CV> How interesting. Were the people there, apart from your
CV> friends, a bit middle class, alternative, and well off, or
CV> was it a mix of classes, attitudes and haves and have-nots?
All sorts ... mostly divided into middle class radicals on the one hand and
lifelong Roma or travellers on the other, but a scattering of other types as
CV> Can anyone just go and erect a tepee in the community, or is it a
CV> privately owned plot with controlled membership?
It doesn't exist any more ... disbanded about ten years back, although I
noticed that a couple of isolated new tepees were back last year. Before
that -- they were a cooperative commune who bought the whole mountain for
the purpose in an attempt to be legally secure. They were hospitable,
allowed a level of temporary squatting without any restriction, but
permanent additions had to negotiate some sort of deal - perhaps paying a
contribution into the collective kitty, or bringing a new contribution of
some other kind (one new group set up a school and crèche for the children
of the community, for instance).
There are other communities like it, still. Some have gone the same land
purchase route, others just mushroom in places unlikely to be noticed. In
the forests of south west Wales I know of one mixed tepee/yurt community and
two roundhouse villages. One of the roundhouse groups was found during an
aerial mapping flyover, and forced to dismantle ... but they just rebuilt
about twenty kilometres away... They don't try to control immigration;
anyone who is willing to put in the work required td to build a round house,
then live in it, is welcome.
Others again grow up around a commune in a more conventional accommodation:
one of my occasional colleagues lives in a roundhouse build in the grounds
of a farm whose farmhouse is the community core. There are rentable
"chalets" in the outbuildings, or newcomers who "buy in" to the commune can
bring their own caravan, tepee, yurt, or build a roundhouse. If they decide
to leave again, they sell their share back to the commune. They run an
environmental education business from there -- some clients pay in money,
thus providing the level of currency needed for relating to the rest of the
world, others in different ways ... a recent group of primary school
children who attended a recent three day willow coppicing course were
required to each pay with food items sufficient in quantity to provide one
adult with a full meal ... one child brought a kilo of leaks, another a kilo
of potatoes, another a litre of sunflower oil, and so on. One child brought
tinned goods ... the metal from which will be used for part of the mouse
proofing in a new food store building.
CV> The tepees I saw on the web were plush, expensive
CV> and carpetted.
Some are like that; there's a yurt village up Machynlleth way which charges
fifty thousand pounds sterling for a site, then insists that you buy your
approved yurt from them as well at another fifteen thou ... they have
Habitat or Heals interiors, in most cases!
My colleague and her partner made the floor of the roundhouse from "cobbles"
of crosscut tree trunk bout a metre thick, buried about 700mm deep so the
floor is raised about 300mm above ground level. They then gradually carpeted
it with thick fabric woven from soaked and dyed reed (and covered the walls
with hangings from animal hair found on fences and brambles, also dyed) -
very plush and comfortable, but all free in financial terms though paid for
in labour. They've rigged up solar arrays to run a laptop (which doubles as
music player), though not lights or heating (heating is a wood stove after
your own heart!).
> Thanks for this information, I feel as if life has been revealed to be
> a film, or number of films, with different genres coexisting.
> I consider myself bent on solitude to partake in a community, the idea
> of which frightens me as I am cynical about the good naturedness of
> groups of people, unless mediated by the distance of cyberspace, as in
> RC13. Knowing such communities continue to thrive is enough. I realise
> a community is made up of individuals, like myself, and a part of me
> is attracted to the thought of living alternatively, which I do
> anyhow, but it is people who frighten me. I probably need to gain more
> independence before a tepee village would become seriously attractive.
> Independence in real physical abilities, skills, although this is daft
> as I just remembered putting in the new engine alone.
> Hmm, not sure, again, it's people that worry me, the judgement, the
> confusing impressions and effects within groups. And that obnoxious
> way relationships can break down within a shared household, the old
> *Please WASH UP after you!!!!!* note on the kitchen cupboard.
> I will keep an eye out for information about alternative communities
> and ways of living. It's bizzarre because my lifestyle is already so
> alternative, maybe the grass is always greener on the other side of
> the fence. Although I would not say I am looking for happiness I am
> looking out for something different.