Two Concerts for Dulwich Helpline!
Following last year’s hugely successful fundraising concert in Alleyn’s brand new theatre, local charity Dulwich Helpline has another musical treat lined up for you this Spring by way of Bowjangles! This is a classically trained professional string quartet with a difference who will be bringing their energetic all-singing, all-dancing (yes, really!) dazzling stage show to Dulwich! Come and be thoroughly entertained on Saturday 24th April in the Michael Croft Theatre, Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, SE22. The performance will start at 7.30 p.m. and tickets priced at £15 (£12 concessions) will be available from Dulwich Helpline (020 8299 2623) from mid-March, so save that date now!
Bowjangles use energetic dance, vaudeville comedy and song to introduce classical instruments and music to audiences young and old. They have performed around the world and are also one of the most popular groups of Covent Garden-based street entertainers, regularly performing to thousands of delighted tourists!
James Allen Community Orchestra supports Dulwich Helpline
On Sunday 28th March at 6 p.m. in the Holst Hall, James Allen’s Girls’ School, East Dulwich Grove, the James Allen Community Orchestra (JACO) will be giving a concert in aid of local charity Dulwich Helpline. There is now a well-established partnership between the two organisations and this will be the orchestra’s sixth concert in respect of this. The evening’s programme will comprise Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat major (Eroica). Tickets priced at £7 (Concessions - £5) can be obtained by sending a stamped-addressed envelope and cheque (payable to “JAGS”) to “Music Department, JAGS, East Dulwich Grove, London SE22 8TE”.
JACO is a vibrant high-calibre orchestra made up of local professional and non-professional musicians. They currently perform twice-yearly, and they always play major works from the orchestral repertoire.
Dulwich Helpline, founded in 1993, is a small local charity providing friendly volunteer support for over 300 isolated older people living in Dulwich and neighbouring areas. Through their team of excellent volunteers, they offer practical help with escorted shopping, gardening, odd jobs, and transport. They also provide social and emotional support through befriending visits, and a variety of activity and friendship groups.
The charity has recently introduced a Friends Scheme and if you’d like to become a Friend of Dulwich Helpline, please contact them for a Friends form on 020 8299 2623. You will receive their quarterly Newsletter and will be kept up-to-date on their various events.
Contact details: 020 8299 2623;
Denizens of the Lithosphere
Looking up my Nature Notes for last Spring, I see that I referred to the Great Storm of Oct 16th 1987 which had blown down one third of my vast 300 year old oak, shattering my garden sundial. Small signs of habitation were revealed round its base, and I tentatively identified them as being evidence of the increasingly rare TOVES Dodgsonii.
This is a fast disappearing species, happiest among the stony nature of sundials and it is said, with a strange taste for cheese. Its present rarity has little to do with the growing evidence of climate change, but more, results from changes in the built environment Dulwich has offered likely habitat sites due to the number of houses with large gardens, built in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Much care was given then to the arrangement of the garden , and frequently ‘invegetate ornaments’ were included, in the design of its ‘landskip’, as originally advised by Alexander Pope , the 18thC poet and writer. Sundials were particularly popular and the stony plinths and columns provided a perfect environment for the rare and unusual toves. By nature toves hibernate during the cold months, (just as well this past hardest of winters) and then, as seasonal temperatures rise, they can occasionally be observed at daybreak and at the brillig hours of early evening, moving in their peculiarly giratory manner. Of course, the sundials, being positioned to catch the sun’s rays and the marking of the hours, their stone plinths and columns absorb the diurnal warmth, much to the benefit of the toves’ preferred habitat. The naturally forming lichens and mosses too add to the richness of the lithosphere.
Perhaps I may add that, during the War, my mother had nominated me as the Family Vegetarian (Green Junior Ration Book ), which entitled the family to extra Hen Food, (in lieu of egg allocation), and a double cheese ration. The toves in our large Victorian garden seemed particularly to appreciate a few extra crumblings.
Professor Dodgson of course was a mathematician but also a very keen naturalist, writing widely on a variety of species, often quite poetically. As a Don at Christ Church, Oxford, he had ample opportunity to explore and note any evidence of sightings of these shy creatures, surrounded as he was by so many old stone buildings, let alone the opportunity afforded by the nearby Oxford Botanical Garden. Apparently though, he was not able to discover any toves in Tom Quad at Christ Church itself, so one must assume that the watery basin, which surrounds the statue of Mercury, was an insuperable barrier to it’s colonisation.
So with the help of the Dulwich Society’s Wildlife Group, a last effort is being made in making people aware of the threat to the toves’ habitat. Due to the demands of increasing population pressure, we have the continuous threat of demolition, significant house extension and back-filling in our area, and there are fewer large gardens left with traditional ornamental features.
Finally, It is not clear how degraded old stone work and statuary have to be to attract initial colonisation, but may we hope that one day the base of our ‘Edward Alleyn and His Boy’, now protected as it is, might eventually achieve the appellation of a new SSSI*?
* Site Of Special Scientific Interest
J C Peppercorn