Well, we’d been getting rain for a few nights, and the daytime hours had been gradually clouding over, so it was no great surprise that it should start raining fairly steadily about half-an-hour before our Swap Party began at 4.30pm on 10/10/10. Unseasonable October weather – but then isn’t everyone getting unseasonable weather these days? I wonder why that is. Nevertheless, our 10/10/10 event was really rather successful, especially considering the rain. We had piles of clothes, books, DVDs, CDs, all kinds of trinkets, and some fine paintings, and plenty of people, including a good number of kids, all of whom, I think, had a thoroughly good time. There were old friends, new faces, lots of banter, and good cheer all round. As far as I could tell, everyone was able to find something they liked to take away, and it’s always gratifying to see people grabbing some of the stuff you’ve brought along yourself. Nothing went to waste, as what was left over will go to organisations such as PALS, the animal rescue group, who have a stall in Discovery Bay, and UNICEF. It really was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon – good-humoured socialising with the sort of people you’d like to see more of. The Swap Party was Jennifer Lorrimar-Shanks’s idea, and we’re greatly indebted to her as it’s been an immediate success. I’m sure we’ll hold them regularly in future, maybe 3 or even 4 times a year. As long as we’re not actually freeing up space in people’s homes so they can go out and buy more stuff at the shops!
After the Swap Party we showed three episodes of The Powerdown Show, a series of ten TV programmes made in Ireland in support of the Transition movement. The challenges of climate change and peak oil are the driving force behind the programmes, and each episode shows how local communities and organisations are trying to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and thereby radically reduce their carbon emissions. It was made abundantly clear that whatever solutions we try, the bottom line is that we must make do with much, much less energy than we do at the moment. Business as usual is simply not an option. However, the programmes, in line with the Transition ethos, are very positive and show many inspiring and motivating examples of what can be done in such areas as transport, food production, housing, renewable energy, and so on. A dozen or so of us were watching the programmes, despite having the rain dripping down on us through the leaky tin roof, and it was generally agreed that we should watch them again, perhaps one at a time every fortnight, and discuss the issues, in particular seeing how they relate to our situation in Hong Kong. As Merrin pointed out, we also need to discuss how we can get the word out to a wider range of people so that we don’t just end up preaching to the converted. Consequently, I’m hoping we can have our first such viewing on Friday 22 October at the China Beach Club in Mui Wo again. I’ll confirm the date as soon as I can, but anyone who is interested in coming along is very welcome to do so. We shall watch short pieces of the programmes, not long stretches, and then we’ll have a chat about it, have a drink, crack a joke, have a laugh, whatever. Although the subject is serious, we want to enjoy ourselves – it’s a chance to be relaxed and sociable – and we don’t want to deter anyone because they think we’re going to be immersing ourselves in heavy conversations designed to bore the pants off everyone. It will be fun – maybe we should all wear a silly hat to our first meeting, with a free drink to the person with the silliest one. Suggestions on a postcard please…..