Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tuesday 22nd March 11 Fernhill Farm

Lovely day, including the two train journeys, and meeting several people whom I know through the 'net but haven't ever met in real life.

I started off by filling the analogue stacking wormery (ex seed-sprouter) with finished worm compost in the bottom layer, working compost with worms in the middle layer and new compostables in the top layer.  Then the whole thing went back in it's box and I'll be taking it to London on Friday.

Then got stuff ready for going to Bristol and the Wipe Out Waste Welly Boot Camp.  Loaded the bike trailer with all my circus gear, overnight stuff including a sleeping bag.  I'd booked on the 11.30 train and got a seat booked too, and on the way to Birmingham had good conversations with the people round the table... and then on the Birmingham to Bristol train, another nice chat with my seat-neighbour, who was really interesting.

Ben Edwards met me at Temple Meads and we just managed to get the stuff in his car, and he used Googlemaps on his mobile, attached to his windscreen, to get us to more or less the right place.  However, once heading for Burrington Coombe, we took the wrong turning (no signpost) and ended up in Blagdon.  Eventually he admitted he had a map, which I'm really good at reading, and I found a way up to the top of the Mendips and to Fernhill Farm.

Tracey Smith was in the kitchen preparing food with Karen Cannard and Dave Hampton, the Carbon Coach.  I've been looking forward to meeting Tracey and Dave for ages.... and was due to meet them for the first time this weekend at UK Aware, but then Tracey invited me to help with the Wipe Out Waste 'Welly Boot Camp'.  There was Martin Gillard, a key player in the emerging renewable energy market, and Joe Wadsworth from Good Energy, both of whom I was pleased to meet, and later, Robin Harford, of Eat Weeds fame, another person I'd been looking forward to meeting after being in contact through facebook. Eventually Karen Ford surfaced, the founding Director of Footprint Friends, which is running the Wipe Out Waste Awards.

The food prep was happening in an amazing building, semicircular and newly renovated.  At one end was the kitchen and a dining room, then a lounge cum posh bedroom with a big double bed and a huge sleep-in canary cage on top, then the boys' dorm and then the girls' dorm, each with their own toilet and shower area.  The whole building had been done out with locally sourced wooden beams, whole tree trunks in many places, and was very plush and wonderful with lovely decoration.  I think it has under-floor heating as it seemed very cosy.  They use a biomass boiler, running on logs.

There was food prep going on... so I did a bit of washing up and then helped Ben find wood for the fire area. I met Jen and Andrew Wear, the land custodians; it was good to meet Andrew again as I'd met him briefly at the Big Green Gatherings here where I'd been head compost dude.

We lit the bonfire and food was eventually served.  Lovely food, over 30 of us eating, including a couple of the school groups, teenagers and their teachers who will be participating tomorrow.  Tracey had booked a pair of musicians to come and provide entertainment, so they set up next to the fire and most of us sat around that and talked, waved joss-sticks around, toasted marshmallows next to the fire (I don't eat marshmallows as they're not vegetarian) and generally enjoyed ourselves.  I was interested to see an iPhone app which could 'see' the stars in the night sky and put an outline of the various constellations onto the screen.  And Tracey led a short guided meditation, one of my first 'official' meditations actually which involved looking up into the universe.

It was a fine end to a really good night.

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