Observant readers will have probably noticed that the bike repair apprenticeship I was applying for didn’t work out. This was partly because the shop had a bad summer (it rained through August) and partly because of the inflexibility of the trade guilds.

This was… somewhat disappointing.

Mind you, when you don’t know what you’re going to do, you can try anything. So we started looking around, and after much research we found the discipline of Permaculture.

Permaculture started in the seventies, and originally the word was a fusion of the words ‘Permanent and Agriculture’. The basic idea is that if you design your farm/garden/line of buckets on the balcony carefully, you can recreate a small ecosystem where plants and insects can work together and help each other to grow, without needing extra energy from oil. You just help it along a bit, and make sure some of these plants are edible. Over the years the name has developed since to mean ‘Permanent’ and ‘Culture’. It’s been described as a ‘toolbox’ which connects many of the skills we need for sustainable living.

What made us sit up and take notice is that there are lots of people running theatres within the movement. As our dream is a community theatre, this seems a sensible way to go: rightly or wrongly I’ll feel a lot more confident taking further steps when we’ve got a little training. With a family, just jumping in the deep end doesn’t seem such a good idea as it did when I was a fresh 20 year old.

So, next year I’ll be taking the Xtracycle off on the train for four weekends in Vauban, the sustainable part of Freiburg-im-Breisgau that featured in this blog before, to go and find out how to do all this, which I’ll naturally blog about. So far impressions of the course and people running same are pretty good. I’ve even been offered a safe, covered parking space for the Xtracycle.

As Freiburg is one of the most cycle-friendly cities in Germany this should also give me lots of opportunities to whine about how bog-awful Ostfildern/Stuttgart are in comparison.