Where hard standing gives way to nature

Cycle and walkway ideas need quick wheels

Wandering around Earlswood Common, some thoughts occur on whether the area is ripe for applications to improve walking and cycle facilities.

During National Walking Month (May), this area has been popular, as locked down residents seek their daily exercise. Many other areas, such as Redhill’s Memorial Park, have become equally as populated, especially by those who like to spend their exercise time sitting – on the grass as much as a bicycle.

Recently, as previously commented upon, the Government announced a £2bn pot to fund walking and cycling access around towns, with Surrey so far offering a temporary scheme in Farnham, in the west of the county, and another to follow in Reigate town centre.

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A chance to recycle history for the community

It was not the intention of this blog to be a breaking news site, but it now slips down that road to demonstrate that environmentalism is a far wider subject than just thinking about the planet in terms of saving nature, or protecting it from plastic.

Environmentalism encompasses a lot of other aspects of life, such as retaining history and protecting heritage – think the National Trust and others. It is also about repurposing, from within the garden to larger properties, fostering communities and making sure the less well off are supported. That could be countries suffering climate emergency problems causing refugees or communities closer to home. Lockdown has taught us much about looking after each other.

In the past few days, it has been highlighted that a building of significant – so campaigners say – historical note in Redhill has come under threat. 

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Packaging at Morrisons

More reasons to think supermarkets are noting planet

Is the tide turning towards environmentalism and business solutions that protect the planet and all its inhabitants? Even a little bit?

While our Governments remain slow to inject a real sense of pace and urgency towards the Climate Emergency, there are – as it were – green shoots.

After central Government announced money to fund cycling and walking projects [a week later that Scotland], in Surrey, it was dragged out of a representative of the county council some time later that there is a pop-up pedestrian pathway planned for Farnham, with another to follow in Reigate in a couple of weeks’ time.

At least something, then, at opposite sides of our wide “shire”. A beacon of hope that the thought is there, resonating somewhere within an authority that has declared a Climate Emergency.

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Thank yous have rung out for our NHS including via Captain Tom Moore's fundraising

How to be inspired by Sir Tom’s actions

Today, it was announced that Captain Tom Moore is to be knighted for his efforts in raising more than £33 million for walking in support of NHS charities.

We’re steering off the sustainability path with this blog, unless we think of the National Health Service as something that will have to pick up the pieces for the consequences of extreme weather caused by the climate emergency, for example excessive summer temperatures or pneumonia from excessively cold winters or the effects of flooding. Or perhaps if we are taking the sustainability principle as a hollistic whole and that it should focus its benefits on society’s more needy. The climate emergency is already making refugees of many, through making swathes of the planet uninhabitable.

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Seed swap idea grows from localism

Localism. I’ve always lauded local. I love local: farm shops on holiday; the local delicacies. Yet this is the very word that was trained out of me when starting out in local journalism. “We don’t use it,” was the editor’s mantra “because if it wasn’t local we wouldn’t be talking about it.”

But “being local” is how we flourish as human beings. Even if we work a commute away, or an overnight stay away, home and its surroundings will be where we love being. It’s a big part of our social life, if we want to retain our sanity and not have to travel miles every time we want to visit friends. Its called a community.

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Old chimney pots are earmarked as future planters

Old chimney pots to be recycled as planters

They have languished in a dark corner of the garden, next to a fence where not even weeds – sorry, unwanted vegetation – have the temerity to grow.

There has never been a temptation to take these two feet tall pieces of masonry to the recycling centre. It would seem such a waste.

Maybe the recent purchase of sweet potatoes offers the opportunity of an answer to this long-pondered mystery of how to re-purposing them as something useful.

The rim of one of them has long since broken off, but that shouldn’t matter for what I have in mind.

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Dandelion root

Is everything you want to remove a ‘weed’?

“Is this a weed?” my father used to ask my mother when I was small, having already pulled up the apparently offending piece of organic matter from the ground.

Some of the time, my mother wanted it there and was annoyed. Mostly, however, she was just annoyed that he’d pulled it out first. If she had wanted it, it was too late now!

The ‘evil weed’ is a not-so-secret term for cannabis, perhaps a reference to the fact it is illegal and could have various affects on you. The urban dictionary might define the term as a physically weak person, used as an insult particularly among children, based on a perception of a plant that is stringy, small and useless.

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It’s time the bell tolled for ‘not currently recycled’

Locally, Clap for Carers has replaced bell practice at St John’s Church as the reminder that it is put the bins out night – Thursday evening. 

This time of the week is the culmination of a weekly battle to decide what sort of plastic can go in the mixed recycling wheelie bin. 

Most of us are well past needing to check the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council for what can be recycled and there is an annual four-page A5 sheet delivered, to give us a handy guide each week if we want to keep it on our fridge or other noticeboard place.

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National Gardening Week: Is gardening like parenting?

The thought occurs that gardening is much like parenting – and that perhaps I should quit before expanding on that notion!

The similarities are easy to see: gardeners and parents want to: nurture, encourage and watch as growth occurs; create an environment where that can happen; eradicate the bad stuff; and bring the fruits of their endeavours to maturity without too many major dramas!

However, while there are many people who can profess to be experts in gardening (which I don’t, it’s just a hobby), you can merely be experienced parents. There’s no such thing as an expert parent: it’s an imperfect exercise.

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