This Year 19

Year 2019

On 28th September we had a busy day with two pedal generator setups on different sites. One was at Reading Town Meal in the Forbury Gardens where Food4Families provide a free lunch for several hundred people. The ingredients are grown in gardens and allottments all over Reading and cooked by catering students from Reading College.


Our other event on 28th September was smaller, Chadlington Apple Day just north of Oxford. It was extremely windy with 35mph gusts so I used a closed tent instead of one of our usual open awnings. We had a struggle putting it up and taking down but it did give relief from the blustery wind inside. At least there was none of the heavy rain we had on the days before and after. It was generally a bit quiet probably because people were put off by the weather, but the bubble machine went particularly well with the wind behind it.


At the start of August we did another solar powered sewing project, at Green Gathering near Chepstow. We did an early start, making an emergency replacement cap for a neighbour's tipi tent while we were still setting up. Luckily I'd been donated a large canvas bag only a couple of days before and we were able to convert it into a replacement for the original cone shaped receptacle for the tent's main pole. Unfortunately there aren't any pictures as it was done in a hurry in bad weather. After that things settled down and we carried on as normal with plenty of sun to power the machines. For some reason there was less demand for our pre-prepared kits this time but plenty of repairs and various original projects including some nice hats.


On 13th July we provided pedal generators at WOCA Fun Day in Oxford. The weather wasn't as hot as last year but I still had to haul up one of our chunks of old military canvas on top of the transparent cover for a bit of shade.


At the end of June we were in Green Futures at Glastonbury Festival running the latest version of our Solar Sewing workshop using four adapted sewing machines with 12V motors. The setup was very compact so instead of having a prominently displayed solar panel we ran everything from the tracking array on the top of my van. We didn't need anything like the full 100W available but at least we were able to help neighbours with phone charging. At the end we were able to harvest loads of materials for our next workshop from stuff abandoned on the site. During the event, apart from helping people with our pre-prepared or their own sewing projects we carried out quite a number of clothing and bag repairs. Many people had brought old cherished items to the festival and were overjoyed when we were able to rescue them after they fell apart! There was also demand for footwear fixes but strangely no tent repairs.


At the start of June we should have been providing pedal generators at Oxford Big Green Day Out, but unfortunately the whole event was cancelled by the organiser due to high winds. I think that's our third cancelled event so far this year!


On 11th May we were back at Forbury Fiesta, the launch event of Reading Children’s Festival with our full sized setup. After a minor hailstorm at the start (which at least made it worthwhile putting up our rain cover) there was plenty of sun. As usual for this event we were very busy.


The start of the year’s been quite busy. On 18th February we provided three pedal generators at Henley and Thame for the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan Roadshow, and on 27th we were at Mayfield School in Ealing with seven pedal generators and some handcrank devices.
On 16th March I took our street PA to Bristol and demonstrated it at the Extinction Rebellion Spring Uprising.
In between that on 23rd February I set up a tiny pedal powered PA for the East Reading Adventure Playground protest with an amplifier and trainer stand generator carried by bus.