Posted: July 7th, 2015 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: food, wild food, workshops | No Comments »
Along with steamed hogweed buds (and blackberries), the other favourite foraged edible at Grow Heathrow is elderberry vinegar. Come on Sunday 6 September from 1 till 5 and join us.
As always, we’ll big you up and thank you loads for any/as many clean empty jars as you can bring :). So – elderberries. This widespread, delicious wild food has been one of Britain’s best loved hedgerow treasures for centuries, brewed into a unique smooth, rich and port-like wine with a flavour unmatched by anything on supermarket shelves (see recipe). The tree (sambucus nigra) is easy to identify if you’ve smelled the sweet elderflowers around May and June; they turn into drooping clusters of shiny purplish-black elderberries hanging down from purple stems from mid August till October.
Its best kept secret is definitely elderberry balsamic vinegar. This is fun, quick to make and leaves you with a result that transforms cheap vinegar into posh balsamic: a bit like Jesus turning water into wine, but more directly useful for climbing the greasy pole of Britain’s entrenched system of class hierarchy.
Strip the berries from the stems using your hands or a fork; compost the stems. Take a litre of British cider vinegar (ie, the perfect amount for a small portion of chips) and add a kilo of elderberries. Chuck them together in a covered stainless steel, glass or enamelled container for a week. Then strain, put the liquid on the hob, let it simmer for ten minutes and bottle. Now order a small portion of chips to go with your litre of vinegar and enjoy. Congratulations: the balsamic vinegar in front of you means you’re going up in the world!
Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks. What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries.
You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries.
Posted: January 24th, 2015 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Cool Projects | Tags: charity, cycling, palestine | No Comments »
Edinburgh to London: step on your bike and stand up for Palestine in tandem with 1,000 other fellow cyclists. Combine the challenge of cycling from Edinburgh to London with fundraising in support of a Palestinian children’s charity.
THE BIG RIDE will follow a stunning route from Edinburgh to London, clocking up an impressive daily mileage. From the Scottish Lowlands and Northumberland we cycle through Yorkshire and then head gradually southwards to London cutting a path through the middle of England. Following national cycle routes, we avoid the busiest and fastest roads in favour of natural surroundings, satisfyingly challenging distances with stops in some great cities along our capital-to-capital journey.
Event organiser Dermot MacWard describes his vision for the event:
“My friend Musheir El Farra lost 8 members of his family (including 5 children) in the recent war in Gaza. His sister Dr. Mona El-Farra the Vice President of the Red Crescent society for the Gaza Strip and Director of Middle Eastern Children Alliance has asked for help. Mona wants us to help raise awareness of the situation in Palestine and also help the children’s projects she’s involved with in The Gaza Strip.
Consequently we’re planning for 1,000 cyclists to join us in one of the largest mass participation cycling events of its kind in Britain. If you do nothing else this year – dust off your bike, pump up your tyres and oil your chain for a fabulous week of pedalling and help the people of Palestine.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 11th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events | Tags: growing | No Comments »
Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: friends of cranford park, Harlington, Hayes, transition | No Comments »
This is an exciting month in Cranford Park.
We are celebrating the world’s biggest coffee morning in one of the smallest gardens (Sunday 14th September, 10am – 12 noon). The event is in the Secret Garden (near the information centre and stables) as part of Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’. We would be grateful if you could invite friends, make a cake or help on the day. There is an invitation attached.
On 20-21 September, the Berkeley stables, Secret Garden and St. Dunstan’s Church open their doors as part of London Open House weekend. There is an exhibition in the stables and members of the Friends will be in attendance to answer questions and collect memories. Sat. From 10.30am. On the Sunday (from 11.30am), classic motorcycles gather in the courtyard. Refreshments available, admission free.
Booking has opened for an open-air theatre production on 27 and 28 September (3pm).
Outline Theatre’s ‘Wheat to War’ is a celebration of local life and history, using song, dance and drama. Suitable for the whole family, the show features the coming of the Grand Union Canal, the building of the Great Western Railway and World War I, paying tribute to local heroes. Produced in partnership with the Imperial War Museum.
Tickets are £4 (four for £14, under fives free) via www.outlinetheatre.co.uk, ortel. 01895 851936.
Cranford Park is served by bus E6, road access is beside M4 junction 3/A312 on The Parkway. Parking is free, satnav TW5 9RZ.
Posted: August 11th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: food, sipson, wild food | No Comments »
The highlight of our foraging year.
If Grow Heathrow hasn’t been evicted, we’re going to bottle loads of blackberries. Bring clean empty jars and you will earn respect, win honour and know true righteousness. It’ll be the tail end but we should get lots of juicy buckets. You can taste some of last year’s (they’re great) and take some of this year’s jars home so you can fish for compliments from your family.
If we have been evicted, we’ll just go and eat blackberries. To be honest it might turn into just eating blackberries either way. See you there!
Posted: July 19th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events | Tags: art, film, No Third Runway | No Comments »
In October 2009 before he became Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts,” Within 30 months of taking power he set up a Commission widely expected to recommend airport expansion after his manifesto pledge runs out next year.
On Wednesday 18th June, more than 800 people packed into the Richmond Theatre to watch and judge the best viral films reminding Mr Cameron of his promise, and pressing the case against Heathrow expansion.
The No Ifs No Buts Film Competition staged by Zac Goldsmith MP in conjunction with the campaign group HACAN attracted well over 50 videos. Fifteen were shown at the event on 18th June.
In First Place: the residents’ film
In Second Place: the film beyond words
In Third Place: the comedy film
The 12 runners up are well worth watching.
Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: wild food | No Comments »
Living in broken rotting greenhouses has its perks.
What plant books flatteringly call ‘wasteland species’ may not have the looks but as we like to say here, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And autumn is coming up, with our Garden of Eden maze of elderberries and blackberries. There’s even a volunteer from abroad staying at Grow Heathrow at the moment who despite getting to know all of us, the site and what we do there has privately admitted she’s now really there for the blackberries; after they finish she might be off to somewhere else.
On Friday 18th July, from 1pm to 4 we’ll be pickling green elderberries. We pickled loads of ripe and less ripe purple elderberries last year but they just weren’t amazing – they taste a lot of vinegar and a little bit of that rich, slightly unpleasant ‘elder smell’ that you get when you crush elder leaves. You can try them if you come round (no need to thank us). But the green ones we pickled got gobbled up with chips as comfort food in the dark winter – crunchier and less strong. So this year we know how to prepare to liven those winter moments when there’s ten men sat around the old wood burning stove and someone brings out a guitar with four strings and delights in another repeat singing ‘Wagon Wheel’. Green pickled elderberries for hot chips (and daal)! (You can also check out the Urban Harvest info on eating elderberries)
If you want to join the party, be there.
Posted: June 10th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: access to land, sipson, wild food | No Comments »
Yep, it’s that time of year again. The field by the old garden centre is full of red clover, and the rotting greenhouse frames are burping up sprays of elderflowers.
We’re gonna make some elderflower cordial. Be there. If you remember, grab a couple of clean empty jars or small glass bottles.
Posted: May 10th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Foraging | Tags: garden, wild food | No Comments »
April was a loads of fun; 30 of us came down and learnt how to identify the mustard family (brassicaceae), which has no poisonous plants, as well as the springtime linden (tilia spp.) leaves that are offering massive free salads all over London. We also spent some time considering the risks of foraging, codes of conduct and the law. A big thank you to everyone who came, all inspiringly enthusiastic, and also to our favourite photographer Jonathan Goldberg for these kickass snaps.
Now it’s May, the first few hogweed (heracleum sphondylium) flowers are just beginning to bud. Our site is covered in hogweed, having been derelict and neglected for so long, which means we’re able to steam pots full of dozens of hogweed flower buds every day in summer. Like an abundant wild asparagus, it’s gobbled up. And even if we didn’t live in a sea of it, it’s handy that each plant will live an extra year if all of its flowers are harvested.
But hogweed is part of the carrot family (apiaceae), which contains deadly poisonous species. Many people have heard of one cousin of the carrot, toxic giant hogweed (heracleum mantegazzianum), for the extreme sunburn rashes it causes when touched. The rashes can become scars that last years, and there’s plenty of giant hogweed growing along Cranford Lane as well as the Grand Union canal west of West Drayton.
We’ll start the workshop off with some very civilised nibbles – hogweed stems with hummus: they’re like a refreshing, slightly citrussy celery. We’ll learn how to tell the difference between toxic giant hogweed and edible common hogweed, as well as how to look for warning signs that wild plants may be in the dangerous carrot family. There’ll be some fun activities in pairs and groups to recap the day as well as handouts to take home. All that brain strain will be rewarded with a hike round the site harvesting, and then steaming the goods.
You’ll need to book in advance to be able to take part as this Month the workshop will have a cap of 12 foragers to be able to move quickly and fit all of our activities in. The suggested donation for the workshop is £8 for people on high or average wages and £3 for low waged and unwaged people. All donations go 100% to Grow Heathrow, paying for bike workshop tools, rice and bog roll. If money’s not ideal, you can donate your time washing up
Book by leaving a comment here with your first name, which should take 10 seconds. If you don’t have internet access then just let a resident know your name face to face or on the phone. You can also check out our travel info and videos about the site.
I’ve been enjoying a couple of foragers’ web pages a lot recently, Chester-based Eden Wild Food and London-based Ipso-phyto. They’ve got fantastic seasonal photos of local wild food, so check them out if you like the sound of that. They also both offer guided walks and workshops.
Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events, Gardening Club, Growing Group | Tags: community, cranford, Harlington, sustainability | No Comments »
If you have thought of volunteering in the park, now is the time! Just turn up at one of Cranford Park Friends’ monthly sessions, meeting at the Secret Garden beside the Stables, on the second Sunday of each month… the next
session is this coming Sunday April 13 at 10am (see below). No experience or tools are required.
Some other event highlights for the coming months are listed below. Other news in brief:
Repairs to the Stable Block roof, weatherproofing and ivy removal have been completed by the London Borough of Hillingdon’s contractor. So the building is weatherproof at last. Unfortunately there was a break-in in the early hours of March 9, the doors were damaged and some of our tools stolen. If you have spare garden tools you could donate to fill the gap, please contact the Secretary.
Towards a Lottery bid. LB Hillingdon has shown great faith in our group’s achievements by ring-fencing £25k to fund a Feasibility Study, the first step towards a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application. It has been declared a Hillingdon Improvement Project, for the buildings and park. Winning a Lottery grant will be a long and complicated job but success could mean wonderful enhancements, of benefit to the whole community. A Steering Group has been set up and the Friends are well represented on it. We hope you will be able to help us – more details in due course.
CRANFORD PARK EVENTS 2014 All events except *are free. Address: The
Parkway (A312), Hounslow, TW5 9RZ.
Sunday 13 April, 10am – 12 noon. Secret Garden Opening & Volunteering. Help us prepare the garden for summer. Refreshments will be served to volunteers. The garden will open at the same time on the second Sunday of each month (11 May, 8 June etc.). The entrance is adjacent to the stable courtyard.
Saturday 26 April, 11am. Bluebell Walk. Join Countryside & Conservation Officer Alison Shipley for a guided walk through the bluebell woods. Meet at information centre.
Sunday May 11, 10am -12 noon. *Secret Garden Opening & Volunteering. *See above.
Saturday May 17, 11am. ‘Knights, Earls & Ghosts’ History Tour. A 90-minute guided history walk around Cranford Park. Meet at information centre.
Thursday May 22, 7.30pm. Cranford Park Friends’ Quarterly Meeting. Crane Community Centre, Fuller Way, Harlington (off Cranford Drive, bus E6). All welcome.
Sunday June 8, 10am -12 noon. *Secret Garden Opening & Volunteering/Balsam Bash. *See above. On the river we join the River Crane-wide event removing Himalayan Balsam, a highly invasive plant along the river. Please wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts.
Sunday June 22, 11am – 4pm. Grand Union Canal Boat Trip on the Elsdale. *(Members of *Cranford Park Friends and families only; booking essential). Departs from and returns to Packet Boat Marina, Packet Boat Lane, Cowley UB8 2JJ. A leisurely cruise and social event for members and their families. Free (donation of £3 suggested). Please bring a packed lunch. Licensed bar also serving hot and soft drinks. On-board toilets. Includes short talk on canal history, and local wildlife. Places limited, please book with Dhush Selvarajah, tel. 077180 43105, email email@example.com.
Saturday June 28, 11am. Butterfly Walk. Join the Countryside & Conservation Officer for a guided walk looking at the many species of
butterfly found in Cranford Park. Meet at information centre.
Saturday August 2. Cranford Park Remembers. A friendly day for all the family with a medieval encampment, a memory wall where you can leave your park memories, activities for kiddies and more. The 18th century Stables and St. Dunstan’s Church will be open; tea garden refreshments. Details to follow nearer the date. Volunteers will be needed well in advance.
Saturday/Sunday September 20 and 21.* Open House London 2014.* Cranford Stables & Secret Garden and St Dunstan’s Church open. Members of the Friends’ History & Conservation working party will be in attendance.
Saturday/Sunday September 27 and 28, 3pm. *W*heat to War 1780-1918.*Celebrate local life in this hour-long outdoor spectacular
for the whole family. Outline Theatre performs popular songs, dance and drama. A moving tribute to our local Great War Heroes, marking the centenary of World War I. Tickets £4 or 4 for £14, Under 5′s free; book online at www.outlinetheatre.co.uk. Box Office, tel. 01895 851936.