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Community? Alive and well. Think Job Clubs, Timebank and Funnuity.

Earlier in the year with a ton of practical jobs looming, a few friends and I decided to set up a Job Club. Big tasks can sometimes be a little overwhelming and hence get procrastinated or aren’t enjoyable. I’ve been aware of this for ages but thought that it might just be my issue or I just couldn’t see a way around it. However, Leo, over at the lovely blog Zen Habits talks a lot about us all (human beings) suffering the same problems. I guess understanding this on an intellectual level is the easy bit, making the emotional leap is different.

I had noticed however that people, including myself, often struggle with the amount and nature of certain tasks. I know from my years of working in gardens that having company can make things rock along just fine. Not that I’m knocking the solitary sphere, just that sometimes many hands do make light work. Which is another point made over at Zen Habits Sea Change – the usefulness of making habits social.


Tulip Paul Scherer and Spring Green

The idea is that we all go over to one persons house and set about the chosen job for a few hours plus social breaks. We’re running the Job Club on a credit system, as not everyone is around all of the time. I’m in charge of the spreadsheet, oohps better get on with that…

I was luckily the first name to be drawn (not fixed, honestly your honour) and five of us tackled the weeding and sorting of my polytunnel and assembled some wooden staging I’d bought. I forgot to take pictures I was so excited about getting stuff done – and the homemade cake which turned up with two participants. It only took about 3 hours on a Saturday morning which left the rest of the day free. Yesterday we went to P’s, she needed her garden sorting out.

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Yes, you just relax

Don’t get up, you just relax

That's right

That’s right

As you can see the cows have been enjoying all this fine weather too, though they are slightly miffed that I won’t let them have more grass as I am trying to keep them slim for the AI in May.

Anyway, I was telling my brother-in-law about the job club and he told me about the organisation Timebank where people swap skills, simply an hour for an hour. What a good idea. I know these kind of schemes have been going for years, but they seemed in the old days, though innovative, dominated by people who offered theraputic massage and other such healing things, which didn’t really get you very far when you needed a plumber. Or an architect. Or an IT specialist. Fast forward a few years and it’s gone a bit more mainstream and you can find out all about it here. I’m sure the internet has been totally transformative for things like this. I think I might sign up.

Our pole barn finally died in the winter storms. We will be putting up a new barn (all being well with the planners) soon

Our pole barn finally died in the winter storms. We will be putting up a new barn (all being well with the planners) soon.


Some of the unusable wood sawn for next winter. We’ll put it in the closed stove as it will spit like mad. It burns fast so excellent for heating water quickly.

Despite the sunshine the trees still looks pretty wintry down here.

Now on to Funnuity, I bet you’ve been intrigued about that. It’s a social enterprise blog/project set up to tackle the challenges of retirement without a huge pension pot…

The future should never feel more like a threat than an opportunity. That’s the starting point for funnuity – making lives worth living at any age’ 

With a huge aging population in most affluent countries the challenge to carry on living well into old age is a hot topic. There’s some great ideas on there for making extra cash and it’s just at the start of its life so expect lots of interesting posts about innovative ways to live into retirement.

Enjoy earning in later life!



The Perennial stall is up and running again. I’ve now got a plant hospital as well as growing from scratch – rescues from other gardens. The charity is trying to raise an extra £175,000 this year. Some friends and I are planning a coast to coast walk in August in Cornwall, hopefully we can contribute something to the pot after our effort…it’s not a massively long one, just 3 days. Better get into training nevertheless. Wish me luck!



22 Comments Post a comment
  1. There you are! I’ve been wondering – imagining that you were swept up in taking care of tasks over these (your – it’s still a bit too brisk around here) wonderful Spring. And I was right — but not quite as I imagined. I LOVE this idea of a Job Club and bet I could make it work in my great little ‘hood. So glad you are well and that the girls are looking so too. (I’m up against the same weight watching scheme only mine entails a glass less of wine!)
    Glad to see you again here.

    April 20, 2014
    • Hi Tricia, it’s been a while I know! Writing time has been swept up with learning to write poetry – which is all consuming, I was hoping to be able to do both but it hasn’t turned out like that. Great to see you, glad the job club idea has inspired you, it’s good fun and gets so much done. Think I’ll go for something domestic next time like cleaning windows. I’ll be over for a visit soon to see what you’ve been up to.

      April 21, 2014
  2. Reblogged this on TriciatierneysBlog and commented:
    Sometimes I like to imagine a different life – and my inclination to fantasize motivates some of my blog-reading habits. Here’s one of my favorites. This post is full of great ideas, beautiful landscape and cows!! I’ll be rallying the neighborhood for some great Job-Club – perhaps couching it a bit in the idea of the party when the work is done…

    April 20, 2014
    • Thanks very much.

      April 21, 2014
      • Well, I had great intentions – but it showed up on the old one — and I can’t figure out how to send it to the ‘live’ one. Not sure if it’s because my new one is a GoDaddy domain? I fail here, I’m afraid. I know you’ve gotten me out of a cyber hole before so if you can give me guidance here, I’ll give it a re-try! Certainly worth sharing.

        April 21, 2014
  3. It makes so much sense! I agree that the solitary task is rewarding sometimes but working in a team and getting stuff done that would otherwise be daunting, if not impossible, is just good sense. I wish you were a little closer ….

    April 20, 2014
    • Oh I think some of us wouldn’t mind coming over your way – it would be an adventure. Let us know if you’d be interested. In any case I’m definitely going to make it over for a visit this year!

      April 21, 2014
  4. Charlotte #

    Great pictures as always – and why shouldn’t getting old be an adventure in doing things a bit differently – up the silver foxes x

    April 21, 2014
  5. Good luck with training for the walk! The swapping skills and Job Club sound great ideas – often I need extra help (garden…) but there is only little old me and occasionally my boyfriend, so it’s taken forever to get stuff done.

    April 21, 2014
    • Thanks Rachel, I’m not sure whether we’ll be camping or not – the thought of carrying a pack is a bit dispiriting. Are there people around you could recruit for a job club? It really has made a difference. We don’t do it every Saturday, just when people are available. Five people on a job makes it really whizz by.

      April 21, 2014
      • Nah… I would stay in a B & B if I were you 😉 bath at the end of a long days’ walking will be divine!

        Not really, I don’t know too many people round here to be honest, haven’t been here long. Getting friendly with our only neighbour, although at 70 odd years I think he’s past the hard labour stage…

        April 21, 2014
  6. Reblogged this on funnuity and commented:
    I love timebanking and that other hardy perennial LETS schemes. Once the basic bills are covered exchanging tasks is a brilliant way of maximising skills, talents and tiny incomes.

    April 21, 2014
  7. :). Very interesting idea job club!!!

    April 21, 2014
  8. Wonderful information, as always — and LOVE the pictures!!

    April 22, 2014
    • Did you see the sea? Thanks for the visit, always lovely to see you, glad you enjoyed the info.

      April 22, 2014
  9. This is delightful in any number of ways. It sounds as if you’re re-creating the world I grew up in, which gives me great hope for the future.

    It’s amazing to think of the number of chores that were – and are still – done communally, especially in rural communities. I grew up with barn raisings, quilting bees, and round-robin harvesting, where all of the men would go to a farm, bring in the crop, then move on to the next. The women cooked, and the kids… well, the kids did their part, too.

    Many a day I sat with the women and snapped beans when that crop came in, or peeled apples for hours on end for canning. Gosh, it was fun.

    As for the bartering, I’ve even done a bit of that in my day. My best-ever barter happened when I needed a hysterectomy. One of my boat customers happened to be an ob-gyn and a surgeon. We traded a year’s worth of varnishing for my surgery. What’s not to like about that?

    As for retirement and income – I’ll probably be working on boats until I’m 80. On the other hand, I figure if I become the Guiness Book of Records’ “oldest living varnisher”, I can go on the talk show circuit and make even more money!

    April 25, 2014
    • I like it shoreacres, your best ever barter. What a result.

      I guess with rural communities it does happen a lot more naturally…the land brings the kind of urgency which just doesn’t usually exist in an urban environment. But timebanking in cities could work very well.

      I can just see you wielding your sandpaper and brushes way into the future. But I’m sure you’ve got a book in you too – and I want to read it!

      All the best to you and your moggy.

      April 27, 2014
  10. I really like the Job Club concept. Many times I’ve been doing some tedious all-day job and thinking that if there were 5 or 6 of us we could knock this out in an hour or two and have fun doing it.

    You may have heard of “crop mobs.” That’s when a gang of city-dwellers who want to get dirt under their fingernails on weekends will descend upon a farm and help with some big chore, like putting up a fence, weeding the gardens, etc.

    I’m hoping they’ll decide to mob me this summer. 🙂

    April 30, 2014
    • Hi Bill

      I have heard of similar things but I don’t think it’s called crop mobs here. Is there a scheme you can join to get mobbed? ! I know about WOOFing (working on organic farms) where people travel the world and work on farms. A friend nearby who is a proper farmer totally relies on her WOOFers – at the moment they have a Tunisian woman working full time for bed and board, she came for 6 months and is still here a year later. That’s what happens when you move to Cornwall you sloooow doooown so much you can’t actually move 🙂

      Thanks for the visit, you are most welcome. I’ve been toying with getting a couple of goats, I might need to ask you some questions!

      Best wishes for a great harvest.

      April 30, 2014

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