Welcome to July’s blog, I hope that you all enjoyed the 30 Days Wild in June and had lots of fun.
Not only did we have 30 days of Wild, but on the 21st June was the summer solstice which you can find all the history from the history channel here
So with it now being officially summer what can we get up to?
This is a summer of Sports
Football – Whilst the trophy went to Rome, what a wonderful Euro tournament with England making the final and of course it’s not long until the new football season begins, or having a football themed party? Check out these free printable(s) from Epson.
Cycling - The Tour De France has indeed begun too ending 18th July. Cycling is not just for the professionals, it can be a great form of exercise. Why not go for a bike ride this summer, but please check out this really helpful guide on keeping your bike safe from the Avon and Somerset Police. https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/staying-safe-on-the-road/keeping-your-bike-secure/
Not sure where to go here is a guide for a route in the local area https://cycleplanner.betterbybike.info/leisure-rides/Chipping%20Sodbury%20and%20Yate%20Loop
Tokyo Olympics – Did you know that there are multiple sports in the Olympics? A full list can be found here https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/sports/ Let us know what your favourite sport or how many Olympic sports you have tried?
Of course it would be remiss of me not to add tennis – Wimbledon. https://www.wimbledon.com/
Apart from the odd rain, strawberries and cream make a lovely tea. Why not have a go at making this cake? https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/strawberry-cream-tea-cake
For those who are not too sporty, we have plenty of other activities that you can do as well.
Here are some free downloads from Epson for you to enjoy, which include animals, photo frames and some puzzles. Click on Printables for more.
Also for those of you who enjoyed the getting out with the wild themes please do take a look at these activities here from Wildlife’s Trusts Wildlife Watch page https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/activities
I hope you have a great summer and I will back in August with another summer focused theme
Thanks for reading and please do send us feedback as we love to know what you think
As we hit halfway through the year it’s a good time as any to take some time out and look after ourselves.
This month we have an exciting event of 30 days Wild!
We also are letting you know what’s on your doorstep in terms of support and wellbeing, and there is also a bit of colouring – yes us adults we can do this too.
What does this mean? Well according to good old Google © it means “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.”
How can we achieve this? First up it is looking after our health both mental and physical. Mentally we can do things to help ourselves, - talking is one of the greatest things that we can do and if you are on the end of a friend or family member who needs to talk then listening is the other greatest gift we can do. But sometimes we do need some extra help. So don’t forget – here in Abbotswood we have Take 5. This is a referral scheme please contact Alex for more details.
Our partners Southern Brooks has a lots of wonderful resources so take a look here https://southernbrooks.org.uk/wellbeing/ and have some great workshops coming up so please do check them out. Don’t forget NHS has a section https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/five-steps-to-mental-wellbeing/.
If you are struggling in any way then please do not hesitate in seeking help.
30 Days Wild
A great way of looking after ourselves is being at one with nature. In the words of Chief Scout Bear Grylls “Nature is a great healer” and its true, getting out and about can really help physically and mentally.
So this month we have 30 days of Wild coming up. On the 19th June we will be holding our very own event, so please keep checking our website for further details. Also each day on Facebook and Twitter we will be posting a Wild Nature theme every day, so don’t forget to follow us there and see what exciting Wild Adventures you can do this June.
How else to help ourselves?
Taking a few minutes a day can help us in all sorts of ways.
To do this find five or if you can ten minutes to meditate there are tons of free apps and meditation online such as this one provided by Calm.
Or even colouring can help us take a moment out of our day, as I said at the beginning its for all ages
Here at just colour https://www.justcolor.net/ you can find lots to do, but I have found a nature one to with our wild theme enjoy.
Hope you have enjoyed this months blog and please do take part in the 30 Days Wild.
There's a new blog in town!
Hi everyone we have some fantastic news, dropping right here on our website is a brand new monthly blog. You've all seen our Sustainable September blog... We've decided it's time to go big and bring you posts all year round!
Hopping shortly on to our website will be the fantastic new post ‘Easter on a budget’.
Make note of the date Monday 29th March and get ready to read all about it!
A message from the author...
Hi everybody, my name is Pen and I have been entrusted in bringing you The Official Abbotswood Action Group Blog. Each month I will be bringing you a wide range of subjects that will cover all sorts, from seasonal such as my first post ‘Easter on a Budget’ to things we can do in and around our community. I can’t wait for this to go live, but most importantly after each post please let us know what you think as this blog is very much for you and our wonderful community. So until my first post goes live stay safe and take care.
With the world turning more and more to technology and our happy habits for 'retail therapy' libraries need our support now more than ever... Once you're in the door they can support you just as much as you support them!
Libraries and book swaps aren't exactly a new concept so why aren't more of using them? Save your pocket by reading a book that someone has already read, then pass it along to someone who hasn't.
Chances our your local library is offering a lot more than just a few thousand or so books to browse. Yate Library is a fantastic community resources just waiting for your visit. Pre lockdown you could use their computers, bring your little ones to story time, be part of the poetry group or speak to Bevan Evemy for some free legal advice. And that's just a small fraction of the list! They're in the process of reopening some of their services so make sure you take a look!
Summer Reading Challenge...
We're proud to be supporting the summer reading challenge!
This is a fantastic annual event to get your kids enjoying reading! Challenge bags include reading suggestions, even e-books count, and some fun arts and crafts. Perhaps you would like to join Mason and accessorize your silly squad giraffe...
For your summer reading challenge bags or pyjamama bags if you've got pre-schoolers, you can pop over to the library, see Alex at our community drop in or join is near the Abbotswood play equipment on Friday 11th September from 2.30pm.
What will you be reading?
See you again tomorrow!
Is everyone else feeling festive?
After Christmas In Abbotswood we certainly are! And what an amazing day it was too...
Some of you may have heard this little poem recently, after a special advert popped up on Facebook...
It's November in Abbotswood, and all round the green
Our elves are rushing, trying not be seen
Christmas is coming, there's lots to prepare
For Father Christmas, soon will be there...
And it all came true!
Hip Hip... Hooray!! Great effort everyone!!
There are a few special words of thanks to be said, so on behalf of all of us in Abbotswood:
Phil, Nessa, Barbara, Kerry (Abbotswood Action Group) and Alex (Southern Brooks Community Partnerships) for your hard work throughout the year organising Christmas In Abbotswood. Thanks also go to all the volunteers who helped us out on the day.
Dodington Parish Council for your help with advertising.
Yate Town Council for funding and installing the Christmas tree.
South Gloucestershire Council, Councillors Tony Davis and Louise Harris for funding the event.
We estimated that 500 people joined us to celebrate this year so we wanted to thank you all for helping us keep our community Christmas spirit alive.
It's the time of year for indulgence, so here's a few extra festive photos just for fun...
Before we head off and take a well earned Christmas break we thought you might like a quick trip down memory lane. A few reminders of the good times we've had over the last 12 months... They've been keeping us motivated and thinking ahead to make 2020 an amazing year for Abbotswood...
From all of us here in Abbotswood we would like to wish a you a very happy Christmas and a fabulous new year.
We'll see you in 2020!
Summer is sadly officially over and we're into Autumn. Sigh. The garden might be starting to look a little worse for wear and the trees are starting to change colour...
Which means our littlest friends will be starting to think where to overwinter. This is where you come in, yay! You can help build the perfect little warm hiding spots with all the rubbish that has mysteriously appeared in the garden shed. A broken plant pot, a few split bamboo canes, a bucket of leftover gravel, the tile that fell off the roof. It's all good.
First up, think of size and location. If you're going big, it's probably best to build your hotel in position. Where you build is pretty much up to you, someone is bound to move in eventually. If you are hoping to attract a certain species do your research, as different creatures like different conditions.
Start your creation with a sturdy base, old pallets are great for big structures. If you're saving space, maybe try a disused bird box or wooden crate. Now simply get filling. Aim to make as many nooks and crannies as possible. Think of them like hotel rooms... the more rooms you've got, the more guests you can have. Go mad, dead wood, sticks, stones, straw, tiles, corrugated card... The only thing holding you back is your imagination. Once you're happy, pop on a roof. We wouldn't want any guests getting cold now would we?
Maybe your little ones will end up looking like this:
Or if you're going big maybe you would like to take some inspiration from Abbotswood and Wapley Bushes. Hotel Abbotswood is a rather rustic affair, blending into the wider landscape. Whereas a local Brownie group took the themed approach, Wapley Bushes even has a coffee bar and rooftop garden...
Don't forget, when working in hospitality you can never really be sure who your next guest will be. The right venue could attract more than just insects... Done well you could have the cast of the Wind In The Willows coming to stay!
We had fun last Friday. A few of our chirpy volunteers spent a little time outside Wellesley and Abbotswood Primary schools talking to locals for our yearly community consultation.
This year we may have added a cheeky little incentive, free food! Barbara had been out foraging Abbotswood apples and Nessa had been busy making mini jars of jam from local fruits. The jam went down a treat and we managed to convince a few people to try apple foraging for themselves. So we'll help you out...
Here's the apples...
And here's the jam...
Nessa's Yate Bramble Jam: Nessa used local foraged blackberries and apples for her recipe. Knowing that we were doing a giveaway we bought the jam jars, but there is nothing stopping you recycling the jars you've already got at home. If you do that then all you have to buy is the sugar! Hooray! Nessa used 2 bags of sugar, which made about 5 pounds of jam. By using foraged fruits, and reusing jars that's 5 pounds of jam for a teeny tiny £1.28. What more could you ask for?
Jam can be a great introduction to home preserving as you can tweak this basic recipe to your heart's content...
1 lb granulated sugar
1 lb fruit
Step one: Place the fruit and sugar into a large pan over a low heat. Stir occasionally until all the sugar is dissolved.
Step two: Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes, the jam should start to thicken.
Step three: Remove the jam from the heat. Spoon some of the mixture onto a cold plate. Leave for a few minutes and then push the mixture with a spoon handle or your finger (clean hands please!). If the jam wrinkles, you're good to go. If not, put the jam back on the heat for a minute or two before trying again.
Step four: While the jam is still hot, pour into sterilised jars. Do up the lid while the jam is still hot, the jam will thicken in the jar and the lid should start to create a dip as it cools. This means you can keep it safely in your cupboard for up to 6 months. It could stay there longer but might start to lose flavour. If you don't see the dip in the lid, keep the jam in the fridge and use within a few weeks. What a hardship that would be right?
Anyone hungry? Because it's recipe time!
Apples and blackberries have been particularly abundant in and around Abbotswood this year, so we've been out foraging and made a batch of wild fruit scones to have on Wednesday's Wild Owl TV Garden talk. They were the favourite from the refreshment table with none leftover, so we thought we'd share with you.
The original recipe came from the National Trust Book of Scones, but as recipes so often are, it's been tweaked here and there.
You will need:
Step one: Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. The amount of cinnamon can be pretty flexible depending on your taste, but a teaspoon or two is probably a good place to start. Add the butter and rub in to create the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
Step two: Peel and dice the apples, add them to the mix and give a quick stir.
Step three: Stir the milk and egg together, before gradually adding to the dry ingredients. Add a little at a time. The mixture should come together to a slightly damp but not sloppy dough. Add a little extra milk if required.
Step four: Add the blackberries and mix until they are evenly spread throughout.
Step five: Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 3cm thick. Stamp out the mixture. A 7cm cutter will give you about 10 scones. You can use whatever size cutter you like, just remember this will affect cooking times.
Step six: Place the scones on a lined baking tray and bake in a 190 degrees C oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Ours took 18 minutes. The cooked scones should be well risen and slightly springy to the touch.
Step seven: Cool slightly, then munch away! Best served warm with lashings of clotted cream... and maybe even a dollop of bramble jam if you fancy.
Chef's top tips...
After several mishaps Alex has learnt a few scone making tricks and she's kindly sharing them with you.
Word of mouth is a wonderful thing.
The simple truth is that people love to talk. We're social, we're passionate and we're excited. So what do we do? We tell our friends what we're doing and then encourage them to take part too. One of the parents from Barnwood Buddies saw that the Abbotswood Action Group office was open, so popped into say hi and ask what we were up to. Alex said a little bit about Sustainable September, Sarah then went straight into her support for the fight against waste plastics and promoted the refill campaign... A few days later Alex was enjoying a laid on breakfast in Bristol attending the presentation of Refill's new pilot scheme.
So what's Refill?
You remember us talking about trading in your plastic bottles for reusables? Well Refill is promoting the same idea on a much bigger scale. World wide in fact. The idea is simple, recycling might not be good enough anymore. If we really want to win the war on plastics we need to go straight to the source and reduce our plastic consumption, not just recycle it. So the Refill team have produced an app that will let you search for places near you that will allow you to refill your reusable bottles with free tap water... And it's working! So it's time for us to get involved. Download the app for yourself, tell your friends and maybe even drop a few hints next at the cafe next time you're out for lunch.
But we can do more than that...
Taking the next steps...
The scheme has been so successful that it's time to expand. Starting with a pilot scheme in Bristol. That means us Abbotswood! Hooray! The new concept is to add more facilities to the app. So instead of pouring your coffee into a throw away cardboard cup, it gets poured into the reusable coffee cup you took with you. Or you fancy a bite to eat, so they'll put that hot cornish pasty straight into your lunchbox, instead of a paper bag. Takeaway salads in a plastic tub anyone? No. Takeaway salads in your lunchbox? Much better idea!
Here's your chance to take part in the pilot. If it's successful the scheme will be rolled out across the nation. You can get involved by downloading the app now. Anyone using it with a Bristol postcode will automatically be enrolled in the pilot. The more we can promote the scheme, the more businesses we can get to sign up as a Refill hotspot the better it is for everyone.
Find out all you need to know here: https://refill.org.uk/
So come on everyone, let's get Refilling!
If you've got children (or pets) we're sure you'll be familiar with this story. You decide to give your little loved ones a treat, something fancy, possibly expensive and...
They ignore it completely and have more fun with the box.
As frustrating as it is they may well be on to something... We're all aware of the importance of recycling, but doing the weekly sort and separate can be pretty dull and just feel like yet another chore to add to the list. Rummage through your rubbish and turn it into something you feel proud of. You can start simple, like we did with our piggy banks, bird feeders and Christmas decorations. When you've got the hang of it you can let your imagination run wild!
Over to you Gainsborough...
Gainsborough Court is an independent living home for people who live with disability. The residents have formed their own art group and proudly took up the sustainability challenge when they heard about our photography competition. For the 'Doing Our Bit' category they gathered their recycling and worked together on their sculpture of the Severn Bridge... And yes, it does stand up, we have photographic proof! Great work everyone!
It seems like child's play...
Wrong. It's not childish, it's called honing your artist talents! Who cares how small you start, one day you could be the talk of the town. What may seem silly now could soon turn into skills you can share with your community. With some practice, teamwork and some inspirational rubbish reuse, you could one day find yourself leading projects like these:
Thank you to LitterArti for helping us with various community projects over the years.
Recycling doesn't have to be boring...
Have fun with it!
Our current author is our AAG Committee member Pen Bailey. If you would like to be a guest blogger please do contact us here at AAG