Green Man Fayre

The Green Man fayre 29th August 2005. Stress doesn’t come into the equation when one is hyped up for an event like this. With barely a few volunteers this was to be the event that would put the project onto the local map. With the recent acquisition of a yurt and the promise of some good workshops we set about promoting the fayre through leafleting. This proved the greatest draw, along with a banner conveniently hung outside in an area notorious for traffic. But as a permaculture project it was snubbed as a London event by many of the permaculturist I network with in the north. This can only be explained through lack of loyalty, and an insular sentiment that is developing in the movement. Over a hundred people, I estimate, to have turned up, and amongst them two from the permaculture network. How disappointing! This project may prove to go beyond my permaculture inclinations. With a variety of events I could barely keep an eye on it all. We decided to set up the apple press next to the main gate, a good flat location that precluded the need to cart the heavy equipment all the way up the hill. It could also be overlooked by the door person taking money. The yurt was set up on a green next to the road, again in a lovely location that had been mown the day before. It proved to be a pulling point as did the bodger who set up his pole lathe next to it, and could keep and eye on it whilst it was vacant. All contributions by craftsmen and helpers were absolutely free. Although afterward I offered to pay the odd expense for materials used, we made enough money on the door to eventually give the Permaculture Association a £100 donation; this was specifically a fund raising event. Maybe the movement will help promote a much bigger event next year. There was also a display of books, magazines and unusual plants for sale. But these only proved to be of erudite use since most people were reluctant to pay any extra money above the small donation made at the door. There was also a few small stain glass ornaments donated for sale which, along with a batik made by myself as a logo for the project, provided some additional colour to the yurt. The top and the sides of the yurt were left open to the glorious sunny weather we had. Again this would aid in keeping an eye on the yurt from the outside. As things go most of the children were very young and the teenagers tended to avoid it. Interesting, since it highlights the generation gap and lack of interest in craft by teenagers. The yurt itself is a project in its own right. Entitled RE-LEAF (learning, entertainment, art & food) it is in current use by, funnily enough, teenagers, who have parties and sleep-overs in it. Two of these teenagers will be running a wildlife watch club in it once a month. The idea here is to generate a children’s permaculture group in the future. On the actual fayre day it hosted a permaculture talk by myself, a felt making demonstration, and a magician’s show. It is already living up to its reputation as a multipurpose space. The food got off to a slow start, but we were restricted in terms of time. We were eventually treated to pizza, since nobody actually brought any dough for baking, and that went down well with the kids. With some face painting and willow structures being made in the corner, where recycled hessian sacking provided the flooring, there was plenty for them to get on with. My talks on cob oven construction and artist charcoal production went down well, with kids helping to bark-strip the willow that would eventually become the charcoal, and learning to use tools also. We were covered for public liability, but saying that a few things will be changed next year. Despite there being brambles, tools and places to hide there was absolutely no accidents on the day; lucky, since my first aid kit was in the van. This was a child-orientated fayre mainly. So the incredible speed I wrote a play during the preceding days, and a new song to go with it along with the sleepless nights, made the whole event work for me. I couldn’t commandeer the services of friends who run a local theatre company unless I paid them. There was no real chance of that, but they actually turned up. With that one of them played an impromptu part in this play ironically entitled ‘The Reluctant Boar’. I took the kids from the stand-up box made last year at another festival, and after a bit of one-man storytelling, led them to the fire area and there to Betty Boars. I was playing the Green Man telling the story about how the woods have changed. We sang a song at the end, which put the final seal on the whole event. Some nice faces turned up, including members of the allotment committee, who were impressed by our signs. In fact the whole site took a turn for the good, an allotment tour quenching the desires of the adults who wanted to see the rest of it. Events like this become passports to funding bids and more local interaction. The hope is to organise something on top of the whole of One Tree Hill, including the Walter Segal housing estate, St. Augustine’s church, the allotments, and all the associated local groups. All that remained was to clear up, a two-day job.