Kayleigh Tompkins


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Kayleigh Tompkins went on a community mission

Wed 9th Jun 2021 at 6:15pm

A Sting in the Tale

Oxford Report written by Anwen Greenaway

Aston's Eyot is tucked away beside the river and is one of our favourite Oxford wild spots. They've just completed a (very on-trend) vaccination programme to immunise their badgers against TB, and now the focus returns to nature reserve management to encourage greater biodiversity.

Meeting us at the tool shed Ruth explained our tasks for the evening would be clearing nettles from one of the best areas for wildflowers in Aston's Eyot using a combination of scything and weeding out by hand. Removing the taller nettles should allow the smaller flowers to thrive. We actually cleared nettles in the same patch a couple of years ago, so it was nice to be back at the same spot with some of the same people.

In the wildflower meadow we grasped the nettle with enthusiasm. It was oddly satisfying pulling them out by the roots and revealing the smaller wildflowers beneath the canopy of stingy beasts.

A few eyes lit up at the sight of the scythes, with Sarah and Katie taking first go and wooshing through large patches of nettles, before handing the blades around the group for more people to try. Afterall, it's not often someone lets you loose with a scythe.

Scything proved both satisfying and therapeutic after a long year or COVID-frustrations!

Some of us were definitely more savvy with our clothing options for nettle-work than others. Not ideal: shorts and vests. Good choices for nettle work (although a bit steamy for 26 degree heat): head-to-toe waterproofs.

Having amassed a massive haul of nettles we had to consider whether we could be making good use of the 'weeds'. Matt reliably informs us that the first nettle harvest of the year is the best one for cooking, and as they also seem to be the fiercest stingers we figured there might be a certain satisfaction to boiling them up after the pain we have endured from them on GoodGym tasks over the last couple of years!

Our top 3 options:
* Nettle Tea
* Nettle Soup
* Beating ourselves with them for warmth, just like the Romans

Badgers proved elusive (well, they are nocturnal), but we were treated to the sight of a muntjak deer wandering across the path at the end of our session, apparently supremely unconcerned by 25 people staring at it!

Some exciting milestones last night: Jeremy did his 10th Good Deed and Vicky did her 100th - Watch out for Vicky in her winged Tshirt soon! Anwen reached the unofficial milestone of 250 Good Deeds.

We welcomed our first GoodGym tourist since the pandemic, with Chi joining us from Haringey.

And finally... welcome to Meysam - Thanks for joining us for the first time!

Who's the best at nettle weeding? STING!

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Bethan GreenawayWayneChi NwaAnwen Greenaway
Kayleigh Tompkins
Kayleigh Tompkins signed up to a community mission.

Wed 9th Jun 2021 at 6:15pm

Aston's Eyot

Nature Reserve management

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Anwen Greenaway
Kayleigh Tompkins
Kayleigh Tompkins went on a community mission

Wed 19th May 2021 at 6:15pm

There's no such thing as litter picking training; you just pick it up as you go along...... (Dragon hunting edition!)

Oxford Report written by Alice

If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise, if you go down to the woods today you’ll never guess what you will find…

(biiiig breath)….

Cans and wrappers and bags and jars.

Trellis and paint and some wheels from a car.

A garden hose on a reel.

A blue flip flop starting to peel.

And a gnome with (g)no face.

Plus 2 hoovers very out of place.

A watering can far from home.

And a (gravity defying) cube full of foam.

A mattress, and a dog bed.

As well as a helmet, but no head….(Phewff!!).

And some odd bits of garden furniture suspiciously close to a fence.

With a fancy blue thermos that we could have flogged for a few pence.

With new bingo sheets to track our finds,

We did our good-gym thing of being kind.

Ticking off prize finds as we went,

And shouting BINGO with content.

We collected bags in great number that we piled high by the fence.

They couldn’t fit in the council van, our efforts were immense.

And as the hour flew by,

The sun shone in the sky.

Which was a bit of a shame,

As we'd found an umbrella to protect us from the rain.

Anwen found some pants

A pink, lacy home to some ants.

And while some found the Dragon

They kept it to a socially distanced fashion.

We also welcomed a new friend;

Matt, please don't let this be the end!

Huge efforts from everyone this evening! We have all become experts at litter picking and absolutely blitz the woods this evening; absolute epitome of team work!

We’ve been to Magdalen woods before, and it sure won't be long before it's knocking back on our door!

Hopefully our noticeable impact, the glorious sunset and our newly laminated bingo cards made it all feel very worthwhile!!

Peggy, we love you. Come back soon. Of course Stu, you are very welcome too!

Matthew ; Thank you for taking a chance on the weather and getting stuck in on your very first good gym task! It was a pleasure to have you, and we hope to see you again (come rain or shine) soon!

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Anwen Greenaway

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Anwen Greenaway

Thu 20th May 2021 at 7:36am

Fantastic report Alice!


Fri 21st May 2021 at 12:16am