Our second last weekend at Garden cottage and we were considering water and how we use it and take it for granted too often, and eco buildings. So after sharing our homework with the group (examples of water projects which certainly got me thinking about how it can be conserved) we set off, as a group for a day out (sorry, field trip) to look at, well, water and eco-buildings.
We stopped off, on our way to a recently built house in Lowick, which has been constructed with permaculure principles in mind, at the Honey Farm. I think that the Honey Farm is a favourite place of Graham’s because the past few times I have been out with him we have visited it. It is well worth a visit as it has an interesting collection of buses, tractors, farm contraptions of all sorts as well as a bee exhibition. The best bit of it all (after the coffee and honey cake on a converted double decker bus) is the hive in the exhibition area which has a perspex partition which allows you to see the bees doing their work. As I had been before and had had a look around, it meant that I could concentrate on the coffee and cake and then hog the space in front of the see-through bee hive. Heaven!
Then it was off to the eco new build which Lindsey had kindly offered to tell us about. We all took our boots off and trooped in to hear about how they were heating the building with heat pumps, maximising heat and water capture. All very inspiring and gave me some food for thought for my (still in the imagining stage) hobbit house. Stomped about outside looking at the land which we have to use as the basis for our garden design, the last piece of homework ever, to be presented at our last weekend in November. Lots to think about there.
From there we headed off to to Heatherslaw Mill, near the lovely little village of Etal, with its thatched pub. On the banks of the River Till, this is the only working water mill in Northumberland. It is powered by a 16 ft water wheel and there is a history of over 700 years of milling on this site. You can still buy flour from the mill in the shop. Graham had lots of interesting facts about the area and the mill which he shared with us over lunch.
From there we headed off to Eyemouth because as Graham said, how can you think about water and not think about the sea? The weather had not been great up to this point but the sun came out and for a short time we were able to bask in the heat and forget that winter is just round the corner. A lovely end to a very interesting and informative day, but then what else could it have been on Graham’s course?