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It came to a head for me when I just couldn't manage to paper the wall properly. I can mend video machines easily but can't manage a simple bit of paper hanging. For a while I hoped that perhaps it would come right if I just took a bit more time over it, maybe then the result would be worth the effort, but after the first few weeks it struck me it was never going to be finished. During that time I fixed several videos, a couple of computers, made many meals, laid a carpet and even had time to build a window seat (and do a bit of teaching, for which I was paid a bit) but the walls remained stubbornly undecorated.

We don't have the money to pay someone else to do it so, being practical in all things but decoration I looked around for some other way of getting it done. After a bit of thought I found out that the danger of becoming a 'Jack of all trades, master of none' can be avoided. If people get together and share their skills, swapping the jobs they can't do for the ones they can, then everyone benefits. In our case our wall gets papered (not an easy task) and someone else gets their electric stuff working again, and all for the cost of the material and a few minutes on the phone.

 

Lucky for Lady Bay, I don't have to work out all the details of a job swap scheme, that has already been done. The National LETS co- ordinator said on the phone that only about ten people are needed to start up a new core group in Lady Bay. Each of the first few people bring in their (non professional) skills, (or we may get taxed), as wide a range as possible - from baby sitting, plumbing, car mending, gardening, dog walking, if you can do it then you offer it. It all goes into a job swap database until a job needs doing. Then a coordinator matches the task with the master and away we go. 'Payment' is in kind, as in the time honoured barter system but brought up to date with cheque books and job tokens. One stipulation is that no hour of one job should be 'worth' more that three times an hour of any other. Don't ask me exactly why, it just works best that way. Records need be kept only of who does what, not of who 'owes' whome for what. You give and receive LETS cheques in place of money to pay other LETS members for their work. There will be an exchange rate between LETS and LSD but it won't be made known to 'speculators' so we should be alright there. And there you are, and here I am...with a half decorated wall.

 

Any broken electric thingies out there? Labour Exchange Transfer Scheme some call it, Lots Easier Terribly Simple I call it. If you are interested in being first on the database then please contact me, either by phone or by letterbox whenever you get a chance. Your's co-operatively, Simon

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