Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Meeting - Minutes

Notes of T3 meeting, No.75 restaurant, 24/01/2012

Present:  Jeff, Carolyn, Chris, Christopher, Justin, Alan Bates, Lindy Bates

A quick round up of events since our last meeting in November.

Lights Out Tenterden was an interesting experiment. Although we didn't have that many active participants the results of the questionnaire showed we have a lot to do in terms of raising awareness, so this was a good start and might be worth repeating. Carolyn thought it might be worth monitoring the shops etc in the summer months, to see who,if any, put the lights on during the evenings when it is still light.

Treasures of Tenterden was a definite success. Alan & Lindy were prize winners, and found it very enjoyable. This will be worth repeating, so we need to think of a new route and questions.

T3 entered a team in St Michaels Village Hall Quiz night, and we were very pleased to win!

Bug Hotels - we have had a lot of interest in this project, and are waiting for various groups to come back to us with definite dates to go out and see them. We have a presentation written, and have sent the groups a list of suitable materials for them to gather to use.

Highbury Hall - we have received a water butt and a compost bin, and have been given permission by the committee to install these. We just need to obtain the correct size pipe etc to connect the water butt. We also put in some planters containing bulbs which were also donated to us. These, and the daffodils we planted, are beginning to flower.

Waitrose - we were one of Waitrose's 3 charities in December, and raised £190. We should receive this in February. We will bank this towards the bike generator project.

Spring Fair. 24th March, Highbury Hall. We are still looking for Stall Holders for this event, so if anyone knows any crafters or other appropriate trader who might be interested, let us know. We will be doing cakes, cream teas, etc as before. Jams, chutneys etc (donations welcome). If anyone has suitable Tombola prizes please let us have them, also books for the book swap. We will also have a plant/seed swap,so anyone who has seeds or plants they don't want can swap them for ones they do. Jeff also wants to get some local musicians to maybe play a few acoustic songs and sell their CDs.

May Fair. We have the opportunity of a stall at this event. Ideally we would like to get the Bike Powered Smoothie Maker idea off the ground for this. We need to discuss with Phil the practical side of building this. We need to revamp the display boards, we could have some 'make a bug hotel' demos too.

Blue Box Scheme – as previously discussed, not everyone has a Blue Box. We need to write to ABC to get a full list and find out which areas aren't covered and why.

Green Map - we would like to create a 'Green Map'/Directory of all 'eco'/ 'green' facilities in Tenterden. This would be a very big project.

Crop Swap - we need to check with Lizzie and Ty to see how well this scheme worked last year. Did they get much interest? Are they going to do it again?

Diamond Jubilee- as part of the town's Jubilee celebrations we will run a 'Retro Cafe' at Highbury Hall, with frothy coffee and tunes from the past decades. This will be another event for raising awareness and another opportunity to show our projects.

Leading on from this, our September fair should be a Food Fair, with food producers etc showing their products. This will enable us to launch the 'Tenterden Hamper' idea.

Clean Up Day. We discussed the idea of running another Clean Up Day, this time on a Sunday. We settled on 15th April for this. Jeff will liaise with Jo Vos and ABC, and organise borrowing equipment etc.

Swap Shop - as part of Spring Fair we will have the Book Swap and the Plant Swap. We would like to expand this idea to include other items, several Transition groups do this. Bungay has an event called 'Give & Take' which is a name we could use.

Plastic Bags - we all agreed that getting all the shops in Tenterden to stop using plastic bags would be good, but a big task. In Deal they have a petition to this end, with volunteers outside the shops getting signatures. Alan told us that he recently visited Rwanda where they banned plastic bags 4 years ago and introduced 'mandatory' clean up sessions. He said the country is very clean and tidy because of this.

Leading on from this Justin suggested that we could get cloth/linen/jute type bags, which we could distribute at events, which would entitle the shopper to some discount at participating stores. This could be done in conjunction with Folk Festival/Tentertainment, and the Chamber of Commerce. This is similar to the 'Loch ' bags that Steve gave us in October.

Star Count – Jeff reminded us to go to to the CPRE website and take part in the star count project, which is to monitor light pollution.

Next meeting, date and venue to be confirmed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


You may remember last year I talked about the three orchards behind our house and how only one of them was being looked after - an orchard of Conference pears. The other two were a smaller orchard of unkempt trees bearing a variety of different pears and an apple orchard, similarly unkempt, also with a mix of different apple varieties. We wondered aloud why these two orchards were not being looked after, and who owned them. Well, we now have some rumours and speculation, and some destruction.

Click pic to enlarge.

In the above map, the white star represents the approximate location of my house, the blue star marks the uncared-for pear orchard, the yellow star the cared-for pear orchard, the red star is the unkempt apple orchard and the brown star at the bottom of the map is a nuttery - mostly hazelnut trees, similarly overgrown and left to go wild.

Laura and I took one of the dogs for a walk down here the other day after hearing machinery at work over the past couple of weeks. I thought it prudent to take some pics.

Here's Laura and Tigger standing where the nuttery used to be.  It was an overgrown mass of hazelnut trees and brambles, and was a nice protective cover for lots of creatures especially rabbits. 

Now one can see easily the entrances to the rabbit warrens. Tigger was very excited by them and stuck his snout in a couple - but there was no sign of any recent rabbit activity.

Then we walked on to where the pear orchard (blue star on the map) had been. Here is what it now looks like:

At the top end of the field where there is a shallow ditch and some bushes lay the remains of the torn-out pear trees:

I have not been able to find out much about what is planned for these now-open spaces. I had heard rumours from local people that the land owner had applied for planning permission to build on the land (build what, I am not sure, but I would guess houses would be the obvious choice - the nearby access roads from both directions, Appledore Road and Smallhythe Road, would make the site a good place to put little country retreats for the commuter types), but I do know some folks on the Town Council and (I should stress this very strongly) while they were NOT at liberty to tell me what planning applications they HAD seen or heard about, they absolutely HADN'T seen or heard of anything concerning this area of land. (Stressed very strongly there, folks, don't want anyone getting in any bother!) So we were back to the rumours, which then became one about the developer not getting planning permission and deciding to plant wheat instead.

So, whatever the truth is, wheat or buildings, we have no idea at present, but it shall all become clear eventually. The one thing I DO know is that while all this uprooting of trees has been going on, the most newsworthy item in town has apparently been the ongoing saga of Tenterden Town Council and its decision to have its own website rather than use the Chamber of Commerce website, at least if the Kentish Express Tenterden Edition is to be believed. I do believe if the Tenterden reporter actually came to Tenterden once in a while rather than just scanning the forum on the aforementioned Chamber of Commerce website and cutting-and-pasting, he might be able to report on some real issues. Just sayin'.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Moving Boxes, Reused

You may remember back in the summer when we were gearing up for our CleanUp Tenterden Day, we were talking with Chris Weir of Parkgate recycling and discussing using his facility for plastic recycling etc.

We just went down to visit Chris a few days ago and drop off some sacks of household plastic. He told us of his latest venture - he is supplying moving boxes. These are boxes that come in to him for recycling, and he personally checks each and every one for defects. Those that are sound will get reused as moving boxes and those that are damaged will just get baled as per normal for recycling. His boxes are of all sizes and either single- or double-walled, and are significantly cheaper from him (50p for double-walled and 28p for single) than buying them from a traditional box supplier. Also he will supply large quantities to moving companies at discounted bulk rates.

Please, if you or someone you know is moving in the near future, or if you know of a removals firm that could benefit from quality packing boxes at a good price, let them know. You can call Chris directly on 07411110856.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bug Hotel Project

We are currently trying our darnedest to get this project off the ground. It all started when we installed a few homemade bug hotels at Highbury hall during our Weeding and Wood-chipping event back in November, and when we were scoping out the route for T3 Treasures, our Boxing day Walk/Quiz last month, we spotted some potential sites in churchyards, so we contacted the vicar, Rev. Canon Lindsay Hammond.

He put us in touch with both Shirley Docker who runs the Sunday School and a Brownie pack, and also Ashford Borough Council who are responsible for maintaining the churchyards (mowing etc.). Shirley was very interested in getting involved, and A.B.C. sent us maps of the sites so we can mark on them where our installations will be and they can keep the groundsmen informed so the bug hotels don't get destroyed, mowed over or otherwise trashed.

I then sent out a letter and called some people to expand the area covered and generate some more interest. Those who wish to get involved so far are:

  • St. Mildred's Church (Sunday Club)
  • St. Michael's Brownies
  • St. Michael's Church
  • St. Michael's C. of E. Primary School
  • Tenterden Junior School
  • Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre
  • Church of St. Mary, Ebony
Now all that remains is for us to organise dates for setting these up with the various people involved. As I said, it is intended to be an ongoing project so we'll keep you updated with our progress. And if you would like to participate or you think you know people or an organisation that might be interested in joining in, please do not hesitate to contact us either via the blog, Facebook page or email, or call me on 07506899337.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New Plans

So what lies ahead? 2011 was a great start, but we need to not only step up our game in '12, we need to implement some of the ideas we talked about in '11. Here's a little list of some of the delights that await...

  • Bike Generator.  We talked about getting a hold of one last year, this is the year we make it a reality. We plan to use it to not only power PA systems and other items for outdoor events (concerts, film screenings) but also we plan to hook it up to a smoothie maker for all those summer events such as Tentertainment.
  • Zero Carbon Jam.  So far five bands/artists have expressed an interest, it just remains to fix the venue and date, and get a hold of that bike generator. 
  •  Music in general   As well as the Zero Carbon Jam, I'd like to incorporate music into other events that we are planning, such as the Spring Fair  aka  T3tea2  in March. Any performers out there like to come to our Spring Fair? Give us a call.
  • To tie in with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June we've been tasked with recreating a '50s style youth club/coffee bar at Highbury Hall which has somehow acquired the nickname 'Retro Time Tunnel O' Tunes'. We'll be playing era-appropriate music and serving up frothy coffee while all the cats and chicks do the bop and the hand jive. Or something like that.
  • We'll be of course expanding the Community garden, hopefully installing the recently-acquired composter and water butt and expanding the bug hotel installations all over town. So far the Churchyards of St. Mildred's and St. Michaels are set to receive the bug treatment and Brownie groups and schools are also keen to join in the fun!
Keep on checking back for more updates...