Clare Balding

The School of Natural Building secures 6.3m euros to build with straw!

We have been jointly awarded 6.3m euros to increase the uses of low carbon technologies across Europe in sectors with high energy saving potential.

This is a very exciting state of affairs! However, to participate, we have to find 40% matching funding. In our case this is £188k over the duration of the project i.e. 42 months.

So we’re looking for help. We need money for:

  • Researchers
  • Expert help
  • Venues & accommodation
  • Travel

In the first year we need £34,512k. In the second year we need £53,248 and in the 3rd and 4th years we need £65,500 & £34,698 respectively.

In return for your help with this exciting trans-national straw building project, we can:

  • Put your logo on all project materials, which means you will gain publicity in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany as well as across the UK
  • Provide you with a free place on our theoretical courses (a suite of 4 x 1 day courses) and on a practical build (5 days long)
  • Send you a free signed copy of Barb’s new book Building with Straw Bales
  • Give you a School of Natural Building T Shirt (SNaB) – they’re really cool
  • If you are in a position to donate ‘big’ money we can host an away day for your staff based on the principles of strawbale building, SNaB – style

To discuss how to contribute, please email me at eileen@schoolofnaturalbuilding.co.uk  and I’ll be delighted to tell you more.

Please help us make this project happen.  We’re so close to a ‘natural building first’ for the UK.

For more information about the project, click here:  http://schoolofnaturalbuilding.co.uk/european-project/

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Categories: China, Clare Balding, green funding, Green Investors, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, training for strawbale building, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Musings from Nanyang

So, the 10pm meeting with our European partners came and went. I dashed back from dinner with friends, settled myself to look suitably business like in front of Skype when a text message popped up saying that the people I was to present to had changed their minds and didn’t think that skype was the best way to proceed. They would much rather meet in person!!!

I’m recovered from that now but while I’m on the topic of our European bid it’s a good opportunity to ask for your help. The project is called,’Up Straw’ and the purpose of it is to increase the percentage of public buildings built out of straw in Europe. Thereby decreasing emissions, saving fuel and increasing health. We’re getting to the stage of the final submission, due in December, and I’m looking for matching funding. If you know of any funders who would be interested in joining us please email me eileen@strawworks.co.uk  Thanks.

Another request -the School of Natural Building is putting together a calendar of beautiful strawbale builds for Christmas. Ideally we’re looking for pictures of finished or almost finished houses that our students have worked on. Students, you know who you are and if you have any suitable photos I’d be very grateful if you’d email them to the address above.

Back here in Nanyang I’ve found a yoga class. It takes place every lunchtime so that the lecturers from the university can take part. I’ve exchanged a few business cards in the changing room (never miss an opportunity) and yesterday one of the young biology professors approached me to say that she really didn’t think that straw was strong enough to use as a construction material. She knew of a local company that used straw as a fermentation aid for producing alcohol but certainly not for building. I said that I would bring her a copy of Barb’s book http://strawworks.co.uk/buy-the-book/ then we could discuss it further. She looked pleased but bemused. I’ll keep you informed. I’ve put a pic of the yoga studio below, see the scary fabric and handcuff things? Apparently they are for use during ‘air yoga.’ Happily so far the air yoga teacher has been away in Beijing so we haven’t been introduced to the delights of this yet. I’m hoping she has a long hol.

I’ve been spending a bit of time increasing my Linkedin profile. Does anyone know how to use Linkedin to its full potential ? I’ve started looking to join more groups: green architecture, strawbale building, straw etc. Again (this post is full of requests!) if anyone has any tips, please email them to me.

Barb (my business partner) and I are fellows of the RSA https://www.thersa.org/ and although it’s nice to have the kudos and permission to use the John Adam St headquarters in London as an occasional meeting place we haven’t found much to connect with in the organisation. However, last night my friend Jan Portillo got elected to the board of Trustees, which is great news and we look forward to working more closely with her and the RSA from now on particularly in the area of affordable housing.

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Finally, our Bristol courses are full this weekend but the Cambridge ones due at the end of November still have some places http://strawworks.co.uk/cambridge-preparing-to-build-with-bales/

Just to bring you back to the Chinese theme of this blog I’ll leave you with a picture of the Medical Sage of Nanyang and his mate.

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Final, final stuff…here are my top 10 things I love about straw: smell, texture, insulative properties, the look, the fact that you can shape it, flexibity, strength, the fact that it’s a waste product and is so useful, it’s empowering to work with and it’s natural.

Let me know your top 10 and I’ll list and rank them.

Categories: bike, blog traffic, books, bookshops, China, Clare Balding, Golden Week, haiku, insulation, low cost housing, Nanyang, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, RSA, Shanghai, Time differences, Top 10 things I love about straw, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized, Working abroad, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Jan Portillo for RSA Trustee

I have voted for Jan Portillo to be one of the trustees at the RSA because I think she’ll do a really good job. If there are any Fellows out there who have not had the opportunity to vote, then please do so as time is getting short. Voting ends next Sunday.

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Things are getting sweet ‘n sticky in the North East!

My friend Joanna Rimmer and I met on a writing course run by the poet Gillian Allnutt in Newcastle in 2004 and now Jo is a playwright!

With the help of Peter Mortimer and his Cloud Nine Theatre Company she has produced her first play, ‘Sweet ‘n Sticky.’

Sweet ‘n Sticky will be performed 10 times in North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay where it will open the Dome Festival.

For more info see  www.cloudninetheatre.co.uk/  and plan yourselves a wonderful, summer evening outing at the theatre.

 

 

Categories: books, bookshops, Clare Balding, Cloud Nine Theatre Company, Donuts, Newcastle on Tyne, North Tyneside, plays, Playwrighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Al’s Sprint Triathlon

My husband Allan is doing the London Sprint Triathlon on 27th July.

That’s 750m swim followed by a 20k bike ride and finishing with a 5k run. Al’s a pretty fit guy but he’s also 60 this month, so he’s been training hard for this event.  This is what he says about it:

‘I’m doing the London Triathlon in memory of my son Matt and to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends.

It’s 10 years since Matt died and we miss him every day. I think he would have approved of me doing something crazy like this, so please give a donation.

Alreet son! ‘

If you’d like to donate please go to  justgiving.com/allantriathlon

Thanks

Categories: bike safety, books, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, fitness, London, loss, love, Northumberland, running, triathlon, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

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Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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