Thursday, November 09, 2023

Third Time Lucky?

 It seems that we are somehow not meant to be part of the elders cohousing community we have so long dreamed of establishing. The Barney Fields venture that I was so excited about in my last blog post has now gone the same way as the previous one -- the developer has decided that it is not financially viable. 

This is another huge disappointment for us - in fact it's an even bigger disappointment than the loss of the Dartington site because this one was to be right here in the village we have lived in, and loved, for the past 24 years. I confess it is taking me a very long while to get over this blow.

Once again, the group has re-formed, with some of the previous members and a whole bunch of new ones, and is starting the whole process again, from scratch, i.e. searching for a suitable site for an elders cohousing community somewhere in the Southwest. 

The group is now calling itself 'Elderberries Cohousing' and is actively seeking new members - for details click here.

Sadly, for Sky and me personally, it is now too late. When we started the whole elders cohousing project I was 79, which may already have been a tad too old for such a venture. But I was young-at-heart and full of energy and enthusiasm. Now, not so much, And now I am 87. Realistically, even if this new project were to be wildly successful I would probably be at least 90 by the time we moved in and at that age I would feel myself to be a liability to the group rather than an asset. Sky is a few years younger than me but he is starting to experience some degree of cognitive decline.

However, despite the fact that we can no longer be part of the elders cohousing dream, if the 'Elderberries' manage to succeed in their venture, none of our hard work will have been in vain. Even if I can no longer be a part of it, I can still see the wole thing as a potential case of 'third time lucky'.

As for me, I am not without projects altogether. Starting next week I have vowed to post much more regularly to this blog. And since part of my life's work, ever since my first book was published in 1991, has been to write about ageing, I intend to start where my 2017 book 'Elderwoman' left off and chronicle the experience of being what is now referred to as 'OLD old'! 

I hope you will stay tuned.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Reviving this blog - and a whole new cohousing venture

This blog has seriously languished in recent years. I can't blame the pandemic because the blog started languishing a whole year before the pandemic began. But I have been engrossed in my various projects.

The last time I posted, I was telling you all about our exciting plans for an elders cohousing community in south Devon (on the Dartington Hall estate near Totnes). Everything was going wonderfully well but suddenly, due to a financial crisis the Dartington Hall Trust was experiencing, they pulled the plug and the entire thing was cancelled  Needless to say, we were bitterly disappointed.

But as one door closes, another opens. I discovered that one of our local families right here in our north Devin village had received the green light to develop some land at the edge of the village for housing -- including affordable housing for locals -- and they were interested in incorporating our elders cohousing community into that.complex. Several other local elders were interested in this concept as well as some former residents of the District who wanted to move back, plus various people from other parts of the country. 

So now we have a whole new group and a whole new plan. You can read about the housing venture in general -- and our elders community in particular -- online at 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Eco-cohousing for Elders: A project dear to our hearts

One of the things that a lot of people don't get around to doing as they get into old age is to make plans for how they are going to spend the last stage of their lives. All too often, they just drift along, year after year, until one day they reach the point where they can no longer cope with the tasks of daily life and someone else has to step in and make decisions for them—frequently, decisions with which they are not at all happy.

In all the years I spent working in community health, I saw this pattern over and over again. Families, social workers, community health nurses, all faced with the dilemma of what to do with an elderly person who was no longer able to live comfortably—or even safely—in his or her own home and yet was stubbornly resisting the need to move somewhere else. And in so many cases, the solution that was eventually found was really not a happy one, from anyone's point of view. Very few of us really want to end our lives in a nursing home.

The time to plan and made decisions and come up with the sort of solutions that we are sure we shall be happy with is now, while we are still able and flexible and creative enough to think it through.

Furthermore, it is now a well-established fact that loneliness and isolation shorten lives. Like so many other species, from sparrows to wolves to elephants, we humans need a tribe. We need community. We need others around us. Yet, being modern humans with a well-developed sense of self, we also need some space and solitude, especially the introverts among us. Cohousing is the perfect solution. and since an elder cohousing community - unlike an ordinary retirement community -  is designed by the people who are going to live in it, we know we shall end up living with compatible and like-minded people.

So a few years ago, Sky and I came across the concept of eco-cohousing for elders, we knew this was the solution we wanted for ourselves. Not only is elder eco-cohousing a sensible, creative solution for how to live happily and creatively to the end of our days but, being community based, it is also eminently sustainable and ideal for our 21st Century. Pioneered in Denmark and rapidly gaining popularity in the USA and elsewhere, cohousing communities for elders provide not only the ideal blend of privacy and togetherness that intergenerational ones do but are also specially adapted to the specific needs of older people in ways that range from accessible structures to shared in-house care.

We are now part of a group that is planning our own elder eco-cohousing community in the county where we live. Right now, we are still in the early stages. I shall be setting up a separate blog, at some point, to give details and updates about all this. And I shall be announcing that here when it is ready. So watch this space…

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

'Elderwoman' Republished at Last!

In 2015, when Findhorn Press told me they were taking my book Elderwoman out of print after thirteen years, I decided to republish it myself. It has taken me all this time to get around to doing it, but finally, here it is, the second edition, with an extra chapter that I added about how it felt to turn eighty last year.

And now, as well as a paperback with a brand new (and I think much nicer) cover and a cheaper price, there is also (at last!) a Kindle version. 

Here is a link to it on And here is one to

My hope is that by now there will be a whole new generation of women crossing that midlife threshold who may find the book helpful. And if so, I hope some of them might even take time to go on Amazon and leave me a review.

Please help me spread the word!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Me - A Retrospective

Like most people, I save photographs. And like most people my age, a lot of those photographs pre-date the digital era. But of course paper deteriorates over time. Some folk who, like me, have collections of old photos in a box in the attic, are tackling the task of scanning them in order to preserve them for future generations.
Whether or not future generations will have the slightest interest in my collection I have no idea. And I certainly have neither the time nor energy to scan the hundreds of photos in that big old box.  But I decided to nominate a few categories and pick out just a few pictures in each category to be scanned for posterity.
Here, then, is the first category. Me.
1975 (approx)
It feels strange to think that the further back I go, the fewer people there are who remember those earlier versions of me. But looking back at them has been fun.