What a rich and wonderful city Exeter is – and I don’t mean rich in money – I wouldn’t know about that …but in terms of its people and their projects – wow!
It all started I think when Audaye (my tt Exeter host) told me about all the great schemes happening in Exeter, not necessarily transition projects – but absolutely transition in principle, design and execution.
So first port of call was the Phoenix Centre and the well being and transition radio show
on Phonic fm. Huge sense of relief when I discovered my legs still worked and got me up the steps and into the building!
What a frenetic job I thought, as I was led into the studio to wait for the show to start and caught the last few minutes of the last show – and I thought I had a lot of things to think about …DJs are amazing multi taskers!
Then Hannah & Neil arrived with 2 members of the now defunct Ratfinx band who would do the music for the show while Neil and Hannah talked to me. It was great fun! No room to be nervous at all – and what a great relaxed show – I loved that when it came time for a newslot we all took it in turns to read out our favourite bits of news from “Positive News”http://www.positivenews.org.uk/cgi-bin/Positive_News/welcome.cgi – now that ‘s what I call a transition thing to do! Did you know that the 25th April is international Grandmother’s Day? And that you don’t give cards and presents – you get together with all the local grandmothers (and grandfathers presumably) and learn any skills they want to share – like cake baking & fixing your bike. Hounouring the Elders – loved it. Got to plug Mark Boyle, the moneyless man, too http://totnes.transitionnetwork.org/node/2081 and give a sneak bit of advance news that the transition conference might be happening in south Devon…
More amazement about my choice of footwear – my flipflops generate a lot of interest I have noticed!
Chris White, founder of TT Exmouth, emails in at my live request for help with a car free route into Exmouth and tells me about the cycle path! Maddy & Neil, old Totnes friends, who spent their honeymoon in the house in Brazil I left behind when I came back to the UK, listen in and email a hello. I discover they work with Neil – bunch of lovely chiropractors practising in Tavistock & Exeter – can’t link you but email Neil at Phonic for details.
Left the Phoenix & off I went into the town centre to meet the Bookcycle folk http://www.book-cycle.org/. This Exeter charity is doing fantastic work – not only can you take any book for whatever you want to donate, but you can donate your unwanted books and they use any money made from the shop to ship books to people who wouldn’t otherwise get them, as well as doing guerilla book giving – leaving free books on people’s doorsteps! They recently shipped 500,000 books to Ghana for the price it costs Amazon to send 500 books! I met Ant, the guy who dreamt it up – he comes from Lancashire just like me, as does my host tonight – great to meet fellow birthplace folk doing good stuff.
Met Simon too, one of the volunteers, and, as serendipity would have it, he’s the guy I was telling you about last night who works with ponies – he is an empassioned talker and his love of ponies and how to treat them well, with no use of a bit, spurs or whip, was palpable. I was really moved and felt a real sense of relief that there is someone else in the world who shares my love of horses but not the equipment our society uses to train them. Read this blog: http://www.beaconsveggieboxes.co.uk/Saddle%20Chariot.htm about his recent visit to a farm.
Picked up a whole lot of tips for travelling on the road – something Simon has done plenty of – he suggests setting off at dawn and walking till 1pm – reckons you get more walking done in that time than the rest of the day put together – am eager to test this out – though not tomorrow as I shall be taking it very gently to ease myself back into walking after my lazy day of talking not walking!
After a stop off at the Bookcycle warehouse to marvel at the thousands of books (can’t show you the pic I took because I don’t know how to get photos off my phone and into my netbook… any technical help here appreciated!) went off to meet tt Exeter at the Global Centre, a great community space http://www.globalcentredevon.org.uk/ where I met my friend Richard Thurley, who works there, and is part of Buck the Trend, Buckfastleigh’s transition initiative. He offered to be my postman and take my first map and collected flyers and info back to Totnes, and to send me a map if I got stuck somewhere along the way. Thank you Richard.
And then… over a shared meal that included Andi Tobie’s yummy curd tart got to hear the highlights of tt Exeter from the perspective of those present. Local food came out tops – lots of good things going on in Exeter, both transition and other projects – ECA (Exeter Community Agriculture), and Exwick locally produced cider, and – for me very exciting – a transition community cafe , shop and bakery selling local food – due to launch in the autumn – I will definitely be along to visit that!
Gill Westcott, who will be sending me a whole bunch of transition short stories from her recent transition creative writing workshop, sang us her lovely song of change to close, & I wished I had a dictaphone to share it with you all – voice of an angel – gorgeous lyrics.
The evening ended with another act of serendipity. On the steps leaving the building, hail stoning, dark…
Gill: “Where are you staying in Exmouth tomorrow night?”
Steph: “I don’t know yet”
Jane on steps coming in: “I’m with TT Exmouth – you can stay with me – I’m a storyteller!”
Don’t even know your full name yet Jane, but can’t wait to hear your tales tomorrow!
Andi: “I’m not doing anything tomorrow – can I walk with you?”
Steph (to self) think I have to be luckiest person I know, everything I need, no need to even ask!
What more could a girl want!