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Cymuned y Chwarel

By Amanda Roll Pickering
June 2004, Machynlleth
A digital story from Capture Wales

The Community in the Quarry

Amanda reflects on years of campaigning against planetary destruction and her decision to live a sustainable life in a hobbit house in the heart of Wales.

"Chopping wood may not be everyone's idea of fun, but to me it's a luxury. First I chop, then I build my fire, light it, sit back and relax. An hour or so later I have a toasty warm house and piping hot water for a shower.

There was a time when my favourite food took three minutes to cook in a microwave but now I love slow food - soaking the beans and slicing the vegetables, to cook a big meal to share with the community.

Our community meals are an important occasion to catch up share news get to know new people and appreciate the old ones, while planning the next project. We all take our turn to cook and wash up a tradition that has been going on for 30 years. We share much more than meals. Everyone has a different responsibility: the accounting, the food order, getting the wood in and we also have work days where we pool our resources to fix a house or plant a garden. We all have skills to offer each other and between us we achieve the impossible and of course we come together for fun, camp fires, music making and parties.

We try to live in an eco-friendly way. Our power comes from the sun, the rain and the wind, our water from the reservoir, our waste is recycled and we make plenty of compost!

I feel passionately about the environment. I have spent years of my life campaigning to stop pollution, shouting about climate change, deforestation, and genetic engineering, demonstrating against bombs and mobilising others to join me in the fight against planetary destruction. But a life of constant battle left me exhausted.

Now I work for positive change at the Centre for Alternative Technology and I take time to enjoy the land that I want to protect while attempting to live a sustainable life in my low impact, solar/wind powered hobbit house."


Please tell us a little about yourself.
I live at the Centre for Alternative Technology in a sustainable community. I love this part of the world: the mountains, the forests, the beaches.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
My story is about the community I live in: the way we live and why we enjoy it. I wanted to say something about being part of a community and living a low-impact life and why I have chosen this life.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
Getting to know nine other people from Machynlleth and hearing everybody's stories.

Your comments

"It was wonderful to hear that there are people who manage to live a good clean life and it only made me wish that I could put myself in their position and share such a life. I've lived in London all my life and have always felt out-of-place and yearned for the real countryside. They are living the dream but unfortunately it would not be possible for all the population to live like that." Jeannette Pomeroy, London.

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