Saturday, 28 June 2008

Trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology

(Click on photos to enlarge)

The start of our journey. This vernicular railway is run on the weight of water held in tanks beneath the cabin. The full cabin comes down and lifts the empty one to the top. There's one like this at Scarborough and Lynton/Lynmouth too .

This is where my husband and I (always feel like the Queen when I say that!) went yesterday. We first went 10+ years ago for a birthday treat of mine. Sadly, the weather was abysmally wet all the time we were there, we were stunned by the cost of £8.40 each to get in (less £1 for OH as he's now old enough to be a "concession"), and rather disappointed that it was virtually exactly the same as I remember it being 10+ years ago, except the gift shop is now in a new building. We went looking for answers to alternative technology questions, for which only one box was ticked. To be honest, we would have had to part with some serious money on books covering this, that and the other and still at the end of it, not know how long new technologies last before needing replacing, how much it costs to set up for a house this size etc, though we are pretty certain the cost is incredibly prohibitive still. We obviously set out with the wrong set of questions to answer, particularly in the way of the self-reliant approach to alternative technology. Ah well, I enjoyed the gardening side of things and yearn for a polytunnel even more now, and I did get an excellent book on "Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning" and a couple of useful leaflets (watch this space).

Another major grumble was the amount of water on the paths. Where they were so well-worn, huge pools of water formed, making entrance to some of the buildings difficult (some we just abandoned) and even the ladies' loo was almost beyond reach (I had to teeter on the side of the pathway). With that amount of admission, and it being set in a quarry, I am sure they could afford a bit more in the way of chippings down for a dry walkway. We had sensible shoes on, but needed wellies!

I love the grass roof on this little stone cottage and it gives such inspiration as to how much can be packed into a tiny yard.

A close-up of pots, bowls and buckets of plants.

Inside the Geodesic Dome. It was lovely and warm and all you could hear was water from the little water features inside it. Magic.

A view at the other side of the dome.

Inside a HUGE polytunnel. Now THIS is what you call a raised bed!

Inside the same polytunnel - a Fig tree was growing delightedly.

This seat is made from various offcuts of wood, and the gaps in the back had money (mostly coppers) glued into the slits.

Just to give you an idea of the relative size of the blades of a wind turbine. We have them on many Welsh hills, and I would welcome them if only they were energy efficient, but they run at an average of about 30% productivity and so always have to be backed up by the National Grid, which means in fuel terms, they contribute very little.

This little plot had so many plants crammed into it and was just breathtaking. I am now very tempted to widen my main border(s)! I had no complaints about the growing side of things, and got lots of ideas just from looking, but the energy side was dull . . . sorry guys. Perhaps all the new buildings going up are the answer to my questions and I have just arrived a year or so too soon . . .

1 comment:

LBP said...

Awesome photos! I love that wooden bench, it is so unusual.