Lucky enough to be the Area Activator for Tower Hamlets. Personal trainer. Seriously sweet tooth.
67 Month Streak
Mon 27th Nov at 6:40pm
We headed to a local primary school in Bethnal Green to help out with some much needed tasks.
Upon arrival the group split in two with the indoor volunteers in charge of cleaning carpets.
Not just your average carpet but those colourful corners where the children sit everyday to read and learn!
It was quite the workout for a Monday evening as we went from room to room spraying and vacuuming with our special machines.
Meanwhile the outdoor team...
John, Martin and Rohan peeled off from the main gang to perform the standard GoodGym task – shovelling and wheelbarrowing.
There was a difference this time though: all the wheelbarrows were in perfect working order.
We had to push the wheelbarrows to a park, shovel woodchip from a pile there, and transport it back to the school garden (which wasn’t at the school, actually). Rumours that we were actually stealing the woodchip from the park were swiftly rebuffed.
John and Rohan made numerous trips, wheeling the heavy woodchip to the garden, where it was deposited on cardboard to prevent weeds growing underneath.
Martin, meanwhile, took on the vital task of preventing anyone in the deserted park stealing the shovels while we were away wheeling.
Eventually, we returned to the school in our muddy trainers, but miraculously we avoided mucking up the newly-cleaned carpets.
Tonight's pun also courtesy of Fiona :)
Mon 27th Nov at 6:40pm
We're lending a hand at this local primary school, with the 'Friends of Columbia Primary'.Read more
Mon 20th Nov at 6:40pm
A small, but productive fitness crew met at the end of Harley Grove for tonight’s session.
With soggy surfaces thanks to another drizzly November day, we focused tonight on balance (for a change), lower body strengthening and flexibility. It was nonetheless a useful session, and a fun one too, as we discussed the need for chocolate at this time of year.
Moving to the GET OUT garden, we were greeted by Frankie who talked us through tonight’s activities.
We promptly split into pairs and worked around the garden, moving large piles of branches and twigs, and raking leaves galore.
Bags were filled, compost bays stacked and lats worked.
It was the usual companionable evening, combining productivity and chatter.
It’s always a joy to see Frankie, who volunteers frequently at the garden with regular task owner Kieran, and who himself is a gardener extraordinaire.
After stacking the last rake (and admiring the straight rows of garlic, planted at our last visit) we proceeded to pose for one last picture before heading off into the night, excited for next week’s task.
A big shout-out to our committed, industrious team tonight, and especially to Fiona for tonight’s spectacular pun.
Mon 13th Nov at 7:00pm
“Where did the wind come from?”, exclaimed the first few arrivals at tonight’s task.
Gathering by the Cable Street Mural in Shadwell, we glanced in to St George’s Gardens, home of tonight’s task, to see if there was any shelter from the wind (there wasn’t).
Opened to the public in 1875, these are ‘probably one of Tower Hamlets' least known historic public Gardens’, according to Tower Hamlets Council. “Through a ten month period, the Gardens have undergone a major refurbishment with support from the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund. New paths, planting and grass areas have been laid out and significant heritage features including monuments and walls have been conserved and repaired.”
We were soon joined by task owner Terry, from the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. (Terry worked as an environmental education officer for a local charity for 22 years. Now an Honorary Trustee of the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a few tasks led by Terry, whose extensive knowledge combined with a dry sense of humour help make these outdoor Autumn evening tasks an absolute joy).
After a full introduction to the area, including the neighbouring B&B and the Register Office (yes, that’s right – no typo), we proceeded to make our way around to the left corner of the park to plant 350 bluebells just by the Register Office. Working in small teams, we followed Terry’s careful instructions, and accomplished the task fairly speedily I'd say.
Moving further around the left side of the park, towards the Highway end, we then got to work planting hundreds of tulips, daffodils and - last but not least – anemones. (Anemone bulbs are interesting-looking things: a little misshapen - unlike the usual bulb shape - and this last minute addition to our planting task was quite the area of interest).
At around 8:15, we decided to call it a day, promising we’d return for a picnic next year, to see what looks set to be a fabulous array of carefully-planted flowers.
Another lovely start to the week.
Next Monday, we’re back to the great GET OUT garden in Bow, to see Kieran and Frankie!
Mon 20th Nov at 6:40pm
We're heading to Bow, to help Kieran with another great variety of gardening tasks!Read more
Mon 6th Nov at 6:40pm
A dry evening saw 8 GoodGymers gathering in the pretty St Leonard’s Priory Park in Bromley-By-Bow.
Kicking the evening off with a short fitness session around the planters, we ensured core was fired up and balance challenged by the time this evening’s task commenced.
Our job tonight was to continue the construction of a small hazel fence around the wilding area.
A pretty, useful area, this patch serves as a great habitat for pollinators, as well as being the home to blackberry brambles and wheat.
The team started at the back of the park cutting branches for the fencing and the fence stakes.
Following the disturbance of what appeared to be a small wasps’ nest, half of the team promptly headed to the wilding area to start the preparation of the stakes.
It was a fun and physical task: team members cut hazel, sawed stakes, dug holes and weaved the fence.
With just ten minutes to go, there was a small area of the fence still to be completed - minus any fencing material... Ivo headed to the far side of the park returning with a good hazel stash, before Larry made the executive decision that a nearby Sycamore tree would provide the final few stakes.
The fence was finished shortly after 8, with the team posing for one final pic by the new fence.
A lovely night in East London, well done everyone.
…And a big warm welcome to Sophie, who joined us for her first GoodGym. Great effort Sophie, look forward to seeing you again soon!
Next week, we’re heading to Wapping, to join the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park team for a big gardening session!
Mon 30th Oct at 6:30pm
12 lovely GoodGymers gathered at Cranbrook Community Garden last night to help clear a big backlog of leaves.
It’s been a while since we joined Janet and Eileen at this busy community centre, and the team needed a hand with the following tasks:
Clearing leaves and older plants from the borders of the community centre garden, and all around the garden.
Collecting - and disposing of - branches in the large bin, and the main rubbish areas.
Trimming the hedges
There was a lot to get done, but the GoodGymers worked so fast, Janet and Eileen were nonethless having to continually find new areas for us to focus on.
By the time we finished up our tasks, returned equipment and debated the best way to spend the final 10 minutes, it was time to run back to the Hotel.
It was a lovely night – great to see faces old and new, squeeze in a little mileage and give Janet and Eileen a helping hand before the busy festive season kicks in.
And a great big shout-out tonight to Ivo, who led the run from the Town Hall Hotel to the task.
Next week, we head to the lovely St Leonard’s Priory Park in Bromley-By-Bow to see Larry for some more garden-clearing.
Mon 30th Oct at 6:30pm
We're back to Cranbrook for some more gardening!Read more
Mon 23rd Oct at 6:40pm
Who’d have thought it: another damp night for doing good.
Still, that didn’t deter tonight’s sturdy group of GoodGymers, all keen to head to Bow’s GET OUT garden to help Kieran and Frankie get some garlic into the ground.
Helen, Martin and Rohan all joined tonight’s sweat squat at the bottom of Harley Grove. Confined largely to balance, standing abs and lower body moves (due to damp surfaces), the team proved truly robust when it came to rotating endless lunge and squat variations.
After a couple of laps of the square, we finished with a few final moves, said hello to John, and made our way around to the garden where tonight we were… planting garlic!
Why were we here?
Background to tonight’s visit
GET OUT is a local charity that ‘connects young people and children from disadvantaged areas to nature through surfing and related projects.’ The GET OUT garden in Bow is a community garden and food forest project that acts as a hub for both education and connecting the wider community to nature.
GoodGymers from both Newham and Tower Hamlets Areas visit once a month to assist task owners Kieran and Frankie with larger gardening tasks.
Tonight we were helping to weed and distribute fresh soil and compost over a new planting bed, before planting three rows of garlic (garlic helps to fertilise soil, as well as being a useful, healthy cooking ingredient).
To start with, John, Johnny and Frankie headed to the polytunnel to fill wheelbarrows with compost, while Rohan, Vlad and Martin started on weeding and raking. Helen headed to the table area to separate many cloves from many garlic bulbs, while I took some pics and Kieran remained on project management.
It wasn’t long before the whole team was gathering for the planting finale, with Vlad and I tasked with positioning the tape to establish a straight line (the team decided unanimously that Vlad’s line was infinitely straighter than mine), with the rest of the team using dibbers to get those cloves 2.5 inches into the ground (no more no less).
We nearly did it by 8pm…Not quite, but not too bad going.
The drizzle didn’t let up, but neither did our spirits. Buoyed on by new gardening techniques and a bit of banter, it was another Monday night to cheer the soul.
Until next time.