Community mission

Raking a stick day

5 runners ran to help the Compton Terrace Gardens in Islington.

  • Alex Passa
  • Elizabeth
  • Beth Sawyer
  • Paul
  • Even Alin
Saturday, 14th of March 2020
Led by Elizabeth

The friends of Compton Terrace Gardens host a monthly neighborhood working day for anyone interested in maintaining their lovely green space, which is located close to Highbury and Islington station.

As GoodGym Islington have previously done some work for them (mostly moving compost, see here), their volunteer coordinator, Elise, asked GoodGym Islington if they'd also like to help with their working day.

Islington head honcho/trainer Simon was super keen to experience the gardens: a) in daylight; and b) without an accompanying aroma of ripe compost. However, with a lot of Islingtonners (including Simon) randomly out of action, it fell to GoodGymmers from Camden and Hackney to pick up the slack 😉 (well, to pick up sticks really, as that was our main task today).

Armed with rakes, gloves, and a wheelbarrow, we got started. It turns out that sticks are tricky things that are happiest when sticking in the mud. This meant that some really quite aggressive raking wasn't always the most effective approach to removing them (especially when weighed against the possibility of decimating the lawn 😅). Consequently, we alternated our collection method between standing rakes and lunging hand grabs.

The conversation flowed as we worked. Aside from the current standard of Corona/Covid-19 talk (Beth, being a real scientist who knows other real scientists providing a useful perspective on it all), we also covered topics such as how to make friends and how work colleagues can alienate people. (Hopefully that doesn't count for GoodGym-based activities, where double-entendres about bushes, sticks, and "stiff" rakes that "won't go down" occasionally abound 😅)

Around an hour or so into the task, Paul noticed a large collection of litter near the garden edges that was mostly concentrated behind a bus stop. Presumably he didn't have any remnant plogging fatigue from the January challenge, as he voluntarily swapped our stick picking for litter picking to get it cleared (something that Elise appeared super happy about after seeing him stellar work).

With almost two hours of clearing under our belts, we took a quick sugar fix from some chocolatey (Camden standard) before making our goodbyes and heading off for our respective weekends.

I'm sure that there will be lots of future community missions coming up here and in other Islington-based locations in the near future (Covid-19 permitting, of course). You can check them out and sign up to them via this link. Also, remember to check out what's going on in Camden (& Hackney) because we're equally awesome 😎

Report written by Elizabeth

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