We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, whichever your faith or calendar.
Orchard activities will resume on Saturday January 12th.
It’s the perfect opportunity to get in touch again and get those cobwebs out of the bones. Please watch this space and the Volunteer Email for details in the new year.
Some of you might have seen that coming, but it has to be done: last week’s report of the Hanwell Souring declared that this apple is named in reference to Hanwell near Banbury, Oxfordshire instead of our very own Hanwell, West London.
So, how many Hanwells are out there?
According to Wikipedia, there are three Hanwells, the two mentioned above and, unsurprisingly, Hanwell, New Brunswick, Canada. It is perhaps also unsurprising yet strangely pleasing to learn that Hanwell, New Brunswick, is a rural community of not quite 5000 souls along Route 640, named by Thomas Baillie, who was born in Hanwell, West London, England.
Does anyone know of another Hanwell to add to the list?
And last not least, here’s to the obvious finale in this flimsy research: Norwood Green is listed twice: Norwood Green, West London and Norwood Green, West Yorkshire. No new world namesake for Norwood Green, apparently.
There’s something to be discovered and something to be enjoyed with every walk you take along the orchard trail, whoever the company, whatever the weather, whichever the season. You don’t even need to hire a local guide as you can guide yourself with our handy and pleasingly popular self-guided walk brochure, now available in its third edition.
Paper versions are available in the Piggeries, the Fox and some local public libraries, but you can also help yourself to our self-downloadable, self-printable and self-guideable orchard trail walk brochure, right here.
We are pleased to report the successful completion of the 2018 annual general meeting, which was held on Tuesday November 6th, 2018. The short minutes are: all approved, nothing changed. Move on.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who came to attend this important affair.
Detailed official minutes and finance reports are available here: HANGOT AGM 2018 final mins 06.11.2018, Finance Report for AGM 2018.
Meanwhile, to good orcharding continues: Some volunteers have sown the Yellow Rattle seed collected earlier this year at the Piggeries Orchard to help with biological and self-sustained meadow management. Other members are busy preparing for the planting of trees to replace those which we lost to fire, draught or vandalism.
Orchard activities will slow down with the exception of the members’ Christmas Party on Friday December 14th until the new year, when we plan to resume our regular activities on the second Saturday in each month, starting Saturday January 12th.
Watch this space for detail.
I enjoyed our little conversation about local place names in the history department a few weeks ago. The question of St Margaret produced a detailed response while Billets Hart remains a challenge for some while.
So how about Elthorne?
Is it the old common name for prunus spinosa, now commonly known as Blackthorn? Is it in reference to John Elthorne the Elder, local parish priest 1683 – 1692, or the old measure for the amount of clay needed to make one dozen stone bricks?
Fictionary Dictionary is great fun, but no.
Elthorne is a subdivision of the historic county of Middlesex. The Elthorne Hundred roughly corresponds to today’s Borough of Hillingdon and the western half of London Borough of Ealing. That’s quite a stretch of land for a hundred. A hundred?
I also learned that a hundred is an old administrative subdivision of a region, with an “exceedingly obscure” etymology according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
I like the exceedingly obscure.
Our multi-award winning orchard trail has done it again: London in Bloom awarded us level 4 of 5, thriving for the Piggeries Orchard!
We are collecting the awards like, like, … like lots, and we like them lots. Like, it’s really nice to get that recognition, so thank you to London in Bloom, thank you to all the volunteers to help, and of course our huge thank you to the park rangers who support us all the way with guidance, hands-on help and inspiration.
We’re thriving on it.
For those who took part, as a memory. For those who didn’t, as a reminder on what they missed: here are some photos and a timelapse video from last week’s scything course.
10 participants enjoyed relaxed expert tuition under scything instructor Clive Leeke. Once background knowledge was established and everyone was fitted with tools, we moved on to cut approximately half an acre of mixed-vegetation meadow in St Margaret’s Open Space.
Even Ealing Council officials were impressed!
Our thanks to the Fox for use of their premises for the opening and closing parts, and our thanks to Ealing Council and contractors for their support in this effort.
Just in case you didn’t know: Nature is amazing!
Its been one month to the day when a small grass fire burnt some of Blackberry Corner in the Hanwell Meadows.
First came the fire. Next came the local volunteers with water buckets, followed by the fire brigade, followed by more bucket-carrying volunteers.
Next came flocks of pigeons, which were enjoying seeds or insects among the burnt grass.
Look at it now. It’s been only four weeks and you can barely see where it was! The meadow is already lush with regrown grass again, only those parts with poor soil still expose some of the burnt surface. One of the burnt trees shows signs of life. Truly amazing.
This week brought fire to the Hanwell Meadows, only a day before the rain came that would have prevented it naturally.
It was amazing to see so many people fighting the fire before the fire brigade arrived, including local residents and a couple of the young men who have been socialising nearby.
Thankfully most of the grass in the affected area had recently been cut, so the damage could be limited to a relatively small area and small damage to some trees. Because of the quick response by many people and the fire brigade, no more harm was done.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped preventing further damage!
Why don’t you come join us today, Saturday August 11th, in Blackberry Corner from 11:00?
We’ll clear more dry vegetation to further reduce the fire risk, cut remaining grass and nettles back and use remaining woodchip for mulching around the fruit trees.