Bees, buds, blossoms, bluebells, butterflies, birds… spring is in the air, and along with it a new season, baby animals and lighter days. As we emerge from the colder winter days, it’s the perfect time to re-explore connections with our friends, community and city.
What do you love about south London in the spring? Do you have any traditions that come to life as the buds on the trees emerge?
Our mates on the Love Your Neighbour programme shared with us what they like to do with their friends and family during spring.
Older neighbour Evelyn (91) used to live on Barry Road in East Dulwich. She told us how when spring was in the air, she would take her little dog down the road to Peckham Rye Park. “I’m just going down the road to see if any of the snow drops are up” she’d tell her husband. These days Evelyn likes to go out to see the blossoms coming out on the trees and the daffodils pushing through the grass, and says that “they are absolutely marvellous”.
It seems that daffodils are a favourite of our neighbours, with Yvonne (70), who’s mates with Florence(30) also enjoying the bright yellow show they put on to welcome spring. She told us, “I like to tidy the garden. I sit in the garden and just enjoy the bulbs coming out, the different greenery. It’s lovely, especially the daffodils, when they start coming out they are beautiful.”
Natalie (37) has had the grand tour of her friend Saffina's (80) garden to see what plants will be coming through as the weather warms up. “I guess for me, and Saffina too, spring is all about getting ready for the growing season. I sow my tomato seeds in early spring time. We both start to clear out the garden and start moving some plants outside which have been overwintered indoors, basically getting ready to start spending lots of time in our gardens in the hope of a warm summer, in which our plants flower and thrive.”
It’s not only about gardening in this patch of London, however. For Dave (38), spring is “looking forward to the first outdoor run.” The lighter days and warmer air means Dave is off on his favourite running route around South London.
“I love running from Waterloo to the river, down the south bank to Tower Bridge then along the north bank to Westminster, across Westminster Bridge then back down to Waterloo. It’s exactly 10km and it always reminds me what a privilege it is to live in London and to be so close to all these historical and world-renowned monuments and places.”
Hannah (37) has a great spring dessert option for us as well. “My family isn't particularly religious but we do love cake and so every year my dad bakes a simnel cake. I assumed everyone ate them but when I mention it I get a lot of blank stares. It's not for the faint of heart (or for anyone who doesn't like marzipan or fruit cakes) as it is basically a massive fruit and marzipan cake. It is decorated with 11 small marzipan balls which are supposed to represent the apostles.”
All in all, our neighbours love how spring animates London. “South London looks beautiful with the tree lined streets and the parks start to look full. There’s so much greenery around and it really starts to come to life” (Hannah, 37).
Our friendship matches across south London will be enjoying springtime activities this coming month. We’re actively looking for volunteers in Lambeth and Southwark who would enjoy getting to know their older neighbours. Spring is a great time to form new friendships, with the longer days and warm air giving energy and more excuses to catch up. If you live or work in these areas you can sign up here, email [email protected], or give us a call on 0208 118 0404.
Posted by Emily Martin on Wednesday 13th April 2022
Emily leads on our Love Your Neighbour programme in Southwark, connecting younger and older neighbours for one-to-one friendship. South London is her treasured home since arriving from New Zealand. When she’s not enjoying shows at the Young Vic or Southwark Playhouse, you can find her seeking out music, creative events, cheap eats or even wandering the beaches of the Thames, spotting pieces of histories as the mud reveals them.