Preparing and enjoying two or three communal meals a week will be key events in our common house at Cannock Mill. We expect to use these occasions to develop and celebrate our sense of community and to share it with our visitors and Colchester friends. The fun will not be confined to the feast; conversation can flow over the vegetable peelings as well.
But sharing meals does not wait for us to complete and occupy our Passivhaus homes; indeed, it began a long time back, and continues as each new member joins us and gets involved in our cohousing project.
A communal lunch, when we each bring a contribution for a pot-luck buffet, follows our monthly Board meetings. Unplanned and spontaneous, these lunches always turn out to be delicious. Whether it’s home-made quiche, salads and breads, or bought cheeses, cold meats and fruit, they mix and match to provide for all tastes and diverse dietary preferences. These lunches are an opportunity to chat and exchange news, meet potential new members (and for them to meet us) and to unwind after the formal meeting has ended.
Between the large Board meetings our sub-groups meet in members’ homes. A ‘simple supper’ is served by the host, with those attending providing the extras to make it into something of a feast. Soup, bread and cheese may be supplemented with a bottle of wine, fruit, chocolate or Turkish delight. The chat and informal discussion over the meal, together with the experience of visiting one another’s homes, draws us closer together.
This understanding of one another, of what makes each of us tick, which has developed from the timeless traditions of preparing and sharing food, has bonded us to a degree that surprises and encourages us all. As Rosie and Phil said in their recent blog, most of our members joined without initially knowing any of the other members, but we have come to respect and value one another. Like family, we are all different, we will not always agree, but we already have shared experiences that will help see us through any difficult times. Together we make better decisions than we would do as disparate individuals, and it is fun to engage in the process.