Annual Summer Picnic goes downriver! Sunday18th August, 1pm

Thomas_Cole's_'The_Picnic',_Brooklyn_Museum_IMG_3787Bring out your picnic rugs and hampers (and mandolins),  it’s time for Sustainable Bungay’s Annual Summer Picnic! This year we are converging on the riverbank at Outney Common.

We (that’s the Arts, Culture and Wellbeing group) reckoned the easier spot to meet was at the little footbridge that leads to Bath Hills at the old mill  (see map below for approaches from Bungay and Ditchingham) If you don’t find folk there, follow the bend and they may be around the corner by the swimming hole. If coming from Bungay allow for a ten minute stroll across the common.

So all those up for a swim as well as a friendly leisurely lunch, do bring your swimming things along with some seasonal food and drink to share. It’s lovely in there!

All welcome.

For further details or updates please contact Cathy Proudlove on cathy.proudlove@btinternet.com (01986  892274) and if poss let us know if you are coming.

Meanwhile here is a map of how to get there (thanks to the great  Wild About Bungay blog)

Bigod map

Image: Picnic on Picnic Hill, 1897 by Thomas Carlyle

Happy Mondays in the Transition Free Press

A version of this article appeared in the Autumn edition of the Transition Free Press

In March, Happy Mondays, Sustainable Bungay’s monthly community meal, was visited by a journalist from Delicious magazine. She was researching a story about groups like ours who are growing, cooking and eating food together. For those of us usually absorbed in menu planning, dressing the room, cooking and washing-up, stepping back from the fray to answer questions about why these celebrations of local, seasonal food happen was a useful opportunity for reflection.

Happy Monday-1457Happy Mondays is inspired by the shared meals we struggle to find time for these days; based on seasonal food and simple recipes, with all ages involved in cooking and eating – sharing their skills and the effort. They’re the kinds of meals we might have seen and experienced in southern Europe or in the English rural tradition of harvest and celebration – sadly both are now less common than they once were.

Our aim is to use local and seasonal produce from gardens, farms and allotments in and around Bungay and we hope to demonstrate that cooking with great ingredients needn’t be expensive or complicated – and that the results are delicious. We decorate the room with garden and wildflowers and seat all our guests, 50 or 60 every month, round a single table to encourage conversation and a sense of community. We aim to make the meals as accessible as possible, charging £5 for two courses to cover our costs. The money we take, around £6000 so far, is mostly spent locally on ingredients, kitchen hire and equipment.

The meals offer a chance to find out what’s happening locally, either in general conversation or between courses when someone explains how we arrived at the menu; initially we’d feared these talks would seem intrusive, but we’ve discovered that people enjoy hearing about the food they’re eating – whether it’s back-garden hens, gardening in a changing climate or an update from our community beekeepers.

As well as the social and economic benefits there’s an environmental rationale behind our meals; cooking and eating together uses less energy and creates less waste. And our meals are quietly vegetarian; this simplifies the kitchen work and helps us demonstrate how easy it is to eat less meat.

Two years on from our first plans, hatched in the pub after a Sustainable Bungay core group meeting, and Happy Mondays has served almost 1000 plates of local food, has a team of 5 or 6 who plan the menus and source the produce and a pool of 20 or 30 who cook, wash-up, dress the room, greet and lay the table. We’re no longer fazed by the Community Centre’s idiosyncratic cooker and confidently turn out two courses for 50 people every month. Where once we had to advertise and struggled to fill every chair, now we’re always oversubscribed.

As a collective we’ve started calling ourselves Bungay Community Kitchen and see opportunities beyond Happy Mondays – opportunities that could see us creating employment and offering training as well as spending money with local farmers, growers and independent retailers.

Wellbeing Walk No 5 – we're off to Bath Hills! Saturday 3 August, 10am-12 noon

Image4936

Our August wellbeing walk will be starting at Outney Meadow car park and – if we’re all agreed – we’ll be heading over the common towards the river – where we’ll do a reccy for our Annual Summer Picnic (Sunday 18th) – and then the Hills. We usually take around a couple of hours all in, and afterwards those who are up for it discuss the walk and the world over a cup of tea or something stronger in town.

All welcome. Do bring stout shoes and raingear (oh and swimming things if you’re up for a dip!)

Mapping Bungay

Our wellbeing walks have so far walked around and about the town in different directions. At midsummer we went for an evening walk along the river and on a lovely hot July morning visited some of Bungay’s play areas with the NR35 group (which included a foraging for limeflowers for our Happy Mondays refresher!) This autum and winter we’ll be drawing up a map of all the great places and green spaces we have in common. Do check out some of our other walks here.

Meanwhile here is Tony . . .

Mapping the Playgrounds: some field notes by Tony Dawes

The purpose of this walk was twofold: 1. walk some parts of Bungay not done before 2. make some suggestion for the play areas

Three play areas were visited.

Castle Hills This was a convenient start as it was close to our meeting point. Some management is already taking place there, cutting three strips of the hill at different times of the year.

Pilgrims Way / Garden Close As you enter the play area from Pilgrims Way, there is a triangle of land to the left. It was thought that this would be ideal for a “wild area” with some suitable planting to attract wildlife such as bees and butterflies.

Meadow Road Here, it was felt that the boundaries between the mown area and the trees and bushes, particularly on the west side, might be allowed to blur rather than have a very closely defined edge. Parents could be concerned that their children may get stung by nettles or scratched on brambles. But everyone remembered playing more freely when we were growing up, and we soon got to learn  what scatched and what stung.

We felt that this play area in particular was most suitable for all ages. Our group sat under the lime trees to the north and enjoyed the whole ambiance. The provision of fresh coffee (thanks Lewis) made it all the more agreeable.

Conclusions

In the three play areas visited so far, only one could do with some intervention and that is Pilgrims Way. The others need a less rigid mowing policy in order to blur some of the edges. These areas, while designated Play Areas, might also be enjoyed by all ages and to this end some publicity and community involvement in maintaining them is part of the way forward. As is simply visiting the areas with others as a social thing.