Watch BBC2 at 8.30pm on Thursday (2 Dec) and you’ll see chef and local food hero, Rick Stein, sliding round the ice rink at the Eden Project.
In the first of the two-part series, Rick Stein’s Cornish Christmas, the chef explores the festive traditions of his adopted county. As well as skating at Eden, he tries out wassailing (singing to promote a good harvest), listens to Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends sing, and prepares a Christmas banquet.
The programme was, of course, filmed before our ice rink was closed due to flood damage. We’re repairing the rink right now and we’ll keep you updated on when it opens again on this blog, and on our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
‘Kaap’ren Varen’ – Fungus
For a bit of fun on Fridays Chris Bisson, the guy who maintains all the recorded information on Eden’s plant collection as our Plant Records Manager, recommends his favourite “plant records” – that is, songs that are in some way linked to a plant.
Fungus, a Dutch Folk Rock band from the early 1970s performs this traditional Dutch sea shanty about ‘what it takes’ to sail on the Kaap’ren, a type of boat. It seems to me that, whatever you do, the main requirement is a beard – which reminds me of our dear old friend the Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare).
We’re excited that lots of different fungi have been literally mushrooming here at Eden since we took over the disused clay quarry. We’ve recorded over 145 types of naturally occuring fungi at Eden - in the gardens, biomes, carparks and the wilder areas on the rim of the clay pit.
Recording fungi is a good way of us monitoring the health of our estate. Some in particular are indicative of healthy native ecosystems, such as the beautiful Parrot Waxcap (Hygrocybe psittacina), which is found in thriving grassland. Have any of you found interesting fungi when you’re out and about?
Note: if you try this at home, be careful to not eat anything you can’t clearly identify as edible, and wash your hands after handling fungi. I know you know this already. Have a great weekend…
Chile has certainly been in the news recently, so what better place for a mining conference?
Our responsible mining team are out there this week, sharing Eden’s inspiration and expertise on what to do when mines reach the end of their working life. Members of our Post-Mining Alliance are giving a talk at the international conference on how to rise to the socio-economic challenges of mine closures.
The team has built up a collection of fascinating case studies of post-mining regeneration, including our very own Eden Project, an opera house in Sweden (left) and a data store in the US.
You can see these colourful stories in our book 101 Things To Do With A Hole In The Ground (right) – also launched in Spanish at the conference this week.
We’re very excited about reopening our doors to the public this morning, following an amazing clean-up operation by our committed team.
To the sound of a lone Cornish piper, our site was officially reopened by Di Mullis (pictured), a member of our Pollinator Team whose own home was severely flooded. She paid tribute to the Eden team: “I know what you’ve done in the last seven days here and it’s with that wonderful achievement and spirit that I’m absolutely privileged to reopen Eden and take our wonderful Eden Project into the future.”
We’ve got lots going on this week, including The Hive of Activity creative workshops reopening in the Core building on Saturday. This excitement will continue throughout the winter with our A Time of Gifts festival, featuring lantern processions and festive music and food to bring warmth and light to those long, dark evenings.
Eden was hit hard by the flooding, like so many others in the local community, particularly homeowners and businesses in St Blazey, St Austell, Mevagissey, Lostwithiel and Pentewan. We felt that it was important for the community in which we live, our visitors, the people who work here and our suppliers and supporters that we reopened as soon as we could.
Gaynor Coley, Managing Director of Eden, said: “If the storm was testament to the power of nature, then the clean-up is testament to the power of the human spirit.
“The local community’s response to the flooding last week has demonstrated that resilient communities muster energy, generosity and real muscle in such difficult times.
“The job of re-building both for Eden and the local community is not yet complete. Many people face challenges to repair their homes or reinstate their businesses. But with the help of the local community, as well as volunteers and people across the country, I believe we’ll turn this from a hope into a reality.”
Collections will be made on the Eden site in aid of the Cornwall Flood Appeal, set up by the Cornwall Community Foundation to help local people. The Foundation’s patron is the Duchess of Cornwall and it is supported by the National Lottery. You can also donate to the appeal on the Cornwall Community Foundation website.
The beautiful lanterns we made with local schools took to the streets on Saturday for a torchlit procession at St Austell Carnival.
Luckily the paper and willow creations, stored at Eden, had survived the flooding and kids were able to see their handiwork in full glory.
And, thanks to epic all-night sewing sessions by Eden’s textile artist Sue Bamford, we were able to recreate the fantastic costumes for the carnival queens and her attendants, after they’d been completely destroyed by water.
The traditional celebration included giant figures, local bands and a procession through the town.
Our Shop is now back to its former glory, and looking particularly sparkly for Christmas, following the clean-up operation to banish the floodwater.
The Shop is housed in the Visitor Centre at the entrance to Eden, where our staff will be ready to welcome people when we reopen on Wednesday (24 Nov) morning.
The clean-up was quite a feat by our team considering the place was swimming in at least a foot of rainwater only five days ago. Check out the amazing CCTV footage of the Visitor Centre flooding.
Alongside its usual offering of ethical and eco-friendly products, the Shop is stocked with a wide selection of Christmas gift ideas and decorations. By filling your basket in our shop, you’ll not only get a head-start on your Christmas shopping, you’ll be supporting the Eden charity.
If you just can’t wait until we reopen on Wednesday to start shopping, you can visit our online shop.
You can watch a report on the extent of the damage and the clean-up operation on the ITV The West Country Tonight website.
Not only did our plants fare well during the heavy rain but our cutting-edge sculptures around the Eden site also escaped any serious damage.
One of our most famous sculptures is Seed by Peter Randall-Page, which is in the centre of the Core building. As one of the biggest sculptures in history made from a single piece of rock, it was fashioned from a boulder of Cornish granite estimated to be 300 million years old. It’s safe to say that the boulder probably weathered quite a few storms in its time, so it’ll take more than a few feet of rainwater to see off our 70-tonne monument!
You can see more photos of Seed and other beautiful artwork on the gallery on our Core page.
As the flood waters recede and our team cleans the Eden site ready for reopening on Wednesday, it has become increasingly clear that our Ice Rink won’t be in action this week.
Managing Director Gaynor Coley said: “Sadly the damage to the Ice Rink is more severe than we first thought so at this moment we can’t say how soon skating will return to Eden. We are sorry for the disappointment this causes. We are doing everything we can to bring the skating back as soon as possible.”