An Invitation to all – Winter Solstice Celebration!

Here’s a random idea for anyone up for it: Meet on Branscombe Beach 1pm Thursday 22nd December – let’s get together for the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, midwinter! We can maybe go up to the Mason’s Arms in the village for hot chocolates afterwards.

I’ll be taking the kids and the dog and we’ll be making winter solstice mandala’s like this one (below) we made on Dawlish beach in the summer – before we even knew what a mandala was…..! Maybe we can all make a huge one together?

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What is a mandala I hear you say…..the Mandala Project website says “The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself – a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.”

A mandala is a geometrical figure with a centre, such as a circle, or polygon, or a square, often in the form of a labyrinth or maze with symbolic meanings.

I must give credit to the idea of making mandala’s tomorrow to my twitter-friend Brigit Strawbridge who posted this video about her beautiful autumn equinox nature mandala on twitter this morning and Brigit has set up a Facebook page called Nature Mandala’s which has amazing photos of lots of other people’s mandalas. I think I may have caught the mandala bug you know – I love concentric, mathematical arty things – and any excuse for a get-together with friends!

Nature Mandala for Peace, community-built mandala at Sierra Azul Nursery as part of the "Sculpture Is" exhibit.

Don’t forget to add a comment on here if you’re coming to the beach tomorrow. See you at one. Bring dogs, children, friends and smiles! Wrap up warm.

A conker spiral by Suzanne Thomas

Diana Heyne's nature mandala's on a foggy beach on the Isle of Noirmoutier
Diana Heyne's nature mandala's on a foggy beach on the Isle of Noirmoutier off the Atlantic coast of France

Exeter Animal Aid Festival – a great success!

The South West Green Party had a stall at the South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival yesterday. The annual event held at the Corn Exchange in Exeter was a huge success with over a thousand people attending!

Green Party members from left: Derek, Martin, Loran, Sharon Howe, Steve, Ana, sam then Paula Black and Sharon Pavey at the front
Green Party members from left: Derek, Martin, Loran, Sharon Howe, Steve, Ana, Sam then Paula Black and Sharon Pavey at the front

Huge thanks to everyone who helped on the stall, we raised over £200 with our hampers – all donated veggies from Green Party members and a hamper full of Suma goodies.

Green Party members donated fruit, veggies & wine for the hamper
Green Party members donated fruit, veggies & wine for the hamper

Benjamin Zephaniah was the highlight of the day performing some of his poetry, the choir were great and so many amazing stalls and lovely people. A thoroughly enjoyable day.

Thank you to Suma for donating all these products for our raffle
Thank you to Suma for donating all these products for our raffle
We launched the new Green Party cookbook at the festival and it went down very well
We launched the new Green Party cookbook at the festival and it went down very well

South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival 2011



Exeter Corn Exchange, Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BU

Sunday 27 November 2011



Benjamin Zephaniah, the nation’s favourite performance poet, will be the special guest at this year’s South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival on November 27. Benjamin will be reading poems (at around midday), signing books and chatting with visitors.

The pioneering, eco-friendly Festival offers visitors the chance to buy Christmas cards and innovative, cruelty-free gifts in the sure knowledge that they are supporting good causes and creative local companies. Products will range from fairtrade clothes and jewellery to cosmetics and skin care products, handmade chocolates, games for children, pottery and oils made in Palestine and sold to provide poverty relief for the local population, wildlife photographs, and Devon grown olive trees.

Everything on sale will be free from animal products.

Charitable organisations taking part include Survival International, CND and the Palestine Solidarity Group, Devon Wildlife Trust, Sea Shepherd, the League Against Cruel Sports and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection – emphasizing the core message of non-violence to people, animals and the environment. The South West Green Party will also be there.

According to Mark Gold, who is organising the Festival for Animal Aid,

We’re particularly thrilled that Benjamin Zephaniah has kindly agreed to join us this year and add another great attraction to our popular festival. We’ve really built the event up over the last four years and it’s been wonderful to see increasing numbers of visitors seeking to buy imaginative and unique presents for their family and friends.

It’s part of the ethos of the Festival to keep admission free, so that people can spend everything they can afford at the stalls. At the same time, we want them to feel they’ve had a special and fun day out, so we also have a fabulous restaurant and great live music – as well as Benjamin’s guest appearance, of course.’ Photo from

For further details of the South West Christmas Without Cruelty Festival contact Mark Gold on 01395 579353 (07796 581915) or email

Fruity Free-for-all at Community Market !!!

It’s just 5 weeks since our public meeting at Montgomery’s brought together enough like-minds to get a Transition Town group up and running here in Honiton. The steering group (Geoff, Chris, Charlotte, Colin, Rufus, Tina, Sharon, Michelle and Alison) are very pleased to announce the first little project – a fruity free-for-all.


Transition Town Honiton will have a stall at the Community Market at the Mackarness Hall on Saturday 5th November. TTH will be giving away seasonal surplus fruit from the trees in and around Honiton between 9.30am and 12.30pm (or until we run out!). Everyone is welcome to come and make use of the fruit on offer to eat, juice or make into jams, chutneys and preserves. If you have spare fruit which you would like to give away, please bring it along on the day or contact Rufus on 07762 788206 to arrange to pick and collect. We also need a couple more helpers on the fruit stall on the morning – even for an hour, please get in touch with Rufus or contact me.


We hope you can support the market which includes local food, wooden toys, jams, eggs, cakes, ethical clothing, jewellery, books, crystals & fossils and facepainting for the little ones. No entry charge and refreshments are available – free tea & coffee to all market customers!  Click here to read more about the market.

Community Market 5th November

The Honiton Mackarness Hall is hosting a community market from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday 5th November 2011. Entry is free as is fairtrade tea & coffee on the day! There will be some yummy cakes available to have with your cuppa and after refreshments you can browse the collection of stalls.


Stallholders are not 100% finalised yet but there should be some locally sourced veggies, eggs, jams, plants, chutneys etc, and a delicious homemade cake stall – staffed by the local students raising funds to go to India next year and work in an orphanage. Please bring along your own donated cakes on the morning if you would like to help the students raise the funds needed to make their worthwhile journey.

Stalls booked include a fabulous environmentally friendly wooden toys stall from Busy Bees and fairtrade and ethical clothing by Emma’s Emporium. Mandy Meakins will be there with her business The Shopping Lounge which sells handmade jewellery and gorgeous girlie accessories.


Honiton Community Cinema are attending to promote their next screening following the incredibly successful test screening a couple of weeks ago and there will be an opportunity to talk renewable energy solutions with new local business Little Green Solar. The local Green Party will have a stall promoting their new local membership scheme, where you can join the East Devon branch for just £5 per year. There will also be a raffle and a book stall.

Interested stallholders can book a stall by emailing Sharon or calling 07740973990.

Transition Town Honiton – up & running!

As of today, our little town of Honiton joins 458 muller transition initiatives across 34 countries on planet earth! We are registered on the Transition Network site

Being a ‘muller’ means we are in the ‘mulling it over’ or planning stage of the transition process following a successful first meeting last night. 23 people came along to find out more and after a discussion and gathering of everyone’s details, 7 people stepped forward to run the steering group to get the whole thing going. The brand new steering group were very keen to meet next week and start planning some action.

There are 382 official transition initiatives and if we are successful in meeting the criteria set out by the Transition Network based in Totnes then we will become ‘official’.

‘Green Guru’ Satish Kumar is Guest Speaker at Recycling & Environmental Exhibition at Ottery Parish Church

This event takes place on Saturday September 24th 2011 from 10-4p.m and we will have a Green Party stall there.

This promises to be a very exciting event with inspiring talks as well as a variety of interesting stalls and stands. Satish Kumar, who will be a guest of Sustainable Ottery, will be speaking at 2 p.m. and taking questions. Satish was born in Rajasthan, India, in 1936.  His life is permeated with the theme of pilgrimage.  At the age of 9 he became a wandering Jain monk and spent many years in pilgrimage through his homeland.  In 1962 he set out on a peace pilgrimage of 8,000 miles from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi to Moscow, Paris, London and Washington.   He has studied Buddhism and Hindu philosophy.  He is the Editor of the ‘Resurgence’ magazine which is a multi faceted publication of poetry, politics, imagination, economics and creativity.  He has also published several books and is the Director of Programmes at Shumacher College.  He now lives in North Devon and his excellent profile of Dartmoor that was shown on BBC called ‘Earth Pilgrim’. Satish presented Dartmoor throughout the seasons showing, as he says “the beauty of nature, but also the economy, generosity and intentions of nature, and how we need to be pilgrims and learn from nature instead of trying to dictate to or dominate it to our whims. When you learn from nature you learn ecological humility, and gain a respect and reverence for nature”. Recently he was interviewed on the BBC programme “Town” when it featured Totnes and spoke on Radio 4. his is a rare opportunity to hear one of the World’s leading environmental thinkers and speakers live in our area. For more information on Satish and Resurgence visit

Sustainable Ottery’s Helen Collinson will also talk about her work for Christian Aid.

September Meeting for East Devon Greens

The next East Devon Green Party meeting takes place at The Heathfield Inn on Walnut Road in Honiton on Wednesday 14th September. The meeting starts at 7.30pm and new members are welcome. Please email me if you would like to car share or can offer a lift to another member.

We do have two vacancies on our committee at the moment for election agent and website manager. Please let me know if you are interested in either post. Thanks.

The agenda is being drafted on the members site – please add items on there