"Torremolinos" Tours Todmorden!Last update: 1.01.14 First posted: 18.11.10 by Nick in Tours
In a fascinating turn about, Todmorden reversed the trajectory of tourists from British sun seekers flocking to Torremolinos, to Spanish Ecotourists trekking around a rain soaked Todmorden to see the Incredible Edible sites.
The Group, from Vittoria in the Basque country of northern Spain, (not realy the dreadful Torremolinos place at all!) contacted IET three weeks ago asking for a two day guided tour. We are very used to giving short tours, showing visitors the town centre or specific sites; only last week a group from Japan spent an afternoon in the high school.We have had numerous visitors from many countries, probably averaging a group every other week. But this was a bit different, this group wanted a paid for professionaly organised tour, could we do it? Should we do it? Would we be able to give value? How would we cope with language difficulties? Would they turn up in high heels and flimsy ball gowns? What if it rained the whole time? What if they were all demanding and needy and horrid and didnt get it , and, and ……..
We needn’t have worried, they were lovely, warm, fully engaged, totally got it, didnt seem to notice that it was perishing cold and rainy for the whole of the two days. They asked intelligent questions and ate all their dinners up nicely! Heartwarmingly, an impressive and generous team of 7 voulenteer interpreters, stepped into the breach and carried the two days on their talented shoulders, good work chaps! Lots of kissing, hugging, laughing, eating and all talking at once, happened and a great time was had by all, even the friendly ghosts at Scaitcliffe Hall hotel were warmed up!
They arrived in the rain on Wednesday morning and we all settled down in the garden room at Scaitcliffe Hall Hotel for coffee and a spot of meet and greet, rapidly followed by a powerpoint by our chair Pam Warhurst.
Followed by a tour of town centre growing spots, led by Estelle and a visit to the indoor market, Jean Hartley, of the Crumbly Cheese stall, treated us to a taste of Todmorden Pexomier
Here’s Susy, our interpreter, and Christina with some she bought earlier.
Followed by a fantastic lunch at the Bear cafe,
And a talk about the ‘every egg matters’ campaign, from food inspirer Pauline,
and a twighlight tour of Ferney Lee old folks home gardens and adopted beds.
Back into town and a slick sales patter lead to purchase of a rag pudding, here modelled by our afternoon shift interpreter, the delightful Diana, also from Colombia, this time via Cornholme!
The cold and rain made us hungry, and The Vedas restraunt hosted our evening brilliantly.
Margareta Holmstedt and Dorothy Jordan, our Mayor and Consort, joined us
A round of introductions revealed our guests were educators, local government sustainability managers,trade unionsts, farmers union reps, a mayor a Voulenteer environmental worker, a local food shop owner.Marguretta and Dorothy spent a fascinating two hours with our guests, discussing politics, sustainability the price of food and changing the fortunes of a small town. Margareta gave our visitors goodie bags put together by our Mary Clear. In turn our visitors gave us deliciousus sheep cheese from Vittoria.
We had our lovely Vedas dinner, laughing and all talking excitedly, at once, whilst the slideshow of IET things played and Ali of the Vedas, looked on with justified pride. John stared at us longingly through the window, from the dark and frozen street outside, only he knows why he did not enter. Ahh the rules of English manners, how they baffle us latin types!
And whilst our guests ambled off for after-dinner drinkies at the pink pub, your tired but happy blogger and tourguide went back to his cave for a long snooze.
Thursday dawned dull, windy, cold and threatening big-style rain. We all piled onto the community transport minibus and headed to Burnley, thru the crack in the earth that is Cornholme, a question about how all the buildings are stone but there are no quarries sparked discussion of coal mining, textile industry collapse, the delights of de-industrialisation and depopulation. A depressing past, but an optimistic future.
We arrived at Offshoots Permaculture garden to get the one hour tour.
Our interpreters for the day, Marcella from Argentina via Bradford and Maitena, Bilbao via Todmorden, turned Phil’s deepest Lancashire into latin with aplomb!
In the nice warm woodwork shop we watched a pool cue being made
And furniture making in a Yurt. We had German home-baked christmas cookies in the eco house, studied the logsoll machine, discussed compost making and waste policy, and waterless poo closets, both in theory and practice! Phil gave us over 2 hours of his valuable time, the site was seething with activity, thanks Phil, we really appreciate it.
Back to todmorden, this time over the tops to see the lanscape and windmills , but mostly fog! A quick stop off to visit Willie Wink the Blonde de Aquitaine bull at Staups Lee farm and his mates the piglets, before hitting Tod High School just in time for lunch, benga benga!
Tony Mulgrew school (and now community) catering manager gave us a fantastc lunch and 5 minute talk and slideshow, joined by Helen Plaice, the school head, then Tony gave us another fascinating hour, and a tour of the school. Coral, Tony’s nemesis, helped with her skills in Spanish and warmth. Tony was awarded the Big Cheese, which he says will go on the menu next week!
Heres Tony explaining the aquaponics site
And where growing started, the Queen Mary 2 as they call their growing boat (or did i just make that up?)
Tony was asked if he did everything in paid for hours, he grinned in that way of his, shook his head and just said “Passion!” Comes to something when a Ulster-man has something to teach a group of latinos about that subject! Wow this thing must be BIG!
Last item on the itinerary was a brief look at the Walsden polytunnel site, permaculture design, and Weir rabbit fences.
Return to Scaitcliffe hall, on time, as we had been for ALL our fixed appointments, amazingly and despite “benga benga” becoming our tour guides comedy catchphrase.
Massive thanks to all who helped pull this together, especially our interpreting team, Freddy, Suzy, Tony, Diana, Marcella, Maitena, Coral, brilliant work chaps.
And thanks to travel agent Susana Conde from agrotravel.esp for her delightful visitors and her faith in us!
Marcella asked our guests at the end, what had they thought about all they had seen? They said that whilst its was not radically different from what they had heard about in other places,the difference is that in Todmorden we are actually doing it!
And, a week on here is the feedback from our visitors translated by marcela
The trip was also a pleasure for us, as was meeting you all. We returned feeling very happy. We insist that if the incredible edible volunteers would like to pay us a visit with the intention of getting to know about our projects and experiences, that you get in touch with me and I will make all the necessary arrangements
The group was composed by:
SUSANA CONDE- AGROTRAVEL: trip organiser
ZURIÑE MARTINEZ- BIONEKAZARITZA: ecological producers
AITOR ELORDUY- EKOIZPEN,: Encouraging Ordunia’s ecological agriculture and cattle breeding
CRISTINA DIEZ- DENON ESKOLA Y BIOALAI, Association for parents, students and ecological consumers.
NATIVIDAD LOPEZ DE MUNAIN- Elburgo’s Mayor
DELIA ZURBANO-Technical secretary of UAGA, Agrarian Sindicate
NIEVES QUINTANA-JUNTA DE UAGA, Agrarian Sindicate
EDUARDO URARTE, FUNDACIÓN ZADORRA Y SLOW FOOD, The foundacion promotes consumption of local ecological produce.
JOSE GALVEZ- ASPARRENA Council councillor
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