Summer Festival was a great success

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Sunday the 7th June was the date for this years East Greenwich Pleasaunce Summer Festival. It was a great success as the sun shone all afternoon and the atmosphere was very jolly.  It was again sponsored by Parksfest in partnership with the Royal borough of Greenwich.

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The bands: Ronnie and the Ripchords; the Les Zoings, Creekside Brass, Apple of My Eye and the Los Dawsons get the music flowing while the Irish Dancers, Greenwich Morris Men and the Pleasaunce Zumba Dancers kept us entertained.

The Art Tent was packed with drawings, paintings, printing and photographs all provided by local artists.

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Children are well catered for at the Bridge Community Centre with a range of things to do all afternoon while down in the dog free zone Messy Church from St John’s and Christ Church kept the older children entertained with a ‘Love Your Neighbour’ theme. Year 6 from Halstow, our local school ran a fete type stall with a bit of parental help to raise money for their year book. A great way to start children off on the road to helping out in the community.

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The well stocked Bar with our famous Pleasaunce Punch, had to be replenished several times as the bar staff became the heroes of the day, chopping fruit and pouring Pims as the ice melted.

Good to have a free family day out in the English Summer Sunshine!

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Christmas Party Time – What a great day!

The sun shone and the sky went a lovely festive red as the park filled with people who came to enjoy the party.
As his sleigh was out of action, this year Old Nick arrived by boat, an in keeping red Topper, kindly lent by Erith Yacht Club. It took a few strong men and all the might of his many elves to push him up to his nice warm grotto at The Bridge as the reindeers had a touch of foot and mouth.
The mast of his boat-sleigh narrowly missed putting the whole of East Greenwich in darkness as he missed the power cables and just touched the telephone line as he came into land in Chevening Road.
Father Christmas met around 200 children in a very orderly fashion, thanks to our up to date ticketing system, while the adults ate mince pies and sipped hot mulled wine,
Local musicians, the Les Zoings, entertained us as only they can with their zany music, then the Halstow Community Choir lead the crowd in some very vocal Carol Singing.
There was face painting  and a great Christmas Market to browse in and pick up some last minute presents.
What a great way to spend a Sunday for locals – no ques or traffic jams and it was all put on free of charge by the Friends of the Pleasaunce and the Bridge Community Centre. See Christmas Party Time for pictures of this event
If you missed it, put the 11th January in the diary as PIP will be organising a Wassail in the Pleasaunce on that Saturday.
See Whats On for details of the Wassail organised by PIP (Planting in the Pleasaunce)

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The first signs of spring at the Bridge

Although it may still seem a way off, the first signs of spring are beginning to show through the sodden ground, so, its time to start planning what we can grow for Operation Deep Freeze. Join Avant-Gardening over the half-term holidays as they explore art, gardening and tastes in a programme of fun workshops and activities. All activities are free and suitable for all ages.

Activities will be taking place at
The Bridge, Greenwich.
Wednesday 19 Feb. 1pm – 4pm
Thursday 20 Feb. 1pm – 4pm
Friday 21 Feb. 1pm – 4pm

Feel free to drop in and help us sow seeds, make seed bombs, decorate pots and seed packets as well as experiment with flavour combinations to excite our taste buds as we get set for spring.

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Waving the Green Flag again

The Pleasaunce has once again won a Green Flag award  following an inspection last year. The scheme exists to ‘recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country’.

Back in June inspectors were given a tour of the park by members of the Friends committee and parks officers – including the cafe with its green building, the Bridge, the orchard and the navy graves.

In their report the inspectors praised the hands-on involvement of the Friends Group in the park and described the cafe building as excellent, commenting that, ‘Cafe seems to be part of the park with a sense of membership rather than just catering provision’.

They found the park clean and well kept, despite a little graffiti and  said that it was ‘clearly cared for by the local community and well managed by a dedicated and competent team at the Council’.

They saw some room for improvement, suggesting that there could be more interpretation in the park of its long history, which could give the FEGP some ideas for future projects.

If you have any ideas on how to keep our park well-cared for, or perhaps how to make more improvements, remember our AGM is coming up on 28th January – all are welcome.

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That’s a lot o’ grotto at the Christmas Party

The Pleasaunce Christmas Party was another success last month – with more than 250 children seeing Father Christmas during a two and half hour period! There was no charge, so families could come along and be entertained to a free afternoon of Christmas Cheer.

Meanwhile, their parents took a look around the Christmas Market and enjoyed refreshments at the Friends of the Pleasaunce bar. Mulled wine, mince pies or hot chocolate all on offer.

There were other things to amuse the children such a making decorations or finding a present among the nearly new toys.

Santa also kept up his tradition of surprising us by leaving the sleigh at home and arriving in alternative forms of transport – this year in a police van with a mounted police escort. The children loved the horses who waited patiently while photographs were taken and stayed all afternoon.

As always it was a great combined effort by the Friends of the Pleasaunce and The Bridge volunteers. This year  we were  able to make use of the Bridge for Santa’s Grotto for the first time, so Father Christmas didn’t need his long johns and the children kept warm and cosy.

Halstow  Community Choir lead the Carol Singing and a local Jazz band entertained us.

Police horses & Santa santa


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Sunshine and smiles at our 2013 summer picnic

by Stephen Brain

You said it.

You said it.

In stunning sunshine, Sunday  morning saw a small army (well, at least a  fair sized platoon) of helpers in the Pleasaunce organising the FEGP / Parksfest 2013 summer picnic, erecting gazebos, moving tables  and setting up  power supplies  for the all important tea urn  and the bands (thank you to both Chevening households that hosted the cables).

Professional riggers arrived and put up staging and the two large marquees.  Prizes for the tombola were mysteriously obtained and shed-loads of cakes for the cake stall were deposited (thank you Christine).  In the midst of the general melee the professional musicians and technicians for the four bands arrived. Everyone appeared to know what they were doing  and soon  the Pleasaunce resounded to that well known refrain of “Testing – testing – one – two – three”.

At 1200 hours people started to accumulate and continued to do so throughout the afternoon, despite stiff competition from televised sports and two minor musical events elsewhere in London and Somerset! The Bridge opened its doors for face painting and family story telling was led by Giles Abbott; hogs were roasted and chicken made jerky; African drums drummed, Arts workshops did arty things and the bar did a roaring trade as the afternoon got  hotter.

Crowds enjoyed music ranging from the swinging and summery to rockin and (whisper it) a bit risque

Crowds enjoyed music ranging from the swinging and summery to the rockin’ and (whisper it) a wee bit risque

Great music was provided by, two local(ish) bands, The Lost Chords and Ffog, Rachel and  Niall supplied laid-back jazz and the afternoon rounded off by Ronnie Scott’s Rejects. All with barely a technical hitch and little fuss as the bands shared equipment to make life easy for all concerned.

And at the end the miracle happened… lots of people helped to put everything away and no hernias or back strains have been reported! They say “many hands make light work” and that was really true this year. Many, many, thanks to all the volunteers and Friends Committee members, it really made a difference.

People  rounded-up their children and began to drift away but some lingered quite late into the gloaming…

A great day organised in a harmonious manner by local people that welcomed everyone .

For me the event was summed up perfectly by Gavin  McGregor: “What a great day. Everyone should be really proud – it seemed to go like a dream, and the atmosphere was terrific, smiles everywhere you looked and a great variety of activities and entertainments to choose from. It made me doubly proud to live here.

“We were also really pleased to see people signing up for more information about Pip! – our orchard, food and wildlife group – so we hope to see more willing hands joining our band of volunteers.”

Can't decide whether to be Superman or Spiderman? No problem for this partygoer

Can’t decide whether to be Superman or Spiderman? No problem for this partygoer

Sue Gay paid tribute to all of the unsung helpers who materialised on the day, saying: “The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of ALL the Friends of the Park.

“People I’ve never met just turned up and said ‘What can I do?’ Maybe the sunshine made all the difference, but it wouldn’t have worked so well without people. We also had a record number of cakes just handed in. So many we even sent a trayful to Lizzie in the cafe at the end.

“And while we were all enjoying the music and the refreshment in the dog free zone, there were almost as many up at the Bridge and Café with the Naval College and storyteller.

“Glastonbury, the British Grand Prix or Andy Murray playing at Wimbledon didn’t seem to stop people coming to the Summer Picnic at the Pleasaunce.”

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Full line-up for our Summer Picnic

There will be something for everyone at the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce annual Summer Picnic on Sunday 30 June. Here’s the full schedule – we look forward to seeing you there. Have fun!

12.00-12.45   Rachel and Niall
13.00-14.00 Lost Chords
14.15- 15.00 Ffog
15.15-16.00 Lost Chords
16.10- 17.10  Ronnie Scott’s Rejects
For kids of all ages
13.30 14.30   & 15.30 16.30 Storyteller Giles Abbott, at The Bridge
13.30 onwards: African drumming workshop
Royal Naval College family art and craft workshops, at the Bridge
Children’s play area, at the Bridge
Bar 12.00 till close
Cake stall 12.00 til it’s all gone
Hog Roast from the Giggly Pig 12.00 til it’s gone
Pistachios Cafe open all day
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Forest gardening in the community orchard

The volunteers who created and care for the East Greenwich Pleasaunce Memorial Orchard tried out some ‘forest gardening’ techniques on 26 May.

Forest gardening is a permaculture-influenced method of mimicing the structure of a woodland, aiming to make the most productive use of the space available by growing at all levels – the canopy, the shrub layer, ground cover and in the soil. Choosing the right mix of plants can not only provide benefits to the fruit trees but can boost the diversity of life in the area.

Part of the volunteer term caring for the orchard

Part of the volunteer term caring for the orchard – photo by Rob of

The refreshed orchard

The refreshed orchard

We were visited by a holly blue, interested in the fresh mulch

We were visited by a holly blue, interested in the fresh mulch

Comfrey, for example, with its deep tap roots, helps bring nitrogen to the surface, where the fruit trees’ crucial surface roots can access it. Plants such as apple mint and flowering plants help to attract insects that prey on the dreaded aphids, meaning we can avoid chemical treatments – and of course we help support our threatened bee populations too. Nasturtiums can be a ‘sacrficial’ plant, drawing aphids away from the trees, while red clover not only flowers but helps keep back the grass that competes with our trees’ roots.

We were treated to blazing sunshine, as well as a new volunteer, and we got a lot done, including fitting grease bands to deter ants, and a welcome refresh of the mulch circles, which, among other things, help the young trees retain crucial moisture. Then, a few days later, two of the group took up a generous offer of collecting free surplus Chelsea Flower Show plants, distributed by the good people at Lewisham Gardens. This allowed us to add still more beauty to the orchard, and others may somehow have ended up lining the platform of Westcombe Park station, thanks to some mysterious guerrilla gardeners.

If you’d like to keep up with events and volunteer opportunities at your community orchard, feel free to join our Facebook group.


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Join our community orchard volunteer day, 26 May

Orchard Workday Poster - Colour

Artwork by Graeme McGregor,

The Pleasaunce orchard and growing group is holding a volunteer day on Sunday 26 May, from 10am onwards.

All are welcome, children and adults, to help carry out some tree care tasks to help our young apple, pear and plum trees grow strong and healthy.

We’ll not only be weeding and refreshing the mulch circles around the trees, which helps them to get the water and nutrients they need in their early years. We’ll also be trying some ‘forest gardening’ techniques by planting plants and sowing seeds that are known to help young trees. Come along and learn about these methods, meet other volunteers and help make a healthy orchard for the future.

If you have your own spade, trowel or handfork to bring along, that would be really helpful – and if children have their own child-sized tools, even better. If you don’t have tools, don’t worry, please come along anyway.

You can join our Facebook group, too, to keep up with events and news from your community orchard. And you can check out the orchard section of this site.

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