10 Apr 2010

Parish, allotments, foraging and Easter break

OK well it was very nice to have some time off over Easter - this blog covers some bits and pieces over that time - the photo left is me as the Mad Marsh Hare in a treasure hunt for the local Woodcraft Folk group in Bisley Road Cemetery and around - various characters were lurking around with clues.

Photos: various including these homemade Hot Cross Buns - very delicious they were too!

It seems I am not alone in costumes this Easter - Steven Legge from Randwick, the assistant head of Gloucestershire Music, is pictured in this week's Stroud Life as a giant pink bunny at the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestras' rehearsal - it seems he bet the students they could not get numbers up from 35 to 60 - well they did and he lost and ended up dressed as a pink bunny for several hours. Great stuff!

Allotments update

Allotments have also been moving ahead rapidly - when we started to clear the land I wondered if we would manage - we've already had four working parties on the site - see here our first one and pic left of another. Today we will be going again! We are still a couple of months of marking out the sites and starting to grow veg but we are getting ever closer.

We have also set up an Allotment Association - a good meeting in The Star in Whiteshill last week - over 15 of us and a constitution agreed...Have you been to The Star recently? Local beer and a hugely improved interior - Ken, the landlord, is really making it a local pub with plenty of stuff going on. See photo left and the 20 small plots have been allocated but no specific sites allocated. Hopefully more about The Star in a coming blog...

Anyway it seems there is huge interest in the allotments - I've had phone calls asking about them and a resident turned up to the Whiteshill and Ruscombe Parish meeting this Thursday to ask how they were advertised as they had not heard anything about them...well the allotments have had a mention in pretty well every minutes of the Parish Council which are on their website and all noticeboards. It has also been in the Warbler newsletter to all households and on this blog regularly. I've also mentioned them several times at the Randwick Parish meetings.

I am hoping that all this interest can lead to further sites being found - the site we have is small and the plots are about a quarter of a full size allotment - please to contact your Parish Clerk as Parish Councils cannot act unless they have people on the waiting list - Randwick for a long time has had no one on their list despite a number of Parish councillors being very positive about looking at sites. Do get in touch with me for further info or how we can look for more sites...

More Whiteshill and Ruscombe Paris stuff

OK that should read Parish not Paris....there was a Parish meeting Thursday - I wont repeat here the meeting but a few bits of news...

- a new street lamp in the lane/footpath near Whiteshill School is being considered - plans to consult residents in the area but costs are high - an estimated £1,800 of which the County would pay half and the Parish the other. I suggested looking into a renewable and LED option as most of the costs are in getting electric supply to the site.

- Haresfield want our Parish 20 is Plenty signs! Well there are still on-going discussions with County re the '20 is Plenty in Whiteshill and Ruscombe' signs that they have asked us to take down. The Parish are organising a speed test before that but then might loan some of the signs to Haresfield who would cover over the part that says 'in Whiteshill and Ruscombe'! Great recycling!

- Whiteshill and Ruscombe Parish Plan - the Parish are embarking on their Parish Plan - they have a meeting planned for Saturday 15th May 10 to 1 at the Whiteshill hall to talk about what it will entail and allow folk to drop-in and share ideas. Randwick have already done there but are now embarking on a renewal - see more here.

- Parish Councillor elections have been postponed due to General Election so you still have 2 weeks to get nominations in for both Parish Councils - see more here.

- New Clerk for Parish - interviews are next week so we will be getting a new clerk - very sad to see Julie go as she has been excellent indeed.

Stroud Valley Project Events

The new list has just been published - see it here - it includes the Stonehouse Newt survey that I joined last year - great stuff - see that here - plus many other very local events like Spring migrants at Hamwell Leaze, a Bat Walk at Stratford Park and bluebells at Randwick woods. We are very fortunate to have so much nature stuff around here!!!

Birch Sap drink and Dandelion muffins

For various reasons I've not managed to go recently to the Farmers Market but have managed to go the last couple of weeks - and hey it is such a great atmosphere. I also found the stall in the Shambles Market - see photos - indeed had to try the birch sap drink with a dandelion muffin - I mean where else can you get that but Stroud? Of course interest in foraging and wild foods is growing rapidly and have to say I do enjoy - indeed regular blog readers will have seen some previous recipes - click here for all.

Birch Sap is widely drunk in Russia and the former Soviet states - see more here and here. I have to say it tasted very similar to water and the Emeperors' new clothes came to mind - but there was an interesting sweetness there and was very refreshing on the warm Spring day! The guy is also a mind of information about other plants and was selling all sorts of stuff freshly picked...

Stroud Pound film

Well I finally caught up with the Stroud Pound folks setting up their regular stall in Threadneedle Street on Saturday. I paid my demurrage and am ready to spend more Stroud Pounds- see here all about it. I was also delighted to see Reuters have made a short film that is spreading news of local currencies across the world - see here - amazingly Brixton is now up to £40,000 in circulation - Stroud is at £4,000 which is excellent in 6 months. May it continue to grow...


Oh yes the final touches to leaflets have been made, letters written and all the nomination papers submitted. In this ward there will be me, a Conservative and a Labour standing - no Lib Dem will stand this time. I will soon be out delivering leaflets and will also knock on every door in the next 3 weeks! Do please phone me if you have any queries or questions. If anyone has time for leaflet delivering do please get in touch!

And Bath...

Lastly to finish this ramble I will mention a great day in Bath yesterday - was visiting a family member who had a hospital appointment there and afterwards had a chance to walk around - do find it all a bit touristy but like the independent shops and cafes so was disappointed to see the new SouthGate shopping complex - the new Georgian-style buildings are fine (indeed impressive) but why more shops - and also it is all those big chains like a whole shop of Calvin Klein underwear....it is all a bit of a mystery to me....how can we possibly sustain even more shops and retailing....

....indeed as I've said before we are loosing the identity of our towns and cities - Stroud has changed but at least still retains an identity - but if we are not careful we will join the growing lists of towns that are identical - clone towns as they have been dubbed - in 2008 Stroud nearly became one - see here - and see here more from the new economics foundation about clone towns. In a recession, chain stores are the most likely to abandon the high street and close branches.

Walking back up the street I was in the Juice Moose cafe - not a chain but has three stores - and I ended up with their first ever Chocolate sundae thingy - well it doesn't have a name yet but I was the first customer to trial it...will have to return to see if they take on board my comments!

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