Out into the sunshine

Dear Transitioners

Summer seems to be here, and along with it a host of community activities to tempt you out into the fresh air and sunshine – starting with …..

Beictown – an ACE Monmouth event this Sunday 26 June, 10 till 2 – starting with the Vintage Ride at 11am from the Old Monnow Bridge – get out your old tweeds, hats and dresses! – tickets from Honeysuckle Wood on Church Street or online http://bit.ly/Beic22 or on the day.   But also bring along your bikes for repairs, maintenance and security labelling, and bring along the family for there will surely be fun to be had as well as delicious pork baps, real ale, ice cream and then you can make your own smoothie on the Smoothie Bike.  The Monmouth Carnival is on the same day on Chippenham Field – more fun!

ACE Monmouth Meeting:  Tuesday 28 June, 7.30 – zoom details on the ACE Monmouth Facebook page nearer the time – to discuss plans for the coming months including a Sustainable Living Festival on 25 September.  We hope that some of the newly elected Town Councillors will attend

Bee Festival:  Saturday 2 July, 10 till 4:  We will have Open Garden at the Community Kitchen Garden and wildflower meadow outside Monmouth Comprehensive School, The Burgage, NP25 3DP.  The garden is No Dig – digging reduces soil health – and who wants to dig anyway?.  It is dominated by soft fruit together with herbs, seasonal veggies and edible flowers with members providing the seeds and seedlings.  The idea is to have a large variety of produce to demonstrate where our food comes from 

The adjacent wildflower meadow was sown just two years ago.  It is still very young and in a state of development as various species find their niche, other species are removed, and we learn how to manage the meadow during this developmental stage – but it is coming along nicely.  You will see it just before its first cut of the year with a wide variety of wildflowers attracting an even increasing number of insects

There will be an information stall together with plants, books and beautifully refurbished tools from Tools for Self Reliance Cymru for sale

Bee Festival:  Sunday 3 July, 10 till 4:  A huge range of activities – food and drinks too – on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022.  We will be there with our plants, books and tools from Tools for Self Reliance Cymru

Orchard Pruning of the stone fruit trees:  Saturday 9 July, 10 till 12, under the guidance of Helena Ronicle.  Wear appropriate clothing and bring pruners if you have them – but no ladders!

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July, 11 till 3:We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye with a stand at their event on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge.  Come and celebrate, support the River back to health, meet other Wye based groups and clubs, try citizen science water testing and other activities for the children.  The Samba band procession will start at Agincourt Square at 10.45am

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 12 July, 7.30pm under the stars at the front of Monmouth Comprehensive School, NP25 3DP – the last before we take a break for the summer to reconvene on Tuesday, 6 September when we will be joined by Mark Hand, MCC Head of Placemaking, Regeneration, Highways and Flooding, to talk to us about the Local Development Plan and the various submissions that have been made, including our own.  Bring something to sit on;  we might provide some sustenance …..

In the meantime – Monmouth Town Council is seeking members of the community to put themselves forward as Town Councillors.  There are five vacancies (but you don’t have to live in the Ward you represent).  Applications by 1 July to the Town Clerk – details on the Town Council website (see Elections 2022) and on our Facebook pages.  Please consider standing and in this way influencing decisions in an environmentally caring way

And a last plea – we need help for Beictown, the Bee Festival and Wye July – please contact mail@transitionmonmouth.org if you are available – and also please bring along any plants you can spare for our plant stall at the Bee Festival

We look forward to seeing you all soon and hope you have a lovely summer break!

Vivien Mitchell

And the amazing good news is…

Dear Transitioners

We still can’t quite believe it.  As of last week, Monmouth is now represented by three long-standing Transition members – Emma Bryn elected for Wyesham, Catherine Fookes for Town, and Catrin Maby for Rockfield – yay!  But more good news – Steve Garratt who now represents Overmonnow has already joined us.  Congratulations to the four!  What a turnaround!  We so look forward to working with these new Councillors.  They are all planning to come and help at Beictown on 26 June, so if you haven’t met Emma, Catherine, Catrin or Steve, this is your opportunity. 

And more amazing news, this time on the Monmouth Community Fridge.  Over the 18 months since it opened, the dedicated team of 50+ who collect food from the supermarkets each evening and open the Fridge to customers the following day have saved an astonishing 42 tons of food and 4,800 bunches of flowers from going to waste.  Just imagine the carbon footprint of producing this mountain – including a lot of meat and fish – only to throw it away and incur a further carbon footprint in its disposal.  Our grateful thanks to the Fridge team, and to the 12,000+ customers who have put the food and flowers to good use.

Now for a couple of requests.  At the Bee Festival in early July we will be having a plant swap/sale and we need plants – so if you have any to spare, please keep them for us.  Stuff from other people’s gardens always does well and is much appreciated.  And we also need helpers at our stalls for the Wye Valley River Festival, Beictown, the Bee Festival and Wye July.  Please let me know of your availability – there are a lot of hours to cover and every hour you can spare would be a great help.  Details of these events are below.

So here are those diary dates when we hope to see you …..

ACE Monmouth Meeting:  Tuesday 24 May, 7.30 at St James Community Hall, Wyesham NP25 3NE – come and hear about the new ACE identity and plans for the coming months including a little Festival at the end of September

Wye Valley River Festival:  Monmouth Mischief Day, Saturday 28 May from 11 till 5 in Agincourt Square, Monnow Street and at Monnow Bridge for a day of family-friendly entertainment, performance, music and merriment with the Bicycle Bistro, the Pif-Paf Theatre Company, All At Sea with Acrojou and more ….  We will have a stall on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 14 June, 7.30 – more details soon

Repair Café:  Sunday 19 June, 2 till 4 at St James Community Hall, Wyesham NP25 3NE – note the different venue.  Bring your electrical, mechanical, sewing etc repairs and get them sorted – and you will also be offered a cuppa!  However, help on the day is always needed so please let us know if you can help with admin, repairs or catering – repairmonmouth@gmail.com

Beictown:  Sunday 26 June, starting with the Vintage Ride at 10am from the Old Monnow Bridge – get out your old tweeds, hats and dresses!  But also bring along your bikes for repairs, maintenance and security labelling, and bring along the family for there will surely be fun to be had

Bee Festival: 

Saturday 2 July, 10 till 4:  We will have Open Garden at the Kitchen Garden and wildflower meadow outside Monmouth Comprehensive School with a plant and book stall – all contributions appreciated

Sunday 3 July:  A huge range of activities on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden on the Sunday.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022.  We will be there with our plants and books

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July, 11 till 3:We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye and will have a stand at their event on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Time – where art thou? – meeting on Tuesday

Dear Transitioners

Where has this last month gone?  Ah, yes – we’ve been having a load of fun! 

The Repair Café has resumed monthly events – next one this Sunday 10 April, Benthyg has opened its doors and is in the business of lending a raft of equipment each Friday – longer opening hours planned, we’ve had the inspirational teenager Poppy Stowell-Evans talk to us about her climate change campaigning – there was a good turnout from Monmouth Comprehensive School and the event was filmed by Dan Damon to be shown to a wider audience, and ACE Monmouth is now a fully constituted community group with a Monmouth Town Council Partnership Agreement.  There is much in the pipeline so please come to our meeting next Tuesday to share in the goings on:-

Members’ Meeting – Tuesday 12 April at 7.30pm by Zoom, to discuss our collaboration with ACE Monmouth, involvement in the Community Orchard, banners/feathers, and to take forward our planned events.  Here is your invite – the agenda and notes of our last meeting are below the signature line – please join us!

Topic: Transition Monmouth – April Meeting
Time: Apr 12, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84469908550?pwd=SkEzei9SZGtVU0R4dndwNjNjZ1ZkQT09
Meeting ID: 844 6990 8550
Passcode: 424805

End Sewage Pollution Day of Protest:  Saturday 23 April – further details nearer the time on our Facebook page

ACE Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 26 April at 7.30pmto discuss how the group will move forward – events, website, relationship with other groups etc.  The officers elected at the AGM are Claudia Blair (Chair), Haydn Cullen-Jones (Secretary/Admin), Charles Emes (Treasurer) and Cherry Taylor (Marketing) – a great, experienced and talented team.  Please come and join in!

Hustings for the County Council elections:  Friday 29 April, 6.30 to 9pm at Bridges Community Centre.  Probably the only opportunity for you to hear all the candidates for the Monmouth wards in action.  After the event with Poppy Stowell-Evans there will surely be questions to which you want to know the answers.  If you have a question, please submit to Haydn Cullen-Jones – haydncj@hotmail.com

Rewilding – Fad or the Future:  Wednesday 11 May, 7pm at Monmouth Priory:  Speakers:  Our very own Cherry Taylor on The Future is Now, and Gary Yeomans on A Fad – based on his lifetime of farming experience;  his farm with a dairy goat herd is part of the Welsh Government whole farm management scheme

Repair Café:  Sunday 15 May, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Park Community Centre to get your stuff repaired

Farmers Event with Peter Fox AM on his Sustainable Farming Private Members Bill:  Thursday 19 May:  Peter Fox and other local farmers – to be confirmed

Orchard Pruning Event:  One Sunday in May to prune the stoned fruit trees and take a further look at other maintenance issues

Wye Valley River Festival:  Saturday 28 May is the big day in Monmouth though the Festival runs from Friday 27 May to Sunday 5 June – more details as they emerge

Beictown:  Sunday 26 June – more details nearer the time

Bee Festival:  Saturday/Sunday 2/3 July:  Open Gardens and more on the Saturday and a huge range of activities on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden on the Sunday.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July:  We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye and will have a stand at their event on the green by Blestium Street car park

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Exciting times!

Dear Transitioners

Exciting times!  We had a great pruning session at our Community Orchard last Sunday and it’s looking very lovely, Monmouth Town Council is setting up a partnership agreement with ACE Monmouth for Action on the Climate Emergency, the snowdrops and hellebores are out, the days are getting noticeably longer, and there is much else on its way including, for a start:-

A major Seed/Plant Swap and Potato Day next Saturday, 19 February, from 10 till noon at Bridges Community Centre.  The Heritage Seed Library will be there along with Transition Monmouth, ACE Monmouth, Tools for Self Reliance, and Wye Weight will be providing very delicious refreshments.  Please bring along your saved seed, bought seed, plants, bulbs to swap – but please come even if you have nothing to swap – donations very welcome! 

Tools for Self Reliance will have their beautifully refurbished tools and will also be blade sharpening – so bring those tools along that need a bit of TLC.  Donations of your old tools are always welcome.  They will be refurbished and put to good use.  Manual sewing machines are particularly valuable – a refurbished sewing machine can be a life changer for an African family.

Please contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk or phone 01600 715065 if you can help on the day.  If you have seeds or plants that you would like to donate but can’t attend on the day, you can drop them off at The Barn, The Burgage, NP25 3DP earlier in the week

Benthyg – The Library of Things with tools and equipment for you to borrow (rather than buy) is at an advanced stage of test runs including a computer system that links the Monmouth Benthyg with others in the county and further afield in Wales.  Opening likely on Friday 25 February but we will firm up on this

One Planet Development – Paul Trotter will repeat the presentation he gave at the Climate Future Festival on the One Planet Development that he and Mel are hoping will become a reality later this year at Trecastle Wood – probably early March

Members’ Meeting – Tuesday 15 March at 7.30pm by Zoom, to take forward our various events – further details in due course

Repair Café – Sunday 20 March, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Community Centre:  Yes, at last, a real, live Repair Café event for you to bring your broken items and learn how to repair them.  But we need more repairers!  Prior to the event we would very much like to hear from you if you would like to be a repairer, what skills you can offer (what type of repairs, admin, catering) and if you would be available to undertake repairs on the day.  There will be an opportunity prior to the event to discuss any queries or concerns with seasoned repairers

Poppy Stowell (Wales Young Climate Ambassador) event:  Last week in March hopefully at Monmouth Comprehensive School with input from young people and an invitation for them to submit their questions to the Hustings event.  We feel it particularly important to involve young people as, for the first time, those aged 16 and 17 have the vote!  And yes, further details just as soon as we have them

Hustings for the County Council elections:  Friday 29 April, 6.30 to 9pm at Bridges Community Centre.  Probably the only opportunity for you to hear all the candidates for the Monmouth wards in action

Farmers Event with Peter Fox AM on his Sustainable Farming Private Members Bill:  Mid-May:  Peter Fox and other local farmers

Watch this space – more details nearer the time for these and other happenings.  And please, if you are able to volunteer to help with any of our events, contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk or phone 01600 715065.  The more volunteers we have, the more we can achieve together!

Something a little different

Dear Transitioners

We hope your Christmas goes as planned – and thereafter you might like something a little different – blow the cobwebs away, get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, and help to improve our environment.  A few dates:-

Wednesday 22 December, 9.30am:  There is the possibility of a 0.25 acre plot (previously planted as an orchard) being gifted for community use.  It runs between Redbrook Road A466 and the Boys’ School playing field in Wyesham.  Meet beside the ‘road speed indicator’ for an on-site discussion of the way forward.  We would particularly appreciate involvement from anyone with a working knowledge of land transactions

Tuesday 28 December, 10am:  Planting whips in Vauxhall Fields to thicken hedgerows and enhance tree cover.  Please bring a spade, your enthusiasm, children and dogs.  Meet behind Vauxhall House (the yellow house in the middle of Vauxhall Fields (What Three Words: flickers, grins, left).  If the weather is too bad or it takes longer than expected, the alternative date is Wednesday 29 December, 10am

Friday 31 December, 11am:  Raking the wildflower meadow at Monmouth Comprehensive School:  MCC have done a ‘cut and remove’ but there is a lot of vegetation on the ground that needs clearing to expose the soil for new wildflowers to grow so please bring a rake, more enthusiasm and children (probably not a good place for dogs).  We will also have wildflowers to plant – ox-eye daisies, marjoram and pilosella – so please bring a trowel, hand fork or spade.  Meet at the bike sheds adjacent to the school’s Visitor Car Park on Old Dixton Road

Sunday 2 January, 11am:  More raking and more planting of wildflowers – same details as for Friday 31 December.  If you would like to come on any other day, please let me know – everyone is welcome, any time

We look forward to seeing many of you!

For the New Year we have much planned – orchard pruning and seed swap events in February (and again later in the year), monthly discussion and awareness raising events, Hustings in April prior to the Town Council and County Council elections in May – with much involvement from the secondary schools as 16-year-olds have a vote for the first time, apple pressings and a second Climate Future Festival in the autumn.  There will also be regular Green Grow/Green Spaces working parties as we have over 20 sites around Monmouth where, over the years, we have already undertaken planting and maintenance is needed, or where there are plans for new plantings.

Watch this space – more details nearer the time for each of these happenings. 

One last thing:  You might like to write a letter of support for a New Planet planning application at Trecastle Wood.  You can see the project documents and make a comment by 28 December using the link:

DM/2021/01823 | Change of use from agricultural to One Planet development. | Land At Trecastle Wood Penyclawdd NP25 4BW (monmouthshire.gov.uk).  If there is a problem with that link you can search for it using the application reference:  DM/2021/01823.  The project involves sustainably reducing our carbon footprint and producing low carbon food for the community while increasing biodiversity.  Your support would be greatly appreciated.

It just leaves it for me to say that we hope you have a good break over the Christmas period and that we see you all in 2022 when things must surely be better.  We have learned a great deal on how to operate despite the restrictions of Covid-19 and we will have much for you to enjoy in the coming year.  Above all, take care!

Vivien Mitchell