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Global Quest For Local LETS
Copyright � James Taris

UNITED KINGDOM

2. First Stop - Bristol


Rowland and I having a lunch break (he's a great cook!)

Bristol is a small city (385,000 pop'n) situated 150 miles west of London, and a mere 30 minute train trip from Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

Bristol, itself, is a very picturesque city, boasting many tourist attractions.

Geographically, it is fortunate to be located near the Severn Estuary, where the Avon River flows into the Bristol Channel. Many ships have been launched from these docks on historic voyages throughout the ages, including John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland in North America.

It also boasts the rare attraction of a gorge (the Avon Gorge), a breathtaking sight, which is almost surrounded by the city. The Clifton Suspension Bridge, built earlier this century, was the longest suspension bridge of its time, and is still a popular target for tourists visiting Bristol.

It's in this friendly and attractive setting that 8 or 9 LETS groups have chosen to operate, after the first one, Ashley LETS, was formed 10 years ago.

My invitation to visit Bristol was received from Jane Titley, the main contact person of the Bristol East Exchange Trading Scheme, or BEETS, as it's fondly referred to.

Jane, who is the BEETS co-ordinator and interlets contact, is a passionate LETS devotee, with development and organisation skills to be admired.

One of her passions is the BEETS Work Group. The original concept developed from a desire to form a Decorating Group, where LETS members would meet on a monthly basis (more or less), and help decorate the home of one of their members. Apart from the obvious benefit the home-owner would enjoy, there was the added benefit of 'bonding', where all the participants got to become much better acquainted, therefore building friendships which are invaluable in any LETS environment.

Up to date, the Work Group has successfully completed a variety of projects, including:

- decorating a front and back room.
- painting a hallway
- knocking down a wall and clearing the bricks, and
- building a garden shed.

Lisa Cole, who produces the BEETS Directory, was very helpful in finding a bicycle for me. I arrived in Bristol at 11am, Monday morning, and by 9 pm I had my own set of wheels!

In fact, I was so impressed, that I jumped at the opportunity to get my hands dirty, by helping Rowland with his house renovating.

Rowland, a BEETS member since the beginning of this year, welcomed me on Wednesday morning with a traditionally warm English welcome ... a hot cup of tea (the first of several to be had that day). Then over the next 5 hours, I helped:

- seal a couple of window frames with sealant
- move 8'x4' sheets of polystyrene
- cover a section of flooring with planks
- trim a tree in the rear garden
- move almost a million bags of dirt and rubble to the rear of the garden, just about doubling the size of cleared yard space, and
- cut the tree branches into small, disposable pieces, therefore clearing another corner of the yard.

Did I get tired? Yes.
Did I get dirty? Definitely.
Did I get rewarded? You bet! Five hours work at 5 BEETS per hour = 25 BEETS (thank you very much).

In typical LETS fashion, Rowland also asked me to join him for lunch ... curried vegetables. He's a great cook.

But the most rewarding aspect of my efforts, was when Rowland, who is not a huge LETS trader, assured me that he now felt more comfortable about asking LETS members to trade with him, because of this pleasant experience.

Originally, it was thought that my visit to Bristol would come too soon to allow time to organise a LETS presentation by me. However, an email was quickly put together and sent to all the groups in the area promoting a LETS meeting featuring my presentation for this Saturday night. So this will ensure that I get to speak in every country I visit, just as I'd originally planned.

LETS is all about getting help and helping others. And BEETS, in Bristol, is a great working example.

This article is taken from the ebook,
Global Quest for Local LETS

About the book


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