Thursday, 21 July 2011
Visit to CAT, Machynlleth, Farmer's Market
Yesterday the Farmer, our friend G. the mushroom grower (http://www.maesymush.co.uk/) & I went up to Machynlleth to the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).
G. had not been there before though the Farmer & I have visited it several time over the years & we were both taken there by our parents as children when it was very, very new & still looked liked a slate quarry with couple of small wind turbines stuck on the hillside.. It is very different now with the harsh slate landscape softened by many trees & gardens and the various buildings demonstrating the sustainable technologies that are being developed to produce & save energy. There are many small garden plots with many herbs, fruit trees, bee-friendly planting and information on effective composting.
There is a very good bookshop in which, once you block out the scented candles, has lot of useful material, though there is quite a lot of 'fluffy' stuff too.
The new WISE building (the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education) has been built since we were last there. It is a huge low- or zero-carbon structure made of rammed earth & wood. It has a lecture theatre, seminar rooms, accommodation & a restaurant all designed to be as low energy & as light as possible and looks amazing ( http://www.cat.org/) with a vast curved wall housing the theatre which dominates the view of the building from the gardens that surround it.
After a late picnic lunch sitting on a blade from a wind turbine near the 'station' for the water powered lift that takes visitors up to the entrance of CAT, we went into Machynlleth to find our friends R. & M. who were at the weekly Farmer's Market selling their bread (http://www.mairsbakehouse.co.uk/). Mach.'s Farmer's Market is great, many stalls all selling wonderful food stuffs as well as the usual market stall goods. We bought some bread, naturally, and some wonderful cheeses including a good strong farmhouse Cheddar & a piece of golden-hued Shropshire Blue which with some home-grown salad will make a delectable supper.