Tag Archives: fund raising

A Rabbit Comes to Call

Here are some pictures from the MENCAP Open Day.  The painted stones sold well, as did the nest boxes and various other items. I say “various” because I’ve forgotten what Julia said.

I know it came to around £100 and is going to make a useful contribution to the garden running costs. One of the volunteers who helps with the garden brought Peter Rabbit to form the centrepiece of the garden display. Ironically, when you consider what he did in Mr McGregor’s garden, Peter is a scarecrow.The group all helped out and everyone had a good day.

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The group took a number of photos of Julia with the visiting rabbit

Even the photograph album (which was back-to-front after my late night glueing session) was judged to be successful.

The Birds

The header photo shows the origin of the mysterious tears that keep appearing in the polytunnels. The plastic is several years past the point that it should have been replaced and a crow striding across the top of the tunnel is a step too far. One day soon I’m expecting to see one fall through completely.

Julia has already used two rolls of mending tape and several large pieces of scrap polythene getting the tunnels ready for winter and despite this the wind ripped a large section last month. It’s patched now but she’s currently raising the money to replace at least one of the covers next year.

Based on the cost last time we bought covers on the farm we are hoping to spend no more than £600 doing the job. This should enable us to get a good six years of fund-raising in before we need to replace them again. Manufacturers tend to recommend three years, as the sheet gradually lets less and less light through, but economy is more important than the ultimate growing performance.

It doesn’t seem a lot of money, but when you are raising it by selling bird boxes at £5 each it takes some doing.

The Black-headed Gulls were out in force too, and the squabbling between gulls and crows is ine of the more raucous sounds around.

While I was taking photographs of the flowers and plastic poppies the squeaks of Long-tailed Tits filled the garden as they descended to pick insects from the willows.

And coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove,
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again. 

John Clare – Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter

Clare hit it on the head there, as there were about twenty of them, and they were hanging on little twigs. They were also a bit coy when it came to posing for the camera and, as usual, I got more photos of empty branches than I did of birds.

There’s something a little eerie about a poet managing to do that from a distance of 200 years.

The Great Tits on the feeders were slightly easier to get, but the Cormorants, which flew by several times, proved impossible to photograph. Finally, alerted by the distinctive flight, I was able to get a distant shot of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. It’s a common bird, but always nice to see, even at a distance.

Sorry about the quality of the photography, but it was a grey and windy day and I’ve become a little rusty over the summer.

Canad+a Geese in flight - River Trent at Wilford

Canada Geese in flight – River Trent at Wilford

The final shot shows three Canada Geese in flight. I took it a couple of weeks ago and didn’t have a chance to use it. I thought I’d include it here to show I can photograph birds in flight, though the day was a little brighter, and they did fly right over the top of me.

Thoughts of Mayors and Medals

I thought it was time for more from the junk box. We’ve covered coronation medals and other commemoratives so here is something a bit different.

This is a fund raising medal issued by the Borough of Newark to raise funds for the families of soldiers who fought in what they refer to as the Transvaal War, now generally known as the Boer War in the UK, though they have other names for it in South Africa. I won’t discuss the Boer War here, as it will take a lot of space and reflects no credit on the British.

As you can see, it is one step beyond the junk box and appears to have been buried at some point. It also looks like someone has attempted to put a hole through it at the top, probably to use it as a watch fob or wear it on a ribbon.

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Newark  Fund Raising Medal 1900 (Reverse)

They originally cost a shilling, with silver ones costing five shillings and a case costing sixpence extra. There were 12 pennies in a shilling and 20 shillings in £1, in case you are a decimal baby.

As you can see from a careful look at the picture, they were made by Vaughtons of Birmingham.

It is the local equivalent of the Absent Minded Beggar medal, part of a massive Boer War fundraising effort.

The war served as something of a wake-up call to the British, when they got the runaround from a bunch of farmers. This meant that we called for volunteers and found that one in three was rejected due to the effects of poor diet. This would lead to the Education (Provision of Meals) Act (1906) because properly fed citizens were needed for the services. I would have thought it was counter-productive as fatter soldiers make bigger targets, but I suppose they need to be strong enough to march and carry things.

There’s a picture of F H Appleby here, with a truly inspiring soup strainer moustache, with further details here. He really was a busy man.

The spiritual descendent of this medal is the current Newark Patriotic Fund, which helps ex-servicemen and their families.

 

 

 

Thinking of Christmas

Yes, it’s that time of year again. August, the traditional start to the Christmas season.

I’m not sure what stops people in the middle of the summer holidays and makes them think of Christmas, but it never fails. Julia started talking of her Christmas plans two weeks ago. She is preparing to raise funds for new polytunnel covers as the current ones are opaque, apart from the holes. We are going to be taping the holes soon but it is, at best, a forlorn hope. Personally I think “waste of time” is more accurate.

Here, as ever, is a selection of the Christmas that we will be  forcing parents to buy via the tried and trusted method of emotional blackmail.

In addition, she is forming plans to attend Christmas Fairs. As they are usually on Saturdays, a day she works, these plans are likely to involve coercing some unwilling soul into doing the Fairs. So far she hasn’t said more, but I do feel the metaphorical noose tightening. I am not really at my best in an environment that involves knitting, felting and quilling.

After a morning in the garden Julia went to the main building, where the conversation turned to Christmas. So it’s not just her…

 

And finally…

It’s the end of the day. I’ve just been drinking tea and eating lavender biscuits. It’s not all been this easy of course; I’ve actually had to spend some time pressing computer keys, walk round with a camera, do a bit of thinking and  and make sure the kitchen is tidy for the bread group.

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I did have to do a bit of toilet cleaning, but even that isn’t so bad. If I had to do it all day and every day I’d probably grow to resent doing it but a couple of times a week isn’t going to kill me. (Unless I catch typhoid but I don’t really think that’s likely).

Basically, toilet cleaning is nature’s way of telling you that you should have worked harder at school, so it’s hard to feel bad about it, as I definitely should have worked harder at school.

I also had an epiphany on the way to work, which is something that doesn’t happen every day. We were talking about applying for grants (we’ve just been turned down for another one) and I said that the time involved in applying must be between 20-40 hours.  You have to research, think, write, listen to unwanted advice and try to match the project you have in mind to the funding criteria of the funder. This is out of all proportion to the time and effort it takes to print a form letter telling you that you’ve failed.

In truth, I may as well have wasted a week playing Solitaire. I say “wasted”, but it’s a skill, and you need to practice to get better.

Or, as I said to Julia, I may as well have spent the time arranging bag packing or collection sessions at local supermarkets. Even in these depressed days, we should be able to raise a few hundred quid that way. We are currently looking at taking on charitable status, and at that time it might be possible to persuade supermarkets to let us in.

It’s a tough gig – I’ve packed quite a few times (helping fund a junior rugby team to Canada and buying shirts for an entire junior section) and I know that getting volunteers is tough, and getting money is even tougher.

I once packed bags (neatly and efficiently) for a well spoken lady who, at the end, said “I won’t be able to give you anything, of course, because I never put money in open buckets.”

Until that point I hadn’t realised I looked like the sort of man who would steal from children. And I really felt the sting of that “of course”.

As a result I went out and bought a dozen of the proper buckets. You secure the top with  a cable tie, put a label across the join and start packing. People give you money and at the end of the day you go home, cut the cable ties, pull off the stickers and (I you are that way inclined) steal the money from the kids.

The only difference is that you are spending money on buckets and cable ties instead of on the kids.

 

 

Half past two already!

I’ve just been told it’s 2.30pm. Doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself?

We’ve pressed apples for cider and juice, collected eggs and made Christmas decorations.

We’ve also had Christmas doughnuts, sent out invitations to the Christmas Buffet Lunch and had a parcel with the posters for Shake up your Wake up.

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That’s another cue for “Is it that time already?” The years seem to roll round so fast and it only seems like five minutes ago we did our first Breakfast Round the World school visit.

All that and it’s only 6 days until the open day, 10 days till the Winterfest and 30 days until Christmas. At that point it’s only 30 days until Breakfast week and it all starts again…

It’s 3pm now – time to load photos and get on with Twitter.

Somehow it just doesn’t seem like work.

😉

 

West Town farm needs support

I’ve just been blundering round the internet trying to avoid work and I found this article, which struck home. At Quercus we’re in a similar situation, having a spot of landlord trouble now and again, so I sympathise with Mr Bragg, the farmer in question.

However, having been a poultry farmer, antiques dealer, and gardener before becoming the maid of all work here, I have more chances to adapt. When you are the third generation of your family to farm the land, and when you’ve built up a much larger project than we have, it must be quite a shock to see it all threatened due to one decision of the landlord.

I’m not saying that the new landlord (if there is one) will threaten the work, just that it’s a possibility. If the fund-raising efforts are successful it’s possible that that the future of the farm, and its work, will be secured.

That’s really why I’m writing this, because the more people who know about the funding appeal, the better. It’s also good practice for me, because one day in the next couple of years, I am going to have to launch an appeal for Quercus Community (not asking yet – just planting the seed…)

Look here for more details.