Monday, 4 August 2014

Something magical about coming home...

There's something magical about coming home to New Zealand.

The space. The big blue skies. Friendly faces.

It's so true that sometimes its good to go away for a while to appreciate what you have and where you come from.

Our community really is a special place. I have friends here from all walks of life. Friends who cook dinners for new mums and families in need, friends who deliver freshly cooked meals for the elderly, friends who help raise funds for organisations like the local Kindy, Toy Library or Preschool. Its difficult here to walk down the street without seeing a friendly face.

It's those faces that make this community such an amazing place.

So glad to be home.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Experts to share future living skills...

While our UK trip begins to draw to a close a new adventure awaits us in New Zealand! Here are some more details about the 8 week night course coming up in Geraldine which I'm co-tutoring with Rhys Taylor.

If you live in the area and are keen then book a place and I'll see you there!

If you're outside the area and are keen to find a course near you then visit

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Powerful Message

Ask not what your town can do for you. 
What can 'I DO' for my town.

An unused building in Todmorden, with a massively powerful message!

Of all the awe inspiring places we've been to on our trip where positive change is taking place at a community level, there's one thing that connects them all. The people behind them.

These people are different, they seem to have something in common... 

I think for them joy in life doesn't come from things like the latest car, high powered job, or an ultra modern house. For them life has more meaning and purpose. That's the difference. 

These people have peeled back the layers, the bits and pieces in life which don't really matter (or do more harm than good), and in doing so actually discover their true purpose in life. To make a difference. To create a better world. To achieve great things and bring about positive change. 

The magic thing is... they go for it! They're not afraid of trying something new or being someone different. And like the signs in this photo, they 'Do' stuff for their town, rather than expecting their town to do it for them. 

Along the way, like a sprinkling of fairy dust, they begin to create the community they want their children to live in. 

Now that's inspirational.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A funky Welsh Beach and 2.5 kilos...

Yesterday we visited this beach in Aberystwyth, a funky Welsh student city. I had no idea that the visit would take me somewhere I'd never been...

In the blustering wind I spotted a huge amount of blue rubbish on the beach. The more I looked the more I saw.

'Rubbish? Who cares about a bit of rubbish. Not my problem...' people may say. Well I've learn't what happens to plastic when it enters the ocean and how toxic it is to all forms of life, including us here's why. So I set to work 'litter picking' as the locals called it.

Now this is the first time I've done this, inspired by Sam Judd and his work. And I was shocked. I picked up 2.5 kilos in an hour. But that's not what shocked me...

Turns out the blue 'rubbish' was peeled off paint from the building I was near. And that paint had been peeled off during work to restore it after massive tidal storms they had here 6 months ago, caused by climate change and rising sea levels.

Don't believe me? Here's a video of the storm. Watch from 1:10 and you'll see the wave blast reaching over 7 stories high.

I picked up everything that morning from jandals, to hair combs and yoghurt wrappers, to hundreds and hundreds of cigarette butts. When I left that morning that small part of the beach was looking much better and I felt good, I had made a small difference. But more importantly my daughter had shared the experience and learn't from it.

A big shout out to the friendly folk who came to say thank you, and lended me and my daughter some litter picking gear. It's quite contagious actually, litter picking. I could do it all day.

Grandad found this.
Made my day.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Treehouses at Alnwick, North England...

The last few weeks of our UK trip have been brilliant. From homemade Yorkshire Puddings and seeings hundreds of oceanic wind turbines, to treehouses and living roofs.

One of the highlights for me was the Treehouse at Alnwick Castle and Gardens, in Northumberland. The treehouse is held up by 83 mature trees and was made using sustainably sourced timber. Aesthetically very beautiful with incredibly creative use of natural timbers.  It was a wonderful experience.

Entrance to Roots & Shoots Garden at Alnwick Castle.
Which includes a childrens garden. Fabulous!

Living Roof by the Poison Garden,
Alnwick Castle

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Now THIS is how you empower a Town...

Used to be bare lot, now 'Pollination Street'
Beehive where you can Peep In.
Location - central city.
 Now this is how you empower a town, a city, a person, a planet - to improve their health, improve their community, improve their way of life.

The Incredible Edibles in Todmorden, UK. A group of volunteers with real vision and motivation, who get out there and try something new and see what happens. Along the way they are transforming their town, raising living standards, bringing tourists into their region, and inspiring others during the journey.

Thank you Pam Warhurst and Incredible Edibles for your time, your energy, and your vision. This is what life is all about.

This is what a carpark at a hospital should look like.
Fruit trees bearing ripening fruit,
blackcurrents and strawberries galore.

Herbs and berries gallore
Hospital carpark.

An absolute pleasure to meet Pam Warhurst.

Just one of the many signs

Bear Cafe - what a fabulous place!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Wow. The beauty of this blew me away...

Wow what a day. Today I stumbled on what I thought was a small community garden with two massive locked gates and a sign I could not read.

So, speaking no english and reading no Czech I waited till someone came out so I could sneak in. Not possible. So, when I spotted a Czech woman on her way out I must have conveyed serious enthusiasm from my sign language as she took me in having not understood a word I said!

This is what I found....

Beautiful alotments that went on and on and on. I saw only about a quarter. It was like a miniature garden city, full of flowers, winding pathways, edibles, and life. Along with friendly people, water wells, picnic places and tiny little cabins to stay in during summer. 

I've always wanted to see an alotment, I wasn't expecting it to be such an overwhelming experience. What a magnificent place. Beautifully inspiring.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

We are in Czech Republic. It has taught me something...

We are travelling for the next few months. Six countries, eight weeks. Right now we are in the Czech Republic.

Now here is something important. Czech is an old and beautiful country. A thousand years of civilisation, 10.5million people. With all their history and population the Czech people have kept a precious resource unharmed, which we have not done in much of NZ.

You see yesterday it was scorching hot. Very humid also. And in the heat of the day I saw young children and families take to the rivers to cool off and have fun.

"Oh my goodness can people swim here safely?" I ask my new friend.

"Oh yes of course! Our water is very clean and safe to drink. It comes from the mountains".

This shocked me. It really did. I live near mountains in NZ. Pristine mountains. But as I recently found out, our country has lost much of our clean water. In many of our rivers we cannot swim, or bathe as these wonderful Czechs can.