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Windhampton – a breath of fresh air

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Ian Martin develops the inhabited windmill

MONDAY I’m remodelling a gallery. Not as straightforward as it sounds. It was poorly vamped in the 90s, so must be devamped before new work can proceed.

It’ll look great though. A ‘living promenade’ of synthetic jelly will connect the pollarded south wing to an adult soft play café and social media workshop. The adjoining ‘learning and growing studio’ will open into an experiential ‘art garden’, featuring improvised human drama occurring on a path of bark chippings.

TUESDAY Bollocks. My college refurbishment scheme has been killed and lowered into an early grave. This is definitely NOT what I understood ‘shovel-ready’ to mean.

WEDNESDAY It’s time to elevate the sustainable energy debate. Let’s at least raise it above the level of ‘Ooh, rural communities can see the turbines and they really hate them’. The turbines in my new speculative project, for instance, are so huge that urban communities will be able to see them as well. This makes green energy sustainable AND inclusive.

I have conceived Windhampton as a pathfinder scheme, a new settlement dedicated to the power of wind in much the same way as Cadbury World celebrates the power of chocolate. I’ve found a perfect site, too: high up on some Lancashire moors owned by a conscientious client passionate about conservation. For years he has conserved these moors by threatening trespassers with prosecution and charging parties of ‘hedgies’ a fortune to shoot grouse.

Alas, the hedgie population has declined. Or rather migrated to more exciting shooting destinations abroad, where larger prey can be slaughtered with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. So Lord X is now planning to conserve the moors by building a massive ‘wind town’ on them.

Windhampton will have something for all the family. Children will love the wind petting farm, where they can interact with tiny, soft plastic micro-turbines. Like their giant counterparts they are asleep most of the time, but mind those little fingers when they wake up!

Unlike previous soulless wind projects, Windhampton will have human life at its very heart, with a development of inhabited windmills. The design of these is still very much in my head. I’m imagining something like those ones you see in children’s TV programmes. Sort of lovely pre-Industrial Revolution look, though full not of toiling millers and apprentices with rickets but vegetarian families in cheesecloth shirts, laughing around a big wooden table in perpetual ‘rambling family lunch’ mode.

Yeah, maybe a few rows of those. There’ll be a miniature gauge railway with puffer train. A wind-powered open theatre with natural ‘draughty’ air management system. And a food mall offering a range of gutsy/gusty dining options. Windhampton will also feature the world’s first wind outlet centre, selling end-of-range or slow-moving wind for domestic use.

The next step is marketing. I spend the rest of the day putting together some inflated rhetoric.

THURSDAY Bingo, looks like Windhampton’s time has come. The chancellor is relaunching the North of England as an economic miracle.

A report commissioned by an independent think tank of business leaders has concluded that The North needs significant new powers for business leaders. Its message to government couldn’t be clearer: give us the tools ie billions of pounds and thousands of jobs and we can turn the North round, so it’s facing South.

As for this new political tier of ‘metro mayors’ - I can’t be the only one hearing the MGM lion roaring every time I see it in print, surely.

FRIDAY Rock Steady Eddie the fixer has persuaded me to hurry up and finish the Megabolic Tower, an ambitious two mile-high mixed-use slab of urban endeavour for downtown Blingnang. ‘Yeah,’ he says, ‘the China growth engine still packs a punch and that’s keeping the building industry very much in the ring. Let’s have it!’

Hold on, I say. Are we getting into the ring with China’s growth engine? Because it’ll flatten us if we are. ‘No, you doughnut. We’d be part of the growth engine’. So who’s the growth engine’s opponent then? Is it another growth engine we’re ALSO part of? He threatens to pack a punch and have it cabbed over, so I just get on with the drawings.

SATURDAY Five-a-zeitgeist theoretical football. Cathet­ered Romantic 2, Pre-Op Horizontular 1, after extra meds.

SUNDAY Allow a ‘mind-wind’ to blow my thoughts randomly about in the recliner.

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