Browsing Posts published in November, 2011

Well, not really a slow death as such, but this is the beginning of the end for it.The New LEAF Loo.

And it can’t come too soon!

To the right here you can see the new urinals so skilfully designed and built by the Sheffield University Students out of…

…old wooden pallets!

Even the roof is made from recycled rubber from a company who make gaskets -its covered in the centres from them that would otherwise have gone to land-fill.

To fix the pallets together, rather than just use nails or screws (…which we would probably have done!..), they’ve used long lengths of M10 rods with associated washers and nuts.  They’ve also used coach bolts and buts.  This means that the pallets don’t have to be cut in any way.  It also means that should a panel or two rot -particularly the ones towards the bottom, we can simply unbolt a section and replace it.  Because pallets are all the same size, it means there’s no cutting of any kind involved.  Neat-oh, eh?

Since this photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, the students have been back to strengthen those struts that support the roof, and they’ve also raised the structure on bricks slightly with a neoprene covering on top to prevent water rising into the bottoms of the pallets.

Inside there is plenty of room to move about with a huge space for wheelchairs and our disabled volunteers are thrilled that they can finally move around without banging into the walls and doors!

Now, I would have taken some photos of the inside, but I didn’t because:-

i) It was being used all the time, so I couldn’t get in!

ii) There has to be an air of mystery.

If you want to see the insides -with pot-plants, pictures, smelly things (…why do girls insist on this?..) and a couple of areas of blackboard and chalk so you can write your own comments, then you’ll have to pop down to spend a penny!

Very soon, we hope to replace the ladies area inside with a ‘proper’ sit-down affair for those who wish to go for a ‘Number Two’.  This will involve some expense though, as we’re committed to use ‘NatSol’, the UK’s premier loo maker for those conveniences that aren’t connected to the sewage system.

This may run to a few thousand, but we’ll raise the money somehow.

So the horrible, blue, small and cramped expensive portaloo is on it’s way out.

Thank goodness!


Normally, Halloween and ‘Bonfire Night’ are pretty busy events for us coming as they do ‘back-to-back’ on consecutive weekends, but this year things really did get out of hand.The cute little fire.

With it being our tenth anniversary year, we’ve hosted ‘Allotment Soup’ to celebrate, and in doing so, managed to almost complete not one, not two, but three of our ‘wish-list’ projects we’ve seemingly been putting off for years.  These were the composting toilet, the Geo Dome and the wood-fired pizza and bread oven.  Each on its own would have been a major accomplishment to be completed in the time we’d given ourselves, but all three at the same time?  Lunacy!

Also, remember that we’ve grown (..and eaten!..) more than we’ve ever grown this year whilst doing all the above.

So as it stands, the composting urinals are done, thanks largely to the Sheffield University Architecture Students.

The Geo Dome is fully finished -and decorated- thanks largely to Diane’s massive work, along with all the hard work put in by Matt and New Ian along with our friends at Cape UK.  This has now been ‘taken out’ to three local primary schools where smaller versions were successfully built by groups of parents and children who then came down to LEAF and built the ‘Real Thing’ down on our Children’s Plot.  Yes, I’ll get you the photos of it fully built and decorated.

And the pizza oven, as you can see in the photo to the right here, is about 90% of the way there after its first hugely successful firing at the ‘Allotment Soup’ celebrations a couple of weeks ago.  This was done largely by Matt and Jon.

Looking back on all the utter madness of the last few weeks and months, I really have to shake my head in total disbelief.

Having to organize and deliver on all three simultaneously and organize ‘Allotment Soup’?

Mad, bad and seemingly silly.

So, as you can appreciate, yesterday’s ‘Bonfire Night’ celebrations were er, somewhat muted.

Fire lit and burning nicely.Ian (no relation), Diane and myself made a slight modification to the guttering and rainwater collection system on the roofing of our new toilets, then Ian and I dragged out this little hand-built stove from its secure storage and decided to fire it up for the first time.

We were given this little beauty by our welder friend down the road who so kindly helps us out when we get broken in to and sorts out the locks on our metal shed.  Every few months, some bright sparks decide that because we’ve got such a good security system on that shed, we must have something worth stealing.

We haven’t, but lets not go down that road right now.

Anyway, he’d built this stove for a customer who for some reason didn’t want it, and we gratefully accepted it, and its been sat for at least a couple of years gathering dust.

Yesterday we decided that we’d finally fire it up and see what it could do.There she blows!

Very impressive, we thought!

While we did this, New David and Derek did a valiant job of collecting dead leaves from the banking and from the pavement just the other side then moved barrows and barrows of them into the newly-refurbished leaf clamp up by the top compost bins.

All through the afternoon as Ian and I tested this fire, we had visits from other plot holders and various LEAF members came and went, then Sara came down with her two girls and had brought one of her awesome fruit cakes!

No further excuse needed for us to stop what little work we were doing, put the kettle on and ‘help her out’ by sampling some of this.

Well, we had to.  It would have been very rude to do otherwise!

As I left for the evening, Matt had invited everyone down to his plot where he and Kyle were having a ‘burn’ to get ride of some brambles and rubbish, so a great excuse to go and try out the sparklers.Holly berries.

So Dear Reader, if you were expecting tales of fun and wild abandon, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed this year.

But then don’t despair.

As the photo to the left here reminds me, Christmas is but a few weeks away.

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