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Flooding news!

https://burydellallotments.wordpress.com/events/floods-2020/flooding-update-6-october/

Flooding update

Please see Flooding update 2 October 2020 on the outcomes of a meeting with the Council and other organisations on 1 October.

See below for a link to a report of this morning’s meeting on site. Great to see so many people turn out!

 

https://burydellallotments.wordpress.com/events/floods-2020/plotholder-meeting-6-sept-2020/

 

Dear all

Some of you have been asking for more information about what is happening about the floods. I have put together a webpage below which you should find interesting and hopefully bring you up to date. This is a fast-moving situation, so apologies for lack of detailed information thus far.

https://burydellallotments.wordpress.com/events/floods-2020/

Please also come to the site on Sunday 6 September 11am for a further update, socially distanced of course. This will not be our usual Sunday coffee, but a chance for you to hear about where we are with the floods.

Here is a link to the Herts Advertiser piece about the flood. We will update you further as things progress.

 

https://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/weather-2-19950/st-albans-allotment-devastated-by-flooding-1-6799578

Flooding update

Following an emergency committee meeting this evening we would like to make the following points:

Harvesting produce from your plot must be at your own risk. Until a test of the water has been carried out (and we have instructed the Council and the Environment Agency to do this asap) we have no idea how polluted or otherwise the flood water is. As it has come from a field grazed by animals, it could be contaminated by fertilisers, almost certainly animal waste and other waste from drains and sewage from the surrounding area in addition to other contaminants which could move into plant material and potentially contain harmful bacteria, viruses and chemicals. It could make you ill if you eat these vegetables. Green leafy vegetables take up contaminants more readily and we would advise you not to eat these at all. However contaminants will be diluted to a lower level in water.
Having spoken to people who have entered the site we would like to point out that the water is moving fast and causing disturbance in the soil leading to unexpected ‘sink holes’ which are highly dangerous and could put you at considerable risk. Please do not enter the site solo but take someone with you.
Your committee have instructed the Council, as our landlord, to act on our behalf. In addition we have been in touch with Affinity Water, the Environment Agency and others to enable us to take this forward, but as yet we have no answers. We will ensure we keep you in the loop.

Updates on

  • COVID-19
  • Site security
  • Flooding

COVID-19

Please do remember to use gloves or hand sanitiser when you open or close the site gate. The pandemic is still very much with us, and we want to make sure that all plotholders feel safe on site. We hope to hold a social distancing event on site on the first Sunday in November and will keep you posted.

Site security

The Committee met on Monday 27 July and discussed at length the recent site break-in we have had for some time. We agreed that it would be impossible to fully protect our site but that there were some sensible things that could be done to minimise the risk of break-in or loss. We have received some helpful advice from the police to share with you (below), and we will also be working with the Council to improve our external fencing.

  • Possibly the most important piece of advice is not to leave anything of value on your plot, whether in a locked shed or not. If you do, you should keep it out of sight and be aware that this is at your own risk.
  • If you prefer to lock your shed to prevent sheds being damaged, invest in a decent lock and fitting. A padlock with a concealed shackle means the lock is less likely to be cut but the padlock is only as good as the fitting it is attached to. You might also consider purchasing a shed alarm, which may deter any intruders, although if could give the impression there were items of particular value stored.
  • Mark up your tools either with an engraving or an ultra-violet pen to identify them as your own. Herts Police sometimes run tool-marking days so keep an eye out on the Herts Police website/Facebook page etc. This is good for any power tools, lawnmowers, strimmers etc or just anything of value. It helps identify them if they get stolen. It also applies to anything within your home such as tools, electricals etc.
  • Register your valuables (from your shed or home) on immobilise.com. This is a free UK property register site and again, it helps identify them if they get stolen or try to be sold on. Take photographs of your valuable items, including any distinguishing features, marks, dents etc.
  • Go on sites SoldSecure and SecuredByDesign which offer a range of high security products which are approved. These include padlocks, cameras and other home security products.

Flooding

As you will all know, some plots on the site were flooded recently. We have been investigating, thanks to Damien and Barbara, how the flood was caused. A communication has been received from Affinity Water, as it was thought that the flood might have been caused by work on the river Ver. We will keep you informed as we know more. Clearly it is not a problem in the summer months but we do not want the same thing to happen in the Winter!

 

Best plot winners

Dennis from Ayletts spent 2 hours on the site on Monday 6 July. He was more than impressed by the quality of growing and the site generally so found it tough to make the decisions. We are grateful to Ayletts for continuing to support us during this challenging time, and for donating vouchers as prizes. The result….
Best Plot.              Plot 7.        Vivienne and her daughter Eve
Runner up.            Plot 20      Winston Bothwell

Best Newcomer.   Plot. 10      Denise Smith
Runner up.             Plot 35\35a.      Klaus and his bees!

Well done to you winners and runners-up – fantastic achievement and well deserved!

Financial accounts

The annual audited accounts are available. Normally we would present these at the AGM but as we do not know at present when that can happen, we would instead encourage you to let Chris Feakes chrisfeakes99@gmail.com know if you would like a copy.

Break-in at the site

We are really sorry to report that there has been a major incursion into our site – thanks to Fabrizio for calling it in. Barbara has emailed everyone and the police have been informed. Gates and shed doors of some plots were left open and in some cases locks were broken. Please check your sheds and plots, and if anything is missing or there has been damage, call the police on 101. Barbara’s email also contains the crime number. Please also let Pat know on her new email address pat8168@yahoo.com. We have been lucky over the years to only have had such a few such occurrences, but even so, it is really upsetting. The Committee will be discussing what we can do at our next meeting on 27 July.

 

REMINDER – It’s Time To Pay The Site Contribution! 

The Burydell Allotment Committee organise on behalf of all plot holders deliveries of wood chippings and manure, and it pays the premium for site insurance and affiliation to the RHS. Our insurance cover includes a Public Liability Indemnity of £5,000,000 and other benefits for the association and plot holders. We have arranged for a copy of the policy to be pinned up in the allotment hut with a document listing frequently asked questions about the insurance. There are some other maintenance issues dealt with throughout the year which the committee also organise and pay for. 

I understand that all other allotment sites in St. Albans make a similar collection from plot holders, but ours is lower than most because we organise fund raising events during the year. This year our quiz has been postponed (and may be cancelled altogether) and this brings in quite a lot of money which we use to top up our account for purchases that the committee makes on your behalf. 

The amount of money spent on manure and insurance this financial year comes to just over £7 per plot. We ask all plot holders to contribute towards this by making an annual payment of £5. In previous years we have collected the money in cash on a “see you – ask you” basis which involves close personal contact. 

We have recently converted to internet banking for the association and the committee think that it is sensible to ask you to pay this contribution electronically if you can. It means that we will not have to handle the cash, and it keeps personal contact to a minimum. 

The bank details are: Account Name: Burydell Lane Allotment Association Account Number: 03555408 Bank Sort Code: 30-99-21 

To make sure that your contribution is correctly recorded, please include your plot number and surname in the payment reference. If you email me when the payment is made, I will issue an electronic receipt when it appears on the bank statement. Please try to make this payment before 31st May 2020, or let me know if you are unable to use this method, and I will try to make alternative arrangements. Thank you for your co-operation at this difficult time. 

Chris Feakes Committee Treasurer Burydell Lane Allotment Association chrisfeakes99@gmail.com

GARDEN CENTRES

About this time each week Barbara normally writes to you to ask you if you want to order any gardening requisites from Ayletts. However telephone orders are no longer possible. We are pleased to inform you that TODAY (Thursday 14 May) this week Ayletts are opening their doors for business. Ayletts would like to thank those of you who continued to support them during this difficult period when people have been unable to visit the garden centre.  From today they will be open from 9.00am to 4.00pm. Social distancing protocols will be observed. In his message Adam of Ayletts says they will be offering a ‘shop and go’ system at the garden centre. Customers will also be able to shop on line from the Webshop, using this link  https://shop.aylettnurseries.co.uk They are currently unable to take new orders for delivery via email as they need to process orders already in the system.

BE ALERT!
Following the Government’s announcement about beginning to reduce lockdown, we ask all plotholders whilst on site to continue to observe the rules for social distancing, opening of the gate and use of taps. We also request that only you and your immediate household members continue to visit the site.
AND FINALLY
A poem from Lyndon Spencer-Smith, plot 32A, about the finer motivations for growing your own. Enjoy!

Now I know it’s most important,

All this growing stuff.

The members there are busy,

And they sure work hard enough.

 

However all the  ”veggies” grown,

Have limited shelf life,

Which seems a shame to me  I think,

After all the members strife.

 

I’m only just an ‘elper there,

On the big plot thirty two,

I just straighten the bean poles,

That’s about all I can do.

 

But I keep my eyes just open,

I see growing things  ‘round me ,

That could be made to last,

Just need preserving you see!

 

They make vodka from potatoes,

And we have plenty in,

But maybe not this year – think,

I’ll stick Damson gin,

 

Blackberries  abound,

Along the  allotment fence,

They come in really handy,

So they make brandy-hence.

 

The sloes that grow along the lane,

Not quite ripe yet for picking,

The gin is waiting, sugar too,

Come Autumn, the clock is ticking.

 

Crab apples make great jelly,

Which turns a lovely pink,

But with added syrup, sugar,  gin,

It  makes a lovely drink.

 

Now Limoncello is the thing,

But lemons  don’t like   rain,

But Moss & Elaine bring them to us

From their sunny plot in Spain,

 

The pear tree in the middle,

Provides pears for Mark to brew,

He makes a potent wine you see,

I’ve tried  it  – cor! , gulp!, phew!!

 

Raspberry vodka’s just the thing,

A fresh and elegant taste,

You can of course eat them fresh,

But some say- what a waste.

 

Fresh produce doesn’t last for long

So brew – don’t hesitate!

But careful how you open bottles,

The contents evaporate!!

 

Hi all

A quick round-up of some items about the allotment as we continue in lockdown. If anyone wants to share something on the website as part of our general update, please send to me kim.scrivener@gmail.com

GARDEN CENTRES

The scheme we have agreed with Aylett has proved to be very straightforward. I compiled a list of requests with contact details to Ayletts on Thursday, and on Friday they contacted the customers, discussed the order (in case there were any issues) and took payment. A time was then agreed for the customer to collect their order in a trolley just outside the side entrance – usually on the same day! Nobody else around as they are shut, so safe for them and safe for us. I therefore encourage you, if you need gardening supplies, to send me an email with your order, including quantity and whether substitutes are acceptable – and most important, your contact details. I will then send to Ayletts in one email and they will then deal with you direct. They are experiencing significant problems because of course the whole centre is shut. So although people are emailing in (they are not taking phone calls) it takes some time for staff to work through. Burydell Lane is very fortunate, as Ayletts want to give us priority. Some have asked if a delivery can be made direct to the site – the problem with this is that they are already flat out with deliveries, and of course, there will be the problem of how to get the stuff to the right people. In view of social distancing for both their staff and our plotholders, the current scheme seems the most sensible. So please do think about supporting a good local garden centre, who needs all our help and who wants to help us to keep growing!! My email is kim.scrivener@gmail.com – please do not call me as it is much easier dealing with email.

There is also a petition “Gardeners, gardens, : KEEP GARDEN CENTRES TRADING”. If you want to help, the goal is to reach 5,000 signatures and more support is needed. You can read more and sign the petition here:
http://chng.it/sTzvJJPYKp

SITE ISSUES

The barrier has now been lifted!!

We have put away for the time being all “communal” tools, e.g. wheelbarrows, shovels, to minimise risk. I have discovered that it is perfectly possible to open the gate padlock with normal gardening gloves, so please do that in future – no need for food hygiene or surgical gloves. The same etiquette applies to water taps – please use your gloves.

SEEDS AND SEEDLINGS

We have heard of individuals who already have spare seedlings – if you are in that lucky position and want to help others, please leave them on the table outside the hut. The same applies to spare seeds.

COMMITTEE

And finally, your committee is still meeting even in these difficult times! Thanks to all of them for their ongoing commitment and enthusiasm in embracing new technology!