For my birthday last week, and as it was half-term, we took the girls down to the Eden Project in Cornwall. It was an amazing place. The Eden Project is all about the natural world and the plants that inhabit it - and our relationship with them. On a cold(ish) February day, we walked through the heat of a tropical rainforest where bananas, coffee and cocoa trees grew, and followed the path through a Mediterranean grove surrounded by oranges and lemons. There was even a bed of chilli plants, including the hottest in the world, grown behind a theatrically placed barrier.
I find myself continually seeking inspiration in what people achieve against all the odds, how they change the world in all sorts of ways, and this was a great example. I love this introduction from the Guide Book - it resonates with me in all sorts of ways:
To be called a dreamer is usually either a gentle rebuke or a scoff, yet almost all the things I love are the product of dreaming. Oddly, many of them were dreamt up in a shed, that simple wooden retreat with a view. Henry Ford dreamed motor cars, Steve Jobs computers; many of the world's favourite novels, plays and film scripts owe their existence to sheds...Turning a disused quarry, and ugly scar on the landscape into something amazingly beautiful; if you're looking for inspiration into the art of the possible, the power of dreaming, there's no better place.
...2011 marked (the Eden Project's) tenth birthday, by which time we had welcomed 12.8 million visitors, grown the largest rainforest in captivity, created 520 full time jobs at Eden, formed working relationships with thousands of local suppliers and those that source sustainably from further afield, and helped economic regeneration in Cornwall. We've built the Biomes... using sustainable construction techniques, created a Waste Neutral programme, started renewable energy projects and are working on collaborative projects exploring ways of living in the 21st Century. And that's just for starters. Not bad for a shared dream!
Pic: The Eden Project Biomes, by JC