Tinkers Bubble is a 42-acre organic smallholding in the heart of Somerset. Over ten years a handful of permanent residents have built low impact environmentally friendly dwellings and use the amenities which nature provides to sustain their lifestyle. Nestled amongst the trees a variety of homes emerge like mushrooms from the forest floor. Built from recycled material each dwelling reflects the personalities and aspirations of their architects. Some are little more than hazel twigs lashed together with canvas to protect from the elements or relics of long diseased garden sheds, while others are carefully constructed from bales of straw and daubed with mud in place of plaster, and fully fitted with wood-burning stoves.
Tinkers Bubble takes its name from the sound of the stream running through the woodland and the travellers from a bygone age who used to congregate each autumn to work as apple pickers. Each year the tradition is upheld and the extensive orchards are harvested of their fruit to produce organic apple juice and cider. As well as vegetables grown in the communal and individual allotments, two Jersey cows provide milk for cheese and yoghurt. Management of the surrounding woodland mainly comprising of Douglas Fir and Laurel provides material for building and fuel and the production of timber for trade.
Low Impact living at Tinkers Bubble is by no means an easy life, labour is manual due to their non-fossil fuel policy, work is carried out by hand, which includes felling trees and haymaking. Rain, mud and cold are a common feature and despite the fairy tail location, such living is not for the faint-hearted. However, if so-called conventional modern living with all its trials and tribulations is what we perceive to be a more convenient existence, then all we have to do is consider our daily routine. Industry and technology mean that we work longer and harder than ever before, our average working week consists of 40 hours or more. Cars enable us to drive to work so that we can spend more time there to make more money, that way we can afford labour saving devises such as washing machines, and in doing so we support other industries by creating a demand. Our leisure time is spent at the gym to work off excess fat gained by driving everywhere. However, despite recent reports by the Environment Agency suggesting air pollution will lead to the premature deaths of over 24,000 people, together with countless other news items in the media relating to global warming issues, it seems we are content to endure the destruction of the environment for the sake of our modern conveniences.
Alexander Smith 1829-67, Scottish poet said .........“Nature never quite goes with us. She is sombre at weddings, sunny at funerals, and she frowns on ninety out of a hundred picnics.” At the moment we can only hope for this to be true, in the meantime, we must trust in the resilience of nature and its ability to adapt. We must give more credit to the eco-warriors and environmental agencies who campaign against global warming on behalf of the otherwise complacent masses.