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An alternative crop ... ... WOAD ....

amy

By amy

60 comments


Each year my husband Tony and his ex-colleagues meet up to spend a day out together ,about 30 of them . Our job was to plan the day for them ,

The day includes a meal at a restaurant plus an interesting venue to visit , we had fun trying out the restaurants and getting the best party rates before the day .

This year we planned a visit to the local Woad centre where the farmer has diversified from arable farming into pigment production from plants ,specialising in Woad .
The woad looks like a cross between spinach and sugar beet and produces yellow flowers in it’s second year for oil and honey from the bees


I’m afraid the photos aren’t that great ,woman aren’t allowed on these days out !! I had to take the photos off the pamphlets .
You will be interested to know that Woad seed costs £800. a kilo
They have incorporated a range of textiles and toiletries


The pigment is extracted from the leaf which undergoes a process to produce the blue colour ,from a green leaf ,a blue pigment is achieved without nasy chemicals


Tony bought me a gorgeous shopping bag also after after a demostration with a pure silk hankerchief showing the dyeing technique the owner gave it to Tony who then gave it to me , it’s such a beautiful blue


And before you ask yes the textiles are expensive !

Woad has been grown in Europe since the stone age and has a long association with East Anglia , notably with Boudicca and the Iceni tribe who used it to colour their faces before going into battle . It was thought they used the colour to scare off the opposition . However ,as it has anti-septic properties ,it is now suggested that Woad could have been painted onto their skin to heal potential wounds .

More blog posts by amy

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Comments

 

looks like the men had a very intresting day out there Amy, nice blog

10 Oct, 2012

 

Wow that is interesting Amy, I remember from my school days we were told about Woad and how it was used in ancient times, the shae of blue is lovely and lucky you with a bag and a handkerchief, at £800 a kilo you will be among the favoured few;0))

10 Oct, 2012

 

I guess I won`t be buying my new toiletries from there then Amy, very interesting blog ...

10 Oct, 2012

 

how fascinating, thanks amy; i seem to remember mel gibson being painted in woad for braveheart?

10 Oct, 2012

 

It is an intensive crop , then , Amy . No wonder that it is quite costly !
I'm sure that the "boys " had a good day out .

10 Oct, 2012

 

Very interesting I knew only that it was a dye.....wool as well as skin.....but I knew nothing of its other properties, thanks Amy x

10 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Thanks all ,I'm glad you found it interesting , I thought the dye might wash out but Ian ( the owner ) showed them a towel that had been dyed 6 years ago and washed frequently it was still a lovely blue shade . Carole I don't think I will be brave enough to take my bag or hankie out with me ,I'm bound to lose them !

10 Oct, 2012

 

Special occasions Amy. :0)

10 Oct, 2012

 

That's fascinating Amy! Now for the 'ladies' day out'? I agree with you, it is a stunning shade of blue.

10 Oct, 2012

 

I hadn't heard of these other products it is used for either,Amy..such a lovely blue...:o)

10 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Yes Pam then I would probably still spill something :o)
That would be a good idea Karen , they could pamper us with the nice smelling products while the men went out looking at the fields .. I must suggest it LOL ..
I'm not sure if the oils etc are available in shops Sandra it might be that they can't produce enough oils to export out and only sell it in there shop ,I will remember to ask Tony when he comes home on Friday ,he's helping out with some sugar beet trials at Horncastle .... and he's supposed to be retired ...

10 Oct, 2012

 

What a glorious colour! Was it just their faces that the ancient B's used to paint? I imagined them blue all over!!

10 Oct, 2012

 

I was wondering Amy, if David Cameron wears woad blue to scare of the opposition!! Lol. (sorry about that)
So wonderful to find even more products that are Paraben free, my daughter and I will only use creams that have had this removed (apparently it is used in brake fluid in cars!) I will look them up to see their cost. Glad the lads had a good day out, we have to give them a free rein sometimes! Lol.

10 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

I wouldn't know about that Stera ,you sure you haven't been peeping ;o))
Now there's a thought Grandmage LOL .. I didn't know that about the Paraben in break fluid sounds yukky ... I once read a report written by some scientist who reported that woman might as well put liquid paraffin on their faces it would do as much good as the most expensive lotions ,I tried it and if you have dryish skin it certainly does help ...

10 Oct, 2012

 

Amazing Amy, who'd of thought of putting L.P. on your face!! bit like using olive oil on babies bottoms!! Lol..

11 Oct, 2012

 

That was interesting. I've heard of woad but never seen it growing.

11 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

I've just been to the bathroom cabinet to check to see if I've got any L.P Gmage to see if it has any ingredients listed but I haven't any I suspect it's a pure substance with nothing added ,can't do any harm can it , I did find that you needed to blot your face with a tissue to mop up excess stickiness apart from that it was fine :o)
Glad you found it interesting Hywel , I imagine we grow a lot of things that you wouldn't find in your hilly countryside ......

11 Oct, 2012

 

Too wet here probably lol ... It's emptying down at this very moment :o)

11 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Oh No ,not again ! it's sunny here at the moment but I believe it could spread this way ... :o(

11 Oct, 2012

 

It's really bad this evening ... torrential. There'll be some floods I think. I hope it doesn't reach you ...

11 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

It has reached us Hywel , I'm glad we don't live near any rivers .....

11 Oct, 2012

 

This is really interesting Amy, I'd only heard of woad in relation to the little pottery animals...lol! That is a stunning blue colour it produces, and lovely presses for you.....pleased Tony enjoyed his day out too.....

11 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

LOL Janey are you thinking of Wade Pottery ? I have a couple of those little figures somewhere ! apparently there was a Woad mill in Lincolnshire which closed in 1932 .. it's been pushed out by cheaper synthetic products from broad .. ........

11 Oct, 2012

 

hoped you'd have some pics of him and his chums "woaded for action"! fascinating blog, thank you

12 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

LOL That would have been fun Fran , I wonder how long it would have stayed on the skin .. :o ))

12 Oct, 2012

 

ha, there's only one way to find out ... sneak up on him when he's not looking??

12 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

LOL that would give him a fright !

12 Oct, 2012

 

Yes I am!!!......durr! Well I've never heard of it at all then...lol!

12 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Don't worry Janey it's not something many people know about unless they talk to farmers .... :o))

12 Oct, 2012

 

or are into Ancient Celts, who are said to have painted themselves with woad before battle - I always imagined it as a dark-ish blue, but now I've seen it, I can imagine the effect of being confronted by an army of bright blue hue

13 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Tony said they had a large photo on the wall of Mel Gibson wearing the woad in the film brave heart , I'm scared when I look at some of the hair colours people have today , I think it's potty !!

13 Oct, 2012

 

Fascinating, Amy, I had heard of woad before (dim memories from school days and always related it to wattle and daub!). Really beautiful colour. Sounds an interesting outing.

13 Oct, 2012

 

OH has a rugby song about woad , sung to the tune of "Men of Harlech ".
I'll try to get him to transcribe it , it is quite clever , and I'll put it on here .

13 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Glad you liked it Gee a neighbour has told me that he had some plants in his garden perhaps the birds are dropping the seed ....
I'd love to see it Driad I'm surprised my OH doesn't know it he use to play Rugby and knows quite a few I have to put my hands over his mouth when the children are here LoL .......

13 Oct, 2012

 

:O))
He is trying to remember the first line ( not one to be rushed ) and he says that it was scouts not rugby , but he does have a few of those songs up his sleeve , too , being Welsh !

14 Oct, 2012

 

O.K. here we go :- The Woad Song (youtube 11thNov 2006 )
What's the use of wearing braces?
Vests and pants and boots with laces?
Spats and hats you buy in places down the Brompton Road ?
What's the use of shirts of cotton?
Studs that always get forgotten ?
These afairs are simply rotten ,
Better far is woad . (end of 1st verse )
Woad's the stuff to show men , /Woad to scare your foemen ./ Boil it to a brilliant hue and rub it on your back and your ab-do-men ./ Ancient Britain ne'er did hit on anything as good as woad to fit on Neck or knees or where you sit on Taylors you be blowed .

14 Oct, 2012

 

Sorry , Amy , being a technophobe is hard work !
There is another verse , but you all might be getting bored . Have a look at the youtube clip ; I'll put the rest on if you want it then .

14 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Driad I wouldn't be bored thats brilliant and thanks for the trouble you have taken to get it to us :o)) I'll go and have a look at youtube , I'd love to see the rest but only when you feel up to it .

14 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Found it on youtube Driad , there was a small problem in that my OH could see the Zulu scenes where they sang Men of Harlech and I couldn't drag him off the comp.until he had watched them all ... LoL ...

14 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Driad I have managed to copy all 4 verses off youtube , it would have taken you ages to do all that , Thanks very much ,I might sent it To Ian Howard the owner of the Woad centre ,if he hasn't heard it already that is !!

14 Oct, 2012

 

lol Driad, remember that, now you mention it, from Scout days, old Scout song books.

14 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Were you in the scouts Fran ?

15 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

The Woad Song .. sung to the tune of " Men of Harlech "

What's the use of wearing braces
Hats and spats and boots with laces
All the things you buy in places
Down on Brompton Road
What's the use of shirts of cotton
Studs that always get forgotten
These affairs are simply rotten
Better far is woad!

Woad's the stuff to showmen
Woad to scare your foemen
Boil it to a brilliant blue
And rub it on your back and your abdomen.
Ancient Britons never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Knees or neck or where you sit on
Tailors you be blowed!

Romans came across the channel
All dressed up in tin and flannel
Half a pint of woad per man'll
Dress us more than these
Saxons you can waste your stitches
Building beds for bugs in britches
We have woad to clothe us which is
Not a nest for fleas!

Romans keep your armours
Saxons your pyjamas
Hairy coat were made for goats
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs and llamas
Tramp up Snowdon with your woad on
Nevermind if we get rained or snowed on
Never want a button sewed on
to it ,Ancient B's

15 Oct, 2012

 

I have sung along to all the verses,Amy..it's brilliant..thanks for that :o)

15 Oct, 2012

 

Just brill , isn't it ?
I would think that Ian Howard could make it his theme song , Amy .
Brought back good memories , Fran , eh ?

15 Oct, 2012

 

fascinating..i have a pair of 'designer' jeans that used guado/woad to dye them..its used more than you imagine..

im liking the shopping bag!

15 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Sandra ... how about we enter you into X factor singing the woad song , I'll vote for you :o))
It is Driad I'm glad you were able to point it out to us ,I wasn't in the scouts LoL .....

15 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

OoH Skips , I bet they cost you a fortune The owner told ' the boys ' that it cost £350 to have an ordinary pair of jeans dyed ... do you find they wash and keep the colour well ?

15 Oct, 2012

 

I would rather dance round the garden naked than face
Louis Walsh,Amy..or sing! Lol..Someone would be bound to whisper in his ear ! :o))

15 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

You disappoint me Sandra , we'll never know what we have missed :o(

16 Oct, 2012

 

I was in Scouting for 18 years, Amy, qualified as both Cub Scout and then Scout leader. Took some time out in the 90s to get my life sorted, and they don't want me back. ah well, I'd probably be in the Too-old-and-creaky department now, but sigh, those were good times, teaching kids to appreciate nature and to do stuff for themselves

16 Oct, 2012

 

Lol,Amy just be very very glad,you'll never know :o))

16 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Well done Fran both my son and daughter joined the cubs/scouts ..brownies / guides a very well worth while venture and an awful lot of work on your part ,the children learnt lessons they will never forget and had fun doing it as well ...

Sandra you are a spoil sport ... LoL ....

16 Oct, 2012

 

how strange Amy, im sure it was sue from france telling me they used this to colour wood shutters like in my painting and now iv come across your blog, interesting info :o))

17 Oct, 2012

 

Sorry to rain on your parade,Amy :o)..and remember sewing all those badges on their uniforms? My daughter loved Brownies and Guides..but would never go camping !
She was ok if they went in one of the properties they used,but no way would she go under canvas :o)

17 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

I wonder if they called the colour woad San perhaps they use to grow woad out there and copied the colour in paint , it's a lovely colour !
I don't blame her really Sandra ,I remember one camp site where the parents were invited to go along and spend the evening with the girls ,we had only just arrived sitting on logs when the skies opened ,crashing thunder , terrifying lightening the girls where all screaming to go home , we felt dreadful leaving them there and spent the night worry if they were alright ... :o(

17 Oct, 2012

 

My two joined scouts/guides too ; I think they enjoyed the camping , but I remember that my first-born (boy) couldn't wait to get back home for a bath and the toilet , not necessary in that order , after 3 days away !

19 Oct, 2012

 

I remember most taching the kids to light their own fires; they had to cook either a slice of toast or a sausage: they'd start out with tiny bits of wood and end up scrambing round for bits of grass to keep it going! and the times the bread, or sausage, would fall off into the fire, they'd rake it out, stick it back on the fork again ... and eat it, enjoying their first ever own-cooked food - probably just as well the parents didn't know! couple of times i camped with no tent, just wrapped in a goundsheet; oh, to be snug in bed and look up and see the stars - lol i think paintiny myself with woad would have been the next step, and only a short one!

21 Oct, 2012

amy
Amy
 

Oh yes the toilets Driad that's always a first on the agenda and sleeping like a log in their own comfortable bed .. my son hasn't progressed very much from dropping sausages from the BBQ to this day Fran he still picks them up and eats them ! having said that he loves cooking in the house .. I'm sure they would have loved face painting with woad and scaring each other leaping from behind trees/shrubs , I'm not so sure that the mums would be happy when they found out that they couldn't remove it or their school teachers LOL ..

23 Oct, 2012

 

maybe have a face-painting session at the next barbie!

24 Oct, 2012

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