Helen Jarvis drove us from Newcastle along the M1 through the sunny English countryside, past rolling green hills – black-faced white sheep – an occasional wind farm. A few barns and old stone walls, little villages and copses of trees still bare from the winter. Wild daffodils.
Arrived in Leeds and went straight to Lilac co-housing. (LILAC – Low Impact Living Affordable Community.) The founder and a key driving force, Paul Chatterton, met us all in the Common House before taking us to his two storey, four bedroom house to meet the kids and drop our bags. The two young boys, Milo (four and a half) and little Rafi (one), kept us entertained until mum –Tash – came home from work.
Paul was launching his book – Low Impact Living –that night; a great way to meet the community and hear the many stories of the coming together and the building highs and lows in the Lilac story. There were many similarities with Murundaka – both communities 20 households, both starting with lots of building defects and mud.
In the few days we were there we discovered more similarities including a keen interest in Tenant Selection processes – plusses and minuses – and of course many differences too. Our Common House is three or four times the size of theirs!! After seeing our presentation some people say they now have “Common House envy”.