A Pleasant Pheasant

A pheasant in my garden. Isn’t he beautiful.

You can read more about pheasants on the RSPB website – click here.

A large, long-tailed bird. Males have rich chestnut, golden-brown and black markings on body and tail, with a dark green head and red face wattling. Females are mottled with paler brown and black. They were introduced to the UK long ago and more recent introductions have brought in a variety of races and breeds for sport shooting.

Every year in Britain, more than 45 million pheasants and partridges are mass produced inside hatcheries and rearing sheds. From the sheds, they are moved to fattening pens before being released to serve as feathered targets for shooters.

The R.S.P.C.A policies on animal welfare state that “the RSPCA believes that ‘sport’ does not justify the causing of suffering to birds and other animals, and therefore the RPSCA is opposed to shooting for sport.”

If you, like me, are not into the idea of shooting these beautiful creatures for fun, then read a bit more about it on these sites:

The League Against Cruel Sports

Animal Aid


Hunt Saboteurs Association

Finding Local Information in East Devon

I was looking around the East Devon District Council website this morning and found a handy way to find really useful information in your area. Click on http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/my_neighbourhood.htm and scroll down to where it ways My Neighbourhood in green. Enter your postcode – this takes you to another page where you choose your address then click “view property details”.

It then provides you with lots of useful info like your recycling and refuse collection days, your nearest sports centre, library, swimming pool and electoral details. I’ve found out my ward is the Yarty Ward (as suspected when I was writing about the East Devon Constituency in December). My parish is Membury CP and my councillor is the Conservative Paul Diviani who lives just up the road from us in Yarcombe. Paul has been an elected member since 1999.

Let’s Get This Party Started!

I’m feeling very inspired and industrious today after meeting Isaac and Paula of The Exeter Green Party! Got lots of ideas on getting the NEW East Devon Green Party started. I’ve designed and printed off some posters to put up to advertise our first meeting. Thanks for your offer to design our posters properly Cherry – I will mention this at our first meeting and just use the basic ones I’ve printed off for now as the first meeting will be upon us extremely soon!! Sat 16th January is just around the corner now…

I could really do with someone who has the use of a car (I don’t drive, although learning intermittently!!) to ferry me around East Devon to put up posters EVERYWHERE. Please email me if you can give up a couple of hours and some petrol to do this. I’d love to say I could cycle round and do this – but realistically that would take three weeks (day & night) so we’ll have to make use of the demon car this time for the greater good! Can anyone please help?

I’ve drawn up a draft agenda and a contact list of local members, national members and other useful people. Here’s an update on who can come to our first meeting (so far!)…

Sharon Pavey (me) – lives near Membury/Stockland (will possibly take on the position of Local Party Contact and will be putting name forward as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate or PPC for the East Devon consituency).

Sharon Howe – in Sidmouth (will possibly be our Election Agent – Sharon has a lot of extremely useful experience of being involved in Green groups in East Devon for quite some time).

Isaac Price-Sosner – Local Party Contact for Exeter Green Party – is hoping to come along to help us get the new group started.

Amy Teague – Local Party Support Worker for Green Parties in Cornwall, Devon and South Somerset. Has been invited but as yet, I’ve not heard back but it is still Xmas hols etc…

Geoff in Budleigh (I’ve not included surnames at this stage as not sure if you want to be mentioned on my blog?) – is a shiny brand new member (like myself) and tells me he’s “happy to fill one of the roles needed” (be careful what you put in writing Geoff – as you can see you’ll be blogged !!!)

Diana in Exmouth – another positive response by email. Diana says “Yes, I will come to the meeting, and probably could take on one of the posts–though I’d like to hear more about what’s involved before fully committing myself.”

Cherry says “I would like to become a member but being a lot of the time abroad can’t make the meetings. My contribution would be on the design side.”

I’m emailing you all (mentioned above) now – so do please add a comment at the bottom of this blog entry if you have a particular skill to offer, fancy a certain position (eg secretary, press officer etc) or can think of anything which needs to be on the agenda – or just want to say HELLO and tell us a bit about yourself. Click here to read a bit more about me. It would be fabulous to get more comments on this blog – and get people chatting online prior to that first meeting, then we won’t be such strangers will we!!

I also emailed another three people who were kindly passed over from the Exeter group, awaiting replies. I have another ten or so East Devon members to email and three people to call (who don’t have email addresses). Fingers crossed, it’s all looking great isn’t it.

And – so I don’t forget to mention, and to make that first meeting a bit special – please bring along some nice foodie bits/cakes/delights etc to share. I suggest bringing your own flask of coffee/tea etc as we don’t have facilities (unless we pay more I think). Sharon Howe has organised hiring Twyford House for the meeting, thanks Sharon (full details of the first meeting here) which costs us £12 so any donations for that would also be good, although we should have our own funds very soon!

Add your comments – and we’ll all get chatting…

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” Ellen Goodman

Meeting The Exeter Green Party

I went over to Exeter today to visit the Exeter Green Party stall outside Boots on the High Street. I’m on the right of Isaac Price-Sosner who is the Local Party Contact for Exeter. Paula Black is on the left and is a Green Party County Councillor representing Totnes and Rural in South Devon. Paula is also running for the UK national elections in 2010. She is a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Green Party for the city of Exeter….so it was a really lovely unexpected surprise to meet her today. If you’d like to know more about Paula’s life since becoming a Green Devon county councillor in summer 2009 – click here to read her blog. I have read it and it’s very a very honest and personable account of what the role of a county councillor involves.

Isaac was a great help with advice for the new East Devon Green Party group – which is officially forming on Saturday 16th January in Sidmouth (click here for details of the meeting) and he might even be able to come over to Sidmouth to help us get started, which would be wonderful.

Thanks guys – great to meet you & I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.

Westcountry Teenage Drink Crimes On the Rise

An article from www.thisisplymouth.co.uk says that new figures show that the number of children committing drink-related crime in the Westcountry has doubled in four years.

Almost 2,500 children in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset have been fined, cautioned or taken to court for abusing alcohol between 2003 and 2007. The record figures come after the Chief Medical Officer warned earlier this month that parents who had a “laissez-faire” attitude to their children’s drinking were putting them at risk. Sir Liam Donaldson said people who allowed their teenagers to drink alcohol with their friends could be storing up problems while middle-class families who diluted their children’s wine may also be misguided.

Personally I would offer my children a very small amount of wine occasionally with a meal so disagree with Sir Liam saying I’m a misguided parent! As someone who grew up with relatives and friend’s parents who struggled with alcoholism, I am very aware of the effect alcoholism has on children and am very honest with my own kids. I think that banning kids from drinking when they are teenagers will just lead to further problems down the line. Whatever you tell kids they can’t have – they’re obviously going to find mysterious, magical and very very attractive.

You can read the whole article on www.thisisplymouth.co.uk

Shame on you China 你感到羞恥

I wrote a few days ago on this blog about the British man who was due to be the first EU national in 50 years to be put to death by the Chinese government. I am very sad to say that despite repeated last minute attempts by various organisations and the British government, British father of three Akmal Shaikh was killed by the Chinese in the early hours of this morning.

You can read the whole story here on the BBC site.

Here is my article from a few days ago.

If you like me are completely opposed to governments thinking they have the right to kill people (the death penalty) then do what I’m doing right now, support either Reprieve or Amnesty International by donating to them or simply buying a product off their sites below:



Don’t just sit there – DO SOMETHING !!!

Co-op Helping Fairtrade Fortnight in South West

The Co-operative Group is hoping to make Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 the biggest and best ever in the South West. It is offering a total of £40,000 to community groups to ensure their Fairtrade events such as fashion shows, coffee mornings and wine tastings are a great success.

The consumer-owned retailer has been a strong supporter of the Fairtrade movement for many years, since becoming the first high street retailer to list Cafedirect back in 1992. Now The Co-operative stocks the widest range of Fairtrade grocery products of any UK supermarket with 230 different lines.

To mark its support for Fairtrade Fortnight (22 February – 7 March 2010) and its ethical approach to business, The Co-operative’s membership department will share out a pot of £50,000 to community groups from Worcester to Wadebridge and Portsmouth to Portishead, to ensure their 2010 Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations are the best ever.

Co-operative and membership officer Pete Vallance said: “As the UK’s largest mutual retailer, we have been at the forefront of developing Fairtrade products and promoting the principles of Fairtrade. Our sales figures show how important Fairtrade is to our customers and, thanks to their continued support, we can ensure a better deal for growers in developing countries whose families can also look forward to a better future.

“This year, we are particularly pleased to be able to offer community groups throughout the South West a helping hand in making 2010 their best Fairtrade Fortnight ever. So if they’re organising events to raise the awareness of the support given to developing countries through Fairtrade, we look forward to hearing from them.”

To apply for a Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 grant please visit: www.co-operative.coop/membership/news/South-West/ or telephone the regional office on 01884 266892. The closing date for applications is 13 January 2010.

Click here to read the original article in the Midweek Herald

Transition Groups Together Event

Transition Groups Together

On Saturday 9 January 2010 Transition Town Exmouth will be marking what promises to be an exciting new year for Exmouth with the Transition Groups Together Event from 2.30pm-5.30pm at Glenorchy Church Hall in Exeter Road. This is a chance to get together, and discuss ideas, with guests from Sidmouth, Exeter, Ottery and other local transition groups. All are welcome – and people from all around the area – bring unwanted gifts for our Unlucky Dip. More details from Pete on 01395 224605.

Transition Town Exmouth also meets every month for Green Drinks

Green Drinks in Exmouth is hosted by Transition Town Exmouth at the Park Hotel, Exeter Road, Exmouth on the first Wednesday of every month.  It’s a chance to meet people in the local Transition movement and others and discuss green issues – and non green issues – in an informal environment.  Just ask at the bar where we are.

Sustainable Seaton – a Transition Town

Did you know Seaton is a transition town?

But what does this mean? Well…transition means ‘the process of changing from one condition to another’ and with transition towns that idea is applied to the whole community. A transition in order to adapt to a world affected by climate change, and an increasing price of oil etc.

The Seaton transition town group is called Sustainable Seaton and it wants to prepare Seaton for a time when oil may not be so readily available. The group wants to create a positive outcome by planning for the challenging future events which have been predicted.

Transition Town status is a very positive and fast growing reaction to planetary destruction that is taking place in the modern world. It will assist the Government to meet environmental targets; help re-build communities, provide local employment, promote health and well-being, as well as cutting down on CO2 emissions etc. It gleans the best of the modern and combines it with the good practice from the past. It endeavours to re-cycle, re-use and localise where ever possible. The Seaton group strives for a way of life that is more resilient, more fulfilling and more equitable, with a dramatically lower level of carbon emissions.

Here’s the link to the Sustainable Seaton website www.sustainableseaton.com

Their next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 20th January from 7pm – 9pm at The Community Centre, Fore Street in Seaton.