’t icy, they’re flooded, and even when the sun shines, considerable flexibility is needed to take advantage of what extortionately expensive public transport there is. Hence the reluctant running of two cars. Also, not being eco-warriors, we need all the help we can get if we are to live more sustainably, and LCH is well set up to support the weak-minded like us to do just that (though we are relieved to know that among our new neighbours there are a number of unreformed meat-eaters etc., with whom we can share the occasional braai.)
So after considerable thought and one bad attack of cold feet, at the end of May we finally put in a firm offer to buy a little (very little!) freehold house in association with LCH. It’s on the banks of the Lune, one of 6 in a terrace, a new-build of “Passivhaus” construction, part of an inspirational and award-winning project in which each household has its own space but shares some common facilities. Our particular arrangement is such that we could just shut our doors and keep ourselves to ourselves; but why would we do that, with an art lecturer and a magician living on one side of us, and (for me) fellow-Quakers three doors away? – And with the opportunity (but not the obligation) to eat several communal meals a week prepared by someone else? – And to share all those things we hardly ever need but want to have occasional access to?
By the time the bc diagnosis came, we were on the way to exchange of contracts, and could not see a reason to withdraw given that we are in a position not to leave our current house until it sells, and so can take the move slowly. It may just take us a bit longer than it would have done to get the shelves up and the goods and chattels transferred over (so far, all that we have there are two camping chairs). The challenge here – unchanged – is that we have a huge de-cluttering and downsizing exercise to do, which I am both dreading and anticipating with relish. Also, of course, we will be leaving a number of very good friends in the immediate area. But we are not emigrating – we’re moving about 10 miles – and the warmth and welcome of the intentional community we are joining is somehow humbling. We will without doubt make new friends, as well as keeping and treasuring the old.