Look who I met at Palewell Common! ( East Sheen, London )

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Look who I met at Palewell Common!

Dragonfly

I met this very handsome chap or chapette, I am not sure which,down at Palewell Common, East Sheen, London, not long ago.

He/she even posed for the camera.

What stunning colours, you want to bottle them up and paint with it.

My son held up a leaf and the dragonfly was quite happy to just sit, munch and let me take pictures, what a treat.

He/she was included on my macro Monday shots on my other blog and was received admirably.

There is a little bit of blur, due to me using an iPhone rather than my ‘proper’ camera in this instance.

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 © Justine @ LivinginEastSheen.co.uk & Eclecticoddsnsods.com

Responsible Dog Ownership ~ Recent Incident

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Let’s hope this is a one off incident!

Friends of Palewell Common & Fields

Recent Dog Biting Incident

images

It has come to our attention that an adult got bitten on the leg by a dog only the other day.

Though this incident thankfully is very rare and from the dogs we usually see they are very friendly and socialized, however, once is enough.

If you know that your dog is antisocial we urge you to please keep your dog firstly on a lead and secondly muzzled to avoid any future incidents as it could be a child next time.

If anyone encounters any issues or concerns of similar nature, please report the incident to the police and if possible take a photo of the dog.

Even for socialized dogs there are ways to teach children for their own safety how to approach etc and we have included a guide for reference.

dog-bite-prevention

Your co-operation is gratefully appreciated.

Thank you

© Friends of Palewell Common &…

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Volunteers needed for tomorrow ~ fancy some fresh air, maybe socialize, learn a new skill?

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Have you ever fancied doing some fun volunteering in Richmond?

The Richmond Council Parks department have teamed up with Glendales Nature’s Gym.

This is a volunteer group that takes part in conservation work throughout local parks and nature reserves.

It is a great opportunity to meet new friends, to get out in the fresh air, learn some new skills, take some time out.

You can follow Nature’s Gym on Facebook here.

You can also find out a little more on the Glendales Nature’s Gym website which is here.

No experience is needed to take part in the activities and all ages are welcomed.  The jobs are for every level of fitness and ability and fully supervised.

The next dates that volunteers are needed are:

21st, Palewell Common, 11am (meet outside or in depending on the weather @ Pistachios Cafe) ~ Weather permitting there will be a bird count, butterfly count and Orchard maintenance.
22nd, Petersham Lodge Woods, 11am

As quoted on their Facebook…

Tasks include, planting and bird/butterfly counts as well as orchard maintenance at Palewell Common.

Contact:

Telephone: 07825 860 459
Email: naturesgym@glendale-services.co.uk

To join Nature’s Gym you will need to:
– Fill out the registration form
– Sign the code of conduct
– Complete the memorandum of understanding

You can then email them back to the Nature’s Gym email.

NB: Please make sure that you contact them before attending a session as events might be cancelled or changed.

However to first time volunteer, just turn up and have some fun!

Thank you for reading/viewing

Justine x

 

butterflies_in_the_meadow_by_thesukikoartfactory-d4vn4u5

 

Wordless Wednesday ~ Past surprises!

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In ‘Wordless Wednesdays’ I am going to ‘highlight’ an image taken from somewhere either in the local area, a topic of seasonal interest or of similar nature!

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Taken in Palewell Common Easter Sunday

Thank you as always for reading!

© Justine @ LivinginEastSheen.co.uk

Lovely Easter Egg Hunt by The Friends of Palewell Common!

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What a lovely Easter Egg Hunt we had run by The Friends of Palewell Common

On Saturday the 6th, The Friends of Palewell Common set up an Easter Egg Hunt.  This organization is voluntary, occasionally getting grants for various things to improve our green space that we call Palewell Common.

  • If you wish to see what they do, click here.  
  • If you wish to download a form to join The Friends of Palewell Common, click here.

You  might not know that The Friends of Palewell Common planted some fruit trees in the Common, how lovely is this?  The children can learn and benefit from the fruit when ripe.

Fencing

The Friends of Palewell Common also provided our lovely fencing that I have admired in the past.  This is an old type of fencing technique that takes quite some time to master and is also not cheap, but provides a natural boundry that is pleasing to the eye for residents such as us.  However you will see that sadly some of the fencing has been destroyed, it pays to be mindful when using the common to take care of what has been provided for us.

Moving on from this, and on to the event!

Palewell Common

Friends of Palewell Common

There was a little table set up for the event & posters being set out.

The idea was to go and hunt for a piece of card placed on a stick, the card was in the shape of an egg, presumably members had taken time to construct and cut out all of these what I call ‘Easter Egg Sticks’ to find.

The Friends of Palewell Common

Posters being put up by one member!

They were then placed in various places about the common.  They were not in too difficult places to find, so very suitable for young children.  I have suggested next year perhaps to have a tier system of difficulty to try and attract the older kids too, which should be fun.

Easter Egg Sticks

Easter Egg Sticks

My youngest son did not grasp the concept of only one Easter Egg Stick per child, which would result in one egg for him and me giving my information to The Friends of Palewell Common to presumably go on their mailing list.

My youngest promptly ran around the playground picking up every single one, only to be sent back by myself to put them back.

He chose to place one on top of the climbing frame, all of us adults refused should it not be found to go and get it!

We started from scratch again and off to the edge of the forest.

It was a lovely opportunity also to take in the beauty of Spring Time, plus meet a few four legged friends along the way.

020018Each son collected an Easter Egg Stick, which was summarily then returned, resulting in a  small chocolate egg as a prize.  Information handed over and membership card given (I did pay earlier!) and a lovely chat was struck between me and some of the Committee members who I can wholeheartedly say show their passion in this endeavour to improve our green space joyfully which is wonderful to see.

Friends of Palewell Common
Friendly Committee members of the Friends of Palewell Common

I would encourage anyone local to join and have a say in our space and hopefully donate time and or experience to help this small venture take off even further.

Once again thank you for reading, Justine x

© Justine @ LivinginEastSheen.co.uk

Swirling coffee & how to keep in touch

Lets keep in touch!

 

Use me then toss me to the kerb!

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That title might seem a bit dramatic, but I guess that is how I, myself feel when after Christmas you walk down the street, still having that little tingle from the festive season, only to have your eyes greeted with our faithful once glorious trees slung out on to the pavement.

Now, I know there is a reason for this, i.e. the refuse lorries will come to collect them and recycle them, but still, it does make one think, is this a waste?  For the more emotionally led people like me, yes I would probably have the tingly feeling linger on a little longer rather than the blatant reminder of the finality of it all seeing the pavement now akin to a Christmas Tree graveyard.

Forlorn

Forlorn

So lots of questions now running through my mind.  Let’s start at mid point, the acquisition of the Christmas Tree.  During the Christmas period as expected the pavement outside our local Garden Centre was bulging with daily deliveries from large lorries filled with Christmas Trees.  Each day these were replenished, I simply cannot imagine how many trees are bought in this period.

We take them home with pride, full of excitement and dress them up in our many varying ways, then spend days admiring them, the centre piece of most houses over this period.

My Christmas tree

My Christmas tree

Don’t we all have that special bauble, a little heirloom from past, or are you one of those people who completely re-dresses your tree differently each year?

Vintage baubles from Ever so Flo!

Vintage baubles from Ever so Flo!

A nice idea-Create an Heirloom

To me, even as an adult, walking in to a room dedicated to just Christmas baubles is quite magical, so for a child even more so.  Do you take your child to go and purchase items over this period?  If not, I really can’t recommend enough that you do so, it is a childhood memory not to be forgotten.  I used to visit a shop in Fulham, that was ‘only’ for Christmas decorations, it was closed most of the year as the Owner went around various countries picking up unusual baubles.  She said to me, “Why not let your child chose a new bauble each year, they have their own box of their own baubles that they have chosen each year and then when they are grown up, they can decorate their own tree with their childhood collection or pass it on to their children”.  What a wonderful idea, something I have only done ad-hoc and regret utterly not doing fully.

Moving on, Christmas is over, the tree is stripped, it’s almost quite callous, its finery ripped from its branches, sat there perhaps for a day naked before being wrenched from its new home and tossed on to the street, well pavement, just waiting with others for collection.

That is unless you are like me, and have a false Christmas Tree.  Mine once belonged to my mother, so I ‘sort’ of think/hope that I have been fairly ‘eco’ friendly in this matter.

So, yes probably due to too much time on my hands I wanted to find out exactly what does happen to the abandoned faithful friends left on the pavement to whither and become a pale shadow of their former glory.

I phoned up the London Borough of Richmond and Thames Council and spoke to a lovely man called David Ingham, who is………the Waste Minimisation Officer.

He informed me of the following:

– The residents do not pay an extra charge for the collection of their tree; it is swallowed up in the usual Council Tax bill.

– The trees (only real trees), are taken to a site in Oxfordshire by train to be composted in windrows. This is a large scale composting technique.  The Council have to pay for this to be done, but as David explained, the compost costs less than it costs for the Council to pay for it to be taken, but it would cost more for them to do it themselves.  The compost then is commercial grade and used in various locations.

 – I include here an additional piece of information as written by David himself to further clarify on the trees recycling:

the value of the compost produced does not cover the full cost of composting the trees so the Council still have to pay towards them being composted, but the composting fee is much less than the one they would pay to landfill the trees instead.  Moreover recycling creates more jobs than landfilling as well a useful product at the end that provides added economic value and can reduce the use of artificial fertilisers that can have a large environmental impact.  The compost produced is of a commercial grade and used in various applications like farming and landscaping, of which there is a healthy market in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.  So the compost should face little onwards transport after it is produced.

 – He also informed me of another interesting fact just now….that elephants enjoy eating Christmas trees!  I informed him that unfortunately we had no elephants in East Sheen.  However, that would have been a very novel recycling idea 🙂

I asked David if he thought it more ‘eco’ friendly to have a false tree, than a real one.  He is very passionate and mind bogglingly knowledgeable which is re-assuring, about the where, whys, pros and cons of each scenario.  We hit a heady roundabout of the pro’s of growing the trees, to the cons of transporting them, the pro’s of using false trees if made out of the right materials, to the cons of using false trees if sourced from non eco sources and if people discard them regularly.

We did not come to any specific conclusion, other than; it’s a personal decision which should be backed by mindfulness to our carbon footprint, recycling and general wastage.

There are some great web sites for alternative uses for Christmas Trees, like bee hotels.  If you are interested please click on the links below:

 – Earth911, more ideas, less waste – fire starters, mulch and pathway edgers and even to preserve a fish habitat

 – s world.com – bee hotels

 – Networx – here we have a wealth of ideas!

– On a sundry note there is a local group that meets up to discuss environmental issues called Twickenham Green Drinks.

And now, I take a round trip, because we never discussed the history of the Christmas Tree, the reason behind it.  I myself did not know it, so took time to find out and here is what I found.
495px-Décoration_du_sapin_de_Noël[1]

“Noël”Christmas No. 1725)

The Christmas Tree custom developed in early modern Germany, whereby devout Christians dating back as early as the 16th, possibly 15th century brought these trees, usually an evergreen conifer, such a spruce, pine or fir in to their home.  The Christmas trees were hung in St Georges Church since 1521 after the popularity of this tradition spread in the second half of the 19th Century.

There is still circumspection as to the Christmas Tree’s origin however and many theories going about, which of course are interesting titbits of information in themselves, ones to either believe or not, but adds to the whole ‘feeling’ of ‘reasoning’ when one does grace a room with such a sacred sight.

It is said the Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews used evergreen trees, wreaths and garlands to symbolize eternal life.  The pagan Europeans indulged in tree worship, surviving their conversion to Christianity, the Scandinavian custom being to decorate the house and barn with evergreens upon New Year with the idea if would scare away the devil.

It is also called the tree of paradise, used in mystery plays given on the 24th December.  In such plays the tree is decorate with apples to represent forbidden fruit.  The paradise tree was later placed in homes and the apples replaced by round objects such a shiny red balls.

And here in Britain, the tradition of the tree did not happen until some two centuries ago when George III’s German born wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz introduced a Christmas tree when having a children’s party in 1800.  The custom then slowly took off after having first being embraced by the Royal Family namely Queen Victoria.

800px-Julekort,_1880[1]

Julekort, 1880

So, I lead on to finish this piece as there is much to read up on the matter should one be so inclined in learning a little bit more history on our evergreen friend.

There is also much to think about, will you change your custom next year, buy a false tree, a real one, will you buy one with roots and plant it somewhere else, will you indulge in some great way to recycle your tree or leave it slung on the pavement for the Council to collect?

As for me, I will get my faithful friend out again.  Perhaps a little different theme, but I have an abundance of baubles and treats.

Will I do what I did this year, go to Palewell Common and cut a few holly branches and pine branches to decorate back at home, yes probably?  But next time I will definitely take gloves, it was darn painful and I felt like a midnight thief wandering through the foliage finding suitable victims.

A Christmas friend

A Christmas friend

To finish, a friend said to me “now on that recycling matter what exactly did you do with your twigs of holly and pine, did you recycle it?”  I hesitated a moment, stomach sinking as to my total hypocrisy, for I had in fact cut them up and thrown them in my kitchen bin, what did I answer?  I said “oh yes, I cut them up and made them in to lovely little nests for the robin”.  He said “really?”.  I answered “oh yes, and I fed the berries to him”  At which point or probably long before I was laughed out of court, not surprising really! (grins evilly)

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My first proper walk in 2014 in East Sheen

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My First Proper Walk of the Year 2014 – East Sheen – Jan

Yes, I have to confess due to various reasons and reasonable ones, today I took my first proper walk of 2014, it was of course in East Sheen being my home place and it would only be honorary to take my first steps here, in the vicinity of Palewell Common.

I’ve been sheltering indoors hiding from the rain, the thought of coming home with sodden feet and dripping layers too much.  I must be a fair weather walker, not entirely but it’s all a state of mind and that is where mine has been of late.

But this morning the sun was shining like a bright spring day, its rays luring me with beckoning fingers to go bask in its gloriousness. I got reeled in and took the bait, donned my new trainers, scarf, gillet and fingerless mitts, not forgetting of course Iphone with entrusted selection of appropriate music and sunnies.

I will say, I overdressed, scarf came off by the end of the walk as did gloves and yes a horrible dribble of sweat ensued down my back taunting me the silent words of “Miss sweaty might become Miss stinky now”

It was bliss to walk past the budding magnolia trees.  This tree became an obsession of mine last year, determined to get one in my front garden.  There is one down the street where I live which literally makes me stop walking every time, once in full bloom, just to take in its radiant pinks and silken looking petals.

A little further Palewell Common was looking rather like a mud quagmire but did this stop the dog walkers?  Indeed not, they were out in full force, I would say  more professional walkers than otherwise judging by the amount of dogs per person, unless East Sheen has taken to owning 7 dogs per household.  I shudder to think of the smells and chaos that would create, I have two and that is certainly enough to make a pungent house of doggy smells.

I had to smile seeing a small gathering of nursery children out on the grass, the activity seemingly being to run from one adult to another, I did rather question how long they would stay upright running on such wet mud strewn ground.  I expect lots of dirty knees and if not faces would have been had by the end of it had I not moved on.  It doesn’t really pay in this day and age to stand and watch children, much as a joy it is, it can gather you odd looks if you are on your own.

The allotments seemed uncharacteristically quiet; I enjoy seeing how these develop over the weeks so many visual treats to come.

Last year I started to forage, yes forage.  You might raise your eyebrows and think alright, time to stop reading now; this is a very nerdy woman.  But I will have you know that this hobby is becoming increasingly popular, so much so there are organised walks for people to learn about foraging and books in numerous quantities on the subject.

Apart from this there is a wealth of You Tube clips on what to do with these wondrous berries, leaves etc that one has spent hours picking, leaping to get, scratching oneself to bits to acquire.  Suffice to say, I probably had one success in about 10 attempts of trying to make jellies, jams, pickles and chutneys.  Will I give it another go this year, probably, yes, but I have enough experience to know what I definitely won’t try again.  Will I tell you what that is?  Hell, no (grins), that’s part of the fun to find out for yourself!

More on foraging another time.  Do I hear a yay?

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