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There is a small but select group of delightful dogs whose names begin with D:

Daisy – no photo I’m afraid :(

But I can show you Dingo:

Dingo IMG_20140914_090933

A friendly  8yr old cross-breed hailing from the Dog’s Home in Harpurhey,

and Duggie:

Duggie IMG_20150416_092310

A very friendly border terrier pup, less than a year old, who was black at birth but now has highlights that even the best hairdresser might find hard to replicate.

Now for a pair, related to each other I believe, whose names are not commonly heard:

Diablo, still a puppy but already a cheeky little devil:

Daiablo IMG_20140530_082119

And Deefer:

Deefer IMG_20140530_082506

Get it?  it’s D for dog!

Look out for more doggy data soon :)

The park was full, teeming with visitors, all enjoying the many attractions that were on offer. The 2015 weather gods weren’t smiling on Heaton Moor on the 14th of June – the day was cloudy and a bit cold but it didn’t matter. We all had a great time!

There seemed to be something for everyone, all tastes catered for!

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Traditional entertainment proving that kids don’t just respond to computer games!

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The Friends’ tombola was also popular and well supported helping to raise funds for park improvements.

So, when does something become a tradition? This was the sixth year that the 4HTA held a summer fair in our park – is this a tradition now? I’d like to think so :)

Come to the fair!

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It’s nearly upon us, only a few days to go!

The 4 Heatons Traders Association summer fair will be taking place in our park this Sunday, from 11am until 4pm. There will be loads of attractions- see more details here.

Before you click onto the link above, read the bit below:

The Friends of Heaton Moor Park will have a sweet and chocolate tombola stall as well as our exclusive designer bags and postcards.  There will also be a chance to chat about what the group does, what plans are afoot for the future and what you can do to get involved. So, make sure you come along to see us :)

And if you just happened to come across this blog while searching for information about the summer fair, why don’t you make a note of it and come back from time to time, or follow it, or even send me an email with a contribution.

For the music lovers among us, there’s a lovely rendition of Come to the Fair, written by Easthope Martin and Helen Taylor in 1917, here on YouTube.

This latest lot of posts is a bit like buses: you wait ages with nothing happening and then there’s several all at once! There’s so much to mention that I’m finding it hard to keep up!

To round off Volunteers’ Week there’s been an impromptu work session in the park. A call went out, and volunteers responded :)

The job of the day was the star bed which was in need of a tidy up. We need it to look its best for the summer fair!

The tulips were removed, very carefully, to be dried, stored and reused next year, and lovely willowy verbena was planted in among the still flowering pansies and violas.

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Volunteers hard at work:

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Verbena awaiting planting:

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There are around 250 species of verbena and these are Aztec Purple Magic, Silver Magic and Plum Magic – very pretty! There were some in the star bed last year that flowered for ages so we should have a lovely display for the rest of the season.

The star bed, in the evening sunshine, looking lovely:

star bed IMG_20150606_201309

Thank you to all the volunteers :)

 

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Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, June 5th is World Environment Day – the day designated for awareness of the environment – and this year the slogan is:

‘Seven Billion Dreams; One Planet; Consume with Care’

I’ve often heard people say that one individual’s actions are unlikely to have any effect, so what’s the point. But all those little drops do eventually add up to an enormous ocean so that’s a good enough reason for each of us to do our bit, however small. On a personal note, mine is to reduce waste. It might mean that I’ll have to eat all those chocolates, cakes and biscuits that would otherwise have been thrown away, but  I’m prepared to make this sacrifice for the greater good. On the other hand, I also want to consume less. So maybe it’s time to stop buying chocolates, cakes and biscuits and go on a diet!

Is there anything that we can do in our park? Well, we can recycle as much as possible although this will take a bit of effort as there are no recycling bins nearby. But, bottles and paper can be taken home. And, if that can’t be done then putting them in the bin will be just as good. I spotted a couple of dog walkers picking up litter in the park this morning. A very helpful drop in our little bit of the ocean :)  Maybe I’ll do this too, instead of eating biscuits.

Apparently, the 1st to 7th June is the 31st annual Volunteers’ Week! What happened to the other 30 I wonder?

There are events taking place in various parts of the UK but here in Stockport not a lot is happening. More details about what’s happening and where is on the Volunteers’ Week website.

The week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. No-one would dispute that volunteers underpin most of the work that is done by charities and non-profit community groups. It’s hard to calculate the value of this work but one suggestion is to take the number of volunteers, multiply by the average number of hours spent volunteering then multiply by the average hourly rate of pay (more details here). But this calculation only reflects time that is spent undertaking the voluntary activity. Much more difficult to calculate is the benefit of the voluntary work.

I can only speak about the work done by the Friends of Heaton Moor Park here, and one of these days I might sit down with a calculator to work this figure out in relation to their volunteering activities in the park. In the meantime, I’d like to offer a huge thank you to all the people who give up their time, in many different ways, to make Heaton Moor Park the lovely  place it is. Everyone who comes into the park is a friend of the park – from the toddler in the play area who takes her sweetie wrapper home to the teenagers who put their beer cans in the bins; from the dog walkers who keep an eye on their pets and scoop the poops to the bird lovers who leave bird seed and crumbs for the birds; from the old gent who stiffly bends down to pick up litter to the parent who teaches his child not to run onto the bowling green. And if there are some people who don’t seem to care very much and cause damage, well, I’d like them to think again about what they’re doing and if they don’t want to make a positive contribution to the park then maybe they should go elsewhere.

The next event in the park is the 4 Heatons Traders summer fair on Sunday 14th June. Starting at 11am and going on until 4pm, there will be loads of attractions including a mini funfair, falconry display, bake-off competition, music, dancing and more.

The Friends of the park will have a chocolate and sweet tombola stall at the 4HTA event so come over on the day – have a go on the tombola and chat about the group and what goes on in the park.

And maybe next year we’ll organise something for the 32nd annual Volunteers’ Week. Barbecue anyone??

I recently read that the Keep Britain Tidy group has suggested on-the-spot fines of £1000 for illegal fly-tipping which is costing the country around £1 billion a year to clean up. Good weather and holidays bring with them an increase in litter everywhere, from beaches to pavements and parks. No area is immune! Maybe huge fines are indeed the answer??

One of our regular contributors, Catherine, has more thoughts on the subject of litter:

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On 10th March the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee published its report on litter and fly tipping in England; this was the seventh report of session 2014-15.    The Committee’s earlier deliberations were  previously considered in the blog here.

The report begins:

England is a litter-ridden country compared to most of Europe, North America and Japan. Levels of litter in England have hardly improved in the past 12 years and the best estimates are that litter costs the taxpayer between £717 and £850 million a year to clear up. Change is needed.

The report contains some very useful, and horrifying, facts, and estimations of the cost of litter.

It notes and recommends:

  • There has been a 20% increase in fast-food litter in the last year. The Government should bring forward legislation requiring all shops, restaurants and retail food outlets to keep the perimeters of their premises free from litter
  • The most frequently littered items are chewing gum and smokers’ materials.
  • Chewing gum and staining are difficult and costly to remove.  We recommend that our successor committee revisit this issue in one year unless it sees the industry making a much larger contribution to the costs of removing gum and staining and also encouraging its consumers to change their behaviour and achieving a significant reduction in litter. In this regard it should have larger notices about not littering on all its packaging, wrappers and adverts.
  • The tobacco industry is keen to reduce the incidence of cigarette-related litter. The tobacco industry itself must also do more. It should provide, free at the point of sale, portable ashtrays or ‘mini bins’ for the disposal of cigarette-related litter. The Government should ensure that a portion of any increase in tobacco levies is allocated to local councils to help pay for the cost street cleaning; and all public buildings must install receptacles for disposing of cigarette-related litter in those areas where staff congregate to smoke. Again, the installation of receptacles must not be seen as endorsement of smoking or the tobacco industry.
  • Levels of fly-tipping increased by 20% in the last year. The Government should introduce a fixed penalty notice for fly-tipping for household items—the bulk of the incidents—and the industry must introduce a scheme to take away unwanted household appliances and furniture when replacements are delivered. Councils should foster partnerships with charities who are willing to collect such items free of charge.
  • In the end it is individuals who litter and fly-tip their unwanted goods, and it is this behaviour which needs to change. We support a variety of behaviour-changing activities and campaigns to prevent littering. The Government must also assess whether the fixed penalty notice for litter should be increased from its current £80 maximum.
  • We support the introduction of a community clean-up day on 21 March. This should become an annual event.

 

In its consideration of behaviour change, it posits:

CleanupUK told us about “nudging ideas” which aimed to get people to think about litter in subtle ways, and made it “cool” for teenagers to put litter in the bin. To encourage younger children George Monck, Chief Executive, CleanupUK, gave the example of a bin which said ‘thank you’ or burped, when litter was dropped in it. Others have suggested a return to a system of monetary deposits for bottles and cans as an incentive for not littering.

The Committee urges coordinated government action:

The failure to make a noticeable improvement in litter levels in the last 12 years points to a lack of vigour, if not complacency, within Government over the past decade. There is a division of responsibilities between departments which, as it currently operates, creates problems for industry and volunteer groups and has neither reduced litter levels nor stopped the rise in fly-tipping. We recommend that the Government create a national litter strategy for England with a clear framework for action. This must be underpinned with a coordinating role for local councils within their respective areas.

A thoughtful and lucid report, but it will be interesting to see how more and increased fixed penalty notices can be issued at a time of severe cuts to police services.  It is difficult too, to see how fly tipping can be avoided by the removal of unwanted large items “free of charge”; which bodies, charitable or otherwise, can bear this cost?.  Many measures have large pound signs hanging over them, even the “burping” bins.

The idea of the virement of tobacco taxes is not a new one, having been tried in the 1990s in Australia.  In the UK, the HMRC is generally unenthusiastic about hypothecated taxes.  The report is rather vague about the behavioural change needed to stop littering behaviour, and how and by whom this could be achieved.  Presumably it would require concerted, sustained effort and would not be cost-free.

Bottle deposit schemes were advocated by Bill Bryson some years ago, when it was pointed out that plastic bottles are now so cheap to make as to make a deposit/return infrastructure expensive and impractical.  DEFRA has apparently looked into such a proposal, but taken no action.  Voluntary schemes, whilst very helpful, have not solved the problem so far.    Read the full report at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmcomloc/607/607.pdf

Perhaps coincidentally, the Marine Conservation Society have also issued a report, describing  a September 2014 beach clean where the detritus collected was analysed.   5,349 volunteers cleaned and surveyed 301 beaches collecting  2,457 bits of litter per kilometre.    101 types of litter were recorded.  The prevalence of “wet wipes” was particularly noticed; an average of 35 was found for each kilometre of beach.  These wipes contain plastic and do not biodegrade easily.

This report can be read at:

http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/pollution/beachwatch/latest2015/MCS_GBBC_2014_Report.pdf

These findings echo many of the points made in an October 2014 report from the chillingly named Surfers Against Sewage.  This study has been issued as part of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, a piece of EU legislation supporting the protection and sustainable use of the seas. Read their report at:  http://www.sas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SAS-Marine-Litter-Report-Med.pdf

The surfers write well; their report is braced with a sense of urgency.  “Tackling this marine litter crisis:  if not us, who?  If not now, when?”

“La ilusión no se come”, dijo ella. “No se come, pero alimenta”, replicó el coronel.”

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