That’s how we came to start a school called HOME. When people ask us what kind of school it is, the first answer has always been, ‘It’s a school that starts from the conversations that happen around our kitchen table.’
In 2010, two women, Sarah Pugh and Laura Corfield co-founded Shift Bristol, fired up by the idea that what people needed in order to make that shift – to a more sustainable, eco-friendly, viable and happy existence – was some hands-on training.
I suppose the lingering question is: barring a wider distribution of Depression Era grandmothers, can you learn to cook out of a book? Or a blog…
In English, ‘kettle’ comes from the Saxon ‘ketel’ – a rare ‘loan word’ into Germanic languages from the Latin ‘catallus’, a deep pan for cooking. Why think about the origin of this word?
Transition Berkeley has cultivated a community of practice that hits close to ground zero – a “culture of repair,” that demonstrates a way to live with more humility, making do with what we have by sharing knowledge and skills, one repair at a time.
I believe we need to resurrect the Hand and the Heart in our world views, and knock the Head off the pedestal.
The Share Shed is a library of things in the town of Totnes in the southwest of the UK (also home to the Transition Town network). People can donate useful items to the library – like ladders, drills, carpet cleaners, camping, cooking and gardening equipment, and sewing machines – and others can borrow them for an affordable fee.
“Everyone wants community. Unfortunately, it involves other people.” I used that line in lectures on frugal living when talking of the loneliness of consumerism and the benefits of sharing resources. We idealize the good old days of people helping people out. But can we live them, given who we have become?
In a sustainable and responsible culture, there will be meaningful, even essential, work to be done at home. I’ll outline a few contributions of homemakers to a post-industrial society and offer my own experimentation, its successes and its failures (as an example but not as evidence that I’ve perfectly achieved responsible living).
Only a few generations ago we made many things by hand. Over the last 50 years store bought products have replaced handmade goods. Few people still work with their hands, and I often wonder what we have lost in this process? What have we lost when we no longer enjoy or even know how to make things with our hands?
An old housemate introduced me to the concept of gin o’clock, and it’s stayed firmly on the schedule ever since. The rise of the micro distillery has been a wonderful thing to watch over the past few years, and Bristol a pretty splendid place to watch it from. My interest was particularly piqued when I discovered that a new distillery had popped up, mere metres from where I worked. Yes, under the Rummer hotel, there lies a still producing some really rather splendid spirits.
It’s as though every waking minute has to be filled with some kind of stimulation, the “intensification of nervous stimulation” which Matthew B Crawford in The World Beyond Your Head argues is increasingly underpinning our world.