Helen Conner

GoodGym Bath

Rubbish Friday evening

Friday 30th September

Written by Laura W

In need of some fresh air at the end of the week I returned to an area i walk regularly and knew it often had rubbish for a litter pick. My rubbish Friday was an ideal start to the weekend.

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Watching the walkers go by

Sunday 25th September

Written by Ruth

GoodGym was asked to help out at the annual Circuit of Bath walk, raising money for Julian House, a charity that provides accommodation, support and opportunities for homeless and vulnerable people across the Bath area.

The route took in some amazing countryside but it was a relief to learn that our task did not involve taking part in the 20 mile long walk but manning one of the checkpoints - handing out medals, cheering walkers, stamping maps and distributing the odd dog biscuit.

There was great weather, good company and the chance to catch up with a host of ducks near the checkpoint. Three hours well spent and a free flapjack to boot!

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Weed did it!

Wednesday 24th August

Written by Ruth

Weed did it! GoodGym Bath takes on the graveyard shift

There are a number of hidden gems in Bath from Ralph Allen’s town house to Brown’s Folly mines but this was a new one for me. Jill from Bath Preservation Trust revealed a secret garden when she unlocked the wrought iron gate to Southcot Burial Ground. The Baptist cemetery dates back to 1810 and is usually only seen by the public once a year on heritage open days.

It has become badly overgrown so GoodGym have been called in to bring it under control. The team spent an enjoyable hour wrestling with brambles and playing tug o war with bindweed. The task tested our gardening gloves to the limits with the occasional yelp of pain when there was a particularly troublesome briar.

We had the advantage of numbers. Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow was filled with the fruit of our labours while Jer just carried the cuttings himself, a green man piled high with coils of weeds. I wish I’d caught it on camera.

This space pays tribute to the lives of past Bathonians and there is still plenty more to do to tidy it up - but we certainly made an impression.

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Advantage GoodGym

Tuesday 23rd August

Written by Jer Boon

We gathered by the tennis courts for a rematch with the infamous wrongly-laid Sydney Gardens path.

This epic battle started with a strong opening set back in May and some strong opening service sending the old path down the lines into storage ready for the next play.

A stunning comeback in the second set delivered the path back to its rightful location to level the score.

For this third set we had three enormous bags of hogging which needed transporting (the deliverers had clearly heard we know our way around a wheelbarrow at GoodGym Bath and had handily delivered them to the far side of the park for us) to top off the path so that hopefully it’ll finally be Game, Set and Path to us!

Today’s play featured some mixed doubles with Dan and Ellie covering the side-lines and tidying up some of the borders, while the rest of the team took up the wheelbarrows between us to serve up some ace delivery of the majority of the topping onto the path.

The night was drawing in though, and these tennis courts aren’t covered so eventually we had to stop play with the match still in the balance.

Tune in for the next instalment (or come along and join in!) to see how this delicately poised matchup turns out…

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Hole Lotta Love

Sunday 21st August

Written by Jer Boon

There I was, digging this hole. A hole in the ground, so big and sort of round it was.

There was I, digging it deep. It was flat at the bottom and the sides were steep.

Raspberry foray

Dan, Meyrick and I had another successful outing on our monthly visit to Alice Park.

First up we had to dig over a little rectangle of land round the back of the greenhouse. An old patch of raspberries was sacrificed here on this particularly rocky part of the garden in order to make way for a new trellis which is going to act as a windbreak for the greenhouse, which itself had nearly bought the farm in the most recent gales.

We turned over the patch in relatively short time. The first 10 inches or so has been done before. I guess in preparation for those raspberries (RIP). But it was clearly very rocky indeed below that.

Going the hole nine yards

Next up, we had a set of 9 posts which are to become the support for said trellis, and for which some deep holes need to dug.

We started digging the first hole…

The first few inches were not a problem. Then came the stony strata. Dan and I stood and watched Meyrick for a while, who by now had a trowel. Scoop, cave-in, scoop, another cave-in…

Progress was slow. Every so often a larger rock required some pickaxe action, which resulted in the biggest kind of cave-in and a whole lot more scooping.

I took over for a bit, which resulted in similar imperceptible progress. If we’d been pushing a piano up some steps, it felt, they’d make a Laurel and Hard film out of it.

We decided to split up and cut our losses. Dan and Meyrick went to work forking over another area, while I battled on.

The hole was getting marginally deeper in time, and I don’t like being beaten…

Pipped at the post?

By the time we stopped for a coffee break, the hole was about half way there! I swear, it was deeper now than it has ever been. We got back to it, and after more tediously slow progress came a breakthrough. Our host found a big old heavy metal spike. Specifically the kind of big heavy metal spike that’s purpose built for this very task, and possibly has a specific name to convey that (but I don’t know what that is).

It was still relatively slow going, but with the spike thing (er, let’s call it a SpikeTastic!) it was much easier to break up the next layer of hole, even though the manual scooping that followed was just as slow.

Eventually with 15 minutes left of the mission the hole was at optimum post-setting depth. We found a spirit-level in the tool shed (if a job’s worth doing, and all that), set the post straight, and started back-filling…

Here’s where the SpikeTastic! helped a second time. The non-pointy end is custom built for tamping down the rubble as we back filled it, and long before the hole was properly refilled the post felt strong and sturdy.

We finished up the post with 5 minutes to spare, and scored some free heritage tomatoes for our help.

Note for next month’s GoodGym volunteers … that’s one post down, eight to go. Don’t have nightmares…

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A Loe-d of Good Work!

Saturday 20th August

Written by Dan Laws

This morning five GoodGym'ers from Bath spent the morning at Newton St Loe working with Grow for Life in a garden which is used for therapeutic horticulture for those suffering with anxiety, depression and isolation.

For the first hour we were tasked with creating compost beds which will be used to plant a whole range of fruit and vegetables including rhubarb, cabbage and lemon balm which we were planting today. We split into teams to tackle this, with Jane and Jer filling the gaps between the beds with wood chip, Meyrick and I filling the wooden frames with the compost to make up the beds, and Ellie had the all important job of compacting and smoothing the compost beds so that the wooden frames could eventually be removed.

After a drinks break, Ellie and I began to plant the lemon balm plants in one of the newly created beds whilst Jer, Meyrick and Jane were on heavy lifting duty, shovelling large piles of rocks form one corner of the site into large trenches that needed filling to provide foundation for further work. To finish, Ellie and Jane cracked on with the somewhat tedious task of removing sellotape from cardboard which is placed under compost beds to stop weeds growing through.

After all was complete, we were rewarded with a number of vegetables harvested in the garden itself, a worthy reward for the morning's hard work!

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