Tuesday 29 June 2010

Lazy, Hazy, Mazey Days of Summer – two approaches to revitalising town life in the 21st century ...

A Celtic revival and a transition community .. both rekindling their towns – Penzance at the far end of Cornwall, while Totnes is to be found in the beautiful rolling countryside of Devon by the River Dart on its way to Dartmouth and the Naval Dockyard, which can be used as an alternative tourist route west into Cornwall.

Penzance, the railway terminus to the west arrived in 1852, has long been the jumping off point for the colony of artists who fled the towns to paint “En Plein Air” as the movement, also in Paris and California, became known. Artists longing for their freedom – to be expressive, while at the same time revelling in the light fantastic of the changing coastal landscapes of Newlyn and St Ives.

Sir Humphry Davy statue (of miner’s lamp fame) overlooking the Golowan festivities

The artists brought their families and friends – more creative peoples adding to the local talent already in situ – providing arts and crafts that were so desperately needed in a place that was so far away from the immediacy of modern life.

Totnes, residing as it does in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a thriving centre for music, art, theatre and natural health .. and is known as a place where one can live a bohemian lifestyle.

So two towns .. but do they have different approaches to their futures? .. Totnes already well established with its twice-weekly market offering antiques, musical instruments, second-hand books, handmade clothing from around the world and local organically produced products – was declared the capital of new age chic by Time magazine in 2007.

Fishing Cottages, Lamorna Valley, Penwith Peninsula, by John Noble Barlow (1861 – 1917)

Let’s start with the westerly town, Penzance, in the area known as Penwith (Penwyth is Cornish for extremity) where my mother used to live and where we went on holiday when we were children .. so well known and loved by us.

A revival of the Gol Jowan Festival (Cornish for ‘Feast of John’) in mid June is revitalising an old tradition and is one of the biggest annual celebrations of local identity held in the UK. The Golowan Festival, as it is known, brings together artists, musicians, storytellers and poets as it is also home to a large number of creative Cornish people, who have been attracted by the beautiful seascapes and rugged coastline.

Gol Jowan Festival looking back up the hill in Market Jew (Cornish for Thursday Market) Street, Penzance towards the Sir Humphry Davy statue

Feasts and celebrations of festivals were an accustomed part of life through the centuries, which had been recorded in journals on Penwith over five hundred years ago .. the feast at the Quay being no exception .. a few of the chief attractions in the early 1800s were the large quantities of strawberries for sale, the going out for a short sailing cruise in the fishing boats, and the children having gathered and garlanded flowers, threading their way through the streets bringing light and cheer everywhere they went .. in a mazey fashion.

The public-houses at the quay remained open all night – and you can guess what happened .. in the closing years of the 19th century the authorities shut it down, describing it as ‘a rowdy outdated superstition’. Mazey Day, part of the midsummer celebrations involving the working communities in the town, took its name from the “mazey dance” .. in Cornish dialect mazed or mazey means confusion, topsy turvy, everything upside down.

Golowan has been revived since the early 1990s – continuing the tradition, where if people feel isolated and away from ‘up country’ they make their own entertainment, which now brings in a mix of 130,000 people ranging from the creative artists, locals and interested visitors.

Totnes on the other hand has looked forward – its artistic and creative community is set to stay and the town has adopted an idea brought over from Ireland by Rob Hopkins, originally a teacher overseeing a permaculture project at Kinsale College. Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.

Totnes: The Eastgate over the High Street in 1983

The term “transition town” is now applied and is a community project equipping communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. Two students took the concept presenting it to Kinsale Town Council, resulting in the historic decision by Councillors to adopt the plan and work towards energy independence.

The initiative has spread quickly, as there are now over 300 communities around the world – in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Italy and Chile .. while the term ‘Transition Town’ has morphed into Transition Initiatives to reflect the range and type of communities involved .. e.g. villages (Kinsale), suburbs (Portobello, Edinburgh), through council districts (Penwith – whose main town is Penzance), to towns (Nelson in NZ), cities (Los Angeles) and city boroughs (Brixton, London).

The main aim of the project generally is to raise awareness of sustainable living and build local ecological resilience in the near future. Communities are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as reducing their reliance on long supply chains that are totally dependent on fossil fuels for essential items. Food is a key area, and instead of food miles the talk is of “food feet”!

Community Gardens to grow food, business waste exchange, a repair shop .. rather than throw items away. While the focus and aims remain the same, the methods used to achieve these vary.

Totnes has introduced its own local currency, the Totnes Pound, which is redeemable in local shops and businesses, keeping the ‘dollar’ in the town, while supporting those local firms; there’s a garden share scheme promoting local and season produce.

To get around tourists and locals can make use of the two Rickshaws imported from India, to be taken up the hill before leisurely strolling down past the shops and restaurants, which will provide the sustainable recycled fuel oil .. the running cost of each rickshaw is £2.80 ($4.2) per week .. so if you visit Totnes – please eat more chips!!

Totnes Rickshaws

With the number of participative communities growing at such a fast rate there has been the inclusion of the global financial crisis as a third aspect beside peak oil and climate change – but a more long term perspective is developing through the Transition Network websites and interchange of ideas.

So Penzance with its ancient Feast of Gol Jowan revival is in keeping with its District Council’s adoption of the transition initiative so fully embraced by Totnes, some 85 miles to the east.

The River Dart, Devon

With the United Nations’ Year of Biodiversity as the subject of my previous post .. this post has distinctly captured that essence, as well as adding a few ideas .. a local town pound, the tuk tuk or rickshaw to get around, community gardens ... bohemian lifestyles meet 21st century needs.

Dear Mr Postman .. my mother’s hearing has still not returned .. which makes life very tricky – but she is watching a little of the tennis. Apparently she talked constantly on Saturday night .. her brain is still fully working .. everyone’s told me! She talks to Hardwick her comforter dog, who is a special pal to her.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Jannie Funster said...

Dear Hilary,

Did you know that all four of my penwyths are getting in good shape from a lot of swimming I've been doing lately?


And I'm still waiting to see the Pirates Of Penzance.

You're going to LOVE Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, Lunenburg areas -- they recycle about 85% of everything, composting is mandatory, and the area is rife with artistes painting by monlight!


Blue Bunny said...

likes tontes, i haz my own dollirs too -- called Blue Bunny Bucks -- but nobuddy wonts to take them very mutch.

oh well...

life is stil very happee

loves to all 3 of yoo.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. great I'm glad Penwyths are extending well .. is Kelly with you .. strengthening her arm?

Ah Pirates of Pz - great fun .. I love Gilbert and Sullivan operettas .. c/o Wiki: Gilbert, who wrote the words, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds for these operas, where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion — fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates turn out to be noblemen who have gone wrong.

Topsy Turvy .. and Mazey Days seem to ring true ..

Is Bridgewater up near the Lunenburg areas of Mahone Bay? .. looks a wonderful setting per the map. Are you going up on holiday soon? Would love to visit one day .. not this year though.

Painting by moonlight .. actually great light in summer .. across the sea.

Recycling too .. Nova Scotia seems to register high .. perhaps we should look to them for ideas and incentives ..

Good to know & thanks for popping over in between swims .. cheers Jannie .. see you soon .. xxoo Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

H BB .. havs U gots Ur own carotee dollaroos? Y don't U sets up a speshlal BB en Jasmine commune? U cud come heres .. Lewes in Sussex haz its own poundees too .. I'm sure they'd lieks sum of ur carotees ..

Buts Ur happee ..wiv Jannie en Kellie-girl .. luckee chaps ..

U too .. lovies back from Hardwick & my Ma and me .. xx H

Liara Covert said...

Many people feel reassured to ground themselves in a sense of a historical past. These people create an identity based in part on labels and people or places to which they feel connected.

Still other people sense their perceptions of the past fading away as related visions or experiences no longer seem relevant to how they feel the present moment.

Every reflection is meaningful for it enables one to reconnect or realign to one's true self.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary, I find your posts very interesting. I'm learning about different cultures and different parts of the world in a fun way. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this.

Anonymous said...

Okay, where do I sign up? The idea of living in communities such as these is an attractive one. What am I doing languishing here in an inner city suburb with no one around with similar creative interests? Time to move! :P

Karen Lange said...

You always have such interesting info and wonderful photos!
Have a wonderful week,

Wilma Ham said...

haha I love the conversation between you and BB. It is like transition town language, all different.
These transition towns though are a marvelous initiative, at least some practical daily doing to bring about change.
Barbara Kingsolver says that food transportation uses most of the oil consumption, that is extraordinary isn't it? But I guess apples do not swim from New Zealand to Europe and The States and visa versa. Or maybe Jannie could teach fruit to swim?
Much love to you and your mother, what a set- back that her hearing is gone again. xox Wilma

Chris Edgar said...

Hi Hilary -- did you participate in Golowan? Is that you holding the elephant? :) We really need you to do a daily calendar to teach us the etymology of another word a day -- I'd totally buy it.

... Paige said...

interesting about the town's money and Blue Bunny's Munny

Patricia said...

Oh Hilary, this was such a lively fun post, it made me want to visit during the celebrations.
We are a very ecological community and have our own dollars too - called fair trade bucks...

My husband designed one of those transition towns in the USA during grad school some 30 years ago. It was called New Town, Texas and he won a number of awards for the community center/swimming pool are that he personally designed....now the city has a new name

Hope you are taking good care of yourself - I have been thinking of you all day...3 years ago today we held my mum's memorial service - It was lovely....and I am concerned that as care giver you might be getting that sneaky care giver's fatigue.

Stay well...enjoy tennis!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post! I think it's important to support your local community. Taking care of your environment is also very important...I like the idea of more repair shops. We seem to throw way too much stuff away. We've started growing our own vegetables which is great...Less processed food. :)

Davina said...

Hilary, that Rickshaw is the cutest thing. Let's go touring in one -- that would be great fun. I'm not big on driving, but I think I would enjoy tooting around in one of those :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. thank you – those ancient connections seem to be part of peoples in this world, those spirits seem to influence similar receptive spirits and it’s good to keep the knowledge of the past going forward with a different twist/approach. I love learning about the ancients and their ways .. as I do about other cosmic thoughts.

These past and present perceptions are still there amongst us – wherever peoples are - we each take our own view.

When people can reflect and take time to do so .. then they will realise the meaning of reconnecting and realigning ..

Thanks Liara .. interesting points you have made – have a good week - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Suzanne .. thank you so much! It’s good to know that I’ve posted something of value .. and that you’re enjoying hearing about different aspects of life .. new and a few centuries old ... just wonderful to have you here .. happily reading it and then leaving a comment – thank you! Enjoy today - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tony .. there’s some references here (though the site is in Beta at the moment) – but I am sure you can do a chase down .. I’ve just spotted that the Cuckmere Valley very near here is part of the scheme .. http://www.transitionnetwork.org/search/node/australia Newcastle Oz and Melbourne feature .. so I’m sure you’ll find a group somewhere .. or start your own & join the communities?

Perhaps you won’t need to move .. just change your habits and lifestyle? Let me know? If you click on the links in the post – they’ll give you more info .. Great that I seem to have inspired you .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. many thanks – as long as you enjoy the information .. that’s the most important thing and the photos just seem to enlighten and sometimes endorse what I’m writing about – you too .. enjoy the rest of the week - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Wilma .. BB and I and bidgin Anglaise .. we enjoy the repartee!

Transition initiatives certainly seem to be really taking off & I wouldn’t have realised if I hadn’t seen the bit about Totnes .. but then to find that the Penzance area had taken it on board too .. just seemed so right.

Importing food from around the world – does seem a little unnecessary .. but everyone has grown used to having food at the wrong time of year .. and it doesn’t taste as good – certainly strawberries at Christmas aren’t so nice! Yours would do though – straight from the garden. Container shipping is relatively carbon free .. and if we don’t import some food – eg pineapples from Africa .. then those peoples will lose their incomes .. it’s an interesting point to consider. I’d like BB and his boat around .. or perhaps John?! .. if we’re out teaching fruits to swim!!

Thanks – lovely having your comments .. yes this hearing ‘lark’ is frustrating, but until her chest improves I guess we’re likely to have this continuing – I hope she gets it back again soon! Xoxo Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chris .. thanks for that thought – no I didn’t participate – as I’m 300 miles away .. but I might well go and join the celebrations one year .. looks like it could be fun & I’d love to see the arts and crafts. So no – I’m not holding an elephant .. though I do have a large picture of an elephant here .. and my mother has a picture of an elephant in her room!

Word of the day .. I guess I could do that – give me a few weeks .. interesting connotations & could be fun .. thanks for the thought .. watch this space ..

Great to have you commenting your thoughts here .. thank you!! Have fun today .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paige .. thanks for coming by .. yes this town money seems to have taken of .. it’s in four UK towns at least .. and BB is quite special with his concerns and own private monies!! Have a good day .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. thank you .. yes fair trade bucks are around the world aren’t they!

Texas is now well entrenched in the transition towns initiative – but it’s really interesting to hear that your hubby was designing them all those years ago .. and he won a few awards .. good to be pioneering in his outlook – which I know you’re continuing on in his business. I wonder if Jannie knows the pool?

Thank you .. Mum and I are fine – memorial days are always quiet days, days of reflection .. and you did so much for your mother – it’s important to give back to them at this time of their life .. and I’m extremely lucky that my mother expresses her gratitude occasionally and I know I’ve given her more than she expected during this time: but she’s been an exemplary patient .. for which I’m eternally grateful – as was my uncle .. always giving back and not demanding to be first, and always thinking of others ..

Thank you .. tennis comes in between other things! I’ve watched a little with my Ma .. you too have a good rest of the week and continue to look after yourself .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sharon .. thank you and you’re right about the repair shops. We can’t sell anything electrical now – in case it damages the buyer .. or unless one has all packaging the product came in .. so there’s a lot lost that ends up in landfill. Planned obsolescence .. I learnt those words years ago .. and they always worried me .. planning to throw it away – but technology has moved on so much .. keeping things for 30 years seems a little much now-a-days .. very sadly.

Good for you growing your own veg – lots of people seem to be starting that – perhaps I’ll end up with a garden when I move and settle – probably not now .. fortunately I’ve never liked processed food .. enjoy your fresh s'traight from the garden' veggies!

Good to see you - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. we certainly could – have you got a few years to spend toddling around the world in a haze of fish oil? And full to the gunwales with chips??!! And we have to convert the oil – so I suspect it would be local touring!! I love driving .. but I think I’d get a little frustrated at the slowness after not too long – but certainly a slow local tour would be good. We’ve got one here just round the corner .. advertising a local Thai restaurant and taking takeaways to customers. So we could start here ..?

Cowichan is part of the Transition Initiative ... just over the waters .. and there must be communities within Vancouver .. but I like your idea of a tour together .. and tooting around – a little like Toad?!

Enjoy the week .. Hilary

Paul C said...

Revitalization of urban areas is always a challenging proposition. Interesting that these two cities had different ways to do it. They look like dynamic and fun places to visit today.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paul ... thanks for your comment bearing in mind your ecological posts this week .. Totnes definitely is better situated .. Penzance being near Lands End! really is getting a bit far away but in the summer there are certainly a lot of visitors .. and if the Celtic traditions could be revived and maintained, along with local organic produce and farms .. then the sustainability of the area may grow.

Thanks for coming by .. good to see you .. Hilary

Mark said...

I have never been to either town, however they both sound charming. Thank-you for the overview.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. thanks for coming by .. and when you come to England .. two places to visit .. glad you enjoyed the bits of information on transition towns ..

Good to see you - enjoy the rest of the day .. Hilary

Grampa Ken for social change said...

Hi Hilary. The UK with its history, landscapes and people is so interesting to read about, and you make it more so. It is nice to hear of efforts being made for the environmental challenges we are facing such as with transition towns. We have so much to do in such a short time.

The UK countryside always looks so inviting as it also appears on this neat Kent County website with a strong emphasis in the environment. I have never crossed the Pacific but would surely enjoy it if younger and still into travelling. Our son has, and is now in Barcelona with family as I sit pecking at the keyboard, which is really ok as I will jump on the bicycle later and hit the trails.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ken .. good to see you again .. and glad you enjoy the UK history etc as I 'sort of' put it!!!..

We do seem to be realising that we need to do more .. and if the towns, villages and suburbs embrace the concept - perhaps we'll change more quickly - because as you so rightly say we don't have long.

Kent is the Garden county .. and is east of Sussex, where I live, and I know it quite well. Jet lag etc and long journeys aren't as good as you get older .. my mother has a cousin who's ove 80 now and she still comes over from Vancouver Island .. see two posts under the search of "Pevensey Castle" & you'll see my neck of the woods.

Wonderful for your son in Barcelona .. what's he doing there? It's a beautiful part of the world and the art is incredible ..

Hope you enjoyed your bike and the trail - lovely way to exercise and see the countryside in peace and quiet ...

Very good to see you .. and thank you for commenting .. enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Ana Goncalves said...

Great to hear of such towns involved in this. Local sustainable communities are what's needed to bring everything back to a more centralized close knitted approach of living and exchange, especially where the economy is concerned and to rekindle the genuine kindness that people have for one another when living in such communities.

I had known about Totnes being a Transition town a while back. After I met a vocalist from the town representing Transition Towns as a whole when I was doing my Eco Village Training. had been a Transition Town for a while.

It's good that Penzance are also getting involved. A town I have yet to visit, and very much look forward to see one day, alongside meeting the isles. I'm drawn to Cornwall for it's beauty and so much more.

Have you heard of the Findhorn Spiritual community in Scotland? I lived there for a while. :) A very inspiring place.

Have a wonderful weekend. :) xx

It's lovely to return as always, and thank you for always visiting and leaving thoughtful comments.

Much love and blessings to you, dear friend.

Grampa Ken said...

The family are on a 3 week vacation right out of school and he emails that they are having a wonderful time. Cheers, Ken

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ana .. thank you for letting us have a bit more information – and hearing about Findhorn (which I’ve looked up briefly) .. will open my eyes to more – when I see an article or report on the Eco Village.

Your phrase .. local sustainable communities are what’s needed – seem to ring so true .. it would be great if we could get villages around England participating and appreciating the advantages of working together for the common good – may help a lot more things too. Exactly as your words say ...

Cornwall is certainly beautiful and there is a great deal to see down there – I love it .. and really almost consider it my home county ..I hope you can get down one day soon ..

Thank you .. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more information now and will read up more about Findhorn anon ... You too have a great weekend .. lovely weather we’re having ..

Good to see you too .. and to have such a wonderful enlightening comment .. thanks and I’ll see you around! .. Happy days – Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ken .. ah! They’re on holiday .. I’m sure they’ll be having a lovely time .. good that they’re keeping you in touch with emails everyday – that’s lovely .. and some pictures I hope too ..

Enjoy today and another ride .. Cheers Hilary

Joyce said...

Hello, Hilary! Very festive atmosphere in there, felt like I wanted to be at a festival too and dance my way there. In our place, we have a festival of flowers every February, and aside from the floats, we also have street dancing ;)

vered | blogger for hire said...

Your title got me thinking... lazy days of summer... I miss those. It seems I have forgotten how to be lazy and just relax. :(

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joyce .. good to see you .. and as you say .. as long as the sun shines - we can have summer here too!!

Festival of flowers sounds wonderful .. we quite often have those linked into churches - but usually through the summer - the churches look and smell wonderful!

Though a whole festival dedicated to flowers would entrance me .. a real Rio type feel .. and a great place to dance in and enjoy life ..

Thank you - lovely seeing you here .. have a lovely weekend .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vered .. I hope you had a good time away - even if not able to relax .. as often happens being a mother! I know wouldn't it be lovely to go back to our twenties or late teens .. and forget life & just enjoy everything with time no object or no worries?!

Good to see you ..and I do hope you can get some little break ... like Jannie .. a few days away - actually I think they made it a one night stand with blue bunny and Kelly in toe?!

Enjoy the 4th's celebrations .. and thanks for popping by .. Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

Yep, a less than 24 hour get-away for the Funster Fam, but a lovely recharge zone. It's all in the mind, anyway.

Well, gotta go, I think BB is ready to change his outfit someplace or another. :)


Blue Bunny said...

deerist hilree, i actual haz 2 ternips on my Bunny Munny but mabee wen i updats it, i wil go for karrits on it.

and yor statchoo is very good at his job. i never seed him moving sinse i last reeded this post.

blye bunny

wit loves


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. – well a little break .. but as you say a lovely recharge time .. It is all in the mind – but being away from the normality .. does make all the difference .. and glad you can make the most of it.

Crumbs .. these guys keep you busy .. Funsterland constantly changing outfits and BB too .. – design contests seem to come to the fore .. ? I hope things get settled before Kelly gets to wanting more and more outfits everyday ..

Yup – better keep you free .. to do their bidding .. no wonder you disappear occasionally – into your own little poem land! Happy weekend .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BBs .. guds to zee u .. .... you sure duz keep yur mistress jannie up to the markup .. wiv your desire to be xtra spezial .. goooing bak to karrits agin .. ? En ooh dere .. statchoo .. haz me fuled .. he mites be v gud at hiz jobs .. buts I am befuddles ..

Praps .. U meanz statues .. ok I understands .. nope – his hats hasn’t moved – he’s very happies in his place with me heres .. and neres Hardwick ..

Zo havs a gud 4th tomorrows .. not too much beers .. but plenty of friendz en happiness ..

Lovez to u tooooo .. hugs xoxox

Sara said...


I loved the discussion about "transition towns." You always teach something new about the UK and I enjoy it.

I think in the States we could use some consideration of "building local ecological resilience." Certainly, my state could use this knowledge, given the crisis we're experiencing due to the oil spill, which is still unresolved!

It's amazing to me that there are people in nearby states that are fighting to KEEP the oil drilling going in the Gulf of Mexico. It makes you wonder what it will take to realize the danger to the environment!!!

Good for you for letting people know about these towns in the UK and how they are willing to think about their futures:~)

Erin S. said...

I always enjoy visiting your blog. It is lovely when you share the experience of where you are and delve into the history and traditions of a town or current culture trends. It is like visiting there with you through a friend's letters.

It seems people everywhere are seeking sustainable and simple lifestyles. Nice to here about it all over the world.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. good to see you .. I didn’t know about the movement .. or that the transition initiative had spread around the world .. permaculture I’d taken cognisance of in the early 1990s .. but no more & I’ve always been interested in community living – but had realised how far it had come .. til Ana mentioned Findhorn & I’d done the post.

So there is a lot going on in the States – as Patricia mentioned her architectural partner was already involved 30 years ago ... The oil spill is terrible and becoming more so .. and will affect far more parts of the earth than people realise .. I hope they can stop it .. but Hurricane Alex has not come at a good time (to put it mildly).

See if you can find some info on the transition initiative for your State .. my links above will help .. and thank you .. it’s good to know what’s going on elsewhere .. and how some people are helping their communities with various initiatives .. even in London (Brixton); and we can always do more ..

Thanks very much .. always lovely having you here .. enjoy the celebrations tomorrow - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Erin .. always glad to know you enjoy coming here – thank you! I just enjoy the mix and match of ideas and thoughts and fortunately so do others! I learn so much in the process .. and remember places I visited or know to an extent – it’s the history underneath and their rise or demise to the present day that fascinates too .. how much has happened and how it continues.

You’re right ... we are seeking to downsize and lead simpler lives .. leaving less of a footprint on the planet ... and communities are picking it up all over the world .. long may it last and expand the concept ..

Thanks for being here – enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

J.D. Meier said...

Totnes sounds particularly interesting.

I bet folks really have a sense of community, shared goals, and shared values. I think that's the only way a local currency can work.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. Totnes does .. doesn't it - we usually dash by on the main roads, not taking the lower coastal/holiday route .. because we're off to Penzance, some distance off. I think I'll visit soon!

I'm sure the town must have that sense of community - exactly as you've so succinctly put it.

Good to see you - enjoy this weekend's celebrations .. Hilary

Mandy Allen said...

Hi HIlary, I love festivals, they are often so very 'local' and full of the best of what is around us. I loved reading the blog you sent me to...very deserved words for you, I'm glad to know you.

Enjoy the journey.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mandy .. as you say ..the local festivals are perhaps the best - showing us what's around and bringing out the local talent. Excellent place and time to get to know everyone ..and participate with the community as a whole.

Thanks - glad you enjoyed meeting Sara ..

Hope you're enjoying the summer - a treat after our winter and spring .. happy sunny Sunday - Hilary

Cath Lawson said...

Hi Hilary - What great ideas - especially the Totnes pound and the rickshaws. Hopefully these initiatives will spread to other areas of the country.

I love the West Country and I'll definitely be checking out Totnes next time I'm there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Cath .. you're right .. the more we can do things together to help the community .. and the new concepts that the Transition towns are trying out .. seem so sensible & they do seem to be spreading to other areas in the UK.

That'll be interesting to hear about - when you get down to the West Country and have a look around Totnes - it's a lovely part of the world - so using your Totnes pounds won't be difficult!

Have a great week .. all the best - Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Hilary, as one reflects on history, it grows apparent that inventions are repeated in different forms and places. The classic rickshaw of the East still exists with human runners pulling carts. As fossil fuels disappear, solar-powered, wind-driven and other natural modes of transport come back to the norm. There is always the dependable bicycle:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara - thanks for coming by .. you're so right -everything is re thought and re used - as you say there are places where runners will run you from one place to the other .. Durban for one.

As we learn more the technologies bring to the fore the natural world's way of doing things .. propulsion of the bees, frogs etc - it is interesting and they've just had that solar powered 24 hour flight over the Swiss Alps.

Yes and the bicycle too and our own two feet! Thanks for your very salient comments .. all the best and thanks for being here - Hilary

Trulyana said...

Dear Hilary,

I visited Totnes about two weeks ago, and enjoyed it's character very much, and noted the array of 'alternative' shops straight away. It is a truly beautiful place, but did not encounter any 'transitional' flavor about it. Perhaps because I might have been expecting something. I did notice the local array of shops, and the local produce, but I think this is how every location is before it hits the commercial world where big companies start homing in on the town and putting small shops out of business. I think that it's a good idea to create such a movement such as of that as the transition town that recognizes that, and even more centralizes community and empowers a local economy through exchange.
There are a couple of small historical towns in North West London that remind me of Totnes, still keeping their local shops open, but are not part of such movement. I do see a lot of the bigger shops homing in and even restaurants, which usually start to cause a threat for local restaurants, so perhaps this movement could be initiated in such places. It's also really nice to know that people are realizing the importance of local communities once again, and seeing that this is the only way up and that we do all have each other and it is up to us to connect and create a place that is in harmony with one another and the environment, in that raising our potential as human beings in a world where we have the opportunity to make it a better place.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ana .. great to see you .. and interesting that you visited Totnes .. and found it community driven – as the larger retailers weren’t around – it seems this model is being replicated around the world .. long may it last – the huge mammoth vultures are putting so many out of business and not letting creativity flourish.

Which towns are the ones in NW London that remind you of Totnes .. is Belsize one of them?

You have such knowledge of these communities and projects .. it would be great to know more sometime .. and learn from you .. Exactly as you say we are able to raise our potential as humans in this world .. by working together and supporting each other, so the world can become a better place.

Thanks for your perceptive comment and interesting information on the subject .. broadening the scope of the post – have a lovely weekend .. a bit damp down here! Hilary