Tuesday, September 09, 2008





Hoorah! The children are back at school! We have had a busy last week to the holidays with some lovely friends from Cumbria staying for the week and giving us a hand outside in between the torrential downpours! The week before we had super wwoofer Pat with us..........a lady of mature years, age unknown but suspected to be older than most of us here she was a human dynamo! We took a load of rubbish to the dump in the stock trailer and whilst there liberated a brand new top of the range folding chair complete with its carrying case and joy of joys a roll top cast iron bath!!!!! (and a pale green one at that) Getting the bath was a dastardly deed.............the man at the recycling centre (dump) said we could not have it as it was going to be chucked in the metal recycling skip when there were enough hefty blokes to shift it..................so I pointed out that cast iron was not recyclable.......which fell on deaf ears!
So...........we argued.............and argued and I pointed out that I would be recycling it in my garden as a hot tub.........so he relented but told us he had not seen us!
So we put the trailer between bath and security cameras and Pat with the strength of several men and me with the strength of a mouse hoicked it quickly amid lots of puffing into the trailer and sped away feeling like a couple of naughty school girls!
It is perfect.......and will be made into a wood fired hot tub for next year!
Pat departed and we now have Domenic a German student who is an ace painter and we are making use of his talents on sheds and in my eco business unit!
Now back to the weather...............
Friday dawned in torrential rain and countrywide weather warnings, I drove up to the Permaculture convergence in Ilkley Yorkshire in the most terrifying conditions. On getting there we were warned that the adjoining river was about to burst and we were stuck.......I have to admit I was so relieved to be there in one piece I would have happily been flooded in for a week!
On the Friday evening there was a Ceilidh and we danced until midnight including Breton dancing......it was great and helped 300 people get to know a few others!..........helped of course by good food and good beer!
Next day I ran a pegloom workshop which was so popular it ran over into the afternoon and the following morning!.................but also had time to hear Permaculture Magazine editor and publisher Maddy Harland speak (she is very good.....I reccommend listening to her talk) and had a chat with her and husband Tim...........if you read it look out for an article by me in the future....! I also had a chance to hear Roberto Perez from Cuba speak about the Cuban experience which was amazing listening and all I can say is listen!
All in all it was the most positive experience of permaculture folks I have had and several of us met together and are working on joint projects re teaching and livestock!.............the food was superb over the weekend and the journey back complimented by seeing a pair of red kites!
Talking of permaculture I want to show you all an interesting example! Above are 2 photos taken from our raised patio of a bit of land that was used by our property for years but was owned by another neighbour but about 5 years ago was split between our property and our next door neighbour. It is about 3/4 acre in total. We made a garden, orchard, duck lawn with raised beds, and wildlife corridor with willow bed soak away from our bit which is low maintenance, but high output as its now grazed by geese, ducks or sheep, full of fruit trees, has beds of soft fruit, a willow fedge, basket making willow, etc and is a haven of productivity and biodiversity.
Our neighbours levelled theirs and mow a mono culture of grass with a ride on mower. strimmer and push mower weekly!!!..........theirs is very high input and very low output.....they don't even sit out and enjoy it!
And finally my bike! 2 weeks ago I escaped to my house in Brittany and cycled 24 glorious flat kilometres on my bike along the cycleway between Morlaix and Concarneau...........passing 1 dog walker 3 pedestrians and 2 elderly men on rickety bikes.............bliss!

6 comments:

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

Wow Val, well done you! I certainly will look out for your article and the garden looks fantastic. And on top of all that you found a cast iron roll top bath at the tip!! The best thing is that you plan to make a garden hot tub out of it you saucy thing. How fantastic!
Gabrielle

Blu said...

Sounds like yo have had an interesting time. I did enjoy the story abot the old bath tub too.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Cycling in France is such an utter joy Val and Britany is so lovely that it hurts. Did you get mud splattered without mudguards or did you find some good weather?

Val Grainger said...

I really have had a great time and am back in France with my bike next week! I have a pannier rack on the back that stops mud flying everywhere and a new guard for the front!
however the surface on the cycle way from Morlaix is amazing........makes the Camel Trail in Cormwall look naff!

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

Stuart here, this time! Val, you've written enough for three different blogs, do you get time to draw breath?
I partilcualy like your compariosn of your neighbour's and your own use of very similar plots of land. Could you expand on that in another blog please, with loads more photos and talk us through all the elements of your own that you mention?
I'd especially like to know how you've created a duck lawn, in terms of housing, fencing, ducky needs, stopping them eating stuff you don't want eaten, anti-fox measures, and anything else you can think of.

Val Grainger said...

;0) yes I do lead a busy life Stuart! I only get a few minutes occaisionally to blog so have to jam it all in.........reflects my life really! There will be more on the comparisom of plots coming soon!