Bj Allen

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since Feb 07, 2016
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Recent posts by Bj Allen

You read this thread... & repeatedly, excitedly, re-assuredly have that moment of ooooh.. 'I'm not the only one!!' :-)

5 months ago

Rose Pinder wrote:

Jd Gonzalez wrote:

Where they say

In the article, Warman notes, "Although we share most of our DNA with great apes, there are some striking anatomical differences between ourselves and our nearest relatives, most notably our vertical posture. This enables us to walk tall with our hands free, but it also comes at a price: we experience problems with our back and joints, and the whole business of evacuating our waste is more difficult. The fundamental problem is that the area used for releasing urine and faeces is compressed between thighs and buttocks, so we are more likely than other animals to foul ourselves. We also differ from other animals in our response to our waste, which we tend to regard with disgust. This seems to have developed as a result of living together in settlements rather than roaming through the forest, where we could leave our mess behind us. Unlike other primates we can learn when and where it is acceptable to excrete."

This might fit into the TMI territory (is that possible on this thread?), but the rewilding crowd's theory is that hunter gatherer humans diet meant that the poo came out in a neater, cleaner, more contained package than we are used to now (and more like what other animals have). I also think there is a difference between squatting and sitting on the toilet in terms of how easy it is to have a clean poo.

Continuing with TMI: I'd agree with the 'squatting results in cleaner poo'.. it's easier on the body & also apparently empties the last 10% of your colon properly (whereas sitting does not). As a side note, I've heard that the majority of bowel cancer is found within that last 10% that never gets properly emptied when you poo sitting, the last wee 'tail' of the colon. If you don't/can't proper squat.. use a wee stool/stand. The branded ones are called 'Squatty Potty' (they have a cute wee 'ad' video on youtube that is defo worth watching!) but ANY stepstool or etc will work. I'm not exaggerating when I say this will change your life!

Edit: Like Josephine said above.. it also means far less TP used!
1 year ago
What a FAB idea!! :-) I want in.... :-)
1 year ago
*cheeky wee bump* in the hopes of refreshing interest..

2 years ago

Yuri Petusko wrote:

Burra Maluca wrote:If you're building in the UK, the problem won't be the money to build, but the permission to build.  I don't know the laws in Spain so can't comment on that.

Is that so? There are a lot of historic cob houses in Devon and Cornwall, wouldn't it make a difference?
I know how hard it is to get planning permit in UK in general, but does it make a difference if house is made of cob?

2 years ago
Hi Mark,

Apologies, I was a wee bit *doom-and-gloom* on this yesterday.. (I've been thru all this myself!) But don't let me 'dampen your sunshine' perse.. And in absolute open-hands fairness, it's been 2 years since I saw that.. & Ben is very active and outspoken about the needed planning changes here, with his own case/experience actually being one of the 'lunatics paving the way' ..with loads of positive action.. so maybe things have changed a wee bit since!

Aye, the community is definitely a factor.. & that's one of the reasons Wales does so well! There's also more & more people getting involved (or at least asking about!) this in general.. & people power really speaks.. Especially local folk to local Councils!! (aka The Powers That Be)

You're absolutely right tho about the fight-or-no-fight dilemma.. which is another reason why networking/talking/brainstorming with those already paving the way is so important! And in my experience most folk are more than happy to give you pointers and help.. Any victory gained, no matter how wee, squidges the door open just that tiny bit more! *positivity*

You've inspired me to have another run at it this.. Or at least a wee peek.. before giving up & starting in Europe instead! *the fight dilemma*

I'm going to order that wee book as well.. so I'll join in on your next planning debates!

2 years ago
Random Idea -

It's not really your 'preferred' situation I know.. but if you are diplomatic you can always try approaching your local Council for some neglected/un-used land.. if you can get permission just to work it (present it to them as 'beautify it' ) then it opens up all sorts of doors!

Not to mention.. that later on, those same people (who have watched what you've done with that wee piece of land) are the ones who might stamp off on your crazy out-of-the-system approach to things!

2 years ago

mark best wrote:Thanks for the reply, I am not easily deterred.
My understanding so far is that you cannot change the use of agricultural land but that you can live on it if you can show you are using it for agricultural use that requires people living there (see ben law). This is basically what i am trying to find out by reading the rural planning hand book.
I had not thought about all the issues with the building regs but this could make things expensive if I am expected to put all the utilities in.
I am also wondering what it would be like to live close by to an area of agricultural land and to work it that way. Given that zoning is central to permaculture, having everything in zone 5 doesn't make that much sense to me.

Ben Law has done some awesome stuff.. but even he had to concede to some biggies.. my understanding is he has a life-lease and when he dies, the house is left to rot back into the forest.. his kids and etc won't be able to stay on or anything. He also had to fight fight fight to do what he did.. and then, when he fell in love and started a family, there was another round of issues just to get them in.. BUT he DID do it!! There's a really good BBC(?) documentary out there somewhere that has the story.

Aye, the utilities are expensive in their own right.. but what reallllllllllly eats up the cash is all the planning permissions/issues/paperwork/fighting/explaining.. etc etc etc. You'll notice everything you read or hear about land use in the UK, folk are obsessed with planning issues here.. and there's a reason for that unfortunately!

You (can) attempt a proper sneak attack (there's some literature out there about it).. it kind of piggie-backs off the 'you can have an ag shed on your land for tools only' allowance.. i.e. folk try to live in the 'ag shed' incognito.. BUT you have to go UN-NOTICED from everywhere and everything (including from the air) AND prove you've been there for over 5 years undetected before you can even start that fight/defense.. blah blah blah.

I'm interested in that wee book from The Land Mag tho.. that might have some good plain-speak hints and tricks in there.. And there's always the tiny hope that new (LOVELY!) regs have squeezed in there somehow!!

Something more akin to Graham Bell's site is probably your easiest start/option over here.. and then who knows!

It's a weird mix.. b/c the uk DOES lean greener/less footprint in general, but man-oh-man they love some regs and restrictions! *hand over eyes*

But then again.. all it takes is 'lunatic' or 2 to fight-the-fight and prove it can all be done before it's easier for everyone.. *postivity*
2 years ago
Hi Mark,

I don't want to rain on your dreams here.. but in the UK, it is DIFFICULT.. and very very EXPENSIVE!! Matt was right in the sense that Wales is your best bet.. in many ways it is your only real bet, they have done some amazing things for off-grid living and planning/permission laws. Lammas community is a good place to start for information and general lay-of-the-land stuff *bud-da-dump-bump* And a place called Low Impact Living - I think it's

Land in general is exceptionally high priced here (we're only a tiny island after all) and if you buy a woodland you CANNOT do anything on it, not even camp in a tent for too long. I'm not too sure on what you could actually cut or plant there even. It may be frustrating, but they have all these laws to save the green spaces that are left. The woodland site (linked in Matt's post?) will give you the restriction details I'm talking about in much greater detail.

Also, buying agricultural land is pretty much also impossible to get planning permission for - it looks better in theory b/c of prices, but you won't be able to change it from agriculture to residential or etc.

BUT, say you DO sort all of that, then you will come up against all of the off-grid laws.. i.e. you must have a house that looks like the neighbours, must have grid electricity, must have mains plumbing, etc. etc. etc. You get the drift.

There is a lady in England who teaches Cob house building (Edwards & Eve Cob?) and she's had some luck (in England) with working around planning issues to build some cob projects - but it's no easy path either!

In the end: the problem is the solution.. I DON'T want to put you off at all.. But just know that in the UK it will be an uphill adventure!!
2 years ago
Just wanted to add to this again.. I have been looking into the rules (from the department of making you SAD) and it sounds like we'd have no problem putting a tiny home 'village' on this land as well.

The (ruin) rockhouse had a full lateral field septic system set up which has never been used.. it should be perfectly fine still and have the 'capacity' requirements to cover any regulations - obviously in permie world we'd rather set up ANY OTHER alternative (and I support/encourage you to do so) but 'on paper' this covers our bums - cheesy pun intended!

I don't yet know the regulations on a proper intentional community, but so far I've found out it should be fine for several tiny homes (including a shared shower/bath/toilet 'building' if desired).

Like I've said before, I am open to just about anything - so feel free to give me a shout! Questions / Suggestions / Criticisms.. whatever!

I also have a NEW EMAIL:


4 years ago