After a bit of a breather from writing and planning at Monkton Wylde, I’ve made my way up to Canon Frome, in Herefordshire. Monkton was very beautiful – idyllic really, with the old stone building and gardens. The community was a bit shaky from recent transitions, but the people were very decent and largely friendly. Had some interesting conversations and made a couple of new friends.
Delving into the issues of communal living, much has been coming up around whether or not it really works, and if it does, the degree to which it is permanent or temporary. Monkton seemed to be a place where people would stay for short periods (1-5 years) then move on. Although it is also a place where people stay without any sort of ownership, and I imagine this lends itself to a feeling of impermanence – with the inability to be in control of your position / stability.
Some conversations site the inherent conflicts that occur in such close quarters. I’m trying to learn more about what that’s like - how intense the frictions can become, and how they build up. Also, how they’re managed. Seems like a community is a micro model of society in general. All the social issues are compounded and amplified. Same issues of government apply. So it’s a tricky bit figuring out how much to structure the social rules – finding that balance of restricting undesirable behavior and allowing personal freedom seems to be at the core of human beings.
Am very excited about Canon Frome – fully functioning complete farm including livestock. Members have private ownership of their housing units, structured in coordination with a share in the housing committee, as well as the farm lands and produce. Will write more about my impressions shortly. Off today to Hereford to see a cathedral and get a better sense of the surrounding context.
view from Monkton Wylde
sea wall at Lyme Regis
Aquarium buildng at Lyme Regis
Old guild hall at Lyme Regis - had fish and chips around the corner