A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Posts tagged ‘peak oil’

Board Meeting,Compost,Worms,Party and a proverb.

Although it is pretty quiet on the fishing front there has been a lot happening in the last couple of days starting with A Community Company Board meeting at the Inn. This was attended by Ron Gilchrist who was scheduled to hold a workshop at the Hall the next day. The agenda showed how much the Company is working on. We are trying to make Applecross more resilient and a bit less reliant on food and fuel being constantly being trucked in by road. This is going to be reflected in the Walled Garden’s new chef Aron. He is hoping to use as much local produce as possible. The Inn also tries to use seasonally produced food both from the sea and land. The Hydro scheme is still progressing although negotiations around the lease could be going better. Our attention is turning to The Coastal Communities Fund which we hope to access this year and the aim of this fund is to increase employment and sustainability. We hope to improve our broadband capacity from a miserly .39 of a meg speed to around 7 megs, progress the Hydro further, keep trying to set up a wood-fuel supply and look at the possibility of improving housing on the peninsular. It was a very positive meeting but also we recognise we have many problems to overcome and have to work to change mindsets that are lodged in the past.

Ron Gilchrist’s day at the hall was fascinating basically telling us all that we have to have a rethink on how we compost. Just about every-one has the black plastic bins and if anything like me just put layers of material to decompose or as Ron said rot in them. As a result of his talk there are going to be a few Hot Boxes built along with some Wormery Boxes set up. He is a big advocate of rock dust as well, specifically basalt. I have come across this before but Ron was very persuasive about the results of mineral deficiencies in the soil both in the quality and taste of what you grow. I am always interested in a stronger local economy which does not necessarily means a poorer quality of life. Again we are back to changing mindsets. All these local changes are going to take place against a backdrop of peak oil and the fact that economies cannot keep growing in a finite world. Takes me back to the conversation I had with Ruth about sorting ‘self’ out and if theat is successful you do not continually want more.

Off to the Inn for a shift,but not before calling in at 6/7 for a lovely piece of lamb and sundries cooked by the eldest. He really is not that bad a cook. Food at Applecross parties is probably the best. The party went on till the wee small hours and judging by the condition of some of the guests staying at the Inn this morning, who had gone along there was a lot more than lamb being consumed. So glad on the morning after when I see the damage emerging from the parties that I’ve given up trying to drink. Gave it a good go for 25 years so can’t say that I haven’t tried. Today was taken up with reacting to our grid connection news and the next steps.

I have come across this proverb before and it seems so relevant to our material times,

“Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” Ancient American Indians knew where they were coming from and I think we have lost sight of it a little.

Applecross conversations

Because the Heads of Terms negotiations between the Estate and Applecross Community Company are reaching a conclusion it is becoming a hot topic in the community. Although not having an insight into all sections the community I do have the ability not to ‘take offence’ so I tend to get any one giving their opinion even if they know I don’t agree. I find that you question why you disagree and put it in a coherent argument. If you hid behind prejudices we might as well walk away now. In Applecross the long view and patience is critical as what is happening now is an evolution and never going to be revolution but there are too many people living here now realise that there has to be a positive movement to try to reverse the decline. I will never tire of pointing out that our school role is at its lowest ever and by all indicators that spells trouble for any community. We are all different but I believe most people in Applecross have what I call the ‘community gene’. In the past this went hand in hand with the crofting way of life but as this has declined and the few working crofters by necessity have had to become individual to survive. I am and will be very open about what I think of land ownership in the Highlands and while accepting the history of the decline I believe if you own large tracts of land where the community is in decline the owner has take part of the responsibility for that decline.

Nowadays this’community gene’ is expressed by people, for example, running the community Hall, The Pier, The Heritage Centre organising the Annual Games, and the new focus is the Community Company. The importance of what is happening in Applecross cannot be under stated. Alison has just come of the phone after speaking to Ron Gilchrist who we hope is coming  to Applecross to carry out a soil fertility workshop. He is obviously enthusiastic and has lots of ideas to convert small pieces of land to fill the food gaps here. We cannot get away from peak oil and planning for it getting our values right is going to make living here good. Even with a phone call anaerobic digesters, revitalising unworked crofts the possibilities are endless, watch this space.

There is little to say about the negotiations other than we will probably accept the latest offer which means we will be paying the Estate almost double what other Community Companies are doing with their Landlords. We have tried to explain that this is no way to establish a partnership but I think it has fallen on deaf ears. Already we are moving on in a positive way looking at the endless opportunities to make living here better. I believe the future is with the people who live here and we will have our scraps but that will be ok as well. This blog has come up in several conversations so I better explain that it is personal, represents my view and is not part of any orchestrated campaign. The fact that it goes on the net and is sometimes thought provoking is fine and if it becomes part of anything bigger, well fine again. If it is of any interest to any one I am honoured that people take time out to read it. I am still really not sure why I am doing it but it feels ok to me. Off to the Inn for another couple of shifts.

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