Foraging with Taste the Wild [Read me!]
New Years Eve [Read me!]
Christmas Craft Weekend [Read me!]
Christmas is coming… [Read me!]
Lewis Todhunter Gig 16th Nov 2012 [Read me!]
Cakes made to order! [Read me!]
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Beth Hardwick posted this on 12th Dec 2011
On Sunday we had the privilege to meet a lovely family who wanted to come meet us, see what we are up to at Biv and ponder on what connections there might be for further thought. Jo, James, Oscar, Annie - joined in the fun around site for a few hours before heading home. Jo wrote a blog entry for us last night - made me shed a tear I have to admit! I thought you should get to read it….
Thanks Jo x
This afternoon we braved the wintery weather to make a trip to North Yorkshire to meet Beth & Sam, the inspirational husband and wife team at The Bivouac.
Armed with directions we headed north of Ripon, turning left when we got to the market town of Masham. As the lanes got narrower, we got more excited about what we’d find at the end of the road. We headed uphill through woodland towards the Druid Temple and hung a left into the farm, at least that’s what the directions said, but we parked up on the road deciding that if we parked in the field we may never get out again!
We donned our wellies and with our 18 month old ensconced in the backpack, we squelshed towards the farmhouse, with our 5 year old saying ‘I love slippy slidey mud, I think I’ll call it “fun mud”!’ As we arrived at a long stone building, debating which door was the door to the farmhouse, there appeared Beth to greet us and welcome us into her home. And welcome us she (& the rest of the team) did! The minute we arrived we were made to feel at home, the kettle was on, and the kids ran off to play with Beth & Sam’s kids.
Around the big farmhouse table, over tea and cakes, we met Hazel, another member of the Bivouac team, and Georgie, a family friend who was up for the weekend. Following a sharing of our stories – what had brought us together – and some time spent hearing Beth & Sam’s vision, Hazel and Georgie kindly offered to keep an eye on the kids whilst we had a tour of the site.
Wow! The vision was impressive, but seeing the vision coming to life was even more so. After spending only a couple of hours at The Bivouac, I’m not sure I’m qualified to successfully convey the vision – you’d be better talking to Beth & Sam for that, but here’s what we found so impressive…
Amongst the mud (of which there is much) there are “shacks” as Beth and Sam term them, being put up in the woods. “Shacks” really doesn’t do them justice… they’re round cut timber cabins sleeping up to 7 with verandas, en-suite bathrooms and wood burning stoves. As we viewed the impressive timber framed, wooden clad structures, Beth shared with us a story of the happy times she and Sam and their eldest daughter had had whilst living in a converted garden shed!
The tour took us to see the bases for the yurts which will soon be arriving onsite; a number of barns which are taking shape as: a camping barn; a shop and reception; housing for the biomass boiler which will heat the main buildings and a 60 seat café with additional outside space in the courtyard and walled garden. All of which sits in a fantastic location looking out over the valley with views stretching over 40 miles on a clear day to York and Roseberry Topping – a hill which, incidentally, I spent many a happy childhood hour climbing!
As Beth and Sam, talked of all the people they were working with to make the vision a reality – investors, suppliers, partners, volunteers, locals – it stuck me how brilliantly they epitomise true partnership working. They know that collaboration is what will ultimately deliver their vision.
Returning to the farmhouse and back to the farmhouse table to warm ourselves by the fire and for more tea and cakes, we had a further chance to hear of the current challenges The Bivouac team are juggling… meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders; recruiting and motivating volunteers to help them develop the site; project managing multiple teams who are all working on site concurrently; preparing all the elements of the site (shacks, yurts, camping barn, shop, café, road, car park, landscaping, etc.) to be ready for visitors in April 2012; recruiting staff to run the site post-April; sourcing reclaimed and recycled furniture which can then be renovated and used on site; developing relationships with partners to provide different offerings enhance the guest experience. And these are just a few of their challenges – there are many more besides!
Following further talk of next steps in our exploration of how we can work together, Beth, Sam and the kids along with Hazel & Georgie dashed to the local church for the Christingle service as we squelshed our way back to the car reflecting on Beth and Sam’s drive, focus, commitment and courage to make their vision a reality. Their values of sustainability, family and connectedness really came across to us in the short time we spent with them and we saw how their creativity, ideas and energy along with their openness and desire to create meaningful relationships will make The Bivouac an amazing place to be enjoyed by many people. They’re a genuinely visionary couple who are making a difference in the world.
As we drove back down the hill through the woods at dusk, we were blessed to see a deer cross our path. It was a magical moment. The deer embodies many of the principles of The Bivouac… love, grace, peace, beauty, humility, creativity, spirituality, happiness, a keen awareness of environment, connected, trusting, co-operative and ‘homonym’ the Chinese word for deer which means abundance.
But as we drove away I wondered whether the deer appeared to remind us of all that The Bivouac symbolised or as a message to us to trust our instincts and be enticed into a new adventure…
Hazel Swan posted this on 08th Dec 2011
Snow, hail, ice, wild winds and rain…
Sat on a hill in Ilton, we have appreciated pretty much every form of weather (apart from the sun) this week!
We have had snow, hail, ice, wild winds and rain. Today we have had both crazy winds and rain, so much so, various bits from site have been flying around the countryside and we have spent much of the afternoon fetching it back (I say ‘we’, when actually I was manning the office inside).
It has been a tough and challenging week as far as working on site goes.
BUT, at the same time, it is amazing to see so many things coming together…
- Our first wood burners have arrived for the first shack and the first yurt
- Our main cafe and shop doors have arrived
- Our 4th and 5th shack frames are starting their journey up from Sussex
- The car park is nearing completion
- Our first yurt base is almost complete
We are so thankful for everyone who has been pushing on through, despite the horrendous conditions!
We have been so busy I can’t even believe it is December already and Christmas is fast approaching. 2 weeks to go…eek!