Monthly Archives: April 2020

On the Bright Side

April 19, 2020

In the words of Eric Idle from the gospel according to Monty Python ‘Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad, but always look on the bright side of life!’

None of us have ever experienced anything like this before but experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it. This is a time when we realise who our true friends are, those people who know you well but like you anyway. Blewbury has come up trumps in this time of adversity and talking of trumps, try telling Melania that social distancing is a bad thing.

Yes, even in Blewbury there are acute shortages caused by panic buying of avocados and goji berries and millennials shooting a line of bread flour but there are alternatives. Find something small and barely alive, put it on top of rice and strap it up with insulation tape – bingo, sushi! Or a cabbage from Savages, you know, that vegetable that’s as big and as wise as a man’s head. Going back to The Life of Brian – what did the Romans ever do for us, well they brought us tinned tomatoes, that’s what.

As well as bringing the community closer together, there have been other spin-offs, some good some bad. I no longer have to have as many meetings, where minutes are kept and hours are lost. Skipping the twentieth century we have embraced the twenty-first by having a Parish Council Zoom meeting which was ‘interesting’. But I have to say that I miss my twice weekly walk to the Blueberry with my mate Elphin for a couple of pints of Guinness, other makes of dark frothy beverages are available. This in spite of it now coming out of cans and brought to life with a vibrator. We would saunter along Watery Lane with his little legs trying to keep up in spite of doing four hundred Fitbit steps every hundred metres. He follows Ogden’s Law which states that the sooner you fall behind, the longer you have to catch up. But if I am inspired by anyone at this time to ‘always look on the bright side’ it is Elphin. In spite of a pretty ropey year before this mess he has still managed to come up with cartoons to amuse himself and others as he self isolates in Longridge, his house (see picture above).

So, no negativity. If we are all sensible, this will soon be a bad dream.  Chris Lakeland

Post Office News

April 23, 2020

By the time you read this, the Post Office will be having its facelift. Our last day of trading was Tuesday 21st May, and we will be reopening on Thursday 25th June at 9 am.

At the moment, we have no idea what our regular opening times or days will be by then. In the meantime the nearest Post Office will be East Hagbourne, which is currently open 9 – 12.30 every morning.

While we are closed, Kitty’s eggs will be on my front porch, with an honesty box. Greetings cards, packaging, sticky tape and smarties will also be at home with me, while all the stock and money will be stored in a vault somewhere! Stay safe everyone. Love from Karen xx 

Blewbury Good Neighbours Group

April 24, 2020

We now have over 200 lovely volunteers.

If you need a prescription collecting, some shopping done, a letter for posting or just need a friendly phone call, please ring Blewbury Post Office 01235 85177 or see the printed Bulletin for Karen or  Lydia’s mobile numbers and we will then find a volunteer who will call you back.

Woodlands pharmacy now requires a written letter of authorisation to collect on someone’s behalf, so please have a note written out & ready! Please don’t think you’re ‘being a nuisance’, because when we are poorly, we will be relying on you!

Stay safe. Love from Karen and Lydia 

What did you in the big lockdown, Granny?

  •  Blewbury Local History Group

Here we are in a situation dreamed up by a sci-fi writer that none of us could even dream of. Some people liken it to WW2, or the Spanish flu of 1918, but it only bears some similarity to those and is almost certainly affecting more of the world than anything before. We are all part of an historic time, so we should record it. That means all of us, not just academic professors or politicians but us, in Blewbury and around. We, the History Group, are suggesting that everyone should record our new everyday lives. What about random acts of kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity? Funny things that have happened? lf you have time to write about your life daily, keep a diary. Shopping, meeting new people, glove wearing, keeping 2 metres apart, missing the family, the pub, football. The list is nearly endless, and if we don’t record it now it could be lost. Please send contributions to us, see below, any time, any length, and we plan to have an exhibition of a selection of items when we come out of lockdown and maybe a booklet as a permanent reminder.

Contact Audrey on 850427 or audreyrosettalong@gmaiI.com or Mark at markpaIethorpe@taIktalk.net.

  • For anyone interested in the gravestones around St Michael’s (there have been some Facebook posts on the subject recently) there’s a complete list of all the inscriptions, compiled in 1939, on our website at https://bit.ly/2xzOczf

Sustainable Blewbury

 

Blewbury Garden Market

It doesn’t seem feasible to run our Saturday morning stall in the usual way while adhering to the current Covid-19 safety rules, but if and when things relax we hope to resume later in the summer.

Thermal imaging

This year we imaged 13 houses, including four that we couldn’t do last year due to exceptionally warm weather. We hope residents will use our images to improve their insulation – the climate emergency has not gone away of course.

Hedge laying

For your daily exercise, come to see the hedge, the community orchard in blossom, and the wildflower meadow. Or walk up Blewburton Hill – reduced car use has roughly halved air pollution, so you can now see Oxford clearly.

During the winter the very sparse hedge along the western side of Tickers Folly Field (along the footpath up to the Chalk Pit) was laid where possible and more trees and bushes planted in the gaps. The community orchard trees are now mulched with rotted leaves provided by Alex Musson.

Wildlife corridor

The aim is to plant trees and restore hedges from above the Chalk Pit along the track to Cow Lane and Woodway, and so create a corridor for wildlife. In 2017 we planted 100 trees from the Woodland Trust near the Chalk Pit. In 2018 Beeswax Farming restored a substantial hedge along part of the route. This year Karen Forman obtained another grant of trees from the Woodland Trust, and in March Sustainable Blewbury (in particular John Ogden, Alex Musson and Sean Morris) replaced parts of the Beeswax hedge that had died due to two very dry summers and tidied up existing plants. As a result there is now a substantial run of healthy hedge along the track. Beeswax are also going to plant wildflowers in one of their fields this autumn, after the current cereal crop is harvested.

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE

FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME

E-MAIL TEL NO.
Wooden pallets in good condition. 8 small, 3 medium, 2 large. Take as many as you want. 8 dumpy bulk bags in good condition, no tears. Others available with minor damage. Take as many as you want. Wendy Carless wendycarless@gmail.com 07966088953
Silentnight king size (150cm x 200cm) 2000 pocket memory mattress, 4 and half years old and unmarked as it has always been covered. Jeff Dawson 850773

 

To participate in our activities, or to receive our free bi-monthly Newsletter,
email us at
info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone 01235 850558

Blewbury Climate Action

It will be some time before anyone can take action as a group but individual actions are still possible, and still important.

Some ideas follow. One thing most of us have at the moment is time, to read more about the climate and our environment, and to decide what we personally can do under current restrictions.

Are Plastic bags all bad … or is it us who use them badly?

This is an example of how the media go for a short snappy phrase because a complex message doesn’t have the same impact. The trouble is that it can then produce incorrect results. The plastic carrier bag has become a symbol for the problems caused by plastic pollution. But according to the family of the man who created it, Sten Gustaf Thulin, his design was meant to help the planet and he’d be shocked and upset to see what it’s become. Watch the video at bbc.in/3eqXdv2.

350.org

350.org is an international environmental organisation working since 2009 to address the climate crisis. Its stated goal is to “end the use of fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy by building a global, grassroots movement of ordinary people”. The 350 in the name is the 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 thought to be the safe upper limit for a stable climate. On April 5th 2020 the weekly average at the Mauna Loa observatory was 416 ppm. At the moment one campaign on the website is “Community Care is Greater Than the Coronavirus: it is in these uncertain times that we realise the fragility of the interwoven systems we all depend on to survive.” It then goes on to suggest what we (individually or as a community) might be able to do to stop the climate crisis while at the same time supporting what the authorities are doing to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lighter reading

Some suggestions of books that have got me thinking (all are still available in print online or as e-books):

  • “How bad are bananas?”, by Mike Berners-Lee, Profile books, 2010. The carbon footprint of everything from a pint of tap water (0.14g CO2e, 1000 times less than bottled water!) … to having a child that lives for 80 years (373 tonnes CO2e on average). It helped me to make decisions about what to eat, what to buy or not buy.
  • “Wilding” by Isabella Tree, Picador 2018. The return to nature of a Sussex Farm. A big seller that won awards, probably best read in small doses rather than all at once. I do now understand why wilding is important.
  • “The Future we choose”, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, Manilla Press, 2020. She was the UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change and he was senior political strategist for the Paris Agreement (COP 21). Read this one before COP 26 in Glasgow next year.

There are more books, links to videos and TED talks on the BCA website: blewburyclimateaction.com.
Email info@blewburyclimateaction.com with your suggestions of more books etc that interested or influenced you, or post your ideas and comments on www.facebook.com/groups/BlewburyClimateAction. If you do this I will add them to the Reading and Links page of the BCA website. Jo Lakeland

Blewbury and Upton Village Produce Association

– Your Local Village Gardening Club

First, on behalf of the Committee, we hope everyone is well and avoiding Covid-19. Secondly, we would like to THANK EVERYONE, everywhere, keeping the country running which enables the rest of us to seek medical help and keep shopping at the supermarkets.

THANK YOU to those who are emptying our bins regularly and those teachers helping workers’ children to go to school while their parents work to save lives and the Police who protect us daily.

THANK YOU to every other person that we don’t really hear about who is working behind the scenes to keep us all safe.

In the last Bulletin we hadn’t decided about the Summer Show scheduled for July, but the decision has now been made to postpone the Show until next year. We did consider holding an autumn show but felt that everyone would have too many other things to worry about rather than a show. So the Schedule printed for this year will be used for the Summer Show on the 3rd July 2021.

Life on the allotment has been a bit traumatic. I have had a bad back for ten years and just over three weeks ago I set it off again and was unable to get treatment at the chiropractor. I began with loads of pain killers from the doctor but now just take them occasionally if it gets really painful. Unfortunately, at the moment, I can’t bend but can manage to do things by standing up straight. I managed to plant my early potatoes by digging a trench with a special hoe I have and dropping the potatoes in place without trying to damage the shoots, then covering them with soil. Hopefully I’ll be able to do the late spuds in a couple of weeks the proper way! All the seedlings are doing well in the greenhouse including broad beans, peas, sweetcorn, beetroot, borlotti beans – all will need hardening off and then planting out, hopefully my back will be well enough to get them in the ground in a couple of weeks.

The hens are doing well and have been treated to a new permanent dust bath instead of digging in the actual run. They now have a bright blue children’s plastic sand pit which I’ve put in a shelter. They’re definitely enjoying it and usually there’s two at a time sharing it, although Borlotti seems to enjoy sun bathing in it on her own. At least they will now have a dry dust bath all year round. They didn’t like the very windy weather we had recently as it ruffled their feathers but despite the mixed weather they have been laying well.

DID YOU KNOW? If your potatoes happen to have caught the sunlight and turned green, you can still derive benefit from them by boiling them up and using the water, when cooled, as an effective insect repellent for spraying on plants.

Happy Gardening and Keep Well  Eileen

Romeo and Juliet

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and with regret the Trustees of the Blewbury Players have reluctantly concluded that we cannot produce a show this summer.

Thank you for your support so far.  We have reached this decision with sad hearts but retain our confidence in this production and very much hope to see it performed next year. Lots of work had already been done, cast and production crew assembled and director and designer creating exciting plans. Director, Chris Staines, has said that “It is hugely disappointing that we need to stall our plans, but I can see that it is the sensible thing to do. I do hope we are all able to pick up where we left off in due course”. Stay well. The Trustees

(Thank you to Sarah Salter for providing an amusing reflection on the practicalities of Romeo and Juliet with social distancing!)

Bridge Club Quiz

 – OPENING LEADS

Nominate your opening lead on each of the hands above. Email your answers to Michael.allen47@btinternet.com