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Thoughts from August 2008

that's all folk(s)

The Madchester innocent music club is sadly drawing to a close. After three amazing years at innocent, I have decided to pack my bags and am off to travel the big, wide world. What better way to end than an intimate Badly Drawn Boy gig at my favourite Manchester drinking hole Dulcimer which has started something of a "folk revolution."

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Sorry for the dark photo, I'm not the best of photographers

To see BDB perform in such a small crowd was really special. In his own words, it felt "like the first gig again." The behatted musician has kindly agreed to design a hat for our Big Knit campaign this year. Let's see if he comes up with a folk beanie hat to rival the rock and roll designs we had last year.

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If you're into your folk music and are at a loose end in London tonight (Thurs) check out The Saffron Sect's twilight parlour music. I managed to catch some of their beguiling gig last week and it was breathtaking. They are playing as part of Down at the Redbricks, a night of fun-loving psychedelia which has helped launch the brilliant tunes of The Beep Seals (their album Things That Roar has been my soundtrack of the summer) and Findlay Brown, who played at our village fete.

Well that's it for now folks. I'm sad I won't be around to see our Big Knit hats hit the shops, however, I should be back in time for next year's fete. Who knows, I may get an invite to perform again with the innocent band.

Bye for now.

Vic x

walk to work

Back in April, our Andrew D went out to Malawi to work on one of the projects that the innocent foundation support out there, along with the Microloan Foundation.

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The Microloan Foundation (MLF) are organising a Walk to Work day on Friday 12th September to raise awareness of the groups of women that they provide business loans and advice to in sub Saharan Africa.

Nearly all the women supported by MLF walk to work everday, hence the idea and there are people walking as far afield as Bermuda, Australia and Zambia in support of this event.

It's very simple to get involved.

All you need to do is register on their website, make a small donation and get walking to work/school/the pie shop on 12th September.

If you're not sure of the best route from your house to work/pie shop, you can have a look here.

Happy walking.

boysenberry tales from the land of hazelnuts

Our Sam has just come back from the States where she's been learning everything there is to know about boysenberries.

For those of you who have never seen a boysenberry in the flesh before, they look like a Sumo blackberry and are thought to be a cross between a loganberry, blackberry and raspberry (though no one is really sure).

Here's an nice shot of some boysenberries in the early morning sunshine.

Boysenberry_bush

We get our boysenberries from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, a beautiful and extremely fertile area where they also grow hazelnuts, grass seed and Christmas trees. A handy place to be if you're planning on making a hazelnut and grass seed boysenberry pie in December.

Williamette_valley

And here's a photo of Sam during boysenberry harvest, looking slightly confused

Hmm

The reason she's looking a little dazed is that it was rather early in the morning when this photograph was taken.

One of the biggest threat to berries is field heat, so instead of picking them in the middle of the day when it's very hot, the berries are harvested at night when it's much cooler. That way, they're picked at their best and are sorted immediately by the side of the field to ensure the freshest, tastiest crop possible.

Boysen_sorting

It's all done mechanically as it's quite difficult to tell by eye when a boysenberry is ripe. The fruit tends to colour up very quickly so it's hard to know which berries are ready and which ones aren't. The machine has a comb-n-shake type action, which means the ripe berries get shaken off and the less ripe ones get to stay in the sun that little bit longer.

You can have a go at shaking your own boysenberries here, though combing smoothie through your hair afterwards is not recommended.

the london wetland centre

Dux
here are some ducks. we hope you see something more exciting as a result of this post.

Stuck in London? Need something to do this bank holiday? Well, you could stay in and watch the rain fall whilst eating some biscuits, or if you're feeling a bit more lively you could nip down to the London Wetland Centre.

We like it because it's only a 15 minute jog from Fruit Towers, and because it's a surprising place to find in London. There are 100 acres of beautiful wetlands attracting thousands of wild birds and other wetland wildlife (including 8 species of bat, 7 species of reptile/amphibian and over 500 species of moths and butterflies). You can catch the no. 283 ‘duck bus’ directly to the centre from Hammersmith tube/bus station, and they've got a whole bunch of stuff for kids to do there too.

Of course, if you're still going to stay in and eat biscuits this weekend, you could try it out on Thursday nights until 11th September, when they have fancy BBQs down there, with live music and everything. Or save yourself for their Wild Harvest Weekend (27/28 Sept), when local food will be served and you can learn all about the grub that grows in the wetlands.

If you're not in London, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has eight other wetland centres for you to check out. And if they're too far away, most shops in most towns sell good biscuits 24/7.

a feteful weekend

the innocent village fete

It's been a couple of weeks since our village fete in Regent's Park so we thought we'd share some stuff that we've uploaded and you've uploaded to the web since then (because 'tinternet was made for sharing).

First up our little film of the highlights from the weekend that bring it all back again...

Then here are some great shots from our fete flickr group and facebook event page.

Rainy yet resilient / at least it didn't snow.

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Rain1

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The bit when summer did what it's meant to do

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Sun2

Sun3

Sun4

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We'll be sorting through all of the pictures from both groups in a couple of weeks and will put together a shortlist for the year's supply of smoothies competition. Then we'll get our innocent family to vote on the best 3 photos. Just like last year.

So if you've got any leftover photos or video from the weekend hanging about, upload them now to be in with a chance of winning big.