“I don’t know yet. Sometimes churches let you sleep in the church yard.” I said.
Maddy said she would check with her husband but I might be able to stay with them.
“Thank you! Well, see how he feels about it.” I said.
A few minutes later she came back and confirmed that we could head to her place together for dinner.
Various outdoor and exercise shoes and clothing were hung or stacked near the door. A friendly dog greeted us at the door and we went through into the open plan kitchen and lounge with large full length windows looking out onto the garden. While dinner was cooking we chatted on the sofa.
“Tell me a bit more about Transition Wells.” I said enthusiastically. What sorts of things do you do?”
“At first we showed public films, and then a lot of people wanted action. The core group kept going and became more action focused. We ran a swapping event a few times to reduce waste. The energy group decided to focus and got a great range of skills. Retired people were able to give their time which was essential. What else?…We got a grant and were able to get a thermal imaging camera and offer free heat surveys of people’s homes so they could reduce heat loss.
“We have a pop up shop with a banner and info stalls. It works best in Autumn when people are thinking about the cold. We’re going to run an energy day with exhibition space for companies, speakers and free entry.”
“I started attending the Transition Wells meetings back in 2010 and its been a very inspiring time, meeting lots of really interesting people, from all parts of the community, all joining together. Because they want a better future for their grandchildren. I’m very motivated by working for a community in that way. I’ve always worked on a community basis. It feels very real, and it feels good to be doing something that is important. What can be more important than your children’s future?
“In my view it’s about bringing people with you. Transition is deliberately not political but it attracts people who care about the environment. We did a survey of members and they want the group to support renewable and oppose fracking. Eric Pickles is blocking wind turbines.”
“How did you get support?” I asked.
“Contacting and influencing local leaders is important,” said Maddy, “and them recognising their responsibility as a local leader to lead the way. Deborah Evans in Bristol has had a powerful influence because she was known from her role as a leader in the NHS.”
After dinner there was more discussion ranging from our experiences and feeling on family, love and society, to life purpose. I felt a great affinity with Maddy and that we were able to talk about things close to our hearts, although we had only met that day. Maddy shared a metaphor with me from a team day she had been on once.
“We were all in a big circle and given drums. We were told to keep drumming. Whatever happens, you must keep drumming…But of course you can’t. Sooner or later your hand hurt and you have to stop. But what we found was as long as even just one person kept tapping quietly other people would come back in and it would crescendo again. But if everyone stopped nobody wanted to start again, we felt we had failed.
“If you can just keep going even if its really quiet, other people will eventually come back in. You have to rest. The important thing is not to give up. Sometimes you can make a suggestion and the time isn’t right. It’s about just keeping suggesting it and eventually the time will be right.”