I enjoyed reading ‘Tweeting around Clifton Street’ in the last issue of The Whistler, and the front cover. From my 20+ years of feeding garden birds I find the best value bird seed is from the Pound Shop in London Road, and Coombes Pet Shop in Baker Street (and Portland Road) which sells 20kg for £16 and they will deliver.
My 10-20 sparrows roost in the neighbour’s huge potato vine and flock into my evergreen strawberry tree. Tits, wrens and a robin also come to feed. I do not encourage greedy pigeons. It’s most enjoyable to watch 5-10 sparrows having a cold water bath – a supply of fresh water is as important as food. They shake excess water off so I do not have to supply towels! Dust baths in the summer are enjoyed also. Beware – magpies will carry off young birds.
BE of West Hill
It is great to read how West Hill Community Association is flourishing after 44 years. I was a local resident, actively involved in the Community Resources Centre (then on the site of The Brighthelm) and was asked by a brilliant community worker to help organise the first meeting in St Nicolas Church Hall. I can’t remember her name, but I learnt a huge amount about how to help a local community create its own organisation. She recruited a few volunteers to deliver leaflets to every door and talk to people. There must have been over 100 people at the meeting, which started with a brief introduction to the idea of a community association, then broke up into small groups so that everyone could meet and speak with other people to say what they wanted.
Someone from every small group reported back to the plenary and several people volunteered to form a steering group, including John Wilson and myself from Buckingham Street. We recruited a ‘street rep’ for every street and produced a monthly newsletter, which I delivered to street reps for distribution to every house. I enjoyed my Saturday rounds, stopping occasionally for a glass of carrot wine or cup of tea. Production of the newsletter was a collective effort, with people of all ages, from teenage to one person in his 90s. I can’t remember names, but I do remember personalities, the warmth and community spirit.
Titus Alexander, now living in Kings Langley, Herts
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