Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wednesday 23rd March 11 Wipe Out Waste Welly Boot Camp.

I was woken by Ben who had been sleeping next to me in the adjacent bunk, and most of us in that dorm got up soon after 6am to go for a wander round the farm, to look for the canyon and see how much wild food was available.  Several people commented on my snoring, despite my warning them that I snore.  One chap snored so loudly that he'd had the sense to bed down in the kitchen area, away from everybody else where he wouldn't disturb them (or, apparently, vibrate people out of their beds!). 

A group of teenagers joned us for the early morning walk which was good, and Robin and I led the expedition, with questions about tree identification and some of the foodstuffs from plants, including beechmast, gorse flowers and nettles.

We came back for breakfast and then the mentors went down to the Yeo Valley 'Lakewood' Conference Centre; Ben was happy to take me and all my gear down.  I got set up for my 11am til 12pm first show and had a bit of time to see whether the laptop and wifi worked together, which they did.  The assorted schools appeared... Dixon City Academy, Abbots Hill School, Hollyfield School Kingston, St. Lukes, Mountbatten School, Sidcup School and Saint Timothy's from Glasgow who'd flown down.  There was an intro from Karen from Footprint Friends and Tracey Smith the main organiser of this event, and Graham Keating from Yeo Valley, who amongst other things, showed a very slick (and funny) advertising video.

Then it was time for the first session; I had a group of maybe 16 youngsters, and I explained that I was going to do my circus skills show and workshop, and that when they came up to volunteer they would be helping themselves to learn how to present information, to 'act' in a way which might help them prepare for their presentations to the Eco Dragons in the summer, to (successfully) showcase their idea.  Other groups were starting with media training, to et them used to working with TV/video cameras on them.

The show went very well, some talented and keen people, and I was really pleased with how they responded to my challenges.

I had 30 minutes free after that, before lunch, which was a tasty veg lasagne which I had on the veranda overlooking Blagdon Lake from way up the hill. A spectacular view.

After lunch I had my second group, again a talented bunch, with several diabolo players in amongst them, and a good unicylist or three.  They went off to do a brainstorming session to develop and improve their idea, and I got tidied up and then went to join the mentors in the main conference hall for the final session which was mainly feedback.  Professor Fiddlesticks got a mention in all but one of the feedback presentations, which made me quite emotional, in a positive way!

It took quite a while to get the stuff all packed up and away, as I think Ben took a wander to go and take more photos!  At the top of the hill too, he stopped to take pics and it was here I discovered he's into Urban Exploration, and 'knew' Mozaz (through an Urbex website only I think)  But eventually we got back to Fernhill Farm where we had a bit to eat and a debrief.  And a walk to the canyon, which Tracey hadn't seen.  Robin came with us and enthused about hairy bittercress, lords and ladies (starchy root if prepared well) fiddleheads from heart's tongue ferns, dandelion, wood sorrel and nettles.  This time I tried a nettle, raw and scrunched up... it was delicious!

But we were running out of time and had to get back, and Ben offered to take me down to Weston Super Mare to Lucy and Colin's house, and when we eventually got there, came in for a cuppa before driving back to Southampton.  He enjoyed seeing the sunset (more photos) and Cheddar Gorge, which is always gorgeous!

I had a lovely balloon modelling session with the two children, and when they'd gone to bed, a good long chat with Colin and Lucy. 

One of the best days I've had for a long time. 


Tracey Smith said...

Hey John, I feel like I was standing beside you, as I read your description of the was immense and yes, you left those children with an overwhelming sense of 'I can do anything I set my mind to''ve a great talent...

One of the best days ever....I concur....


Compost John said...

Thanks Tracey, you are kind.

Nice one for all the pulling together of people; you are a first class networker.

See you at UK Aware!