Today the weather is foul, like a Westray summer’s day. I was in Muswell Hill with others and our task was to flyer-drop promotions for “Headscarves 1950s” exhibiting in Coldfall School there. The whipped up winds carrying icy rain were spiteful but the roads on old Coldfall once Council Estate are not long and sometimes an almost warm calm came down. I flyered Coldfall Avenue firstly and noted all the aid bars for the aged and infirm and tried to place the house of the school dentist way back sixty years ago. In Coppetts Road or wherever I was because the houses go from very posh downwards in one block a man went into his house, saw me almost at his letterbox and shut the door on me. Guess he’s rude or on victim support. Unfazed I continued losing any affection I had for my childhood place and was feeling a hostile vibe. My jaw dropped and I stood in my tracks as my brother whom I’ve not seen for thirty years or more passed by me on the other side of the road and I saw his baldness.
I touched on all the estate houses I’d lived in for as our family increased we were rehoused to plus one bedroom houses in different roads. Felt nothing and heard a resident tell my eleven year old niece to shut the gate in future. Unnecessary. Her big sister said, “Ignore it”, and the two girls continued in their stride up and down mainly unkempt fronts. By this time our fingerless gloves gave out no bolts of warmth.
A shopkeeper asked me if my brother were discharged from hospital. This is another brother. Well, that was news to me for I never knew he’d been admitted and the shopkeeper changed to stranger mode when she sensed dysfunction in the family.
Flyers were posted through awkward flaps through age-old wooden gates. Job done and home on the buses to the roasting of a thawed hunk of Easter pork: the oven on keeps us warm and dry.
There was almost immediately a knock at the door with young Sylvia of Up Your Street delivering “scarf art” to contribute to “Headscarves 1950s” exhibitions at Hackney and North London. Beautiful work.