Thursday 20 October 2011

Walk through the dark to the fire - Friday 28th October 6pm

At this time of solar withdrawal, climate change, the rapid decline of cheap oil, energy price rises and economic recession we are trying to find our way through the darkness. We are called to find warmth and light within ourselves and our community. We invite you to join your community to courageously find our way together through the dark and celebrate our connection around the bonfire at one of our local community gardens. At this time of All Hallows Eve / Halloween / Samhain, we will walk in darkness (seasonal costumes and pumpkin lanterns welcomed) along the Parkland Walk and realise our resilience, remembering our ancestors and all beings who have gone before us to pass on their wisdom of how they moved through their darker times.
You are invited to join us;
6pm at the top of Crouch Hill main road entrance to the Parkland Walk to then prepare and support each other to walk in darkness along the Parkland Walk to the Crouch End Hill exit,carrying one of Marilyn's sculptures, a local artist who made the amazing sculpted figure on the parkland walk.
We then process along Hornsey lane and Hazelville Rd (5 Mins walk) following the ancient clay route of the potters, the tilers, the brickmakers to a bonfire and other seasonal activities at Sunnyside Community Gardens (Hazelville Rd , N19 3LX). There we'll find a BBQ (bring any other food you or your ancestors enjoy to share), Apple bobbing, craft tables, face painting, music (any musicians come bring your voices and instruments) and a warm welcome in a very magical green setting. Toilets are available in their cosy community building.
Dress warmly with wet weather clothing options/wellies etc.
You may want to bring something you've written which we'll burn on the fire to symbolise whatever you wish to release or transform eg your fears/despair, your commitment to prepare for the end of cheap oil. You could then then add your wishes, along with your potatoes, of course or just come to join the feast and celebrations!
Anyone able to join us as one of the supporting stewards with high vis fluorescent jackets/waiscoasts call/text Andy 07940 291 779

Posted by Rebecca Stewart

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Two mosaic workshops at Hornsey Vale Community Centre

Come and enjoy the lovely, absorbing and fun art of mosaic. You will design and create your own piece, to take away with you. 

Beginners and all abilities welcome. Small groups so lots of individual attention. All materials provided, but do bring any pieces of china or tile special to you to recycle into your piece.

Mosaic Art Workshop 1 - Saturday 12 November 2011

Where: Hornsey Vale Community Centre,
60 Mayfield Road, Crouch End N8 9LP
When: 10am- 2pm (bring packed lunch)
Age: adults

To book To reserve a place, see details below.

Mosaic Art Workshop 2 -  Saturday 26 November 2011

For all ages from  7years+ - making mosaic Xmas pressie/ decoration
Mosaic Workshop

Come and enjoy the lovely, absorbing and fun art of mosaic. You will design and create your own piece on an Xmas theme, to take away with you. It will make the perfect present for yourself/ friend or family member.

Where: Hornsey Vale Community Centre, 60
Mayfield Road, Crouch End N8 9LP

When: 10am- 2pm (bring packed lunch)
Age: 7+

To book or reserve a place at either of these workshops, contact
or text 07905 764 107

Apple Day 2011 - the write-up

Apple Day is one of my favorite events in the calendar and this was no exception. We always get an enthusiastic response: as one mum put it, 'It's an event I look forward to every year.'

This year we had all the features that make this day such a success: the fresh juice from the apple press, many, many different varieties to sample, a crammed tasting table, a cookery demonstration, a children's craft area and a bustling cafe selling tea and apple cake. 

So this is an opportunity to thank everyone who contributed. 

Thanks to the Urban Harvest, our partners in this event for their stalwart work at the apple press, (i.e. Phil and Mike) and to Hornsey Vale Community Centre for co-hosting the event (special mention to Lynne and Ursula from the committee for helping out in the cafe). 

Thanks to George for providing the fabulous apples (and for letting us take some home with us), and of course for sourcing the most beautiful apple tree, which I'm hoping will be part of a community garden.  Thanks to Anna Konarska for organising the children's area and for superb multitasking. Thanks to Sarah Moore for showing us how to produce a delicious dish from quince, a fruit that can be seen as the poor cousin of the apple but shouldn't be.

Thanks to all the bakers and preservists who turned up with tempting home-made produce and who sold it!  (Special mention to Dick for bringing his battery of artesan jams and chutneys.)  Thanks to Church Farm for providing us with bottled apple juice from their rural care project.  Thanks to Pamela and Chris for meeting and greeting and doing a very good job of monitoring attendance.  (We had just short of 300 people.)

And thanks to everyone else who helped with putting up posters, and telling people, and on the day chopping, washing and clearing up.  And to North London Lets, Tree Trust for Haringey and Transition Finsbury Park for providing information about their projects.

Every Apple Day has the same ingredients and yet each year is just that little bit different.  A year ago we decided to concentrate on apple produce and activities, rather than the juicing, because we thought all the apples would have run out by the end of September.  How wrong we were....  Instead Apple Day was a celebration of abundance and human ingenuity in not letting good food go to waste. 

People were encouraged to bring their own apples; many did and they were received enthusiastically.   We had about eight boxes left over and at least half of those were juiced at the Launch of the Stationers Park Playground the next day. 

At the same time, many people left with homemade produce and hopefully ideas for making their own.  Is this idea of artesan goods and sharing skills something we could develop next year?  Could this be the first tentative step towards creating a community market?

See, planning for next year already!

Apples from Weston Park Primary School

Saturday 15 October 2011

Apple Day is Here

And finally Apple Day dawns and we go back far into time to when the first apple was eaten...

Ode to the Apple
 by Pablo Neruda

I want to celebrate you,
Making my mouth run with juice
At the mere mention of your name.

You are eternally new
Like nothing else,
Like no-one else.
A recent windfall from Paradise
Bursting with purity
Like the crimson cheek
Of the dawn.

How shall I compare thee
To the fruits of the earth?
The particle grapes,
The dusky mangoes
The bony plum trees,
The deep depths figs.
You are pure pomade,
Freshly toasted bread,
The cheese
Of the vegetable world.

When I bite into you,
Your restore my innocence.
Just touching an apple
Returns us in an instant
To the moment of being
Newly sprung from the earth.

I want a superabundance,
An overrunning of your family.
I want
A city,
A republic,
A Mississippi River
Of apples
And on your shores,
I want to see
Everyone in the world
United, reunited
In the simplest act in the world,
Munching an apple.

Friday 14 October 2011

Apple Day - one more day to go and the penultimate poem

This poem is for those of us who are just on the verge of finding apples a little too bit much.  It's when your muscles ache from picking and you only dream of apples....

After Apple Picking –
By Robert Frost                                            

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
Or just some human sleep.

Photo Courtesy:

Thursday 13 October 2011

An Apple Poem A Day... continued

The apple
by Pierre Gammara

A crimson apple,
Admiring her reflection, pronounced,
She was the most beautiful fruit,
Of all the fruit in the world.

She was the most tender, the most delightful
The most dulcet, the most subtle.
Not the mango, not the agave,
Nor the most delectable melon,
Not the pineapple, not the orange…
None of the fruits we eat,
Under the northern sky, under the southern sky;
Not the red sapotilla,
Not the strawberry, not the blueberry
Had such melting flesh, such bloom.
Her sister was not to be found.

The breeze wafted her perfume through the air,
Her purple hue against the leafy green struck the eye.

'Oh yes, it's true, so true,' said a tiny little worm,
Nestled in her core.


Monday 10 October 2011

An Apple Poem A Day... continued

We are delighted to have local Harringay resident, Dick Harris come to our Apple Day, famous for his cider making and autumn produce. He will be selling jam and encouraging people to try his apple juice and other alcoholic apple formats.  We include this poem in his honour.

The Apple
By Philéas Lebesque

Lovely Autumn, give me your apples,
Blushing like the cheeks of a young girl.
I want to gobble them up.
I want to slurp up their juice.

Lovely Autumn, give me your apples
For the cider press standing there.
I want to crack open that delicate flesh
Between its jaws of iron.
I want to draw out the golden liquor
Working the screw and the lever hard.
I want to see the source of my intoxication gush.
To challenge the heaviness of winter and the dark months.
There’s nothing like a full cellar and grain in the granary.

Lovely Autumn, give me your apples.
In the dewy meadow, my corn ripens
What does the past matter?  I have sown the future.
The withered leaves at the whim of the wind may career
Into the fog of the darkening days.

I have cider in my cellar.
I have leave to forget the real pain of living
The pain of walking bent,
And having so little, so little freedom…

Rob Hopkins Launches his new book in Crouch End this Wednesday

We are very very pleased to invite you to join Rob Hopkins and a whole bunch of us for the exciting launch of his new book: The Transition Companion

Wednesday 12th October- Free event

FOOD from the SKY on the roof of Thornton’s Budgens in Crouch End (see our contact page for more details)

13:00 to 14:30 for a talk by Rob about his new book, an intro about FOOD from the SKY by Azul and other local ‘transition’ stories.

ABOUT ‘THE TRANSITION COMPANION: making your community more resilient in uncertain times’
This is the result of a collaborative process involving thousands of people over the past 18 months, and picks up where ‘The Transition Handbook’ left off. It sets out where Transition groups are at and crucially the key things that can help them work well. It is packed with stories and photos from around the world, of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

‘food from the sky‘ is a collaboration between Thornton’s Budgens supermarket and Azul-Valerie Thome. It is a permaculture community garden growing food to sell in the supermarket below, while providing a learning and educational space for different parts of the community.

Access to the roof is behind the store: From Crouch End Clocktower look West , walk up Crouch Hall Road , turn left pass the police station, walk through the carparks and finally climb up our public access scaffolding tower up to the sky. 2 minutes from the Clocktower.

Rob brings humour, imagination and vision to the great challenges of our time, and argues that what is needed at this time in history is “engaged optimism”. The rapidly-spreading Transition movement which he was pivotal in establishing, is an embodiment of that. Nicholas Crane, presenter of BBC2’s recent ‘Town’ series, recently referred to Transition as “the biggest urban brainwave of the century”.

He is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building.

In 2008 he published the ‘The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience’ which has become the transitioners’ bible. He also writes, recently voted ‘the 4th best green blog in the UK’. He was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award, is an Ashoka Fellow and a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, served 3 years as a Trustee of the Soil Association, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists.

Rob is the winner of the 2009 Observer Ethical Award for the Grassroots Campaigner category, and in December 2009 was voted the Energy Saving Trust/Guardian’s ‘Green Community Hero’. He lectures and writes widely on peak oil and Transition, holds an MSc in Social Research and recently completed a PhD at the University of Plymouth entitled ‘Localisation and resilience at the local level: the case of Transition Town Totnes’. He lives in Devon and grows food for his family.

We are looking forward to host this very exciting book launch with Rob and yourselves!

An Apple Poem A Day... continued

This poem encapsulates what Apple Day is all about - to celebrate what is local and distinctive, to campaign against supermarket homogeneity, and to enjoy the variety of English apples!

If you want to find out more about English varieties, you can access the recent BBC4 programme here.

The Apple War By U. A. Fanthorpe

The storm troops have landed
The red and the green,
Their pips on their shoulders,
Their skin brilliantine.

Uniform, orderly,
Saleable, ambitious -
Gala and Granny
And Golden Delicious.

Quarter them, they’re tasteless;
They’ve cotton-wool juice,
But battalions of thousands                                                                                                      
Routinely seduce.

In shy hen-haunted orchards
Twigs faintly drum,
Patient as partisans
Whose time has almost come,

From Worcester and Somerset,
Sussex and Kent,
They’ll ramble singing,
A fruity regiment.           

Down with Cinderella’s kind,
Perfect toxic, scarlet;
Back comes the old guard
Costard, Crispin, Russet.

James Grieve, Ashmead Kernel,
Coppin, Kingston Black -
Someone has protected them.
They’re coming back.    

Saturday 8 October 2011

Looking forward to Apple Day 2011 Saturday 15 October 3-6

Apple Day 2011
Hornsey Vale Community Centre
Saturday 15 October, 3-6pm
The theme of this year’s Apple Day is abundance.  In Crouch End alone, there are numerous apple trees growing in allotments, parks, school playgrounds and residents’ gardens.  In many cases the fruit has been left unpicked, a pity since the warm spring weather this year has led to a bumper harvest.
Apple Day looks at ways to ensure that good use is made of this bounty.  The Urban Harvest will showcase drinks and produce made from apples, pears and plums, which the public can taste and try.  Local residents are encouraged to bring along their own fruit to juice: even windfalls can be turned into a delicious drink.  Transition Crouch End will also be juicing apples from Weston Park School, which otherwise would have gone to waste.  In future years, the group would hope to form a partnership with residents and community groups, offering advice on pruning in exchange for apples.

For apple addicts, there are over twenty different varieties of apple and pear to sample.  Some of them have never tasted before, and a poll will identify the most scrumptious in a campaign to persuade local greengrocers to stock them.
Apples are an infinite source of magic, myth and lore and this will be reflected in various activities on the day.  There will be a children's play area, run by Anna Konarska, craft stalls and a Find the Rotten Apple Competition.  The top prize is an apple tree from the Blackmoor Estate, who willl be providing the apples for the sampling table. 

Apple Day is sustainable event which seeks to minimise waste.  All apple mash will be composted at the Meadow Orchard Project and the cafe will use washable mugs and plates rather than plastic.  There will a free beverage to anyone who brings their own cup.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Permaculture Design Course

In Spring 2012 Permaculture teachers will be holding a Permaculture Design Course in collaboration with Transition Crouch End and grounded in local sustainability issues. More details will be added here as we confirm dates and prices but if you would like to express your interest now, please contact Claire at:

An Apple Poem A Day.....

A poem that celebrates the sensuality of the apple.  Come and celebrate the apple at our Apple Day, Saturday 15 October.

From Orpheus: A version of Rilke’s Die Sonette an Orpheus
By Don Paterson

Gooseberry, banana, pear
and apple, all the ripenesses….
Read it in a child’s face:
the life-and-death the tongue hears

as she eats…  This comes from far away
What is happening in your mouth?
Where there were words, discovery
flows,  all shocked out of pith-

What we call apple…Do you dare
give it a name?  This sweet-sharp fire
rising in the taste, to grow

clarified, awake, twin-sensed,
of the sun and earth, the here and the now
the sensual joy, the whole Immense!