After a lovely weekend spent with my parents I arrived at Ragmans Lane Farm on Sunday evening to join Patrick Whitefield and a bunch of fellow minded seekers of permaculture enlightenment on his Sustainable Land Use Course.
We had a good look at Ragmans Lane Farm using Google Earth over the weekend, but it didn’t show the mud! Dad braved the car park and as we sat trying to work out where the entrance was Patrick himself emerged from a caravan. He was wearing a ludicrous hat and looking absolutely, unquestionably bonkers. I imagine he was running around like a headless chicken trying to organise the last bits and bobs before being inundated with new arrivals! Patrick sort of waved generally towards a room off the kitchen where I was able to dump my bags, and I introduced myself to the only two other people about. One was Tina, a rather manic and excitable looking lady from Scotland who was on her way out to explore, and the other was Italian Massimo. He told me he’d previously been living as a Buddhist monk when I asked what he did normally. I felt a bit bad not being able to offer Mum & Dad a sit down and a cup of tea for a moment before they set off again, but as I had no idea of the set up we said our goodbyes and they headed back to the car.
Wondering what sort of loony bin I’d found myself in, I went and laid out my sleeping bag. A few minutes later I went out to check that Dad had managed to escape the clutches of the car park mud, and discovered that they were still sitting there. The engine was running. Were they waiting for my nerve to break and come hurtling back to the car, never to discover what Patrick looked like under that hat or the rest of Massimo’s story?
I’m pleased to report that I hung in there and discovered that that other course participants, as they arrived over the course of the evening, are a lovely bunch of people. I’m sharing a bedroom with five other women, so I guess I’ll get to know them pretty well. And Patrick has proven to be a lovely man, a great teacher, and not nearly as peculiar once he loses the hat.
There’s a second teacher on this module, Jo Newton, but I’ll report back later. A combination of travel and having to concentrate all day is proving exhausting.