Future Heating and Energy Jeremy Thorp presented to Montgomery Energy Group (MEG)’s October Meeting on the topic of “Montgomery beyond (heating) oil: Is a Shared Loop Ground Source Heat Pump the right heating solution for Montgomery?” Jeremy reminded the meeting that according to the most thorough international research as just published by the IPCC, fossil fuels must be phased out as rapidly as possible to ensure that our children do not live on an inhospitable planet. Montgomery therefore has to find a way of keeping homes warm without the present reliance on heating oil. One option is more widespread use of heat pumps and, for somewhere like Montgomery, using a shared loop system might be worth investigating i.e. where several buildings share the same underground heat collection. The feeling of the meeting however was that we should be concentrating firstly on making our buildings more energy efficient so that less heat is needed, and that MEG should focus attention on helping to identify and demonstrate the best ways of insulating the types of older buildings common in Montgomery. This is a theme that MEG will try to develop over the next year.
Montgomery Walking Festival kicked off with a sunny and hugely enjoyable sponsored walk on Lymore footpaths with 103 Montgomery school children and teachers and a damp Friday evening under the Fridd. Seventeen, nothing deterred, walkers took part ending up at The Cottage where a great atmosphere was created with German beers and Oktoberfest food adding to the usual Monty's fare and with All Fired Up getting some serious audience participation. Despite dire predictions, the rain had disappeared by 7 am on Saturday morning well in time to wave off the intrepid walkers undertaking the 24 mile Challenge. They were followed a couple of hours later by a much larger group taking the service bus to Churchstoke and experiencing the lovely 'mini alps' walk back to Montgomery. Well over a hundred walkers took part in seven walks of varying lengths and all were rewarded with fine weather, good company and fabulous long distance views. Several of the walks were only possible because of the valuable work of the Vale of Montgomery Footpath Volunteers with Powys Countryside Services on the local Rights of Way network. Saturday night saw the Festival Supper, a thank you to our dedicated and knowledgeable band of walk leaders who put so much effort into making the Festival an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all. We were well entertained with the home- grown talent of Monty Folk and Cor Trefaldwyn, degenerating into a band of well fed and watered diners assisting with Ar hyd y nos and Calon Lan as if to the Welsh manner born. Alun and Val from Bradford won the accolade of attending the maximum number of Festival walks and events possible and said: "We really enjoyed the weekend. The events and organisation (and bara brith !) were so good and the walks and the leaders made for some great experiences. You even got the weather sorted. We take our hats off to you. Hopefully we'll be allowed back next year!" Walkers are Welcome Montgomery already have routes in planning for October 4-6th 2019. All walks were fully booked this year so don't miss out; booking opens May 1st 2019 on our website www.MontgomeryWalkingFestival.co.uk
The Plastic Free Montgomery opening presentation on Monday 17th September saw a great turnout from the town and the surrounding area, with some attendees even travelling from Oswestry to be there! Hosted and supported by Montgomery Energy Group (MEG), the discussion shared ideas for simple personal changes to plastic consumption and laid out the requirements of the new project which aims for Montgomery to become certified ‘Plastic Free’. Five key objectives to achieve this aim have been set by Surfers Against Sewage, an established charity campaigning for cleaner waters and prevention of plastic pollution. Once each of the objectives are met, Montgomery can apply for Plastic Free Community status. The project focuses on the reduction of single-use plastic in consumer streams, but has scope to look later at reducing other plastic waste. Project leader Jenni Visser said, “It was great to have so many interested people there, contributing, sharing ideas and joining in the discussion. Thanks to everyone for their attention and input, and to MEG for supporting the project and hosting the opening presentation.” Jenny Brignell of MEG added, “Thank you Jenni for an inspiring presentation. We look forward to seeing people supporting this community campaign and helping reduce plastic waste.” The project is still in its early stages and anyone wishing to be involved, either as a volunteer or as a committee member, is welcome to get in touch to discuss this further and to help steer the project’s future! Further events will be organised and people are encouraged to follow the Facebook page fb.me/PlasticFreeMontgomery for up-to-date information and notifications.
Amy Sterly and Christine Mills, artists from the "Drawn Together Wales" project, arrived in Montgomery with friends on a grey Friday last week. They held a brilliant pop-up sketching workshop at the Castle, gathering some of the visitors together to join them in drawing the beautiful and dramatic surroundings. The clouds threatened rain, but held off just long enough for everyone to do some fantastic drawings. Drawn Together encourages people all over Wales to draw their surroundings and upload them to a map which over time will become alive with drawings and be an opportunity to explore and describe Wales through the eyes of the artists. In October, all of the drawings that have been submitted to the project, will be collated as a exhibit at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, displaying the community and creativity that Wales has to offer. Artist Christine Mills said: “The backdrop to Montgomery Castle with a view looking towards the Shropshire borders gives us a hint to why the Castle was built high up on these rocks in the beautiful country town of Montgomery. One can see for miles and even on a grey day it is worth walking to this wonderful location. Having a sketchbook and pencil at hand makes us focus on the beauty, and helps us understand why Montgomeryshire is such a special place.” Amy Sterly added: “We definitely want to come back and do it again!” If you take time out of your routine to be creative - even for just a few minutes - you may find you notice more, feel more connected and are more appreciative of what’s around you. So get sketching and put your view of Montgomery "on the map". Upload your drawings of Montgomery and Wales at drawntogether.wales and follow the project on social media.
Friends Julia and Sandi first met at a Montgomery art class over five years ago and have been painting ever since. During the first week of August they hosted a joint exhibition of their work at the Old Bell Gallery with paintings and printed cards on display. Their styles are different yet complementary; Julia’s colourful and exuberant flowers and still lifes reflect her effervescent personality while Sandi’s textured abstracts and detailed animal pastel portraits illustrate the delight she has in working with different media. After selling one of her pieces Julia said, “This has been my first exhibition and I was delighted to have sold some of my paintings. I have received lots of lovely comments and I would encourage anybody to have a go at painting.” Commenting on the conversations with visitors to the exhibition, Sandi said, “As usual when I do an exhibition. I meet lots of interesting people from all walks of life. I get encouraged by their comments. I always meet other artists and it's great listening to their stories. I didn't start painting until I retired. I couldn't draw a matchstick man when I was a kid. I would recommend it to anyone. A lot of people say to me I could never do that. I think anyone can do it - if they want to. Sandi’s pastel portraits of a handsome male lion, her cat and a friend’s appealing red setter dog are on display. She is now taking commissions for pet portraits and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone wishing to hire the Old Gallery space to exhibit their own work can also contact Sandi for terms and costs.