Not content with the horrific snowstorm of last week, this week we had more like sleety-rain instead. But not to worry because there was lots to do and we were up for it! We awarded our first ever Shit Prize of the Month for 2019 - it went to the lovely Jules who is back after some time off with an injury. She used her time to get her doc checks done and is all ready for missions and coach runs now. Go Jules!
After a warm up we split into three groups - Nicky led small team to a nearby GP surgery to help shovel some soil into planters. Sadly the shovels had been locked away in a room that couldn't be reached so they ended up joining us at the Remakery.
John H led the 1-mile run to the Remakery and Tom H took a group on a longer 4km route to get there. We were greeted by the fabulous team and soon put to work. One team set about dismantling a big wooden table and sweeping the floor. Others took on cleaning up the woodwork space with brooms and hoovers, and others still took on the favourite job of sorting a massive pile of random nuts and bolts into sensible piles of things that are the right size.
After 30-minutes of solid clearing, all of our work was done and we ran home in the nasty sleety-rain before rushing to a warm shower. Great work GoodGym!
Jitendra completed a community mission. Instead of watching TV or lying in bed, Jitendra was out there making their community a better place to be. For making that choice they have earned the community cape.
We had lots of lovely new people this evening and indeed lots of lovely regulars, amounting to over 40 human beans that were kicking off their December in style with a monster GoodGym Lambeth session helping out our old friends at Vauxhall Foodbank. It's a 3.5km run each way and on arrival Alice had some Christmas tunes and mince pies waiting for us - nice!
The Foodbank helps families and individuals facing short term crisis. Unfortunately the number of people relying on foodbanks in the UK is rising and the festive season is also a time when many people are in additional need. This means it's a busy time for the staff and volunteers, so our help was needed to sort out their bumper supermarket collections. You may have been given a list at your local supermarket and asked to buy a tin of something to donate to your local foodbank. Vauxhall is no different and there were crates and crates of food to sort out into categories. This time there was an additional complication of also separating by use by date. It took a little while to get the system set up but then we were really cooking on gas.
Now we're really cooking on gas! Said Freyja, who was in charge of proceedings
Katie took half the group outside to do some beautiful fitness that everyone LOVED and one the crates started filling up it was time to get weighing. We ran back in three groups at three speeds, so everyone could get a comfortable pace going. As the 'in a hurry' group were getting ready to leave ANOTHER load of donations were delivered. So the team also helped to get these into the building.
Alice did her sums and it turns out we sorted nearly ONE TONNE of food, which was quite amazing. On return to base, we enjoyed our last Bake Off treats - Freyja's delish pistachio and chocolate cake. YUM!
Merry Christmas Vauxhall Foodbank - we love coming to visit you but at the same time, we hope that maybe next year there won't be so much need for your services. Now that's a Christmas wish we can all get behind.
It was another rainy evening this week but what a lovely bunch showed up. We celebrated JKB's impending fatherhood for our Shit Prize of the Month - good luck James and Sarah! - and then got on with our running.
Tom H led a long run up to West Norwood - here's what awaited them: 15 runners headed up to the Portico Gallery to assist John in an innovative game of real life Tetris. This involved repositioning two large shelving units. But not before removing every single item from the shelves, which ranged from all kinds of fancy colourful materials to snazzy retro sewing machines.
To add an extra level of difficulty to the Tetris challenge; John requested we put everything back in exactly the same order. Even though there did not appear to be a whole lot of coherent ordering logic going on with these shelves.
Thankfully for everyone Frances came up with an ingenious three-dimensional grid mapping system that would have put the mathematicians at NASA to shame. A strong group effort later and the task was all done without a single sewing machine out of place.
Careful not to disturb the Yoga class going on below us (who curiously were being instructed to imagine themselves as a scorpion…) we made our way for home.
The final 15 headed to the brilliant Remakery, 1-mile away in Loughborough Junction: What a brillo place the Remakery is! Part workshop, part college art space vibe, part cafe - all community driven. These guys reclaim all kinds of gubbins and members can go and turn the gubbins into useful things. All sorts of projects were going on - chairs, tables, sideboards and the like being made anew. They had a PROPER challenge Anneka situation of large amounts of small bits of gubbins, mainly by way of nuts, bolts, screws etc that needed sorting from a mass pile of mess, to ordered piles of things that are almost the same. The 15 runners set about this task with Time Team-like precision. There were big, small, tiny and middle sized screw areas. There were hooks, door handles and a 'what the heck are these' areas too. After a solid 40-minutes of the most almighty sorting, team GG had made a serious dent into this possibly never-ending task. We loved it. They loved it. It was great!
On return to base, we all got to enjoy some delicious chocolate, banana and pecan cookies made by Ruth from an Ottolenghi recipe.
They're an Ottolenghi recipe! Ruth reminded us again
And with that we all went home happy that we had been so very helpful this evening.
This evening we welcomed lots of lovely new people and celebrated Tess's 50th run. What a good start!
We had two cracking tasks this evening - the shorter run was led by Beth. Here's what she had to say about it:
Following some confusion about where the woodchip had been delivered, we headed to Loughborough Junction farm to meet Karen and to help spread woodchip around the paths at the farm. We utilised anything we could find to move the woodchip, a couple of wheelbarrows, buckets and even a plastic bag. After about half an hour of shoveling, wheeling and spreading the pile was gone and any last bits swept up. With time to spare John lead us in a quick fitness session which required us to do impressions of rockstars, frogs and skiers.
The rest of us headed 4km up to Streatham to help the fantastic family support charity, St. Michael's Fellowship. They had loads more clothing donations for babies and toddlers that needed sorting into packs before being distributed to local families who need them. Everyone set about their spring, summer, autumn and winter collections with aplomb and loved being in such a positive space.
Do these shorts go with this top? Asked Andy. NO! Said everyone.
On return to base we enjoyed some stretches and bake off delights from Katie (that's me!) and the elusive Jay who got up at 5am to bake his. Now that's commitment!
We had two lovely runs this evening, one was back to the historic Brixton Windmill. Tucked away off Brixton Hill, lots of people don't even know this windmill exists but it does and it is a great place of learning, surrounded by a peaceful garden. Beth led a group on a 1km route to the mill, whilst those wanting a longer run took the 4km Tom Benson run bus.
Here's what Beth had to say:
For those of us that took the direct route up Brixton Hill there was some chat on the way there about how few of us knew that Brixton had it’s own fully functioning windmill. On arrival we were a little disappointed to see that the sails had been taken off the windmill but once they are repaired they’ll be back on and it will be looking more functional again soon. Jean handed out tools and showed us what needed doing. A large group neatened up the edge of the path, a group of three started digging a spot for a new tree and there was also trimming of some overgrown plants to be done. Once the reinforcements arrived in the shape of Tom’s long run group there was even more digging going on and plenty of sweeping and bagging up of weeds.
The rest of us went 2km up to the Tulse Hill Estate. Hidden amongst the buildings is an incredible polytunnel that serves as an educational food growing project for the whole estate. Over the summer, hundreds of tomato plants were cultivated and given out to residents to grow on their balconies. The project gets lots of reclaimed wood that is used to make pallet beds for growing but at the moment it was all piled up next to some garages. Presenting a fire risk, it needed to be moved so we squeezed into the small space and started pulling them out and taking them to a safer space. The pile was quite big and there were bits of timber, old fence and even a fireguard that we pulled out of the way. It was a fantastic effort made all the better by not scratching the very nice VW Golf parked precariously near to the work area.
On arrival back to base, we tucked into some Bake Off treats from Tess and Sarah. It was all delicious and we headed off home happy.
September has come round and the nights start to draw in again. The hot summer has started to leave us but that was lucky for this evening as we were back to Clapham Common to take off some more top soil as we finish off the wildflower meadow. As the summer was hot and dry, the ground was still pretty hard and everyone had a tough session trying to get their spades through the roots!
It's hard to get through these roots! Said everyone
After running 2.5km there, we split into two groups. One went off to do some fitness with Katie and a lovely yoga for runners session from newly returned Sarah, whilst the other half got digging. After swapping, we then ran back in three groups at different paces. On return we all enjoyed WEEK ONE of our Bake Off Sweetstake - Vix and John H brought us some sweet and savoury biscuit joy. Wahey!
We had loads of lovely new people this week and also some old people who we hadn't seen in a while so it felt a bit like they were new. It was great!
Party poppers were popped for Rebecca, who was on her 100 wings run. Top work Rebecca! Meanwhile, Carol was the awardee for August's Shit Prize of the Month (SPOTM) for achieving her goal of running 15km in one go. She did this on a mountain run in Ireland, so massive well done Carol!
After splitting into 2 groups, Beth led a group of 7 to a new location. Here's her write up:
Seven of us ran halfway up Brixton Hill, just short of the Tile Giant, to the wonderful Katakata. This amazing crêperie not only has a gallery and co-working space but also a large, overgrown garden out the back which is going to be used by the Lambeth GP food co-op to grow lots of healthy fruit and veg.
On arrival we were very warmly greeted by Francklin who insisted on making us a fresh juice before we’d even got started on the task. Delicious apple juice consumed we headed out to find a large amount of rubbish that needed to be taken out the front so that it can be put in a skip. In our clearing we did find a few gems that were saved but the old bureau had seen better days so was given a good kicking by David and Mark. After half an hour we were all done and said our goodbyes to a very grateful Francklin.
The rest of us ran down to Vauxhall Foodbank to help with their stocktake. We split into two teams and Alex went out with half the group to do fitness. The other half set to work taking crates off the shelves and getting them weighed. They had to go back on the shelves in order so there was quite a lot of tetris-style organising but everyone did a great job. There were 180 boxes to weigh and we reached 120 before we had to head off. This was a pretty solid effort and lots of heavy lifting on the part of GoodGym.
Well done everyone!
What a lovely evening for a run! We had lots of lovely new people along to join in with our three task bonanza. They were IN LUCK as the most important thing in the GG Lambeth calender has come around once again: The Great British Bake Off Sweetstake!
Beth had all the names and descriptions ready to go and fearless Lambeth runners drew the names of their star bakers. As if you needed an excuse to join us on a run - now you can with added cake right up until Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Onto the tasks!
From Beth: A group of 5 of us took a short jog to Loughborough junction farm to meet Walter who had an orchard of trees that needed watering. Once supplied with watering cans, a couple of wheelbarrows and rather nifty H2Go bags we were given directions of where we were to fill up said watering vessels and headed through Wyck gardens. Where we had been directed to appeared to just be a regular street so we were a bit confused, it turned out our water source was just a very kind man called Andy who had a hose running through his flat and out of the front door. Once the hose was appropriately positioned so that any leaks ended up watering his flowerbed we were laughing and chatted away while we watched the bags fill up. We covered various topics including the best baths to visit when in Budapest (there’s the popular one in the park that everyone goes to but there’s also a new rooftop one) and thanks to Andy having to call his dog Marley back every so often were reminded of this gem. Once all the trees had had a much needed drink we took our equipment back to the farm, got a grateful hug from Walter and made our way back to Papa’s.
From Jim and Tom: The largest group headed down to old fave Kennington Park, where the very organised Marietta and Rita set us about the usual jobs. There was litter picking, removing the pesky bindweed and trimming the hedges in the lovely rose garden. Kudos must go to the 'advanced level' rose trimmers who certainly know their petal from their lead and also to Andrew G who dug up a tree by following instructions very well!
From Katie: 15 of us headed to a new task, helping out at an adventure playground. They want to develop an area of the playground that's a bit overgrown and the first thing was turning some compost that had been there for a while. It turns out that some bees had set up home in one particular part of the compost and so we turned them over by accident. Luckily they were friendly bees who were happy to see us and didn't sting us at all. The compost was quite stinky but everyone did a great job! Freyja and Elise got to measuring up specific bits of the park that will be renovated. We did some nice planks and then ran home.
TOP EVENING LAMBETH
14 Westminster GoodGymers navigated their way 7k to the the London waterways to pick, clip and bag with the Canals and River Trust!
Withba longer run than normal we headed out on our adventure to wiggle our way up to North North Westminster (Camden) trying to find to quietest route possible along the way. 3.5k of strong running in the very warm London Town took us up to St Pancreas Lock to meet Canal and River Trust superstar Jack!!
Making the best possible impression on any Goodgym group Jack had Water and melon ready for us to top us up for the task ahead!
Splitting into 2 units we went left and right armed with litter pickers long and short, bags with fancy easy access attachment, sheares and loppers!
Making a kilometre each way of canal path magnificently rubbish free and all the vegetation cut back to allow the full width of the very busy path to be used!
35 minutes of action 10 bags filled, few bits fished out of the river and a perfect fade cut into the path side greenery!!
A speedy return leg back to base rounded off a fun, fitness filled evening!!
Am off on my holidays for the next 2 weeks, superstar trainer Damien will be looking after you next week as you help Open Age get into hard to access communities in Westminster to get the over 60’s more active in social groups to combat isolation in Westminster.
See you on the 15th