Author Topic: Lower Shaw Farm - member's views  (Read 3907 times)

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construct

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« on: July 03, 2007, 11:17:21 AM »
Some of us took our kids to Lower Shaw Farm recently to see what everyone had been talking about. I have to say that Lower shaw Farm is an absolute pigsty - although I think that is an insult to pigs - they are clean animals - lower shaw Farm is not clean - and I wouldn't say it was well run. How anyone can enjoy going there is completely beyond me. we had to check the kids to make sure they hadn't picked anything up - urggghhh! Roves farm is a much nicer place than this.

Why anyone gets sentimental over this place I don't know - I'm tempted to call the enviromental health people - does it have a health certificate ? I can't believe anyone is actually allowed to stay there overnight it is so disgusting.

Can someone explain to me why they like this place ? Does anyone else feel like I do ? How many people have actually been there ?

I want to go and shower just thinking about it - it reminded me of a really scummy collective of women at greenham common years ago - a bit like a pikey camp - only less organised.

I will not be going back there ever.






Offline Tobes

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2007, 12:29:13 PM »
hmmm.. an interesting tone and choice of language from 'contruct'. Though I haven't been to lower Shaw Farm myself either, perhaps there are a few points to consider in context.

* Its a FARM. I've worked on a few. Dung tends to come with the territory - as does mud. I would imagine that its especially muddy given the recent rain we've been having
* The choice of the words - 'some of us' - might lead the cynical reader to wonder who this group of 'us' might be - and their political allegances ... especially given the prejorative language in connection with 'scummy' greenham common women and 'all the fuss', and recent history which saw certain councillors of a blue-hue disspointed by the wealth of public support for the place when threatened with closure.

Please remove the sceptical scales from my eyes?

I wonder if this could be a nice bit of placement before the next suggested cut in funding?

... or maybe a combination of having worked in PR and having spoken to Rob Magic is causing me to blur paranoia with unfair suspicion?

If I'm wrong, please accept my appologies.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

construct

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2007, 04:38:58 PM »
Us refers to me and other parents from the toddler group our little boy goes to - we try to go somewhere each week to give the kids some variety. Sometimes it is Bonkers, Kidsaloud, roves farm, bowood house - anywhere where kids can let off their steam. Sorry if you don't like it.

It isn't a working farm - it is more like a play area - a bad one at that. Roves Farm IS a farm. Lower Shaw Farm is a house with a big garden, that has a couple of animals in it. what I was referring to was the state everything was in - it is filthy.

The women at greenham common were at times pretty scummy - even those who went thought it was scummy - my friends mum was one of them ! All our friends who live in hungerford thought a lot of the protestors were scummy. Sorry - that is a fact.

I thought that as I had actually visited the place I would give my perspective as most of the comments on this thread weren't from people who had been. Perhaps you should go yourself to find out about it before commenting ?

Sorry that I don't like the place - I think it is filthy, I won't go back there and am surprised it hasn't been closed down by health and safety - it really is that bad. I have never been anywhere like that and I won't be going back. Perhaps I don't like hippies and I like things clean and tidy. when my son is old enough he can go and play in dirt, but not at the moment.

I don't really care what happens to the place - that wasn't my point. I was asking why anyone liked the place ? Does anyone else feel like I do and how many people have actually been there ?

why don't you actually go there and give us your views ?

p.s.
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choice of language from 'contruct'


My moniker is Construct:-  I based it on a variable in a theory - it sometimes carries the connotation of something that cannot be observed directly, or which we suppose to exist but has not been measured yet. Similar in this sense to a latent variable. Intelligence is a construct that is used to explain competence.


Offline HeidiT

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2007, 08:55:58 PM »
Yes I have been to Lower Shaw Farm, no I don't think it is filthy and it is certainly a place that we have that teaches Children a lot.  Roves Farm is too far away for those of us who live on this side of Swindon and also a lot of people don't have the money to take their kids to Kids Aloud, Bowood House, Roves Farm, Bonkers etc.etc

I was also a protestor at Greenham Common (a teenage one) my friends and I used to go on a weekend and be taken there by our friends Mum.  Whilst some of the protestors there were a bit 'scummy' these were definately in the minority and involved the women who were actually living there with a tent / bit of plastic so not able to use nice clean wash facilities or nice clean loos.  So to infer that women at Greenham Common were pretty scummy is inferring that the majority of them were and this just is not the case.

There are lots of theories to say that those people who bring their children up in a too clean, industrial cleaning strength environment are not doing there children any favours, as the children have reduced immunities to colds, flu's and are at increased risk of allergies.

I have a daughter who played outside in the mud, when she was a baby / toddler, ate slugs and worms knows where pork, beef and chicken come from and hasn't got any allergies and isn't frightened of dirt.

Whilst Lower Shaw Farm might not be as clean as a 'tourist attraction' it caters to the childrens needs very well.  If you had only seen beneath the 'filth' you would have noticed why people take their children to Lower Shaw Farm.



 

construct

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2007, 09:19:11 PM »
it is certainly a place that we have that teaches Children a lot. 

We ? I thought it was a private company ?

It didn't teach my Son anything - he already knows about animals. He knows the little fluffy lamb is destined for the table, along with the piglet and the calf. When he is older we will teach him how to gut fish and butcher meat. The way both of us were. I believe in being honest with my kids.


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roves farm is too far away for those of us who live on this side of Swindon

no it isn't.

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I was also a protestor at Greenham Common (a teenage one) my friends and I used to go on a weekend and be taken there by our friends Mum.  Whilst some of the protestors there were a bit 'scummy' these were definately in the minority and involved the women who were actually living there with a tent / bit of plastic so not able to use nice clean wash facilities or nice clean loos.  So to infer that women at Greenham Common were pretty scummy is inferring that the majority of them were and this just is not the case.

I disagree - most of the women there were scummy.

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There are lots of theories to say that those people who bring their children up in a too clean, industrial cleaning strength environment are not doing there children any favours, as the children have reduced immunities to colds, flu's and are at increased risk of allergies.

I absolutely agree - I have no problem with my son eating either slugs or worms - I am quite partial to snails myself.

The point I was trying to make is that Lower Shaw Farm tries to make out it is this wonderful special place of learning. Whereas in reality it is a disgusting filthy place, with second hand crap all over the place. Rusty caravans as sleeping accommodation and no basic hygiene. If it were a place of learning or a campsite it would be illegal due to the conditions there - do you disagree with this view ?


Has anyone else been there ?




 

Offline Tobes

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2007, 11:40:38 PM »
Hmmm... steady on old fruit!  :-\
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Sorry if you don't like it.
eh? Where's that come from? Who doesn't like what?

You seem to have missed the main nuance of what I was suggesting as a possibility and which I was hoping you'd clarify - that you might be a tory councillor or associate writing under a moniker (and a clever one, at that!). Not that your political allegiance necessarily makes any difference - and not that its actually any of my business if you'd prefer not to say . If you were following this story up until December of last year, I'm sure you'll apreciate the reason for asking. Some of the language used by those councillors attacking the place back then seemed to me at least to indicate that they were opposed as much to the political leanings and lifestyle choices of the people running the place as they were the cost/benefit derrived by the community. Calling the people their 'scummy' and a 'Greenham common-like' kinda rang some bells. ( It also offended my inner hippy  ;) - but only slightly man!)

I take no exception what-so-ever to you airing your perfectly valid views. If you'd care to re-read my qualifying (if admittedly sceptical!) comments, you'll see that I clearly stated that I'd never been to the place myself. I just found the invective a bit odd - and my admittedly old but still partly functioning PR radar went <<ping!>>. Farms are, in my experience, muddy, dungy dirty places 'full of rusting things and second hand crap'. Certainly all the ones I've worked on were anyway!

It may of course be an utterly false radar reading, and you are merely rightly commenting as an ordinary member of Joe Public - in which case, as I said in my original post, I heartily apologise. The place obviously isn't above valid criticism despite the support it received when threatened with closure - perhaps miguidedly in the light of your comments. Its just that given the political intregue which surrounded the place six months ago, I thought I ought to check. I would hope you understand my reasons for seeking a little clarity, because it would be a shame if your observations were attributed to other motives - as it would equally be a shame if you turned out to be a councillor making comments as an apparently independent 'ordinary' member of the community, whereas in fact you might have political motives for being critical.

I may of course just be the cynical old curmudgeon which my girlfriend hearily believes me to be..!
..............

Oh, and just a final point...

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Has anyone else been there ?

Isn't that a bit of an odd comment? Again, made my PR radar blip. You already know I haven't been there - but Heidi has.  Your point would seem to be that lots of people have commented on the place without having experienced it. In the light of the unexpected public support the place received I hope you might excuse me for wondering once again if there's a political motive behind that question?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 12:07:30 AM by Tobes »
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

construct

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2007, 11:17:49 AM »


Tobes I appreciate your honest sceptisism and can see why you are suspicious. if the shoe were on the other foot i would agree with your views. I do not belong to any party and am not a councillor. I live close enough to Lower Shaw Farm and personally see it as a blot on the landscape. my councillor Keith williams actually supports the place but I do not share his views.

I would rather see the house occupied as a house as would many of my neighbours. In fact if they wanted to put some more houses on there I wouldn't have a problem as long as they were houses nice enough for the area.

I read through all the posts on this page and read lots of political statements, some common sense but picked up from a few posts an almost blinkered attitutude.
I gather the farm is leased from the council at a very low rent vs the value of the house. I am not happy that my council tax is effectively paying for someone to live in a huge house and run it almost as a squat. If the site were neat and tidy, and not used as some sort of second hand furniture dump with rusting caravans scattered around I might be swayed a bit, but I just can't see what is so wonderful about it now.

The reason why I posted this on here is because I would like to see something done with this house, I think it doesn't help the way the area looks and isn't clean or safe.

I genuinely wanted to know what other people who had actually been to the site think of it. I may be in a minority but even our views should be heard. Also i am not sure people who haven't been there should really comment on it. it is fine being principled but the facts are the place is horrible. please go and have a look and report back - proove me wrong.

Offline James

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2007, 11:26:31 PM »
I've been to both LSF and Roves farm.

Plenty of cleaning facilities at both, so no reason to catch anything you didn't want to, and plenty of opportunity if you did.

Two questions for Construct...
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....and isn't clean or safe
Did you express your concerns to the people at LSF, did they give you any responces?

Why didn't you start a new thread with the issues you've raised?

James

PS Anyone else think these last few posts be given a new thread?

Offline Simon

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2007, 05:15:32 PM »
I thought that as I had actually visited the place I would give my perspective as most of the comments on this thread weren't from people who had been. Perhaps you should go yourself to find out about it before commenting ?

Sorry that I don't like the place - I think it is filthy, I won't go back there and am surprised it hasn't been closed down by health and safety - it really is that bad.


Well I've been there, and I don't recognise your description at all, except maybe for the hippies (the world needs more hippies), and the play area (which incidentally was assembled for next to no budget and is still enormously popular with the kids).

While I was there I ate a pizza prepared in the barn and cooked in their own outdoor clay oven. And I suffered no ill effects from it, and neither did any of the other 50-100 people who were there that day to my knowledge.

I am not happy that my council tax is effectively paying for someone to live in a huge house and run it almost as a squat.


A squat is a property which is unused by the owner and which is being occupied by others without the permission of said owner. In what way does the running of LSF resemble this?

It doesn't. That remark is almost as revealing of your world view as your remark about "scummy" Greenham Common protestors.
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline Provocateur

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2007, 01:55:21 AM »
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Why didn't you start a new thread with the issues you've raised?

Makes me a bit suspicious that the comment was posted here, rather than in a fresh thread... (or maybe I'm a cynic too!)

Should this thread be split as James suggests?

Admins?

construct

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2007, 02:51:00 PM »
I posted in this thread because this was the one that was about lower shaw farm. I can start a general one about the farm if that is what people want -I don't really care. I find it funny that as soon as I write something you don't like you automatically assume I am a tory councillor. This is like reasding the swindon advertiser website where anyone who write something intersting is labelled a tory. Are you the same people ? Also some tories like lower shaw farm so why is not liking it a sign of toryism ? Just because people disagree with you doesn't make them a tory.

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it is a disgusting filthy place, with second hand crap all over the place. Rusty caravans as sleeping accommodation and no basic hygiene


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Well I've been there, and I don't recognise your description at all

If the farm has changed in the past couple of weeks then fine and dandy but I have not noticed any difference when I have walked past.

I also dont care if the people on this site like lower shaw farm. I dont. Simple as that. Am I entitled to have mny views and ask if anyone agrees with me ? If not what is the point of this ?






Offline Tobes

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Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2007, 07:30:06 PM »
Sorry to feel like I'm rising to the bait - but pipe down! ;) Given that the local Labour party think that TS is a hive of Tory supporters (even to the extent of having perhaps of having made veiled references to sites rather like our being overtly 'right wing') - your comment smacks of nothing but perhaps a slightly petulant nark. What you're saying simply demonstrates that this is a forum with a wide range of views. The fact that yours jars with the opinions of several other regular quality posters is evidence of nothing except that some people have had a very different experience to you.

you said

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as I write something you don't like you automatically assume I am a tory councillor

but only a short while ago, you conceeded:

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Tobes I appreciate your honest sceptisism and can see why you are suspicious. if the shoe were on the other foot i would agree with your views

...so hang on a cotton picking moment before you start comparing us to the Adver!  :o

If people are questioning both your perception of things (as well as your motivation) you're going to have to take it on the chin until you can eirther convince us of the validity or either your observations OR that you don't have a vested interest. Seems fair enough to me on every level.

If you don't care that other people like Lower Shaw when you don't thats fair enough. Unfortunately, you seem to be getting upset that poeple are disgreeing with you though. I'd invite you to extend the same level of tollerance to their disagreement with you as you expect regarding your views.

The 'point' of all of this is to talk about the issues. If that involves you being challenged, again, you've got to take it on the chin. I thought you dealt eloquently with the questions I asked you - now all you have to do is continue that process with theothers if you want to maintain some credibility. You're not owed trust - its earned.

You state

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I also dont care if the people on this site like lower shaw farm. I dont. Simple as that.

which would seem to illustrate that you've already formed a firm opinion and couldn't care less what anyone else thinks, but the in the same breath you say:

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Am I entitled to have mny views and ask if anyone agrees with me ? If not what is the point of this ?

To which of course the answer to the first part is YES - has anyone denied you right to express an opinion? NO. The irony is of course though that YOU TOO must accept that on a public forum people have an equal right to dissagree with you!
THAT, to answer the seond part quite simply, 'is the point'.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lower Shaw Farm - member's views
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 12:58:44 AM »
Contribution received from Matt Holland by email with an apology that he was unable to log onto TS to post it himself.


Quote from: Matt Holland


Construct appears not to like Lower Shaw Farm but does not say what her/his children thought of it.
 
Considering Construct has given her/himself a very reasoned and carefully thought-out name (to hide behind . . . ?) it is surprising that his/her words about LSF are so silly. For example, saying "scummy" over and over again does not exactly indicate a wish to have informed discussion. And the manner in which she/he maligns the women of Greenham Common says a great deal about her/his ability to understand or respect values other than her/his own.
 
Since Construct appears to be asking about health and hygiene, she/he may like to know that yes, we are regulated by all the appropriate health and safety authorities and we do meet their requirements. We are law-abiding. In fact, even though we may not be as 'tidy' as Construct would like us to be, we take health and safety very seriously, as we do play, work, diet, time-keeping, good courses, gardening, and education, not to mention a serious sense of humour. Construct may like to know that our health and safety record is better (touch wood) than many other places of play and education hereabouts. - Construct may also like to know that the 'second-hand furniture (dump)'  she/he refers to is actually us making very good use of matttresses and settees, from friendly neighbours, that were destined for the real dump - the furniture, not the neighbours! This is a form of resourcefulness and not wasting. Mattresses are brilliant safety mats and children love the play area that the 'second-hand furniture' helps to create.
 
On the matter of tidiness, when our children were small, I was looking after them one day and, unexpectedly, a health visitor came round and I apologised for the untidiness, to which she said, 'In terms of children's welfare, a neat and tidy home is often a worry to me. It can indicate the wrong priorities. Here, I can see evidence that there is plenty you let the children do.'  So, maybe, what Construct calls 'dirt' is actually absolutely fine. In fact, Construct's phobia about what she/he calls  'filth' may be a problem that she/he has. Perhaps Construct's seemingly panicky need to, as she/he says 'check the kids to make sure they had not picked anything up' is more to do with her/his needs than theirs. - Our children, three of them, were conceived, born, and raised at Lower Shaw Farm and now, just past their teens, are fine (touch wood) blessed with good health, solid values, open but questioning minds, and a pleasing degree of tolerance towards all people and many different ways of life. 
 
A final point on this 'tidiness' thing that Construct is so concerned about. Lower Shaw Farm is a sizeable place to run. We work hard to keep it going. When we took it on, it was in far worse shape. Our budget is not big. We are constantly making changes, tidying up old areas, improving outbuildings, laying paths, creating play areas, etc etc but it is a lot of work, and expense, to change and maintain a ramshackle old farm as a place of play and learning, and to meet our ideals. Good work takes time. We want it to be even better than it is and can, ourselves, see areas of improvement. That's what we are working towards. It's a pity Construct was unable to see that. If only she/he had asked questions to us directly, while visiting, and shown respect and interest, instead of going off and ranting angrily and pseudonymously into cybersace.
 
On the question of whether LSF is or is not a 'proper' farm, a point often raised by people who want to have a pop at it rather than know or understand it, here is the answer. The name, farm, is retained but the commercial farming activities are not, and could not be continued in what is now a residential area. There is no suggestion in anything we say or in any of our leaflets to imply otherwise. In fact, here is what we say, in print and on our website. "Once a dairy farm deep in rural North Wiltshire and home to seventy black and white cows, Lower Shaw Farm now has another life: as a three-acre oasis in an area of 1980s development.  The farm has kept a character and atmosphere of its own, with organic vegetable, herb, and flower gardens, many native shrubs and trees, living willow structures, ponds, poultry, black mountain sheep, and unspoilt play areas both for children and adults.  The farm outbuildings have been converted into meeting rooms, workshops, and simple accommodation. Much of the farm and accommodation is accessible to people with disabilities. Please ask for details." etc - The few token animals are kept chiefly for pleasure and educational purposes, not for serious money-making production. But because we have retained the farm buildings, imaginatively altering their use, the place still looks farm-like more than it does say leisure-centre or school-like, so we decided to keep its original name, honouring a sense of its history and, we feel, still best describing it. The farmer who last owned it and used to visit, till he died, liked that too, and, by the way, really liked its 'new' look and its new use.
 
Construct thinks LSF is 'horrible'.  There is no answer to this other than to say, it's a matter of opinion. Construct is entitled to her/his. We hope that you are happy with your kind of tidiness, health, and hygiene, dear Construct. Each to their own.
 
We think Lower Shaw Farm is anything but horrible. Testimonies from many users, visitors, and helpers bear this out. We shall continue to work, with them, to try to make it even more beautiful.
 
If anyone wants to ask questions, make suggestions, discuss, or whatever, we are happy to engage but anger-filled rants are not really our bag, especially when they are anonymous and attempt to insult or offend rather than comment constructively. LSF is a place where ideals and social responsibility are taken seriously and where, generally, people of all ages and backgrounds thrive and are respected.
 
Matt Holland
Lower Shaw Farm