Progress 2

Tools for Tanzania, Africa

Tools for Self Reliance, helping communities in Africa

Things are looking up! My trip to Wales and the latest Blue Patch members intertwine in this blog, along with an explanation of our company’s purpose to foster a healthy economy, support community, build in resourcefulness and help restore the health of our eco-system.

dancing lessons

Sapphire Groove

This burst of positivism is illustrated by human catapults Sapphire Groove, the brainchild of professional dancer Tania Pieri. If you’ve ever wanted to Lindy Hop, do the Charleston, waltz or even entice the old man with a bit of Bollywood in billowing chiffon – she’s your woman. It’s a low carbon gift too as the only energy your using is your own. On the subject of personal energy, walking in the Brecon Beacons in Wales has to be one of the nicest ways to expend it. A place of history, mystery and beauty, Jim and I walked up mountains and down valleys, and never was the scene the same. Even the rain was pretty.

Rood Screen, Wales

Rood screen. Detail. Church of St Issui, Wales

On one of our walks we came to the church of St Issui. Inside, a perfect 15th Century Irish oak carved rood screen, living, growing almost, with leaves and fruit. A different kind of skill to dancing, this ancient carving transports a joyful energy from the depths of time. The rood screen serves a purpose too, a marriage of form and function. Form also meets function in this folk guitar made by Alex Bishop where the extraordinary sound quality is echoed in the visual perfection of his work. Alex will be playing at the Blue Patch launch ‘show’ on 28th September.

Hand made guitars by Alex Bishop

Alex Bishop

Breathing the fresh air on top of the Sugarloaf (one of the Brecon Beacon mountains) every shade of green rolling across the land, it’s easy to forget what the miners went through. Big Pit: the National Coal Museum was a real eye opener. Bill, an ex miner, took us down to the bottom of the coal mine. It’s cold, almost windy and dark of course, you want to take that lift straight back up. But you soon suppress the fear, it’s an indulgence after so many people spent their working lives there. Bill asked us to put our helmet torches off, the dark is the sort of dark where your body ceases to exist.

coal mine Wales

Big Pit: National Coal Museum

In the early days children as young as 6 were put to work in these mines, and if their candles blew out they had 12 hours in that pitch blackness. Mining got better, eventually a 7 hour day. But what a job, the lowest seam – no 9, was mined lying all day on your side, the seam just as long as my forearm. Mining communities mattered, the bond between people both above and below ground, where to lack trust and cooperation carried risk, was obviously critical, however the towns and villages were also tight-knit. A competitive global market put paid to a way of life that people fought to protect.

Big Pit: National Coal Museum

The lift down at the Big Pit

We’re in a different space now, struggling in a cats cradle of financial complexity and on the cusp of changes that will impact upon every one of  us  – the various tipping points of our climate. So let’s combine the community spirit of the miners, with the skill of the crafter and the energy of a dancer to leap forwards to create a more resourceful and productive society, where the loop is closed on waste and we have time to be friends, neighbours and families. Sustainability is most definitely a work in progress, and whether you’re a climate skeptic or not,  by reducing mess, cleaning up the air, oceans and rivers, de-intensifying farming, cutting food miles and repairing stuff – eventually having 100% renewable energy, we’ll find the knock on social and environmental benefits will be tremendous.

clean energy on Blue Patch

Abundance Generation

You can explore British made and ethical products and services in the Blue Patch directory

If you’re interested in joining Blue Patch please do take a look at the ways we can benefit your business and drop us a line
The Blue Patch launch is on 28th September in Herne Hill, London. More news soon!