The Aston's Eyot Triathlon: Scything, Digging and log-carrying. It'll be a Commonwealth Games sport one day you know!
We spent our evening working around the new wildlife pond on Aston's Eyot - digging nettle roots out of the area where the Friends of Aston's Eyot plan to create a boggy area, scything and raking up nettles to try and encourage greater biodiversity, and moving logs to create suitable habitats for reptiles to hibernate (and to clear them from a new footpath).
Aston's Eyot used to be a rubbish dump, so there's lots of Victorian trash all over just below the surface, which makes digging and weeding a bit of a treasure hunt. Who could have predicted that we would be unearthing an old laxative bottle and taking it home to use as a vase? Hopefully the digging team won't get prosecuted for their efforts by Christchurch college - the sign prohibiting digging looked pretty ancient!
Scything is a GoodGym right of passage, so we're always delighted to have a chance to show our newer members how to do it. Fortunately this load of nettle scything didn't seem to trigger everyone's allergies like it did when we scythed nettles in June before. Good to know August is better for the hayfever sufferers!
Well done on reaching the 10 Good Deeds milestone Laurie.
Aston’s Eyot is an island in East Oxford formed by the River Thames, the River Cherwell and Shire Lake Ditch. The 32 acre nature reserve was originally a water meadow, then a rubbish tip for a while at the end of the 19th Century, it is now a mosaic of woodland, open area and scrubland. The land is managed by the Friends of Aston’s Eyot as a nature reserve with public access.
There will be various jobs for us to do around Aston’s Eyot nature reserve, including digging out a pit to make a boggier patch near the trial pond, scything, and other maintenance tasks.
Please bring your own gardening gloves.All tools will be provided.
If you would like to run to the task location with the group meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall at 6pm.It is less than a mile to Aston’s Eyot, but we can take a slightly longer route if we set off on time.
If you want to meet at the task we will be at the intersection of Meadow Lane and Jackdaw Lane at 6:15pm. We will walk along to Aston's Eyot together from there.
The Ark-T centre have a Summer Celebration event on Friday evening this week, so they called in the GoodGym flashmob to get the garden ready for an influx of visitors.
Armed with secateurs, brooms and paint brushes we set to work:
- Painting the wooden teepee in funky colours
- Giving the pathway a good sweep to clear it of as much sand as possible
- Trimming the willow fronds back so that they weren't at eye level (and blocking the sight line of the CCTV).
- Pruning the shrubbery so the hammock can be used.
- Litter picking (2 condom wrappers found)
- Moving decking boards so that they don't form a trip hazard
- Breaking down rotten wooden pallets
- Giving the garden a thorough watering
- Topping up the sand pit
Fun was had on the climbing frame and slide and no-one over heated while running or gardening, plus we had a full compliment of GoodGym Tshirts, with everything from Race Team Vest to 50 and 100 Good Deed milestone Tshirts, to New Balance AND Saucony versions - a successful summer evening!
Friday evening drinks in the garden of the Victoria Arms to make the most of the hot weather.
I’ll bring my paddleboard and anyone who wants to splash about is welcome to have a try on it.
Much fun was had chilling in the park snacking on fake chicken dinosaurs, crisps and, of course, a watermelon expertly cut by a Ben who brought a full on knife into the park.
We swam, we tried to track down the sneaky diving grebes, we played 'scatch ball', we ping-ponged and we listened to the sweet sweet tunes of our talented guitar players. Trev's rendition of Bad Romance needs to be added to his wedding set lists!!
Same again next week everyone!!
There were scythes, and nettles, and bind weed; all the GoodGym task essential elements!
We spent a very wholesome morning at Oxford City Farm drop-in morning running the café, detangling bind weed from lime trees and pear trees, scything nettles, moving benches and fixing up guttering so that it feeds the water butt. Thomas manned the gate, and everyone learned how to care for the chickens, sheep and bunnies. There's trouble in paradise with bullying issues amongst the hens and the rabbits! Hopefully harmony will be restored very soon. The sheep were delightful as ever - they'd never stoop to such undignified behaviour.
Oxford City Farm are planning a Drop in morning and pop up cafe and have requested some help from GoodGym. There will be tea and cake, seed gathering, and other activities around the farm. We’ll help run the cafe, welcome visitors and assist with other activities around the farm.
This session will offer an opportunity for people of all ages to come and enjoy the farm, meet and feed the animals, and have a cup of tea.
Please bring your own gardening gloves just in case there are gardening jobs to do.
Directions: The City Farm is tucked away behind the Isis Court Care Home on the Iffley Road end of Cornwallis Road.
UPDATE: photo of location now uploaded!
Come and join us for a lovely picnic and swim by Hinksey lake while the weather's scheduled to be glorious!
Feel free to bring along some drinks and snacks. I'm sure a portable speaker would be appreciated if anyone has one. I will bring a vegan cake. I also have ping pong equipment for a competitive element to the proceedings!!! If none of that has tempted you yet, I've read on the Facebook that the Oxford Model Boat Club will be playing around in the pond! If that doesn't excite you, I don't know what will.
I will update with a more solid location within the park closer to the time, but my initial thoughts are between the lake and the tennis courts, away from the rowdy young people.
UPDATE: photo of location now uploaded!
The Ark-T centre have a Summer Celebration event on Friday 15th July and have asked for some help getting the gardens ready.
They need some help sprucing up and installing some items in the playspace for the sensory garden, including putting together a solar-powered water feature. There are also some planters that need a bit of tlc, and some signs to be designed, painted and put up, a wigwam to paint in funky colours, plus we'll give the pathway a good sweep and scrub, trim the trees back, and tidy up the mud kitchen area.
As always, bring your gardening gloves, and if you're up for a bit of painting then wear clothes you don't mind getting some paint splatters on.
* Anyone wishing to run to the task as a group please meet in the car park of the Richard Benson Hall, 276b Cowley Rd at 6pm. There won’t be a bag drop available but we can use the toilets there. It's a little over a mile to Ark-T from there.
* If you would prefer to meet at the task please meet us at 6:15pm at the Ark-T Centre playspace garden.