Sunday, 7 September 2014


The bigger picture
Pollyanna Lacey messaged me about her wonderful plans in Swaziland. She has about 200 acres of land there including perennial gorges and a river with the beautiful name, Umfula wo Thando, or “River of Love”.
Umfula wo Thando, "River of Love"
Her project really resonates with me as she’s connecting ecology and healing - she has a vision of self-sufficient, sustainable off-grid living, biodynamic gardening and farming, and a holistic healing retreat and Reiki school. She has no experience in building and is looking for help, ideas, contacts, and useful organisations for funding and information.
The best designs I've seen for low-impact, self-build homes are really the roundhouse-with-Earthship-features buildings of Simon Dale and friends at Lammas, I wonder how they compare with traditional local building in Swaziland.
Simon Dales house at Lammas - Simon's site here
Anyway, get in touch with Pollyanna through the RegenoScot Facebook group if you've got any ideas, useful contacts or would like to lend a hand out there.

Saturday, 6 September 2014


I've started a Facebook page, RegenoScot, to help people and projects for sustainable living to connect up, help each other, learn, and share information, ideas and experience, a bit like the brilliant Off Grid Friends page. I've had lots of great help from there and it's good just to know that you're not the only crazy fool out there going against the established flow.
I wanted the RegenoScot header to reflect my own hopes for Scotland and all my family and friends up there. Dylan Thomas was once asked what he thought of Welsh Nationalism and he replied, "I've got three words to say about Welsh Nationalism and two of them are Welsh Nationalism", which is a bit how I feel about Scottish Nationalism...  I hope we vote Yes to independence and I hope it's a new beginning for Scotland but I'd love it if people everywhere around the world looked for what they have in common rather than what makes them different. So there's no flag on the RegenoScot header. We do have a lion but it's a lion with a lion cub to symbolise strength with gentleness, learning and caring.
A wonderful photo, "The Lion King" by Neil Agate:
I don't feel encouraged when the independence discussion revolves around oil production. It's reliance on fossil fuels that's brought the world to the brink of mass extinction. Let's make this an opportunity to build a new kind of economy based on the regeneration of real natural wealth rather than chasing illusory financial wealth at the expense of the environment. So there's a photo on the Regenoscot header of the reciprocating roof at the Cwm Harry community garden project, symbolising local initiative, cooperation, local food production, and the regeneration of natural resources.
The future's woody...
Let's keep our feet firmly on the ground and let's keep our heads firmly in the clouds, looking for local solutions to world problems, allowing a fresh flow of inspiration, new ideas, intuition as we look for local solutions to world problems.

Sunday, 10 August 2014


The little patch of Shropshire we're looking after
Ruth and I live and work on a beautiful hundred acre hill farm here in Shropshire, Treflach Farm. As well as acres of pasture and arable land there's a variety of woodland, from a lovely ancient area, to orchard, to recently planted mixed woodland. We're both so glad to be living out in the sticks amongst the birdsong and rustle of leaves. The access to land we have has made an enormous difference to the sustainability and quality of our way of life, though we still have a long way to go towards some of our goals.
We do some days of work on the farm in lieu of rent for accommodation and the use of the plot of about a third of an acre in the photo above. We also look after the orchard, polytunnel and veg gardens intensively and give some time to the whole farm in various ways.  I hope it's the sort of arrangement that may help a lot of people, farmers and individuals, make the transition away from a fossil-fueled destructive way of life to something regenerative.
If you think about it, everyone relies on some kind of access to land, it's just that for many of us our food, energy and stuff come mostly from elsewhere in the world. Powys in Wales only produces 5% of the food it consumes, that's only possible with cheap energy. So how do we get better access? Only a few people have the capital required to buy a small holding or farm and develop it. Farms are always short of help and will require more and more manual help as we power down. The work-in-lieu arrangement is a way for people with no capital to move towards long term low-impact living. I guess as more people work in this sort of way patterns and guidelines will emerge to help project owners and workers come to fair, practical arrangements as have been established in the WWOOF network, striking a balance between the workers being fairly rewarded and the owners getting a fair amount of help. It's sad when things don't work out and from my experience it's generally because of poor communications, people not making practical financial and work arrangements and not writing them down, and of course, personality mis-matches.
This is probably our biggest success here on the farm. Ruth and I generate almost no waste. The compost loo and compost heaps recyle the bulk of our waste back into the land. Metal we recycle with the farm recycling. Glass waste, of which there is surprisingly little, we generally keep for future storage. Plastic, of which there is a lot, as we still buy a lot of supermarket food, we mostly keep, packing it up for insulation. That leaves the occasional item we can't deal with ourselves that goes to landfill. It's a far cry from living down by Brighton where the five of us put out two wheelie bins for landfill a week. That's all the whole farm produces in two weeks, including the food business.
I'm surprised at how much time and work it's taking to produce more of our own food. Even after three years in the gardens and orchard here we're still getting loads of stuff from the supermarket. It's not just sorting out growing stuff either, there's all the storage side of things too and how to deal with the gluts of a few products that you tend to get from time to time. Ruth's been putting a lot of energy into preserving, jam making and, very importantly, brewing and wine making. Imagine the quality of life without a glass of cider from time to time...
As you'd expect, we keep warm with a woodburning stove and logs from the farm. At least half a dozen big trees came down in the winter storms so there's plenty of fuel out there at the moment, it's just a question of chopping it up, bringing it make and storing it, which all takes time and fuel for tractor and chainsaws. I'm determined to get a better supply organised than we had last year when we were scratching about latterly and soon ran out of dry stuff. We're planning to be much better insulated for this winter too, partly thanks to our waste plastic. For the long term I'd like to burn much less and burn it at a higher temperature too as smouldering logs give out a lot of tars and toxins into the environment.

We're keeping warm with wood but haven't escaped from fossil fuels altogether. We're still using calor gas for cooking and water heating and we're on the electricity grid through the farm's supply, though the farm does have a 20kw PV array. We have a car and still use petrol which I'm very uneasy about, especially with current events in Gaza. I wrote a post about complicity here which I don't imagine will be very popular. I don't think people generally understand just how much the whole industrial way of life is wrapped up in fossil fuel, the degree of change which is coming our way whether we like it or not, or that we all have individual and collective responsibility for everything. By all means let's protest about fracking but let's all make the transition away from fossil fuels too. So for myself that means developing small scale methane and other systems for cooking and water heating and finding alternatives for car travel. I find we have to take it one step at a time though or it just gets overwhelming.
So what other things do our lives revolve around and to what degree can they be produced through access to local land? Shelter, clothing, medication, art, fun, it can all be done (and will have to be done) with what's around us, though maybe not as we know it now.  More soon.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


I have a very uneasy feeling that all of us who use oil, petrol and gas are complicit in the human and environmental devastation involved in producing it and controlling its supply. The Gaza resource massacres are bad enough, but by releasing the carbon stored in oil and other fossil fuels for millions of years over a few hundred years we are also destroying the Earth's ability to support much life of any kind. Do we really want to be respomsible for all that?
Our transition to a life after the Oil Age is inevitable anyway because there's only so much of the stuff. All the easy-to-get oil is gone, exploting what's left, fracking, drilling in Arctic etc, will just mean ever more devastation and stave off the inevitable change for a decade or two. It will soon get to a point where it takes more energy to exploit oil resources than they produce.
There's a fuel element in just about everything we buy, do and use, transport and heating obviously, but also food, packaging, chemicals: paints, medications... It's a huge task to make the transition to a sustainable way of life, so the sooner we get on with it the better. We can choose to make radical changes now and make the transition as smooth as possible or wait until change is forced upon us, the longer we leave it the more unpleasant it will be.
Protest is great, it's wonderful that people are waking up to the damage eg that fracking is causing. I think it will be even more powerful to stop using fossil fuels. It does mean a different way of life altogether, there is no sustainable way of using as much energy as we do now. Renewables are only a tiny fraction of the total.
Well that's what this blog is all about. I've visited and worked on lots of different eco projects and met lots of inspiring people, I have to say I've only met a handful whose way of life could be truly called sustainable. Some aspects are easy, like dealing with your waste, others take more skill and experience, like growing your food, materials, medicines in your locality. For me, despite all the challenges it's a very exciting, fascinating time of enlightenment, of the evolution of a global super-consciousness and of the development of our psychic and energetic abilities. The greatest journey begins with a single step.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Let's build on the fascinating work we're doing in our Thursday Group and others like it and explore further how we can be a positive force for peace. When we link up around the world we form a grid of conscious life force energy linking in with the life energies of the Earth and the whole universe. Imagine that anyone can tap into and direct it for peace. Imagine if we could switch off any or all weapons, by focusing energy on their weakest points.
Our human brains have evolved from mammal brains which have evolved from reptile brains. It's so easy to fall back into reptilian behaviour, you don't have to look very far to see that around the world, sadly often coming from the top down. How easily our fears, greed, vanity are manipulated so we act like zombies against one another. Imagine we can focus the understanding of our evolving super-human consciousness on the world's leaders and give them a vision of peaceful ways to solve problems. Earth's ability to support us all in any industrial, fossil-fueled way of life is fading fast and we must develop alternatives. If countries continue to fight for resources we will just go further and further towards mass extinction, we urgently need to find the peaceful way.
"I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you"
I remember reading a story about a psychiatric doctor from Hawaii who was working with dangerous, violent inmates at an institute for the criminally insane. Slowly but surely they started to calm down, became less violent but the doctor just sat in his office most of the time. What was he doing?
He was simply taking responsibility for their troubles himself, studying the prisoners' notes one by one, and going through the process above with each of them, "I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you".
Let's each take responsibility for everything and everyone, everywhere.
At the end of the day there's no "us and them" there's just us

Sunday, 20 July 2014


(Link to blog this lovely photo came from)
You soon find when you're treating people with complementary therapies like CranioSacral Therapy or energy work that no part of the body really operates on its own. Digestive system, nervous system, heart and lungs, everything operates as part of a whole. The same with the different aspects of the energy body, chakras, meridians, channels, aura, a disturbance in one area will show up in all the others. And you surely can't separate your own personal health from the health of the Earth, the water you drink, air you breath and the food you eat, which is why Ruth and I are putting so much of our energy into the health of the gardens and orchard here on the farm, thinking globally and acting locally, learning to live simpler more Earth-friendly lives. To me, ecology, permaculture, forest gardening are all aspects of healing.
Then remote healing groups like our Thursday Group show just how enfolded we can all be if we allow it. I feel the group's energies around me just as if we were occupying the same space, enfolded with the life force energies of the Earth and the universe.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Life support - natural wealth is the fundamental wealth

The idea, much promoted by politicians, corporations and run-of-the-mill economists, that they are creating wealth is bollocks. They talk of wealth as a financial thing but there is nothing of any financial value that does not come primarily from natural wealth. The pursuit of financial wealth in the "developed" world is leading to a devestated Earth. Our most important work is to regenerate natural wealth wherever we are. We live our human lives within a network of other life and our health depends on the diversity, abundance and health of that network.
Ruth and I are lucky in finding ourselves in a situation where we have been able to start this change in attitude and way of life living here on the farm. I know it doesn't seem so easy to go against the established flow when you are locked into the system to find money to pay the everyday bills. All the same, if we don't change our attitude to wealth individually and collectively it will only get harder and harder to avoid the destruction of the Earth's ability to support much life of any kind. Does your daily work regenerate or use up natural wealth? Is there any way you can regenerate a bit of waste land, grow some food, sow some flowers for the bees, do some random act of kindness for a stranger? There's loads you find you can do when you get started.
Ecology and healing, life support systems

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Straw bale building - the inside story...

The new toilet and shower block at Treflach
Straw bale building seems to have an image of being a cheap and easy way for people to build themselves a house. Having been involved in various low-impact buildings I'd say it's not just as simple as that...
The main points that aren't immediately obvious to people are:
  • Straw bales aren't load-bearing so your building will need some kind of a frame to take the roof
  • People seem to forget that they'll still need doors, windows, plumbing, wiring etc etc
  • You need some kind of footing to keep the bales off the ground and dry
  • Hazel spikes are often used to secure the bales as you build up the walls but they lead to various problems - they're dangerous, difficult to work in at the top layers and they may be a weak link in the long term life of the building
  • It's important the straw stays dry so your building is best designed with a generously overhanging roof, much more than you would need with other materials
  • Rats and squirrels have to be kept out with boards or render covering all straw surfaces
Really the bales are mainly there for insulation but they do a great job of that and might save you loads of cash. So if you're building a house and have a source of cheap bales it's definitely worth checking out but look into the whole thing very carefully!
The back wall mostly finished.

Azzi, who build himself a wonderful oval straw bale house at Sych Pwll, working with me on the frame last year.
You can see it all here, the brick and block footing, RS board boxes to take the spikes for the first layer, the timber frame and the first row of bales on the way.
Ian Steel and Azzi putting in the first row of bales

Azzi's way of restringing a bale to make it shorter
Dave Bibby working on the original trusses with help from Faze
With Azzi moving abroad and the pressure from other work our straw build progress came to a halt at about the point in the picture above. The frame sat exposed to the elements over the winter and having two hen houses blown into it in the winter gales didn't improve it much. Then the man in the picture below, James the Rocket, with many years' experience of roof structures and woodwork generally came to give us a hand and the project has moved forward again. We'll all breath a sigh of relief when it's wind and watertight.
James and I putting in the first row of bales... again...
James' magnificent redevelopment of the roof
James sledge-hammering in a spike into some of the top bales, a very awkward work space
Leslie lending a hand filling in the gaps between the bales on the back wall
Difficult getting to the top layers to get the spikes in


Photo from Global Illumination Council
The experience of linking up energetically around the world in the Thursday group and others like it with no time lapse has mind-boggling implications for me... One of them being that every point in space is concentric with every other point, and that every point is contained by every other point and contains every other point. In other words, everything is infinitely enfolded. I expect that what we've grown up calling the universe is just one of an infinite number of similar "universes" continually appearing from points within other "universes".  We are part of a revolution in understanding of space, time, scale, enfoldment and infinity which will make the Copernican revolution look like a toddler's first steps.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

!! NEW !! Energy Healing Session on Sundays, 9 to 9.45pm.

I've decided to start hosting a new regular session on Sundays as well as our Thursday sessions. My instinct is to explore and develop our work on two paths: I'd like to focus the Sunday sessions on sending and receiving healing energy and building on our already amazing Energy Medicine work, and I'd like to focus the Thursday sessions more now on developing our psychic skills, exploring global consciousness and our evolution on Earth.  I know the two paths go in the same direction, it just feels right to explore and develop in both ways now. Our work has the potential to help so many people everywhere and deserves all the energy we can give it.
Love to all and see you in the ether xx
Thanks, Ushka, for putting me on to the work of Tomasz Alen Kopera - his website here

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Flooding down in Shropshire

A watery look to the Shropshire plain
What a strange, mild, wet, windy winter here, just a few flurries of snow and the odd frosty night so far. I know there's plenty of time for a late cold spell like we had last year but all the same it's been strange. The big feature of Jan and Feb in the UK has been the wind and rain. Here in Shropshire, we don't have anything like the flooding further South but we can see a lot of standing water out on the plain below us - and the winds howling around again at the moment.
We've had some damage to the farm buildings and several trees blown down:

Sad to see this weeping birch down, it was lovely sight on the skyline
One of the trees down in the ancient woodland, Bluebell Wood
A tree comes down between our car and Wes's - no one hurt even though Wes was in his at the time.
But to me this winter will be the Winter When Climate Change Became Mainstream. Having listened to, read, talked, written about and even sometimes done something about climate change issues since the 1970's, it's tempting to jump up and down and say "I told you so!" It's good to hear, for example, people on the radio talking sense about what to do about flooding, ie not to build Canuteish walls to keep the sea and rivers out of our houses but to do the Permaculture thing, to keep the water as high in the landscape as possible for as long as possible. We're going to need every drop of it sooner or later. Goodness me, it's even dawning on some politicians that it's a bigger issue than keeping the corporations happy. How out of their depth they are though, are there wellies high enough for David Cameron?