Tina, Geoffery and I started our day with CAT’s Building with Straw Bales short course. Setting Geoffery down on a slightly wobbly stack of bales we watched as the students stripped off their boots and socks and jumped into a pile of deep red clay, sand and chopped up miscanthus straw, stomping and churning it to make a strong, eco plaster mix. Grabbing great handfuls they slopped the mixture onto the straw bales structure they have been building together all week, smoothing as they went.
The muddy, miscanthus mix has inspired Tina and I to create a Cob Geoffery for a future Switching Heads project, but that we will leave for another day.
Out into the rain we headed for Head Gardener Roger’s shed where we planned to interview him but spotting gardening action happening inside one of the polytunnels we quickly stacked up some empty plant pots topped them with our slate head and captured a behind the scenes moment with CAT’s gardening volunteers.
After a short tea break we got back on track and set Geoffery and Roger up for a chat in a gardening shed stuffed with tools, pots, gardening paraphernalia and with a powerful scent of garlic in the air. Roger told us of his many years at CAT and how it has shaped his life and the lives of his family. He confided with Geoffery that he had said he would retire but can’t seem to bring himself to do it.
In contrast we then had a chat with new gardening volunteer Bal who gave us her perspective on life at CAT after just two weeks. She told us that she had escaped her normal life in London for a few months and found a utopian retreat in CAT.
Holly Owen & Kristina Pulejkova