Archive for agosto 2011

Bristol museum

agosto 30, 2011

On tuesdaymorning, after another rich breakfast, we go to the museum. We wanted to go the day before, but it seems that in Bristol, on monday, most museums are closed. First, we went to the M Shed, a brand new museum  mainly about the history of the city. We didn’t see a lot in the museum, to be honest, but we had fun, expecially with the gospel workshop. At the entrance, in fact, there was an info point, where we were told about this workshop, which lasted half an hour. We joined it, and when we were introduced to the program, we found out we would learn something about the slavery ages, we would learn a gospel, and, with great surprise, we would performance, after all, the gospel down at the ground floor, at the entrance of th emuseum. I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. So we tryed to do our best, enjoining the song, and singing it as it was meant to be…sadly, the public was’t really a huge crowd!!

After a break in the coffe shop nearby and at the felafell stand on the road by the river, we went to another musem, and then, after shopping, home, to cook gnocchi for us and Irena katzakistan guests.These guests deserve a short introduction. Since we arrived, Vi and Irena tolked about them in a funny way, saying they could not understand the guys behavior, which they found really unusual for any 19 years old guy. They kept on saying those twins from katzakistan didn’t eat enough, spent all their spare time in their bedroom, talked almost at all with Irena, and seemed not interested in going out, visiting England, having fun outside, socialize with Irena and so on. So, since the very first time I was really keen in meeting the twins, and trying to talk as much as possible with them. The first evening, when i saw the first time one of them (i can’t remember th ename) entering the room with an ear phone and his laptop, a pale face and amost saying nothing, I gave a look to Irena thinking “you’re right, they are too weird”. Then the second twin came, and he seemed a bit more talkative. They ate our dishes and escape in their bedroom, as usual. On tuesday, though, after while dining, we talked a lot about their school, theyr cat, England, Katzakistan, and they even went to take the laptop and show us some picture about theyr hometown and their Country. Irena was surprised indeed. After dinner, Beatrice, more tired then usual, went to bed, and I stayd longer with Irena, having a nice chat.

the morning after, on wednesday, we had a late breakfast, while Irena riceived some friends. She had a funeral, and a weird situation to deal with, and it was lovely to see how her friends went to spend some time with her. At midday we got a train to Bath: I had already visited this famous city, but since Beatrice had not, and many people told us she should see, we eventually decided to go. Bath is famous because of the roman bath and the Cathedral nearby. We had few hours, which we spent  on a quick tour of the centre and some shopping. Bea finds England a good place for shopping, expecially for clothes and shoes, because they are cheap, and of the right size.

At 7ish we went to Swindon, where our costarican host was waiting for us.


From Dartington to Bristol

agosto 22, 2011

On sunday morning, once a month, there’s the farmer market in Totnes. It’s a bit smaller then the other which happen every friday. It’s still a good chance to buy some good food, and also other shops are open, so on sunday morning the town is busy too. We went to the market and then we headed for Dartington, walking on a pretty path way along the river. It took more then an hour to get there. Dartington is a realy nice area, not far from the town, with many shops, coffee shop and a restaurant. At the top of the hill, in the middle of a green area, there’e the main building, where the college was, with its courtyard and the gardens.I thought the college was still there, and the Schumacher college as well, but it seens it isn’t, which is a pity.

Back home we had lunch, we waited for Clare to get home for the greetings, and then we went to the bus station, where we had the national express coach to Bristol. The day before I called Irene, a lady I met first at a volunteer week end at Lower haw Farm and then at Braziers. She’s retired, and since she had much spare time, she started to volunteer in communities and farms. I always wanted to visit her in Bristol, so I got the chance, this time, to visit her and her city.

To get to her home, from the couch station, we walked quite a lot. Beatrice wanted to get there by ourself, without calling Irene to pick us up at the station. I was sceptical, but in the end, step by step, asking to few people (N.B. ask to the pubs for directions in England) we did it!We met Irena in the streets, she was waiting for us, with her friend Ve. We spent the evening eating something – unfortunely our hosts had just had dinner so they couldn’t try piadina – talking, drinking and smoking a lot. I knew life in the city is unhealthy!! It was such an enjoiable evening, Ve is really funny and unaffected, and Irene as well. It was a pity Ve couldn’t join us for visiting Bristol, the day after. On monday, in fact, with Irena, we had a massive walk and a great tour of part of the city. We’ve been unlucky, to be honest, with museums (closed on monday!). We decided to go to the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge made by Brunell. On the way to it,  we visited the Cathedral,  we mannaged to see the Beryl Cook exibithion at the University Museum, and also the pretty area of Clifton, a rather luxurious suburb near the village, where many people who got rich with the slavers trade used to live. It’s interersting to see how near are poor and rich areas in a city, get through tourists, posh and ruined building, social project, social houses, drug dealer, culture and so on.

With Irena, she's great!!

Back home, really tired, we cooked for us and the two students from kazakingstan who are renting a room at Irene’s. We had dinner, and a nice chat before going to sleep.

To Dartmouth by ferry

agosto 22, 2011

on saturday morning we went to dartmouth. clare suggested us this itinerary. from the river, in totnes, there are boats going to dartmouth. the trip lasts one hour and a quorter. then you can come bach by steam train and bus, or just by boat again. we chose this second option, and it was a good choise, since on the way to dartmouth the weather was poor, raining all the time, while on the way back it was sunny and hot and we could enjoy the trip sitting outside at the front of the boot. dartmouth is lovely, by the river and the sea, with lovely buildings. the walk to the castles was lovely and we spent there  a couple of hours, just sunbathing, in a really beautifull beach just below the castle itself.

back home, we had dinner, and then, surprisengly, we watches a spy fiction in italian (Montalbano) with english subtitle. Neither clare nor me could follow the story, while beatrice was really into it.


agosto 19, 2011

On thursday we moved to Totnes, finally: I planned to go there two years ago!!Totnes…another different page to write in this colorfull trip. At Truro I called Clare, and she gave me the directions to get to her house. Surprisingly, I realizied she lives in th every centre of the town, behind the main church, St. Mary. As soon as we arrived in the town centre, I felt the different atmosphere of the life in a town. Most Shops were closed at 5ish, nice shops though, few people around, many young people and some hint of the transition movement and the alternative scene in the area. Clare was waiting for us at her “white house”, she gave us a warm welcome and show us the house. You can tell she’s used to have guests. The house is really pretty and cosy, Beatrice really liked the kitchen, since the very beginning. Clare was hosting also another CS, from Portugal, involved in activism and sustainable practices and in Totnes to attend a permaculture course at landmatters farm. While we were waiting for her to come back from her walk to Dartington College, we were to shopping at th elocal Cooperative, just aroud the corner, and then after a long chat drinking wine we cooked risotto and salad. After dinner there were, by chance, a program on the BBC about Totnes. It was just a great coincidence, since we had a glimpse on the history and the present of Totnes, on the Transition movement as well, and we could see some lovely view of the place and the surrounding. Also by chance, while smoking with Sarah on the street, we met the TTT manager, who invited us to go to their office and to join the town tour in the afternoon, the day after.

On Friday we woke up with a beautiful sun who made our bedroom beautifully greenish. We had a nice breakfast and then we headed to the TTT office, in high street. We wanted just to ask at what time the tour would begin, but e got stuck at the meeting thy had in the morning. It was a new initiative, a meeting to show to the people what TTT is and how it works, its history…Few people was there: a spanish couple on their 60s, beatrice and I, Sarah, a french girl, three people from totnes, ibe girl from london and a family from Dartmouth. We introduced ourselves and then we started to talk about TTT.

After this gathering we went to the market, in the square. It was lovely to wander around the differents stands with local vegetables, food, fruits, crafts. We bought some great breadmade by some kind of religious community and some jam made by a retired old funny man. we tryed both the bread and the jam at Clares, the same morning, for breakfast, and we rally liked them

Then, in the afternoon, we went back to the office, where a group of 15 people was waiting for the tour. we moved down to the river where we’ve been introduced to some info about that area of the town, devoted, once, to factory (wood and tin) and to the time when pirats used to come along the river after having stolen goods from some boats. Pirats were the first to bring gold and richness in the town, before the tin business. By taxi and a rishiot we moved to the top of the town, in a new residential area, where we could see all the solar panels installed on the roofs of the houses down in thw centre of the town. then we visited a woman who joined a project, the “street project”, which helped people to make their house more efficient in their energy consumption. we gathered in this garden, and we were explained about the project. then we moved again at the top of the high street, and walked down towards it to the office, having more infoes about the shops (many of them sell local goods) and the buildings. It was an alternative and sustainable form of tourism and tour of the town. we ve been lucky to have had the chance of getting a glimpse about TTT.

In the evening we went to an asian restaurant, attending a CS gathering. there were beatrice and I, clare, sara, kasha fron poland who is studing english in totnes, and alan from Plymouth.


Food and Music in Cornwall

agosto 18, 2011

We moved to Cornwall on monday the 15th. From Axminster, by train, we get to Truro, at about 18. Naomi was waiting for us at the Railway Station parking car with her blue BMW 4×4. she took us to her place which we found to be a lovely house by one of the crick of the river Fal, closer to Falmouth then to Truro. Mark, her husband, was cooking for us at home. Naomi show us the house, hour badroom, the bathroom, and when we moved back to the kitchen she offered us whine and gin-tonic. In a while it was dinner time so we sit at the table, having some more wine, a very good lamb cooked for long time in the oven so that it was so tender and tasty, some potatoes, carrots, mushroom, and a lovely cake. Our meal was accompanied by the music of Radio Paradise, a really good radio station, which is always playing at Naomi’s. Food and music have been the leit motive of our time with Naomi and Mark, which was, anyway, much more then this. on tuesday we cooked cappelletti for them, made from scratch with MArk’s machine, with meat, cream and mushroom. It was fun to see the four of us making this sort of pasta together. Also we cooked staffed zucchini and pepper, baked in the oven. At the end of the day, we cooked a tiramisu for the day after, when we had a BBQ with chicken and pork, potatoes, cous cous, salad, and a very wide mix of sause to add to the meat. We had the last two meals outside, in the garden, with candles and torches. Even though it wasn’t warm, it was just greit being outside, eating, drinking, listening to the music, talking about food, music, politics, tecnology, Cornwall and Australia and as many places as possible in the world. ark and Naomi are very experienced travellers and good people that is simply a great pleasure to spend time with them. they’ve been so kind and nice to take us also, the last morning we were there, to a trip by boat, with their boat, on the coast around Falmouth.

And about our visit in Cornwall, we had the chance to see beautifull places. On tuesday morning, after breakfast, Mark gave us the map of the surrounding area and the time table of the local buses so that we could walk from their home along the crick, around the peninsula by the sea to the little village where there’s a ferry to go to Falmouth. We visited this pretty and busy town in the afternoon, walking from the main street, whit all the tourists and the shops, to the castel. The day after, we went to St.Ives, which was simply beautiful. We had some problem to get there though: we got to the bus stop at 8, waiting for the 8.05 bus. We knew the buses in Cornwall are always late, so we didn’t mind that at 8.30 we were still waiting there, under the rain, also. At a quarter to 9 we started to hitchike, and when we double checked the bus time table we found out that the 8.05 bus run only on saturdays!! Ok, it’s fine. When we lost any hope, we got a lift from a men who was taking her daugther to Truro, and we arrived to the station just in time to get the train, that was lucky. In St Ives is beautiful, we could see it since we were gettng close to the town by train. From the windows we had a lovely view of the seaside and the town itself. The weather in the morning wasn’t god, but in the afternoon it become so gorgeous, and the sea became green and blue as it could be in greece, and the people filled the beaches. In th elate afternoon Naomi and Mark came to pick us up at St. Ives railway station at took us for a ride along the coast, towards Land’s End, PEnzance and Mount St. Michelle. The last day, before our train, we had also the chance for a walk in Truro, which is another pretty place to visit, with a lovely and interesting Cathedral.


Teaching Italian

agosto 13, 2011

On wednesday we took over the kitchen. For lunch we made risotto alla milanese, and for supper gnocchi. Beatrice also made a cake with an amazing cream, I guess thank to the very good and fresh milk. Also, she made a cake for Clement birthday. For lunch we cooked for Clement the tagliatelle we made the night before, and it was funny to see him eating almost all of them. He’s such a skinny guy, he really appreciated our dish.

On thursday morning we worked in the garden, cleaning the area by the compost. So I got the chance to have fun once more with the british nattles. As a matter of fact, I worked with the others volunteers, who were picking plums and cleaning other areas of the garden. Also, it was great to work with Mark, the chief gardener. Every so often we had the chance to talk a bit, and i found out, for example, that the romans bring th enettles in England, first. They used to grow it by the roads, in order to have something to eat, and to warm themself up (putting the nettles on their skin).

Gardening in the drizzle

Gardening in the drizzle

In the afternoon I worked a little bit more in the garden with Charlotte. The weather wasn’t as good as it was in the morning and after the tea break I picked some rape seeds from a dry plant, in the dining room, with Rebecca, who is a new resident, and a german volunteer who has just started hee his gap year. The drizzle gave me the chance to see a peculiar scene in the garden: a volunteer was weeding with an colorfull umbrella and listening to her mp3 reader. World is getting weird and funny!!  In the meanwhile beatrice had a show with the guest’s kids about how to make tagliatelle from scratch. All the children and the mother had a good time and really enjoined this inusual, for them, way to make pasta.

Beatrice teaching italian culture

Beatrice teaching italian culture

For supper we had a pizza party, with the almost brend new community’s wood stove. It was a pleasant evening and we had fun, but, to be honest, pizza wasn’t really good, because the oven temperature was too low, and also everyone made their own pizza, leaving it too thick and covering it with too many vegetable. But, of course, it’s more fun if everyone has the chance to make pizza by himself, choosing the ingredient and making it personal and special. At the beginning of the party Linden was at the wood stove, but he soon asked me to help him, so I took over his place and I started to cook the pizza for the rest of the guest and residents. It was funny, I had the chance to chat with the people in the quieue, trying to make their waiting pleasant. It was a little bit like last year, when we had the barbeque and I was cooking with the other volunteers.

oPizza party

Pizza party

After supper I had a long cigarette break talking  to Mark, which I hadn’t the chance to spend much time with. We talked about Monkton Wyld, hi experience here, the community project for the next years, and funny story about people who get in to communities, expecially as volunteers.

ps. from italy my mother sent me news about the economic situation…

Back to Monkton

agosto 11, 2011

We had two lovely days at Monkton Wyld. On tuesday I worked with Beatrice in the house. We hadn’t lots to do and it was an easy day. We’re lucky because the last two weeks here were very busy, it was full booked, but this week it’s pretty quiete, with few guests. We set some rooms for the guests, and set our own room. We moved from the Pine Valley to the Oats. All the rooms here have funny names. Last august I was in the Sunflower. By the toilet at the first floor there are Wind and Fire, and Earth.

We much prefer to stay in the house, instead of in the building where volunteers usually stay.

About the people staying here, I’m still not sure about who is living here, who is volunteering, and who is staying as a guest. It’s good that there are more children and kids then last year: you can see them around all day, playing in the garden and laughing a lot. Beatrice noticed they are very quiete and don’t cry or scream. Maybe it’s the environment which give them tranquillity. I think every community needs family, kids and chldren.

On tuesday, after working, we got a couple of bycicle and went to Lyme Regis. It was funny, we went on the sea side and got Fish and Chips and ice cream, which we ate on the harbour. The weather was really good, and the evening warm. The ride back to monkton was a bit dangerous, since we came almost at night. We got back late and so we missed a community night at John’s, who invited everyone to watch a spy series from the 70’s which should be popular among british.

On wednesday we decided to get the day off, since we wanted to go to Exeter to see if renting a car was possible. We didn’t go there, we just tryed to call by phone some companies which rent cars, and we found out that is very difficult to rent a car without a credit card. So, we think, our next week tour in Cornwall is going to be by public transport and feet. It’s a pity, but that’s it. I don’d know, at this point, wether to change our plan, avoid to go to Plaimouth and go to Bristol instead. It’s sad to miss our host Annie, though, and also, with all the riots which are happening at the moment in the main cities, it might be better to stay far from the cities.

We spent the wednesday afternoon with Lory and Mark shopping in Axminster. Then, on the way back to Monkton, they drop us off at Trill Farm, where we had a tour, a nice walk in the woods, and a chat with the gardeners there, a young couple with a sweet blond baby. They offered us a ride to Axminster, and we went by van, staying in the back. Trill Farm was very busy, with so many people working there, to arrange everything for the festival that start on thursday.

In the wood

In the wood at Trill Farm

Back at Monkton, we had supper, and then we went to the kitchen to make bread (I missed it so much), a cake and some pasta made from scratch. With us there were the other two volunteers. One of them birthday is tomorrow, so we decided to cook for him the tagliatelle as our special present. Being back in the kitchen was exiting, everything is so familiar, the aga, all the pens and tins, the ingredients, the big bins with the flowers, the baking box, the curious random box. I had some problem to find some of the ingredients, but basically it was just like having left this place not from so many months, but just from few weeks.

In the Kitchen, Beatrice and Clement

In the Kitchen, Beatrice and Clement

My status of volunteer is really nice. It’s strange, and fine, being back in this dimension. Everything is so familiar, and i m happy, even though for only a week, to have the chance to experience all this again.

Reading, the 3 B’s

agosto 8, 2011

Biscuits, Bulbs, Beer. These were the main deals in Reading some centuries ago. I would add, as well, Beautiful people, who I met there the last week end, and Braziers, which I visited on saturday.

The week end was just amazing. We were welcame by Stefanie on friday evening in a really nice and kind way. And Ben, who we met the day after, was a great host as well. On saturday morning we went to Braziers, and it was so great to see all the people aho are living there, beginning from Federcio, to Woodie, Chris, Judith, Nonnie and her nepew, Nick, Trish and Carolyn…Everyone was so truly happy to see me again, I can’t tell how much I appreciate their friendship. I’d like to visit them again before going to Italy at the end of august.

And on saturday evening, at the global cafe, there was another exiting gathering with the friends from couchsurfing. There were about ten of us, in the end: Martin, Lyla wand her niece, Roberto, Pete  who was just back from the Balcan, Ben and Stefanie, Simon and her two guests from chek republic. I couldn’t talk a lot wth any of them, but it was a lovely night and I m very gratefull to all of them for coming.

Beatrice and Stefanie by the Kennet canal

Beatrice and Stefanie by the Kennet canal

On sunday we had a great session cooking at Ben and Stefanie’s. It was so lovely to spend the day with them, showing them how to make ravioli and gnocchi, and a special cream with biscuits and melon. Since the weather was really english, with too much rain until the late evening, we spent the day in a really italian way, eating the whole afternoon. And then, after a walk in the centre, we set in the living room to watch the life or Brian, which i wanted to see since last year.

Me and Stefanie at the coffee shop in Reading

Me and Stefanie at the coffee shop in Reading

This morning we left to Dorset, and now we’re in Monkton Wyld. We had a warm welcome as well, a nice dinner all together and a tour of the place, which beatrice liked a lot.

It’s a lovely place where it’s great to spend more then a week voluntering, but one week is all we can stay, so, we’re trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

ENGLAND again!!

agosto 1, 2011

I’m going soon to England, with Beatrice. We’ve got three weeks, from the 5th to the 27th August, to travel a little bit in the south west of this lovely Country, and we’d like to visit some friends of mine who live in the communities I volunteered last year, to travel in Cornwall for a week, to volunteer for a week too at Monkton Wyld, a community in Dorset, and to meet some nice people through Couchsurfing. We’re landing to Stansted the 5th in the early afteroon. We will try to get to Reading as soon as possible, by public transport, in order to meet our first hosts. They are a lovely couple, Stefanie andBen, at the beginning of their 30’s, just back from a longish trip in the States. She teaches German at school, and she likes languages a lot. In fact she’s able to speak several lenguages. I don’t know what Ben is doing, but I know he likes to cook so this is a good point. They don’t have much experience on this community of traveller, so it would be a pleasure to give them a kind of welcome to it. From Reading, It will be easy to go to Braziers Park, the community near Wallingfor I volunteered in for 9 months last year. I haven’t told anyone I m coming for a visit, so I m looking forward to surprise my friends who are living there. I’m sure it’s going to be realy exiting for me to come back in that place which meant so much to me. Also, I’d like to show Beatrice some nice sight around Braziers, such as Wallingford, the (hills), the Ridge way. After the first week end, on monday morning, we’re heading to Axminster, cause we’re volunteering for a week at Monkton Wyld. This is a community, very similar to Braziers, but located by the sea, 3 miles from Lyme Regis, which is a pretty popular and touristic town in Dorset. A week is not enough to enjoy the community life, and expevcially for Beatrice, is not enough for  getting to know all the people who live there either. I had one of my best experience at Monkton of the whole last year, so I can’t wait to be there again.

The 15th we want to rent a car and move to Truro, west Cornwall. We’re meeting a couple we’re in touch by couchsurfing. We’re staying with them for 3 days, till the 18th. Since the first mail we exchanged, I found Naomi a very kind and hospitable person, keen on showing us around when possible. She and her husband travelled a lot, they lived in Australia for 9 years, they like the sea a lot, and cooking as well. I think we have many things in common which should make our time with them really pleasant.

From Truro we’re moving to Totnes, the first transition town in England. We’re meeting Clare, a lady in her early 60’s, who’s working in an English school. I’m in touch with her since several months before I went to England two years ago. I contacted her because I got to know, by chance, about Totnes related with the transition movement and I was looking for some info about the town. I was really curious about the project, and I was thinking wether to move for some months to Totnes, in order to find out more about the transition movement and the Shumacher College, a school with many interesting courses about sustainable issues and olism. Clare gave me many useful info and was really kind to me. It was a pity that eventually, last year, I didn’t go to Totnes and didn’t meet her.

The 21st, after Totnes, We’re going to Playmouth, hosted by Annie, a girl pretty new to CS, which I liked since the first time I read her profile. Were staying a couple of days with her and then we’re going to Swindon, where a girl from Costa Rica and his boyfriend are waiting for us. From her messages, she appears very exited about our visit, and I’r really happy to meet her. I think I will appreciate her latin soul, similar to mine and Beatrice’s. Also it might be a chance to know something about Costa Rica, before moving to Lyla’s, and having connection with Colombia. Lyla and nestor are a Colombian couple moved to England three years ago. I met them while I was at Braziers. They came there to attend a CS meeting I orginized for the MayDay, and then I went to spend a week end at their’s, and Met some more time. I really like them and their company, so I cant’ wait for saturday, when I’ll see them again. As a amtter of fact, Martin, another CS from Reading I know, organized a gathering at the Global Cafe (Martin choose my favourite place in Reading, he’s great!!) on saturday evening, and Lyla and Nestor are joining us. So, since the very first days, Beatrice and I are going to meet kind of many people. I hope they won’t be too much!!