Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welsh pols try to destroy lovely straw-bale house

Both today and yesterday, friends of two very different persuasions put up the same article on Facebook. The first who posted it is a man, an entrepreneur and former member of Britain's armed forces. The second is a woman, an actress, writer/poet, raconteur, follower of the druid path. And yet, they both noted the insanity in the current attempt by Pembrokeshire authorities to destroy something beautiful, natural, sensible and holistic.

To destroy a home much more beautiful than even this cute and natural straw-bale home:

A simple straw-bale home in Germany; the one in Pembrokeshire is much more beautiful. (Wiki commons)

This amazing Pembrokrshire home was hand-made. (Clink link below photo to see the Welsh house.) It was made by a man without much money, living in a caravan, who built a straw-bale house for himself, his pregnant partner, and the baby to come. He spent only $23,000 (about 15,000 pounds), and placed the house in a rural setting on land already owned by his father. We should all be so lucky.

And so creative. His house is a marvel of compact natural beauty, but fully workable for modern people. Not only does it blend in with its natural surroundings; it has a lawn for a roof. There is only one problem: He forgot to bow down and kiss whatever's hangin' off  the Pembrokeshire County Council. Now they want to make him tear down his hand-made, hand-crafted, ecologically friendly home.

This is what that really means.

  • The man did not fork over money he could not afford to a local certified contractor.
  • He did not employ an architect to tell him how to build a simple home, something our ancestors have been doing since they first moved out of ready-made caves.
  • He did not ask the county council to bless his design; doubtless, since it does not employ plastics or pebble dash or PVC downspouts (no need with the grass), they would have found it aesthetically lacking and would have turned him down.
According to the story on naturalhomes.org, "Pembrokeshire County Council's enforcement notice says the property is, 'harmful to the rural character of the locality' and must be demolished. This is the rural character close to Charlie's home on Google Street View." Farmland, folks. Grass. A few trees.

As for the Pembrokeshire County Council, I would like to leave them with the following thoughts:

Wales has been properly castigated over the years for its treatment of miners, those who dragged value out of the hills at enormous personal cost to their lives and limbs, and mainly to enrich the titled from England, next door, who came to extract all they could and then leave. By your actions, you demonstrate that you are flunkies for a neighboring state's former ruling class. In short, time has left you behind. Now get out of the way.

A drive through Pembrokeshire today reveals more houses in need of upgrading than not, clinging to hills and byways by a hair, needing paint, needing care, not getting it because of the economic situation. The same situation that caused one brilliant man to use materials at hand and sculpt a dwelling that not only fits the landscape...it IS the landscape. Grass/straw, lime, trees, grass. End of story.

There is a move afoot to badger the council into doing the right thing; find it in the naturalhomes.org story and follow the instructions on how to protest, if you feel able.

And then do whatever it is you do to encourage the planets to align in favor of this home and its family...pray, dance, drink, donate, pour libations....

It may be that the builder can hoist the council on its own petard. A comment on the naturalhomes.org story noted:

"The council have absolutely NO authority over this. Unless, you are an agent of the crown. Statutes only apply to agents or those who contract. I suggest you send them a Notice of Non-Acceptance of Service and Seeking Clarification. You will have to do your homework, but it has worked for me. I wish you every success."

As do I. I wish every success to this amazing man, who built a home for his family the old-fashioned way, from natural materials with his own hands. Who did not fall down in obeisance to those less spiritually, mentally and aesthetically healthy than himself, that is, the Pembrokeshire County Council.

To the Pembrokeshire County Council, my wish is simple. I wish that they may receive enlightenment and leave this man alone, nay, that they truly see the light and suggest that others do similar things.

Should they fail to become enlightened and proceed against this master builder, I wish the council the following: That they live out their days castigated for fools, ridiculed for lack of foresight, hornswoggled for lack of insight, and generally as miserable as the treatment they have given to a citizen in their own domain.

So mote it be.