Awake very early this morning, at least an hour before the alarm, and unable to go back to sleep although reluctant to get out of bed, I spent the time in meditation. Most of my thoughts were occupied with the Lions Housing Society. I am a member of the development sub-committee which is to meet next week to consider plans for a further development. We have the opportunity to buy a plot of land but during my hour or so of thought I came up with a considerable number of points we should think about before we can decide whether or not to go ahead. I wonder how many I will remember if I try to write them down?
First, perhaps, is the question of finance. We probably have sufficient in the bank to buy the land but would certainly need to raise a loan to build the flats. Should we go ahead and pay cash for the land or should we conserve what we can of our cash and borrow money to complete the purchase? Or should we calculate the total estimated cost of the proposed development - land and construction - and obtain some sort of agreement in principle before we go any further?
But maybe before we even get to the question of finance we should be considering what we would like to build. The present owners of the land have planning permission for, I think, five houses. We don't want houses, we want flats. We could probably build 20 flats on much the same footprint as five houses, but maybe we should talk to the planners at the council before getting to tied in. There would be no point in buying the land if we are not permitted to build a block of flats.
And would 20 flats be what we want? Would it be better to go for something more - 30 or 40 flats? What would be the difference in running costs? Possibly a greater number of housing units would be more financially viable in that employing the right number of staff could be more easily afforded.
Staffing is another matter to be considered. Could our office staff - 1 full time, 1 part time - cope with managing more flats? Would we need to employ another part-time worker if the current part-timer could not extend her hours? If so, do we have sufficient office space or will they manage to "hot desk"? And what about caretaking? We currently employ one caretaker to cover three blocks of flats at different locations. There is no way he could cover another block.
And so on and so forth. By the time the alarm finally sounded my mind was in a turmoil.
When I did get out of bed and open the curtains it was to see a grey, overcast day. Thirty minutes later there was something of a mist and it had started to rain. For the first time in I don't know how long, I walked the dog in the rain. I can't say it improved the experience, especially as I discovered that the waterproof I wore isn't.
If there is rain in the Bristol area, my farming cousin will probably be pleased as it will encourage the grass to grow to feed the deer and cattle. On the other hand, they are holding a largish family party at the weekend (yes, we shall be there) which will involve a barbecue and tables spread in the yard so rain will not be welcome.
The farm as seen from across the fields: