Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Abraham Wood, Boars Hill, 19th January 2019

We met on Boars Hill for our meeting today,
Donning scarves, hats and gloves for it was cold, wet and grey.
Perfect weather, in fact, to be a green gym dodger
Yet 16 of us turned out, including new member, Roger.

Loaded up with equipment we went to Abraham Wood,
The dreaming spires shrouded in mist – the view wasn’t too good.
Today was Margaret’s turn to lead our session
Along with OPT’s Rachel, keen to make some progression.

The woodland had been transformed, with the laurel nearly beat
Thanks to a grant from Network Rail on the Trust’s balance sheet.
On reaching our base Rachel stood before an old oak tree
To give us our tasks, of which there were three:

The first was the paths: to rake and make them clear
So on either side bluebells and garlic can germinate without fear.
This should make for a pleasant wander through the bowers
And walkers won’t inadvertently stray, trampling precious wildflowers.

The second – the most strenuous – was to dig up pesky bamboo
If we keep at it, bit by bit, we’ll surely break through.
Those brave of us to participate in this backbreaking task
Most deserved their biscuits at break time, and tea from the flask.

The third involved 'copparding' the many stands of hazel
This was something we'd done before, but it required a re-appriasal.
The purpose is to promote new growth but deter the nibbling of muntjac deer
Thus weaving donuts around the stems was the aim of each volunteer.

As usual, everyone worked diligently right throughout the wood
The clear instructions ensured that the importance of each job was well understood.
That the weather was lousy hardly seemed to matter
We were happy to make progress here and have a good natter.

By 12:30pm we downed tools and back to our cars we retreated,
Our first session of the year, successfully completed.
Jarn mound will be the venue as we gather again next time
Another week, another blog, but perhaps not in rhyme!
-Joanna and Andrew





We met on Boars Hill for our meeting today,
Donning scarves, hats and gloves for it was cold, wet and grey.


Loaded up with equipment we went to Abraham Wood,
The dreaming spires shrouded in mist – the view wasn’t too good.

On reaching our base Rachel stood before an old oak tree
To give us our tasks, of which there were three.

The woodland had been transformed, with the laurel nearly beat
Thanks to a grant from Network Rail on the Trust’s balance sheet.

The first task was the paths: to rake and make them clear
So on either side bluebells and garlic can germinate without fear.



Those brave of us to participate in the bamboo task
Most deserved their biscuits at break time, and tea from the flask.


'Copparding' one of the many stands of hazel. This was something we'd done before, but it required a re-appriasal.


Copparding will promote hazel re-growth but deter the nibbling of muntjac deer
Thus weaving donuts around the stems was the aim of each volunteer.

The most strenuous task was to dig up pesky bamboo
If we keep at it, bit by bit, we’ll surely break through.







By 12:30pm we downed tools and back to our cars we retreated,
Our first session of the year, successfully completed.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

AGM, 12th January 2019

In advance of our outdoor sessions for 2019, The Green Gym AGM was held in the Perry Room of the All Saints Church on Appleford Drive.  We assembled here as we have at the beginning of January for the past couple of years, with current chairman Kevin overseeing proceedings.

On the agenda were the usual discussions relating to our activities over the past year, our intended sessions for the coming year, as well as the financial report (comprehensively compiled by treasurer Sally again) plus any new tools and equipment required.

The only change to the committee from 2018 was the appointment of James as programme co-ordinator, taking over from Eleanor who had held the post for many years. Later, we presented Eleanor with a card and some flowers to thank her for her hard work for over a decade. She confessed that the role had worn her down eventually, so James can't complain that he hasn't been warned!

The meeting continued for just shy of two hours, with the usual mix of keen discussion and mild controversy. The perennial issue of the glove bag and its contents was left unresolved, but otherwise it appeared that everyone was largely happy with the various outcomes. 

Afterwards we sauntered across the street to Kevin and Carolyn's house and  assembled our buffet lunch with all members contributing food. There we met our newest recruit - springer spaniel, Jim!

After Eleanor's presentation and the raising of a toast to the year ahead, we tucked in to a veritable smorgasbord of delights. One particular highlight (Eleanor's meringues aside) was Ursula's super grain salad - based on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. This went down very well indeed. Considerable interest was registered in the dish, and the recipe was therefore supplied and has been reproduced below.

This Saturday we will be meeting up on Boars Hill to work off all the calories.
-Andrew




On the agenda.

Luncheon is served!

Jim and Kevin.

The recipe that Ursula provided for her super grains salad.