Well what an extraordinary day!
Tuesday 30th July was forecast to be the worst day of the week. In the end it rained in the morning, but by 11.30am it had dried up. Then billowed away were the stratiform clouds and the rest of the day was warm, glorious sunshine.
Eric Hourn of Slackhouse Farm, Gilsland, demonstrating cheese-making over an open fire.
We had such support from the local community as well as the churches in the ‘minster’ area, so many of whom brought food, demonstrated their crafts, and/or helped with the organisation. None of the food was ‘organised’ in the sense that everything given was offered – none of it asked for.
Xavi and Reuben, our two Spanish wwoofers, who cooked a paella over an open fire.
We had people from Bewcastle, Stapleton, and Heathersgill churches in our own benefice, and from Walton, Lanercost, Nether Denton, and Gilsland in the Lanercost parishes. Local farmers were represented as well as permaculturists from Newcastle. Others came from wider Cumbria, County Durham, and Northumberland, non-church as well as church, young as well as old, and even 7 priests.
In all, well over 100 people came through the afternoon, 77 of whom attended the open-air service, which we had in the field around the cheese-making fire, many of whom would never be seen near a church.
The pigs were probably the greatest hit, although the cheese-making and all the other crafts went down well.
Everyone enjoyed meeting Rosie and Ginger
The pigs seem to have been interested as well.
Apart from the cheese-making activity, there was felt-making, peg-loom weaving, a potter’s wheel, bag-colouring, archery, basket-weaving and displays of hand-dipped candles and hand-forged blacksmith work, folk music and rhythym-making.
Lisa on the peg loom
Valerie on the potter’s wheel
Talks were given on the pigs, cheesemaking, beekeeping, herbal medicine and the meteorology station. And in the background, work started on re-instating the pond that used to exist in the river meadow.
A selection of Philip’s baskets
Several have said they want to come back (from Newcastle and County Durham, as well as locals) and help with the straw-bale build next year.
Have a look through the pictures of the Open Day in the Gallery, which were taken by (and copyrighted to) our photographer, Andy Norris.