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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, 14 April 2021

Wed 14th April 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 042.

 The attendees this week were...

You really won't need a magnifying glass to work out which of the GGmers above has managed to get an early appointment with a barber / hairdresser. Now the Covid regulations are easing a little we should all soon be looking a little less "primitive". πŸ˜€
The conversation opened with comments about the landscaping on the new St Mary's interchange. The general opinion was that it is starting to look a little better now some planting has taken place. Just needs a couple of seats and litter bins now.
Quite a long conversation about the pros and cons of electric scooters and e-bikes on the roads. I am trying to persuade the council that the Newport / Cowes cycle track is a better option than using the main road..!
For some strange reason, at this point the Zoomers from Newport suddenly dropped out - the wonders of technology.
It appears that some kind individuals have taken spades to the meadow area of Pig Leg Lane...

Seems a bit of drastic way to get turfs for your lawn.! Oh well, it will give us something to do when we can get back to "real" GG sessions.
Several people were saying that ducks seem to be turning up in their gardens although there isn't a pond nearby. This is a photo of a pair on the roof of my house, taken earlier today. I assume they had flown in from the pond over at the hospital.

Apparently the Golden Hill site has recently undergone something of a makeover which includes a new willow shrub maze. That got us thinking about a willow igloo that GG built in the play area of Ventnor Botanical Gardens...way back in 2007. Mark found this photo that was taken at the time..

My, don't we all look so much younger in that shot...πŸ˜‰.
Apparently some (more senior!) GGmers have already had their second Covid vaccinations but us "youngsters" still have several more weeks to go. Perhaps we will soon be able to get back to REAL GG sessions soon..???

For those of you who have been contacting Mark about seaweed from Hovertravel's slipway, now the regulations allow it to be collected it seems that it has all disappeared😏...maybe next year?

Take care everyone and remember...even if you have had both vaccinations, STAY SAFE.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Wed 7th April 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 041.

 The Zoomers this week were....

As you can see from the photo we were joined by a very special guest this week – no less than John Lennon himself!  Ever the competitor, Mark had taken part in an online quiz with his choir and the teams gained points if they ‘dressed up’.  Sadly he didn't sing for us - a few lines of 'Yellow Submarine' would have been popular…. Or perhaps 'Help!' might have been more appropriate.

We discussed the way the public are using the grounds of Quarr Abbey very much as a park would be used, with pigs being a popular attraction as well.  Tony’s garden is still being pestered by rabbits and more fence building has been undertaken.  

There was a brief discussion about the white tailed eagle project.  The link is here in case you didn’t see it in Mark’s zoom invite:

It is around this time of year that we normally hold our AGM.  Last year due to the pandemic it was deferred until June.  It was felt that it will almost certainly be held via Zoom again, but the date is yet to be decided.

Stay safe.

Many thanks to Alison (again!) for the editorial and photograph. Hopefully, Bob the Blog will be back at his post come next Wednesday morning πŸ‘.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Wed 31st March 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 040.

As you can see from the photo, only a few of us made it to the Zoom chat this morning.  The conversation, as ever, ranged all over the place.  A couple of us mentioned that we are desperate for a haircut now, and the relaxing of regulations will be very welcome.  Mark has been contacting Nick from Gift to Nature and a few other groups to try and set up sessions as soon as possible.  Litter picks certainly seem to be one option.

Tony has been creative making a willow windbreak in his garden around the back of a bench.  Photos have been requested as from the description it seems to be quite a substantial structure (see photo below).  He has also been having problems with animals digging in his garden and wondered if anyone has a wildlife camera that he could borrow.  There was a suggestion that Bob the Weather had expertise in this area and had been known to obtain a few unusual sightings!

If anyone has been working on inspirational garden projects, please do take a photo or two and send into the blog and tell us about it.

Condolences were expressed regarding the sad loss of Derek’s wife, Una.

Have sent you pic as requested by Allison in GG video session today. Willow used from Afton marsh and arbour constructed by myself, Lin (the model) & Viv

Many thanks to Alison and Tony for this week's contributions.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Wed 24th Mar 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 039.

 Those attending this week were...

This week’s conversation seemed to revolve around outside activities.  The willow maze at Golden Hill Fort is now underway after several delays.   The following is an excerpt from Gift to Nature’s recent Facebook post:

‘We are so excited to finally be able to allow work on the willow maze installation at Golden Hill Country Park. 

Willow artist Eddie Glew and his team will start work on Tuesday 23rd March. All work and accommodation arrangements will be fully Covid compliant. 

This is the final stage of our Golden Hill Country Park project, which has received really positive feedback. A mixture of archaeological excavations and improvements for both people and wildlife alike, we are very proud of all those who have worked so hard on this important National Lottery Heritage Fund funded project.'

One of our number also bumped into Nick, G2N ranger, and he has lots of work waiting for us once we are permitted to be out and about. 

It has been noticed that trees are being removed from various sites on the Island – notably along the Middle Road where they arched over the road - possibly due to ash dieback.  Mark advised it can make the trees very unstable so trees are being removed before they can fall down.

Badgers are upsetting the keen gardeners amongst us who have these nocturnal visitors.  They are also causing considerable problems for the cemeteries in Freshwater and Totland, they are a protected species and not easily persuaded to go elsewhere.  

Condolences were expressed regarding the sad loss of Bob the Blog’s partner, Mags.  

Stay safe.

Many thanks to Alison for both the screen shot and editorial this week.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Wed 17th Mar 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 038.


As you can see a small but select group of us logged onto this morning’s Zoom meeting.  We started off by talking about clay, initially that which is used by potters, but then segued onto clay that we find in the garden – deemed to be nutrient rich but hard work to garden with.  One of our group wished to explore the possibility of lighting his greenhouse 24/7 so that his tomatoes carried on growing throughout the night - perhaps a trial might get underway!  

As mentioned in Mark’s email, the pond at Queensway and further improvements were discussed.  Mark shared a photo of the pond completely full of water.  The turfs (turves?) need to be lifted around the edge of the pond and then replaced on top of the liner that is currently showing.  Martin suggested a rail and duckboards be added to make a safer area for dipping.

Bird life was then discussed with sightings of skylarks of which there are plenty on the Island.  There is an update to the white tailed eagle project – here is the link if you haven’t seen it yet -

Stay safe and keep hanging on in there!

A big thank you to Alison for this week's blog πŸ‘.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Wed 11th Mar 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 037.

 This weeks happy GGmers on Zoom were....

(many thanks to Alison for grabbing the screen shot)

Due to changes with my private commitments, I will not be able to attend the Wednesday morning GG Zoom sessions on a regular basis so the blog will become a bit hit and miss for the foreseeable future πŸ˜•.

I have invited those that do attend to make notes of the topics of conversation and perhaps the occasional screen shot (don't want anyone forgetting what we all look like..!) which I will publish as time allows.

This week Mark has sent in the following....

Conversation this week started with discussions on Kangaroos. Of course it did!  (click the link!)

Well, Eucalyptus was the topic and I actually came in at the end so missed most of it, but here is a bit from Wikipedia giving some of the idea, maybe it should have been Koalas Phil?
An essential oil extracted from eucalyptus leaves contains compounds that are powerful natural disinfectants and can be toxic in large quantities. Several marsupial herbivores, notably koalas and some possums, are relatively tolerant of it. The close correlation of these oils with other more potent toxins called formylated phloroglucinol compounds (euglobalsmacrocarpals and sideroxylonals)[33] allows koalas and other marsupial species to make food choices based on the smell of the leaves. For koalas, these compounds are the most important factor in leaf choice.

The weather was dire outside which made us all glad we were inside! Well you know.

Sorry it is a bit brief, I will have to pay more attention next time :-)

Last week I mentioned about the council's plans to sell off certain car parks, including Mornington Woods at Cowes. Please follow this link for a letter published in the County Press..

I am sure that a few GGmers will have something to say on this subject...!!!

During the few minutes I was able to log into the Zoom session this week the topic of conversation was about eels. Mark seemed to remember we had seen one when working at Osbourne House, way back when. This is what I found in the archives....

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

The Osborne House Water Babes...

As promised in the Osborne House are the photos of Green Gymers wearing sexy, full length rubber boots....!

Many thanks to Terry for sending in the pictures - he wins the prize for being the first to send in something for publication.


Perhaps we should be running a caption competition for these photos?
Take care, look after yourselves and hopefully normal (blog) service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Wed 4th Mar 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 036.

 If you logged in this Wednesday morning then this is who you would have seen....

The session this week started with a dog / cuddly toy show. It appears that our four legged friends like to get in on the act during Zoom sessions 😊. I wasn't quick enough with the screen shots to capture them, better luck next time. With the recently improved weather, the conversation turned to the arrival of spring which prompted Mark to show off his T shirt...

Two of our number are involved with the care and maintenance of Mornington Woods at Cowes (we have held GG sessions there) , we were all alarmed to hear that the council is proposing selling off the car parking area there (and others across the Island)..! I am sure there will be a public outcry about this and someone will be starting an online petition, I will post details here when received.
Mark wants everyone to know that the Green Gym specific mobile phone appears to have died so if you need to contact him then please use his personal number.
In light of a group of Island volunteers receiving £200 fines for Covid regulation infringements (subsequently the fines were dropped) it is important that any return to normal GG sessions is in line with the regulations. Mark is already looking at suitable venues for when it is possible to return to some sort of normality.
Things then turned a bit silly when it became apparent that certain GG members had mastered Zoom more than others. Not mentioning any names here but you might like to guess who I am talking about..!

The Solent came up next, a story about a dead dolphin / porpoise being washed up on Gurnard beach and the collapse of part of Hurst Castle. Perhaps GG could offer to help with the rebuild..??? πŸ˜€
The final conversation was about soil enhancers. Bob (the weather) had recently purloined some horse manure, the bags for which had split on lifting πŸ˜‚. Apparently, using such natural resources can encourage weed growth as the horses eat the weeds and the seeds pass straight through. Mark thinks that Hovertravel might be doing their annual maintenance on the slipway and there might be seaweed up for grabs, great for the garden. I know from personal experience that old mushroom compost is NOT a good soil enhancer unless you want "fairy rings" everywhere in your garden.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Wed 24th Feb 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 035.

 Those attending today were...

I was a little late logging on and had to leave almost immediately thereafter but the discussion I did hear involved how the new Covid regulations will impact upon our regular Wednesday morning sessions. It is very much as before... as the regulations are somewhat unclear then we will wait for further guidance. Even if we as a group decide that it is safe and legal for us to start up again, the groups that we work with might have different ideas. As they say "Watch this space!"😊

The eagled eyed ones of you might have noticed that the landscaping of St Mary's interchange is finally underway. Various trees, including  alder, beech, horse chestnut, lime, maple, horn beam etc have started to appear and there is even a couple of hedges. Not sure how much my campaign has influenced any of this but there is certainly some progress. I am now pushing for some seating and litter bins πŸ‘. Once the area has dried out a bit I will be sprinkling wild flower seeds around during my daily dog walks, wanting to try and get them established before the grass and weeds crowd them out.

Be careful and stay safe... hopefully we will soon all be meeting up in person on a Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Wed 17th Feb 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 034.

 What a happy, smiling bunch.....

Last week it was the cold that made us thankful we were inside, this week it was the rain... it was bucketing it down on Wednesday..! 

The session started with a quick roll call of people who do not log on to our Zoom sessions but were given a telephone call to check on them, apparently all doing πŸ‘Œ. We decided that one of the (few) advantages of becoming a little forgetful in old age is that you can't remember the endings of TV programs, which means you can watch them time and time again and the ending is still a surprise. Sub titles are a distinct advantage when your hearing isn't quite as sharp as it once was but when the lyrics of songs appear they aren't necessarily the words you have been singing all these years..!

One person had received their Covid vaccination at the Riverside Centre and reported it all went very well. Good news if you manage to get yourself an on line booking there but be aware if you are directed to the blue badge parking area that you still have to enter your car registration number at the reception desk to avoid a fine..!

The gardening club section report that the legumes are thriving in Carisbrooke but failed miserably in Ventnor, due to frost. So much for the theory that Ventnor has a year round sub tropical micro-climate πŸ˜€

We all enjoyed a few minutes of what was supposed to have been an off screen conversation, which only highlights knowing where the Zoom mute icon is on the screen (AND remembering to USE IT..!) This followed with the recent news story about the kitten filter on the American lawyer but as nobody in our group is technically minded enough to work out how to turn such a thing on, it is hardly going to be an issue for us.

One person experienced ongoing broadband problems throughout the session ad I struggled towards the end due to Zoom wanting me to update my software during the meeting. Don't you just love technology..???

Remember the rumour I gave you last week about more road "improvements" in Newport..? Well, apparently it is TRUE, see this link

works-to-make-st-georges-way-3-lanes-wide-to-begin-shortly πŸ˜

The detour for the duration of this work looks "interesting" - think I will be avoiding the south side of Newport for a while.

That's about all for this week folks, remember to stay safe and try to get along to next week's Zoom session.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Wed 10th Feb 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 033.

 This was the baker's dozen that managed to make it through the blizzard....

Nice to see one new (old!) face...welcome back πŸ‘. With the weather as cold as it is, really sad that we weren't out at One Horse Field would have been just perfect 😏. As is becoming the norm, the opening topic was Covid and who had managed to get the vaccine. Someone suggested we should watch the 2011 film called Contagion, apparently the plot has a striking resemblance to what is happening in real life right now. For those who have Amazon Prime, here is a link should you wish to view it..
If you do watch it please do NOT tell us the ending next week...!

The covid theme continued into a discussion about top up jabs and if Virus Passports are a good or bad idea. A few people remarked how difficult it is getting up in the morning during a winter lockdown, I find that walking the dog on a freezing morning is a great way of starting the day.
There was then a discussion about the tip and re-cycling. Apparently Lynnbottom tip is still operating a pre booking system but you can only book once every two weeks. It is difficult to get rid of things like rechargeable batteries and microwaves without doing a tip run, so what do you do if you're not a car owner?) Two GGmers remarked what good value the council garden waste collection service was even though it involves an additional cost.
Various people mentioned getting their central heating boiler serviced recently with most opting to use local contractors rather than British Gas, who apparently are on strike at the moment.
Those living to the south side of the Island seem to be somewhat isolated due to various roadworks being carried out. I am pleased to announce that all the road works at the St Mary's interchange are now completed, although it's rumoured that new work is about to start south of Coppins Bridge πŸ˜•.

Last weekend I tried to do a litter pick on the traffic island at the bottom of my road but was thwarted by the mud...

Perhaps it will be frozen solid by next weekend..?

That's about all for this week. Please stay safe 😷.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Wed 3rd Feb 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 032.

 Those attending were....

Over the last year there have been many comments on this blog about "wish we were outside working, rather than having a Zoom session" well today was the sort of day when you would be glad to be is tipping it down with rain. I can only imagine what the venues we usually attend along the Eastern Yar are like at the moment, we would need to trade in the wellies in for flippersπŸ˜€.

Needless to say, the first topic of conversation was about who had managed to get their first Covid vaccination. A quick show of hands indicated that the majority have succeeded in navigating the plethora of information being generated by the local surgeries and NHS booking system with nobody taking up the offer of attending a mainland vaccination centre..! Please note that if you are going to get yours at the Riverside then there is a one way system in operation, coming in from the Fairlee Road end (carpark fees have been suspended for a short duration whilst "getting the jab".
Things then got a bit muddled (NOT unusual) with Mark and Bob trading bragging rights about various certificates, a quick discussion about part of the crown of Henry VIII being found by a metal detectorist in Norfolk and then a swift comment about a frozen penis..!!!!
Apparently several GGmers attended a recent video session for the Cafe Scientifique, not something that I am familiar with but here is a link Cafe
Then the conversation turned to an old favourite, Island roads and driving standards. Various suggestions were made about the need to change traffic lane markings, road signage and accident black spots. As a matter of interest, the men that have been working on the St Mary's Interchange inform me that they will be moving on to the construction of a new traffic lane between Coppins Bridge and the Matalan Roundabout....that should cause some chaos so BE WARNED πŸ‘Ž.

Now the St Mary's scheme is finally coming to a close, I have decided to "adopt" the largest remaining island. See area outlined in photo below...

The construction work has left some of this rather bare with large areas of thinly spread top soil. At the planning meetings we were told that it would be landscaped on completion...time will tell. Using the guidance given in the following link, I am hoping to try and sow some wild flower seeds before the grass and weeds takes hold. Planning to use this seed but it is rather costly...

As of this morning, the area looks like this...

Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Wed 27th Jan 2021 - GG VIrtual Session # 031.

 The attendees for this Wednesday's Zoom session...

Today's session started with a bit of a dog show as both Merlyn and Gizmo wanted to get in on the act. Later on, one of the above mentioned that they had previously owned a Leonberger, so for those of you are not well up on dog breeds then this is what they look like...

Not sure that I would be wanting one of those  sitting on my lap...πŸ˜€. Remember that old joke "Where does your dog sit? Anywhere it wishes!

Our next topic was who had managed to get their Covid vaccination, how they were notified and attending the appointment. Two people had gone to the Carisbrooke Surgery within an an hour of each other and had totally different experiences so the advice is, go prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

The conversation then turned to more technical things including video conferencing and 3D printing. Mark was able to demonstrate a flexible 3D printed elephant prompting questions about what would happen if you accidentally hit the 1:1 scaling button before going off to make a coffee..! As three of the team had problems logging into the session this week I think that our technical prowess is very much in it's infancy.

We briefly touched on the subject of Covid transfer between pets and humans but by then the session had timed out - so back to the boredom of lockdown for another week 😏.

Take care everyone, hope to see as many as possible come next Wednesday morning, we are only one click away.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Wed 20th Jan 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 030.

 Those attending the Team GG Zoom session this week were...

Due to my carer duties, I was unable to attend this virtual session but Alison kindly took the screen shot above and contributed the editorial below.

The conversation seemed to revolve a lot around the use of the English language - jabs, vaccinations, shots and bad weather reports - which is bad?  The weather or the reports?  We moved onto discussions about exercising locally - how local is local? and the usage of the St Mary's junction where you (Bob the Blog) were missed as you have considerable knowledge about how best to get about.

Sympathies were expressed re Mark and the loss of his Dad, but he did not manage to make it to the chat.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Wed 13th Jan 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 029.


The Team GG members who made it along to the Zoom meeting on Wednesday were....

As one might imagine, the first topic of conversation at this meeting was CORONAVIRUS 😏. To date, only one group member is lucky enough to have actually been vaccinated so we are all keeping our fingers crossed that the rollout goes as per the government's plan. The sooner we can get our Wednesday mornings back to some sort of normality then the happier we will all be πŸ˜€. The discussion then focused on the odds of actually catching it, here on the Island, but that subject was declared too morbid so was skipped over pretty quickly..! Many of us had seen Sunday's Countryfile programme on the BBC which showcased the sort of voluntary work that GG is involved with and highlighted the mental health benefits of working outdoors, particularly in woodlands. It is a shame that this programme was shown during a lockdown period as it may well have influenced a few more people to come along to our sessions. 

As many of us are now relying on packages being delivered and collected from home, there was  some discussion about the performance of various couriers.  Not wishing to get myself sued or my Google account terminated, I won't mention  company names but there are certainly winners and losers in this competitive market.....just ask Bob the Weather. My personal gripe is those companies that refuse to mail things, using Royal Mail, because we are an "off-shore island". This subject broadened into the merits of buying locally, rather than online, and most agreed that we do (under more normal circumstances) prefer the local option.

Mark mentioned a rather strange package he had received containing a store card and I recounted the story of my over-delivery of items from Amazon.. I will bring said items along to a "real" GG session for redistribution to interested parties.

That's about all for this week, thanks for taking the time to read this and please take care, we still have difficult times ahead 😷.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Wed 6th Jan 2021 - GG Virtual Session # 028.

Members of Team GG who made it along to the first virtual session of 2021..... 

Well everyone, here we are in a new year and also a new Covid-19 lockdown...😏. It doesn't seem likely that we will be holding any outdoor sessions any time soon so Wednesday mornings will have to be Zoom conferencing for now. 

Having sorted the formalities of wishing each other a Happy New Year, it was straight into the topic of the day - Covid-19..! Fortunately, it hasn't been an issue for any of the above although several have relatives who have been unfortunate enough to catch the dreaded thing. There does seem to be some positive news about the over 80's getting the vaccination here on the Island so, fingers crossed, it might trickle down to us "youngsters" sometime soon so we can get out and about again πŸ˜€. Do I miss standing in One Horse Field on a wet, cold day in January, sad as it sounds YES...I really do. Anything to escape being stuck at home.

Much of our meeting this week revolved around the topic of bird sightings across the Island with everything from Merlin, Ibis, Short Eared Owls, Spoonbills through to some of the more common varieties found on the garden bird feeder. Mark pulled up a photo from a web page that might be of interest to bird watchers in the group, try this link  Isle of Wight Birds. When we are all out on our once a day, local to home, socially distanced exercise period it might be worthwhile looking out for some of the more unusual birds.

Well Team, that's all for session # 028 - stay safe and try to get along to the Wednesday morning Zoom sessions.... the more the merrier.