As a backlog of jobs and working experiences builds up in my zany lifestyle, I felt the need to jot this one down while it’s fresh in my memory. Two weeks ago when I arrived back in London, England I was hanging out with long term friend, busy body, overall good guy and the best mate on this planet, Millwall Neil. Neil always has something going on – like myself he keeps busy. So after I planned a crazy day out touring the sights related to the Kingdom of Lovely micronation, Neil invites me to an event on the evening.
“Do you like running?”, asks Neil.
The truth is, I couldn’t answer yes or no. As in my adult life, believe it or not, I had not been running properly. Yes maybe I ran for 5 minutes to catch a train in Malaysia once, or bolted through an airport to not miss a flight. Sure I backpacked up mountains including Central America’s highest peak, Volcan Tajamulco and the 20th highest mountain in the world on topographic prominence, the insatiable Mount Kinabulu in Borneo. Glory days, that seemlessy passed me by…
But as for long distance running, no I hadn’t done that! Time for a challenge then. Tonight we would meet up with the charity group Good Gym at the Somerstown Community Centre in St. Pancras, North London: http://somerstown.org.uk/ We met there at 6.45 pm.
About Somerstown Community Centre
Somerstown Community Centre in King’s Cross is a local charity which offer a wide range of activities and services catering for children, young people and adults from our whole community. They have something for everyone and if you have any ideas about things you would like to see going on let us know.
I got introduced to the group of people – around 20 of us, led by an English guy called Paul. People were of all ages, from early 20s to their 50s. For the evening, we would be exercising, running, then doing some charity work at the Skip Garden, then running along by the canals, then running back and finishing off in a cosy and quirky local pub.
This evening had all the makings of why I love to travel and why I get enthusiastic with the diversity of life. I wore my best jogging bottoms and training top, and off we headed – first we did exercises, then we ran from Somerstown Community Centre to the Skip Garden.
The Skip Garden – Global Generation
After a short run of 1 kilometre or so, we arrive at the Skip Garden. I have never been here before. It’s a huge garden area somewhere near Camden and King’s Cross. Their website is Global Generation.
A bit about the Skip Garden –
When people think of skips they think of construction, building and dirt. These guys didn’t. They thought less rubble and more rhubarb. That’s why they started using skips to farm food that, like ourselves, is locally grown. So pop over and say hi. No hard hat needed.
The Skip Garden and Skip Garden Kitchen are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 – 4pm serving scones, cakes, teas and coffees and seasonal lunches including super salads and a daily special from 12 – 2pm. They use fresh ingredients every day so our menu may change from time to time. Our group from Good Gym arrive after hours and are here to do some quick volunteering for them.
It’s an eco friendly charity. We meet the boss and get split into three groups:
Group 1 – Churning Compost
Group 2 – Lifting and Moving Things Around
Group 3 – Bringing wood from a Nearby Thai Restaurant
In the end I am in group 1 and I churn compost, for the first time ever. It’s a compost machine with chicken shit and other things in in and we take turns to turn the handle and churn the compost. It doesn’t smell great but the action is soothing.
I also helped out with the wood job. Also during our time at the Skip Garden, Paul gave us some running to do, quick jaunts. In total on this day, I knew I had already walked about 5-6 kilomteres and had now ran about 2 kilometre. On the body, I felt good.
Running by the Thames, London
Almost a year to the day when Millwall Neil, James and I went on a day out exploring Hippy Camden Town, we do a run by the Thames. There is the option of the 5 kilometre run and a 2-3 kilometre run. I opt for the shorter run, being new to it and we jog together alongside the canals of Camden. After the run is over, we sit briefly outside St. Martin’s College, famous from the Common People by Pulp song by Jarvis Cocker.
Then it’s time to run back to the Somerstown Community Centre. A lady called Jacqui spoke to me quite a bit during the evening and made me feel at home. When I get back to the base, I’m not tired, I felt good, my body feels strong with it. We do some exercising/stretching and I finish my water. But the night is not over yet!
Beers in the Somerstown Coffee House
We headed round the corner from the Somerstown Community Centre to the Somerstown Coffee House, which looks like this, though it was now dark. It’s a traditional pub, we head downstairs.
Millwall Neil and I grab a pint of water each washed down with a local bitter. The chat is great and I talk to John, a Fulham fan, Pritesh a fellow AFC Bournemouth fan and Joao and Will. It’s such a positive and happy group at Good Gym and I was welcomed immediately and made to feel at home.
The pub itself has some quirky features. It has three floors. We drink in the basement, we buy our beers from the middle floor (ground floor) and we check out the nooks and crannies of the top floor, which is up an “Anne Frank inspired” style bookcase entrance.
My thanks to the following inspiration people and companies for this rewarding night out in London town:
- Millwall Neil
- Somerstown Community Centre
- The Skip Garden and the Skip Garden Kitchen
- Good Gym
- Somerstown Coffee House
“In sleepy London town, there ain’t no place for the street fighting man” – Mick Jagger.