Well, July is almost over, and we hosted our first wedding party last weekend. A Golantian returned home to get married in the village’s beautiful 12th Century church, and we were honoured to host his bride’s family, and provide the ‘honeymoon suite’ – a Bell tent hidden in the trees!
We were delighted to see that they had fully embraced the sustainable message – all the table settings were in jam jars, driftwood table signs and place names written on mussel shells!. They also had an area (like the Sanctuary) with dustbins labelled for recycling different things and one for general rubbish. The cake stand was a tree branch, with wooden shelves for the homemade cakes….
We are also frustrated by not being able to source the soft fruit we use in the spring and summer for our breakfasts in anything else than plastic. We can get local strawberries, but they are only in tiny cardboard cartons if we can get them. Our solution is to try to grow as much as we can, and it has been so wonderful to go right outside the building to pick some strawberries that are growing in the planters onto of our waterbutts, wild strawberries from the borders, and tayberries from the rather prolific wall of plants that I can see from the window above the kitchen sink! We’re also trying slightly more unusual plants such as saskatoons, (which we think are nicer than blueberries) chokeberries and honeyberries, which are not available in the shops along with currants, gooseberries & jostaberries (a combination of the two!) Hopefully, the new fruit planted this spring will start to become available next year, and we will be potting up all the strawberry runners to increase our stock (a fantastic cross between a perennial strawberry and a wild one)
Despite it being Plastic Free July, we were so disappointed and frustrated to find piles of single use plastic bottles being left during changeovers. So much so that I did a social media post to that effect, and I was delighted to get an email from one of the guests apologising and promising not to do it again! I was so pleased with this that I will be sending one of our new metal water bottles as a thank you, and they have kindly allowed me to reproduce part of the email……
“I was so inspired with The Sanctuary and your eco project. I felt particularly bad regarding the plastic bottles of water we purchased as we arrived in Cornwall, in particular after reading the book in our room ‘ No more Plastic’ (I’ve ordered a copy) and your no plastic July. It’s not something we normally do, however sadly when we are away we do buy bottled water. We know next time to just bring an empty bottle and fill up from your tap.”
So for us this is brilliant – (and they are going to come back!) its about getting people to make small changes, encouraging them, and hoping that they will pass it on, and maybe have the confidence to try something else. Tackling the large corporations that pass this responsibility onto us, the consumers, is another matter, but we shouldn’t let it go!
So we now have our new metal water bottles which we are hoping we can persuade our guests to exchange for single use plastic bottles – yes, it is costing us, but we think it is money well spent to try to start the ball rolling – watch this space!