The latest in a series of posts about living in a housing co-op

Here’s a quick post which should present a snapshot of what it is to live here.

Yesterday afternoon I was working in the paddock drawing a beech tree for an illustration. I heard the chickens making a lot of noise and so I leapt up and sprinted to their large pen to check for a fox. Our most elderly chicken was in the hen house, having just laid a rare egg, and was clucking loudly and indignantly at a rat she’d seen. I chased off the rat, let myself out of the pen and ambled slowly back to where I’d been sketching.

I wasn’t paying attention, I hit some uneven ground, my foot went over and there was a shock of pain and a crunching sound, a bit like the sound you make when you step into fresh snow. I did some loud and varied swearing. I could still walk on it – just – but I could tell it was going to get a lot worse really quickly,

I hobbled back to the house and immediately found some ice, some ruta ointment and a bandage. I sat on the bed and propped my foot up high.

My partner was staying at the time and brought me my share of the amazing communal dinner. He needed to get back to Bristol today and while he was loading our plates last night was offered a lift to the station by two different people (me not being able to drive him now).

This morning I had three people knock my door, one bringing more ruta ointment, another asking if I needed any shopping (why on earth I didn’t ask for a big bag of vegetable crisps and a pot of humous is beyond my ken), offering to water my plants in the greenhouse and polytunnels and another just now offering to make me tea and lunch.

This evening someone will bring me my dinner and I’m sure there’ll be other people just checking to make sure I don’t need anything.

When I first moved in I got a very painful thing called trigger thumb & could hardly do anything at all. I felt awful – I’d just joined and I wasn’t able to contribute & everyone was looking after me. I got told I was being ridiculous (such is my wont) in a very loving way and was made to rest, and indeed was told off for trying to do stuff.

When another co-op member was ill with flu I was driving to the nearest town and asked her if she needed anything. She gave me £10 and told me to spend it on fruit in the green grocer and I took great delight in selecting pineapples and mangoes and lychees and all other of exotic loveliness for her. It felt really good.

So yep, that’s living in community.