Friday, 8 February 2013

Seeds of Spring in the Common Room

Over the winter I have been doing a LOT of this sort of thing:

and not much of this sort of thing:

So when Jeppe, who is co-organising the second Trade School  at the Common Room in Norwich on 23rd February, asked me a few weeks ago to teach another Herbs for Resilience class at the event, I was so immersed in winter and snow and the distribution for the first issue of the Transition Free Press newspaper, that I said, gosh I'd love to, but I just haven't tuned in to the plants yet this year. Gotta tune in to do a class!

Basically at a Trade School class, you share some of your knowledge and people pay you in kind. Trade School calls this bartering for knowledge. It's a lovely way of doing things.

I got a bit worried that I wasn't connected to the plants though, and then I realised that's how it can often go in the deep of winter. And just a day or two later, with the snow melted and the imminence of what some call Imbolc at the beginning of February, I discovered a pot of rather neglected Aloe Veras behind a curtain in the living room, just calling out for some TLC. So I attended to them and since then the plants inside and out have been resurfacing into my awareness slowly but surely... and this week I made a plantain ointment from an infused oil I prepared last year. Been meaning to do that for ages.

"Okay, you've twisted my arm, I'll sign up for it," I replied, when Jeppe asked me again. "We'll  look at some of those spring tonics."

The first Trade School at the Common Room was on 10th November last year at St. Laurence's Church in St. Benedict's Street (where it will be held again this month). I wrote  a post called Common Plants, Common Room, on This Low Carbon Life a week or so before it happened.

On the actual day, I went to Jeppe's Time Skills session, learnt Origami with Vanessa (and with very patient help from Olaya I managed to make a lovely gift box) and Jon brought me a coffee plant from the Eden Project. And my class went really well to boot. Although the classes are set up so people book in and bring you something you want that you've put in your request list, I really wasn't expecting anything, so the box of organic fruit and veg from Vanessa and the packet of seeds from Laura and the Common Room team were lovely surprises.

It was a really great day! The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, you could teach, learn, hang out and meet people, and there were delicious hot drinks and snacks. Plus the event was making social use of a space which would otherwise be neglected. The 23rd February's looking just as good. Check out the classes here! Learn about Energy Use Reduction in Buildings and Grassroots Media (and get hold of a copy of the excellent Transition Free Press at the same time). There are all sorts of other pop-up events happening on the day too, see here. Come and join in the exchange!

The Common Room, including Trade School, Saturday 23rd November, 11am – 4pm, St Laurence’s Church, Saint Benedict Street, Norwich NR2 4PG For further information contact Jeppe Graugaard

As well as writing on This Low Carbon Life, managing distribution for the Transition Free Press and teaching community groups and people how to connect with what's growing on around them, Mark writes his own (occasional) blog Mark in Flowers

Pics: Packing a bundle of TFPs for delivery to Transition Tynedale; Last winter, under the Oak; *Teaching Herbs for Resilience at the Common Room, Norwich, November 2012 (all images Mark Watson except *Jeppe Graugaard)

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