Here and There

Reports from near and far

PDC on-line chickens housing birthing Angus Soutar

Lock down, belt up, and watch out for those Zoom bombs..

We have always considered that our strengths at the Northern School have been in the quality of the classroom experience that we provide and the learning and connections that emerge from it. Up to now, we have resisted "remote teaching". But we must be able to react in emergencies, demonstrate our resilience and get on with things as best we can. So, we immediately transferred our course to the Zoom platform and the lockdown period became very productive. We have been learning fast about Zoom, having done some rapid myth-busting about it and we have developed a set of meeting protocols to suit the new environment.

Our previous courses are working towards completion, with end-of-course presentations from the participants of the recent Didsbury Parsonage course showing that our students have learned with us on the use of the technology. A good rule of thumb is to only use the technology where it is necessary or helpful. We adapt (non-technical) classroom practices so they continue on-line. We don't reject practices just because they look "old fashioned". We select technologies according to how well they function for us. We will be happy to share our experiences at a later date.


As Angus says, "It's not the same as being in the classroom, but it's better than nothing". All our existing students will have the opportunity to experience our usual classes, once it is safe to "open up" the venues again.

News from Rob Watson

Hoping everything is well with you, it sure has been an unusual year for us all!

I thought I’d share with you a little permaculture project I’ve been up to during lockdown. I decided it was high time we got some chickens and I had some old wooden palettes lying around so would have a go at building one myself.

I asked family if they had any old wood and a few of them had two new palettes I could use. Add in some materials I had in the shed (inc. our old loft hatch door) and hey presto I had everything to get started with it. Once I got to the roof and the run I decided to ask others on Facebook if they had any material I could use for the roof and out of the blue a friend dropped off seam galvanised steel for the roof as well as the netting to make the run (everything appears like magic!).

Watson chickens 1           Plucky clucky lucky "rescues"!
Watson chicken house 1 Watson chicken house 2
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All in all its cost me £3 to make (plastic window) so I’m well chuffed with the outcome and we’ll be getting the hens later this month. So won’t be long before I’ll have an abundance of eggs :)

A Request from Mike Kelly

Mike was on the PDC that Elaine Speakman organised at the Creative Living Centre in Prestwich a while back. Also on that course was Jack Wright, stalwart of the Manchester Road Community Centre. Amongst many other interesting projects, Mike has recently been helping with improvements to the grounds at Manchester Road. He has sent us the following request:

"I am presently involved with a group of people looking at the possibility of creating a co housing site within Greater Manchester. The group is called ManCo. At present most of the group live on the South side of Manchester and we would therefore be particularly interested in hearing from anybody on the North side of Manchester who is interested in trying to set up a Co-housing site with us."

You can contact Mike through the message form here and we will forward the information to him.

Whalley has a new local hero!

Trevor and Hayley are pleased to announce the arrival of Byron Angus Steven Wynne who was born on the 16th March in the middle of the virus emergency lockdown.

With remarkable forsight, the newborn decided that, rather than wait for an amulance to take his mother to the Delivery Suite at Burnley General (where he was due to be induced if he didn't get a move on), he would arrive in the safety and comfort of the GP surgery in Whalley. This has aroused much speculation on the topic of "in utero" learning. Could it be that he was affected by Hayley's previous visits to the unit? (These were far from pleasant, but that is a story for her to tell).

Not content with being set up for life with a tale of being born in the early days of lockdown during the 2020 virus pandemic, Byron Angus Steven now has the glorious priviledge of being the first baby to be born at facilities in Whalley since the closure of Bramley Mead maternity home in Whalley in 1989. May there be many more!

Krysia writes in this issue and elsewhere about the importance of local maternity centres

We hope that the lad will have a long and fruitful life, dining out for many glorious evenings to relate this triumph. We need fresh champions for local services and permaculture in the future!

Trevor and Byron Angus

From the archive

A great wave of nostalgia arrives with the discovery of these pictures from the PDC at Meridiane House in Chorley in 2012. Where are they now? Let us know at Northern Edge!

Meridiane 1 Meridiane 2
Meridiane 3 Chorley Cake
Thanks to Meridiane House and to Emma for organising Chorley cake!

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