Save Bungay Library: World Book Night

We’d like to invite you to attend World Book Night on Thursday 3rd March (7-9pm)*. It should be a great night with live music in the library gallery, a book swap stall in the courtyard garden and a gaggle of local authors including Elizabeth Jane Howard CBE and rising poetry star Luke Wright.

As well as poetry readings, conversation and gentle musings on the joy of  books and libraries we will be asking local authors to write some thoughts in the front our scrapbook. The scrapbook is called What Bungay Library Means to Me and is full of photos taken at the Read-In along with the 100s of statements pinned to the notice board by those who came (see photo below). It’s a powerful thing and we plan to present it to SCC in Ipswich sometime in the near future. Peter Aldous MP has agreed to come with us if he’s in the county which might really help us get it into the hands of the Chief Exec. or Council Leader (and into the papers) (update: as of 12/03/11 Peter Aldous has decided that he will not be able to help us because, he argues, it would go fly in the face of the govs. ‘localism’ agenda if he were seen to be over-riding or undermining the work of local councillors… wonder if he’d feel the same if SCC weren’t conservative controlled?). If anyone on this list would like to come down to Ipswich too you’d be more than welcome and we’ll keep you informed.

You can download a poster for World Book Night HERE. If you’re able please do print a copy and put it in your front window, or your car window or on a telegraph pole, or in your local shop…

There are a few other simple actions you can take to help save the library:

Got less than 2 minutes?
Tell your neighbours – or you could just pop the poster for the 3rd up in your window. Tweet this page (using the button at the bottom of the page) using the hashtag #savelibraries or share this page on your Facebook profile.

Got 2 minutes?
Visit the Suffolk libraries website and use the online reference resources.

5– 10 minutes?
Contact all your friends and family, ask them to join the library and use library services – its never too late!

10 – 15 minutes?
Email or write to Peter Aldous our local MP the local press or the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the unique contribution public libraries make to society. Or you could contact Cllr Judy Terry at Suffolk County Council – she’s in charge of the library consultation and should be able to answer all your questions, all her details are HERE

15 – 30 minutes?
Pop down to Bungay library on the 3rd between 7 and 9pm. While you’re there pick up a paper version of the consultation form, fill it in (answer the questions as you see fit) and send it to SCC by post (this is a bit naughty, but apparently they don’t have enough staff to handle all the paper forms they’re getting…)

If you’d like to be kept up to date with our campaign please sign-up here:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

I'd like to be added to the Save Bungay library mailing list 

What does Bungay library mean to you? (we'll send your answers - but NOT any of your contact details - to Suffolk County Council)

We will only use your details to keep you up to date with the Save Bungay library campaign and we certainly won’t share them with anyone else.

*Strictly speaking World Book Night is the 5th, but the Library staff are keeping the library open on a voluntary basis and couldn’t manage the 3rd

Learn how to lay a hedge, prune, bottle, plant, preserve…

Graham and Nicky Elliott have just published a list of all the courses they’ll be offering this year – sign up quickly if you’re interested as they are popular (and excellent!):

Hands-On Courses | 2011 Programme

All courses are at Graham and Nicky’s organic smallholding in the Waveney Valley (2 Old Hall Barsham Beccles NR34 8HB)

See sketch MAP
Download flyer HERE

Please try and use sustainable modes of travel to come to these courses.

As most people will need to arrive by car, lift sharing is encouraged.  Graham and Nicky will contact course participants if there are any possible lift sharing possibilities. There are buses and trains to Beccles which is 2 miles away.

Hedge Laying and Maintenance

Dates:     Saturday 5th March 2011

Time:      2pm – 5pm

Cost:       £15 (includes refreshments), cheques payable to “Graham Elliott”

Tutor:      Paul Jackson

Fruit Tree Pruning

Dates:     Saturday 12th March 2011

Time:      11am – 5pm (with an hour break for lunch)

Cost:       £30 (includes lunch and refreshments), cheques payable to “Graham Elliott”

Tutor:      Paul Jackson

Fruit and Veg. Bottling

Dates:     Saturday 17th September 2011

Time:      2pm – 5pm

Cost:      £12 (includes refreshments), cheques payable to “Graham Elliott”

Tutors:    Graham and Nicky Elliott

Grow-Your-Own & Food Preservation Workshops

Come and Try It!  Learn how to eat from your garden year round and meet much of your energy requirement from your plot. Graham and Nicky will show how to:-

  • grow fruit and vegetables for consumption all year round
  • dry apples and other fruit
  • make jam, jelly, syrup and chutney
  • bottle fruit, including tomatoes
  • make wine
  • store vegetables
  • make apple juice and cider
  • make compost, leafmould and comfrey liquid manure
  • grow and manage your own firewood
  • generate solar heated water

A series of half day practical workshops looking at seasonal growing and preserving of vegetables and fruit.  Bring warm clothes, waterproof, sun hat, wellies and gardening gloves as appropriate!  Max. 10 people per workshop.

Each workshop will cover what needs to be done at that specific time of year as well as an overview of fruit and vegetable production and preservation for the whole year.  Each individual workshop will have its own distinct focus depending on the time of year.

Course Dates for 2011

9 April: Ground preparation, seed-sowing and protection
14 May: Soil fertility and planting out. Solar water heating
11 June: Drying herbs and flowers, summer drinks, weeding techniques
9 July: Syrups, jams and jellies, water management
13 August: Fruit drying and bottling, pest and disease control
10 September: Wine-making, seed-saving
8 October: Apples: storage, juice and cider-making, chutneys
5 November: Vegetable storage, drying apples, wood as fuel, pruning soft fruit

Time: 2pm – 5pm

Cost: £80 for set of workshops (transferable by arrangement), £12 per individual session. (Cost includes refreshments.)

Tutors: Graham and Nicky Elliott

Accommodation available if required. Click HERE for details

Advanced booking essential!
Further information:

Biodiesel Sub-Group Update

Last October I wrote about my meeting with a waste vegetable oil man in Beccles, and talked about the beginnings of Sustainable Bungay’s Biodiesel group. This is an update based on a December visit to a man who makes biodiesel at home and our own first attempts at a reaction last Saturday.

But first, why am I part of a Transition Biodiesel group, when I don’t even have a car at the moment? Well, for several reasons, not least the social benefits of being part of a community group that’s making something useful together. But equally, at a time when oil prices are soaring through the roof and with political instability in so many oil producing countries, plus the realities of Peak Oil, it just makes sense to engage in a project that focuses my mind and gets me thinking in a really practical way about these things.

And you can use biodiesel for other purposes – oil lamps for instance. (Though there are obvious drawbacks with used chip fat – unless you’re into things like scratch and sniff!).

Kris and Josiah pouring the oil on Saturday

(i) On a very cold December day Josiah, Kris and I took a trip down to Aldeburgh to see Colin, a retired chemical engineer who has been making biodiesel at home now for three or four years. Colin welcomed us with a mug of tea and showed us around his set up, explaining the process – from collecting waste vegetable oils from food outlets through cleaning the dirty vegetable oil, reacting the clean oil with  lye, separating the crude biodiesel and glycerol and washing the crude  biodiesel with water to produce the final vehicle-worthy product you can see in the photos.

Final Product - Colin's Biodiesel

Throughout the visit Colin answered our questions on everything from handling lye (the caustic which is vital for the trans-esterification reaction which converts the vegetable oil to biodiesel and glycerol) to the disposal or recycling of the waste glycerol. He advised anyone making biodiesel for the first time not to rush into producing enormous amounts.
“The thing is to start small, doing the reactions with some glass or plastic bottles,” he said. “Then as you get used to handling the liquids, you can increase the amount.” This came as a great relief as I had been eyeing that caustic lye with some trepidation.

The legal limit for home biodiesel production is 2,500 litres per year, tax-free. This is what Sustainable Bungay’s Biosdiesel group will aim at initially. The project will get underway once the weather warms up. And Colin meanwhile has invited us to come round the next time he does a ‘reaction’.

(ii) So last Saturday, 19th February a dozen of us turned up at Kris and Eloise’s to have a look at the set up in their garage and to make our first three litres of biodiesel. We crowded into the living room where Kris introduced the project and we discussed everything from logistics to legalities before descending on the kitchen for Eloise’s delicious soup and homebaked bread, David’s tasty flapjacks (his first ever!), Elinor’s ginger cake (no comment required!) and Brenna’s polenta, lemon and orange cake, also a first. I ate three slices of that!

Great Care Taken - Jim holds it steady whilst Kris pours the lye-methanol mix

Then we cleared all the food and utensils out of the way to do the reaction. Great care was needed (and taken) pouring the lye/methanol first into a glass measuring jug and then into plastic bottles with vegetable oil. As it was our first time (and the weather had not yet warmed up), we used clean vegetable oil.

Kris wore protective goggles and everyone handling the mixtures wore gloves. David and Josiah took photos. We kept the windows open to avoid suffocation by noxious fumes. My nervousness about caustic liquids was allayed both by the presence of Mike, a chemical engineer, and the fact that Kris was so calm.

Still in the Garage

We had to keep the temperature of the mixture at below 50 degrees for the reaction to take place safely (methanol is volatile and can produce an easily ignited vapour at higher temperatures), so the bottles were placed in a pan on the stove for about an hour. Meanwhile we went to look at the reaction vessel.

Shortly after this I had to leave, so I’ll sign off now with a photograph of the SB Biodiesel Group’s first post-reaction bottle of Biodiesel. More later on the separated liquids…

SBs First Biodiesel - In the Sink

Getting Grubby at Greengrow

So, once again I found myself heading towards Greengrow on a cold and blustery mid-February Sunday (not snowing this year though!!). It would be so much more civilised if fruit trees were planted in summer – however, they aren’t and it was with a certain sense of pride that I entered the ‘orchard area’ knowing I helped with the planting of the established apple trees. There are approximately 350 apple trees consisting of about 30 different varieties, it is going to be absolutely fabulous in a few years time.

Today we planted the last of the apple trees, fortuitously we arrived as the last of the holes were being dug (I am particularly bad at holes) and so had the fun parts of planting, popping a mulch mat on and tie-ing in to get on with. I didn’t manage to escape hole digging completely though, which did at least warm me up, as we then moved onto planting cherries, two of which needed re-locating due to water-logging. There is something intensely satisfying about neat bundles of mulchy pillows housing the young trees all in a row. I shall look forward to planting the pears next year.

Green drinks: Bungay Community Bees

Green Drinks: Bungay Community Bees

Tuesday 15th February, 7:30pm at the Green Dragon

With Elinor McDowall, Gemma Parker and other members of Bungay Community Bees

STOP PRESS! BCB was the lead story in this week’s Beccles and Bungay Journal

Inspired by a desire to help everyones favourite (indispensable) pollinators, Sustainable Bungay established what is probably the first Community Supported Apiculture (CSA) scheme in the UK – possibly the world! Lauded by the Soil Association and a major influence on the Mayor of London’s Capital Bee project, Bungay’s Community Beekeepers are entering their second year with plans for exciting new education and outreach projects.

We’ve invited community beekeepers Elinor McDowall and Gemma Parker along with other members of BCB to tell us more about the plight of the honey bee, how community beekeeping works and BCBs plans for 2011 and beyond. As usual we’ll ask them to speak briefly about what they’re doing, answer questions from the room as a whole and then circulate as we break into less formal conversations.

Over the past year lots of other groups have expressed an interested in community beekeeping – some from as afar afield as Canada and the USA – but most quite local. BCB has promised to organise a weekend  workshop for these groups but it won’t happen until the bees are more active; the Green Drinks evening will provide an excellent insight into the workings of the project.

For those who don’t know anything about BCB there is a short precis below – there is also lots of information on the Sustainable Bungay website.

Bungay Community Bees in brief:

Bungay Community Bees (BCB) demonstrates the emphasis Transition places on raising awareness and building a sense of community through practical actions and activities. To date BCB has been funded through a subscription scheme based on the increasingly popular community supported agriculture (CSA) model. This year the group is considering adopting a more formal structure, becoming a social enterprise and moving out from the umbrella of transition initiative Sustainable Bungay.

In its first year BCB has:

  • Raised £800 and bought hives, equipment, training and insurance
  • Engaged 37 members who’ve bought annually renewable £20 ‘shares’ in the project (representing about 90 people)
  • Established two small apiaries on the outskirts of Bungay
  • Held regular meetings, opportunities to visit the hives and offered formal training
  • Actively communicated the work of the group through: blog posts, press releases, social networking, local TV and radio
  • Established two subsidiary groups, Plants for Bees and Education and Outreach. In 2011 these will work with local schools and community groups
  • Inspired other groups all over the country (and internationally) to do the same. Most significantly the BCB model has been a major influence on the Mayor of London’s Capital Bee project and BCB members spoke at the recent Bee Summit held at the Royal Festival Hall – 50 similar groups are now being established in London
  • Created a community of friends around the hives and a feeling of mutual support and learning – none of the BCB beekeepers were particularly experienced at the start of the project
  • Engaged with other local beekeepers through the Waveney Beekeepers group.

BCB members feel confident and inspired and Sustainable Bungay plan’s to apply the CSA approach to other food and craft projects. BCB shows how Transition initiatives act as a catalyst for change, gathering people and ideas together, building trust and empowering them to act. Projects like BCB evolve at their own pace – often this can be a (frustratingly) slow process –  but it’s vital to ensure community leadership and ownership. Hard work, a clear collective vision and a certain amount of trust are also required if projects like BCB are to work.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Bungay Community Bees Meeting 05.02.2011

Several new members joined us for an update on our plans for 2011. Thanks to Jeannie, Keith and Gemma we had a lovely space to meet in and some delicious cake to fortify ourselves with. Several topics were discussed:

Bits and Bobs
 We currently have five colonies of bees (3 BCB and 2 in our care) situated at two sites with one (possibly two) beekeeper(s).
 We have a third site to use later this year.
 We have two more (top bar) hives to use later this year.
 Two beekeepers were trained last year but won’t be tending bees this season as they are both expecting babies this Spring – congratulations to you both!
 Two further members have embarked upon the Waveney Beekeepers Group training course.
 We have had several articles and mentions in the press in the last few months, including in Positive News, the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association) news, the Energy Bulletin, the Soil Association newsletter and the Natural Beekeeping Trust website. We plan to build on this in the future.

Thanks to all those who paid their £20 today – and a gentle reminder to those who would like to join this year but haven’t yet done so!

Plants for Bees
The plant calendar design continues to evolve and we now have an illustrator for the flowers. Work also continues on the logo, which will be used for stickers to be added to bee-friendly plants in our local garden centre. We will be applying for funding to assist with buying plants and seeds for our own apiary sites and to back up our bee-friendly gardening projects for our members and the general public.

Education and Outreach
We are planning to work with Bungay Primary School later in the year on bee-related projects, details to follow at a later date. Gemma is to be the lead co-ordinator for Bungay Bee Day (I know how the name sounds but there’s no alternative one as yet), with the aim of celebrating the honey bee and educating others in a fun and engaging way. We are hoping to involve a theatre company and perhaps tie in with local school/s.

Adnams Charity
A big thank you to Adnams: Bungay Community Bees has been awarded £477.55 to purchase honey extracting equipment from Beechwood Bees – fingers crossed for some honey this year!

Social Enterprise Support
We have been offered some invaluable professional support in organising our structure and income streams for the future – which was enthusiastically accepted. More to come soon…

Horizontal Top Bar Hives (hTBH’s)
Mike brought along one of two superb hTBH’s that he has been crafting for the group this winter. I was incredibly impressed by the quality and workmanship of it. Although it will be exciting to see it housing bees, it is actually a fabulous object in it’s own right, just begging to be admired. Many thanks to Mike for all his hard work in both designing and building the hives, at cost price no less!