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To the victors, go the soils

Friday 9th September 2022

Written by Simon Fitzmaurice

5 Goodgym folks from the Islington borough (including new starter Kim- welcome!) joined Area Activator Simon for a Friday evening workout at Grenville Gardens.

Following the sad passing of Sarah Roth, our most frequent collaborator for gardening tasks with Friends of Grenville Gardens (FROGG) over many years (a lovely smiley and welcoming coordinator!), we agreed to help with filling up a series of newly built planters.

We met with Julian and Poppy, a couple of the neighbourhood volunteers by three 1 tonne bags of freshly delivered soil! Multiple buckets and a sturdy wheel barrow were on offer to us, and we make quick work of tipping, wheeling, shoveling and sweeping.

The next stage will involve preparing the soil for local gardeners to utilise these beautiful beds! Well done everyone!

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Monday 22nd November 2021

Written by Simon Fitzmaurice

Gloves and jacket weather has begun!

Area Activator Simon met up with Steve, Eilidh and Dee at the Arsenal Community Hub on a crisp, slightly chilly Monday evening. After a chat and a warm-up, our team run up to Grenville Gardens (a super straight line covering 1.2 miles up Hornsey Road), passing the Hornsey Baths illuminations on route. Upon arrival, we met up with the rest of our Goodgym crew, who had run, cycled and walked from other locations, and with Sarah, the key coordinator for all Friends of Grenville Gardens projects.

Our objective this evening was a continuation of our previous group run session task, when we broke apart a collection of old rotten planter boxes. A large pile of fresh compost had been donated to Grenville Gardens, and we distributed the new material throughout the three main flower patches in the gardens, using wheelbarrows, buckets, tubs and spades. The plan is to give the flowers an extra layer of fertiliser throughout the winter months.

We made a smashing effort within 40 minutes of help, and our crew covered every area of the flower beds very efficiently! Local passersbys inquired about what we were up to (a busy group of red t-shirted folks in running kit and headtorches, digging and gardening at night!), and were thrilled with our assistance in their community gardens.

Wonderful evening of Goodgym fun, folks! See you same time next week for our next group run to Caxton House Community Centre!

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I love it when a planter comes together...

Monday 4th October 2021

Written by Simon Fitzmaurice

On Monday evening, our Goodgym crew braced themselves for a potential wash out, following a torrential downpour at 5pm. However, we were pleasantly treated to a warm autumn evening of gardening at Grenville Gardens instead!

7 Goodgymmers (regulars, familiar faces and new attendees including Jonathan and Matilda- welcome!) met up outside the Arsenal Community Hub on Benwell Road before we set off for a 1.5 mile run up Sussex Way. Area Activator Simon almost took a wrong turn on the way up to Archway, but luckily Kike and Steve were on hand as backmarkers to correct the course!

On our way over, we chatted about our weekends- a lot of us watched London Marathon on TV or in person. Congratulations to Steve Coman and Sam Chapman on your Marathon endeavours! Super inspiring!

Upon our approach to Grenville Gardens, we met up with 8 other Goodgymmers waiting outside the community gardens, and found Sarah, a local FROGG (aka Friend of Grenville Gardens) who invited us into the space.

Our main task for the evening involved transferring masses of lovely home grown vegetables and plants (lavender, mint, spinach and other greens) out of a large broken planter, and then dismantling the flower bed using electric drills. Our headtorch heroes on the opposite side of the park were busy digging holes and trenches in between other plants, ready for community bulb planting on the weekend. Another team set about clearing loads of overgrown ivy from out of the flower beds (a very satisfying job after the rainfall- nice soft ground to work with!).

After almost a full hour of activity, we downed tools, and parted ways. 6 of our runners ran back to the Arsenal Stadium (enjoying the down hill on quiet streets!), and a few of us enjoyed a few social drinks at The Highbury Library on Drayton Park as part of our monthly routine (back again next month!).

Thank you for joining us, folks! We will be back again next week to help with flyering for FoodCycle Islington. See you then!

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Insane on the Membrane!

Monday 20th May 2019

Written by Paul Bown

24 Goodgymers ran 3-5k to help Caledonian Park and Grenville Gardens!

Welcome along to newbies Paris, Mukund and Ayumi - lovely to have you along.

In the news this week:

  1. Well done to all those that ran and volunteered at Hackney Half at the weekend!
  2. Good luck to Steve Coman who is doing his marathon in Edinburgh this Sunday!
  3. Night of the PB's is on 6th July this year, come cheer, have a beer and volunteer if you'd like!

Caledonian Park Report:

12 of us headed up to Caledonian Park via paradise park and up the hill. We met the wonderful Merium getting wheelbarrows out of a lock up just outside the park. We collected six wheelbarrow, eight shovels and an array of other tools.

On the south-west corner of the park there is a trail path that needed our attention - first off pulling up the plastic membrane, next clearing the overgrowth around the path and lastly emptying barrows of woodchip onto the path.

Friends of GoodGym!

We split into teams to get started. The black plastic membrane was tough getting up but once you got a hold you could roll it and dirt towards you. This made the task a lot quicker! The woodchip crew did a fantastic job in keeping a constant stream of wheelbarrows heading up the path towards the rakers who were on hand for key directing and spreading duties.

Over 50 minutes we got absolutely loads done, Merium was so pleased with all the work we had done! After posing for a group picture we took the tools back to the lockup and then headed down the hill home.

FROGG Report by Aidan:

12 of us headed to Grenville Gardens to meet the lovely Vince this time. The gardens are looking lovely and they are starting to add their own bog. We had two wheelbarrows on the go, soil running back and forth to fill the planter two thirds full. Steve Lee beautifully levelled the soil whilst completing the bog cocktail with layers of gravel as well.

On the other side we were weaving some veeeeery tall willow into a secret garden tunnel for people to escape through. With a bit of jumping and a small hand from some garden ties the tunnel was complete!

With time to spare we beautified the path with some expert speed weeding. With even more time to spare we had a crack at a speed fitness session in the park with everyone taking a turn to shout out an exercise to do for 10 reps. We even managed some press ups.

Heading off back down the hill, Steve C led a group for an extra lap around the Emirates and Graham, a more leisurely expert stretching session. Good deeds, good running, good stretching.

Sign up for next week here, we'll be meeting at the Arc Centre and helping the Police with a knife search!

PB out

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Return of the FROGG

Monday 15th October 2018

Written by Paul Bown

14 Goodgymers ran 4km to paint vegboxes for Friends of Grenville Gardens aka FROGG

Welcome along to Laura whose first time it was last night - lovely to have you along. We started the evening with a sit down indoor intro, delaying our warm up slightly so Kike could join.

In the news this week:

  1. Well done to Graham, Steve, Patrick and all the other York 10 miler and Marathoners on Sunday. Everything got a bit tearful with Sean, from GG York, finishing maybe his last marathon. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May and since has aimed to finish the marathon. Read more about this heroic story here.
  2. Join James Gilbert and others on Sunday when there is a Community Mission helping Crouch End Open Spaces lay some woodchip paths - sign up here.
  3. The October Long Run is this Sunday as well, led by Simon Fitzmaurice - starting in East Finchley and finishing in Hackney Wick - sign up here.

Once we were warmed up we headed north for 2k to reach the wonderful Grenville Gardens, where we met Vince with the tools for the evenings task.

Following on from when 31 of us painted the vegboxes two weeks ago we were tasked with giving it a second coat of the beautiful grey weather resistant paint. With everyone armed with a brush, a pot of paint and some kind of light we got to work to help preserve the wooden veg boxes from the nasty winter weather to come.

During our painting endeavours we came across bugs, spiders, flies and snails - all of which have got excited by the veg in the rain! Alex was the only one with wood preserver to begin with but as people finished their paint they joined him using the more 'milky like' liquid to paint wood that hadn't been coated.

Painty hands!

Over 35 minutes we covered all the vegboxes with either paint or wood preserver, using all of the former up! Nice! After cleaning up we headed home for a stretch.

Next week you will be meeting at the Arc Centre and not Arsenal, Lucy (Southwark Trainer) will be leading the group as I'll be in marathon recovery mode. Sign up here - you'll be preparing Ramsey Flowers Area for Halloween.

PB out

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FROGG Lex paired with Bourbon

Monday 1st October 2018

Written by Paul Bown

31 Goodgymers ran 4-6k to help paint vegboxes for Friends of Grenville Gardens!

Welcome along to newbies - Christina, NJ, Annie, Mary, Sophie and Jess thanks so much for coming along! Last night was GG Islington's highest attendance for over a year and also exactly a year since we've been meeting at the Arsenal Hub - awesome!

In the news this week:

  1. It's the GoodGym Monthly Social this Thursday in Angel at the Islington Townhouse! Full details here.
  2. Cross Country Season starts next week, 5 races for £5 - yes deal! If you want to join see the full details here.
  3. Hannah talked all about the "Our Borough, Our Planet" Event, an open meeting taking place on Oct 8th from 6.30-8.30pm in Islington Town Hall. The aim is to bring local residents and environmental groups together to work towards a vision for a zero-carbon Islington. More details are here

After a nippy intro and a warm up we headed in two groups to go help Friends of Grenville Gardens (aka FROGG), unfortunately Sue who was supposed to meet us was in a car accident last week so we had to take care of ourselves. Our task this week was to paint the park's veggie boxes!

We collected together the 11 brushes and 11 containers of paint, and then in pairs we got to work - with one person painting and the other holding up lights and holding the container full of paint. The 15 veg boxes need two coats of paint to protect them from the embending weather... Winter is Coming...

Veggie McVeg Vegbox

Thanks to Steve Coman, who used to be a painter and decorator, for leading the painting team! The remaining people weeded, swept leaves and collected debris to put in compost bins. Nice!

Once all the paint was gone we packed up, we ate bourbons and put the brushes in a bucket of water. Steve led a group on a longer run home, while Kike led a group directly down the hill back to the Emirates. Once there we focused on the socket to pocket arm technique and played the meet & retreat game - cool beans!

Thanks for coming guys, sign up for next week here when we'll be helping Sunnyside Community Gardens.

PB out

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