If basic human needs are food, warmth and shelter, we are only really serving one of those needs at the moment. The chiminea does a sterling job of giving off a decent heat for those lucky enough to be parked right in front of it – but it doesn’t work well when it’s windy and the rain tends to put it out altogether… The garden umbrellas provide a tiny bit of shelter and the blankets help too, but the upshot is, that no matter how good we are at meeting need number one; food, if we can’t address the other needs as we head into winter two, prospects are look bleak for Riverbank.
So, my wonderful and talented partner, who is an architect and who has listened to endless ‘tales of the riverbank’ (sorry Phil), and really understands the challenge, set to work and drew up some lovely plans. In fact he drew up several lots of lovely plans and by the time we finally submitted a set for planning permission, we were up to version nine!
We’ve been talking to and meeting with the National Park planners for almost a year now and as a result, the plans submitted provide shelter for 20 people, dry storage (we are in flood zone two), some landscaping, some extra flood protection and my favourite bit, a wood fired oven.
The intention is not to change the type of food, or the way it is is served, but simply to provide a space where people can sit and eat when the weather is anything less than bob-on. The space would have an ‘indoor/outdoor’ feel, with the acid test being that a wet dog could go in there and and have a shake after a swim in the river, and nobody would get upset about it!