Family Kiwidutch spent some time during the summer of 2013 exploring England’s south coast and on entering Cornwall, found ourselves visiting the Eden Project… where both the concept and the reality are blowing us away and leaving a more than favourable impression.
We are loving it here, the genius of the vision, the dedication to making the entire project as eco-friendly as possible, and how their Green principles flow through to the tiniest details. We learn that all of the eateries here use fruit and vegetables grown in hidden and less hidden parts of the site, from fruit from the tropical biome to lettuces and herbs.
Considering how many visitors this place attracts, and how many eateries there are, that is no mean feat. We find ourselves wanting lunch (and me a decent sit down and a rest ) so head to the Mediterranean biome and the café there.
The place was crowded and we had to stand in a corner for a while searching for a free table… when one finally came up it was right next to a heavily flowing shrub that came with it’s own swarm of bees. O.K. maybe “swarm” is a little too strong a word, but there were at least a dozen of them, which is a dozen too many when you are severely allergic to them as I am.
I didn’t get my usual photographs of the food because I was constantly keeping as far away from the wee beasties as possible, and whilst Himself stood in a massive queue for the food, I tried to get my unwilling kids to be on the lookout for another free table that didn’t include encroaching foliage full of potentially life threatening wildlife.
I evacuated to the other side of the pathway between the tables, and squeezed into a little space by a low wall that some people with a baby were using to store their buggy (sans baby).
Even when I apologised for standing next to their buggy and explained that I was severely allergic to bees and needed to keep a safe distance as much as possible from the only table we could find, they were still clearly annoyed that the space their buggy was taking up might be reduced.Apparently the fact that it was self explanatory that I was on crutches and might value the low wall to sit on was also not appreciated so they managed to make me feel rather uncomfortable for struggling to stand close by. It wasn’t like I was close enough to invade their personal space, or that their baby was in the buggy (the lady had the baby on her lap and was feeding him/her purée from a jar) it was just that they clearly thought that their buggy should take all of the spare space available and they didn’t think I had the right to stand there.
It made for an uncomfortable situation: Himself was up in the queue, I didn’t want to be too far from my kids, there were so many people waiting for a table that any indication from those seated that they might be moving, prompted a rush from one of the waiting crowd, who hovered over the table as the occupants packed up and then almost snapped their seats out from under them as they stood up.
I can understand that my kids were not brave enough to take on stampeding adults in that situation so resigned myself to making the best of the table we had.
Lunch was a nervous affair, with Himself trying to guide bees away from me without swatting at them and making them angry and the kids fussing about the meal.
Needless to say it wasn’t one of our finest dining moments… the kids then pleaded for an ice-cream for which there was a ridiculously long queue and since the couple with the buggy had now deposited a changing bag and a coat to the floor space I had previously occupied, I was left with no other sitting place whilst Himself and the kids waited in the ice-cream queue. I sat as far away from the bees as I could manage and tried not to think about the consequences of being stung. (I swell up so fast that I have three minutes to get medical attention for my airways if stung above the shoulders). Kiwi Daughter also has allergies so we carry epi-pens aplenty but had stupidly left them with our luggage in the camper.
I tried not to be nervous and thought that photographing the bees might be a good idea… the photos aren’t brilliant but at least I stayed calm sitting next to them. When we left the food queue had cleared enough for me to get the Cafe photographs. Only later did we discover several other outside picnic areas, and other food outlets all of which would have been a better alternative had we realised they were there earlier.
We were interrupted periodically in the Mediterranean Biome by a strange whizzing sound, and outside, discovered that the noise was generated by people coming down a zip-wire that went right over the Biome… this started our kids off on a “spot the zip-wire person” competition because they had more often than not already zipped past and were out of sight by the time we looked up. We are happy to leave the lunch spot …Some moments are about salvaging the positive points…