Generation Gap

Gettin’ a bit sick of old people saying obviously with prompts that Twitter is a young people’s thing. There are many people over sixty using Twitter. People of that age do work, do have views to share, need Twitter for research and information and there are plenty of community groups using Twitter in their workshops.

There are many older people not using social media platforms just as there are many thirty somethings who can’t be asked. People shun Facebook. Minor celebrities like JK mock Facebook but run an account. I have no sympathy for older people ignorant of new technology. People run projects and refer to being Luddites when it comes to pushing out their paraphernalia. Why? And it’s only women talking in that way.

Today a project for seniors run by a major UK charity held a Twitter forum. Way to go . It’s a start. Seniors were encouraged to learn and use the new way of communicating.  Can only be good. People should not be left out. But they should have been proactive and tried it themselves or with their peers. Shoulda, coulda, woulda as Beverley Knight said before she dropped her street and handled the mantle of West End red carpets.

Most seniors I know use mobile phones to get the news, email, tweet , instagram and Facebook. They are not billed out of pocket nor hacked about by fraudsters. I am proud to be up there with my oldsters, minus those certain tones and on tap.

Is my petticoat showing?

The Blues

Ten years ago I was introduced to a woman of seventy who had big children of 50 years of age. It was whispered to me that she was “a bit funny”. I let it lay. Then another whispered to me the same warning. I just saw a humerous beautiful woman with deep brown eyes, a remnant from her shipwrecked Armada ancestry. Being curious, I asked over a Monday morning cuppa ,the wise old woman of the village what was up with so called looney.
Turns out the ‘funny’ woman was disliked by many after she had ‘the baby blues’, how many bloomin’ years ago? I translated that to my educated self: Post-natal depression,  a scourge on us like dementia, like something we ward off with now, wait for it, mindfullness, and in the soon future ‘nature and art’. I never felt sorry for Spanish hereditary lady but hated the prejudice again of the same community which uses “darky” and “Paki” in 2016.
The woman had somehow let down womanhood and the larger community,  The “we” became “I” for a lifetime.

Nowadays in London 2016 it’s okay to talk openly about post-natal depression,  about not coping, about severe exhaustion which has no cure but prolonged sleep.  We should look out for the signs of an added curse on women. There is no weakness about sickness.  Even if there were, so what? Like all mental illnesses we have to recognise post-natal depression, be amazed that in the near past we older women hid the nuisance under our duster coats and headscarves.

I wonder if that lady ever knew she needed help back in the day or was it the doctor’s receptionist who let the cat out of its messy bag.

How do I help someone on the edge? Offer silence, air space to offload pent up misery and meals to give energy to days of life.
Hard times.

My day out

“the boat club is off city road. Load of buses pass down the road, I just walked along up to graham road the club is about  a few yards. Guess what… As I turned to graham road, who I saw….R. she took the bus from the station. Boat trip 24 booked only 11 came…sailed up and down up to the tunnel ..waiting for the locks to open and close At the boat club over 50s free every Tuesday from 11 to 1 , kayaking , narrow boating etc. On 14 June there will be a tea dance in front the water with a proper band 11-3 pm. The organiser said she will send me details near time, very nice young lady after sailing she offered R. and I a nice cup of coffee. Will let you know if I hear from her.
The art workshop was very good..two artists gave talks to some paintings then back in room for refreshment …then we had to draw what ever we wanted..these chaps were very helpful. Most of the group are very artistic/ painters. Shame on me.any way I did try my very best. End after 6 pm.”

Up Your Street. Issue 17


Tues 10th May free   6.30pm for 6.45pm. Chapel Cinema St Margarets Old Ford Road.E2  “The Jazz Singer” (1927). Take your own crisps.

Wed 11th May free 11-1 Tate Britain Soapbox for over 60s discussing art and wotnot. Great chance to appreciate class art hung on a prestigious wall. Cuppa too.

Thurs 12th May free 6.30-7.45 pm.  Workshop for Anti university facilitators at Hackney Museum.

Fri 13th May free last few days at Bow Arts in Bow to see art by residents of Notting Hill called Dolly Mixture. Ends 18th May,
                        This is super heroes day.

Sun 15th May free Some Up Your Street subscribers off to see a lovely concert at The Tower Of London with The Connaught Singers.
                          free noon-6pm Crown Gate at Victoria Park bandstand music and entertainment.

Thurs 19th May and tomorrow. Free Dilston Grove senior art school. Brilliant workshops with Jean Campbell and free lookabouts at major on- site exhibitions,
Phone Bridget Virden, Learning Manager.
+44 (0)20 7237 1230


Issue 16 . Up Your Street

Tues 3rd May £1 10-1pm (Bring a snack) The Mill E17. Sociable Sewing with Hilary. Bring your own mending, embroidery, hemming to do. It’s chat and do.

                         Free 11-1pm Claremont trip to Estorick Gallery in posh Islington. Book with Claremont at 9 am.

Wed 4th May  free   10.30-noon. Art 4 All at North Chingford Library (97 bus).

Thurs 5th May  Polling Day

Sat 7th May free 2-5pm No need to book. Just turn up. Sewing Machine Museum Open Day. Rare event. Balham High Road, Tooting.(thanks to Ian Visits).

                      Free 11-5pm Sat snd Sun. Must be booked.  Duckie London who run “Posh “tea dances in Hackney is having an heritage weekend about Queers in London 1920s 1930s. Bishopsgate Institute EC2. (See Ian Visits)

Sun 8th May free 6.30-9.30 Brady Arts Centre Whitechapel (254 bus) A celebration of Bengali  and world Poet Laureate, Tagore.

Tues 10th May free. Two Claremont goodies. Join Claremont and see what’s what.

Wed 11th May. Free 11-1pm.Soapbox at Tate Britain. Over 60s discussion group.”Art and Emotion”. 20 places left. Phone Tate to book or go online.


                           Cost? 6.30-8.30 Documentary Film Making workshop launch
at Open School East,de Beauvoir Hackney (56 bus). Themes around residing in Hackney.


Bookings being taken for CreativiTEA, Saturday art exploration workshops at Hale End Library. Starting 21st May 11-2pm

And on 21st May too another lunchtime treat with an artist making a project about ye olde Lower Clapton at the Round Chapel but book via

Needing updating at Up Your Street

  Up Your Street is unique in that it finds cheap and free events and activities for seniors around the former 6 London 2012 boroughs, now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Gillian Lawrence, resident in Leyton for forty years, owns and manages the independent voluntary enterprise.
                       It is an online sharing service in that seniors are encouraged to access email, Facebook and the blog site to share and join in events.
                       It became an online service in March 2010 although before that it was a paper-feed which meant a lot of foot -work. In 2012 the Mayor recognised Up Your Street with a  “Service to Londoners” achievement award.
                       Many people were wary about the staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on their doorstep and Up Your Street set out to diminish that negativity and celebrate the rejuvenation of depressed parts of east London. During the Olympic and Paralympics site construction, many Up Your Street subscribers were encouraged to become and did qualify as volunteers for community projects for example at the Theatre Royal Stratford, with Newham Community Volunteers, and as researchers for Hackney heritage projects. Since 2012 many went on to gain qualifications in locally based arts, crafts and photography courses, film-making, and sound broadcasting as well as a two year university foundation course.
                   Currently Up Your Street is at the stage where subscribers feel comfortable to review projects and recommend them to others.
                   Since 2104 it has had community group status which means free group entry to major art and museum exhibitions.
                  The listings for events go out by email to over 200 subscribers every seven to ten days.
                  Highlights over the years include taking part in “You Me, Bum Bum Train” (interactive, immersive theatre),  a visit of 25 strong to the Alexander McQueen Exhibition for free at the Victoria and Albert Museum with a shared picnic afterwards, a free guided tour of Docklands Museum led by one of our own and a senior-led one too at the Nehru Gallery in the V&A, banner-making in Brick Lane and plastics recycling with Songalolo Feet in Hackney, and last month, being creatives in West Ham working with a Swiss artist via satellite. There have been many many great times together. Subscribers as High Street Seniors (the walking group) were invited by Clancy Docwra  Construction to tea at the works in Lea Bridge Road. And there’s a full diary of local events in the pipe-line.
                To be over 55 to join in email