Great release leads to frantic activity.

Yeah – I know that it’s usually the other way round, but after two years of being on the market, the farm has finally sold. You may wonder why it took so long, so I’ll back the bus up a bit and explain.

Around twenty-three years ago, three families decided that they wanted to give co-operative living a shot. Not in hippie everyone-loves-everyone-but who-does-the-work style, but more of a co-living; a sharing of a commonly owned land and possessions. We searched for a year to find the land, and found a bare block of 116 acres/46 hectares in a beautiful spot not far from the capital city. This was purchased and as we very much wanted to retain our individual family identities, we designed a large house that comprised three completely separate living areas, each of which could access the others, but all under the same roof.

We lived a pretty basic life in on-site caravans for a few years while we built, this being done with our own blistered hands, mainly at weekends. Eighteen months into the building process, one of the families decided that they no longer wanted to be part of the co-operative and moved out, leaving the remaining two couples and their collective four children to complete the task.

Eventually the house was completed to the stage that first one, then later the other family could move in.

I won’t attempt to describe the dynamics of co-operative living here, except to say that it was an extremely challenging time, physically, financially, socially and personally. The challenges were only exacerbated by the cultural mix of differing Kiwi and German attitudes and expectations and by the complex and somewhat individualistic characters of the adults involved. Throw injury, illness and death into the mix and the challenges went through the roof.

The original intention had been that we would gradually expand the community, eventually building a self-sustaining mini-village system, where a wide range of ages would live co-operatively, providing a safe birth-to-death haven. We were young and very idealistic and not very realistic and the challenge never really got off the ground.

The years rolled on. One of us departed for the spiritual world, the kids began leaving home and eventually there were only three of us, knocking around in a vast ten bedroom, three living room, two kitchen house. We decided that we had to sell. Easy peasy, you might think.

But wait. There’s more. One of the remaining three has been told by a friend that the property is worth *$insert astronomical number.* In reality it is worth *$insert much less.* Emotional price has nothing to do with it. A property is, after all, only worth, in dollar terms, what the market will pay. It took two years to talk him down to a realistic view. The other factor in the long sale time is simply the size. Many came to see, most loved it and wanted it, few had a reason to buy such a huge place.

Eventually, someone came with an acceptable offer, although it was a close-run thing. Much fast talking was required on the part of yours truly and the Manpet to convince our partner that this really, really was the time to take the money and run.

And so – great release and much frantic activity – the time from going unconditional to settlement gives us only twenty-four days to pack up the detritus of twenty-one years of collective living and move out…….


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