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SECRETARY’S REPORT

Tanya Highet ~ LAXEY AND LONAN ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION
September 2012

 
No one can deny that this year’s growing season has been the toughest so far for the Laxey and Lonan Allotment. The record-breaking rain as well as cold and wind ensured that crops suffered on all of our plots. On top of those already daunting challenges we also had hungry slugs and bouts of potato blight to contend with. Even so, there have been healthy crops of leeks, beets, raspberries, various greens and much more right across the site. Well done to everyone who fought hard for their harvests this year!
 
One amenity that has certainly made allotmenteering easier has been the communal shed which we completed in the spring. Partially funded by the very generous Manx Lottery Trust, the building has given us a handy place to store our tools and to take shelter from the weather. The communal wheelbarrows and strimmer have also been very well received and have been put into good use by many of our allotmenteers. A big thank you has to go out to our Committee members Graeme Jolley for handling the building and planning application, to Clive Martin for single-handedly painting the structure and to Steve Taggart for researching and purchasing strimmers, bringing in petrol and for sourcing wood and building the tool rack. All have spent a good deal of their own time in making sure the project was completed and the rest of the committee has worked hard to make sure funding and other equipment has been brought in as well.
 
Another person who has contributed a lot of time and work for our allotment has been Dawn Kinnish. Her legal skills have been invaluable and we greatly appreciate the effort she’s put into LALAA projects and paperwork. She was also able to help the allotment this summer through the work of her husband Juan who speedily came to saw up the tree which had fallen over one of the plots. Thank you both for your time and dedication.
 
At the same time that we completed the shed we also were able to fill in the far gate with soil excavated from the building’s foundation. The idea behind this was two-fold; first we agreed to block up that entrance as part of our lease with the land owners. Secondly, we’ve had major issues with water runoff from Baldoon road coming into the field through that area and flooding quite a few plots. This summer has been the true test of whether it would work and so far it seems to be holding up. Though we’ve all had a bit of bogginess to deal with it could have been far worse.
 
Another project that came to fruition this year was our wildflower meadow on plot 26. Last year several of us worked hard at turning over the soil and planting the area up with potatoes. Then in the autumn we raked and levelled the soil and then sowed a mixture of wildflowers that included corn marigolds, cornflowers, poppies and many more. The tiny seedlings hung on over the winter and then exploded into a riot of colour and life this spring. It attracted thousands of hoverflies, honey bees, bumblebees, lady birds, butterflies and wildlife. We hope to begin digging more of the land at the bottom of the field next spring for the continuation of the project so please get in touch with the Committee if you’re interested in lending a hand – and having a bit of extra space to plant up with potatoes.
 
We’ve had some people leave the allotment this year but even more who have joined. Those who have joined are Jane C., Mary C., Mike C., Dave D., Peter D., Brian G., Derek G., Samantha and Jonathan H., Chloe M., Asmur A., Lucy R., Rachel V., Carol W., Larisa W., and Oleg B. A warm welcome to you all!
 
We also had a Committee member retire this year who we were very sad to see go. Tony Butler has been a great help and friendly source of gardening advice for us all. Though he’s no longer part of the Committee he’s still working hard on his plot at the top of the field – you’ll know his by the line of berry bushes and canes which include his astonishingly sweet thornless blackberries. His work has inspired me and doubtless others at the allotment and predict that we’ll see similar plantings on other plots next year.
 
Since last year’s AGM we’ve had two main social events, the first of which was our annual Christmas party. It was a lively event filled with nibbles, a warm fire, roasted chestnuts and the ever popular open bar. It seems traditional now that we have a raffle at our events and indeed we had one then as well. Many people brought in prizes and purchased tickets and through this fundraiser we were able to raise £48. Fiona Shimmin of Girlie Gardening was also in attendance with her lovely assortment of garden goodies and she generously donated to the raffle as well. Christmas is approaching for us yet again and we’re looking forward to organising another relaxed and festive day where we can meet with old friends and get to know some of our new allotmenteers.
 
The other event we hosted this year was the First Annual Seed Swap which took place last March at the Laxey Sailing Club. Working together with several other allotments, we invited the public in for a free afternoon of seeds and socialising. We weren’t sure how many people would make it but in the end we saw dozens of people come in to donate, swap and also to sit down for a chat about the past season. As you can guess we also held a raffle which included various donated prizes but the most coveted of all was the wormery given to us by Steve Taggart and the IoM government. It in itself sold quite a few raffle tickets and after the proceeds were counted up and divided LALAA’s coffers had an extra £28.66. On top of all of the fun we had on the day there was also a small write up published in the Green Supplement of the Independent and Manx Radio came along to do an interview and broadcast about the event.
 
More recently we helped to organise a stall at the Manx Food and Drink Festival. I along with enthusiastic allotmenteers from sites all around the island manned the stall for both days and met with scores of people interested in growing their own – as well as celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott who was very impressed with our vegetable display. It was a brilliant event and through another raffle LALAA raised £38 for our allotment projects. Another big thank you needs to be given to Steve Taggart who was able to get us a second wormery to raffle off and who lent us a large display unit.
 
Autumn is clearly in the air but thoughts of next summer are not far from our minds. While you’re here at the AGM please have a flip through the Kings Seeds Catalogue and have a chat with your fellow allotmenteers. It’s amazing how much gardening knowledge exists between us and many of the more seasoned hands are more than willing to give pointers to anyone just starting up.
 
Lastly I would like to thank everyone for hanging in this year – it hasn’t been the most ideal summer for growing vegetables but hopefully the weather will be better next year. Thank you also to the Committee who have put in a great deal of time and effort into keeping LALAA going. Being a member is an unpaid and voluntary position and your hard work is very much appreciated by us all.

 
 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

PAULA HARRISON ~ LAXEY AND LONAN ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION

September 2011

 

This is the end of our second year of growing. Quite an eventful year. We’ve battled with unpredictable weather, slugs, pheasants and the dreaded New Zealand flat worm. I haven’t seen a single earthworm this year, although neither have I seen a flatworm;  others have seen both. Our vegetables have suffered, and I think everyone will agree that it could have been a better year.

I am sure lessons have been learned and some vegetables have thrived despite the problems.  I apologise to anyone who planted my pumpkin seeds from last year to find they have turned out as Pumgettes or Courkins! although they were slow to start my own turned out round and orange as they should,– I promise I didn’t sabotage your seeds!

At the last AGM we welcomed Tony Butler and Steve Taggart to the committee – two people who have contributed greatly to LALAA over the year.

Last Autumn we were sorry to lose Ollie M and Jackie B who were founder members of the committee. Due to work and family commitments something had to give for both of them, and we thank them for everything they’ve done particularly in getting LALAA up and running. We were glad that they were able to continue with their allotments so have still been able to enjoy their company.

LALAA had a stand at the 10/10/10 event at Laxey Wheel – which was very successful and  our stall looked terrific, with such veg, flowers and cakes we had rustled up. We had another stand at the Food and Wine Festival only two weeks ago – ………………….

A small social committee was formed during November to arrange a family Christmas party and Rachel H, Janet M, Angie R and Isla R did a wonderful job at the Laxey Football Club and raised a marvellous amount of  money with our raffle, which paid for the party.  Many thanks to all who contributed to that. I know  the Laxey Blacksmith bought a huge amount of tickets as he was determined to win the wonderful chocolate log that Frances B donated!

Between Dawn and myself we managed the LALAA account until Tony gallantly stepped in as Treasurer for which we were very grateful. Tony will give an account of the funds to you later on in this meeting.

The car park was finally completed at the beginning of March by Triple A Construction who completed the surfacing after Dawn had worked hard to negotiate this. And what a pleasure it is to be able to simply nip up to our plots to pull some veg or check on things without making an expedition of it. We have Dawn and Juan K to thank for erecting the wooden barrier around the edges. Dawn has proved very handy with a hammer!

Around this time we were sad to lose Pat D from the Committee,who resigned due to her many family commitments. Thank you so much Pat for your direction and guidance, without you there wouldn’t even be a LALAA.

At our March event held for the collection of fees – there were a few murmurs of discontent about the fees being set at £50 per full plot and £25 per half plot, but I think everyone conceded that around £1.00 and 50p per week was not exorbitant!

On this occasion we were very lucky to have Raymond Clague talk to us and share his knowledge of farming and local history. A big thank you Raymond. The proceeds of our raffle on this occasion were donated to the local Parkinson’s Disease Association.

Fiona Shimmin brought along samples of her Girlie Gardening and many of you took advantage of her lovely gardening products to give as  presents.

We did a seed swap at this meeting too, and Andy R generously donated lots of seeds for us to distribute. Andy also kindly arranged the delivery of mushroom compost for us.

He spent quite a lot of this summer working in Sierra Leone, so it’s nice to see him back in Laxey.  Many thanks for your hands on support Andy.

Also during March three of us were able to attend the Edible Garden Show in Warwickshire–This is a new event which will surely become an important one in plotholders’ calendars in the future. Many hints and tips were gleaned and it was a very enjoyable weekend. Thank you to Tanya for organising this.

Thanks to Steve T and Mark C who blocked up the top gate with sandbags for us to keep the runoff rainwater away from the field. Also they co-ordinated the donation of two large railway sleepers from Bobby Sadler and installed these as a bridge over the little stream from the car park to the field.

Between us we fitted multi headed taps on the standpipes and we now have two heavy duty hosepipes to enable plot holders at the lower part of the field to have easy access to water – as it happens water has not been something we’ve been short of this year!

We are grateful to Laxey Commissioners for giving us Adrian to keep the pathways strimmed this year. Also we are grateful to Adrian for strimming those plots that had been left to grow out of control.

Initially, we decided to contract someone to do the first cut for us and Juan K agreed to do this, and it may be that this is something we will ask him to do in future.

We hoped to erect a shed this summer but decided to wait until we have another 5 year lease signed. Dawn will give us an update on this later.

Plot 26 which has been boggy and not suitable for use as an allotment, has been cleared by Tanya, Steve and Mark who have given generously of their time and energy to begin the creation of a wildflower meadow. Tanya has sourced and purchased out of our funds, organic seeds  and hope that we and the wildlife will enjoy a lovely patchwork of colour next year.

We have had some changes in our membership and have reluctantly, said goodbye to the H’s, the T’s, Andrew S, Isla R, Rob L, Dave M and Liz G. On the otherhand, we have welcomed Derek O, Gillian and Ian H,  Lisa H, Wendy C, Louise M and Caroline H – who has thrown herself into the deep end before even starting her plot by volunteering at the allotment stand at the Manx Food and Wine Festival recently.

We still have some vacant plots so keep spreading the word.

Tanya co-ordinated a seed order for members through the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners last year and she has agreed to do that again. Forms may be collected here tonight.  Also I hope you are all taking advantage of your membership discount cards at B&Q and so on.

Newsletters have been sent to you seasonally and we hope that you have enjoyed them or at least read them!! It was decided sometime ago to e mail all notices rather than incur costs of printing and postage or burdening committee members with hand delivery . So we hope this has worked.

Have you have been reading Tanya’s blog “Lovely Greens”? –this has given us many interesting ways to get the most out of our plots. If you need any help in accessing this Tanya will explain.

Laxey in Bloom competition was held in August and Tanya deservedly won first prize for her allotment. We are very lucky to have her as our Secretary.

Lalaa continues to be represented at the Government run Allotment Forum and we have met members from other allotment sites and forged alliances and friendships.

Finally, I have to say what a strong committee this has been and I want to thank each and every one of them. They have all contributed their strengths and time generously. Amazingly we haven’t had a cross word or disagreement!  On the contrary our meetings have always been happy occasions.  Thank you all of you.

 

 

SECRETARY’S REPORT

PAULA HARRISON ~ LAXEY AND LONAN ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION

September 2010

 

Two years ago in September 2008, Pat Dupre  posted notices around Laxey inviting people to join her in trying to find ways and means to begin Allotments in Laxey.  About 6 or 7 people turned up and it was hard work from there on. It seems we have come a long way from that September evening in Pat’s front room!

A year on and after a lot of hard work and Liz Cowin’s efforts,  in September 2009  Mr Ellwood Parsons generously offered us the land at Ballamilghyn Farm, Baldhoon Road.

Membership was set at £10 per plot and a plot fee of £100 over a 5 year period – which was the proposed term of the renewable Lease with the Landowner.  An annual plot fee is still to be levied once we understand better the costs involved – water rates and any unforeseen maintenance costs for example.

At a Members’ meeting on 22nd October 2009 names were randomly picked out  to allocate plots.

Then sadly on December 8th 2009,  Mr Ellwood Parsons died very suddenly. All progress on behalf of LALAA was halted and it was not until January that we learned that Ellwood’s son Ean and his family agreed to keep the arrangement and a formal lease was put in place to run from the 1st March 2010.

At last on a snowy day on 21st February we held an on site meeting when everyone could identify their plots as marked out in twine and pegs by members of the Committee (not an easy job!)  Now we could really believe in our Allotment Association and digging commenced on the last weekend of February. However, we still had a great deal of work to do:

We have carried out fencing as required by the Farmer on two sides of the site and had water connected.  Two standpipes were installed by a very generous member who wishes to remain anonymous but we are extremely grateful to him.

The Planning Application took a lot of time and effort and we are absolutely delighted that all the hard work put in by Graeme Jolley and Dawn Kinnish has paid off and we now have been granted planning for car parking and a communal shed.

All planning and legal expenses  incurred have been paid.  Insurance is in place with (National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners) NSALG and since the wonderful news that Planning has been granted ,we are now in a position to look at costs for creating a car park and installing a communal shed.

Our Chairman, Mrs Pat Dupre, carried out a sponsored swim at Ramsey Swimming Pool on February 13th and with your help raised the marvellous sum of £542 which is being matched by Barclays Bank. Thank you for supporting that event, and also to Mr Rodan our MHK for his encouragement along the way. If we are to have the shed, car parking and toilet facilities in the near future we must be pro-active in fund-raising, and your help, ideas and support are needed now more than ever.

We have Jackie Buckham to thank for setting up our website and Lalaa e mail address and Tanya Highet who put us on Facebook.

We are indebted to  Ollie Mitchell for keeping the site strimmed particularly in areas where some of you have not had time to attend to it. Also thank you to the Laxey Commissioners who let us have the services of their gardener Adrian to strim the pathways occasionally. Fourteen year old Dylan Pycroft earned some pocket money by strimming for people as well.

Ollie has also done a splendid job as Treasurer and a big thank you to Ross Highet for auditing the accounts.

Rachel and Mike Higham organised a Soup and Share day in the Spring which was enjoyed by many of us, so thank you to them and to others who have helped in many ways. We would have liked to organise some more social events this summer, but our time and attention was completely focused on the main central issues of  water, planning and car parking. We think a Social Secretary would be a welcome addition to the Committee to organise events and fund raising. Our vision of the Allotment Association was always to enrich the quality of neighbourliness and community.

It is tremendous to see that 30 plots are being worked and some 53 people (members) in our Association are enjoying all that LALAA land has to offer. We must all be fitter and healthier this year – not least because of the effort involved in walking up the hill and helping to fill in the water trench! But also because of the joy of growing and eating our own produce and sharing crops and advice. Long may it continue to be so.

Finally, I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Pat for getting us all together in the first place. This has been a very happy like-minded Committee who have been such good company and support, particularly when one or other of us have felt like throwing in the towel!

 
 
 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 11:32 pm

    Very pleased to hear of your success. We have all of the same problems with lack of allotment provision. Please contact me if I can be of any help.

    Dave Morris
    North West Rep ( incl I.O.M) for the NSALG

    • laxeyandlonanallotmentsassociation permalink*
      January 24, 2010 10:39 pm

      Thanks for that Dave. We are still just getting organised, so will be in touch with you about membership, insurance etc
      Jackie Buckham
      LALAA Committee Member

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