"And the days turn to gold
As they grow few,
And these few golden days
I’d spend with you
So sang Walter Huston, though he may have missed out the bit about plotholders. The days are getting shorter but they are occasionally golden...
And Autumn definitely feels as though its turning to Winter. We had our first real frost in among the two or three deluges last month. Weeding starts to feel really rewarding - at least for a while. There's a whole section of plotholders who look on Winter as a short blip and have already planted onions, garlic and broad beans to get an early start in Spring. Others quite like the time when nothing much is growing and you can get on with those jobs it's just impossible to fit in in Summer. Now's the time to mend the shed, re-cover the polytunnel, build those compost bins you've been promising yourself. This month's Newsletter covers those events that are a natural part of Moor Green life about now - Halloween, Rent collection, people dreaming about a brave new future with no break-ins and more wildlife (see our new hedgerow Project!), new plotters arriving full of enthusiasm.
First a big thanks to all of those people who made the Clubhouse look proper spooky before the Saturday party - in particular Claudette who painted the two big wall decorations at either end which are now a standard feature of the Halloween do - and Pam assisted by Bernie who did all the delightful ghoulish paintings on the windows. And thanks to Deb and Jo who hung the decorations up . And Max for organising the band . And the bar staff for being the bar staff.
So we had alot of people that night who got into the spirit of All Hallows night. Special credit to
Bernard and Pam for looking terrific - and terrifying
Here's Danni and small accomplice doing their best to also look terrifying. Doesn't seem to have worked on the domino crew in the corner though....
There was also a bloke in a spacesuit waiting for his turn at the pool table. It's Macaulay Culkin who's actually playing..
And here's Sushin, just another happy customer enjoying a beer...
And speaking of beer, here's Jon Hiller, maestro of the bar, channelling Uncle Fester impersonating Tommy Cooper..
Meanwhile the Frenzies were getting set up...
So a good afternoon and evening at the Haunted Clubhouse. Dont miss it next year - the date for your diary is October 26th. Gives you plenty of time to get your costume sorted...
It's all collected. Job done. No, of course it isn't. But most people have paid up - we think there are about 20 left out of a total of around 270. So a big thanks to everyone who has paid and especially those who stopped for a chat with the rent collection volunteer team while paying up. Makes a dull job worthwhile. If you're reading this and you haven't paid you will have incurred a penalty i.e. you will have to pay an extra charge of £10 for missing the 9th November deadline. The only way to pay now is by transferring your payment directly into our bank account via BACs transfer - details below. Please give your plot number as reference so that we can ensure that your payment is properly matched with your plot number.
Moor Green Allotments Sort Code: 30 99 50
Account No: 24433860
We will accept payment up to 9th December. After that your tenancy is at risk. And of course, if you have already paid and we've sent you a reminder, please let us know as soon as possible (email@example.com) so that we can apologise and correct our error.
Winter Fayre - Date for your Diary!
It's come round again. The Winter Fayre will be held on Sunday 26th November from midday onward. This is always a lovely event with stalls for Christmas present buying, delicious cakes,hot food and the bar open into the evening. Come along, bring friends, bring money, bring your dog (but see below) and above all, enjoy the afternoon. It's not too late to book a stall either. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you booked in.
We have some new tenants joining us - welcome all to our community. If you see them digging or tackling the brambles please say hello to Helen (Plot182a), Shana (Plot118), Steve (Plot 95), Jack (Plot169a), and Liz (Plot138b).
We love dogs. Alot of our social members have joined so that they can use our beautiful pathways and green spaces to exercise their critturs on a regular basis. The clubhouse bar on a weekend afternoon sometimes looks like a waiting room for Crufts. Dogs, like allotments, keep alot of us sane. We would ask though that you keep your dog on a lead and under control while you're on site. A number of plotholders have reported unwanted doggy intruders on their plot and, even worse, some of them leaving unwanted er.. deposits here and there. Small children too are sometimes made uncomfortable or frightened by dogs getting too close, even when (as is usually the case) they are friendly, totally harmless, love kids etc. Please help us all prove that dogowners and plotholders are natural allies.
After the various break-ins and shed burinings over the Summer we successsfully contacted our local (Moseley) Police sergeant to talk about our concerns. It's pleasing to report that he and his team listened and even more to report that we now have a direct line of contact with them rather than having to ring 101, wait 45 minutes and then be told that we can have a crime number if we like. We can also email the communy support officer who responds very quickly judging from the one occasion we've used that approach. We also have the comfort of knowing that they're aware of our particular problem with rough sleepers taking a fancy to our sheds as overnight accommodation and to opportunist thieves with angle grinders doing several sheds at once and then disappearing through somewhere in the inadequate fence (see below). They are now patrolling the perimeter occasionally and talking to us regularly. They're not the complete answer to our security problems but it's great to know that they're on hand to help.
Build a Hedgerow!
We've heard via our friendly local councillor - thanks Kerry! - that The West Midlands Combined Authority Environment Team (no, we'd never heard of them either) has trees to give away to community groups between October 2023 and March 2024. The ambition for the giveaways is to remove any barriers people may face with greening their gardens and/or community spaces. They offer to bring "whips" ie little saplings of several species of trees, which are the right size for smaller growing spaces, such as gardens. Minimum of 50 up to 250 to be made available. So we thought we could use this free offer to realise a project we've been thinking about for ages - i.e creating a big thorny hedgerow along sections of our boundary fence which are vulnerable to intruders. It would take 5-10 years to be fully useful as a hedge but
1. that's all the more reason to start now and not waste another year discussing it.
2. We'll be leaving the place for better than we found it for a whole new generation of Moor Green tenants.
We don't expect anything much to happen before Christmas but at some point early next year we're going to need a big gang of volunteers to clear ground, dig holes and plant tree saplings. And maybe adopt an individual sapling or a section of hedge to keep an eye on in the future. We'll keep you posted in the next Newsletter but if 20 or so readers volunteered for a day's work in the Spring (kids welcome - but maybe not dogs for this one) we could have a great communal day out and a new natural hedgerow - which won't have happened much in Brum for the past 200 years...
Allotment Research Study
Regular readers will recall that Birmingham University with help from Moor Green and Birmingham District Allotments Confederation (BDAC) has put together a research project to examine and quantify the benefits of the allotments to the city’s residents and to Birmingham City Council (BCC) as the landlord. Benefits are defined in terms of
a. Food production
b. Mental and physical well-being.
A key element of the research will be a questionnaire to individual plotholders covering those two areas. This is now posted on the BDAC website - click on the link below
Please fill in the the questionnaire if you can. If you would prefer to fill in a hard copy just contact the secretary at email@example.com and he will send you one. Takes 10 minutes max. We're aiming to get 1,000 responses across the city as a whole so that we have a really compelling story to tell. This is a really good time to get some credible evidence to the Council of something we all know already - that allotments are a huge asset to the City. Given their current financial state they might have us even further down their list of priorities than usual.
That's all for this month folks. Happy plotting...