Sunday, 6 October 2013

Work days, new members, and plans for the future

The House of Random Camel has a new member! Mark's moving in over the next few days, and has designs on turning 27 basement into a space for home brewing, which will be fantastic! It also means there is a new urgency to tidying up the basement.

In 27 basement at the moment we've got issues with damp, so first the mission is to clean it up and reduce mould. We now have a luxcrete street level block window in both basements [thanks to friends and family] so we can begin the cleanup & de-damping. The main challenge is making sure there is air flow so we get the damp out of the basement without causing problems elsewhere. One suggestion we've had is to use heat convection to draw the damp air up through an air duct. This'll be really important when we're using it as a brewing space, because the moisture created by the brewing will add to the damp.

27 basement
In 23 basement we are working on a line of bottles and mortar [above the luxcrete block] for light and installing a ventilation system [or systems] to help with air flow. As this space is going to be used for musicians and band practice we have the extra complications of soundproofing and acoustics to contend with. If you're in a band [or even if you're not] & want to support what we're doing, please get in touch. We've pencilled in a work weekend for Sat 26th & Sun 27th October, so if you fancy coming down to work on it with us that would be great. I'll post it up when we've got a definite plan together.

At our last party and work weekend Gem and John put compost bins together using polycarbon, old pallets and willow to help move air around them. We've been using them! and they serve the purpose much better than the old plastic one did. We also started stripping the paint from the windows outside to prepare for winter and will hopefully have all the downstairs windows done before it gets cold, which would be nice!

compost bins

our recycling system...

A blast from the banner making years [before my time]
The hallway and landing in 27 are looking better all the time as we strip old wallpaper and cover up wires. We figured less people want to book a lovely room to use for therapies if they have to get to it through a badly decorated hallway and landing. So we've decided to relaunch the healing room when the landing area is looking tip top and the woven artwork we started back in April is ready to go on the wall - I'll keep the blog updated about that too.

In other news, the House of Random Camel was one year old this September! We also had a few birthdays, and we said goodbye to two original co-op members and friends. Gemma's cycling round Europe to learn more about eco-building, and Mike has moved to Germany with his girlfriend. Alex's got more photos of the big birthday/anniversary/send-off party on his flikr.

So, this means we still have room for a new co-op member! If you believe in what we're trying to do/want more info/think you might want to be part of it, email us.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Mega update!

Repointing - this is what our wall looked
like after scraping & wire brushing all
the old mortar out [except upright]
Everyone has been busy since May, which is great, but we've neglected the blog a bit, so here's a quick rundown. Look what we've been up to...

herbs & pallet benches [bike sculptures were from last year]

Finished repointing!
Mixing new mortar for the repointing,
using a sharp sand and lime mix
Lots of lovely people came to help on our work weekends, skill-share, and keep us company over stews & potato cakes. We've been stripping wallpaper, repointing, tiling, plastering, and swotting up on straw bale insulation at an exciting straw bale build in Saxmundham. In other news, we had to rip out our old cooker - which luckily didn't kill us - and put in a big new one with a hefty 8 hobs, which was kindly donated to the house by our brilliant friend, Alex. So, happily, it turns out we now have a super oven to make amazing communal meals with! There is a bit of debate about the energy consumption of the fan, which looks like some kind of spaceship.

Our garden suddenly sprang into life and we've been growing herbs, tomatoes, strawberries, kale, and some other, less useful, but rather pretty things in it...

Frankie's surplus of willow meant we learnt a bit about keeping it alive and making useful things, like a fence, a veg bed, a bike shelter, and... er... decorative tetrapack fence panels...

willow and tetrapack fence panels 
bed of peas!

We had a couple of parties too...

In June we threw a party to raise awareness about the declining bee population, and when people went away they took the wildflower seeds we gave them, which some of them planted... We know this because someone actually sent us a picture - check out the happy bee!

So to celebrate summer & crack on with preparing for winter we had a garden party featuring all the usual party stuff, and a spectacular 7-hour DJ set from the Decibel Kid, followed by some slightly shaky DIY the next day. We had eco-friendly compost bin-building, stripping flaky paint off the windows and sanding them down, and a bit of work on the basement, which we are turning into a band practice space! Watch this blog for more updates on that... We used pallets, willow, and poly-carbon to make the compost bins. Hopefully I'll get some pictures of them up soon.

The House of Random Camel once again desires a new member!

Due to one of us moving on to pastures new there is a space opening up for someone new in September. Everyone interested in living as part of an urban communal house committed to ecological sustainability, activism, and working towards social change, please get in touch with us about it! If you want to know more, have a look at our previous post from February. Everything except the description of the room is the same - see below. Also, we have given in to twitter and occasionally post things to keep the internet gods happy.

Rent for this room is £55 per week [still within the local housing benefit rate] and there is still no council tax to pay. The room is 12ft x 15ft, with a metal double bed included. It is on the first floor, and it has two windows overlooking the street, facing north west.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The healing room is now open! Thanks to the lovely people who came to the opening, to Alex who made this video and took lots of pictures, and to everyone who has used it so far! We still need more bookings, so spread the word.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Launch of the Healing Room!

You are invited to the Camel House at 27 Foundation St, on Sunday March 31st between 2-5pm

To celebrate the opening of our newly decorated massage and therapy space, we are having a Therapies Taster Day - tasters in massage: shiatsu and full body and more - and tasters in fine beverages: bring your own to share! Tensions will be soothed and energies will flow as free as the homebrewed wine and caffeine-free tea. A multi-coloured ribbon will be cut upon the threshold.

The Healing Room wants you! If you are a practitioner in any form of bodywork; shiatsu, massage, reiki, kinesiology, reflexology, feldenkrais and are looking for a town centre space to rent, we have highly favourable rates. The room is big enough to move around a massage table; we have one which you might borrow and a double futon. Our reason for offering the space is to generate an income for our co-operative; our business plan works if we collect £20 pw rent from the space. Ideally this would mean us charging 20% of what you earn. For example, you charge £25 ph, you pay us £5 ph rent.
We will have a diary to arrange appointments that you can ring Mandy to book into, and someone will be at home to let you in or you can pick up a key from the Museum St Veggie Cafe.
If you are interested, please come ply your wares and meet us at the Taster day on March 31st.
All enquiries ring Mandy on 07813092605. Residents of the coop; Mandy is a studying shiatsu practitioner of 7 years, while Frankie does full body massage

Work Weekend programme

We've designated the first weekend of every month our open work weekends; 10-5pm each day:

6-7th April | 4-5th May | 1-2nd June | 6-7th July | 3-4th August

If you want to come along and help us work on the buildings, learn a new skill or offer us your experience, we'd be very much obliged! We will feed you a hearty lunch and serve tea, and hopefully there'll be cake.
The jobs range from lime plastering, to installing insulation (which may now be straw bales at the back of the property - ooh!), making compost toilets, a bike shed, a wood- fuelled sauna, a solar shower, a living willow fence...we'll know nearer the time exactly what we'll be doing. It will be lovely to see you there! x

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

New member desired at Random Camel!

Hello everybody who would like to live in an urban community of 7 adults, and 2 part-time children (theyre here every other weekend!). We have a vacancy for a new member coming up at the end of March.

Rent for the room is £55 per week, which is within the local housing benefit rate, and there is no council tax to pay. The room available is 12ft x 10ft, with a wooden double bed included. One of the chimney breast alcoves has shelves built into it. The window faces south east east.

We're looking for a proactive, motivated individual who doesn't need badgering to muck in with the building work required at present, or if that isn't an option then the radical social change or local community engagement, or administrative sides of running the coop. We're a community in it's infancy so your influence will make a strong impact. Our vision is to create a better Ipswich! We'd like you to be respectful of fellow member's needs, open to listening, honest, and supportive.
We expect to give the same in return, and we're open to questions, suggestions and feedback, especially constructive criticism!

Our housing coop is a member of Radical Routes network. We're a vegetarian/ vegan household (one kitchen each), and its no smoking indoors. We don't all eat together every night but some of us like to, and we cook from fresh ingredients every day; sourced via the Community Supported Agriculture scheme in Rushmere - this provides us the opportunity to work on the farm a day a fortnight-ish. We also usually pool resources in order to buy organic, fairtrade and local produce communally from our independent food cooperative. We split all bills equally. We have wireless broadband in half the houses, including the room that's available. There are 2 showers (and a third thats going to come online soon), 1 bath, and 3 toilets, a large 'events' room/dining room, and a cosy woodburner living room. Our current project is to get the healing space and band practice space sorted to generate more income. The central heating covers most of the house inc your room, as does the plaster.... :-) Some of the house has only half-plastered walls...

Existing members are between 24 and 42 years old, some work at the museum st veggie cafe in town, the library, the parks and in gardens and care homes. We put on bicycle balls, intentional community gatherings, help run the Ripple food coop, are involved in Transition Towns, make recycled and textile and line-drawn art and costumes, like cycling, herbalism, tribal belly dance and tango and 'normal' dancing, comics, music of many genres, singing folk tunes, seasonal celebrations, fire, natural; sustainable and traditional building technologies. We go hunt sabbing and protest against GM wheat and unnecessary road building, grow food and preserve it, WWOOF, make films about the privatisation of the NHS, promote cooperation and autonomous community action, and are mostly anarchist in politics. Whoo!

Our criteria for assessing whether you're right for us:

1) Your immediate housing need - have you got anywhere else to go?
2) Your commitment to co-operative principles and radical social change
3) Your understanding of cooperative communications
4) Personal connection with existing members
5) Your commitment to participate in 'homemaking' - energy efficiency/ construction/ tidying and washing up!

We hope you will be able to decide, having read this advert and upon meeting us, whether we're right for you! It's a two way thing, so make sure you state any concerns and ask for what you need and want.

We have an evolving set of agreements for how we live together in this space, called our Secondary Rules, & these are available upon request - and will help you decide on our mutual compatibility. 

The way you go about joining us is:
  • You read our blog, secondary rules and the Radical Routes website
  • Ring us up and express your interest - 01473 213 575 or  Helen 07582 731 084, have a chat.
  • We'll email you an application form; you fill it out & send back
  • Come over for tea or dinner and meet the gang; could take a couple of goes as we're not often all free at the same time! You'll get invited again if we establish a rapport.
  • Come help out on the work we're doing around the house, or another of our projects like the Prisoner Solidarity letter writing, hosting vegan snack stalls, making pads for international women's day
  • Come to one of our meetings -Sunday evenings - to see how we work
  • Stay with us for a trial weekend, or/then a trial week
  • Have a meeting specifically to discuss your potential membership
  • Join! Become an officer of the cooperative, pay your pound joining fee
  • Move In
  • Go to a Radical Routes gathering and attend the Introduction workshops - next one is in Cornwall; May 16-18th, we'll be there setting up the week beforehand (its a holiday really!)
Hope this post isn't information overload! Or too demanding-sounding: we need to make it clear this isn't some house share where you just pay your rent and occasionally have nice chats with fellow housemates :-) We only moved in 5 months ago and have lots to do, and could use some extra energy to help move it along.

Speak to you soon xx

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Our cute kitchen!

This is the kitchen in No. 23 house - we just moved that sweet blue and yellow melamine cabinet into it! Ahhhh! It replaces an ugly grey and white crap kitchen unity.
This is the vegetarian kitchen. It is now my favourite kitchen (out of our 3) in the houses.
Oh oh oh. What a frivolous blog post.

Healing Space is being decorated

 We've returned from winter hibernation! To get back into the ecorenovation groove. Here and up north, where our friend Rob is refurbishing a house in Withington, also for a housing cooperative but to much more holistic and professional standards than us :-)
This space will be used for shiatsu and other massage practice, by our resident healers and those living elsewhere. If you want to use this space to practice your therapy in a month's time let us know, and if you want to Be massaged do the same!
It has had its wallpaper stripped, woodwork painted, underfloor cavity insulated, dead plaster removed and repointed bricks and patched up plaster the mo we're stripping paint off the walls. Its laborious! We've used Homestrip, which you can get from B&Q, its non-toxic stripper. Get in touch if you want to help us do this! Its going to take a few weeks yet, then we hope to have a LAUNCH event for the space (perhaps free massage will be involved!) as it will also be our 6 month anniversary in the house!