Hands-on and muddy at the local Carnival
Carnival returned to the village of Wroughton this Summer after a couple of years’ rest, and the Wroughton Greens had a stall at the corner of the field near the trees – a very nice spot!
I wanted to try something potentially more engaging than a table full of leaflets, so I used an idea I’d seen at the Eden Project, and set up a stall making Wildflower Seedbombs instead. This involved assembling compost, wildflower seeds (several dear friends helped me out with these), water, chilli powder (magic ingredient to keep the bugs from eating the seeds prior to germination), and a bucket of clay soil from my garden.
The chilli powder tip-off was from Kathryn at Incredible Edible, and was just the thing to pique the curiosity of youngsters and adults alike as I made batch after batch of chilli-flavoured mud, and invited passers-by to add the seeds or get muddy and shape the seedbombs. I was delighted at the response, as a large number of children wanted to get muddy, and they and their parents heard about biodiversity and gardening for wildlife while seedbombs were made. A large number of adults without children were very happy to take seedbombs home with them, and I used up several of the leftover ‘Greener In’ campaign stickers to fasten the paper around the seedbombs for taking away – upcycling or reusing of some kind, anyway!
Soap and water and another tub, a nailbrush and a towel and hand sanitiser were on hand, so nobody had to go away muddy.
Most of all, it was a very congenial way to interact with many Wroughton neighbours and have friendly introductory chats with many folk I hadn’t met before too. It was certainly easier talking to people about the Green Party and what I was doing there, for having something to *do* as well as hand out information fliers. Gardeners and families and teenagers and folk who I know support and are active in other parties came by to chat and went away with a seedbomb or two.
Very many thanks to Tilly and Kate and Simon for their time and help; in the end we all rather enjoyed the whole thing. I have plans for next time which involve liaising with caterers and reducing waste, though the Carnival committee had mostly recruited caterers who had already rejected single-use plastic for their businesses – there is so much green-minded thinking out there to tap into and connect to!
Ward Team Leader & Prospective Borough Candidate, Wroughton
5th July 2016
Why I’ll be supporting the Junior Doctors’ strike action
A personal commentary on the strike action being taken by junior doctors today, by Swindon Area Green Party spokesperson Andy Bentley.
I’ll be supporting the junior doctors today as they escalate their industrial action and go on strike: After a long battle I don’t think that the government will negotiate in good faith unless they do.
Doctors at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital will be joining their colleagues across the country in coming out to protest. It’s been 40 years since the last time, it’s serious not just for junior doctors but for the future of the NHS too.
While Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his supporters in the press would like you to think it’s all about the money, and have been quick with their smears (checkout the reaction on Twitter #smearthedocs), there are some important changes in the contracts that are potentially far more damaging.
Mr Hunt has been accused of gambling with patients’ lives as he attempts to push through radical reforms to doctors’ contracts. “Jeremy’s Punt” focusses on changes in working hours, patterns and conditions for junior doctors while weakening the monitoring system that protects the number of hours junior doctors can work.
Doctors fear that safeguards to prevent hospitals from forcing them to work dangerously long hours, which have been in place for over 15 years, face a drastic alteration that could put the public’s lives in danger.
Changes to the definition of ‘office hours’ weekday and weekend working, such that a doctor could work up to 2 o’clock in the morning and not be classified as being on a night shift (with the associated breaks and rest periods before being back on duty that would entail) should ring alarm bells. Junior doctors are right to be worried that the new contract will lead to increasingly unsafe working patterns without adequate rest and recovery.
While the most recent study revealed that fatigue could see a significant increase of medical error, the Department Of Health has confirmed that there has been no assessment of patient safety under the new contract, showing that Hunt’s actions are a gamble.
I don’t believe that the Health Secretary has negotiated in good faith. Instead he has embarked on a campaign of misinformation and brinkmanship to try and force the doctors to capitulate.
You can join the doctors in their protest, or just visit to show they have your support. They will be at the entrance to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon (or at another hospital near you) from 08:00 to 12:00.
I believe that in taking this action the junior doctors are standing up on behalf of all of us in defence of the NHS that we value so highly. I wish them luck, and give them my thanks, as should we all.
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