Shati completed a community mission. Instead of watching TV or lying in bed, Shati was out there making their community a better place to be. For making that choice they have earned the community cape.
Inspired by Monty Don and armed with spades, forks and gloves, several Goodgymers were put to task to plant a few more trees in Marston Forest Garden.
We followed a detailed step by step guide and demonstration provided by Anthony from the Forest Garden. This was to ensure the young trees would get the best start in life and provide tasty fruit for years to come. Clearing the top woodchip and digging out the soil was just the start...
The space should be a square, approximately 1 m square, and a spade length depth, ideally putting the dug-out soil onto cardboard pieces to prevent it getting mixed up with the woodchip. After removing any pesky bindweed or sturdy bramble roots, the young tree should be placed centrally with the roots just below the level of the ground (using a handy stake as a guide). Removing any large soil clumps, the finer soil can be added from the outside-in to fill in between the roots and to reduce the occurrence of any air pockets. Once all the soil is added, the soil should be compressed down, again from the outside-in. Cardboard is added on top and fresh woodchip added as mulch to aid early tree growth. As the trees were quite sturdy, no stakes were used but wiring was added around the outside to prevent local wildlife from getting a head start on eating the vegetation.
We planted several different types of trees, including pear, quince, plum and walnut trees plus others. We also cleared some more areas and started the process of adding wiring around the outside of the planted trees. The dog was also very helpful in keeping morale high and checking that we were following the precise tree planting instructions!
After all that hard work, it was time for cake: Colin the Caterpillar from Anwen, macaroons, gingerbread stars from Isabella from the Forest Garden volunteers and tasty flapjack made by Bethan. Cake is always welcome, particularly when building up such an appetite at the task, but the special occasion this time was to celebrate Ben getting married the day before! Thank you so much for the personalised Goodgym t-shirt and the card!!
Going meat-free one day a week can make a world of difference for the planet and our future, so today’s GoodGym Advent Calendar suggestion is to give Meat Free Monday a go.
For some vegetarian and vegan recipe inspiration, check out:
A favourite of ours during lockdown, Rick's home walking workouts are great fun and usually come with a banging soundtrack.
Who doesn't love a bit of disco funk 🕺 https://youtu.be/s7u8IIAN_nc
Or, he's got a ton of other shorter options. 10 mins, 1500 steps, boom! https://youtube.com/c/RickBhullarFitness
Session 2: Planting the trees!
Marston Forest Garden is part of the Marston Community Garden cooperative, which comprises a community allotment, the Forest Garden, a chicken coup, an orchard and a new Community Wood on New Marston Recreation Ground plus much more.
This time we’ll be planting the trees in the areas we prepared last month. Wellies are advised as the ground can get quite muddy at the Forest Garden through the winter, and please bring your gardening gloves. Tools will be provided.
Meeting point: Outside of the main allotment site on Boults Lane near Marston Saints FC.
We had a fun and festive lunchtime race around Christchurch Meadows on the Christmas Fun Run. Trev even won a prize for being Best Santa (aided and abetted by Julia's hair band holding up his trousers!).
Thanks to Julia for coming to cheer us on and to Barry Cornelius for some of the photos.
Save a life today - register to give blood.
We know that not everyone can give blood, but if you are able to then your advent calendar item today is to go to https://www.blood.co.uk/ and register as a donor. It'll only take a few minutes and it could save a life, or several!
If you're already a registered blood donor consider booking your next donation appointment, or if you suit the criteria you could register to donate platelets here.
There's a blood donor centre where you can also donate platelets at the John Radcliffe Hospital, so if you're able to give blood it really couldn't be easier for Oxford residents.
If you're a first time blood donor there's lots of information here.
Have you ever thought about using your empty jars and containers to do your shopping?
In Oxford, there are several refill shops where you can take your own containers to fill up on food such as pasta, rice, cereals, nuts, coffee, tea, herbs and spices. There are also places to fill up on laundry detergents and other toiletries too, many of which are provided by SESI.
For Day 17 of the Goodgym Oxford advent calendar, we are inviting your to try these out. OxUnboxed is located at 36 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford OX1 2HU and is open 10-6 during the day (Thursday-Sunday but do check before going). It is run solely by volunteers so if you are able and willing to help out, do contact the staff at Oxford Hub to find out more. They also have recycling boxes provided by Terracycle if you have any bread bags or crisp packets to dispose of.
Another option is Flo's Refill Shop, which is located in Florence Park next to the cafe at Rymer's Lane, Oxford, OX4 3JZ. They are open 11-7 on a Friday so do pop in to see what goodies you can pick up (and to try the excellent cakes they have in the cafe).
There are refill stations at the East Oxford Farmers' and Community Market too on a Saturday morning, some of which need pre-ordering before going to pick up so check that out too.
In Marston, the Eco Hub also has a small refill station for oil and household products.
If you know of any other refill shops and stations, do use them and spread the word!
The John Radcliffe Hospital is the main Accident and Emergency centre for Oxfordshire, and provides acute medical and surgical services. It is the largest of Oxford's hospitals, covering around 66 acres, including the Children's Hospital, Eye Hospital, Heart Centre, Women's Centre, blood donor centre and many other services. The John Radcliffe site is home to the Oxford University Medical School and the base for most medical students who are trained throughout the Oxford University Hospitals Trust.
All this makes the hospital site very busy, with lots of footfall from students, staff, patients and visitors. And sadly, with people comes litter. The Estates team can't possibly be expected to keep such a large site litter free alongside everything else they do, so tonight we trialled a GoodGym litter pick to see if we could make a difference.
We met on the outskirts of the hospital site, briefed everyone on safety policies, divided into teams, tooled up with bags and pickers and then set off to clean up. One of our teams headed up the hill to the main entrance, another went along the path towards the blood donation centre, a 3rd team cleaned up outside the West Wing and Children's hospital, and our final team concentrated on the car parks.
Masks were the most regular find tonight.
They were everywhere....in the hedges, under cars, by bus stops. LOTS of cigarette butts too, and (oddly) a huge stash of cider cans in one of the car parks - did someone have a party in the car park?! Hats, hoodies and gloves were all found, but astonishingly NO PANTS. We even had a few appreciative comments and 'thank yous' from passersby.
We collected 18 large sacks of rubbish, a broken umbrella, a large box, and a folded mattress-y thing, and lugged them all off the hospital land for collection by Oxford Direct Services.
Well done everyone - the litter is an eyesore, as well as potentially dangerous, so it's great that we managed to clear up so much of it tonight.