Darcy standing on The Morwenna with his Breton Reefer jacket from the second hand shop…and proud of his find!! Dick Strawbridge is signing an old Seamanship book that Darcy found at the reclamation site…it’s signed fro his sister who made James Strawbridge some soft soled crochet ‘Merry Feet’ for his son who has just learnt to walk (they are great as little feet can feel the ground and their muscles develop naturally). They cooked a great 3 course meal from foraged food that we’d supplied and scallops from Richard Keen (fisherman and diver here in Guernsey). How lovely to be given such yummy food from the wild and amongst people who care about sustainable food and living. James has a series of books out too for more yummy recipes and loves cooking on open fires…suits us! loved the panna cotta made from Mandy and Peter Girards Golden Guernsey goat milk, the scallops with rock samphire were plump, crisply coated and zesty, oh and the tartlet with goats cheese came close to my mums (which still rate higher…and sold at the farmer market at Castel for tartlet and pasty lovers) but I did like that they added carragheen seaweed to it for seasoning….must tell mum.
We’ve had a busy couple of months with volunteers and friends lime plastering our greenhouse wall, maintaining the greenhouses, dyeing and making felt with our sheep wool. We’ve shared the land with campers that have come and gone leaving stories and conversations that spark new ideas, folk on Foraging workshops, Girl Guides and more recently (yesterday) we spent half a day with Dick and James Strawbridge (from ‘It’s not easy being green’ series) for filming on their second series of Hungry sailors with ITV the Morwenna pilot cutter boat (which moored in Portelet for the filming). After we got home, a little tired after wading for seaweed, collecting sea kale, lemons, borage flowers, rock samphire from our greenhouse and being presented with a dehydrator that they made us, we tapped into the email to find we’d been awarded a Gold from The Green Tourism Business Scheme. I was touched as it took a huge effort to gather the information together for the assessor and an emotional journey of compiling evidence to prove that we have strong environmental ethics. It wasn’t an easy task, with Hugo on the side of my hip and keeping up with the growing amount of land work….but we got there and the assessor was really in tune with our vision and we both feel quite proud!
The Independent Newspaper have given our camping a thumbs up and included us in their ‘Best nights under canvas’.
it is really nice to have a seal of approval from The Independent Newspaper that have had a couple of journalists visit us in the last year which has led to them recommending us:
‘From tucked-away retreats and luxury yurts to perfect pitches for getting back to nature, Rhiannon Batten presents the experts’ guide to sleeping under the stars’,
Jo says: “Tara and D’Arcy can show you how to forage on their land and the nearby seashore, then cook up wild tapas by the fire: picking winkles out with pins, making wild garlic bread and feasting on freshly gathered samphire. Choose from one of three bell tents or tipis, all a pebble’s throw from the beach.”
Wild Guernsey, Pouquelaie Vinery, Ruette Rocques aux Caulx, St Peter’s, Guernsey,GY7 9HX (07781 122420, wildguernsey.co.uk). From £15 per person per night’
I wandered down to the beach with Hugo and looked over to the southwest point, glancing at The Hanois lighthouse and then over to cliffs. Leaving your camping pitch here at WildGuernsey, you can amble down the sunken path, touch the quiet lane for a minute and then sink your toes into the sand and not reach tarmac again until you get to St Peter Port- via the beach and cliff path. This is something I wanted to share with you after reflecting on a cycle ride on our reclaimed bikes venturing only as far as the fairy ring, as you might be thinking of The Channel Island way walking guide http://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/guernsey/blog/walk-the-channel-island-way/article037999.htm, or be looking for somewhere to stay where the car is not king and there is more sand or green than concrete (they paved paridise and put up a parking lot). The approach to our site is via feet, wheelbarrow, bike or donkey (if you have one), so as to keep the area peace-full. I like to journey somewhere, taking time and observing nature. It is something we teach on the WildFood workshops, for you to get to know the plants by Seeing The Whole and noting changes. People talk of not knowing where their food comes from, seasonality and feeling a dis-connection with what they eat. Gathering greens and taking them from hedge to your plate can be something you could do whilst walking the cliffs or lanes around Guernsey. Our roll top bath -prehaps with some seaweed added to help ease the aches and pains (best bet to use bladderwrack) will always soothe your body (or simply a seaweed soak for your feet), back at the land, before warming around an open fire!
We have come back from a holiday in England with renewed strength for our land project having had conversations with inspiring people and visited thought provoking places.
Part of our time has been spent amongst trees. Something we lack in Guernsey, well the sort of woods with big old mature trees, with lichen draped on their arms and dappling light peaking through their skirts. Embercombe was another place we visited and a ‘coming home’ feeling has stayed with me since. Here, my path highlighted once again, a little nudge in my side and a smile as I once again recognise my way, although it feels familiar it is not always clear. I’m reading mac’s (founder of Embercombe) book and I’m going to buy/lend it to all that I love. It’s just one of those that you need to pass on http://www.embercombe.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=188. He talks at the end of the book of people stepping out of the shadows and voicing their concern about the exploitation threatening the core systems of our planet and “Every single time that a conversation takes place which inspires or encourages or emboldens, we secure a tiny victory”. I hope that we can provide a space at WildGuernsey for conversations like these.
It has been awhile since I last wrote. Hibernation after a beautiful season of people sharing the land with us and staying in the tipis and bell tent. I found the ribbon with the wild carrot left in The Seafarer Tipi, which to me, was a ‘Thank you’ and an appreciation for the detail and time spent with us by these people. We really have had some beautiful people stay this year, which fills me with excitement for 2012. Many conversations sharing ideas about living lightly and an insight into how folk want to and are connecting with their world. We’ve learnt heaps from everyone. The comments in the visitor book are encouraging and we hope to see some of you to the west coast of Guernsey again. Famke, below, left us with her hangings of nature amongst the blackthorn, for all to share….Thanks.
I made my first sourdough rye this morning, inspired my Katie and Gordon from tracebridge sourdough http://www.tracebridgesourdough.co.uk/. We visited them recently, after a friend who had volunteered on our land recommended to pop by their place…so we did. I had pre-tasted their bread, brownies and buns from Minehead farmers market the day before and went back for more, plus a look around. We missed their pizza night (starts again in spring), but if we’re back in England then we’ll join them around their pond sometime for wood fired pizza. My attempt this morning was poor in comparison, but I will practice and hopefully perfect, and the smell of chewy sourdough bread will be wafting from our little oven someday.