Monday Funday: walking tour of Bournemouth

So I’ve told you about Monday Funday’s… Well they are working out a treat!

A while ago I saw an advert for a Walking Talk of Bournemouth. These are organised and lead by Hattie Miles, a Bournemouth local whose work with The Bournemouth Echo over the last 24 years has given her a unique insight to the goings on of Bournemouth town and it’s flavourful history!

Bournemouth-postcard

It seems only right that I, as someone who prides themselves on being Bournemouth’s biggest fan, should also be someone who know’s a bit about my favourite seaside town’s (admittedly short) history.

So I booked myself onto a tour! The Hidden Gems of the Town Centre tour to be precise. Starting at The Miramar Hotel on a rather drizzly day, myself, Hattie and a few others strolled along the east cliff (this was pre-landslide), down to the prom, along the gardens and round the back of the town centre.

Soaking up the history of the town and the stories that form it is fascinating. Places you walk past everyday take on new significance once you know the history woven into it. Bournemouth is only young, but there is enough history to make you feel wonder and pride!

We learnt about Tregonwell, Old Harry Pay, the fact that Tolkien stayed here often (and hated it!), the Beatles big gig, the fascinating story of the Shelly’s (no Mary didn’t actually live here) and the unfortunate demise of Charles Rolls (of Rolls Royce)… I could divulge more details about these tales but I think Hattie could tell the stories much better!

I think we should tell the history of our towns more often, it adds so much flavour and texture. We can be encouraged by the stories of local activists. We CAN make a difference in our town, because people have gone before us and done just that. Perhaps, in the far off future, people will go on walking talks and hear about the goings on that are happening right now?

So if you have a spare morning or afternoon that you want to fill with something a little out of the ordinary then you should definitely go on a Walking Talk! Hattie is a lovely tour host, she made two hours pass by in a flash, rain and all – absolutely recommended!

Monday Funday: planting with Grounded Enterprises

Not-9-to-5-ing is great. But I have a problem.

I still find that my default thing to do when I don’t have meetings or project visits booked in is to sit in front of my computer pretending to be busy… Even if I’m not doing anything in particular. I tend to do this from 9am to 5pm…

I know. I know.

So to try and combat the endless cycle of this sitting at the desk being #busynotbusy I have decided to take a concerted effort to take myself out of the front of the screen and into some kind of life enhancing activity.

And so Monday Funday began.

My good friend Michael spends a lot of his time supporting a Boscombe based project called Grounded Enterprises. Grounded Enterprises have a plot of land that is a meeting space, garden training spot and community venue, called The Secret Garden. They grow organic herbs and leaf vegetables, all in hyper enriched soil, so it’s as good for you as it can get.  They have a meeting hut, a clay pizza oven, two poly-tunnels, a chicken coup, a large pond and a view of a rather large and beautiful church. Not bad eh?

This is some of what they’re about:

  • They want to develop an urban food growing model that provides local food and a means of profit to the poor in the community.
  • They produce examples of how people can take urban growing into their own back gardens.
  • They are a community garden that serves as a place of educational, economic and spiritual transformation.

The folks at Grounded Enterprises have partnered with a pick-your-own farm just outside of Ringwood, The Avon Valley Nursery. They’ve been given a large greenhouse to increase the Urban Herb production.

And with that there is a lot preparation to do. Perfect for a Monday Funday!

The Grounded Enterprises activity is mostly down to volunteers. People get involved as a way of getting outdoors, learning to grow, supporting their community and spending time doing something different. Gardening is therapeutic and volunteers get as much out of it as they put in.

So with that in mind, I decided to join a bunch of others in volunteering to get outdoors and my hands dirty.

wheelbarrow-woodchipT

These are the things I love about volunteer gardening.

  • Getting the earth under your nails and wiping dirty hands on your tracky bottoms and not caring about it.
  • Learning how to use a shovel properly.
  • Weeding can be really satisfying, if time consuming.

box-of-weeds-converse

  • Being in a wide open space where instead of hearing traffic, you hear sheep.
  • Being in the fresh air with a bunch of new friends (and old ones!) where we’re all chatting away and making the most of time doing something different.
  • Sitting cross legged on the floor teasing out tiny little lettuce leaves from their tubs knowing that they’re going to keep on growing in the ground you’ve just watered.

irrigation-system

  • Gardening is a slow slow process. Trial and error takes years to get you to a patch to where everything grows like you want it to… and even then something might change. For an impatient person (I know, who would have thought) this is quite a challenge to get used to.
  • Getting top gardening tips from fellow volunteers who’ve been gardening for years.
  • Learning that there are more types of salad leaves that I could possibly remember.

Screenshot 2016-04-26 13.16.07

  • There are dogs EVERYWHERE.
  • I’m not getting square eyes from another day spent behind my computer.
  • Coming home, having a shower and feeling tired from a days hard work.
  • Knowing that life really can be this varied. #nota9to5

So. If you fancy doing something different for the day – get in touch with Grounded Enterprises to volunteer. I can’t recommend it enough! Especially if you’re like me and the only earth you have access to is in a pot on your balcony!

I wonder what next Monday is going to look like!

baby-salad-leaves