Kingston’s Apple Story, By A Michelson’s Seedling

*Launching today!*

Alison Fure’s Kingston’s Apple Story, By A Michelson’s Seedling,is the third chapbook to be published on the Seethingography imprint of Sampson Low Ltd. This colourful A6 pamphlet tells the story of Kingston’s orchards and apple growing heritage across 16 pages, squeezing in juicy chunks of local history, and the importance of orchards as places sustaining an amazing amount of wild life and rich biodiversity. You will also find out about some of the fascinating people in the Borough who remember, for example, what life was like as a child in Hook when it was full of orchards!

 

“Behind the bakery was an orchard from which I was chased many a time by the irate owner, named by us as ‘old man Phipps…We rarely did any scrumping in the orchard, just used it for Cowboys and Indians and tree climbing.” (J. Mutimer, Hook resident, 1920s)

 

It features the Tolworth Apple Store- a beautiful, but desperately in need of restoring, old barn c.1856, not far from Tolworth Court Moated Manor. Alison hopes that this important piece of local heritage can be saved and restored for everyone to enjoy.

Please help her and sign the petition here!

Copies of the chapbook are available to buy from Sampson Low, and from Alison herself, whose website and contact details are here.

The chapbook is £2.00 plus p+p

Alison is a field ecologist specialising in bats. She is a director at Kingston Environment Centre and a license trainer for the London Bat Group. She believes that orchards can help soften the impact of urbanisation; if each child could plant an apple tree-in their name-it would halt the spread of ‘green desert’.

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The Seethingographer, Issue 1, Winter 2016

The Seethingographer Chapbook
The Seethingographer Chapbook

The Seethingographer is a ‘compact and bijou’ anthology of some of the writing and images from the Seethingography blog, written by Seething Writers, or about Seething in some way (which of course, has no boundaries…). With contributions from Sharon Zeqiri, Sinead Keegan, Lisa Davison, Simon Tyrrell, The Historier, Paul Miner, Robin Rutherford and Katharine Scott.

This is an A6, full colour chapbook, published by Sampson Low Ltd, under the brand new Seethingography imprint, where more work by Seething Writers, or about Seething will be published in the future.

The chapbook was launched on Thursday December 1st, as part of the fantastic Collect Connect retrospective exhibition currently on at Kensington and Chelsea College.

There will also be a Seethingographer launch at the Seething Writers Make Merry event, which is FREE, and takes place on Monday 5th December at the Museum of Futures in Surbiton, from 7.30pm – 9.30pm. Mulled wine will be served and we will be celebrating a successful six months of Seething Writers meet ups. Everyone is invited to bring a piece of writing or poems to share, with a festive theme if you would like!

More information and facebook event here.

Copies of The Seethingographer will be on sale at the launch for £2 each, or you can buy them via Sampson Low – look under Seething Chapbooks here

Huge thanks to Alban Low of Sampson Low for publishing The Seethingographer, and to all the Seethingers who have come and taken part in Seething Writers meet ups, walks and events, to everyone who has submitted work to this blog.

Special thanks also to Robin Hutchinson and Simon Tyrrell for suggesting I get involved…x

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Seething Town, the place I want to be

That Seething Feline (photo by Lucy Furlong)
That Seething Feline (pic by Lucy Furlong)

Back to the future. It all started in the Museum of the Future. It had been a detective agency once, reminded him of one of the Douglas Adams novels, Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency or something like that. The whole area was known as the Wells, somewhere he had passed by many times but he had heard many interesting stories about it and now here he was. He looked up and even the clouds looked a bit different. Definitely something different about the place though he couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was.

He started walking along the street, noticed a few road cones and a small yard with some hollyhock plants in it, then started walking along the main road near the river. A couple of cyclists went past, it reminded him that there was a big cycle race the following weekend, happened every year and always lots of people watching, some having picnics on the local village green or watching it pass by outside the local pub.

On past the local wine store and the Old waterworks building which was now a gym and student accommodation. He remembered the time the waterworks was still in use and even the slight smell from the old filter beds  and looking around began to imagine what it might have been like back in the day. Now it was a wildlife haven, a few years ago someone had the idea of building floating houses there but  fortunately that had been abandoned. So many stories he had heard about the area, about giants and caves and a mysterious goat-boy, wondering how many of them were true, maybe that was where the detective agency came in ..

He was brought back from his reverie by his friend passing by with his large but amiable husky type dog, he lived just round the corner and they chatted for a while, walking past the car showroom and the golf studio . After the man left he walked on towards the gated estate, no dogs allowed in the park there so just as well his friend had left by then he thought. He then noticed a cat was following him, as he approached the private garden, looked like a lovely place with large garden, shared walkway and small pond and fountain in the distance. He played with the cat for a few moments before it wandered back to where it had come from. Remarkable to think that the garden had once been a small reservoir, even Alan Titchmarsh hadn’t managed that big a makeover.

Soon be was passing the park where they held a community sports day every year, and then through the Wells estate on the way back to the Museum. There was definitely something different about this place,whether it was the distinctive appearance, the wild garden with the bee hives, and the back gardens of the houses near the Museum. Maybe it was here that the strange tale he had heard about the little goat boy who lived in a cave underneath the mountain originated, it all began to make a bit of sense.

Finally it was back past the old emporium shop with contented cat inside and back to the Museum

As he met up with his friends in the Young Sheep pub afterwards, he reflected, yes there was magic in Seething Town …

By Mark Badcock

 

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Picnics and Paintings…24 hours in Seething

It started, as it so often seems to in Seething, with the Guinea pigs… shopping for picnic ingredients in Sainsbury’s. And then a hop, skip and jump to St Andrew’s Square, frilly with bunting and with Lefi in attendance. Rum punch galore and fine music played by a man in the baggiest trousers I have witnessed outside of Glastonbury. Could one want for any more on a scorchio August Bank Holiday in the suburbs?

But there was more- after the picnic came the art- a marathon of it- at the Lamb, with the promise of a cape to be fashioned, looooooong pictures for colouring in, competitions to enter, metal to be twisted into new and exciting shapes, large pieces of fabulous art on the gates outside the pub, and on the wall in the garden.

Not forgetting of course, the small matter of a Fairy staying up through the night to magic up a wonderful watercolour…

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And- even more- the next day,beginning this morning, Sim running a stained glass workshop in the garden!

 

All for charity, with the finished pieces to be auctioned later this year and you can still donate here for Creative Youth – because all of this was done to raise funds for this superb charity.

I still wonder if all these amazing things can really be taking place in the sleepy town where I grew up…but they really are.

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By Lucy Furlong

www.lucyfurlong.com

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Face Embellishing at Surbiton Food Festival

sim_surbfestglitter_aug16_tanglefoot
Photo by Tangle photography

I should be used to it by now, smiley people running towards me to
present their faces for glitter dots or a painted stencil of Lefi, or specially
for this festival, a design of a cup cake!

It wasn’t always like that.  I would show people a mirror and they would
shy away and say “yuck”. “Take that away I never look at myself in a
mirror”  Always a negative response and with a heavy heart I would ask
if they would like some glitter dots like mine?

“Oh ok” I carefully applied the liquid silver with tiny dots around the
eyes and forehead then showed the very same mirror. “That’s so
beautiful!!”  “Gorgeous.”

This glitter dotting has become a tribal look, and the face embellishing adds colour, interest and joy to the Seething events.
Simone Kay has been painting faces since working on a play bus in the early 80’s and face painting at the first  Kingston Green Fair.  At Glastonbury festival she started to cut and use her own stencils to help speed up face painting 160 people in two hours with her team. She has always enjoyed using sparkly glitter as it seems to lift the spirits of participants and observers.

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Seething Writers of the Walking Kind

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So, Seething Writers of the Third Kind, as it was billed on Facebook, became Seething Writers of the Walking Kind… our first foray into what I have been calling Seethingography, and this was it- a walk around Seething Wells for just over an hour. We met at the Museum of Futures and the walk began with a small reading from Phil Smith’s wonderful book ‘On Walking’, followed by the famous Walt Whitman lines:

now voyager

It was great fun, and we were very lucky to be accompanied by Seething experts Simon Tyrrell and Howard Benge who have studied the history of the filter beds and Seething Wells water works, amongst other local history. It will be interesting to see what writing comes out of this psychogeographical exploration of the area.

view from the lambeth waterworks steps
view from the lambeth waterworks steps

The next Seething Writers meeting takes place on Monday August 22nd, from 7.30- 9pm at the Museum of Futures in Surbiton. There is a Facebook Group here or email seethingography@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list.

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The Wordsmiths

Before, there was just sound.


Noise.

Gutteral utterings.

Inside a need

Outside, no form.

 
Then they came

A wandering band of vagabonds

A higgledy piggledy group of artisans

Skilled craftsmen and women all

A cart filled with wondrous tools

Cases packed with abundance

Dragged with joy from settlement to settlement

Infectious energy and smiles

Captivating hearts and faces

 
Their arrival a source of excitement

Their purpose as yet unknown

They stop and unpack their wonders

 
They are the Wordsmiths

 
An ancient band of creators

Capturing the sounds and making real

 
Once established they sit and wait

Slowly people come to forward

Sit, eyes captivated by what they see

Silence speaks volumes

 
A Wordsmith steps forward and points

The ‘tree’ is big with heavy boughs.

He points to one of the children and back

Slowly the child realises and makes the noise

 
The Wordsmiths scream with joy

Repeat the sound until it is fixed and set

Others join in chorus loud

 
With one gesture silence falls again

The Wordsmiths set to work

Tools blur, materials carved, sewn,

Forges lit, bellows strained

 
Effort precedes the emergence of

The word

TREE

Made real

There in front of them

A sound now physical and fixed

TREE

 
From their cart they take a case

Words tumble from it to the floor

Previous language captured

Now shared, passed, owned.

 
As dawn come up an empty space

Dents in the grass where once was

And

TREE

writ large

 
An elder turns to the assembled

“They have gone.”

Nods of understanding

 
Before, there was just sound.

Noise.

Gutteral utterings.

Inside a need to communicate

Outside no form.

 
Then they came

A wandering band of vagabonds

A higgledy piggledy group of artisans

Skilled craftsmen and women all

A cart filled with wondrous tools

Cases packed with abundance

Dragged with joy from settlement to settlement

Infectious energy and smiles


Captivating hearts and faces



Robin Hutchinson

http://spiritofseething.blogspot.co.uk/

What is Seethingography?

FUSbadge with FUSin it (1)

What is Seethingography? The etymology of ‘graphy’ is the process of writing or recording. I am certainly a Seethingographyer, as is anyone who writes on this blog, posts a Facebook status or sends a text about having a great day at a Seething event. I have spent a many fun years being a Seethingographyer, even producing a PhD Thesis on Seething for University College London and the Free University of Seething.

So what is Seething? Well if you ask Seethingers it is likely that they will mention, community, togetherness and, as I was once told, being a bit a little bit stupid just because life is a little nicer when those things are involved. I once described the State of Seething to other anthropologists at a conference. I showed them pictures of myself with a giant paper sardine on my head, an image of the then UK environment minister sliding precariously skiing down a hill with blocks of ice laced to his feet and a video of a mildly drunk man dressed as a 15 foot giant, hurtling towards oncoming cars whilst balancing on a segway. Anthropology is the study of the things people do and want to do to make them feel more human. As such many of the other anthropologists in the room studied such things as the rituals of Papua New Guinea, the emerging religious ideologies of China, the ways in which new manufacturing techniques are shifting global understandings of economy and notions of work and so on and so on. After listening patiently one anthropologist asked ‘it sounds like your work is a lot of fun, how is this anthropology?’

The answer is simple; having fun is a thing most people do or want to do (some don’t, I met one once, they ask awkward questions at conferences). So what if we take stupidity seriously for a minute, we can ask, what does this actually do? How exactly does it help us be more, well… us? Let’s start with the heritage of suburbs. Many people imagine suburbs as that place of twitching net curtains, of rows of mowed lawns and commuter monotony which induces a suburban zombie death (bear with me). My friend and fellow academic, Helen, once wrote an excellent piece which argued that Seethingers take the non-history and this imagined dullness of suburbs in order to play, that is, to insert life into the imaginary of suburbs through the very myths, stories and histories it lacks. Around these myths much fun, togetherness and community building is had, all fueled through being a little bit stupid. But still what is this ‘stupidity’ precisely? The Oxford English Dictionary says that ‘stupid’ is the lack of sense. Now take the Sardine Festival parade, which consists in part of four (sometimes five – important to note) guinea pigs pulling a cart full of sardines through the streets of Surbiton, following the fishing catch from the Thames which was aided by a good serenading of Seething shanties. The parade is followed by Seethingers replete with banners, fish hats and giant cheese costumes along to a park where drinking, dancing eating and drinking is had in plenty. One could say that this would, upon first viewing, make little sense and whilst not wrong, it’s not quite right either. If you live in, or even pass through, or just know a little about the borough of Kingston then you will know that the symbol of the fish are everywhere. They can be found on street signs, on bins and lamp-posts and on all council correspondence. The fish, as the symbol of the borough, relate to the historic link to the doomsday book of 1086, where three fisheries were recorded upon the site of Kingston. So the sardines, being as they are fish, have some link to Kingston, so there is some sense, perhaps? One Seethinger once told me of how he once walked Kingston’s streets and thought of the fish he saw as the symbol of a stuffy local council, of a deep history to which he didn’t relate and of a royal association (via the fish pond in Hampton Court). The fish were a symbol of a social hierarchy of which he was not a part. However he went on to tell me, in beautiful detail of how, since the Sardine parade he sees the fish as little reminders of singing sea shanties on a sunny day, of watching the community dress up and confuse the local traffic through being fish and of dancing and sharing food in a local park, which until then he had seldom used. Now he sees the fish and smiles as the fish remind him of something, something fun, happy and, just a little bit stupid. So stupidity, or almost stupidity, which is making something make slightly less sense, has the ability to take something, such as the idea of suburb, or the way a fish symbol makes you think, and change it a little into something else. This little change, where there is less sense but still sense makes things different. What is that difference? It is the difference between smiling and not, between fun and dull, between being somewhere and living in a place which is yours, ours. In this way being a little bit stupid is hugely important.

As I learnt more about Seething I asked a number of Seethingers to take me on walks. Eventually a series of Free University of Seething walks were done together in groups making a map and some films in the process. We learnt from each other, told stories and wandered streets. In the process the Free University of Seething was established. This did a very Seething thing, it took what a university was, stuffy, hierarchical, expensive, and made it Seething, fun, for everyone, for free. Currently, we have a Facebook page where you can enrol; we have curated exhibitions and had a number of lectures. Even though Seething, and its university are a little bit stupid I take my PhD from FUS as seriously, if not more seriously, than the one from UCL as it’s the one that does something, makes it from somewhere and means something great. This is why I encourage you to blog, post, write, and share. Take FUS for your own, for Seething and please, remember to be just a little bit stupid.

Jeeva

 

Traditional Threshold offering

In Regency times when life could be a bit ooh la la in Seething, it became the tradition to leave an offering of pommes frites at the threshold of one’s abode, after an evening of revelry. Before the introduction of this French delicacy (by Le Duc Gordes Benet, who often travelled through Seething on his way to do business de fromage serieux in Cheesington) villagers left a potato, or stretching further back into the mists of time, a turnip. This was a way of offering Seething ancestors a spiritual morsel, and assuaging any guilt for waking the dead with the unholy racket they were making at that time of the evening…Shhh….vestiges of this traditional practice still take place today, mostly after 11pm on a Friday or Saturday night.

discovered by Lucy Furlong

http://www.lucyfurlong.com