Monday became Housing day and we headed off to Dornoch to see some affordable housing to be opened by housing minister Margaret Burgess.
Turned out that when we were there we decided to make for Helmsdale for another gathering, this time the Community did their own house building.
It was an early start and made Dornoch in plenty of time but spent about twenty minutes finding the right street. Small gathering of builders, new tenant and family, HSCHT representatives in Alison and Ronnie
alongside politicians, Rob Gibson
and aforementioned Margaret Burgess.
Wander round the house and a chat with the tenant’s son. Short family history and how grateful he was to get the house. £350p/a fuel bill and cost around £100,000 to build. A bit more realistic to have a warm and dry roof over your head. On up the road to Helmsdale, only a few miles away and coming so far it was a shame not to see what they were up to. Their “local consultation survey” was very similar to ours and had affordable housing at the top of the list. The key word in the sentence is affordable. And as usual the hoops they had to jump through were enormous but that seems to be the way. They were so proud of their achievement in Helmsdale, lots of kids and smiley faces.
They have arrested their declining school role and it is now increasing. Classic case of community empowerment. Lots of chat about renewable storage and filling stations.
Back at Dornoch and I got chatting to the tenant’s son and Alison to the tenant
and there was a sad but nice story. His wife had broken her hip and triggered an onset of dementia which meant she was now in a home in Dornoch. He had been living on his son’s croft but now with the house he could visit his wife at the care home. Worth building a house for alone. both Alison and I had political chats about housing or the lack of it and got to chat with Rob briefly about MoD. Also have Rhoda, MSP, on the case and slightly disturbed at the reply from the ministry she received. They claim they are reopening the Rona Range. Tricky one as it has never been closed. PR I suspect when they go ahead with their closure. It was a beautiful day on the east and the architecture is so different from back home. Went to see the Lateral North exhibition in Timespan with a lovely picture of Tom and Lesley and another of the Applecross kids prominent on the wall.
They have such a strong historical link to the land and having it ripped off them. Cannot help but feel the Duke’s statue looking over the whole area.
Back late afternoon and after tea went down to Toscaig to view the renovated byre.
Derek has done a fine job in a major rescue.
Although in theory it has been passed down with the croft that my Seanair worked, I have had little use for it after it being a bait shed and then the roof came off in one of the winter gales. Now a fine basket weaving shed.
Grand chat about housing with maybe slightly differing opinions but that is what makes us tick. The essence of what I believe in is the Common Weal and is inclusive, working out solutions with as little detriment to those around. Views, ideals, ambitions, wants and needs compromised for a genuine Common Good. Intriguing little tackety boot
found while the renovation to place.