About 30-40 transitioners, friends and families got together for an afternoon
picnic at Ashley
Cross, Poole. The sun was shining!
About 30-40 transitioners, friends and families got together for an afternoon
picnic at Ashley
Cross, Poole. The sun was shining!
Given that one of the three guiding principles of Permaculture, which underpins what we do in Transition, is “Fair Shares” I hope that you will allow me to post a short piece here about my experiences “Living Below the Line”.
This week I have b
seeing what it is like to live on just £1 a day for food and drink, primarily as a practical reminder for me that a fifth of the people in the world live on very very little.
I’ve just finished, so fortified with a lovely cooked breakfast and cup of tea – my first since last Sunday, I thought I’d write about my experience.
My shopping list for the five days:
- Porridge oats (500g) 55p
- Rice (1kg) 40p
- Sugar (250g) 65p
- Milk 1pt 49p
- 5 carrots, 5 small onions 80p
- 5 potatoes 32p
- Small tub marge 90p
- Small loaf bread 60p
- Salt 29p
- Total £5
- Drinks – water.
So what did I miss most? Variety – it’s very boring eating the same meals every day, without the different textures and flavours. Fruit and veg – I’m guessing my vitamin intake was low. In the long term I would certainly be lacking vitamin C. Energy
– by the end of the week I was feeling lethargic and l
azy. I couldn’t be bothered. Caffeine – well yes, I know I have a serious caffeine addiction and the headaches go to prove that. Perhaps a week without tea and coffee is a “good thing” now and again. Rewards – not being able to say to myself “I’ll just finish this task then I’ll have a coffee and cake”. Comfort food – it’s tough when you’ve had a bad day and you can’t say “Ooh let’s have a treat – a cream trifle” (or whatever). Alcohol – what, no brandy, no glass of wine?! Roll on Saturday night!
The other thing I noticed is the time it takes to shop around for bargains. I wasn't free to just nip round the supermarket, chucking anything I fancied into the trolley.
And did I cheat? Only unintentionally one day when I – almost absentmindedly – spread a bit of Marmite on my lunchtime slice of bread, thinking – well it can't be *that* expensive. I only realised my mistake when I checked the price of a jar of Marmite in the shop the next day! Argghh!
In all this reminds me of how incredibly lucky I am to have been born into a lifestyle of such relative wealth. For 1.4 billion men, women and children living below the line is a life-long reality, day in,
day out. They don’t have the luxury of going back to what we consider as a normal healthy diet on Saturday. Not very fair shares is it?
As I say, for me this was primarily an exercise in awareness. I will be donating the money I would’ve spent on food this week to the wonderful charity Results UK. If you would like to add a donation you can do so at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/harrietsj
The AGM was held on 12th MArch. Notes are available here:
Present: Harriet, Gary, Andy, Cherry, Michael, Kim, Gwyn, Theresa, Julie
Guest: Sam, Green Unity Fairs
Minutes from previous AGM are available on the archive on the TBH website.
Christchurch is continuing to hold monthly meetings, attendance is improving again after going through a lull. Has own website. Change in the planning group, the group is now being steered by Elliot and Anne, with around 7-8 people attending the last planning meeting. Not sure who is representing the group now on the CCP High Quality Environment Group.
Bournemouth has a core group and new Chair. The group hopes now to move towards more awareness raising, film showings and programme running. However, they have got the Schools Programme running, involving 4 local schools in environmental workshops – Gwyn mentioned the Bourne Academy would like to be involved also. Community garden at Ensbury Park is being established. Participating in Bournemouth 2026. Links also forged with fair trade campaign. Bournemouth Council wish to work more closely with the group. Successful funding bids have facilitated a lot of activity. Meetings are going to be 3rd Wed of the month at Bourne Spring Centre. Green Drinks continue to be successful, providing an opportunity for informal socialising, and Kim is working on getting Green Teas up and running too for those wanting a daytime meet-up.
Poole has been successfully involved with Turners Field community project. Poole Tidal Energy Partnership got LEAF funding. Bring and Take day is being considered. Regular monthly meet-ups are generally well attended. Good contacts with the Council. Gwyn is helping the council to organise a State of the Environment Day on 12 April to form a local food and packaging policy. Lush are very keen to be involved with Transition after successful collaboration building their straw bale cold store unit. Nothing yet heard on funding bid re apple press.
<strong>Green Community Fairs & Transition</strong>
Sam from Green Community Fairs spoke about how the two complement each other in raising awareness locally. Sam needs more help from volunteers to deliver aspects of events, from planning to on the day. She also needs help with contacts that anyone has with local Councils so that she can explore more possibilities for local events. She is careful how she uses the Transition BH name. Next events are 13/14 April at Moors Valley Park, with a planning meeting being held on 2 April 1200 at Bourne Spring Centre. On 3 & 4 June at Poole Park. There is the option in future for Sam to run events in different areas in co-operation with the local transition group in that area, it is a flexible tool. The consensus was that currently both sides are very happy with the working arrangement, although the steering group need to channel volunteers Sam’s way. Gwyn and Sam will draw up a one page Working Agreement, just to define our working parameters.
Currently £746.91 in the bank, split between the different groups, including Wimborne.
<strong>Core Steering Group</strong>
Maximum of 12 people can be on the steering group. Everyone was happy to remain on the steering group, it was agreed that the opportunity to
sit on the group be made frequently, and members would be happy to stand down to give others the opportunity as and when demand arose.
The Google Group can be subject to abuse, after some discussion it was agreed that monitoring any situations as they arise, and from time to time issuing guidance on “netiquette” would be desirable. Retaining the Google Group facility still believed worthwhile. Bournemouth will look at their home webpage so that people can more easily get in touch.
Gwyn is aiming to issue the newsletter monthly, at start of the month, please contact him with items for inclusion at least the week before. The different groups need to contact him to add new contacts to his database.
It is worth remembering that the Hub is now a member of CVS, opening up avenues for volunteers and training and possibly help with accessing funding.
<strong>Future Initiatives & Dates for Diaries</strong>
It would be really desirable to have a few more events, like the music event, which could perhaps make use of the Green Hotel. A swishing evening/fashion event or craft event was discussed. Sam suggested a Green Community Xmas Fair would be do-able. Another Transition picnic was agreed for the summer, at Parkstone
green possibly involving a game of boules. Gwyn will check out dates.
Sunday 22 Jan 2012
Report from Andy H
Around 40 of us gathered at the Green House Hotel, thanks
to Gwyn for organising the evening, the team at the Green House for hosting us (for free), and most of all, Alex Roberts for entertaining us (also giving his time for free), and then leading us in participative music. You can find Alex music at www.alexrobertsmusic.com
Gwyn introduced the session that rather than ‘taking’, we should all be giving of our time, and Alex exemplified this. Alex confessed to be a bit nervous – getting a whole bunch of adults to do participative music, which he normally does for free.
He threw into the introductions to songs time he spent in India, studying music, nearly a year spent in a tipi on a farmers campsite on the Purbecks, working the land and composing music, but he seems to have drawn inspiration from
a wide variety of musical traditions and cultures from across the world.
After a brief set, including a poem set to music and played on his wedding present (a bouzouki brought back from Athens), and a tune on a steel hawiian guitar made in Christchurch, we were all led in deep breathing, making shared vocalisations that north american Indian tribes might use to make sound together. And then drumming.
An entertaining and sociable evening for folk involved in Transition from across the BH area.
[In February 2010 Malcolm and Soo reported on their efforts to make their Southbourne home as energy efficient as possible with air-source heat pump, insulation, solar thermal, solar PV. Here's an update.]
Letter below didn’t make it t
o the Echo but in the Advertiser 3.11.11 which one kind friend alerted me to and another has just given me her copy. It’s under the heading “Solar array is producing good amounts of power,” with a pic of some panels (not ours).
Drizzly days are very poor (only 0.5 , 0.9,). Winter months score quite a bit worse.
Total: 3,464 KW for year Oct 10- Oct 11. We used 9,923KW (terrible- recommend hibernation) as I keep it at 20 degrees- Malc feels the cold, even upstairs. Big place to house Malc’s fab archive.
Feed-in-tariff took a year to deliver first cheque of over £1,000. Now getting quarterly (nearly £200- not as good as hoped). Not the best rate as we went for more panel coverage (4.7 KW) than recommended (over 4 whatever it was) so only I think 37p a KW, instead of 43p KW (?). It’s also 3.1p for our 50% “deemed export.” Yingli 235.
Cost £17,474 after the fiasco of calling the installer back for 2nd inverter, plus £850 for removal of 2 east side ( where there are now 12 panels) chimneypots. On the west we have a dormer window so only 8 panels. Malc thinks it’ll be a very long payback but who know what electricity’ll cost in a couple of years. Only gas now in the house is bottled (like some family members) for over Christmas.
Solar thermal (£5,000-ish) on south -facing balcony, handily feeds straight into water-tank. Works with air-source heat pump (£7,700 ) for good heating results tho downstairs is cooler: big kitchen extension. Malc mostly upstairs thanks to wonder-reconditioned-Stannah. A weep from the water tank (or was it me?) went on for a while despite 3-4 callouts last year, fixed eventually. Also the air-source heat pump mysteriously started giant-crashing-around-upstairs noises, which confusingly started at the same time as a nothing-to-do-with-it squeak from the loo system. Just as mysteriously noises have now stopped.
Malc wasn’t happy at night with the vibes from the heat pump so they took it off the wall, put it on legs. A nice bonus is the water I collect from underneath to flush the loo.
Cavity wall insulation (£1,000 worth; free to us lucky pensioners) went in a year ago, was a top-up. Also had new carpets & front door to eliminate draughts.
When I have time in another decade I’ll try & compare bills.
Ambition in life to have compost loo (as in Dick Strawbridge’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green” prog ) meantime using butt water/shower water and donations of wee to compost. Friend of Earth Conference had, “When it’s yellow let it mellow, When it’s brown flush it down” notices on loo doors but that tends to stain the bowl (cured with lemon juice but bit of a palaver). Best was Climate Camp- choice of buy cialis online without a prescription loo with hay bales etc tho’ you have to know what you’re going to do beforehand which ain’t always poss, says the old girl. Bathwater’s reused too. I’m told soldiers use v little water for personal dailies so trying to copy good example. Jug & bowl anyone?
Inspired by Mark’s forest garden but ours has turned into an allotment. Fruit trees apple, pear, plum. Soft fruit throughout summer ; strawbs, raspberries, loganberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, blackberries and M’s fave- golden raspberries-still, incredibly, picking after much second fruiting. Teeny weeny pippy grapes, quite sweet. Greens still growing (& I remember even picking small amounts through snowy times), runner beans until my wigwam fell over in high winds. A few tomatoes, lots of lettuce. Passion fruit struggling a bit- not had fruit this year (changed location).
Just dug out last of taties a week ago. Courgette flowers nobbled by something this year (fox prime suspect) but good results last year. Malc used to do slug patrol at bedtime with a torch and big foot. I’ve tried the (fiddly, expensive, kind) beer-pots but now tend to squash when I see ‘em. Sorry but you’re in our garden. Hugh F-W tried a slug recipe but it wasn’t v nice. Snails are allegedly better- you have to feed them for a week on lettuces or something. Have not tried yet.
Malc did quite a long report for Transition website a couple of years ago.
Green Party Open Meeting tomorrow- Moordown Community Centre 10-12 morning.
Keystone XL pipeline (tar sands) deferral- Obama has mercifully listened to the 12,000 activists who surrounded the White House but grim news from IEA re global fossil overload “World given 2017 climate deadline” Guardian p 3 yesterday.
Happy 11.11.11 (11.11. & 11 secs)
The urgent need to find low-carbon, clean, energy sources meant we’ve installed renewables in our house which are generally working well. Mike Roberts-Butler (Echo letters 19.10.11) finds solar panels “a horrendous eyesore” and questions their viability. There are alas many uglier (eg oil wells) and more dangerous (eg coal mines) sources of energy.
Our solar array has had teething problems but is now producing good amounts of electricity; 3,867.6 kilowatts over the last 15 months. The first three months were very poor as a second inverter had to be installed on our east/west roofs. I am monitoring daily. The best day was 8th June (23.9KW), the best week 17-24th April (130.9 KW) with other very close contenders over the summer. The worst days were 2nd & 3rd December when snow was on the roofs- nothing at all! Four friends have written to me of their good PV results; one in Australia (hardly surprising!)
I’ve been astonished by the daily variability of results and it has made me much more energy aware. The washing machine and other items are used in the day with apparently fractional electricity use. The heating in our largish house is what really adds up, despite much insulation. Mike Roberts-Butler expresses his dismay at the planning system. I am astonished that our planners allow such poor building regulations and that there is complacent acceptance of our heat- leaky homes. Passivhauses, being super insulated, do not need external sources of energy.
Summary of the introduction to the Freiburg TT from Monica Luers
Marianne had a visit from her cousin, who is a member of TT Freiburg. She was keen to meet up with Transitioners in the Bournemouth/Poole area, so a group of us met
at the Surf Cafe near Boscombe Pier on a sunny evening.
Sadly the beers were not local – Gwyn did ask. Not sure that the barbacue was serving local sausages either, though the mackerel were quoted as from Boscombe bay – the charts say it’s all Poole bay !
Monica introduced the structure of the Freiburg TT group. TT Freiburg is fairly new, and exploring lots of possibilities. http://www.transition-initiativen.de/group/ttfreiburg suggests they started in Jan 2011.
Freiburg TT has a number of small groups:
TT Freiburg have a local currency linked to the Euro, but some people prefer sharing to using that currency.
There are several sub groups responsible for separate actions, that send one or two representatives to the monthly TT meetings. All the groups get together every three
The Garden Co-op has 200 members (who are also part of TT)
Each person paid €400 for the start-up for the gardening project to buy the tools etc. The vegetable crop is shared out between the 200 people
Members pay €30-€60 per month for the employment of a professional gardener and two helpers
They have leased 7 hectares (17.3 acres) of land, of which 2 hectares (4.9 acres) have been planted, the remaining 5 hectares soil is being improved with green compost. The lease is for 10 years with the option to buy it after 10 years. In some of the part where the veg didn’t do well they have planted wild flowers. They also have 2 polytunnels for Tomatos etc.
The site is 22 Km from the town. They have a little building in the middle of Freiburg where the veg is stored, collected and from where it is delivered by bike. Monica shared some pictures of the bikes with enormous trailers – 16 crates laden with produce.
The co-op idea originated from the Jardin des Cocagnes (Garden of Eden), near Geneva, Switzerland. www.cocagne.ch which has been going for 30 years. (I also stumbled across another site with some delightful pictures of Swiss allotments at http://housetohaus.blogspot.com/2011/02/did-you-eat-your-veggies-today.html)
For Freiburg’s co-op see: www.gartencoop.org I contrasted that we pay £7 per year for membership of http://tatnampatch.org.uk, but we don’t get enough produce from Tatnam to feed ourselves !
Apparently a nearby town to Freiburg is trying to use a parallel currency. Andy highlighted that Totnes, Lewis and Stroud have done so in England.
I asked about the guerilla gardening. Monica said that this is mostly with consent, and often on communal land around housing developments. We have held discussions in Poole with the social housing trust, who are keen to encourage food growing on their land, but not yet happened. Also the attempts to get at least part of Turners Field into a community resource/productive garden.
They are exploring an idea of everyone being given a basic income (originated in the 1600s by an Englishman), and that each do work that they are skilled and interested in. A similar system was tried in a town somewhere in Africa for one year and was very successful.
There is a film – Gruntagen – apparently the local government forced its abandonment (presumably didn’t meet their aspirations).
Other projects that TT Freiburg are considering includes looking after elderly people – in collaboration with others in a similar situation.
The city has invited TT Freiburg to help with a scheme where 400 people families are encouraged to join in reducing their carbon impact. 80 people came to the film: In Transition. Harriet contrasted the Transition Together work we have started in Poole and Bournemouth. We haven’t achieved on that scale yet – our target is 100 but recruiting is proving hard.
25% of Freiburg’s traffic are bicycles, and there is car sharing in many cities. They can use cars from other towns. Members pay €300/€400 to contribute towards buying the cars. The money also goes towards hiring someone to service the cars. They can book the car online. The same car share system works in Switzerland too. They can get all the information about the car they want to use, such as whether it has a motorway sticker for other countries like Austria or Switzerland. Freiburg has 12-15 cars. Next year they are planning to buy 2-3 electric cars. The city administration of Lorrach also use the car share facility. There are some schemes in the UK, but small numbers (Whipcar has about 8 cars in the Bournemouth/Poole area). Bournemouth and Poole have better than average UK cycling rates, but less than 10% of journeys to work are by bike. Can’t lay my hands on the figures just now.
We mentioned the Abundance scheme, started in Sheffield, which we have done in a limited way in the conurbation, and the Mors bags project.
Notes by Marianne and Andy
1st June The Green House Hotel
A mix of business, academic, public sector, voluntary and environmental folk gathered to be challenged on the topic ‘OUR COMMUNITY – OUR ECONOMY – OUR FUTURE – Som
ething has to change’
The theme was “A Green Economy for Bournemouth and Poole”, and this started with a talk by Dr Alan Knight OBE of Southampton University followed by a chance for stimulating, lively discussion for people who live and work in the conurbation.
Dr Knight’s talk was based on this slideset
The challenge laid down by Dr Knight was to identify what is unique and important for Bournemouth and Poole, and how we positively engage business in delivering an agenda which they can sell to shareholders and stakeholders. Campaigning and negativity may get less progress than shining a torch and encouraging businesses towards the light. (I paraphrase, I was late to the meeting)
What does B & P do?
The meeting carried on upstairs in the bar, sampling local beers and further wideranging and lively discussion.
Many thanks for the Green House Hotel for hosting our event, to Harriet for the idea, and to Gwyn and the Association of Sustianability Practitioners for running the event.
So – how was your Big Green Fortnight? I went to some fantastic events – thought-provoking, entertaining and stimulating. It was great to connect with so many people – old and new – and to find out that there’s a much bigger interest in all t
hings sustainable and green if it’s presented
in a way that works.
On the downside – no thanks to the Echo for virtually ignoring the entire event. A shame. The website BH Beat , on the other hand, gave great lively coverage of several events as they happened. http://bhbeat.com/
Here are some photos of occasions I happened to
catch on camera.
Now that the official Big Green Fortnight programme has been published (see http://www.poolepartnership.info/BGF/) I thought it would be a good idea to point you to a few highlights of particular interest to Transitioners. There are over 75 events p
acked into the two weeks so it’s worth putting some notes in your diary.
The BGF kicks off on Friday 20 May with East Dorset Friends of the Earth’s Eco Fashion Experience at the Pavilion Dance Centre (3–8pm)
On the evening of Sat 21 May there’s a treat in store – a screening of Yan Arthus-Bertrand’s stunning film “Home” at the Lighthouse in Poole (free!). [Incidentally, it’s not part of the BGF but there’s also the Green Party’s Barn Dance at YMCA Winton on Saturday 21st (tickets £5 from firstname.lastname@example.org).]
Next day (Sun 22nd) there’s a rare opportunity to visit Mark’s (from Tatnam Org Patch) amazing Forest Garden in Branksome (42A Gorleston Road, 11–4pm).
Tuesday’s talk by Geoff Jones on “Building an Eco Home from Scratch” at Bournemouth Natural Science Society promises to be interesting. Organised by Dorset Humanists.
On Wednesday 25th PA21 are screening “Age of Stupid” at
Broadstone Methodist Church.
Then on Thursday 26th we have Transition Poole’s cycle-powered film screening and discussion at Hamworthy Fire Station. You’ll need to book in advance because there’s limited places. But invite your friends – we need a good crowd.
28th is the Tatnam Organic Patch Open Day from 11-4.
Then on Tues 31st there’s a pretty hard-hitting film about food at the Lighthouse “Our Daily Bread” (8.30) with discussion. Tickets from the Lighthouse.
Wednesday 1st June Transition BH Hub and Association of Sustainability Practitioners invite you to a talk and discussion on “A Green Economy for Bournemouth and Poole” at the Green House Hotel, Bournemouth, 7.30 with Dr Alan Knight of Southampton University. An opportunity to get to grips with the tricky questions around our local economy (see http://tinyurl.com/bgf2011gh).
Fri 3rd daytime is “Public Heath Showcase: Going Green is Good for You” at the Wellbeing Centre, Bournemouth University (10–4).
Sat 4th join in the family fun at the Green Unity Fair, Bournemouth’s first offgrid entertainment and educational event, from midday until 10, Shelley Park, Boscombe. Free.
Finally, Sun 5th June The Big Lunch – in your own neighbourhood!
Further info about all these events at www.poolepartnership.info/BGF/ or www.bournemouth2026.org.uk/bgf/
Transition BH Steering Group met for its AGM on Saturday 5 March 2011, 7.30pm:
Present: Harriet Stewart-Jones, Andy Hadley, Theresa McManus, Gwyn Jones, Paul Smart, Julie Smith, Gary Finch, Sue and Ian Challis Christchurch website
Review of Yearviagra for saleng>
With the aid of flip chart & pens, the group came up with the following highlights of Transition BH
Picnic in the Park
Grooves on the Green
Big Green Fortnight 2009
10.10.10 Event plus this year’s Cycle
Overhaul of TBH website
Perpetuating the Google Group
Giving presentations & information to local groups
NOPE Portland Biofuel plant
Alaska Wind Farm
Air Show Symposium
Involvement in local consultations
Powerdown Study and Discussion Group
Allotments & Community Orchards & Hedgerows
Dorset Urban Food Project & other local food
Group wide initiative
Launch of Transition Together
The Steering Group holds funds for Transition Together plus funds for those groups that do not have a bank account. Current holding is £972.69.
Election of Steering Group
The following people were either re-elected or elected onto the steering group:-
• Harriet Stewart-Jones, Gary Finch, Andy Hadley, Jamie Heckert, Gwyn Jones (Transition Poole)
• Theresa McManus (Transition Bournemouth)
• Julie Smith (Transition Christchurch)
Transition Wimborne has temporarily folded, but a place is available on the steering group whenever they become re-established. Additional people can join the steering group during the year, up to a maximum of 12 people. It is desirable to have more representatives from Bournemouth and Christchurch.
Green Unity Fair
There is a proposal for an off-grid day festival at Shelley Park as part of the Big Green Fortnight in June. This will be organised by a third party but they are seeking to use the Transition BH name to access funding and for publicity. Concerns were expressed over
where responsibilities and liabilities lie, and these will be taken forward to a meeting with the organisers. The consensus of the group was that it would be better to defer the event rather than to potentially expose the group to risk.
It would be good to provide a summary of what Transition BH has done on the website.
Gwyn offered to send out a quarterly newsletter covering events & activities across the group. He will need the email contacts held by the various Transition groups to achieve this. Members of the steering group agreed to provide Gwyn with these. Gwyn will contact steering group members to request their articles for inclusion in the newsletter. The aim for the first newsletter is mid-May, to reach people before the Big Green Fortnight starts.
Paul said he has good contacts with youth groups in Poole and Bournemouth, and is happy to put people in touch with these. He has also had experience in Boscombe of the LETS group and Landshare.