Last Thursday we headed up to Nethen in Belgium for a four day Permaculture Festival. Our thanks go to Alex, our WOOFER at the time, as he kindly looked after the farm whilst we were away (this is one of the difficult things about having animals - there aways needs to be someone at base to look after their daily needs).
It was wonderful and I learnt so many new skills, got so many new ideas, shared thoughts with so many like-minded folk, played barefoot with the children in lush green grass (as we have none at home!), and generally just chilled out. We made felt from raw Ouessant wool, ground wheat and made bread on an open fire, went on a foraging ramble and came back and cooked the goodies (R particularly loved this), made mud bricks, helped to build a clay oven, talked for a whole morning about scythes, visited folk who were running a permaculture small-holding in arid Israel, learnt to make more cheeses, and did a workshop on forest gardening.
The most surreal thing happened just as I was getting up early on the Friday morning. Dimly in the distance I could hear pipes sounding out the tune of, of all things, God Save the Queen. I thought that I was going mad. I mentioned it to Ben. He thought I was going mad. But then, the haunting pipes wafted in again and there it was. We both looked at each other. There in the middle of very rural Belgium, in the middle of a field, at 6.30am surrounded by sleepy permaculture enthusiasts, we listened to God Save the Queen!