Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Greens Cometh

In a week's time there's a real party conference in Bristol – very different from the orchestrated sponsored rallies that have become the norm for Tories, Labour and LibDems. This one really is a conference of the party's members, making the key decisions and staging real and relevant debates for members and the public.

The autumn Green Party Conference runs from Friday 7th to Monday 10th September at the Council House on College Green.

Here are some of the sessions that are open to the public (the link shows more) - you don't have to be a Green Party member to attend. All take place at the Council House unless otherwise stated

Friday 7th
15.00 The Bristol Pound - Ciaran Mundy, Bristol Pound CIC
18.30 Making the case for streets as great places to walk or cycle - speakers from Sustrans and Living Streets

Saturday 8th
13.30 OXFAM fringe "Can we fix a broken world system - how about a Sustainable one? " (at the Mauretania)
15.00 Homo Sapiens Report with Michael Wadleigh ( as seen at 2011 Schumacher Festival) – (at the Mauretania)
18.30 New Economics Foundation - New Home Front 2 (Reception)

Sunday 9th

1200 The Future of the NHS with Dr Gabriel Scally- ex SW Regional Director of Public Health  (recent Guardian interview):  Chair - Caroline Lucas MP

(The Mauretania cafe/bar is just next to the Council House on Park Street)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Boozy Dives for Slugs

Precious little escaped the 2012 slug glut. They even ate the leaves of potato and onion plants. That's an escalation of our annual war, and it triggers a new arms race.

This is where the trials for 2013 have got to. For once, it does look very promising, for anyone who's lost any sensitivity about killing the hungry beasts. Humanely, almost benignly, I tell myself.

Essentially, these are beer traps.... but malt and hop free, which makes it very much easier and cheaper to apply, even for a home-brewer. And I'm still not resorting to chemical warfare.

The trap itself evolved from early prototypes cut from Tetrapaks, but the Mark2  series uses pretty much any rigid plastic container that's big enough for a slug to dive into, and that keeps the rain out. Used spread tubs, milk cartons, ice cream tubs.... they need no more than a slug-sized door or two cut well up the side . And (for any greenies worried about taking them out of the recycling stream) they're reusable, so that's the right side of the waste heirarchy.

Slugs do like beer.... but what attracts them is the yeasty smell. So an alcoholic concoction of water, yeast and sugar (beer without the flavour) brings them just the same. Here's the recipe . 

Sugar/yeast SLUG BAIT
making 6 ltr (3 bottles)

3 x2 litre bottles
300g sugar
½ oz (15g) yeast

Fill a 2 litre bottle with water. Dissolve 300gm sugar in about 0.5litre of the water, boiled in a large (2ltr plus) pan. 

Add the rest of the water from the 2ltr bottle to the pan. Check it's warm, and crumble in 15gm yeast (Sainsburys - but not Tesco - in-store bakeries sell fresh yeast in 50gm or 200gm packs ).

When the yeast spreads, stir it in and empty the pan equally between 3x2ltr bottles
Warm another 4ltr water, and add to the three bottles. Cap loosely to avoid excess pressure buildup. Tighten cap after two or three days... and the bait is ready to pour into the traps.

The slug-pub is half sunk in the soil to give easy access to the alcoholic pool through the raised doorway, and the slugs waste no time finding the way in. Here's the evidence (not for the squeamish)  of the morning after the night before.

It's in such poor taste, maybe the Sun would publish it. In the public interest, of course.