'Over the garden fence' gets 'St Denizens' talking

milk float group 20210425 130603A sunny Sunday morning saw an estimated 30 'stalls' set up around St Denys, and locals out and about browsing items for sale or freebies – and having a good old chat!



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over the garden fence st denysStalls sprang up particularly around Priory Ivy and Adelaide Roads by people who wanted to pass on all sorts of items, from books and films to clothing, bric-a-brac and everything in between.

And the big benefit for some wasn't just a chance to declutter or find something special, but the opportunity to chat with fiends and neighbours after so long of largely avoiding doing just that.

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Sharon Sloper

"I think it's an absolutely brilliant idea," said Sharon Sloper, who'd set up a table in front of her Ivy Road house.

"It gives you a chance to meet your neighbours. Where we've been so avoiding each other, and crossing the road to avoid each other, we can get a little bit closer than we have been. And it's a very friendly neighbourhood anyway, isn't it?

"So a great way to meet people in your neighbourhood, where you'd been shut indoors all this time."

She said she's had plenty of customers and had "sold lots" - although she was "practically giving it away" with items priced at about the 50p or £1 mark.

"I just wanted to get involved really," she said.

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Sisters staffing their stall on Ivy Road

A little further along Ivy Road, Natania Buck, who was running a stall with her sister, said she loved the whole idea of people setting out their wares.

"I absolutely love it," she said. "The thing about the St Denys community that I love is that everyone's out and supporting each other. And the opportunity to declutter every now and again."

They were taking it in turn to staff their stall with other family members, while also getting out to look at tables in the area.

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"We've been sitting in the garden and having visitors – we've been chatting to visitors the entire time we've been set up with the stall," said Jayne Orange at Priory Road (north).

"In a fantastic way. Meeting new neighbours, that we haven't met before, which is amazing, and, it's just been fantastic. Without I think any breaks at all."

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It was the first stall they'd done, although there have been a couple of similar days previously in St Denys.

"And we think there's been at least around 30 people contributing, opening up their gardens for the stalls this time in the St Denys area.

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Jayne, left

"It's been absolutely fantastic. A really lovely day."

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Stalls by Priory Road

Meanwhile just by the railway bridge on Priory Road (south) on public land known as 'Plot 1', people from St Denys Front Gardens Plus, which coordinates gardening-related activities in the area, were chatting with locals.

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Front Gardens Plus

They were offering sunflower seeds and chatting about their aims – of making front gardens and public spaces greener and more attractive.

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Back on the stall trail, business was being conducted on Adelaide Road, with 'two for one' offers on one stall, and kids expertly steering another.

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Stall trio hopes for milk float visit!

And near The Junction there was keen anticipation for the arrival of a milk float which was apparently dishing out tea and cake.

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Tea from the milk float

Tracking it down by bicycle, it seemed one problem could have been the sheer volume of quality chats with neighbours along the way, that would have played havoc with any schedule!

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Popping up by the 'Priory Teas'-branded float, probably in search of a well deserved cuppa, was the Rev Sera Rumble.

She said she'd had "lots of chats, lots of conversations with people of all ages".

"It's fantastic. People seem to be happy to be out in the sun, chatting away, celebrating each other, celebrating the community. It's been brilliant."

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Tea and cake from the milk float

She added: "I think it's going to gather momentum. And I think it gives a good pride in the area. I think it gives good value to people. And I think it breaks down barriers in a way that we can do at the moment. So I think these kinds of initiatives are really positive and really good.

"It's that sense of, we're coming out of lockdown; what can we do at the moment. And in true St Denys community style we're doing things in a creative way within the opportunities that are here.

"So it's celebratory, creative, and very St Denys."

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