On Friday March 4th 2022, the amazing Kit Hillbillies played at Calstock Arts, at the Old Chapel, Calstock.
A great time was had by all, and a generous collection for the UK Red Cross Ukraine appeal raised £1500.
How to describe the Kit Hillbillies?
Old-timey, good-timey bluegrass! With rousing vocal harmonies that smuggle in occasional quirky local references.
Instrumental tasting notes: Banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar. Irresistibly tappy on the toes, with a crisp percussive finish.
Think Betty Stogs, rather than Harvey’s Bristol Cream!
In their words: “We throw in some original bluesy songs with many a knowing nod to the backwoods and badlands of Devon & Cornwall. These *usually* avoid causing offence (happily people don’t always listen to the words!). We always do some 20thC classics by the likes of Johnny Cash & Steve Earle. And like Hayseed Dixie we throw in songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Clash and even Radiohead – all delivered in good-time string band style. In short, it’s the makings of a rousing, stomping night of tunes.”
Regular readers will remember earlier articles describing our initial investigations into the potential of water turbines. For the benefit of newer readers, those investigations involved installing a measurement weir structure, however this unfortunately came to a premature end when the Environment Agency took an active interest. Temporary measurement weirs are permitted, however in this instance the EA considered that expensive licences would be needed, and that special provisions would have to be put in place to enable eels and migrating fish to move upstream unhindered. To our knowledge, eels and migrating fish haven’t been seen in this tributary of the Lynher in living memory, however the possibility that Samantha Salmon might take a wrong turn and find her path obstructed was enough to keep the good folk at the EA awake at night. Also, the required licences were unaffordable, and so the measurement weir had to go. Continue reading →
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First of all, we’d like to thank our Cornwall Councillor Sharon Daw for a recent grant from her “Community Chest” fund. We’re having hi-visibility vests made, with our logo on the back, for volunteers. This will help reduce any risk to our regular volunteers collecting recycling (see below) in various locations; also planting trees, and helping with the firewood project.
SHARE Recycling for Charity project
The project continues to grow, thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers that help monitor collection bins, pick up, sort into boxes and send the vast amount of items to Terracycle every month. By saving these otherwise hard to recycle items from being incinerated, we are generating funds for charities.
The New Year is typically the time when we reflect on the past and then look forward to the coming year in the hope that it will be better. The desire to have something to hope for that will improve our life is strong. The month of January gets its name from the Roman god Janus who has one face looking back and the others looking forwards. He is the god of gates and transitions.
Often, we can’t move forwards unless we have looked back, retraced our steps and asked some serious reflective questions such as: Is there a pattern in my behaviour and relationships that keeps repeating itself? Is there something I need to acknowledge and take responsibility for? Do I recognise my reactions could have been different? The key is to learn from the past and not just glance at it, so we don’t get stuck in the same old patterns of behaviour. If we do this well, we will grow and develop ways and means of working better with others; as well as being authentic to ourselves.
By now, we had expected to have a live website, updated continuously, showing the potential of the Lansugle stream to provide a small scale generation scheme .
Back in 2020, SHARE volunteers had already completed the metalwork for the measurement weir and reinforced the banks along the short stretch of the stream that suffered flooding in November 2019’s torrent. We completed putting in place a 65mm (2 ½ inch) high weir ready to use the electronics to measure the fall over it. We’d checked in the Environment Agency’s guidance that a measurement weir didn’t need any additional permission. But for reasons unknown to us the Environment Agency took an interest in our work, and sent a fisheries expert to take a close look, and we were then advised that changing the flow from turbulent to smooth along the weir structure (just three feet long) would contravene the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act. It turns out that we would need at least three extra items: a salmon ladder, an eel pass and a supplementary licence, the application fee for which is an additional £1500!
The impact of the Environment Agency intervention was that the metal weir structure had to be removed. This was done quickly and the site completely restored to the state that it has been in for the past 50 years. The purpose of the metal weir was to straighten and smooth the water, resulting in “laminar flow” over a clean edge. This, in conjunction with a water depth measurement system, would have enabled flow over the weir to be very easily calculated, with little manual intervention. It would in fact have been possible to monitor the flow closely over a 12 months period, in a fully automated way. Occasional site visits would have been necessary to ensure that the metal channel and weir remained clear of obstructions such as branches and other debris.
But we’re determined to complete what we originally set out to do; it’s just that we had to find a method that meets these additional regulations. We still want to characterise the catchment area and stream flow, throughout the year – even on a weekly basis. We also want to be able to assess the power generation potential of small streams such as this one, and so put ourselves in a better position to be able to subjectively judge alternative potential power generation sites. Consequently, we have purchased a small water turbine flow meter and started to measure flow with this equipment on a regular basis. The site has concrete piers that were used in the distant past to provide the greater head of water needed to drive a water pump. These piers provide an area that constrains the flow and makes it relatively easy to carry out a matrix of flow speed measurements. Although it is still early days, we are gathering some interesting results.
We have already seen that flow can vary widely in a short space of time. In the dry weeks of November, the flow would only have been sufficient to generate around 1kW of electricity. In early December, following heavy rain, 6kW electricity generation would have been possible. 6kW round the clock, entirely independent of wind or sunshine would be a very valuable local generation capacity – equivalent to the average energy used to power around 15 homes.