The Ping that started it all.
Do you ever hear an incidental passing comment that suddenly goes ping! in your brain but you don’t know why? And you have to pursue it even if it leads nowhere? This happened to me when someone casually mentioned “Widemarsh Ventures. “They collect all sorts,” he said, “and turn them into saleable goods.”
Ping! Went my brain, and I had to find out more. A rootle through the internet brought up an address and telephone number. That’s how I got to meet Peter Maybury. On the telephone, stumbling over my half-formed idea for a blog, he welcomed me to come and see.
It was NOT a prepossessing site. A trading estate. A workshop called “unit 2”. But standing sentry outside its double doors were plentiful exhibits of items waiting to go into someone’s home, themselves a form of welcome .
The workshop is a glorious jubilation of donated wood and other materials, part-done hedgehog houses, bird houses, cork/white boards, Hallowe’en lights, bug hotels, boxes, chests, and tables, slatted doors that could easily morph into blanket storage, all on their way to becoming something magic. Materials used are eco-friendly, harmless to people, soil, plants, water and gardens. Diluted food colouring is a background for painted signs.
Commissioned work included a costermonger’s cart and wishing well created for Queen Elizabeth’s visit, now rented out for weddings. And – up on a local country walk somewhere — a series of kissing gates, each with the name of a World War One soldier who had lost his life abroad.
The workshop is also a vibrant re-cycling centre for goods processed elsewhere. Ten-foot mounds of bags full of crushed cans, bottle tops, ring pulls, and foil stood near the entrance, awaiting distribution to other firms who will also turn them into something new. “We try not to throw anything away,”
Peter explained, indicating the nets of kindling ready for distribution, the heavy sacks used to store the vast amount of sawdust they produce to send to farmers, the wooden pallets waiting to be made into tables and children’s outdoor toys.
After much negotiation and courage to carry the dream forward, Peter established Widemarsh Ventures, which supports Choices Foundation C.I.C. It’s an opportunity for people whom others do not employ in mainstream business, to gain skills, a strong community, and confidence while taking part in a self-sufficient business.
On another day I visited their shop: “Handmade in Hereford” nestled in the atrium of a large department store in the city’s centre. Both places had the same sense of calm, of welcome that made it difficult to leave. One shop volunteer said, “I love coming here!” There’s a restful quality in both places. Maybe it’s the warming scent of wood. “That scent is inborn in the human being,” said Peter. “It brings us back to our ancestors and their dependence on wood for survival. Our need for trees is still with us today,”
So what’s it all about?
So, what caused me to search out Widemarsh Ventures in the first place? Maybe it’s because I cringe with guilt every time I acquire yet another plastic bag, which might find its way into landfill, or the sea (now ten times more polluted than first estimated). Perhaps it’s my awe as I look at the two households in our community who are completely self-sufficient in energy. Perhaps it’s my total ignorance on how to get There from Here. This business gives me hope.
Peter’s venture welcomes Society’s throw-away goods and makes them into something reusable and practical, done by people whom Society won’t hire. It’s these same “unemployable” people who are holding our planet together, pushing back climate breakdown just that little bit longer. They are true Planet savers. Find the Peters in your area, support them, celebrate them, and let the world know that you are doing so.
Call it leftovers, call it planned-overs, call it many happy returns – there’s nothing wrong with cooking for more than one meal at a time, now that you’ve got out your favourite pans. But there’s no reason why the happy return has to appear in the same form as its parent serving.
These are triangular food parcels (I dare not call them “samosas”) filled with cooked food, and can be made in large batches or just used with that last dollop of food that no one can bring themselves to eat.
Make a flour-water thick paste, stir it awhile so that it starts to glutenise.
Now cut tortillas in half. Hold each in a skewed cone so that one edge is higher than the rest (this will flap down once filled). Now lavishly paste the side to prevent the cone from opening.
Fill with cooked cooled food.
I used a Vegan samosa recipe for these as they were going on a picnic.) Then seal the top flap over with more of the paste. Let the paste dry a bit. When ready to bake, brush with oil, bake awhile, the turn over and brush with oil again. Bake until they look right.
Serve with: If the contents are very spicy – like curry, or chilli – serve a bland sauce with them – mayonnaise mixed with yogurt and a bit of powdered mustard, or tahini mixed with water and a squeeze of lemon. If the contents are bland – like tuna, beans, or leftover meatloaf – bring out the hot sauces and chutneys.
Oh, and by the way, figure out a way to identify the contents of your parcels, perhaps with a mark or food colouring. I didn’t. I now have a freezer box of mystery parcels, all made at different times.