All posts by Grant Venner

Spirit of 45

Sunday 12th May 7.30pm: Film Showing: Spirit of ’45

45Spirit of ’45 is an impassioned documentary about how the sense of unity which buoyed Britain during the war years carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society. “The achievements of the ’45 Labour government have largely been written out of our history” says Director Ken Loach, “from near economic collapse we took leading industries into public ownership and established the Welfare State.  Generosity, mutual support and co-operation were the watch-words of the age.  It is time to remember the determination of those who were intent on building a better world”. The film borrows from Britain’s regional and national archives, and adds sound recordings and contemporary interviews to create a rich political and social narrative.

The film seems of enormous relevance to the Transition movement as we endeavour to rebuild community spirit in the face of the challenges of climate change and energy volatility. As usual, it will be shown at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Road, Ealing W5 5RH. Entry is free however we will ask for donations to help us cover the cost of screening. A selection of warm beverages and cakes / biscuits will be served after the film so we can discuss what we have seen and its implications for our efforts in Ealing.

If you miss this one, our next film showing will be on 14th July – film title TBC shortly.

Free Energy Audits

energy auditOne of the best ways we can limit our exposure to ever-increasing energy prices, as well as doing our bit for the planet, is to ensure our houses are as energy efficient as they can be. SHS is a not-for-profit company specializing in energy efficiency and the Green Deal, and have offered members of Ealing Transition free energy audits and, depending on the level of interest, the possibility of a workshop on draught-proofing your house.

The ‘Green Deal’ is a government initiative which allows householders to make energy-saving improvements to homes or businesses without having to pay all the costs up front: money is paid off in instalments through your electricity bill.

You can participate in one of four ways

1. A free 10- minute “door-step” evaluation of your property and circumstances to determine what energy-saving options may be possible and what grants may be available to you. A trained volunteer will visit you at a convenient time, and talk you through a questionnaire that is presented on a small tablet computer.  The questions are very simple, e.g. does your house have solid walls or cavity walls? Do you have central heating or individual heaters in each room? Do you have double or single glazing? Is you loft space insulated? The volunteer interviewer does not have to enter your house and the whole process takes between 10 and 15 minutes. The results are reviewed by the specialist energy-saving company SHS, which will subsequently write to you with energy saving suggestions and if appropriate offer you a full technical survey to determine the best solution and potential sources of grants or other funding possibilities. SHS has recently evaluated hundreds of such surveys from Southall on behalf of Ealing Council.

2. A free full technical survey of your property to determine which energy saving options would be most cost-effective, and which support funding options are available. While working in the Ealing area over the next couple of months, SHS have offered free technical energy-saving surveys of Ealing Transition members houses. In this case a qualified surveyor will spend a couple of hours in your house making measurements and calculations about a range of potential solutions. They will discuss with you what would be most practical and cost-effective and follow up with a proposed programme of work and potential funding arrangements.  You can then choose whether or not to continue with this plan or to do something different.

3. Train as a volunteer interviewer to conduct the “door-step” surveys for your local friends, family, neighbours etc. If you would like to help others become aware of the energy saving help that is available, SHS can provide you with a couple of hours of basic training for conducting the surveys. You are provided with a Samsung Galaxy touch pad on which the survey is pre-loaded in the form of questions in text and graphics forms. You don’t have to type in anything except the name and address, since the range of potential answers to the questions are already defined and shown in words and/or pictures on the touch pad. You just touch the appropriate answer on the screen. After completing all of your surveys, the touch pads are collected by SHS for data analysis. SHS will then write to those surveyed offering a full technical survey if the property is eligible for energy saving grants or loans. You can choose whether or not to take up their offer.

4. A practical workshop on draught-proofing your house (and/or those of your friends, family, etc.) SHS, in collaboration with Transition Belsize and Camden Council, has developed short draught-proofing workshops for people who would like a little guidance in reducing energy use. A 15% reduction in energy use is possible just from simple steps like stopping draughts through floor boards, around doors and windows. The workshop also covers heat reflectors behind radiators and simple secondary glazing. We will run a workshop if there is sufficient interest locally.

If you would like to know more about or participate in any of these activities, please fill in the form below to contact Graham (we will not share your details with any other organisation, or use them for any other purpose).

We would also like to hear from anyone in the area who has any expertise in energy efficiency / retrofitting and who would like to help us.

Interested in:

Rose Hip Project

rose hipsRose hips contain 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. A nutritious syrup can be extracted from the hips by a simple process rather like jam making. Rose hip syrup is an excellent immune system booster and can be taken by the spoonful (like a medicine) or drizzled over cereals, cakes, bread, etc., or added to fruit juice. If we grow the roses ourselves, we have an enduring source of free, local, high quality vitamin C

What type of plant?

There are many varieties of roses that can be used for this, but research indicates that a variety of Rugosa (“Frau Dagmar Hastrup”) has a combination of properties that make it ideal for our purpose  –  disease resistant, large number of hips, high vitamin C content, attractive to bees and birds.  The variety “Scabrosa” has fewer but larger hips and can be a good alternative.

When to plant?

November through March for bare root plants, which can provide a crop this autumn

Where to get the plants?

There is a grower in Norfolk (Peter Beals Roses) that currently has about 70 Scabrosa in stock. The regular price is £12.45 each, but we can get a discount for a larger order. Enquiries are also in progress with Cultivate London about sourcing them locally.

Where to plant them?

Gardens, allotments, community orchards, waste ground, etc. These roses can cope with clay soil and partial shade.

How much space do they take?

The varieties mentioned above grow to about 1.5m high and about 1.5m diameter in clay soil.

How to make rose hip syrup?

There are lots of suggestions on the web, but we could create our own recipe sheet and/or hold communal brewing sessions in the autumn.