St. Margarets Allotments Association
Newsletter & Rent/Dues Request
Well, it's that time of year again, so I'm writing to ask you to pay the appropriate amount (depending on whether or not you've used a hosepipe at all this season) mentioned on the label stuck to this newsletter. Please pay, preferably by cheque made out to St. Margarets Allotments Association, to the treasurer, David Flower, at 26 briardene (opposite the plots). If you wish to pay in cash, please pay him in person, and he'll give you a receipt. Please pay up as soon as possible, and not later than the September 30th. There will be a 10% surcharge on rent and dues for members who don't pay even after receiving a reminder.
(1) The Annual Fair will take place on Saturday the 6th. of September in the Town Hall. The chairman, Tony Ewin (14 Mountjoy Crescent, ( 386 1791), will be organizing it as usual. This is important -- last year, the Fair added about 10% to Association income. So please, if you are willing to give a hand with a stall or making teas, or if you have produce, jams and preserves, cakes, old books, or bric-à-brac to donate, give Tony a ring SOON.
(2) The AGM will take place in the upper room at St. Margarets Centre (the old school) at 7-30 p.m. on Friday November 21st. It'd be nice to see some new faces as well as the old regulars. The business will be officers' reports, nominations and elections, and any members' items. If you have anything you'd like to have discussed, please bring it to my attention.
(3) The site is 100% let, and better than 90% cultivated. We have a small waiting list, but could do with more people, so if you have a friend who'd like a plot, please put them in touch. Members who are not cultivating their plots at all, or to a standard the Inspection Committee finds tolerable, will not be receiving invitations to renew their membership unless and until they have tidied up. Unfortunately, people only seem to comment on the minority of wildernesses, not the majority of really good gardens.
(4) As you and your slugs must have noticed, it's been a wet summer. This ought to mean a reduced water bill, even allowing for the fact we had one bad leak. But please don't waste it. Advice about economical water use will be circulated again at the start of next season (and, probably, for as long as we have the plots, and the water bill!)
(5) Continuing on the environmental theme, we've had a few complaints from neighbours (South Street, Briardene, and Priory Orchard) about bonfires this year. Since the last newsletter in Spring, there seems to have been a lot of improvement, but we're getting into heavy bonfire season, so, burners, please don't cause too much pollution. One of our new neighbours has found the phone number of the council's Environmental Health Officer, and he's been ringing me up with complaints too, so please don't get yourselves and the Association into avoidable problems. (The Association isn't going to carry the can if members land us in difficulties -- if the cause of a stink is identifiable, I'll put the E.H.O. in touch with the stinker in person.) Basically,
·if you can, compost it (and get a £10 bin from the Council if you need one);
·if you can't compost it, then please don't try to burn anything plastic, rubber, or otherwise obnoxious, and don't try to burn anything wet, because it'll just smoke; and only one fire on the site at a time, please!
·if you can neither compost nor burn it (e.g. rubble, glass, metal), please bag it and either leave it in the shed with Rick or, preferably, take it home and put it in your wheelie bin. Because of the landfill tax, rubbish skips have DOUBLED in price this year, so if you come by car, why can't your rubbish go home in style?
(6) Other environmental problems remain unsolved, too, despite all that your officers have tried. Both the main paths into the site are affected by overflowing storm water drains, which cause a lot of erosion. The Council has been informed, and has had a look, but nothing has happened yet. As for student parking on Margery Lane, well, I've been coopted onto a University working party to tighten up the regulations, but whether they'll be enforced or any more effective remains to be seen. Proposals to introduce some restriction (e.g. a 2-hour limit, or overnight parking ban) which would inconvenience students rather than the General Public (i.e. us) were blocked by, amongst others, our MP, who was afraid that this would just displace the students into Briardene, where he lives. (Not in my front yard...) I've also had complaints from Three Rivers about members parking in Priory Orchard. Please note: this is private property. They don't clamp -- yet; but they might well start.
(7) We've also had some vandalism this year -- not just the usual (i.e. Durham School pupils trampling over the plots up near their boundary, or by their smoking and drinking corner), but some real wilful damage to Bob Ardle's and Norman Robinson's competition leeks in the polytunnel. This took place during the vacation, so the identity of the culprits is unclear. I'll be writing to the Headmaster before the next term, asking him to impress upon his pupils that the plots are private property; that there are no rights of way across them, but that members of the public are welcome, provided that they stick to the main paths; and finally, that they should appreciate that people put a lot of effort, care, and money into their gardens, and that they -- the gardens as well as the gardeners -- deserve respect. I don't know what effect such a message will have on members of the School's yobbish tendency, but it's probably worth trying. Do any of you have any bright ideas about how we could improve the security of the site, or persuade our young neighbours to treat it, and us, better?
(8) Finally, David Flower once again deserves all our thanks for keeping the grass in order through a season when it's grown exceptionally well, as well as for repairing broken water taps. Thanks, too, to members who have trimmed their hedges and kept the paths clear. IF YOU HAVEN'T trimmed your hedge, please do so now. The Association depends on its members keeping their own plots, hedges, and paths in order.
Happy harvesting, and see you at the Summer Fair, AGM, and down the plots