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Visit MAD this weekend

Visit MAD this weekend

As we all know, there’s a huge amount of very valuable free information available on the Internet.  One of the most useful we found was a free blogging e-course from expert Mark White of Better Business Blogging.  Without this, we probably would still just be talking about setting up a blog.  Instead of which our blogs are now valuable Internet marketing tools which increase awareness and traffic to our websites. 

This morning, I received an email from Mark, asking for our help in promoting a ‘MAD’ (Music, Arts, Dance and Drama) weekend for all the family at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire on 26th & 27th June.  Mark set up the Manor’s blog and is, voluntarily, helping to promote the event.  So having made good use of Mark’s free advice, we were only too pleased to help.  There’s nothing like a bit of viral marketing to spread the word! 

‘MAD’ looks like being a brilliant weekend for all the family with something for everyone.  There are workshops and performances going on throughout both Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday night features a fundraising concert: ‘Music at the Manor – ‘A Night with the King & Queen‘ – tribute performances to Elvis and Queen!   From Romeo and Juliet to children’s choirs and Street Dance workshops, it’s going to be an action-packed weekend. 

Why not visit the Waddesdon Manor MAD website and check out what’s going on this weekend.  With the Met Office promising us some fine weather, what better way to enjoy the sunshine than enjoying this great introduction to the performing arts? 

As a final note, Mark White is offering a free ½ hour of blog coaching to 10 lucky people who help him promote the event.  You can blog about it, post a ‘Tweet’, mention it in forums or add something to your website.  Just let Mark know by email what you have posted and where.  Your name will be entered into a draw to select the winners.  If you need further information, links or logos, I’m sure Mark will be pleased to help.

Laying Dura-Base mats

Laying Dura-Base mats

Managing Director of Robertson Envirosystems Limited, Hugh Robertson, is urging UK farmers to protect their land from damage and erosion by using Dura-Base temporary roadway matting.  Where access is needed across farmland, for example under a Way Leave agreement with electricity or telecom providers, Dura-Base mats are proven to reduce the impact on soil and grassland. 

Farmers now have a legal obligation to protect their land and, under the Cross Compliance Single Payment Scheme, must produce annual soil protection reviews.  This legislation is designed to not only protect the environment and sustainable methods of farming, but also to conserve the UK’s historic heritage by safeguarding archaeological remains. 

The increase in extreme weather events means soil is at risk of becoming compacted, particularly over areas accessed by heavy plant and machinery.  Wet soil is more easily damaged and the resulting compaction adds to run off and soil erosion. 

Using an alternative temporary roadway systems such as Dura-Base instead of aluminium panels, considerably reduces the damage to farmland.   Reinstatement of the land is virtually nil and Dura-Base will protect even the most sensitive of surfaces.  Because the Dura-Base mats are interlocking, they follow the contours of the landscape, making it suitable for use even on high-risk areas.  The interlocking system also prevents seepage of mud onto the surface.  This reduces the risk of spreading soil-borne diseases to other parts of the farm.  In addition, it reduces the risk of soil being deposited on public highway, which in itself can result in prosecution.   

Hugh Robertson strongly recommends that farmers include the use of Dura-Base matting in their soil management plans.  He is urging them to insist that utility companies using farmland under Way Leave-type agreements, must use Dura-Base matting.  He said, “A large number of UK companies, including the Electricity Alliance, are now using Dura-Base.  As well as protecting the land, Dura-Base has another significant benefit.  Unlike aluminium panels, it has no scrap value, so all security risks are eliminated.  Callous thieves will stop at nothing to get their hands on aluminium panels.  They’re known to leave a trail of devastation in their wake, and ultimately it’s the farmer who is responsible for this damage too.”

For more information on Dura-Base temporary roadway systems, contact Hugh Robertson on 01235 868835 or visit

Terrafirma Roadways, a division of Robertson Envirosystems Limited, has this week been awarded a three year Framework Contract to provide temporary roadway services to Electricity Alliances (East & West).  The contract, worth in the region of £1.8 million per year, endorses the benefits of the Dura-Base Composite Plastic Mat System.  Terrafirma has been supplying Dura-Base mats to the National Grid and Electricity Alliance’s partner companies, Balfour Beatty and Babcocks Networks, for the past year.  

The contract announcement follows a significant period of growth for the Abingdon-based company.  In 2007 Terrafirma became the sole UK Distributor for Dura-Base Composite Mat Systems.  The interlocking Dura-Base mats form temporary roadways, commonly used on construction sites, or to provide utility companies with access across farmland.  In the past 12 months, the company’s sales have soared, and the demand for Dura-Base mats has increased 20-fold. To cope with the increased demand, Terrafirma’s fleet of vehicles has doubled and the company now employs 20 staff at its Oxfordshire base. 

Traditionally, temporary roadways were constructed using aluminium panels.  However, the use of aluminium panels presents a number of problems: health and safety on site being one of the biggest issues.  Mud can seep through the joints in aluminium panels, causing trip and slip accidents and loss of traction for vehicles. 

Dura-Base matting uses a unique 300mm overlapping lip system.  The panels are secured with ‘twist-lock’ fasteners and no nuts, bolts, or joining plates are needed.  This provides a continuous barrier between the ground and mat surface, preventing mud seepage.  The composite plastic mats follow the contours of the land, reducing trip hazards on the site.

One of the biggest benefits of Dura-Base to land-owners is the reduced impact on the environment. Traditional aluminium roadway panels cause damage to the underlying surfaces, and soil and grassland can take several months to recover.  With Dura-Base, little reinstatement of the land is necessary, because the construction of the mats means damage is minimal. 

Managing Director of Terrafirma Roadways, Hugh Robertson says, “This is a major stepping stone for the company.  The contract is a very positive endorsement of the Dura-Base system.  We’re looking forward to continuing our investment in people and equipment to ensure Terrafirma delivers an exceptional service to Electricity Alliance”. 

Anyone wishing to find out more about Dura-Base temporary roadway systems should contact Hugh Robertson at Terrafirma on 01235 868835 or visit

– ends –

Notes for Editors

Terrafirma Roadways is a division of Robertson Envirosystems Limited.  The company is based near Abingdon, Oxfordshire and employs a team of 20 people. 

For further information and images, please contact:

Hugh Robertson, Managing Director
Tel:  01235 868835
Mob: 07887 992612 (mobile

Sainsbury's Opening in Chipping Norton

Sainsbury's Opening in Chipping Norton

This is something of a red letter day for Chipping Norton … after 2 months of work, Sainbury’s has just opened its new store.  Chippy  had only two small supermarkets, Somerfield and the Co-op, to serve its thriving local community.  In April, the  Somerfield store closed as a result of the take-over by the Co-op in 2008.   For residents of Chipping Norton, the Gateway to the Cotswolds, visiting the nearest super-store involves a round trip of 20 miles or more.

Amidst much speculation, the news finally broke: Somerfield was out and Sainsbury’s was coming to town.  While the 2 month-long refit was underway, the Co-op had the monopoly on the small town shoppers.  But at 9am today (9th June 09), the new Sainsbury’s opened its doors for the first time in Chipping Norton. 

Like any small town, Chipping Norton is a hot-bed of gossip.  Locals were fully expecting celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, to be putting in an appearance, and there was talk the new store was to be extended upstairs.  These rumours proved to be unfounded, of course.  But as a nice touch, the Sainsbury’s powers-that-be decided to have the store opened by a member of staff who has worked in the store (under different ownerships) for ‘more years than she cared to remember’. 

This sort of thing is important to a small community.  Let’s hope that in coming to Chipping Norton, Sainsbury’s takes its responsibilities to the town seriously.  With one of the area’s biggest fundraising events only a month away ( it would be great to see Sainsbury’s pledging some support to this. 

And finally … let’s hope the management realise their mistake in tucking their ‘Chippy News Honesty Box’ away in a corner.  The Chippy News is one of the cornerstones of the community.  The monthly publication, run and managed by volunteers, is probably one of the best-selling papers in the town.  It’s so popular, copies have even been offered for sale on eBay! 

So come on Sainsbury’s … we’ve welcomed you to our community … now it’s your turn.  Get those copies of the Chippy News where we can find them … the Co-op does!

Mary Thomas of Concise Training

Mary Thomas of Concise Training

The week got off to a great start with this morning’s networking meeting at FBBC.  With several new faces swelling the ranks, it was a lively and informative meeting. 

The day’s rosette goes to Mary Thomas of Concise Training who took us through the workings of LinkedIn and Twitter.  Judging by the interest and questions, there were a great many other networkers in the room who benefited from this session. 

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR

Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR

Mary is a professional trainer and her skills were obvious as she took us through the presentation.  There was no deadly reading of slides here!  We were hanging on her every word!  Introduced and supported by Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR, another internet social networking impresario, Mary’s presentation was ‘pacey’ and easy to follow.  As an added extra, there were professional hand-outs for everyone … so no note taking required. 

With Nigel Morgan as the audience ‘stooge’, the power of Twitter was demonstrated with ‘tweets’ going out live from FBBC.  So, a big thank you to Mary Thomas.  I’m off now to pore over my handouts and ‘tweet’ about my LinkedIn success!

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