Thursday 17 June 2010

Ipswich/Beccles: Survival Tales performances

Hey everyone

This is short notice but I've been asked to secure a venue and date for a last appearance in this lady's first East Anglian tour - thankyou to residents of the Spinney for agreeing to host her! Please come to the performance next Thursday in Ipswich - it doesn't clash with anything! It's an intimate, interactive show. Circulate to your friends!

There are other performances on Wednesday night (Norwich) and Thursday afternoon (Ilketshall St Andrew) but for details of those contact
Jo Chitty

See you there, Gemma x

Survival Tales
a performance and workshop by Eirlys Rhiannon

Thursday 24 June 2010 7.30pm*
The Spinney, 108 Westerfield Road, Ipswich
£5 (no-one turned away for lack of funds)
Places need to be booked in

* please note no admission to the show later than 8pm

What's it all about? See information below or visit

To survive in this world, we each create stories.

Our stories affect people around us, and in turn we get affected by the stories we hear and see every day.

But there’s a new – and old – challenge looming: to realise that ‘how we live’ is also ‘how we kill’.

This challenge is phenomenally frightening.

To protect ourselves, we create safe stories: ‘the scientists are lying’, ‘the government will sort it out’, ‘this product will help’.

But the challenge remains.

We need to decide how we live – but how do we make decisions? Is this version of democracy the best we can do? Who’s in charge? Can we trust any of our solutions?
Can we learn anything from history? And does anyone have a super-hero cape in my size?

How do we tell the noose and the lifebelt apart?


Survival Tales is a series of small, intimate performance events, designed to take place in unusual venues, including living rooms, community gardens and social centres. Each event has two parts:

- a performance featuring personal stories and songs

- a short workshop about how we make our survival stories

Touring selected parts of the UK during Summer 2010. Contact us for booking details:

Produced in association with Natasha Machin and Trapese Popular Education Collective, with assistance from Artist Project Earth

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Beccles: Community Apple Share Project 2010

Early Summer is now upon us and the glorious apple blossom has all but gone. That sea of pink will miraculously develop into delicious juicy fruit and it will all happen quicker than we think, so now’s the time to plan.

Last year, as part of the Sustainable Beccles group strategy, a group of folk began a scheme to marry unwanted apples with those who were keen to get their hands on some of these versatile fruit, and they plan to run the scheme again this year. If you live in the Beccles and Bungay area and have fruit you cannot pick, a group of people can help you by arrangement with the organizers. In addition we want to encourage planting local variety apple trees and also to run an apple flavoured lunch and talk on all aspects of growing fruit trees and getting to know apples in July.

If you are interested in the scheme from any aspect please get in touch. You may have more fruit than you can use, or maybe you have difficulty picking it; you may want to offer your services to help pick fruit for others or you may want some fruit for your pies and chutneys – whatever your interest, register it now, without commitment. Let’s celebrate this very English fruit and enjoy the abundance that grows locally – we’ll save more than the money.

Contact: or ring 01502 470135 to register an interest in picking, giving or receiving fruit.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Bungay Community Bees - Reappearance of the Bees

This May it's been a busy month in Transition. Plant swaps, carbon conversations, Strangers' circles, blogs, bulletins. And yesterday afternoon, bees.

I've recently joined the Bungay Community Bees project (Britain's first bee CSA) and twenty five of us converged at Gemma's in Flixton to help build frames for the new beehives in time for the arrival of the first queen bees in June.

There really was a buzz as Elinor and Gemma reported on the progress so far. As well as getting our three hives (one of them donated), two more people are already being trained up as beekeepers and there are more and more offers of land where the bees can be kept...and of course, there's the bee blog. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Eloise are going to map out all the local wild and garden bee-loving plants and trees throughout the coming year.

Then we all got down to some serious woodwork. Luckily enough we had an experienced carpenter present - I haven't done any woodwork since school - a very long time ago - and I was not good at it!

People feel very strongly about bees. And particularly now with the loss of so many colonies here and abroad. Our neighbour Julia, who we bought the first hive from, lost hers in London. Waveney Valley beekeepers are reporting losses of about a third. And even the most experienced beekeepers say there seems to be no single, simple explanation. Keeping bees and providing organic, pesticide-free land with plants that bees love (like White Clover, pictured - pink when young and later turning white) has to be one way forward. See Sustainable Bungay's website for excellent bee links and information.

Yesterday I brought along Anise Hyssop and Mexican Hyssop for Gemma and Elinor. These are two of my favourite bee plants. I talk and fuss about them so much that Charlotte can't bear it any longer so don't tell her I'm writing about them on the blog! Anise Hyssop is also called Licorice Mint and the whole plant has an amazing smell of anis or licorice as its names suggest. The leaves make great tea. Mexican Hyssop has a more minty smell and is an ingredient in herbal medicine for the heart in Mexico. They are closely related and cross-pollinate so it's best to grow them far apart - especially as bees love them both madly and visit them with great gusto when they flower - which is over a long period in the summer. The seedheads are attractive, long-lasting and smell amazing. Enough! Enough of this encomium!

But the plant of the month must be Lemon Balm, which Andy talked about in his Deadly Resistances post. Also in the Mint family, its Latin name Melissa means honey bee. Both the smell and the tea of Lemon Balm really revive flagging spirits and cheer the heart. And bees really do love it. (Mark Watson)

Pics: Bungay Community Bees people get to grips with hives, frames and foundations, and young white clover in a bee friendly field; Anise Hyssop or Licorice Mint on either side of Mexican Evening Primrose, July