All the alternative type schools are suffering. The ones that can’t be government funded academies, like Nature Schools and Waldorf Steiner schools. The Moray Steiner School is no exception. It has yet another financial crisis to face. It has peaked and dipped for many years, the school roll expands and contracts quite regularly. The staff and parents roll up their sleeves and have, historically braved the hard times with concerts, bag packs and fairs. The stoic relentless drive to keep the school open is the stuff of legend. Former pupils remember all the crises yet still send their own offspring, knowing that somehow it will just keep going. The team of fundraisers are tired. Some are spent.
A magic wand was offered. A solution was suggested. Debts could be waived. New money is available from the newly established Drumduan Upper School (The school that Tilda built, for the benefit of Grauniad readers). It seems like a marvellous solution, to have an entire Steiner facility from kindergarten to college all on one campus. But, of course, not everyone is utterly delighted with the generosity of such a gesture. There are some who would prefer to stick with the old ways, the tried ant trusted begging bowls of sponsored story telling, dances, plays or manifestation of thousands through dedicated meditations. Some would even like to attempt water divining.
In short, the bail-out sits uneasily with a minority of parents because of the beach huts.
Yes, because of the beach huts.
Five miles from the school is Findhorn beach. A successful planning application has unsettled, irked and divided the village and the school. Beach huts decorate many seaside towns and villages all over Europe. There were some here, but they weren’t maintained and fell apart. Families have enjoyed these shelters for generations. They meet regularly for walks, picnics, trysts, wine and general good times. But, in Findhorn village there are men and women lined along the shore, holding hands, refusing to allow them to be built. They are concerned about the environmental impact on the wildlife, or so they say.
The beach huts are the brain child of the Moray Steiner School’s Kindergarten teacher. She has coerced her architect husband into this mad, dangerous notion. She remembers the sense of community she knew as a child and feels we, as the new community here, would benefit from these little sandy dwellings.
The kindergarten teacher’s husband (who i have met once, on the beach) is part of the magic wand bail out team up at the school. He is of the financial deliverance package tribe. Ergo, he must be some sort of ruthless, corrupt property developer hell bent on acquiring the school in order to build an empire of pastel painted wooden shacks for his own selfish gain (I kid you not, this is the actual rumour).
I’ve had all manner of scurrilous, scandalous conjecture whispered in my ear. It would shame me to repeat any of it, or disclose where it came from. But, needless to say, it’s always the nay-sayers who subject me to their diatribe of negative thought and theory. It’s the fearful folk talk of the magic wand as if the Snow Queen herself were brandishing it with the sole intention of turning the whole hill into something sinister.
I feel the passion held for the architect – and it’s got no love in it.
Let me tell you about the geese and why I think the environmentalist activist plan from that corner of the village holds no merit.
Line after line they take the sky. The geese come at 6. They fly in formation, making the sky rivers of moving streaking waves of black. Rows own all there is. Time is gone while you look, while they honk, hooting their way to the bay, to be shot.
When everything is burning red and gold they come or go to hill or shore.
At the start and the end of every day, they are there, everywhere.
The shooters wait in bushes. The bangs are heard inside your head, your house, your heart. These magnificent wild creatures are supposed to be safe in Findhorn’s Nature Sanctuary, but they are not. The sea is thick with their feathers. Their corpses stink the tide line, just gull-food. My neighbour’s fella got thirty the other day. He left them where they fell, they weren’t needed for food. They were just target practice.
Where are the peaceful happy hippies this place is renowned for? Where are the courageous activists who built a peace camp, an eco village, a world renowned centre for sustainability and love? Where are the humanitarian vegetarians who demanded an end to killing? That’s right, they’re all down on the shore hoping huts don’t get built, praying the school doesn’t change.
Come on folks, let’s get up at dawn, same time as the geese. Let us all meet on the salt flats and form a circle around those magnificent wild geese, before it’s too late.
Say yes. Say yes to all of it. Let there be geese, little coloured romantic hideaways on the sands and new money for the school.
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