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IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :-

The link to Twitter is

If you would like to leave us any comments then please use this link

Wednesday 30 December 2020

Wed 30th Dec 2020 - GG Virtual Session # 027.

 Team GG stragglers at the end of 2020...!

I am sure many of our readers will be glad to see the back of 2020...what a year..!!! Our last Zoom meeting of 2020 started with a discussion about something very topical, Covid isolation. Two of the group had recently been informed that they had been in contact with someone who had tested positive and had to self isolate. I suspect that a few more of us will be subjected to this before they get around to vaccinating everyone. 
The next topic of conversation was that old favourite, the weather. Storm Bella seems to have kept many of us awake on Boxing Day night - including power cuts and structural roof damage 😟. The weather theme continued with flooding at Ryde and some of the harsher winters when the Island actually got some snow. Couldn't end the year without mentioning our wonderful new floating bridge so we had a chat about a suitable crossing point for a Trans-Media Bridge (doesn't that sound grand..!) What with certain areas being covered by SSSI's and a council that isn't renowned for making snap decisions, I doubt that I will be driving across it in my lifetime 😏.

Well Team Green Gym, that is about it for 2020. We hope you all managed to salvage something out of Christmas and that everyone will be back out enjoying the countryside sometime in 2021.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Wed 16th Dec 2020 - Shide Quarry, Newport. GG # 836.

Easy to spot where the team were working..!

A good turn-out for the last session of 2020.

 And so to the final GG session for 2020 - what a year it has been...! With as many virtual sessions as "real" ones, we have all had a steep learning curve as far as technology goes 😀. As nice as the Zoom sessions have been to enable us to stay in touch, there is no getting away from the fact that being outdoors doing something useful is a fundamental part of Green Gym. 

This week we continued last week's task, scrub clearance down in the chalk quarry at Shide. Due to the present Covid regulations, it was not possible to hold our traditional Xmas party but almost everyone brought along their own drinks and refreshments which were consumed whilst keeping socially distant. You can see from the photos above that it was a rather grey day, with little wind, hence the bonfire smoke lingering in the bowl of the quarry but there was still a good turn-out. Well done to all those who managed to attend.

Make sure that you look after yourselves over the upcoming holiday season and we  hope to see everyone back at Green Gym in 2021 (it just HAS to be better than 2020..!).

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Wed 9th Dec 2020 - Shide Quarry, Newport. GG # 835.

 Terry's Photos.

A well earned, socially distanced, tea break..!

As you will have seen from the photographs above, this week we actually got to go along to a REAL Green Gym session 👍. Although the decision to hold it at Shide was made very late, a good number of GGmers braved the cold and got stuck into some coppicing around the perimeter of the tree line. Each year we tackle a different area in an attempt to keep the central bowl of the quarry open and free from undergrowth and shrubs. Obviously, nature has not told the shrubs and brambles that they are NOT supposed to grow during Covid-19 lockdown periods so...there was plenty for us to be getting on with. Nice to have been tackling so real GG work once again, fingers crossed that we will be able to continue. Still no firm decision about a Christmas bash this year but there is a definite, possible, maybe, that we MIGHT be back at Shide Quarry again next Wednesday so.....keep an eye on your e-mail in tray and hang on to that spare box of mince pies, just in case..😀.

Many thanks to Terry for taking the photographs this week.

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Wed 2nd Dec 2020 - GG Virtual Session # 026.

 Team GG members that were in attendance this week were.....

The numbers were down a little this week, perhaps everyone was out shopping now we have (yet again!) come out of nationwide lockdown...??? Fewer people did not restrict the conversation per usual, a wide range of topics came up for discussion. The first item was the E-scooters that are now available for hire in Newport and the misuse of said items. This was widened into bikes on pavements, mobility scooters etc etc. Then a weekly favourite, a progress report on the St Mary's traffic intersection. The general consensus was that the traffic was flowing reasonably well but last minute lane changers (especially the ones that NEVER indicate their intentions..!) are an issue - so use with caution 😏. Next up was the cycleways that use the old railway tracks and memories of Newport station. I found this interesting web site that you might wish to look at, it certainly stirred a few memories for me
iow_station_index.htm.  We then chatted about the chances of reinstating the old Ryde / Newport line but certain sections had been sold off so might be problematical. This was recent press coverage of such a suggestion  Railway-plans-for-Newport-and-Ventnor. .... a nice idea but doubt that I will be travelling on it during my lifetime..! Personally, I think a road bridge across the Media would be a better way of spending our taxes.
Still no news about the chances of us holding a GG Christmas Party at Shide but NEVER say never 😀.

Stay safe everyone and keep wearing those masks...😷.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Wed 25th Nov 2020 - GG Virtual Session # 025.

 Those attending this week's Zoom session....

As mentioned last week, this Zoom session is number 25 which means that half our GG meetings this year have been on line. Hopefully, with the arrival of the New Year and a vaccine, we will soon be able to get back to what we do best...beating up the countryside..😁.
Although the numbers of those attending was down a bit on recent weeks, there was a wide array of topics up for discussion ranging from picking sloes and bullace through to the long term effects that Coronavirus will leave us with. For those who were uncertain of exactly what bullace is, see below....

Late summer bounty - - 243791.jpg

The bullace is a variety of plum. It bears edible fruit similar to those of the damson, and like the damson is considered to be a strain of the insititiasubspecies of Prunus domestica. Although the term has regionally been applied to several different kinds of "wild plum" found in the United Kingdom, it is usually taken to refer to varieties with a spherical shape, as opposed to the oval damsons.[1][2]

Unlike nearly all damsons, bullaces may be either "white" (i.e. yellow or green) or "black" (i.e. blue or purple) in colour, and ripen up to six weeks later in the year.[3] Though smaller than most damsons, bullaces are much larger than the closely related sloe.[3] Their flavour is usually rather acidic until fully ripe.

The question of wether we will be able to hold our traditional Christmas Bash at Shide Quarry this year was raised - at the moment there are just too many unknowns but let's all keep our fingers crossed.

Take care everyone and stay safe...😷.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Wed 18th Nov 2020 - GG Virtual session # 024.

 Well readers...I am sorry to report that I didn't manage to log on to this week's Zoom session...😒.

I sat down just before 10:00, found Mark's email and clicked on the link to Zoom...just like I have done every other week.. but all I got was this...

Tried all the usual tricks including "turn it all off and back on again" and even reloaded the Zoom software...all to no avail...😡. Occasionally I could hear the others talking but certainly no video. If anyone who did attend would like to send me a brief summary of the topics discussed then I'll be glad to post them here.

We usually hold 50 GG meetings through the year - 52 weeks minus 2 weeks for the Christmas break. I noticed as I started this blog today that we are on virtual session number 024 so, if we have another one next week, then half of this year's meetings will have been on line. Fingers crossed that the New Year brings us a vaccine and then we can get back to some serious work..!!!

Stay safe 😷💉.


Wednesday 11 November 2020

Wed 11th Nov 2020 - GG Virtual Session # 023.


The was the happy bunch on this Wednesday morning....

The numbers for this virtual session were down a bit on other weeks but there was lively discussion on a wide range of subjects...not all GG related..!As we are back to complying with the lockdown Covid regulations, it has been deemed that it wouldn't be prudent for a large group of us be seen together even if we were following the rules to the letter. The general consensus was that it would be better to defer any outdoor sessions until at least the 2nd of December and review it all again then. Mark does have some possible sites penciled in for future sessions including our traditional pre-Christmas one at Shide / Munsley Bog. Fingers crossed for December.
Bob (the weather) had proposed that interested parties might like to partake in an unofficial beach clean, just to blow the cobwebs away. This is still under discussion.
A couple of weeks ago, the County Press ran a story about the car park at Bouldnor Car Park having restricted views due to overgrown trees and undergrowth. Some of you will remember us working there in the past and Mark is going to look into if our services might be needed once again.
The conversation then opened up into discussions about the pandemic, St Mary's hospital / roadworks and flu jabs .... never a dull moment when we all get together 😀.

For those GG members who have had to endure my everlasting ramblings about my latest lockdown project, here is a photo of the progress to date...

The Sinclair C-5 has undergone successful road testing and the custom built transporter has been adapted from an old boat trailer.... Well it is GREEN transport...!

Take care and stay safe.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Wed 4th Nov 2020 - GG Virtual Session # 022.

 This week's Zoomers....

In light of the ever changing Covid pandemic regulations, it was decided that it would be best if we didn't hold a "proper" session this week..... maybe by next week the situation regarding volunteering will become a little clearer. So, it was back to staring at the computer at 10:00 on Wednesday but it is nice to see so many smiling faces 😀😁😊😂. Now we are back in full lockdown, this might be the only contact we get with the outside world.
Because I live local, there was the usual questions as to how the St Mary's intersection is progressing. Difficult to explain exactly what they are trying to do right now but the same advice holds good...AVOID THE AREA UNLESS YOU WANT TO SPEND AGES IN A TRAFFIC JAM...! I will add that if you want to travel through there at night then check the local web sites. Sometimes, when they are working overnight, the whole thing is shut down and you have to detour via Carisbrooke 😕.
The conversation then moved to last week's session...building the pond at the school. Apparently the staff are delighted with Team GG efforts and there might even be some coverage about it in the County Press. Everyone is wondering how much water is now in it after the recent heavy rainfall. Once it is full and the liner has stretched then perhaps we can get a return visit to plant it up?

Mark has been digging around in the cupboards at home and come across the trophy that GG received from the Queen's Award for  Service some years ago. As we don't have offices or an HQ to display it at, Mark wondered if any GG members would like to have it (on loan..!) to decorate their mantelpieces. It would really impress your visiting friends.... but, oh dear...we can't have anyone around to
Unfortunately I had to leave the session early but I am sure that there were many other scintillating conversations in my absence. 
As before, during lockdown, keep an eye on your emails in the hope that Mark will be able to arrange a "real" session sometime soon.

Stay safe by staying alone 👤.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Wed 28th Oct 2020 - Queensgate Primary School, East Cowes. GG # 834.

 Terry's Photographs.

 On this photo you may notice that the down-pipe looks a bit strange. Apparently the downpipe was missing so Geoff improvised with part of the cardboard tube from the liner as a temporary solution, so as to get this afternoon's downpour into the water butt!

Mark's Photographs.

Mark's Editorial.

There was a certain amount of urgency about this week's session. Not due to the fact we had unavoidably had to delay the job from the spring for Covid 19. No, it was once again the weather forecast that concentrated the minds to crack on with the task of lining a pond. Heavy showers threatened!

The main task, as I say, was to line a pond which the builders of the school's new building had kindly dug out earlier in the year. This new pond now is located in 'The Patch' which is their Forest School area. This was my first visit, before it was dug.

And this was the McAlpine builders with their bit done!

By the way - IW Green Gym's involvement at Osborne Middle School (now Queensgate) and The Footprint Trust's go back some years.  Their old pond, which we created in 2009 and this session later in the year has, along with the old school, now had to be removed, but it had done remarkably well! This was it in February 2020.

This week. Thanks to the Island's Footprint Trust gaining a grant from The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, we were assisting in the creation of a new pond for the benefit of the school's environment and so importantly a resource for the children to aid learning.

The job first was to re-profile slightly the margins around the pond, variously on the different sides; allowing for children to sweep their dipping nets on one; allow a shallowly sloping relief for invertebrates on another; with some too being shelved to enable planting to create marginal habitat. Well done team! Then there was the stone and gravel to be rakes away, clearing anything which might  puncture the liner. The old carpet, plus protective membrane and finally the Greenseal pond liner was laid.

Rainwater is by far the best water to use in ponds, it being much lower in nutrients than tap water, so not encouraging algal growth. So, again thanks to the funding, we installed guttering and a water butt on the nearby shed.  Remarkably all achieved before the rains set in, so lucky!

Link to the school's newsletter...

Many thanks to Terry & Mark for the photographs and to Mark for the comprehensive editorial 👍.