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Jonathan Vernon in a high-vis jacket surveying potholes on Talbot Terrace

Reelected recently to one of the greenest Green Councils in the country (Lewes), I am inadvertently bringing together a gaggle of interests, some tangential, some relevant.  Following a talk on the 'Fungi of Markstakes Common' I am fast moving towards papers/talks on the 'Ancient Trees of Markstakes Common' - those identified 13 years ago (the ash have died, one Beech is a pile of dead wood, two other beech and one hornbeam have lost major stems, as with one of the silver birch - now dead. I could add another 12 to the old list.

Dealing with people is no less engaging and uses similar skills. I was out this morning with a tape measure to look at some local potholes and bring these to the attention of the Conservative run East Sussex County Council which is increasingly looking like the institution that blocks everything - these constipated Conservatives will be duly removed from power, where, in truth they have 'sat on their hands' for too long - doing little, taking their stipend.

But that's politics, and we don't want any of that here.

I'm itching for appropriate postgraduate study on woodland management, biodiversity, sustainability or some such but fear that too much that that is on offer is either dated, or to expensive. 

An online course on Fungi for £40, something on trees for £90. Do I need it, or want it.

Anyone used Chat.ai.open yet? 

Had it been around over the last decade I would have use it to assist with essays and dissertations. I find it/her/him an intelligent tutor, not always getting it right, but able to collate information and produce a coherent point of view. Like all tools though it/he/she must be 'triangulated' - we need references. 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Aug 2023, 05:57)
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Do you really want me? Do you really love me?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 31 May 2022, 14:38

An opportunity arose to work for The OU again so I applied; let's see what happens. Maybe departing after just one year the first time round was a mistake that I can never put right - but that was then, and now is now. The kids have left school, gone through university and settled down and 'we' are free to move ... within reason. We'll see. Meanwhile, the two big events of this last week have been trips to Rodmell Food Forest and to Brighton Open Art Houses 2022. 

A collage of photographs of Rodmell Food Forest showing a Siberian Pea Tree and a Toona Tree.

The Rodmell Food Forest was an eye-opener. I garden on chalk so know how tough it is to develop a sound soil. It has taken me over 12 years to grow substantial shrubs and hedging through total lawn destruction, mulching with kitchen waste and all cuttings, and while there was lawn to nibble my secret weapon - guinea-pigs. (I'm told a goat is handy at the job too. Up in Cumbria we used a small herd of Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs to root up the foot-trodden turf). 

I know now to mulch intensively, keyhole plant, collect rainwater, encourage birds and other kritters to look after the garden for me. We may stop short of having a composting toilet to collect dry human waste - though the head garden Marc Stenham recommended it - that and comfrey leaves.

Cover for work featuring figures underwater by Patsy McArthur

We left Brighton Open Art Houses late - again. We always mean to make an early start and be picking off a last trail or returning to a favourite one by the end of the month. Here we are trying to cover too much ground on the last afternoon and it went slightly pear-shaped, largely because we also thought we could ditch the car and do it on foot. We spent most of the allotted 4 hours treading the pavements of Brighton seafront; there were some gems though, I loved a return visit to Sussex County Arts Club where I took up life drawing in 2016 and to the work of figurate fine artist Patsy McArthur. I aspire to paint large, on a big canvas or mural in scale. 

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