I am adjusting to life back here in Stroud after being away seeing family in Norway. I've been back a day and managed a drink at the Ruscombe and Whiteshill Village Shop (new toilet coming soon there!) - the drink was to break up a day of sitting opening 2,457 emails - still many more to read and work to go back to so please bear with me if you are waiting for a response.
There is so much I could write about that I've missed while being away - here are a few stories for starters that have caught my eye initially:
Randwick TV fame - great to hear the village was featured in a 15minute programme - some 50 people turned out to help the camera crew incl our Wap Mayor Stan Giles. Brian Stanley in the Runner reports that those participating gave a positive balanced view of our village with weavers and laggers, the pool, the Cotswold Way, dog-walking and cheese-rolling etc.
Dead Swan and fish in canal at Stroudwater - see background here - the Environment Agency have responded noting water quality can deteriorate for many reasons and that the cause of the deaths have not been established but the incident was likely to have been caused by a carcass in the watercourse. This has been removed. I am still not v happy about arrangements re the canal and British Waterways - there would appear to be ill-defined areas of responsibilities which I will be chasing.
Stroud Brewery wins Campaign for Real Ale's Gloucestershire champion beer - for the second time with their Budding Pale Ale. Budding won the best bitters sectionand the brewery's Stroud Organic Ale won gold in the bitter's class. Well done to Greg Pilley and all the others at the brewery.
Stroud Ape expert and the yeti - Stroud-based ape expert Ian Redmond, who I met recently could be close to identifying the identity of a 'yeti-like' beast in the Indian jungle. He is DNA testing hairs - See Citizen news report here. Mr Redmond is involved with ape conservation in Rwanda and is looking for volunteers to help him with the administration of the project. Anyone interested should email email@example.com
Ragged Hedge Fair - this weekend just gone - just outside Cirencester and one of the best events around - this year I missed due to being away but hear from several different people how much fun it was - see more at their website: www.raggedhedgefair.co.uk
Street balls - Children have played football in the road since time immemorial and yet people complain about it more than anything else, when most of them used to do it themselves. Here is a bit from the Council news re the efforts of Stroud's Colin Peake - Anti-social Behaviour Co-ordinator - after talking with children he learned that often the issue got out of hand when the very young ones were joined by their older siblings. The older boys using their superior strength would emulate the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, without realising the likely consequences of being older and stronger. Colin soon established that the real substance of complaints was not the actual playing of football (which after all is our national sport) but the likely damage to houses, cars and gardens. Reducing the possibility of such fears by using a foam ball reduces tensions in the street. Using his personal knowledge of the game, Colin recognised that youngsters did not like the normal foam-style ball which although cheap and readily available does not react like a normal ball. He therefore contacted the Cheshire based company ‘Urofoam’ and has now purchased 500 specially coated balls bearing the ‘Respect’ logo. He is now handing out these ‘Street Balls’ to Stroud District Council’s Neighbourhood Wardens and to Police Community Support Officers in an attempt to find a happy medium and allow neighbourhoods to live in harmony. The kids and even professional footballers, who have used them in training sessions around the Stroud District, are pleased with how they feel and react in real football terms. Branded ‘Street Ball’ they can be purchased in any colour and trials undertaken in the Stroud area showed green and yellow ones were preferred.
Stroud Pasty launched - Slad Farm - who leased 5 acres to one of two community supported agriculture schemes operating in Stroud - have launched the Stroud pasty - with a secret ingredient, has been cooked up for the town's new food festival. The slow roast organic beef and vegetable pasty, with a traditional twisted top was privately previewed last week and will be launched on the opening day of the festival next month. Pasty chef Joe Eckersley made the first couple of dozen of the baked golden pasties that were hungrily sampled by guests at the JRool Bistro in Stroud said in The Citizen: "They have potatoes, onions and turnips inside, plus a mystery ingredient, and the beef, which is from Stroud, is slow cooked in fruit wine."