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Brian’s Repair and Reuse Diary: Brian McClelland

"Lockdown delayed the start of practical hands-on work at the Tool Library. At the same time I seemed to have a local outbreak of things breaking and failing and thought it might be fun to try and record some of the successful “fixes” and also some that failed, often because things had been designed to be non-repairable. Also, I was suffering from fury at the mindless overuse of plastics and the sheer volume of stuff being thrown away. So a few ideas for reusing things got added in.

I hope that these little stories will encourage other fixers and reuse innovators to add to this blog. Tell us about both successes and failures!"

The Eco-Worrier

"I come from a long line of farmers - so long that no previous family occupation is recorded. Having looked through a careers book and checking out ‘L’ for lighthouse keeper and ’T’ for Taxidermist and lacking further imagination I decided at an early age to continue the family tradition, largely because it was a beautiful place to live and, like me, for my own family to grow up.

I went to agricultural college in the ‘60s, but wasn’t happy with the promotion of ever-larger-scale  intensive farming and animals as just ‘units of production.’  I stuck to traditional low-input, upland beef and sheep-rearing systems; low cost, never with any employed labour. Also hay not silage, encouraging clover in pastures instead of fossil-fuel-based fertilisers etc.


Greatly influenced in the '70s by EF Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” and the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth,” in the '80s I was involved in setting up the “Farmers’ World Network’” to link ‘human-scale’ sustainable farmers across Europe with others further afield. I dug several wildlife ponds, planted acres of Oak, Ash, Rowan & Birch trees and Hawthorn hedges.


In the 1990s I took the final plunge to full organic status and to breeding traditional Beef Shorthorn cattle. Female lambs and calves were all sold as breeding-stock, males for organic beef. I was involved in Countryside Stewardship Schemes, primarily to increase wild flower content of 100 acres of hay-meadows."

Sheila Durie

"I was an active anti-nuclear campaigner in the 1970’s and 80’s. I was a full-time worker for SCRAM (the Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace), where I focused on researching the health impacts of low level radiation, nuclear waste transport and energy conservation. I co-authored ‘Fuelling the Nuclear Arms Race’ with Rob Edwards, exploring the relationship between the civil nuclear power programme and nuclear weapons. I then got involved in developing practical energy conservation measures to help people on low incomes save energy and money through home insulation. I then went into setting up social enterprises to provide opportunities for disadvantaged groups."

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