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4 July 2014

the skip garden | gloabl generation turns ten!

nestled in amongst some of king's cross' finest building sites, hidden away in a very industrial part of town, you'll be shocked to learn lies a tiny slice of tranquillity. you'd never know it was there, of course, and if not for kylie, or lynsay being in town, neither would i. so let's call this a public service announcement; this is going to be your new saturday afternoon hang out, and you're welcome.

please allow me to introduce to you, the skip garden.

although we were initially lost and fearful for a rowdy night in a car park ahead, a quick but not-so-helpful google-mapping experience and some actually-helpful asking of directions by strangers finally lead us to where we were supposed to be... if the folk band playing something akin to "a pirate's life for me" wasn't enough of a giveaway to what to expect within, then, i don't really know what else could have possibly prepared us for what we were about to experience.

the skip garden is unlike anything i have ever seen, ever, in my life. and, i've been to disney. more than once. that place is full of magic. the king's cross allotment is a community garden with a twist - it's totally moveable. initially, built as a sustainable veggie garden - in recycled skips and refuse from building sites, it has expanded into a massive community project with all sorts of opportunities for the locals - old and young. the garden was created (and is maintained) by "the generators" - the collective group of volunteers from global gen (the charity), the guardian (paper), and the local construction workers. yeeeeeeep. hard hat wearing, totally blue collar but sustainably living, construction workers.

all of the fruit and veg grown within the gardens are sold to local businesses, as well as sold on-site in the skip garden cafĂ©, and there's even a line of jams, chutneys and honeys being created behind the scenes. and, we were lucky enough to sample some of the delicious foods grown in the garden that night by way of a fresh rhubarb and honey compote cocktail, beetroot and pomegranate and spiced carrot dips, and homemade rosemary and sea salt focaccias. ermergerrrrd. all the foods.

we took a wander through the gardens, past skips and poly tunnels full of flowers, vegetables, herbs, you name it - literally wanting to snap pictures of every little thing we saw. the contrast of this totally organic little patch of london against the almighty roar of the city's busy industrial hub was mesmerising. half-finished sky scrapers and out-of-work cranes loomed out above the brightly coloured corrugated iron security walls, while hand made and totally recycled bunting hung off everything that it could.

smiling at and pointing out every little thing we found utterly beautiful, our first moments inside the garden were spent  basically in awe of the whole thing. the band played on, and soon enough we were called together by the organisers for a wee rally, a few formalities, and then... onto the entertainment!

with music from folk group the ceilidh liberation front  we were encouraged to make a circle, hold hands with those stood next to us (complete strangers), and then follow-the-leader as we skipped (ha) our way around the gardens. i mean, i wish i was making this stuff up. but i'm just not. i don't know that i actually could, even if i tried. once we were all warmed up and fresh from our whistle stop tour of the gardens we'd just spent a good half an hour enjoying anyway, we regrouped for our next challenge; traditional ceilidh dancing.

imagine if you will, an 80-strong group of strangers, holding hands, whooping and hollering, in a circle, in a garden allotment, in the middle of kings cross. to a folk band; fiddle and accordion and upright bass. my face hurt so bad from all the laughter and smiling i realised i hadn't stopped doing since we arrived! i just never even knew nights like this existed in london. but my god, a few hours in the skip garden were the best few hours i'd had in a looooong time. after the dancing there was a mad rush for the second round of food, before another hour or so of dancing was on the cards. well, not for us. as the sun set over the city we made the decision to finish on a food-induced high and call it a night. and, what a night it was!

i'm still baffled that i had no idea something this twee could exist in the way it does. i'm so grateful to have been invited to celebrate the ten years of great work the guys at global generation - not only because of how much fun we had doing so, but because the amazing work they do really needs to be talked about. fyi - we totally paid for our tickets to this event, and they've no idea i'm blogging this; we literally had such an eye-opening and inspiring night with them, that this is the least i can do. lord knows i'm not prepared to go and actually do any gardening. ha.

so, what do we think; will this be your new saturday hang out?
thoughts on a postcard.

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  1. That does look amazing and magical. I love when places like that exist in the middle of a city, its like its own wonderland.

  2. i mean, right? so ridiculously awesome.


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