How wonderful that Christmas lights have brightened up Shire High Street and Station Road again. We feared a dull December, but thanks to the tremendous efforts of William Duguid and a team of helpers the lights are back on. The hive of activity in the village on Saturday 5th December was a sight to behold. Very well done and heartfelt thanks to all those involved.
We have been receiving a Christmas Card for a few years now that is not for our household. We have tried tracing it to other addresses nearby but with no luck. The card is addressed to Lorrain, David, Olive & family, and is from Brenda, Brian & family. It seems to be posted in the Bristol area and is for an address in central Shirehampton. We display the card with our others but I was wondering if any of your readers would recognise the names so that the card can reach its intended recipients.
I was so pleased to see a large group of people putting the Christmas lights up on Saturday 5th December. Thanks to Steve who put something on Facebook so word got round. Thank you too to all the local businesses and members of the community for doing this and ensuring the presence of Christmas trees in the village in future. I understand we will have collection boxes back in the local shops in the New Year, so if you feel like me you will donate from time to time.
(Thank you for your kind donation – Ed)
Its that time of year again when the Shire paper invites local groups to apply for a grant either to help with core costs or a project.
On Saturday 21 November Hetty and Arthur Cleaver, both pupils at Shirehampton Primary School, were honoured and privileged to be given the opportunity to be mascots for the Barbarians RFC when they took on World Cup semi-finalists Argentina at Twickenham.
Both Hetty and Arthur experienced what it was like to walk out onto the pitch, visit the dressing rooms and see up close the preparations for an international match. Hetty was a mascot with Ryan Crotty a New Zealand international and Arthur stood with Lood de Jager a South African international who recently played in the Rugby World Cup. They sang the National Anthem at the tops of their voices and also took part in a moment of silence in memory of rugby legend Jonah Lomu who recently passed away.
As is the tradition with the Barbarians side the players wear the socks of the club they play for and both Hetty and Arthur carried on this tradition wearing their Aretians RFC club socks. It was a long day in London for them both but an experience and memory that will last a lifetime! Well done to both of them!!
by Kathryn Courtney
On Friday 26th September the Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning was held at the Penpole Community Room in Shirehampton.
It was just one of several events being held over several days in Shirehampton and Avonmouth including the PBA Club, Cotswold Community Centre and Avonmouth Community Centre.
The coffee morning was organised by Tracy Zehtabi, Sandra White and myself to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and was just one of many thousands of events being held across the Country. We all knew someone living with cancer or had died as a result of bravely fighting cancer and one thing that was clear was the support people need so they can feel more in control of their life, from diagnosis, treatment and afterwards. This is the kind of support that Macmillan provides.
The morning included a wide selection of cakes including some Free From cakes too. I think we had a wider selection than local bakers that day! Coffee and tea abounded. You had the chance to have a go at arts and crafts that morning and some even took on the hula hoop challenge. We also made it easy for people to find us on the hill by saying follow the balloon trail and youll find the coffee and cakes! Local Community Support Police Officer Abby Elliott-Taylor was our quality control cake taster. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Alastair Watson and Sarah Watson attended an already busy coffee morning and enjoyed the coffee and cakes so much that they returned a couple weeks later as guests of the Penpole Lunch Club.
One of the organisers Tracy Zehtabi said: “Organising the coffee morning was a little daunting in the beginning but with Kathryns excellent PR skills it became a lot easier. I couldnt have been more pleased with the way the morning went. I have never seen so many people in the community room in one morning! The Arts and Crafts running at the same time was fantastic and gave people an insight into the kind of work we do each week. I never imagined we would raise such a large amount - £327.00!! I would like to thank everyone that came along to enjoy the wonderful cakes that were kindly donated.
I would also like to thank the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress for attending as Im sure they were a huge factor in getting people to come up the hill. Thanks are especially given to Kathryn for her excellent organisation and photographs of the event and to Sandra White for allowing us to hold the coffee morning.”
The National Smelting Co Boxing Club known locally as The Smelters for short have seen an increase in membership of late especially the Ladies which now boasts five female boxers on its competitive team. The boxers train out of the purpose built Smelters Boxing Gym based in Avonmouth. Head Coach Garry Cave is extremely pleased with how the Ladies Team is developing stating “Its taken a few years until we got a core of dedicated girls that stuck with the training but Im glad to say this group are a great bunch and very good for each other”.
The youngest member of the Ladies Team 13 year old Ellouise Challenger made club history on the last Smelters Boxing show by being the first of the clubs female boxers to compete on their home show and what a debut that was. Challenger knocked her much taller opponent Mia Gunning from Heath & Reach ABC to the canvas with a thunderous southpaw left hand forcing a count.
Cave reported “None of us were expecting that, we knew Ellie is a strong girl after years of gymnastic training but she looked like a seasoned professional boxer”. Challenger forced another count in the second round and then the bout was stopped by the referee after Challenger again caught her opponent rocking her onto her heels in the third, three counts and thats your lot its over and Challenger got the win.
Team mate Sam Morgan aged 24 also boxed on the show in her debut bout, Morgan started well with both fighters showing caution and working each other out, after some great exchanges Morgan was unlucky to fall fowl of the three count rule, Morgan was hit hard with a looping haymaker well after the Referee had shouted “break”, leaving the ref with no option to give a 3rd protection count and the bout was over.
The show was very successful helping Smelters to raise the funds required to keep this non profit community based club going and at the same time raise enough money to buy a second boxing ring 3m x 3m from Trojan Fit in Cheltenham, this is a for the practice of close range boxing skills.
With other team members Macy Sealey & Caprice Fisher both aged 14 & Emma Shackell aged 21 all training hard ready for their debut bouts they will join Nicole Flourentzou aged 16 who had her debut bout last year becoming the first ever female to represent The Smelters in its history. Flourentzou was selected by Boxings Governing Body the ABA to spearhead a boxing promotional video for the “This Girl Can” National Campaign, to help get girls into sport, the video has gone viral and is enhancing the image of female boxing.
Would you or your local group like the chance to receive up to £500 to help you set up a mental health activity or event?
The Community Access Support Service is part of a group of organisations in Bristol leading on a new Time to Change Champions Fund aimed at helping community groups to organise local events tackling mental health stigma.
We are looking for activities that encourage conversations about mental health. You could set up a pop-up shop, a bake sale, a music event or come up with an idea of your own! The event just has to act as a conversation-starter for mental health and take place in Bristol before the end of February 2016.
Visit the Time to Change website www.time-to-change.org.uk/become-a-champion to sign up as a Time to Change Champion. Then download the application form from the link below.
If you want to apply as an individual, contact Liz Andrews for further help and advice on L.Andrews@time-to-change.org.uk.
If you want to apply on behalf of a local group, contact the Community Access Support Service for advice on 0117 9119832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Impressive results from recent flailing work.
This month weve been receiving some really positive feedback from a number of people about the extraordinary difference the recent flailing has had on the appearance of the park.
The Council came along two weeks ago commencing the challenging task of tackling the brambles and undergrowth that have gradually encroached into the open parkland again. The majority of the flailing returned to areas that KWAG had cleared previously, but had been neglected thereafter. The effect, as you will see in these photos by Bob Pitchford, is remarkable, and the sense of openness restores something of the historic character of the old parkland.
Its been gratifying to see the tees around the old tennis court, the Circle, and the ancient avenue have all been removed, and our work over the last few years capitalised upon. Our thanks go, again, to the Council officers, especially Ben Skuse and his team of rangers for the work they put in. We are informed that these areas will continue to be included in the regular maintenance cycle on the estate.
WE NEED YOU! Please help us carry on making a difference
Weve now set our provisional working party dates for 2016. There are detailed on the below and continue our regular second-Saturday of the month routine (more or less). To publicise these events further we have also produced the attached poster which will be placed in the noticeboard and at the house.
Although we have a small group of regular volunteers we really need more new members who can take an active involvement in our conservation work. If you know anyone who might enjoy getting involved, increasing their fitness, broadening their circle of friends, and, at the same time make a real impact on the restoration of Bristols most important historic estate wed appreciate it if you could pass this message on. We welcome volunteers of all ages and abilities. Theres always a variety of tasks that need doing. Weve previously had volunteers from nine to ninety, so youre sure to fit in with our almost-national-award-winning crew!
After many years of loyal service our Akela is planning to retire in the New Year and we need a replacement – male or female. The training will be given over a long period of time so the successful applicant can fit it around his or her social life. Cubs meet on Thursday from 6 – 7.30pm, and if you are interested, or require any further information, please contact R Watkins on 0117 9827015. If your son/daughter is interested in joining Cubs or Scouts, there are vacancies in both sections.
A Forgotten Landscape is a Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership Project based in South Glos Council.
Over the next three years, we will be running nearly 50 community-based projects in the Lower Severn Vale Levels, the area of low lying floodplain alongside the River Severn. It stretches between the industrial estates of Avonmouth within Bristol and the open, mostly flat farmland around Oldbury and Shepperdine in South Gloucestershire.
The overall aims of the project are to improve habitats for wildlife, explore the areas history and celebrate its heritage.
This is just a small number of the many exciting things well be doing – any necessary training is provided – so wed love to hear from you!
Interested in exploring the past? Always wanted to know more about your familys history, old buildings, or your areas history? Our historian, Virginia Bainbridge, will show you how to discover the past hidden in archives, photo records, and other historical sources. Places are limited. Preference given to people interested in joining our Tales of the Vale project (see below).
by Kathryn Courtney
Clair Cusak has been running the local Chair Aerobics classes in Shirehampton for two years.
Its been full of fun, laughter, music and exercise from a chair for her more mature students with the odd bit of entertainment added in that was provided by Clairs dog Bella who most of the time slept in her bed during class.
On the 17th November Clair held her last class in Shirehampton but the members who attended week in week out were not going to let Clair go without a thank you presentation. Clair said “Ive met some fabulous people but the travelling was just becoming too much at rush hour. I was totally overwhelmed when they produced lovely cards, gift vouchers, balloons on my car and the biggest loveliest looking cake Ive ever seen. Its been such a pleasure teaching classes here. Bella and I will miss our Tuesdays so much”.
After a short break Chair Aerobics recommenced on the 8th December with Louisa taking the helm. She said after class was over. “This has been a wonderfully welcoming group with immense energy and motivation. We are all looking forward to the next session to get stuck in!” Chair Aerobics takes place every Tuesday from 11am – 12noon at The Tithe Barn, High Street, Shirehampton. Cost is £2.50.
The Bowling Club Annual Dinner and Presentation evening took place at the Shirehampton Park Golf Club on Friday 27th November. More than fifty bowlers, their family and friends enjoyed an excellent three course meal prior to the presentation of trophies, medals and prize money to the 2015 season competition winners. Runners up received medals or small trophies to mark their participation, and in some cases coming so close to being winners.
Most of the presentations were made by the Club President or Chairperson, but there are two special ones presented by a relative of the bowler in whose memory the trophy was donated. The Bill Deakin Novice Trophy, won this year by Dave Chilcott, was presented by Peggy Roache, one of Bills daughters. Bill was Club President in the early 1990s and passed away whilst still holding that office.
The Sid Holmes Handicap Trophy, won this season by Ken Davies, was presented by Lorraine Holmes, who gave the trophy to the club to be used for a handicap competition, following Sids death in 1992.
The second in the series of Winter Social Events, took place at the City and Port of Bristol Club on Sunday 6th December.
Dave Chilcott put together and was Quizmaster for a very good and sometimes challenging quiz night, with questions ranging from sporting history, local history to the meanings of words. By way of light relief Brian Crawley provided indoor putting for people to test their ability to putt a golf ball through a series of holes in a vertical board, each with a score above it. There was a bottle of wine for the highest scorer and this went to Jill Hinksman.
The winning quiz team was Electronic Sheep. More than thirty people attended what was a very enjoyable evening. The next event will be a Beetle Drive on Sunday 3rd January, in the City and Port of Bristol Club, starting at 7.30pm.
Also on 6th December, Bill Hatherall and Charlie Manby – Captain and Vice Captain of the Mens League team, attended the League AGM and were presented with the League Division Four Trophy and Certificate which marks a very successful season for the men of City and Port of Bristol.
A very Happy New Year to you all and may it be a peaceful and prosperous one.
Sunday 3rd January is the day we remember Epiphany when we celebrate the arrival of the three Wise Men to offer gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the baby Jesus. In addition to our Holy Communion Service at 10am we shall be holding a short service of Evening Prayer known as Compline at 8pm. It only lasts about 25 minutes and everyone is welcome.
The first social event for 2016 is at 7.30pm on Friday, 8th January, and is our annual Alternative New Years Eve Party which is to be held in the church. Tickets are available for the sum of £8. We hope to see many of you there to join in the fun and enjoy a sumptuous meal, so put this date in your new diaries you received at Christmas!!!
Sunday 17th January is the 86th Anniversary of the consecration of St Marys, following the disastrous fire which destroyed the old church in January 1928. This anniversary will be commemorated at our 10am service of Holy Communion.
On Wednesday 20th January, we shall be holding another of our Beetle Drives which will commence with Lunch at 1pm.
Tickets for this event can be obtained from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office for the sum of £5.
We shall be grateful to receive any books and DVDs which are surplus to your requirement for our sale of such items on Saturday 23rd January from 10am until 12 noon. Any items you have can be left at the church office prior to this date. All proceeds from this sale will go into church funds.
Sunday 31st January, is Candlemas, when we celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, so called because this was a new light coming into the world. As it is the last Sunday in the month this will be a Family Service with Baptism - so there will be much to interest everybody!
Now looking back to 2015 there are a number of things about which I can now update you all. The annual Memorial Service in November was extremely well attended and the church was filled to capacity, which goes to show how much this service is appreciated by our community. The same could also be said of our Advent Service of Light when the Tree of Light was illuminated and displayed all the Memorial Cards with the names of loved ones who are no longer with us.
The Area Choir Concert raised over £400 which is a welcome sum to add to our Gift Day Appeal which raised almost £5000 for the refurbishment of our kitchen and toilets; which one can safely say are in daily use, so a great big thank you to all of you for your generous donations and support.
Well, thats it for this month, but I must ask you - Do you know where Noah kept his Bees? Answer - in the Archives!
Bye for now. C.M.E
29th Grace Matilda Graves Sylvester
3rd Betty Clifford St Marys
6th Neil Wyatt Canford
Audrey Smart South Bristol
10th Doreen Smith Canford
Muriel Fillis Canford
18th Olive Emery Canford
The 191st Scout Group needs a volunteer to cut the grass during the summer months, petrol mower provided, and in return we can offer a medium sized allotment that is fully prepared. We would provide a picket fence and an entry gate with an accessible water butt. If you are interested, or require further information please contact R Watkins on 0117 9827015.
2015 has been quite a year for Twyford House Cricket club.
Under the captaincy of Tom Armfield, the First XI finished the season a credible fourth in the Bristol and North Somerset Division of the West of England Premier Cricket League (WEPL).
This result sees Twyford House securing its place in the WEPL structure next season, and will see the clubs First XI competing in a higher division than near neighbours Shirehampton CC for the first time in history. The Second and Third XIs will play in the Bristol & District Cricket League.
The youth set-up at Twyford House CC continues to thrive. The club has just been awarded the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Clubmark accreditation that demonstrates the commitment the club has made to the coaching and development t of young players where youth coaches are now Level 2 ECB qualified. Gloucestershire County Cricket Club has announced its youth squads for 2016 and Twyford House CC is immensely proud that 4 of its locally based juniors have been selected.
Im sure Im not alone in wondering where on earth 2015 went.
It seems five minutes ago we were celebrating the start of that year, and here we are in 2016, in fact time flies by so quickly you can barely remember what you did and when. Which is why I thought it would be interesting to browse back through the 2015 copies of Shire for a birds eye view of our community during the last 12 months. The beauty of having a community newspaper is that all sorts of information and memories are recorded for posterity. It wont have escaped your notice that Bristol became the European Green Capital in 2015 and a plethora of green related activities took place and were reported on in Shirehampton.
KWAG was particularly active continuing the amazing restoration work on the Kingsweston Estate and getting very close to winning an award (they wuz robbed!!). A couple of special anniversaries occurred in the village with our library reaching the grand old age of 110 and St Bernards School a mere 80 years old! How many people have passed through the school gates over those 8 decades and still remember their early education I wonder. The paper has brought us fascinating insights into our history, botany and nature notes, nostalgia and where are they now enquiries, as well as information on activities from our schools, churches, sports clubs, numerous organisations in the village and particular achievements by individuals.
This is all grist to the mill of a lively, thriving community and at one time all this news would have been conveyed over the garden fence or whilst out shopping, but often we are in too much of a hurry these days to linger and socialise, and how many of us even see our neighbours for days on end, let alone have time for a gossip. Thats the pressure of modern life, which makes the Shire an even more important organ of communication.
Well, Shire enters its 45th year (how amazing is that considering it is run by volunteers and financed by local advertisers). You may have noticed our new masthead, just to bring us up to date a little. The actual work of producing the paper will change behind the scenes because we are trying to become fully electronic in collecting, collating and typesetting the copy – this has been a gradual process and requires computer literate editors (always on the lookout for new ones so dont be afraid to volunteer). You, the readers, will see no difference in the format of the paper – at least in the foreseeable future – but it is necessary for us to respond to market changes which affect where and how the paper is printed.
So I will finish by thanking Shirehampton Methodist Church for allowing us to hold our meetings in their hall, and all our readers, contributors and advertisers for keeping the paper going, we the editorial team are very proud of it and may we continue for many more decades.
Fifteen interested people arrived at the Lamplighters Pub to set up a new Friends Group for Lamplighter Marsh Nature Reserve.
The group aims to do practical maintenance work on the Marsh on a regular basis helping to deliver the Councils Management Plan. Some members have already made links with the Forgotten Landscapes project which is exploring the history and ecology of the Severn Estuary. Others are interested in monitoring wildlife on the Marsh or taking part in botanical surveys. All agree that we should form links with local schools to use the Marsh for educational access to nature activities.
There is a wide range of interests and expertise in the group, and there is room for more. Already a public Facebook page has been created which anyone can access to see what events are planned, or what has recently been seen or done on the Marsh.
The Friends FIRST EVENT will be a LITTER PICK along the Yellow Brick Road on SATURDAY 9TH JANUARY from 11:00 AM. Meet at the Lamplighters Pub car park.
Please wear sturdy shoes and wrap up warm! All equipment will be provided
Well gather for coffee in the Lamplighters Pub afterwards. Anyone who is interested in joining the Friends Group, or who would just enjoy a morning improving the look of the Marsh, is welcome.
by Jill Williamson
On Sunday 13th December several members of the Shire committee met outside the Lamplighters to greet Radio Bristol presenters Sacha Bigwood and Martin Evans who arrived there as part of their Sunday morning Radio Show “Clueless with Richard Lewis”.
Two teams (one from Radio Bristol and one from Radio Somerset) crack puzzles as they travel across the West following clues from the listening audience to reach their final destination. After we waited on a cold miserable day Sacha and Martin finally turned up after being “ambushed” on Hung Road. They interviewed the “Shire” team and talked about the paper.
Sacha was familiar with the paper as several years ago she was a resident of Shirehampton, living on the Portway. After a photo shoot outside we all went into the Lamplighters for more photos.
The police have provided an update on their investigation of the cash machine gas attack on Lloyds Bank on 3rd April 2015.
The offenders used flammable gas to cause an explosion inside the ATM, allowing access and the theft of approximately £96,000. Serious structural damage was caused to the bank frontage causing the bank to shut for several months.
A number of suspects have been questioned about the offence and are currently on bail awaiting a CPS decision on prosecution.
The CPS now seeking Attorney-Generals consent to pursue a prosecution against five offenders for Conspiracy to Cause Explosions. This carries a heavy sentence upon conviction.
by Kathryn Courtney.
The local lunch clubs in Lawrence Weston, Avonmouth and Shirehampton held their Christmas meals during mid-December. Traditional turkey, potatoes, vegetables including the obligatory sprouts was served with a vegetarian option available. There was Christmas pudding or trifle as a sweet with mince pies and tea or coffee served after the meals had been concluded.
To many of the older generation this may be the only time they get out and about to socialise whilst eating a nutritious meal that is cooked by local volunteers. Funding has to be raised by each lunch club to continue running as the local Council no longer provide grants for what is considered by many as an essential service for the communities.
Each Lunch Club is sadly facing dilemma, a drop in the number of people attending due to deteriorating health and mobility with some now living in residential care homes or sadly, dying having led a fulfilling life.
Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth lunch clubs have seats to fill with older people aged 60 years and above who would love to get out and about and socialise with others whilst enjoying a tasty nutritious two course meal once a week. Each re-opens in January. Dont let these much needed services fade away and be lost forever.
by Caroline Penny Cole
The second weekend of January, on the Sunday we seek to organise a wassail and hedge-laying coppice event weather permitting.
This will take place on Sunday 17 January 2016, from noon onwards. As well as toasting the fruit trees we aim to coppice clear the ivy and lay as much of the elm hedge in Woodwell Road as we can, so please bring axes saws and dress in footwear with a thick sole. This is an open event to members of the community who are welcome to lend a hand.
Tynings field was once part of a much larger field that extended up into Shirehampton the boundary ended at where Park Road is now. It was made smaller during the enclosure act and Elm was used to grow this landmark hedge in Shirehampton, we now seek to maintain it as it is our responsibility. If you are interested in growing veg here in the spring perhaps this would be a good time for you to come and see what we do.
by William Duguid Chairman, Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association
I would like to say a big thank you to all those that have helped get the Christmas Lights up this year and for the generous donations that have been received.
I apologise for the miscommunication in the Shire earlier in the year, misleading everyone into thinking that the lights werent going to go up and that the Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association was finishing. This is far from the truth as there are plans being worked on to improve our display further in the coming years.
However, the point that was raised in the year communication was correct, that is, the need for volunteers. This is to assist with the setting up and dismantling of the displays, these are normally the 3rd weekend in November for setting up and the 2nd weekend in January for dismantling the displays.
Therefore, if you feel you could spare a small amount of time throughout the year attending quarterly meetings, help on the weekends when setting up and dismantling happens and would like to become a member of the Shirehampton Christmas Lights, your support would be greatly welcomed and appreciated.
The next meeting will be held at The George on Wednesday the 27th of January 2016 at 19:00. Finally, thank you to all those who have supported the lights over the years establishing the display for which Shirehampton village is very proud of.
|Jan 19h||River Avon - Bernard McCall|
|Feb 2nd||Knitting Patternes - Sarah Harris|
|Feb 16th||Work of Soi dogs in Thailand - Amberly Kenkins|
|Mar 8th||Mercy ships - Lynne Melly|
|Mar 15th||Monologue - Paul Evans|
|Apr 5th||Bring and Buy Auction for charity|
|Apr 19th||Will and Probate - AMD solicitor|
|May 3rd||Fans - Margaret|
|Jun 7th||Summer outing to be arranged|
|Jun 21st||Music Coronation - Jean Routley|
|Jul 5th||Bedminster - Mike Britton|
|Jul 19th||AGM and supper|
Social Enterprise Works and the SevernNet Working Partnership are pleased to announce we are to be partnering with Unltds Do It For Real Programme. We will be providing cash awards (£500) and support to those aged between 16 and 30 that have an idea to make a difference in the Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston area. We are looking for local residents with ideas for sustainable projects that will real create change in the community. You dont have to have loads of experience to get involved; all you need is a drive to make a difference in your community and the willingness to work with us to make it happen. Together we will take your idea and create a sustainable model that will create real change in your community. To find out more about Do it for Real and how to get involved visit our website.
Some of you may have a copy of this book on the history of Lawrence Weston, published in 2003 by “acta and written by Judy Helme. The copies sold out quite quickly and there have been enquiries about acquiring a copy on many occasions since.
Steve Clarke, Branch Manager of Ocean Homes in Shirehampton took a leap of faith and after a minor update to the text, paid for a short run reprint because he identified interest among people buying homes in Lawrence Weston. These sold out immediately so he has ordered a re-run and if there is anyone who wants to purchase a copy, please contact him at Ocean in High Street, Shirehampton, and he will give you details of price and availability.
by Clive Lovatt
The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area
It has been mild of late and as I write in early December I can see roses flowering in one neighbouring garden and French Marigolds in a tray next door. Ive had reports of Lesser Celandines flowering as if they thought it was already spring.
Taking a brief walk to the Post Office yesterday, I saw a few weeds hanging on in flower: Purple Toadflax, Herb Robert, Sowthistle, Groundsel and Ragwort. The first doesnt seem to have been around long enough to acquire a truly vernacular name or any plant lore, but for the rest, look them up in that classic, The Englishmans Flora to find old names of them from Gloucestershire or Somerset. You come up with (in sequence): Hop o my Thumb, Milkweed, Chickweed (which is what I knew it as when I grew up near Coventry and we fed it to the pet budgerigar) and Summer Farewell.
Just so. For my farewell to summer last month I took the train from Shirehampton to Lawrence Hill and paid a last visit to a remarkable roadside bank of weeds on largely imported soil. “Absolute disgrace” said one resident, adding “Council should do something about it”. To an extent I had to agree, as I pointed out the poisonous Thorn or Devils Apple. But for a botanist it was Christmas come early as several of us found species never before found in the Bristol area and for a while we thought one was a protected plant.
To keep botanists active in the field over the winter, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (see their website for further details) has over the last few years organised a New Year Plant Hunt where botanists are challenged to find as many wild plants in flower over three hours in the period 1-4 January. Last year, as I wrote in this column, I found over 60 in Shirehampton. Ill report back on how I do next month.
Happy New Year to all from the Trustees and Management of Shirehampton Public Hall!
To begin the New Year we thought we would introduce you our very friendly Trustees and Management here at the Hall!
Many of these faces will be familiar to you already, however from left to right we have: Rosemary Watkins, Lisa Curtis, Jean Edwards, Janet Thomas (Treasurer), Gil Osman (Chair), David Sivajoti, Marilyn Gorry (Events Chair), John Yorke, Gerry Bessell (Vice-Chair) and, centre, Amanda Parsons (Hall Manager). There are two faces missing – Teresa Cox and Pat Comer. The Hall is always looking for new Trustees, or even volunteers to help run events. At the moment we are in urgent need of an Assistant Treasurer, or indeed someone who feels they can confidently manage the finances at the Hall on a voluntary basis. If you feel this could be you please contact the Hall Manager on the telephone/email below.
In January we have a new yoga teacher taking over from Melissa Davis. Her name is Suzi Griffin and she would love you to join in on a Monday evening from 6.30-7.30pm! For further details see her website www.yogafriendly.co.uk. And how about trying something new? The Friday evening Pillowlace Club is looking for new members! If you enjoy craft, or just a new challenge for the New Year, come along to this friendly little group for fun, conversation and friendship, relieve the stress of the day and create something beautiful! Just turn up at 7.30pm on a Friday and youll be made to feel most welcome. On Saturday February 27th from 7.30pm we have a quiz evening at the Hall. Great fun and a wonderful evening out! So come on, get a team together, join in the fun and raise funds for the upkeep of this wonderful building! £5 per ticket, buys you drinks and a plate of food to share during the interval, plus raffle (bring a prize if you can!). Tickets available from the Public Hall, on the door or speak to one of our Trustees!
The community theatre group acta is looking for memories and stories from or about merchant seamen, dockworkers and their families as part of their exploration and celebration of Bristols maritime industries.
They plan to create a community play for Autumn 2016 and one of the performance venues will hopefully be Avonmouth Community Centre, where several of their previous plays have been performed – you may have seen Gas Girls or Selfies.
by Bobbie Perkins
First of all let me say how sorry I was that last month's picture couldnt be seen in colour. Due to the lack of space, (it was a very full edition!), the effect of the lovely red holly berries was not apparent. (printed newspaper only)
Hopefully this months offering will make it, and remind us all that we did indeed have a brief and picturesque visit from Jack Frost! The mild conditions are helping our birds to find food at the moment. I watch the blackbirds in the PBA field every morning as they forage under the hedgerow at the side of the field, and Ive promised them Ill bring extra rations when the weather eventually takes a turn towards winter proper!! My group of goldfinches is relentlessly emptying their feeder at a rate of knots, while the sparrows continue their frantic to-ing and fro-ing from the safety of the hedge. You may recall my mention of the yellow wagtail. Well! What a reaction that produced! It turns out that the (for me) elusive yellow wagtail is alive and well in some of my neighbours gardens, not a stones throw from my (obviously unworthy) abode.
Watch this space dear reader; Im definitely on the prowl to spy . . . Jeff and I enjoyed a very interesting and useful morning last weekend helping with the fruit tree pruning in the Daisy Field. We have 3 apple trees on our allotment, so thought it would be wise to not only get involved with community projects, but learn how to tend our own trees properly.
Great fun. Time to fill some feeders now, and check that the water feature is clean. Best wishes to everyone for a happy and peaceful Christmas, and as always, happy nature watching.
Avon Fire & Rescue Service is reminding you to take steps to prepare your home for winter.
With rising energy costs and climate change using portable heaters, log fires and electric blankets may seem like good option, but it could end up costing you dear if a fire breaks out. Fires can start for a variety of reasons, including cooking left unattended, a spark from a fire or an electrical fault. They can be devastating, destroying homes and endangering lives.
As the colder weather sets in we have some tips for you to follow to make sure you and your family are safe this winter.
Chimneys with fires using smokeless fuel, bituminous coal, oil and gas should be swept at least once a year, those using wood should be swept every three months when in use.
When choosing your electric blanket, you should buy it from a reliable source. Check that it has a UK safety standard mark. Examine your blanket regularly for signs of wear or damage. Never use a hot water bottle at the same time as using our electric blanket as water and electricity do not mix.
Plug-in heaters use a lot of electricity and generate a lot of heat. This means they can be dangerous if they are not bought from reputable shops and used correctly. Position them clear of curtains and furnishings, have fireguards to prevent and protect children and/or pets coming in contact with them and never dry washing on or near them (or on fireguards).
Working smoke alarms provide an early warning that a fire has broken out and can give you vital extra minutes to escape, especially at night. Make sure you have a working smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home and make it your new years resolution to check the batteries are working at least once a week. Just two or three breaths of toxic smoke is enough to make you lose consciousness, so a working smoke alarm really could save your life.