Saturday, June 20, 2020

Andrew's wanderings

Over the past week I have been out walking as much as possible before I return to work in the coming days. I took in a couple of Green Gym work sites along the way - Farmoor Reservoir, where I checked on the status of the hedge that we cut back earlier in the year, and Barton Fields, where the wild flower meadow that we have helped sow and maintain over the years is in full bloom.

At the end of the week on Saturday, we then had our fortnightly Green Gym Zoom chat!

A few photo follow.
-Andrew


The hedge at Farmoor Reservoir that we cut back earlier in the year.

The view looking the other way.

A great crested grebe out on the reservoir.

At Barton Fields... a Pyramidal Orchid.
A Meadow Brown butterfly.

Another butterfly (large skipper?) on a red clover.

One of many froglets crossing the site!

A path through the wildflower meadow.

A Cornflower.

Corn Marigold.

Corncockle.

Betony.

Fireweed/Rosebay Willowherb.


A mystery eggshell.

A bee on Viper's Bugloss.
The Zoom chat!





Saturday, June 13, 2020

A visit to Cothill

Earlier in the week I went for a walk around Cothill, which of course is where one of our work sites is. During our most recent Zoom chat, Adrian had mentioned that the orchid were out on the fen itself, therefore I was keen to go and take a look.

The fen is looking great at the moment and our efforts (along with those of the other volunteers and wardens!) in widening out the wetland area have proved successful. Even after the recent dry spell, it is looking as intended. The photos below illustrate the current state of play.
-Andrew


One of the many orchids (Common Spotted?).
...and another!



Yellow Rattle.
A view across the fen from the footpath.



A bird's nest from Kevin

This was found in the garden on the ground. I think its a finch's nest as I saw one very similar on Spring Watch. It had one empty egg and a broken one with a dead embryo, could have blown down or got at by a predator.

It's so delicately made and yet seems to hold together strongly. How do they do it with just their beak?!
-Kevin





Monday, June 8, 2020

Online tea break, 6th June 2020

We held our third online Zoom tea break on Saturday, our favoured way of connecting while the COVID-19 situation keeps us out of action. Sixteen members assembled to discuss what we had been up to and to when we might get underway again!



Wednesday, June 3, 2020

An update on our wildflower patch

Eleanor has been back to our wildflower patch in Southern Town Park and sent through a couple of photos to show how well it is doing. There are many more ox eye daisies now.




Thursday, May 28, 2020

The TCV Green Zine coming soon!




The Conservation Volunteers are pleased to announce the relaunch of our monthly newsletter Greenzine.

Whilst we might not be out volunteering in the way we usually are, The Conservation Volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes and we want to share that information with you.

This week we will be relaunching our monthly Greenzine, an opportunity for us to share wonderful stories about our volunteers, fantastic new partnership opportunities, as well as some of our favourite bits of content from the past month, be it books, TV shows, radio shows, anything at all!

You are receiving this email as you have previously signed up to the Greenzine mailing list and we hope that you look forward to receiving our Greenzine.

We hope that you're enjoying the sunshine wherever you are and that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

From the TCV team. 



All groups images included in this edition of Greenzine were taken prior to COVID-19 social distancing measures being enforced. 

Kevin in the kitchen

I decided to have a go in the kitchen with the encouragement of Carolyn (not that I need it).

The result is a steamed pudding. I'll leave you to guess what sort it is. Needless to say the ingredients pushes the calories per ounce meter up the chart, you would need you to do 50 trips up Jarn Mound to burn it off per portion!

It didn't take long to make with the help of a pressure cooker (I don't trust those things! ever since I saw one in my childhood memory with these welded metal clamps on, to keep what seemed like the pressure at 10 tons per square inch, with a jet of super heated steam shooting out of the valve and taking the paint off the wall).

Anyway, the end product was edible and lasted me (Carolyn resisted a second helping, more for me!) a few days but I don't think it would travel well to a GG Coffee Break. 
-Kevin




An update from Eleanor (and her grandson!)

A new recruit for Green Gym?
He will probably be old enough to come on his own by the time Green Gym restarts!
-Eleanor








Sunday, May 24, 2020

Cothill Photos from Adrian

Adrian has sent over some photos showing views of the bluebells in the woods at Cothill and another showing the Fen itself after the first cut of the rush this year.





A photo from the Green Gym tea break, 23rd May 2020

Sally arranged another virtual Saturday morning tea break for the Green Gym, at 11am when we would normally be halfway through our work session! Another good attendance as the photo below illustrates. We aim to hold another in two weeks on the 6th June.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Barbara's dragonflies

Hello All,

Whilst out and about yesterday I came across these dragonflies – Broad bodied chasers, male (blue) and female. There were quite a few of them around Abbey Fishponds.

Best wishes,

Barbara




A housework update from James

Housework 5

This may possibly be my last contribution about housework to the GG blog.  The reason is that I am spending so much time doing it and writing my new book on the subject that I have time for little else.

Two recent purchases have made a huge difference. The first is something I mentioned in my last contribution, namely the wonderful Dyson cordless hoover. I no longer feel the dread of getting my ankles entangled with cables and do not need to tie myself to the banister rail when doing the stairs any more. The new machine – we call her ‘Donna’ because we ‘donna know what we’d do without her’ has rapidly become a much loved member of the family so much so that we are contemplating taking out formal adoption papers.

The other purchase to which I alluded above was a pair of large size marigold gloves. Earlier I was using other pairs that were around the house but they were all medium or even small size. The trouble with them was that, while I could put the medium size ones on, it took me half an hour to get them off. I had to peel them off and when i finally managed to do it, the fingers were inside out and it took me another half hour to pull each one out. The new large ones have solved all those problems. They slip on and off with ease and are such a delight to wear that I tend to keep them on all day.

Even with Donna and the marigolds there are still hazards to be overcome but one by one we are finding solutions, all of which will be included in the book. Occasionally it is necessary to get down on all fours, to do some serious scrubbing for example. The hazard here is the risk of getting what is commonly called Housemaids Knee, henceforth to be known as Housepersons Knee. My answer to this is to place ones knees in a small, padded trolley about one foot square with furniture castors on the underside. A battery powered version is being developed.

When my book is published I will naturally give a complementary signed copy to all gymmers.
-James

Friday, May 15, 2020

Random acts of Wildness!

Sally has made us aware of the Wildlife Trust's annual 30 Days Wild challenge that may appeal to our members. The details follow if you would like to take part, with a link to the website here:

https://action.wildlifetrusts.org/page/57739/petition/1





This June, join thousands of people taking part in our annual nature challenge, 30 Days Wild! We want you to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.
You’ll get a free, downloadable pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). For extra ‘bonus’ items, keep an eye on your emails for additional, fun activities, from instructions for baking hedgehog cupcakes to a beginner’s guide to wildlife photography.
To get involved, just tell us who’s taking part. If you are a childminder and want to take part with your children - the schools pack will be best suited to you.

An update from Rosie

Hello everyone,
Hope everyone is safe and well. 

Thought it was about time to give you a robin update, 5 beautiful babies hatched and have already fledged, I thought they were a bit enthusiastic!

I have not set eyes on any of them since they left the shed apart for the poor little one that didn't make the first night out in the big world. I opened the shed one morning and was rather startled to see 2 little robins in front of me. By the time I had popped back indoors to get my camera they had disappeared. I assumed they had flown off because I couldn't see them and I'd left the door open. When I went to put my bike away after work I spotted them in the bottom of a bucket which was standing in the shed. I led it on the side and one rapidly left, the other is the one in the photo and that one stayed around for several more days but wasn't very active. I didn't see it leave but it has disappeared.

I told you about the knitting craze last time so photos are of the growing pile of hats and outfits for newborns.

When Boris said I could travel somewhere to exercise I chose a favourite place of mine on the Thames and could not resist having a go at the HB! It is surprisingly satisfying.

Millie & Lottie collected some sticks when out on a walk this week and after painting made a rainbow picture. Millie is enjoying a lockdown 5th birthday today!

Looking forward to seeing you all Zooming on 23rd.
Keep well.
-Rosie









Saturday, May 9, 2020

Virtual Coffee Break

Today we held our first virtual Saturday morning coffee break via Zoom! A total of fourteen members participated at 11am, including Victor out in Madrid with cameo appearances from his children. 

It was great to catch up while we are unable to hold our usual Green Gym work parties and we plan to make this a more regular occurrence. The next one has been scheduled for 23rd May! See you there?
-Andrew




Friday, May 8, 2020

Update from Eleanor on our Southern Town Park wildflower patch

Eleanor has been to visit our wildflower patch at Southern Town Park and it appears to be coming on nicely!




Monday, May 4, 2020

Andrew and Joanna on the radio!

I returned home last week after we completed our project on the ship, rather quickly due to the almost perfect weather conditions. Unfortunately my return coincided with the deteriorating weather and heavy rain! 

Now I am waiting to see when I might get sent away next, which is most likely to be towards the end of the month, providing that I avoid the current round of redundancies that is happening.

On a happier note, myself and Joanna unleashed our music upon the world on Friday (via Spotify, Apple music, Amazon etc) and got played on BBC Radio 6 Music last night! Being broadcast on national radio was a distant dream when we first discussed our eccentric musical project, but somehow it happened. 

You can catch up with the show - Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone, on BBC Sounds for the next month via this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hvxn
Our track (Vanishing Faces - Mushroom Song) starts at around the 18 minute mark. Happy Listening!
-Andrew



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hello,

I thought GG members needing prescriptions, but not wanting to queue up at the pharmacy, might be interested to know about Abimeds - a community medicines delivery service https://www.abingdon.gov.uk/abingdon-news/abingdon-thames-town-council/introducing-abimeds or see their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/AbiMeds/.  It uses the local cycling club to make the deliveries in and around Abingdon. Boots and Jhoots are using the service and I think Lloyd’s will do soon as well.

The photo was taken one morning a few days ago when we (ie myself and husband Andy) got up very early to go for a walk to listen to the dawn chorus.  From Peachcroft, we went through Abbey Fishponds, onto the Sustrans track and then strolled around the lakes at Radley.  The birdsong was wonderful – definitely worth getting out of bed for!

Hope everyone is well,

Barbara



Monday, April 27, 2020

Healthy Abingdon Children's Art Competition

We have been informed that the Healthy Abingdon group are running an art competition for children (closing date Friday 8 May).

It might be an extra thing for some of the younger relatives of our members to do at what is a difficult time.

The link with further information is here: 

More pond life

Hi to all! Here are some more pics of the tadpoles. It seems to be a good year for the pond which is swarming with them. We haven't named them all yet, that depends how long the lock-down continues!

We also have a couple of pigeons nesting in our fir tree. We've been watching them carrying up hefty branches to build their new des res and it seems like it's a big project, the female obviously won't move in until it has an en-suite!

Meanwhile the hedgehogs are still frequenting the patio at night for their free meal ticket. There were still three of them at the last count.
-Kevin