Tastetastic South 1 : Hills 0

25th August 2012 by


Bonjour, Guten Tag from the French-German connection of the Tastetastic Southern Tour live from the beautiful rainy Cumbria (England!). We are deeply sorry that this won’t be more multilingual but we had to step back in consensus decision making process and accept English as the dominant language. Donc this blog entry will be in English ;-)

Welcome to Fairyland….

Over the last few days a happy bunch of cyclists managed to get through the dangerous and hilly Scottish Borders thanks to many fairies along the way. Magic pastries created by the fairies of the Dunbar cooperative community bakery, which was set up by Sustaining Dunbar, helped us power all the way to Westruther (once we were set free by the very knowledgeable fairy Mark who told us stories about local wind farms, landfills and nuclear power stations). Soon after having left the caring Dunbar fairies and after an impressive thunder, we were welcomed by more of them in Westruther. The local fairies kindly offered us the village hall as our shelter and soon we met many nice and interesting and curious little pixies at Westruther Primary School and taught them about fair-trade and food production.  As a final goodbye to the wee town of Westruther we spent a night of festivities in Angie’s local pub next to a heart-warming firewood, playing pool, the ukulele and singing songs.  Our charming landlady fairy finally offered us some yummy mange-tout which nearly gave us enough strength to cycle to the far far away Headshaw Farm next to Hawick passing via lovely Midlem where we were lucky to experience local Scottish hospitality…

Indeed, the big hairy hill fairy nearly attempted to kill our entire team by putting a massive hill at the entrance of our 5 star hotel in Headshaw Cottage… Comfy beds and hot showers were waiting for us but it was not long before we all had to jump out of our sleeping bags and cycle for more than 10 miles in the worst weather that the angry Scottish Gods could have created. All of our happy jolly team landed in St Margaret’s RC Primary School looking more than soaked but, the great pupils and teachers’ fairies helped us recover our positive spirits and deliver our 4 fun and informative workshops about energy, fair-trade, grow your own and transport. We final ly paid a visit to the marvellous and generous bike fairy Julian, from Borders Cycles, who took a lot of his time to repair all of our unhappy bikes… Thanks again!

With another good night’s sleep in the comfy cottage, new knowledge about passive houses and heat pumps and the feeling of having made a difference to the local primary school in Hawick we set off towards Low Luckens Organic Resource Centre in Cumbria, England. Unfortunately the local bike fairies were on holiday that morning and after an hour of punctures and little bike troubles we were saved again by our faithful bicycle fairy Julian at Borders Cycles in Hawick, we can only recommend him!  With lots of enthusiasm, a smart cow distraction fairy from Cambridgeshire to clear congested country roads, many fairies among us to push the trailers up many hills and brilliant cake fairies in the local teashop in Newcastleton, we reached a beautiful woodland camping ground next to grazing cows at Low Luckens. Now we’re ready to reach more youth with our sustainability workshops and eager to learn about the Organic Resource Centre…

A bientôt und bis bald

(Coraline & Ralph)

Northern Soul's School Days – part 3

8th July 2011 by

Fun Facts:

Bicycle Punctures: 5 regular punctures to date (4 go to Erin, 1 goes to Heni, both have purchased new tyres). 2 inexplicaple inner tube explosions (both on Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres….uhoh!)

Trailer Punctures: 4… the thorns got us good.

Miles cycled: 420

Schools and youth clubs visited: 10

Bee attacks: 1  (but well compensated for by honey and mead)

Minor bicycle mishaps:~5

Kilos of peanut butter eaten: 8 (that’s 1 per person)

Baby hedgehog saves: 1

The real blog:

Last Tuesday morning the entire Northern Soul team wriggled out of a tiny two-man tent to find 100 primary school children sitting in neat rows (this may have been planned).  It was one of many great visits to schools over the past couple of weeks.  The performances and workshops always remind us why we’re on tour.  The children’s and teachers’ laughs make the performances so much fun, and their ideas and initiatives inspire fantastic conversations during workshops.

Although the funniest part of the play for the children is repeatedly a tree in the Amazon being cut down, interactions with the children after the play and during workshops assure us that they are really engaging with issues of sustainability.  The only thing children don’t like about our Fairtrade workshop is the reality that many people in the production chain of a non-fairtrade banana don’t get paid fairly!  Children have told us about significant changes they will make in their (and their families’) transport choices; they’ve also told us (half-way through a workshop) that they’ve just used less toilet paper!

It’s great to see so many projects going on in schools already, led by students and teachers alike.  From gardening projects to bike-ability classes, and keeping chickens to composting, the schools really impressed us with their knowledge, motivation, and desire to learn and share with us.

We’ve experienced such wonderful hospitality from schools: from donuts for breakfast, to moving meetings for us to use their staff room, to letting us camp in the school hall or field, and even gifts of Fairtrade chocolate, juice and oatmilk.  These school visits along with the hospitality from all our other wonderful hosts has given us new faith and hope in humanity.


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