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A Sustainable Day in Blewbury

Story from Oxfordshire Master Composter, Angela Hoy.

Sustainable Blewbury and Blewbury Primary School jointly hosted a Green May Fair on Saturday May 10th.

Originally the idea was to hold the Fair in the school grounds, but during the preceding week the weather forecast got worse and worse, until on the Friday the organisers gave in and booked the Village Hall to take most of the stalls that would have been outside. It was not just the prospect of rain but the 40 mph gales that were forecast, and indeed came to pass!

Sustainable Blewbury 3All the entertainment took place in the Village Hall, with the Blewbury Brass Band filling it with their glorious sound, in between sessions of local folk group Didcot Junction, followed by country dancing. In the quieter moments, there was a storyteller who sat down with the children and entranced them. Kids also enjoyed playing with different fabrics, decorating hair slides and being shown how to sew with the help of our amateur but enthusiastic stitchers Liz and Jo. Locally made ice-cream was on sale, as well as a plethora of home made cakes to go with the tea. In the Vale Room children beavered away making exciting things out of hazel and willow, such as dream catchers, wands and stars. Here also were displayed the class efforts of the schoolchildren in the form of their own designed seed packets and egg-heads (cress filled eggshells decorated with faces). Master Composters Julian and Emma judged their efforts and awarded prizes (donated by Garden Organic) for the most ingenious. Back in the Village Hall, there was a wonderful Recycled Fashion Show (a lot of crisp packets were emptied and recycled in this activity!), judged by Liz. Every child was given a free vegetable plant to take away and grow.

Sustainable Blewbury had persuaded our local greengrocer/garden centre to provide a colourful display of bee-friendly plants (which were for sale), next to lots of fascinating facts and figures about our pollinating friends, including one splendid life sized bee (in costume). There were also displays put on by the Village Hall refurbishment team, Blewbury Energy Initiative, Low Carbon Hub, Permaculture, the Downland Project and Hedgerows, as well as the Blewbury Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Outside the Village Hall, the Green Bus had come along with its environmental displays, and a steady succession of children (and adults) had a go on the electricity-producing bicycle.

Over in the School Hall, Eric had analysed and put up a synopsis of the recent IPCC report which made for sobering reading; next to this was a brightly decorated Master Composter stand where Julian and Emma spread the message to anyone they could catch. Angela and various helpers on the Blewbury Bakers stand dispensed hot home made soup and freshly made rolls, and outside the PTA did a roaring trade with their burgers, hot-dogs and the bar! Last but not least, the Blewbury Garden Market kicked off its season with tables groaning with plants, seedlings, seeds, bread cakes and pastries, whilst hanging on to the gazebo during the worst of the windy squalls! Fortunately no damage was done but the canvas and tables needed a scrub afterwards to get rid of the mud thrown up.

The afternoon ended with a splendid raffle; prizes included a microlight flight, a guided tour round the Manor Gardens followed by afternoon tea, a meal at the local café, bottles of wine, specimen plants and more besides. An exhausting but exhilarating day!