8 Mar 2010

Bits and bobs: grit bin, convent mirror, Stroud Pound, pasties and Paganhill hall

Brook report published - Ismaila's report on the Ruscombe Brook has been made available on Amazon... but as one person commented according to the picture on the cover of report, Ruscombe Valley is now headed by a mountain similar to the Matterhorn ... perhaps its only a metaphor for what we have to climb with local authorities. See Amazon here.

Ismaila (Photo left of Ismaila with other RBAG member)did his MSc with Water 21 and support from Ruscombe Brook Action Group in 2007 and his water sampling showed that between June and September water quality remained fairly good although deteriorated down the length of the brook - there were no sewage incidents during that time - looking at the silt along the brook - again this got worse as he got down the brook although the worst point was at Puckshole with lots of nasty faecal contamination. Ismaila was the first student - since then we've had several with Water 21 and more this summer - possibly working on Ruscombe Brook. Water 21 website also has lots about Ismaila's report.

Local woodfuel project - this is still progressing but we are awaiting a meeting with National Trust - see more here.

Ruscombe Road grit bin over again (see pic) - well I have refilled this grit bin on at least three occasions. Each time it is tipped over the salt grit gets into the local brook. Last year it was tipped over at least 4 times. The bin is at a crucial site so is much needed but it needs to either be sunk lower in the ground to stop people pushing it over or replaced with something better. I have requested this on various occasions - well last week my email prompted quick action and a contractor dug it into the ground - however it was over again in under 24 hours - I am informed today that it will be moved back and sunk in again - a notice needs to be posted so it will take a few days.

Bread Street grit bin - I have requested a bin on the slope of Ruscombe Road going up to Bread Street be moved further up the hill - perhaps to close by the Bread Street sign. This was an area that needed grit and used to have a bin. I know there was a complaint about a bin getting tipped into a householders garden but the Bread Street sign is far enough away to reduce the likelihood of this occurring again.

Convent mirror - well the mirror on this corner has disappeared - rumour has it it was used by sledgers during the last snow - anyhow we are unable to erect a new mirror at this location without the permission from the DfT - and Highways have said that this approval would not be forthcoming partly due to the speed limit. Highways were to look at possible road markings and come back to us - well I don't recall them coming back to us but new white lines have appeared - the mirror post remains with nothing on it! This seems a great pity - but as local folk will know it has been vandalised or stolen on many occasions previously - see blog here.

Stroud Pound update - I just got a bundle of Stroud notes today as my original lot had run out - there is now over £4,000 in our pockets, wallets and purses and over 35 local traders and businesses involved. For a full list of participating traders see: www.stroudpound.org.uk Recent joiners include Silverthorn (Nelson Street), Lansdown Pottery, Five Valleys Cordial (farmers market), Helyn Morris Chiropractor, Tobacconist Farm (Minch), Dennis Gould (Shambles market) and the exotically named Rupert Burdock's Wild Food Empire (Shambles market)! The winter opening hours of the Saturday morning 'office' at Stroud Valley Project, Threadneedle Street will be 11 till 1 every Saturday morning. Drop by for exchange, information, advice and chat. The most central exchange point in Stroud is Kanes in Kendrick Street. Other exchange points are Stroud Uplands PO, Minchinhampton and Stonehouse PO and Green Spirit, Nailsworth (check website).

Paganhill Maypole Village Hall - has just got two major grants. As regular blog readers will know I am a Leader with the Woodcraft Folk - the new Pioneers group now meets in this hall. Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, which raises money from landfill operations, has pledged £20,000 to help repair and upgrade the facility in Stratford Road. Stroud District Council has also donated £8,950 to improve the outside of the hall from its village halls and community buildings grant scheme. Volunteers are now set to start phase two of the £90,000, four-phase project within the next six weeks. The hall opened in 1962 has already seen last year the installation of cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and a new heating system. The latest work includes new toilets, modernising the electric system, installing efficient lighting, the lead water pipes replaced, disability access improvements, the leaking roof will be repaired and new railings will be put in place outside. The main work will last about four to five weeks. Donate to the appeal by leaving a cheque payable to ‘Paganhill Maypole Hall’ for the care of treasurer Martin Kavanagh at Paganhill Post Office. To book the hall, call Janine Bagouin on 07749 799538.

Stroud Pasty Co - just wanted to add congrats as they have won the contract to produce exclusive Gloucester Cathedral 'Pilgrim's Pie' - a hogget lamb, onion, garlic, white beans, herbs and honey-roasted carrot pie, made entirely from produce grown and reared on their farm in the Slad Valley. Drawing inspiration from the largely non meat-eating Benedictine Monks who once lived in the cathedral, their vegetarian ‘Monk’s Pie’ proved just as popular with its filling of white beans, onions, spinach, nettles, fresh herbs and Single Gloucester cheese. Both pies, which will be available to sample from May, are triangular in shape to represent the Holy Trinity and are enclosed in golden pastry made from Tetbury-based Shipton Mill flour and butter from Netherend Farm in the Forest of Dean.

Stroud for Food - the official 2010 Cotswolds Visitor Guide is out - a key feature of the publication is the exclusive village-by-village guide with distinctive symbols pointing visitors in the direction of pubs, restaurants, farmers' markets, shops and tourist information The content includes information about events and activities, hot dates in the Cotswolds and 'Top 10 Foodie Experiences'. Four out of the ten 'Foodie Experiences' are in the Stroud district. Woodruff's Organic Cafe (Stroud), St Michael's Restaurant and B and B (Painswick), Stroud's award-winning farmers' market and the Stroud Food and Drink Festival (3rd - 19th September 2010) are all mentioned. The Cotswolds' title as 'Britain's Rural Capital of Culture' is also explained: festivals, arts events, cultural happenings and galleries tucked away in even the smallest towns combine with some top class sport, and an amazing local food and market culture to make this one of Britain's most surprisingly vibrant places to visit.

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