Anarres has Landed

Not ‘landed’ as in ‘gentry’, but as in ‘rockets’. Well, as in ‘land’ – because Anarres officially has land! As of Friday 18 March, we picked up keys to the new place. Our saga of perpetual homelessness finally came to a close this year, although in a somewhat anticlimactic way. Now we get to join the league of housed co-ops, wherein we discover that all of our problems are far from solved, but instead replaced with new ones!

So when we carried each other across the threshold, what did we find? Well, the lighting’s a little dark, the rooms smell a bit musty, and we were soon presented with the previous owners’ baffling electrical blunders (our favourite one is tied between the upside-down switches or the plug socket two-thirds buried inside a wall). But the place is airy and spacious (by Bristol standards), the neighbours seem nice, and Poppy the dog seems very much in love with the garden – if her non-stop barking is anything to go by. At least it drowns out most of the noise from the traffic.

Poppy the dog investigating the garden

What else, what else? It’s surprisingly hard to write blog posts here, especially when part-fuelled by cider, and our new housemate is playing Beattles songs on the uke. Don’t be too surprised if the next paragraph starts to read just like a verse of ‘Help’, is all I’m saying.

So I guess this exciting new chapter of Anarres life is pretty exciting, despite the raft of change of address forms and insurance policies to fill out, ringing round the water companies, the internet providers, and the energy suppliers. It’s a strange time of balancing and contrasting companies’ professed ethical practices, their actual practices, and how much their professed ethics will cost us per month (bearing in mind that the co-op seems fantastically loaded with funds right now, but these will soon start to vanish). It’s also a bit of guesswork as to which ‘sustainable’ energy companies will fold over the following months, and how much Russia’s expansionism is going to push up our power bill. We also now get to tap into almost-entirely-abstract maintenance budgets to fix the shortfalls in our living conditions that we can’t tolerate, and put aside those shortfalls that we can for tomorrows.

If our co-op included members with alleged past-life squatter selves, they might allegedly urge us to give these people fake names and laughingly (allegedly) ignore the papertrail of red-inked letters as they pile inside the letterboxes of their former homes; but for us, we’re now very much legit (just ask the FCA), so we can never play such games. But we probably also don’t have to sleep with a crowbar or other blunt instrument under our pillows, and half-expect to wake up to bailiffs banging on the door. Probably. We are, after all, upstanding members of the community…

Oh, money – let’s talk money! We’ll soon be begging a loan from Radical Routes, but we also still want loanstock investors. If you have a desire to be one of those investors, we’re looking to source a total of £13,500, ideally made up of a series of loans of no less than £500, to be paid back over a period of 5 to 20 years, at an interest rate between 0 to 3%. If you think you can help, please contact us, at anarreshousing[at]riseup[dot]net.

Future plans include:

  • extra habitat modules to house two new Odonians by the end of the year
  • adding more native wildlife-friendly species to the garden hedge (to also provide privacy and sound-dampening)
  • planting fruit, veg, and non-toxic flowers, so the dog doesn’t spend her days chowing down on daffodils
  • doing something about the probable (asbestos-laced) artex in the ceilings, and probable lead in the pipes
  • installing external and underfloor insulation by the end of the year, and seeing how much we can stretch the grants and loans towards solar panels and air-source heat pumps
  • transitioning our regular meetings away from mundane paperwork and towards more inspiring topics
  • finding a new housemate in time for the new bedrooms to come online
  • having a baby!

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