It jus’ fell outa mi mouth

Fabulous morning at the Rio Cinema with Up Your Street people and my group the Buildings Exploratory Seniors showcasing their authentic films. The four short films showed moving images and stills of the Hackney BEE group, the buildings and spaces they visited and was filmed and produced by a professional film maker. We visited Clissold House Hackney, Shoreditch Church, and Hoxton Hall (aka ‘Oxton ‘All). There was a great soundtrack and lovely old time songs from the group participants.

What a cheer roared from we the audience at the end! Then Questions and Answers came.

I was burning inside and don’t know how I found the courage to grab the mike. Then the question  just fell out of my mouth! I asked how the BEE managers would reach out to a more ethnically diverse community. I stated that “it can’t just be white history”. I heard the tuts.  I understand the resistance from peers but that attitude needs reform because otherwise we all miss opportunities to share rich memories and experiences of settlement in shared environments. Buildings are always a catalyst for memory and memories gel communities and give identity to neighbourhoods.

Every funded charity must report back to its funders and tick off check-lists and you can bet the words “ethnic and “diverse” pop up. Any engagement of any community has to engage everyone. My question was relevant and respected by the answer. The answer was a version of “We’re trying”. BEE has been operational since 2007.

Importantly and urgently history should be  everyone’s history and other people have bigger mouths than I do in order to push forward the construction of an oral history which embraces all the memories and contributions of every culture in London. Meanwhile we’ll plod along divided with Black History Month. What else do you see?

Then we went to Pie ‘n’ Mash in Hoxton Market. Mmm! Parsley sauce and jolly good company.

Free Floristry

No meet and greeters at Lea Bridge Library then. No smile at the door.  Who ever knows the Lea Bridge Library exists? Funny how people living in non-deprived parts of  Waltham Forest don’t have a clue about the deprived  parish, Leyton. Sure the Library needs to advertise itself a bit more. And draw in a community which never saw a library as part of their culture. So we get crafty taster courses laid on with community groups trying to pull in the locals with messy hand-written A4 posters blu-tacked onto the front door.

Thank goodness the floristry tutor knows her stuff even though she still never brought in enough foliage for the tiny group. We learnt loads; many of the tricks to making the cheapest bunch of carnations last for ages. Liked it.

There was a meaningless nod to “National Woman Day” (sic)and the joy of Zumba. There were the right comments about Waltham Forest’s lack of general advertising referring to the pamper day at Chingford Library last month which was a failure.

Downstairs from the Community Room with the public toilet designated for staff only now, there is the friendship garden which is not the library’s but the Council’s. Well, ain’t they the same? That garden was refurbished by the friends of the library back in the day. I appreciate that greatly.

I made my floral arrangement and couldn’t be asked to traipse home with it so the first senior I saw got it as a present. Made her day!

Straight into the new Tesco Express under the Lea Bridge Road Mosque I went to seek out bargains. It takes a Tesco to upgrade a neighbourhood what with its cash machine. Banks don’t exist along lower Lea Bridge Road. The staff at Tesco are friendly. “Wonder how much Tesco gave to the Mosque”, said someone.

Upstairs is the wonderful Active Change Foundation f0r youf.(!)

Issue 9 of Up Your Street for seniors.


Wed 26th Feb free
12-2pm at Well Street Surgery. Cook and Share Healthy eating at Gaby’s Kitchen part 1 of a series of workshops.

                              £3  1-4pm Tea Dance Chingford Assembly Hall e4

                               free 6-7.30pm poetry. Centre For Better Health, Hackney. Informal gathering of readers and listeners hosted by Cirillo.

Thurs 27th Feb free 1-3pm part 1 of 5 floristry workshops. Lea Bridge Library E10. Waiting list . Phone WF libraries for any free spaces


Fri 28th Feb  free
10.30am coffee and films at Rio Cinema, Dalston presented by Hackney Seniors Building Exploratory. (BEE) Book through gillianamuir@aol.co.uk.

                           free Floating Cinema “We are excited to be taking part in the V&A Friday Late: Hackney Wick Takeover on 28th February!

We will be presenting a rolling programme of films commissioned for the Floating Cinema, which explore Hackney Wick and the surrounding rivers and canals, focusing specifically on the River Lea. You will also be able to create your very own fantasy Floating Cinema and take it out for a maiden voyage on a DIY canal!”

                               dinner money Wood Street E17 Pie ‘n’ Mash shop last day.

Later in the month……
Sat 8th Mar free St Mary’s Church E17 . Classical concert.

                         free Roger Huddle and Sunday Schools at News From Nowhere Club E11.

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Unscripted

What a beautiful and bright Spring morning! That is in east London; I can’t talk for the Somerset Levels and the Thames Banks. After a swim and sauna I thought I’d get myself along to a free workshop. It’s half-term week in London. When the workshop began a few weeks ago, I’d asked if there’d be a session during half-term. I was reassured in a lovely patronising even mocking voice that my question was irrelevant. Half-term would not be observed.
On the bus two women behind my seat were having a verbal. A younger woman had plonked her young lithe body next to an elderly woman and started making a fuss about the senior’s trolley. There were plenty of seats on the bus. The younger woman was moaning that she wasn’t getting her full seat because of the trolley and that the older woman is lucky that she’s not a bigger woman because a bigger woman would not put up with the offending trolley. The senior woman was having none of that and barked back in her Northamptonshire accent. She put forward the case that she sat where she sat in the designated less-able-to-stand-seat with her slim trolley because if she sat in the aisle seat the prams would not get through. “In all my life no-one has ever complained about my trolley”.
Meany young woman got off and I found out her mental punch-bag was 90 years young and had lost her son yesterday, that she had eight children, and had lived in Northampton, USA and Ireland.
We laughed and talked even though one of my bum cheeks was off the seat. No problem. The day was warm and Spring was springing.
So I reached my workshop venue. It was all locked up for half term.
I was happy it wasn’t raining, turned on my heel and went along to a Salvation Army shop nearby. It’s a mess but aren’t they all? After two minutes of my picking up odds and bobs and trying to fathom out if I had cash in my bag in came a woman and I had no reason to look at her: I just heard her voice. We hear people talking to themselves all the time when in fact they’re on their mobiles. I did look around just to check she was ignoring me (safest way) and saw she was not on a phone and was crying her eyes out. She was rambling about death, the death of someone. The staff weren’t bothered and it’s not a bad thing to let someone just cry. I carried on looking at all the items then in came another howler. This time the woman was shouting through tears and gathering interested listeners probably because she said the word “gay”. She was relating the story of the death of her son who was killed by some evil guys and then his body was chopped so that his dead gay body had woman attributes. “He was chopped up: They made him look like a woman”. Standing adjacent to her was a small child who was open-mouthed staring at the crazy woman and probably getting everything she said. She stopped and walked towards the back of the shop. I alerted the staff member at the counter, safely behind the counter, that a small boy was in ear and eye shot of the whole scene.
The woman was effing and blinding in the café down the corridor. That decided it for me that I wouldn’t eat a café pie for lunch which was on today’s yummy menu. Finally she was persuaded to leave the building but it was all done very gently.
Meanwhile in another corner an huge guy was shouting to his carer. I waited for those two to leave but not until they’d haggled over the £2 balance regarding their £40 purchase sold with a lecture about charity shops’ existences. Yawn. I know the stuff in the shop is the top end of the left-overs from the neighbouring hospice’s jumble sales. A whole armful of baby-clothes at the jumble sale will set you back 50p. In the shop one baby vest costs that. You ask any Ebayer!
Up at The Turkish shop I was drawn in by the fresh dark green spinach, found my £1, chatted to the guy at the counter and onwards I went to another charity shop to see what I could see. A Ben Sherman jumper is what I saw and it was brand new just as the dinosaur book was. Dinosaurs are the rage once again. I know; I saw it on CBeebies.

The Pamper Shop

IMAG001614

Indulgence…because you’re worth it….goody bags

Brides of Culture do events all over parts of London in prestigious hotels.  Up Your Streeters went along to a posh hotel by the Excel Centre to check out the fabrics then came back to Jewel Road E17 to learn about disappearing bees before collecting free meadow- flower seeds!

At the newly refurbished Hackney Town Hall on Saturday 15th March there’s a day of designs and exhibitions and seminars, of hair and glitter, sequins and lace all for free courtesy of Brides of Culture, an enterprise showcasing multi-cultural bridal and romantic must-haves.

It’ll be fun, warm, sparkling, luxurious and you don’t have to be affianced to benefit. Book via Eventbrite. It’s a fiver on the door.

Good ole Hackney!

Secluded part of E11

st andrews church E11St Andrews Church E11

Leytonstone schoolLeytonstone School E11 previously Leyton Senior High School for Girls. Built in 1911 on 17th century domestic house model from the design of the architect W. Jacques. There is a plaque to W. Jacques on Lea Bridge Rd Library or is there?

oppLeytonstone schoolLooking westwards down Forest Rd E11 and opposite Leytonstone School.

In the bright sunshine today 16th February 2014, with my thoughts on making a quiche and the suffering folk on the Somerset Levels and in the Thames basin, I slung on my winter coat and went out without a plan . I went left and up past Tesco. I did peep in but refused to buy the £7 bunch of withery flowers reduced to £2. Crossed over the almost empty street having stared in astonishment at a fox staring back at me and decided to get to Grove Green Road E11. For that I needed to cross though past the back of Leyton Sixth Form College. The birds were singing merrily and it was all very medieval in its silence and 1950 front pavements and Sunday-ness. It was ten because a church bell rang once. Up by Whipps Cross there were one or two early cars but I’ve never seen the major road so empty as now.

Across the road was a white English woman (I can tell) and I knew we’d greet each other. As it turned out we together shoved with our feet broken glass from the kerb into a gutter. She was carrying her husband’s teeth as he’d been taken into Whipps Cross Hospital in the middle of the night. We chatted away. She invited me to go into St Andrew’s Church around the corner where I’d meet the lay preacher who corresponds with me for Up Your Street events.

Leytonstone School is a fabulous building. To me it’s like a cloistered nunnery. cloisters Leytonstone schoolThe sun was on its brick work. I love it. I loved it more from an empty road. Even the front gates were open so I went in.

The church next door stands majestic and calm. A service was going on . The church bell I’d heard had been the summons, the invite to prayer. The lay-preacher was busy preaching. I turned and followed Forest Road right up to Essex Road. Here were  terraced houses, aka cottages I should think as we get more gentrified, without front steps or gardens! Their front doors open directly onto the age-old pavements.houses in Forest Rd E11

And on window-sills there are pots, plant-pots, not even being stolen. Where am I? I do love that silent part of Leytonstone. An Indian looking guy was fiddling around with his hanging basket. He didn’t even look at me.  Strange how people are.

Hainault Road is always intriguing. There are massive houses, churches, and more towards Leyton High Road, a proper greengrocer’s just selling greengrocery. That happens down Wood Street too.

Wood Street is construction in process because I never felt any buzz. I saw plenty of scaffolding, new pavements, poverty, men with cans and swear-words, a Co-op doing a roaring crusty French baton trade, Mother’s Hub displaying African kids’ gear (we there again?) and the same kind of shuttered shops I remember from the nineties. Someone is kidding themselves if they think Wood Street is up there with The Village E17.

Female genital mutilation – my story

women leading change

By Kezia Bianca- YWCA of Kenya

Kezia Bianca

My name is Keziah Bianca, I am 22 years old and work at the YWCA of Kenya – Kisii branch. Kisii is a place renowned for practicing female genital mutilation and as a girl who grew up here, I was not an exception. I cannot blame my family for making me go through this inhuman act, as the society dictates it. In my culture it was considered unclean for a girl not to go through the practice.

The reason why I am writing this is to say to the girls who faced female genital mutilation like me, to still trust in life and a brighter future. It doesn’t matter what happened, or how your past has been, you can still have a future if you stand up and let your voice be heard. Talk about how you feel and also protect the…

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