Way down here in Kent is where I am. It’s where I live my life. And way over there in London is where I work and choke on the fumes of traffic each day, which, ironically, allows me to live and breathe in Kent… I am a Londoner (with a cough) living in Kent, finding myself writing to you way up there where you are.
I have never been there, never seen there except on my computer screen. All I know is you are in Newsham Park, Liverpool.
My name is Pete and I work in construction. In fact I work on the biggest construction project in Europe. Crossrail is it’s name and I am the Construction Superintendent for the new Paddington Station. The flagship of Crossrail. It’s full of steel, glass, concrete and technology… Theres still no connection to Liverpool at this point.
During the construction of Crossrail, Innovation became a number one ingredient in energising enthusiasm in a group of people with a difficult task ahead. Creative thinking allowed them to be motivated and generate ideas, collaborate with others they may not have come into contact with and together, build amazing things. My second ingredient was Environmental Sustainability. Something of which Crossrail is proud of.
On Crossrail 98% of all construction waste accumulated has been recycled. This is a major achievement on a project of this scale. Environmental Sustainability combined with Innovation had me creating ways to reduce water consumption, harvest the rain and produce self watering systems for the work site. However, this idea was too good to leave at work so I brought the idea home with me and begun self watering systems for my little garden veg patch.
Ah ha, I think we might be getting closer!
I was so enthusiastic in tending my veg I became ‘Off-Grid’ so to speak when it came to growing. No more tap water! I was adding more plants and seeds and under the curious eye of my two little boys who one day started asking questions.
“Whats that dad?”
“Lettuce, radish, snap peas, mange tout. Try some”
My Saturday morning breakfast became a regular organic feast straight from the garden. I had so much lettuce growing that I picked and filled the equivalent of ten Sainsburys lettuce packets every Saturday morning. For FREE! We ended up giving bags of veg away each week to the extended family. My two boys joined in on the giving away. Jacob my youngest set up an impromptu but regular farmers market on his Grans front garden and invited all the neighbours to take a pick.
The value of giving, sharing, communicating and growing up is what I saw in Jacob and Max during the giveaways. I saw the beginning of the community spirit I experienced growing up in the Seventies in Grans front garden. Two young boys chatting and choosing veg and mixing with the older ones like second nature.
I taught them to grow organic veg as i was teaching myself and saw a them grow too. Each understanding the nature of things and learning that food doesn’t come in a packet from a shelf with a price tag. They grow their own now and eat what they grow.
Jacob and Max who just love exploring stuff. It doesn’t matter what it is or where it is as long as it is outside. Chips off the old block they are, we all love dirt.
We find bugs and slugs and beetles in the park. Jacob loves worms. Its all he is prepared to pick up at his age. Max, slightly wiser is fascinated with them all. I have to stop him sometimes as this one has a bite. He learns and adapts.
“I’ve made a picker upper stick” he says and carries on.
So, Why am I writing all this???
Do I really need a reason? Ok, here’s the reason why…
An old friend of mine one day asked if i could help a friend of his. That’s all.
He said his friend lived in Liverpool. We live in London i say but ok.
So here i am. Well, ‘here’ i am not but you get my drift… i will help a friend of a friend. You only have to ask. Its as simple as that.
And, as you are all friends in Newsham Park and your friend is a friend of mine, that makes you all my friends by default does it not?
Suddenly, i have a lot of friends in Liverpool and you have one more friend in London. Albeit, coughing!