There was a good turnout, a positive mood and a constructive discussion at the AGM on Wednesday, 24 April. Thanks to everyone who turned out. We’ll post a roundup shortly. Meanwhile, the following were all elected to the Committee for this year, making it the biggest for some time.
Angela Davis, Plot 37, 39
Christian Smith, Plot 97
Evelyn Modlinger, Plot 11a, 21a
Gordon Russell, Plot 98
Judy Russell, 45a, 48a
Louise Bell, Plot 45b, 48
Margaret Dempsey, Plot 39a
Peter Maughan, Plot 35, 36
Peter Rout, Plot 89
Philip Hamblett, Plot 44a
Sarah Spiers, Plot 80
We are desperately short of volunteers to help us run the site. And being self-managed, if we don’t have volunteers, stuff won’t happen: the shop won’t open, the lettings list won’t be looked after properly, paths won’t be mown, equipment and infrastructure won’t be maintained, rubbish won’t be collected, overgrown plots won’t be acted on… The list goes on.
Being on the Committee might sound like a daunting job, but it doesn’t need to be. The more volunteers we have, the less work each of us has to do. We urgently need people to help out in the following areas:
Even if you only have a little bit of spare time, please come forward. You only need to commit to what you feel you can do. Nobody will pressurise you, we promise. If you are curious to find out more about what is involved, please drop us a line or call 01892 710865. Ideally we would like to draw up a list of Committee candidates ahead of the AGM, which will be in April. Keep an eye on the website for the exact date, coming soon. Thank you.
A small but stout-hearted working party braved the elements on Saturday November 24 to start reclaiming the hazel coppice area over in the far corner of the site near the boundary with the primary school. The area was planted about 10 years ago, so the trees are now well established and potentially an excellent source of sticks and poles for the plots.
Work is now under way to cut back the thick undergrowth, prune out crooked branches and grade the rest of the growth so that it can be managed sustainably in future and became a resource that benefits us all.
We made great progress this week, thanks to Tom the log man who brought not only his chainsaw but an almost supernatural ability to get bonfires going in the pouring rain.
The shop turned temporary soup kitchen, keeping the workers in good heart.
We plan to hold another working party in early spring when – hopefully – the weather will be slightly kinder and the wood we cut can be used for next year’s crops. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more, please get in touch.
Angela (Plot 39) writes: We have a large hazel coppice area located on plots 94-98 which need to be brought back into use for all plotholders. If you want to find out more about the coppice and lend a hand clearing the area, the first of two planned coppice clearance working parties with a combined coppice briefing session will be:
Saturday 24th November 2012 at 11am – 1.30pm
Please ensure that you wear stout boots, gloves and warm waterproof clothing as these sessions will involve cutting back mainly brambles to clear the area.
If you have hand pruning saws, loppers or secateurs for brush clearance, please bring these along as tools are very limited.
Even if you are unable to carry out the physical activity, help is appreciated for volunteers to assist with the provision of cakes, snacks or serving of refreshments on the day.
Please come along and meet your fellow plotholders and have a pre-Christmas workout in the fresh autumn air! We look forward to seeing you.
Another working party will be planned for March – details will be published on the noticeboard.
It looks like the traditional Bonfire Night raiding party has rampaged through, with at least five sheds broken into and possibly plenty more. We called the police on their non-emergency number and they told us they will do their best to ‘get a presence’ up there. As before, they want us to report all incidents. If you experience a break-in, please call 101 and quote the reference 0270 6/11. That way all the reports can be linked together.
We’re very sorry to have to pass on the sad news that Michael Porter has died: he passed away peacefully at home. His plot was #70, which is rather hidden away on its own, next to the electricity substation. Quite small and heavily shaded, it isn’t much good for growing vegetables, so he filled it with sweet-smelling flowers instead, such as the daphne flower pictured below: he called it his scented garden, and he was still tending it this summer. The funeral service is at 12pm on Tuesday, 6 November at St Johns Church, Pevensey Road. We plan to send flowers and/or make a donation to St Michael’s Hospice on behalf of the allotment.
June Brogger (Plot 3B and friend and neighbour of Michael) writes: Michael Porter died sadly on his 88th birthday, after celebrating with a good lunch and a glass of fine wine. Not the worst way in which to leave this life. Michael was born and brought up in Australia where he served in the RAAF during the second world war, before coming to England where he spent the rest of his career as a dedicated English Teacher while coaching Tennis and Cricket in his spare time. Known far and wide for his great contribution to local charities he could often be seen with his faithful old dog ’Benson’ standing out in all wind and weathers with his collection box. He worked for many years, directing traffic, for St Michaels Hospice Open Gardens Scheme and also for the WRVS delivering Books on Wheels to the housebound. He was also well known to the Conquest Hospital where his dog ‘Benson’ was an official ‘patting dog’ for the sick. He had a great love of classical music, theatre, cinema and drama on which he was very knowledgeable. Never happier than when pottering around on his small scented plot at Marina Allotments or entertaining friends and colleagues with good food and wine, he will be fondly remembered as a gracious host and charming gentleman.
After the funeral lunch will be served, in Michael’s memory, at St Johns Church Hall. All are welcome but please ring me on 01424 444407 if you are joining us for lunch.
You may have noticed that we’re building a bonfire once again this year, in the usual place on the communal plot to the left of the path by the main gate. This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all of your combustible waste: as ever, only dry, flammable stuff please – no green waste. Please deposit your contributions around the edge of the plot as the bonfire itself is already under construction. Cut-off date is this Saturday, 3 November.
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we’re now planning to let out strimmers again for £2.50 an hour – but only to those who can demonstrate that they know how to use them. It may sound daft, but it’s the best way we can think of to cut down on the hefty repair bill. So if you would like to learn, or indeed just demonstrate your proficiency, please come along to the strimmer workshop, hosted by Gordon (Plot 48a) on Saturday, 29 September from 10am to 11am. And don’t worry, it won’t take an hour, that’s just your window of opportunity.
There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow,
The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye,
An’ it looks like its climbin’ clear up to the sky.
– Oscar Hammerstein
Welcome to the latest edition of the now officially occasional Marina Allotments newsletter. It’s been a curious growing season, with a rare sunny August making some amends for the early deluge that drowned the good stuff and spurred the bad, turning the site into a kind of prairie garden of waving couch grass for much of the summer.
In such trying conditions, it’s been difficult for many of us to keep on top of things – and that also goes for the Management Committee, which has the thorny task of keeping tabs on the site and sending out Notice to Improve letters to members whose plots are overgrown or insufficiently cultivated.
Jollied along by some comments and guidance from members concerned with the state of the site, particularly the amount of weeds and grasses threatening to set seed, the Committee has been busily reviewing plots and sending out reminders.