Our Frog – 29th October, 2023

Sunday was our Welcoming Winter celebration. It came in with a blast of rain over most of the day. We put up three gazebos, one for the children’s area, one for the musicians and another for their audience. The food tables were under our pergola, which is sizeable and close enough for the music to be heard.

Our musicians were Dogjammers, an old favourites of ours. They were heroic playing for an hour in the chill, very tough on fingers needed for guitar plucking, tambourines and accordion. Songs I recall are: One after 909 (Beatles), The Road to Hell Part 2 (Chris Rea) and a Steeleye Span number. Dogjammers are a large group, originating at the Spotted Dog, hence the name. Too many years ago that pub shut down, parts of it dating back to Tudor days. And is much mourned. The Dogjammers bring along their own battery amps, so have plenty of volume, great for our garden.

We had mask making for children. They had a gazebo near the front gate. The Puppet Folk took over the Dare to Dream stage. They had some of their own puppets, and encouraged children to make their own out of natural materials.

With the rain and cold, the food was most welcome. I had delicious potato and leek soup with freshly baked bread. Worth coming for that alone. But the main event was yet to come.

And that was the Frog mosaic. In size, the same as the snail which it is backed on to, facing outwards to Sprowston Road. For the past few days, the mosaic has been covered awaiting its unveiling. Lyn Brown made a speech, she loves the Community Garden and community art too. Hazel, too, made a short speech. She designed the Frog, and has directed its construction over the last 14 months. 210 people have been involved, from those adding a few tiles, to those coming every week.

I did a calculation with her in the week, a back of an envelope thing, and she calculated that with all the hours worked, an artist would charge around £40,000 for the work. It is dedicated to our sadly missed administrator, Sophie Rigg, who died last year.

With a large audience waiting, children pulled on ribbons which drew off the plastic sheet revealing our magnificent frog, complete with reeds, frogspawn and tadpoles in the pond, and a dragonfly overhead. Photos were taken of our volunteer artists with Hazel and the newly revealed Frog. We thank all who worked on the mosaic; we are more than appreciative of your art.

Last night, the clocks went forward and we got an extra hour of sleep. Putting the clocks forward does not change the day length. We are simply pushing the day forward, which takes an hour off evening daylight and adds one to the morning. It’s a game we play every year with ourselves.

The annual clocks going forward, remind me of the Joni Mitchell’s song, The Circle Game:

And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time

The earth can be regarded as one of the ponies on the carousel, going round the sun once a year, the journey marking out the seasons and with them our day length.

Between 1968 and 1971, Summertime was extended through the year. Complaints came in from parents with kids going to school in the dark, from farmers working in the dark, and from Scotland where the days are even shorter. Though road deaths were less. At the time, I was working in Barnet Parks, and I recall it didn’t get light until almost 9 am.

The experiment was dropped.

We are now on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). British Summer Time (BST) was adopted in 1916, to give us that extra daylight hour, especially useful in those days of WWI when fuel was in short supply. Over six months, we go round and round, before we get to BST once again.

People Powered Places is being voted on until 12 November. Anyone over 13, living, working or studying in our area of Forest Gate & Maryland can vote. We have applied for £20,000 to give us a permanently covered area, hand-painted signage, and wheelchair accessible walkways. You can have 10 votes for various bids. We would appreciate one of your votes. The link is:


Comments 1

  1. My error. Of course, the clocks went back in the early hours of Sunday morning, as in the saying: Spring forward, Fall back.

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