London by Night

Some High Street Seniors were given the chance tonight to hop on a See London by Night yellow bus tour of London and Westminster by night. The tickets came via Groupon so instead of £15 cost a mere £6 per head. Of course it wasn’t a walk and was excellent.We sat in the open end of the upper deck and saw everything with the help of the guide. It was a bit chilly especially whilst on London Bridge with the winds coming up river so still cardi weather. Really good. The tour was from The Ritz at Green Park starting at 10.35pm for 90 minutes so a late night tube home together.

Highly recommended bus company.

free…. let’s go!

As part of the development of the Mapping Your Manor project, Lucy Harrison and the Newham Striders walking group have organised two walks this July, where we will remember and re-imagine the areas around the edge of the Olympic Park.

 Come along to just enjoy the walk or to contribute thoughts, ideas or memories. The walks will start from Stratford and go to Leyton, Wick Woodland, Hackney Wick, Fish Island, the Greenway, Carpenters Road and return to Stratford. We will stop at certain points and discuss things you remember or notice on the day.

 Sundays 10th & 17th July Both at 1pm Meet in Theatre Royal Square

 Walks will last around 3 hours, please contact Lucy if you would like to meet along the way. They are suitable for all abilities and will be mainly on footpaths and pavements. There are also drop-off points where walkers can leave if they decide not to complete the whole walk.

For more details or for any queries please contact Lucy: 07964 878315 Twitter: @mappingyrmanor

Mapping Your Manor is a new project by artist Lucy Harrison, who is looking for people who live or work near the Olympic Park, to contribute to a new podcast and guidebook that will take listeners around and through the Park and its surroundings. Whether you’ve got a song to listen to in Hackney Wick, a story in Stratford, a recording of a football game on the Marshes or a secret tour of your favourite café in Leyton, Lucy wants you to get in touch.

Do I like it?

Walked along the Black Path (a tiny part of it and it is also the ancient Porters’ Path. Check David Boote’s work) in Walthamstow today to get to The Pump House Museum. I must have used it about 2 years ago as it’s been cleaned up. We used to call it the Rat Path and imagined the devils munching on the loaves in the bread factory there. It’s all cleaned up and do I like it?  There are  bicycle parking bays, the Dagenham Brook (?) has been fenced off  and much of the brambles have been pushed back. Just some of the mystery of a short cut has gone, that’s all. Well there is an abundance of wild flowers and every colour in bloom so that’s a bonus.

The Pump House Museum was already open for business when we members/staff of the Walthamstow Memories Gathering got down there at the back of Walthamstow. Tea was on the boil and hot dogs were waiting to be plumped up with English mustard and tomato sauce. Our tour guide explained much of the pumping system for the disposal of sewage at the turn of the last century. Water had poured into the restored station house because thieves had stolen once again the lead roofing. As Quentin Tarantino would say, “B******s”! Good it was 24 degrees in the shade today.

The final part of the Gathering schedule was Sunday roast beef at Ye Olde Rose and Crown. Then goodbyes to new friends and an eye on a gathering in the year of the Olympics, 2012


Me? I’ve had my fill of war memories and ancient houses for at least a day. I think the name “The Gathering” needs to be revised as it smacks of  religious sects and cults. Maybe it was something like that. Most of the time we four-dayers* were in a walking trance having been up and about to get everything in. Yesterday was ace because we had films and vintage ones too so all we had to do was to keep our eyes open.

*I believe I am the champion on that one.

The Scripts

 Jimmy Cliff never did it for me (BBC4 Jimmo at Glastonbury):  I switched off and went into lap- top catch up to watch Corri and then to double-check on a bit of script I heard on East Enders. Sharing now…. there was a big Asian (Muslim) wedding coming off and Ape Phil is in caff with his scrag-end wife. In the mumbled conversation (they cannot act on that programme), Scrag tells Phil to keep away from the curry.He says something to which she responds “We’re in the minority”.
If I heard it right on the fifth re-run then that is a major piece of script which mirrors the white indigenes complaints in Plaistow, Stratford etc etc.
A similar ground-breaking script about 5 years ago was when podge (Ian Beale) says to his kids “Turn it off. Watch it another time. Everything repeats.”
 Don’t yer just love what truf comes aht of the kitchen-sink soaps?
“She didna  needa  ‘ave ough’a said that!”

Walthamstow Memories on a Friday

Early birds we were at 9 am and in the sunshine a group of we Walthamstow Memories members/staff  went to the Walthamstow Town Hall in all its glory to meet the newly-elected mayor, Cllr. Geoffrey Walker. 

  A wonderful reception we experienced at which a document  signed by us honouring both the mayor’s office and the mission of ‘Walthamstow Memories’ was presented to him and we in turn received a plaque of The Arms of Heritage of the Borough of Waltham Forest. An hour and a half later we made our way by car to the top of the Market in Walthamstow to begin our Historical walk/ stroll down and up. Was wonderful.

Back to Ye Olde Rose and Crown for our gorgeous lunch (hot dinner) cooked by Bun. Then we went on chosen visits e g Willowfield School. Pam Ray, a Plaistow woman now living in Bristol, invited me to join her on a 4- address search to feel and see where her ancestors lived. Vince was an absolute help as he took us all over. Only one of the houses Pam wanted to check out was gone, along Vernon Road. E17. We finally arrived at Lamb’s Cafe, 891 Lea Bridge Rd with which Pam had ancestral connections.

 The Lamb family went about 13 years ago and now the place is in Mr Timur’s hands. Once again we were welcomed very well, were fed and watered and then shown the glorious original 70 year old glass paintings belonging to the Cafe but secured in a back  room. This room was/is specifically for motor-cyclists and is a unique part of the building. Pam has loads of photos to upload at .

Vince carted us back then to George Monoux College where Michael Higgins was our tour guide.That college is massive and a higgledy-piggledy of old and new buildings. Was not that impressed. The olde worlde typical grammar school wood-panelled assembly hall has been space-changed into offices and a canteen area: Some of the awesome magic held in such a hall has been pushed out. The glory of “Let us now praise famous men ” plaques is minimalised  by chaotic pilings of office papers and computer terminals. I was happy to have been on the tour to at least glimpse some past relics.

 Back then to Ye Olde Rose and Crown to begin the evening episode of a packed day.  A buffet of platters of the freshest salad ever and varieties of all-sorts was attacked by we hungry souls as the evening’s entertainers set up their PA systems against the background of noisy outside rain.

What was there not to enjoy….great poetry by Alan Neville and Roger Huddle, sing-alongs with Russ Chandler on banjo and guitar,  and an Old Monovian, Sally Vinson and Rachel Ayres  with a gorgeous rendition of a song out of the Appalachian Mountains a la “O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?”.  You needed to be there!

This is the King William 1v in Bakers Arms E10 which brews beers on site!! and you can ask for a tour. Imagine. Junction, ‘Ackney. Caribbean Elders

Went for a sniff-around and was greeted warmly even though the shop/cafe/cinema didn’t open until 11 am. A magical humid place indeed in a gorgeous olde worlde house just next to tatty CLR James Library. All modernised and ready for cafe customers where the tea is a £1 so that gives a marker to the cost of the nutritious food and lattes. Not dear. Well, it is Dalston. There’s a Vegan cafe on the next turning and that needs some investigation and sampling too. What’s doubly nice is that the is opposite the wonderful Dalston Eastern Curve Garden at Dalston Junction.

The place was shown in a blink of an eye on Andrew Marr’s “Megacities” programme. (Catch up on BBC iPlayer). The front is a tanked area for friendly edible fish and the propogation of seedlings. Out back is the tadpole tank and the flower-pots full o’ stuff and the polytunnel that houses the growing nasturtiums (yummy flowers and leaves, forget blooming  decoration) aka ‘Tom Thumb’ , and then the cinema. Yes! A projector  and camera space ; a film was shown last night.

The place isn’t up itself but a worthy adventure. Volunteers can pledge their services on Mondays at 7pm. Full marks to another up and coming business in Dalston.

See The Hackney Archives building on the next block is smart but un-stocked as yet. That’ll be a grand opening.

Songololo-Feet was my next port of call. Wasn’t so crowded today at The Sharp End in Richmond Road, Dalston again! Today our tutor advised us of next week’s half-day project , making a creative banner with all passionate words and symbols from the women of Hackney, the BME groups in Hackney, the 50+ groups in Hackney. Up Your street5 participants at the textiles and re-cycling workshop (and we make up 66%) are proud to originate from other London 2012 boroughs and ethnic groups. I spied a man at the workshop too!

There’s a huge intergenerational project coming up with its venue in Hackney………

A Comic Relief funded inter-generational video/film project involving 12

Caribbean elders and 12 young black men who have been involved in gang crime.

The focus is on the Caribbean war-time community as a way of telling their

stories from the 2nd world war to the present day from a Hackney perspective.

The project would involve older people being paired with young people in order

to support them to plan, design and produce the film/video. Working in

partnership with Hackney Caribbean elders. Young people and elders will be

taught video and film skills by a local Hackney production company to produce a

series of short films/video which capture the voices of the elders through young

people. The project will also work in partnership with the Youth Offending Team.

The project would span 12 months – produce the scripts, film including edit.

This will be presented at film/video screenings at local lunch clubs, elders day

centres with a grand screening night open to all elders at the Hackney Empire.

The aims are to teach film based skills, inter personal skills, team working and

intergenerational skills for both young people and elders. Once completed a

resource pack will be created and sent out to all Hackney schools.

All sessions will be held in Hackney and we will arrange travel if necessary.

Anyone interested should contact Dave on 020 8525 0600, or email , before mid-July.


Got drenched after I shopped at Koza Supermarket for my fresh veg. out-of-date bargains and tripe. Yep! Tripe. Gonna have it with hot pepper and egushi (crushed melon seeds). 

The first day of Summer is good.

Freedom Passes and Go!

Up Your Street5     issue 24

Thurs June 23rd free in the entertainment programme 7-11pm Ye Olde Rose And Crown Hoe Stret, E17 by The Bell end of Hoe Street. John Arthur sings and plays. (part of Walthamstow Memories event).

Fri June 24th free 1-3pm Spitalfields tea dance, Briushfield St E1.

 free Greenwich Festival until July 2nd. Performance arts and many free world class events.(Check web site.)

 Sat June 25 free 11-4pm Brooks Farm, Skelton’s Lane. E 10. Family Fun Day.

 Sun June 26th free 11-1pm The Pump House Museum open at Low Hall Lane E17

Mon June 27th  free   noon. Hour Healthwalk from CLR James Library to Springfield Park.

                  free   7pm  Jewish memorial service at St Joseph’s Hospice,

                                                            Mare St       Hackney

 Tues June 28th free 6.30-8pm Bryant Community Centre, Bryant Rd behind Old Stratford Town Hall. Action Community Team meeting to firm up the Stratford Festival and the group’s contribution to ‘Mapping Your Manor’. All welcome. 

                               free  3-5pm Fellows Court Weymouth Terrace. Party for Hackney

                                         seniors aged 50-65 (ID ready!) Phone 0207241 5908 for a place

 Wed June 29 free 1.10-2pm.Music recital at St John’s Church Stratford.E15

 Thurs June 30th £2 7pm Cinema at Haringey Independent Cinema “Inside Job” West Green Learning Centre, Tottenham

 By July 4th free Book by 4th July Canal Trips with the Floating Cinema. Apply online Good luck!

Mon July 4th free 6pm Open air opera “Madam Butterfly” at Canada Square in Canary Wharf, and at Walthamstow High Street on the Big Screen.

Fri July 1st free 7.30-10pm Floating Cinema. No need to book. a film about barges. Lea Rowing Club,The Boat House, Spring Hill, Clapton E5

Wed July 6th free “Songololo textiles and recycling group goes to Brighton.

Sat July 9th free ‘Wapping Shindig’. Events in Wapping. Details soon

free 11-4pm St John at Hackney Church Summer Fete. Circus theme.

Thurs July 13th free 7pm Leyton Community Action (LCA) meeting at Leyton Manor Park Pavilion all welcome

TCM on Sky offering Westerns at 3pm every day.”Westerns Week”.

 Sky Arts 2 Opera and Wagner galore Up Your Street5 an information-sharing service for seniors listing free events and activities in the 5 London 2012 boroughs.

Gargoyles in Dalston and Mario Lanza

I was enrolled on the gargoyle-making workshop with The Kindest Group and went along for the day workshop in the drizzle and cold that is June 2011. I looked at my working gloves and stupidly left them at home but packed in my floral pinny; (the one I wear to Songololo but not to ceramics class)!

Thomas welcomed all of us to the workshop and to the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden then introduced Bobbie Fennick, our stone-carving teacher. I had taken along drawings I’d sketched from the 1996 signed book I have from Australia of Gambin’s “Surrealistic Voices On Paper”. Bobbie gave us a rudimentary guide to a couple of chisels and the effects they have and can make on a building breeze-block. In the spirit of the day we were to allow our passion and energy to flow through our tools onto the brick baby. Brian supplied the tea. A couple of mothers had brought along their babies slung on their backs, a la Afrique or Welsh Valleys and now specifically Hackneyed. Take note, yummy mummies in Walthamstow Village.

The day was cold and grey even under the roofed patio. People could come in off the street because it’s a public garden so they did: One woman stayed looking at us all day and ended up in the workshop video. She was planning how to take the giant carved brick home to her garden…not the deal.

We chiselled and wivelled with the background noises of next door building works, the usual  screams of police sirens along Dalston Lane, and the clang-clanging of a wind chime as enormous as any church bell.

Throughout, Bobbie, Thomas and Brian treated us like guests and we responded by using every technique taught to us to bring forth monsters of stone or softer breeze-block.

The day was time-tabled as long but it flew by. By the end I’d had a work- out indeed. We were warned we’d cook up a sweat. I was glad I wore substantial shoes because it was a stand- alone job. The carving is totally absorbing or you are “in the zone” as Thomas puts it.

I’d had to leave off my session at the web-site construction with MyHeartLog at The Lawns, Mattias Road in Dalston. Still a couple of emails and my suggestions were logged.

Next workshop for Gargoyles is on Sunday 24th July.

In the respected garden there is much more happening besides Bobby’s Gargoyle Workshop.

Swept up my mess, changed my clothes and swung around to The Hackney Empire for BBC Radio 2’s live performance of “Friday Night Is Music Night” nodding  to Mario Lanza.It was superb. And the ice-cream is only £2. Ah, Hackney Empire, be proud, quietened oasis of all cultures in the East End!