The Friends got the summer off to a great start by hosting two events on Sunday 7 June. The first was a Wildflower Walk hosted by Roy Vickery of the South London Botanical Institute. Over the course of an hour and a half, Roy took Friends on a tour of the Common behind the Ecology Centre. He enlightened a 20-strong audience with stories of the trees and plants, their history, and some of the plant lore surrounding them that included the superstition and beliefs around plants, their use in herbal remedies and other sayings, riddles and games that use plants. How many of us knew before Roy’s talk that the stalks of the horse chestnut used to be called “knuckle bleeders”? Children would allow each other to be hit over the knuckles with the stalks that grow next to the branch, with the game over when the winner made his opponent’s knuckles bleed!
You can find out more on Roy’s great website http://www.plant-lore.com.
The second event, following on from the wildflower walk was the Mitcham Common Big Lunch, in the area behind the Ecology Centre. The Friends organised this event as part of the wider Big Lunch (http://www.thebiglunch.com).
Around 50 people congregated on the Common to meet others, enjoy and find out more about the Common, share food, and play games. The weather was wonderfully sunny and fine and a great time was had by all. The Swing Ball went down a storm, and an impromptu cricket match was set up, drawing in a cast of many fielders during the afternoon!
The Big Lunch has been a wonderful way for people to meet each other, and we eagerly await next years’ event!