Thanks to an introduction from Ali Griffiths, I was able to meet Tim, the manager of Ross Community Garden today and some of the volunteers who enjoy spending time together working on the garden. They gave me tea and cake too, which was very welcome after a drive through the beautiful Wye Valley in the sunshine today. It was a good antidote to the last few days of stormy weather. Perfect, in fact! Anyway, pictures speak louder than words and I've another cup of tea starting to go cold (thanks, Gary), so here are some of my memories from today. I've been invited back with anyone who wants to take a look at a Community Garden in action. Let me know if that's you.
I spoke with one of the Street Wardens today. They are those great people who came down last summer and spent time with our young 'uns, who had a marvellous time racing their remote control cars around while we sat around drinking tea in the sunshine and chatting. Anyway, when they are not recruiting for the Street Warden team (we have one young person who was very keen to join them for work experience when he is old enough) and helping to teach children about looking after their environment with events such as one run at Coleford Library last summer and all the other things they do, they are looking into the matter of bins on the Oakdale play areas. The current bins are not suitable because they are bolted down with two bolts, meaning that our speedy bin men can't possibly empty them.
For a while, Oakdale Links steering group members were taking care of this, emptying them into our own bins, but we got fed up of the piles of dog poo bags, so we sealed them up. Then the bags were piled up on top in neat pyramids that toppled, Jenga-link, occasionally to the ground. I don't know about you, but I don't think this is an ideal arrangement on a children's play area, so we talked the Street Wardens and they arranged to come down. I think the current plan is to get the bins that are there taken out and then get suitable bins for Biffa to empty put in instead. We talked about a dedicated bin for dog poo, but the flip side is, is that then encouraging people to think of the play area as a dog toilet?
We want to know what everyone else thinks, so if you have a view on this, or on whether we should apply for the play areas to be dog-free zones, please get in touch with me (email address below) or the Street Wardens directly at the Forest of Dean District Council. They are very friendly and are as concerned as we are about sorting this out, with their twin roles of helping communities and looking after the environment.
On Saturday two of our friends got married and Gary and I were asked to play in the scratch band from their two churches. They invited everyone from both churches as they are friends with everyone. Their wedding gifts from us all was really a gift back to us as they asked for donations towards projects at St Mary's and also at Steve's church, St James. It was a lovely occasion. Gerald Storey from Bream gave a talk and let it out of the bag that Revd Suzanne and Steve were at a Christian Festival on their way to a speed dating event when they encountered each other...and the rest is history. I'm really pleased to have had a small part to play in their story now. It's got a fairy tale beginning. Allegedly the Bishop was bopping in the Bathurst Chapel while the music group were playing along with the vicar and the wedding party. Afterwards, one of the guests said to me that it looked as though I had trouble standing still. I wasn't trying! It was a dancing day!
We went to see the bluebells today and relax in the Forest. We ate apples and left them for a mouse I saw disappearing down a hole, rescued a beetle that had gone astray, and one of us found a dead bumble bee that he won't let us bury as, "I thought you would like it and you can take it to the bee keepers to show them." I do like it - it's a buff-tailed bumble bee, so really big and furry, but I prefer them alive in my garden.
I've been doing bee keeper training with the Dean Forest Bee Keepers Association. I'd like to start a community enterprise making honey and so received a grant I applied for and received from Barnwood Trust. If you have a disability or you are a group and have disabled members, Small Sparks grants are a great way to get some seed funding to kick start projects or events. Most grants are specific to the purpose stated in the application. Barnwood are great because they support all kinds of community initiatives and are also rolling out an Asset Based Community Development training scheme with free training across the Dean. I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to help with planning pilot projects for this and will be going to the next meeting later this week. Apparently, they think I am a 'connector', though I would never have described myself as this. I am one of four girls and was always the most shy in a family of big personalities. I stopped speaking at all when I was six for a while and my parents got me a cat to bring me out of my inner world again. She sustained a massive traumatic injury as a result of running away and getting so thin her collar worked its way over her front paw. The skin had grown over the collar because she ran away on Christmas Day and came back on Valentine's Day. Nursing her back to health again was good for me too. It wasn't until I got to Uni though that I made up for lost time and made friends from all over the world. They are still a joy and delight to me.
I love spending time on my own especially since becoming a mum. I'll go back to the Forest tomorrow to do some more sketching when school starts. It's a lovely place to work and the light changes constantly so a photo never captures it in quite the same way. Not a bad office really.
Hello! I am the editor of this website. I moved to Lydney in November 2011 with my husband and son and we have been living on Oakdale for two years now. It's an interesting time to move here, so I set up this website to encourage community links between and within the old and the new in Lydney and to try and help create a stable and happy community.