The Inaugural Transition Wilmslow Lecture, 10th October 2016
We had a full house for our very first Transition Wilmslow Lecture!
We thought an Annual Lecture might be a way of appealing to a wider audience, demonstrating that Transition towns are not just about “green” issues but about sustainable communities in general. The Transition Network has set up a website “Reconomy” http://www.reconomy.org talking about different ways of thinking about the economy, and of course a number of Transition Towns (Lewes, Totnes, Brixton, Bristol, and even…at one point in history..Ambridge!) have their own currency. We invited Derek Whyte, Deputy CEO of Preston City Council, to talk about the work they have done with CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies) in Manchester, and a European Consortium, to look at how they procure goods and services, and ways in which they can procure more locally. It was good to hear they have significantly increased their local procurement, with benefits for local businesses and jobs.
We were delighted to have an expert discussion panel, with Dominic Oakshott from CEC, Richard Jones who was Director of Social Services for Lancashire and now undertakes consultancy work in social care and the charitable sector, and Catherine Mackenzie, Chair of Wilmslow Business Group. Dominic told us that CEC have been working to get more local procurement, and are up to around 25%; Catherine pointed out the challenges for small businesses in negotiating procurement challenges (large companies may have groups of lawyers negotiating these which makes it difficult for small enterprises) and Richard pointed out the real problems in local authority funding at present which make any economic model difficult. There was a lively discussion with the audience which, as always, raised more questions than it answered, but we agreed that there is a tension between local procurement and having processes in place to ensure fair tendering. There were lots of positive comments from the audience so we’d like to organise another lecture for next year: any suggestions for speakers gratefully received!
Foraging Day with James Wood: Saturday 8th October 2016
A group of around 25 people joined James Wood, professional forager: http://www.totallywilduk.co.uk/ in the Carrs on Saturday.
James introduced us to all the things you can do with nettles (nettle tea, using nettles like spinach and even making nettle string: impressive!), mugwort as a herb or tea and boiling down meadowsweet to make a syrup. We learned how you extract sap from silver birch (same technique as maple syrup!) to make a lovely sweet syrup, and tasted the edible flowers of Himalayan Balsam. We saw a fungus on a birch branch (polypore) and had a look at some mushrooms. It was great to meet so many new people and we all agreed we would organise a full mushrooming day for next year! If you are interested in foraging and cooking wild food do look at James’s website, and look out for our mushroom day next year – we will keep you posted!
Dawn Walk 30 July 2016
All who rose early on Saturday morning to experience dawn breaking on the Moss were not disappointed! We started out at 4.30am in darkness and made our way around Black Lake, across Lindow Common, Newgate Lane and onto the Moss in time to experience an atmospheric sunrise with mists hanging low over the peat bog.
Along the way we stopped to hear readings about the landscape now and in the past. One of the guests on the walk was Rick Turner, a leading figure with the British Museum on the exhumation, examination and preservation of the body of Lindow Man. Rick gave a reading that he had been inspired to compose – a diary entry as if it had been written in 1st Century AD by this bog man in his last hours leading up to being sacrificed at first light. This focused our thoughts as a bouquet of flowers from the bog was laid on the water in commemoration of Lindow Man.
Transition Wilmslow has another Moss walk planned for 17 September 2016 – at the more reasonable hour of 10am! See our Diary Page for this and other events.
Thank you to Lindow Rainbows and their leaders who joined Transition Wilmslow on a special Lindow Moss Walk on 5th July 2016
We were blessed with evening sunshine and discussed how you work out the age of a tree, squeezed water out of moss, looked at sundew plants and enjoyed splashing about in the mud. This seems a great way to let children know a bit more about the wonderful heritage on their doorstep and we are hoping to do more walks with groups of youngsters in the autumn. Contact us for more information here