Hackney Libraries in danger. UK? 21st century? Before the Big Games? Surely not!

Stoke Newington Library

HACKNEY’S Libraries are under threat of closure

 Seniors use them all the time so 
                                      Use them more or lose them
A selection of free events in Hackney libraries. There are many more events at www.hackney.gov.uk/cl-libraries
Stamford Hill Library         Fri  Feb 4th 10-noon Making Valentine’s cards (car parking available)  .
CLR  Library                    Tues  Feb 8th 2.30-4pm  Arthritis Care guest speaker. 
Clapton Library                (well worth visiting for the celebrated architecture alone).
                                   Thurs  24th Feb and on the last Thursday of each month. 5.30-7.45pm
                                    “The Wordlovers’ Society” a creative poetry sharing session formed
                                    from a Black History Month meeting in 2009
                                    hosted by KG Lester with passion and no funding.
                          University of the Third Age meet there 2-4pm on 1st and 3rd Friday of the month and then 1st Tuesday
                          Feb 1st
                          Feb 4th
                          Feb 18th
 Hackney Central Library.  Wed Feb 2nd  2-4pm then first Wednesday of each month. Textiles with University of the Third Age. You probably get a free session or two then you have to join.


French Film

Watched “Un Singe En Hiver” on Sky TV5Monde channel. Who ate all the mother cod? There are scenes of the fish market at Normandy Beach in the 60s. Wow! Massive fish, women in headscarves sorting and hauling, and then a woman cockling on the beach. I was in Westray in 2000 when families went down to the freezing windy beaches to get cockles either for their tea or to send “sooth”. Of course some guys got greedy and an upstanding pillar of the community, who was a whaler when he was young,  dredged the beach for cockles with a tractor,  and got some mild sentence for it.  My neighbour who was forever working to make ends meet in her tied cottage used to go down to the beach to dig up  cockles called “at the cockles” but there was more money in whelks. She’d wash them well too: Her markets always told her that her buckets were the cleanest.

 “Down at the spoots” is another rare thing on Orkney beaches. You have to walk backwards on the wet sands to get the razor fish (spoots)  as they popped up from hearing boot vibrations. Then you washed them well and boiled them to separate the flesh from the shells. After that,  you’d fry them in pure butter. Last year I was buying spoots from the fish stall by Hackney Central. The sellers have crabs and all sorts all year around. There’s a great, possibly Bangladeshi, frozen fish shop at Dalston Junction. All sorts of fish. Not forgetting the ‘choose your own swimming fish’  at Hoo Hing, Chinese wholesaler off Lea Bridge Rd,  Staffa Road. So yes, I really enjoyed the French film with great acting and many sets which I felt I’d lived in before!

Watched for the first time on ITV4 “The Sting”. Me, The Matrix and The Sting. Both films don’t allow you to go for a cup of tea unless you can pause and watch.

Chat’s Palace and Chatsworth Road, ‘Ackney, east London

Well, it was absolutely freezing but I did my planned walk up Chatsworth Road from Lea Bridge Road. Long time since I’ve done that. For the first part one might say “What, people actually live on the road?” Pretty scummy with dirty fronts and boarded up shops. I suppose I expected more because I heard the road’s getting an overhaul in time for the big games. Hurry up then ! There is some interesting  architecture if you look hard. There was hardly anyone about because of the cold I suppose.

Chat’s Palace was warm and welcoming.  Colin O’Brien’s free photographic exhibition of the last real high street (Chatsworth Road)  is perfect, extremely well displayed and a unique story from ordinary shopkeepers trying to keep going in difficult economic times. It’s colourful and there’s plenty of descriptive labels to chuckle over. O’Brien’s older photgraphs are on display too so,  a double treat of professional art work. I did feel priveleged catching the last days of a very local exhibition in a beautifully refurbished “palace”. One person said about Chatsworth Road that you never need to leave there once you’re born there: You get born at one end, go to school in the middle and end up at the undertaker’s at the other end. The road is totally multi-national, relaxed and modest. Move over Stokey, it’s arrived.

Straight onto the Hackney Museum for three temporary exhibitions, one all about the nature of Dalston using people’s memories and archive photos. Very good. There’s another display of photos and words all about people from ethnic minorities ‘coming out ‘and the joy and problems of that in our society. Could only ‘appen in ‘Ackney. The Museum is building up for LGBT month, another celebration of our diversity. I just love good photos, me.

The third special exhibition is all about east end boxers as they were. Didn’t get it until the link to the big games was made. How Hackney Museum puts on such fabulous exhibitions in a welcoming and buzzing place is a wonderful achievement! We the clients are the lucky ones.

On to The Round Chapel to learn some gypsy dancing from Polish gypsies. The ‘ learn gypsy music’ was going on; very serious and lots of violins. I’ll try again next week. I was looking for colour and swirling skirts.

Meanwhile in Egypt people, which evidently by all news footage means ‘men’ ,  are just protesting to get a better life and here’s me swannin’ around  parts of London which London Greeters might show off to visitors. “Hang on! We not ready yet.”

Up Your Street5 Issue 5

Tues  Feb 1st    free  String Quartet. St Botolph’s without Bishopsgate. 1.05-1.55pm. Just turn up.

Thurs Feb 3rd    £4  7pm . Whitechapel Gallery film “Facade” 45 mins then Q&A. You need to book.

                             free  4-6pm      University of East London,  Stratford campus,

           Water Lane, E15.  Meet Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. Presentations and talks.

Fri      Feb 4th     free   7pm. St. Paul’s Church, Burges Rd, East Ham. Opera and musical theatre treat. “The Food Of Love”.

Sat     Feb   5th    free       all weekend. Epicentre, Cathall Rd, Leytonstone. Winter Green Festival all about re cycling and the environment.

Green Winterfaith Festival

Transition Leytonstone in partnership with Arts Versa: www.artsversa.co.uk A celebration of food, hospitality, music and poetry for all people, of all faiths and no faith
The Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone E11
Saturday 5th February 2011 2.30 – 10 pm
Sunday 6th February 2011 3 – 8 pm
This will be our winter seasonal food event, and much more! It will include a feast of food from different cultures, early seed-sowing for spring and summer, as well as poetry, music, story-telling, exhibitions, film, a book launch, stalls… 

Contact rosbedlow@hotmail.com

                               free    10-1pm cake decorating. Beckton Community Centre, Manor Way   E6 ( 2nd of 4 sessions).

                               free      2-5pm  developing Batik printing.  The Well Community Centre, Vicarage Lane . E6 (1st of 4 sessions).

                               free  3-5pm. Waltham Forest College, Forest Rd. E17 “Open Pool”

Sun     Feb   6th   free  2.15-4pm  Walk. meet Lea valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Rd, E10.

                              £ 5       11 a.m and 2 p.m . A one hour Limehouse Chinatown heritage walk . Meet at London Museum Docklands. You need to book. Ask the museum.

Advance info:-You need to book now for the free films and talks just for seniors at the  British Film Institute. On February 24th there’s an 11 a.m talk and show of archive material about British shipyards. In April a talk about Duke Ellington.


Want a fabulous cheap night out dining for two in gorgeous restaurants, want to have your feet nibbled by fish, need to have celebrity white teeth, go on holiday or have a go at horse-riding all for cheap, cheap, cheap. Get into Groupon (search engine for the site, join it for free and away you  go.)  Everyday a bargain is emailed to you and you have to decide by one minute to midnight that day if you want that treat. When you’ve paid, you get comfirmation and then an emailed voucher. Some of the bargains are valid for ten months, most for three months. No catch, no nastiness, just pure bargains. Not free but very cheap and lovely. Highly rated by all users and with incredible deals suiting pensioners’ pockets, bargain hunters, explorers of new venues, etc.

Ballroom dancing for over 60s & www.vintage.tv

 The Round Chapel  24th Jan 2011 .                                           The beams in the Round  Chapel.

A crowd from……. Up Your Street…….. subscribers went along to the Round Chapel in Lower Clapton in Hackney this afternoon for free ballroom dancing and lessons given by Malcolm, courtesy of Missy. It was great fun, well-paced, worked all those muscles and Malcolm taught us just how to do it properly. Today the Waltz and the Cha Cha got our attention.

The Round Chapel is an interesting and lively venue. Today a music video was being filmed in the main round hall. Alongthe street is Pages bookshop which has exhibitions, readings, and on Feb 9th, knitting. Yep!   At the Lower Clapton turn by the crumbling Lord Cecil’s closed pub is Sutton House, well worth a peek and the hot chocolate is to die for. Chat’s Palace down past Sutton House and to the left into Brooksby’s Walk  is refurbished and holding an exhibition as we speak all about the Chatsworth market and area as it was. It’s getting the London 2012 treatment now so all change.

 Coming back to the Round Chapel follow the curve into Narrow Way and there’s old St John’s at Hackney, St Augustine’s Tower, Primark and McDonalds. All to be loved. Oh, and a Clark’s shoe shop. All these places are on top of each other and just gotta be experienced. There are often free tours which I promote as the year goes on.

Missy has a choir too, Hoxton Singers, on Friday afternoons at the Salvation Army building in Mare Street. There’s also line dancing. Queue nicely.

One lady dancer was advising another lady “Just practise the steps in your kitchen”. Spot the wrong thing there? Grrr.

This is how Vintage tv works and why it rocks. A song will have a word in its title like “market” or “sugar” so the song is played and all vintage footage to do with that word is shown. Shimples. “Desmond has a barrow in the market place” gave the opportunity for archive footage of what looks like Petticoat Lane at the turn of the 20th century. Fascinating and of course all the fashion now what with “My Story”being the way in to pensioners’ oral histories. “A Change is Gonna Come” brings out all the footage re civil rights. “Eddication and facts!” says Gradgrind.

The Sahara Grill, Leyton

Well, well well. What a place. Millais bus stop , Leyton High Rd E15 opposite Draper’s Park, 2 stops down from Leyton Station. SUPERB. Leyton is now ready to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The place was full, in the downstairs rooms, upstairs and on the ground level. And people were smartly dressed.There was an air of efficiency and briskness. A good welcome and throughout the customer awareness was maintained.

Food was smashing. Some Sahara specialities and some grilled posh burgers served with the best chips ever and a fantasic salad perked up with diced lemon. We are talking good food here. Combos are served meant for 2 or 3 eaters but let me tell you, there was food enough for a family of 8. I had “Lamb Steak”.  This was marinated Sahara-spiced grilled lamb drizzled with the Sahara sauce. Never tasted the like. The lamb was perfect, tender and juicy. I’d ordered corn on the cob for starters, sweet and bonfire-night reminiscent grilled. Loved it . The main came almost at the same time. In fact all the dishes were served four minutes after ordering. My guests had the chicken which they said was juicy too. The portions are generous..

This restaurant in LEYTON is well worth the visit. You must phone to book because it is popular. It deserves to be that. The Sahara Grill advertises itself as a Moslem restaurant and warns that when prayers call, serving stops for a few minutes. I wore a shalwar kameez  for some reason. Felt nicely relaxed, welcome, full and enjoyed the smell of meat being grilled.

There’s plenty of parking space too in the residential streets. A mosque two doors away.

Main course roughly £16. Absolutely no alcohol.

Up Your Street5 issue 4

Swirling around the 5 Olympic and Paralympic Games boroughs I aim to find free events and activities for seniors. Any prices are at concession. Get out that Freedom Pass and go! Only need to book if indicated.

Sat   22nd Jan  £5 8pm. I Richmond Rd  African folk and reggae in Passing Clouds, Dalston.

Sun  Jan 23rd  free. 2pm  Pheonix Cinema, East Finchley. 100 year celebration. “Playing Away” in association with Black History Studies.

Mon  Jan 24th   free  12.20-2.30pm Ballroom dance lessons and social time Round Chapel, Powerscroft Rd off Lower Clapton Road, Hackney. and a cuppa too. 60+ only.

Tues  Jan   25th  £2.50  2.30-5pm. Tea dance Leyton Plum Tree Studios, for seniors

                                 Birckbeck College, Malet St  2pm  free film “Drole De Drame”

Wed   Jan 26th   free  11-1pm textiles and screen-printing. Songololo-Feet Methodist Church, Richmond Rd, Dalston, Hackney.

                                 free  12-5pm (Thurs til 9pm) Chat’s Palace, Chatsworth Rd E5. Exhibition extended until 31st Jan. “Last of The real High Streets”.

                                free   until 7th March. Hackney Museum, Mare St. Photographic exhibition Ethnic minorities “coming out”.

                               £3.50  3.30pm. Stratford Picture House, E15.  Silver Screen “The King’s Speech”. Complimentary tea, biscuits and a good welcome. 

Thurs Jan  27th £1  noon-1pm  Stratford Circus, Stratford Cultural

Quarter .Agewell Singing group for over 50s  . 

Fri     Jan 28th free  1pm Foyer of Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, Gipsy entertainment

                              free  6.30pm with The Stuart Low Trust at St Mary’s Centre, Upper St, Angel,Islington.Learn the Cha Cha.

                              free   Karaoke night at The White Swan and Cuckoo, Wapping High St. E.I

                           £3 need to book . London Museum Docklands. 6.30pm Yasmin Alibhai-Brown promotes her book “The Settler’s Cook Book” with tastings.

Sat    Jan 29th    free  10-1pm   Beckton Community Centre, East ham Manor Way E6   icing cake workshop. 

                               free     10.30-noon.West Ham Park in Upton Lane E7. Bird watching.Meet at bandstand.

  added 25th Jan      £3     3-5pm Church room, Round Chapel, Lower Clapton, Hackney.

                              Gypsy music and dance classes for 4 more weeks

Sunday    Jan 30th  free film. 2pm  Museum of London Docklands “The Lavender Hill Mob”.

 added 23rd Jan  (just in )   free   2pm -5pm Gina Southgate’s art exhibition and live

                                                                       music at Stoke Newington Library with refreshments too.

Mon      Jan 31st  free   2-4.30pm St Augustine’s Tower in Narrow Way, Mare St.,Hackney. Tour and talk and climb 135 steps .

Tues  Feb 1st  £3. Free if you read your poems. 7.30pm Bar Kick, 127 Shoreditch High St EI.  Poetry for all.

                                 £2 Passing Clouds I Richmond Rd, Dalston. Screenings and discussion on the permaculture revolution

Free for a few weeks yet  ….  Roman Greenwich exhibition. Greenwich Heritage, Woolwich

North London

Haroon Anwar performed his poetry and and lyrics. A schoolboy had just been knife-killed in the street outside. Other children had been stabbed. Police everywhere. A 33 year old man was arrested. In the college cinema we watched “Sling Shot Hip Hop” an excellently crafted film about female and male rappers in Palestine. Never seen that auditorium so full. Haroon’s autograph will remind me of that evening in North London.

Paper Roses

Paper Roses, Daydream Believer, You’reMy Everything, Heartaches,Tulips From Amsterdam…. whoever knew that in a room in Stratford Circus there was a singing group “Agewell Singers” (for seniors), warbling and crescendo-ing away? Absolutely wonderful. Welcoming, professional, £1., and great music. Join in and feel good. Watch for events in  “Up Your Street”and contact details.  Next session Thursday Jan 27th noon-1pm. Barbara’s in charge.