Thursday, 8 April 2010

It's spring! Time to dig out the circular saw...

Forget daffodils. You really know it's springtime when you hear the annual ad campaign by British Gas boasting about how they only just cut their prices because they like you so much and a fair world is what truly matters to them. Having said that, I'm pretty sure they were daffodils the neighbour's cat pooped on the other day in our garden. But what has really been blossoming at MAJ housing co-op in the last few weeks is building works. After our neighbours agreed to sign the party wall agreement we have indeed started the works for the loft conversion at Chester Road, the property we currently own. We also decided to eventually release the cat so everyone in the vicinity has been fairly happy of late.

The good news is that Alec, a builder friend of ours, has agreed to do some of the work for free as a show of commitment to the principles defended by MAJ and Haringey Solidarity Group, the local activist group we are also involved in which will be using the loft once it's finished. We are ever so thankful Alec.

The bad news is that Tony has started sawing through the ceiling and decided to make a hole in the roof so that the 5 stones-heavy steel beams that will support the loft can be fitted in. Using some of the grant money we received from Awards for All, we hired a company to crane the beams into the loft. We had the option to carry them up the stairs and fit them in ourselves, but Tony suggested it was safer to hire someone. Any excuse to make a hole in the roof...

Anyway, the works should keep us entertained for the next 6 months or so, during which we will learn some building skills as this was a requirement for the allocation of the grant. We are very much looking forward to this educational process. We are also full of wild, magnificent, possibly unfeasable ideas for this website, but mainly we want to look into ways of using it to advertise our office space-to-be to friendly and local activist groups.

More works took place at Terront Road, the property we have started to manage at the turn of the new year. They were mostly small repair and renovation jobs but they made the life of the co-op members who live there a lot better. Who would have thought being able to properly shut a door or to shower in a dry, unmouldy bathroom would make such a difference?

Finally, because too much is not enough, we are on the look out for properties near Chester Road and have even started thinking about ways to raise money. The aim is to get a place where the co-op members who do not currently live at Chester Road could all live together in a house we own, not just manage. What can I say, there's just no stopping us. We're like that at Mary Ann Johnson housing co-op. Today Chester Road, tomorrow the world!