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BCA’s Flowerpot for Buxton Flowerpot Trail

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With this year's theme the olympics and paralympics, there was really only one person for job... Cave Custodian Angela. Here is her account of the blood, sweat & tears that went in to this year's BCA Flowerpot. If you haven't been up to see it yet, don't worry, it will be on show every day 9:30-5pm until the end of August 2024.

“Over the years in my role as a Cave Custodian I have been known to make my own costumes for any special events we have.  I made my own Elf costume for my first Christmas in the cave and last year I turned myself into The Grinch, but when my supervisor started calling me ‘arty’ and praising my sewing skills back in April, I began to get suspicious.  This was the start of our flowerpot people.  I had been volunteered!

 

The theme this year was Olympians and Paralympians and we decided on Lee Pearson (Sir David Lee Pearson CBE) who is a British Para-equestrian and Hazel Chaisty a British Paralympic archer as they were both quite local to Buxton.  All I had to do now was source materials and build them, easy right?!?

The first charity shop purchase was a white shirt for Lee which was for a 5-year-old so that kind of dictated the size of the plant pots I was going to need … BIG!  Next came the bin bag full of used plant pots which were sourced for free from an advert on social media and once they were emptied of all the soil, creepy crawlies had been evicted and they were washed, it was time to decide which pot was going where.

I started with the horse (Breezer), well I love horses’, so it was the obvious starting point.  Legs came first but they were too wobbly and wouldn’t support the weight of the horse’s body and head, let alone a rider on top, so they had to be dismantled and filled with gravel.  That’s better.  Once I attached his legs and his neck and head to the body, he was starting to take shape and upsetting some of our visiting canines who thought he was a threat.  Ears were added and his tail and mane, a challenge, as it needed plaiting.  Horses’ eyes are just THE BEST, and I didn’t want to just paint them, so we printed some eyes and laminated them.  A coat of paint, add the white bits and there he was.  Adorable!

One morning I arrived at work with a carrier bag containing strappy stiletto leopard skin shoes, a pair of white jogging bottoms, a red blouse and a black plastic handbag.  I told work colleagues It was my change of clothes as I was going out on the town straight from work … they believed me!  It was actually charity shop purchases of horses’ bridle and reins, jodhpurs, blazer collar and saddle.

Lee wasn’t too much of a challenge, but I wasn’t sure how to attach him to Breezer with stirrups and girth and I couldn’t find anything suitable for riding boots so in the end I cut up a pair of old trousers, got the sewing machine out and made the boots myself.  I then attached stirrups to the boots and used the girth of the saddle to attach Lee to Breezer.

 

I think the hardest part with both Lee and Hazel was trying to attach the arms through the clothing and have them pointing in the right direction.  Hazel also refused to stand up on her own, so more gravel was needed, and although she does now stand, you may notice a bit of fishing line supporting her, with the typical Buxton weather, one big gust of wind and she’ll be over!  I scoured the 170 acres of BCA woodland floor for a suitable bendy stick and a straightish bit for the bow and arrow, added a triangle cut from a flowerpot for the end of the arrow, a length of string and … voila!

The plan was to attach Lee and Hazel to a pallet so we could bring them inside overnight to protect them.  We had been gifted a patch of artificial grass a few years ago which was no longer required, so that was ideal to reuse to cover the pallet and a second pallet was cut into three sections and painted white to make the picket fence.

 

Making the flowerpot people this year has made my brain ache at times trying to work out which pots needed attaching with wire first because of course once you have attached two pots together with wire you can no longer get inside to attach anything else.  I lost count of the holes I drilled in all the plant pots, and I had blisters on my fingers from all the twiddling of the miles and miles of garden wire I used.  But I have enjoyed the challenge and I have also enjoyed finding out more about Lee and Hazel and their amazing achievements, but my favourite has to be Breezer, he is adorable, and those ears! Way too cute!

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