Monday, January 25, 2016

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 23rd January 2016

Today's Green Gym turnout was good with 11 members. The weather was mild as we commenced our trek winding across the Golf Course trying not to disturb the local habitat (the club members) from carrying out their normal routine .

On arrival at the Fen we were given clear instruction by Judy and Alison to finish what we started last time we were here (there were only 4/5 of us then), Which was to rake the cut reeds and clear them off the Fen.

We soon organised ourselves into teams of rakers and drag bag draggers, swapping jobs every now and then. The ground as you expect had become wet and sodden which made the cut reeds heavier to pitch fork and lift.
The coffee break was most needed and being able to stand around and not shelter from the wind or rain was a pleasant change.

James who was leading, made a short speech to thank Victor for his enthusiasm and hard work over the year he had been with us and to extend our best wishes on his return to his native Spain next week. Maybe he will set up a Spanish GG branch?

We competed our task in good time and good order, knowing that we achieved what we set out to do.
Returning across the course, we made sure we did not move or pick up any balls in the rough that might have been lost!

Next week We are at Boars Hill, where we will be clearing scrub. It promises to be nice change, being on the hill overlooking Oxford and its Spires and the ground ought to be drier under foot.

Arriving in convoy from the Club Car to the Groundsman's site

Instructions from Judy our Fungi Expert in residence and Alison From Natural England

Getting to work raking the reeds

A well-earned coffee break

Continued raking with further input from Judy on Fungi discovered on site

Barry and Victor drag bagging the reeds off the fen

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ock Valley Walk, Tesco End, 16th January 2016

This was our first outdoor session of the year, following-on from last Saturday's AGM.  However, while last week had been warm and rather spring-like, the temperature had plummeted in the meantime and the day was off to a frosty start.

Indeed, at one point during the week, plans had been afoot to cancel or find an alternative work site due to heavy rainfall flooding part of the Ock Path and the immediate vicinity.  Fortunately the area had dried out sufficiently and this was not necessary.

We assembled in the nearby car park as usual ready to get on with the morning's tasks.  Session leader Eleanor instructed us accordingly, with a litter-pick being the priority.  In addition, the removal of some dangerous willow branches close to the path was also on the agenda.

Splitting into smaller sub-groups, we got underway, keen to keep moving and stay warm in the cold conditions.  There was as expected, much litter to clear and divide into recyclables and non-recyclables.  There were also some unexpected items recovered, including a set of bicycle wheels, a car bumper and the obligatory supermarket trolley!

A brief pause for refreshments notwithstanding, we worked solidly throughout the morning, filling up many refuse sacks and improving the environment considerably. It was good to be back after the winter break and continuing our good work! 

Assembling in the car park
A large patch of ice adjacent to the Ock Valley Walk
Blue skies!
An elder bush sprouting leaves following the recent warm weather

A section of fence next to the path is still missing following the collapse of a large willow branch last year
Refreshing ourselves
An earthworm came to visit!

Barry, Robert and Colin clear fallen willow branches
Our litter picking haul including a supermarket trolley, bike wheels and car bumper!

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Programme - Winter 2016

Our new programme for Winter 2016 has just been published - see below or click HERE for larger text PDF version.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

AGM, 9th January 2016

Once again our AGM was the first gathering of the new year.  It was held at James and Ursula's house in common with the past few years, and we had a good turnout of 17 people.  This represented the majority of our regular membership.

Many items were discussed over a period of two hours or so, including a review of the previous year's activities, a summary of accounts and plans for the foreseeable future.

James stood down as chairman as he had previously indicated he would, and Kevin was appointed in his place.  Likewise, Ursula resigned her role as secretary, and Carolyn took on this job.

Following the meeting, we enjoyed a buffet lunch, with everyone contributing to what was a very impressive spread!  Among the highlights were of course Eleanor's meringues, along with Robert's homemade bread, Petra's cheesecake and Victor's Spanish tortilla.  Victor will be leaving us soon - to return to Spain and will be much missed, not just for his cooking skills!

The new programme will be issued shortly, and in fact it was a shame not to have had an outdoor session on this day, as the weather was unseasonably mild.  Spring flowers including daffodils were already in full bloom in the town centre!

The agenda
James chairs his final AGM
The buffet being prepared
An impressive spread!
Daffodils blooming nearby!