38 Month Streak
Wed 7th Sep at 6:45pm
Report written by Steve Murtough
Free books and free cinemas and free chocolate and more smiles and plenty laughs and assured happiness and mandatory parkrun and 100% GDP to GoodGym Greenwich…
Vote for me!
That’s how we started. Our run leader, Sara, asked us to choose a job – our Government position of choice. And we’re a varied bunch; some were vying for Transport Sec, others were interested in heading up DCMS, we had a Minister for Development, an Education Sec, and some egotists even wanted to be PM (me).
After that, it got a bit heated, political even, and Sara acted as Speaker and moved us to the Naval College green quadrant for a lovely warm-up. Along one stretch of the quadrant, we walked briskly and squatted, and then we jogged and lunged, and then we closed the square by increasing to a sprint.
And then we were off to our task, which is an interesting one. Because we sneakily crossed borders. Into Tower Hamlets. Because we’re volunteering rogues. To get there, we ran to the Cutty Sark, and we descended into the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.
Now, as our budding Education Sec would attest to, learning should never stop, and now’s an obvious and apt time to learn some history (please skip the next two paragraphs if you’re anti-education).
This Week’s History Lesson
The Greenwich Foot Tunnel takes you underneath the Thames from Greenwich to Island Gardens, and it’s one of a handful of Thames tunnels; another being just down the road in Woolwich. Its construction was finished in 1902, and it cost just £127,000; can you believe? Which would probably get you a shed in Tower Hamlets these days. In Greenwich, this replaced a rather unreliable ferry service (although £30k compensation was given to the aptly named ‘watermen’ who subsequently lost their jobs), and it was primarily built for dockworkers who lived south of the river but worked on the docks located on the north side.
Not wanting to continue for ever, I’ll finish this history with FOGWOFT, which (surprisingly) isn’t a useful device for misty mornings; they were actually a community group, termed the Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels. Sadly now defunct, they lobbied for several key restorations and improvements. A particular win of theirs was to replace the glass tiles that form the entrance’s domed roof, which you’ll notice are slightly murky and opaque, and these were specially chosen to mimic the original tiles that had turned hazy due to the accumulation of more than 100 years of dirt. Anyway, I’ll stop there, but there’s plenty great sources on this, and just give me a shout if you want me to point you in their direction.
So… Once through the tunnel and into Tower Hamlets (and on the lookout for GoodGym Tower Hamlets regulars who might be hiding in spying nests), we took a right and headed to St Luke’s Primary School; an old haunt of ours. There, we were informed of our task – the school had done a summer spruce and wanted to get rid of several items as the new school year begins, and we were tasked with moving these items to a place adjacent to where the skip will be for removal. So, we donned gloves and flexed biceps and got cracking. We moved chairs, wooden pallets, and other miscellaneous things. And really, with so many helping hands, we were done in top record time. Which meant we had time to peruse our previous work at the school. This most prominently includes the children’s playground, which comprises large wooden structures and a slide, which JC elegantly demonstrated how to use (and is now starring in a new GG Greenwich GIF, I believe…).
And, due to our speedy work, we had time for a trip to Millwall Park, where Sara tested our listening skills with a game of Simon Says. We star jumped, spun around, and ran round the roundabout. Then, with sweat on our brows, we headed back to the Naval College for a stretch. Lovely, lovely evening all 😊
***Wait, if you’ve made it this far, there’s one more thing…
We have fundraisers amongst us. Marta and Pieter are our heroes, and they’re running the London Marathon on October 2nd, raising money for the awesome Meningitis Research Foundation and Save the Children UK. And, next Tuesday 13th September, they’re running a quiz at The Brookmill pub (65 Cranbrook Road, London, SE8 4EJ). Expect prizes and a raffle and a sweepstake – it’s going to be fab! If you want to join (or donate too), here’s the link to their lovely website: https://marta-and-pieters-quiz.mystrikingly.com/
Catch you all soon 😊
Thu 8th Sep at 5:54pm
Great report as always Steve, and thank you for your brilliant run leading Sara! :)
Thu 8th Sep at 6:46pm
Great to be back with you, awesome report Steve and brilliant run leading Sara ˈseərə
Thu 8th Sep at 9:48pm
Ace report Steve. I particularly enjoyed the sojourn into the history of the foot tunnel!
Sun 11th Sep at 4:26pm
Ahh, thanks guys, really, really lovely words - can't wait for the next session! :)
Wed 24th Aug at 6:45pm
Report written by Steve Murtough
Two things: 1) Last night was lovely 2) Aren’t GoodGym group runs better with sunshine and history?
Happily, we had both…
History Part #1 The evening started at Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College buildings. And if you don’t already know, these originally housed the old Greenwich Hospital, which as far as I can tell (Wikipedia), cost £30k to build. Which ain’t bad going really.
By the £30k buildings, we began with a round of introductions and we each said our favourite type of curry. We had dahl, sweet dahl, dahl with garlic naan, chicken madras, dahl, curry with paneer, butter veggie, dahl, and plenty others with sides of saag aloo and dahl. Which is so varied and so appetising that maybe we should all head for a curry soon…?
After this mouth-watering chat, we headed for a warmup and played an old drama game favourite of Alex’s, called Yee-Haw. Basically, we all stood in a circle and someone shouted Yee-Haw!, which created this invisible energy that none of us could see, and this then moved between us until someone didn’t like the energy and they blocked it by shouting Hay-Barn!, and then someone found a snake in their shoe and proceeded to chuck it at another GoodGymmer, and this strangely gave them some new energy and they responded by becoming a bandit and shooting up the whole joint, and we continued like that for some time…
Warmed, we headed to our task via Greenwich Park (and one of the hills), and we arrived at our destination – The Bridge, which is a community hub situated in the wonderful and little-known East Greenwich Pleasaunce…
History Part #2 There’s a meet-cute of histories tonight. The old Greenwich Hospital (now the Old Royal Naval College) purchased the East Greenwich Pleasaunce as a burial ground for retired sailors residing at the old Greenwich Hospital, who were called the Greenwich Pensioners; and incidentally, Greenwich Hospital was once described as the ‘poshest pensioners home that ever was’. The history behind the purchasing of the Pleasaunce in 1857 is really quite fascinating and involves the inspection of several alternative grounds in Deptford and Hither Green (that were ruled out either due to excessive cost or the grounds actually being water-logged clay) by officious sounding Home Office inspectors. Not wanting to bore you any longer, this history is so nicely researched and written up by Pieter van der Merwe on the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce website, and I’ll pop the link to this in the comments below for anyone who wants to read further.
Getting back on track (my apologies), we arrived at the gorgeous green space that The Bridge provides for the community at the top of the Pleasaunce. There, we were met by the lovely Ruth, who wanted us to remove the children’s toys from the shed and give them a good clean and wipe, before re-organising these for the next summer playtime. And so, in GoodGym Greenwich fashion, we organised into teams; some shifted the items in the shed to the entrance, where they were passed to a second team who placed them into neat piles, and then others took wipes and buckets of water to the toys to give them a good clean. And honestly, I’m talking so many toys – scooters, bikes, plastic moats, gymnastics mats… But in really just a few minutes, the toys were already being handed back to the team in the shed for stowing away. I think Ruth’s sentiments at the end of the task summed up our efforts – we’d saved her a whole day’s work – and that just shows what a group of effective altruists can do on a Wednesday evening.
After the task, some headed home, and a few others jaunted back to the old Royal Naval College / the old Greenwich Hospital for a stretch under the sunset. Awesome evening everyone and looking forward to many more with you all 😊
Thu 25th Aug at 1:58pm
The first photo is, I think, my favourite ever GoodGym snap!! Thanks for the lovely report, Steve, and thanks for the wonderful and happy evening, all :)
Thu 25th Aug at 2:37pm
Here's the link, guys: https://fegp.org/history/pieter-van-der-merwes-history-of-the-pleasaunce/
Thu 25th Aug at 8:28pm
Great report Steve, and great run leading Alex! :D
Thu 25th Aug at 9:59pm
Amazing report- love the history lessons! Officious sounding civil servants? Well, I never 😂😂 thanks all!
Sat 27th Aug at 1:51pm
A wonderful evening and very interesting report - big thanks to Alex and Steve!
Sat 27th Aug at 7:47pm
Ahhh - thanks all for your lovely words! Of course, the pleasaunce was all mine... Catch you all soon! :)
Wed 3rd Aug at 6:45pm
Report written by Steve Murtough
A definition of nostalgia is a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning to return to some past period.
And I admit, looking into my own eyes in the shimmering pond at the Christchurch School Community Garden, my thoughts drifted upwards into the blue, and through the clouds, and they wafted, blown by the wind of nostalgia, to Wednesday evenings of the past… digging up dirt and moving it to the back of the garden… watering plants and shovelling dirt… digging a hole for a pond, and getting mucky with dirt… oh my, with all that dirt, my heart doth hurt…
But it shan’t, because tonight we were back. For the first time since the pandemic.
We, 15 of us, met in Greenwich’s Naval Colleges, which moved with a buzz of summer activity – there was sunshine, warmth, runners and walkers, and people just out and smiling, enjoying the vibe. We nattered until the bells cried out for 7pm, and our run leader (and twinny), Alex, started off with a welcome to Greenwich newcomers, Rawan and Tom (welcome both, hope you had a good evening!), and an important question - what’s your favourite cake? Well, us Greenwich bunch have a varied palate, and we surely encompass all possible variations of the proverbial tastebud. We had:
Chocolate Cake Birthday Cake (whose?) Apple Pie Millionaire’s Shortbread Colin the Caterpillar (I hear there’s also a Clyde, a Curly, Cecil, Morris, Cuthbert…) Cheesecake (with real cheese)
This chat got us itching to move in the direction of cake, but Alex skilfully herded us onto one of the ‘greens’ for a political warm up. Basically, like Parliament, we had to run around, and then – we U-turned, we climbed the ladder, we headed to the other side - and we had an awesome time doing so too; it was great to see so many of us laughing together.
All warmed up, cake out of our immediate thoughts, we headed to Christchurch School Community Garden. There, we were met by a familiar friendly face, Fiona, who’s one of the team that curates this awesome green space for the local community in East Greenwich.
After some moments moving around the community garden’s multiple vegetable plots and heady flowers, we were given our task. The hedging, in all this sunshine, had grown through the railings and was overhanging the adjacent footpath. So, shears-abundant, we headed onto the pavement outside, and we just started clipping. And pruning. And lopping and cropping and snipping and thinning. In minutes, the change was impressive, and some of us got out brooms and swept up the foliage, and others wheelbarrowed them to disposal. By the end of the task, I think it’s fair to say we made a lovely difference; just 16 happy helpers in 30 or so minutes.
And with an artistic tunnel-like photo (see evidence above), that was a wrap. It was awesome to be back at Christchurch School Community Garden, and if you’re looking for sanctuary, it’s open every Friday from 10:30am. Go check it out, go fuel your own nostalgia.
Thanks all :)
Wed 3rd Aug at 6:45pm
Get fit and do good in GreenwichRead more
Wed 20th Jul at 6:45pm
Report written by Sara Brimble
Wednesday rolled around after a few sweltering days hiding from the heat. The group gathered in Greenwich for a relaxed run over to the lovely nursery pre-school More2. Before we get ahead of ourselves though, let's go over what was a really fun welcome and warm up...
Once everyone had commiserated with Claire over her fractured leg, rumours abounded over what was the cause. Was it Claire kicking me? Was it Claire running so hard and fast, that she broke the sound barrier? More likely the second if you ask me! You'll be on the mend and running super speedy again Claire, no doubt about it.
As I had planned a nautical warm up, the question of the evening as the register was taken was - "Dream location to go on a cruise or swim" we had some very fun answers and it was very revealing who preferred the swim option to the cruise! We dodged the many many many graduates who were celebrating today, and made our way over the grass in the quad to play a game of port/starboard. This is a game I played lots when I was in Brownies, and one of the reasons (maybe) that I became a run leader. The aim game was simple, to hear my instructions and do the action that accompanied it, the team ran all over the imaginary ship, swabbed the decks, climbed rigging and manned the lifeboats - while giving us a beautiful chorus of row, row, row your boat.
We did some quick dynamic stretching, allocated our back marker - thank you Marta, and headed off. Rachel and Claire walked over - that's the lovely thing about these shorter tasks, even someone on crutches can attend! The rest of the group took a lovely river path route and we were suddenly there. Eve met us and we got to work in the front and back gardens. Team front garden were clearing our the plant beds following the replacement of the fence, while the Team back garden swept with tiny rakes, watered the garden and cleared away a vine that was choking a pear tree.
The group did a wonderful job and the gardens were looking very tidy and happy again, several bags of garden waste and had been filled and the plants were quenched. The group then split into two, the superior group headed back to the college for a cheeky and challenging fitness session, while the others slunk away and missed the cherry on the top of the session - if I do say so myself.
Team superior consisted of Andy, Marta, Jenny, Minh, Matt and they took part in our very first fitness challenge. The aim was for everyone to take part in session that consisted of: 1. Run out to a point 2. 10 squats 3. Run back to me 4. 10 push ups 5. Run back out 6. 5 lunges with one leg 7. Run back 8. 5 lunges on the other leg 9. Run back 10. 5 star jumps 11. Sprint back as fast as possible
I started the stop watch and everyone did such a great effort!! Well done all, I hope you enjoyed it. The results were: Matt - 2:07, Minh - 2:30, Jenny - 2:49, Marta - 2:54, Andy - 2:59! Really impressive times guys, great form on the exercises and we'll try again in a couple of months and see if you get any quicker! We did some nice stretches, focusing on back health with some good spinal twists.
Lots of brilliant community missions coming up, and next week we'll be starting in Woolwich for our group run.
Wed 20th Jul at 10:15pm
Ace report! I had a maritime reading it
Wed 20th Jul at 10:17pm
Stop Claire, you have beaten my report title with that pun
Wed 20th Jul at 10:33pm
Great report and great run leading Sara :D
Wed 20th Jul at 11:27pm
Speedy and fun report, thanks Sara!
Wed 20th Jul at 11:38pm
Ferry impressive report. Written faster than Usain Boat.......
Wed 20th Jul at 11:44pm
This has got to be the speediest report in GG Greenwich history! Great WU, great task and great fitness sesh 😊
Thu 21st Jul at 9:36am
Report logged so fast Sarah. Cruised through it. You can 'rowpe' me in for more in the future!
Wed 20th Jul at 6:45pm
Get fit and do good in GreenwichRead more
Wed 13th Jul at 6:45pm
Report written by Rachel Henry
On a balmy summer's evening, 7 of us had a leisurely run over to the Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre to provide some more tlc for their lovely community garden.
Claire and Martin met us there, Claire having got lost and ended up cycling on the A2...maybe? And sporting an excellent tan line having just taken part in a punishing trail run in the Lake District. That's serious stuff, folks. And she went and came second - what an incredible achievement!
30 minutes passed quickly with our various jobs. Jen and Sara enjoyed suiting up with a fetching pair of knee pads to sand a planter down ready for a local artist to paint; Julian and Martin moved lots of things....it looked important and they wore a smile all the while; Marta, Claire and Andy watered the entire garden which was a little parched after all of this scorching heat we're enjoying (nothing compared to next week); and I replanted some little baby beetroots which brought out my maternal side and I felt quite attached. Hopefully they will survive the 40 degrees!
It was great to be back and Mat appreciates how much we get done in such little time.
Well done everyone!