Issue 14 Up Your Street

Monday 24th April free 2-3pm. Teachers event at Active Change Foundation, Lea Bridge Road next to the Mosque above Tesco’s learning about emotions and pupils. Teachers? Up your Street curious ones are joining in via Eventbrite.

free. Last chance to see the Wetlands installation at the Mill E17

Fri 28th April free 2.30-4 at Leytonstone Library “Mystery and art” with Artkeys. Bring old photos.

free 5.30pm Stratford Library screening “The Birth Of a Nation”

Sat 29th April free register at Eventbrite for a free screening of “Moonlight” at Canning Town Library 5pm

Churches and outreach.

All happening my way. A cavalcade of hooting cars just passed by. Hope they’re protesting about the closing of estate roads hereby. Earlier in the day during the Corrie Omnibus I saw a whole gaggle of people slowly passing up the adjacent road and guessed by their hats that the Jehovah Witnesses were abroad. I decided I’d invite them in because Trump had said something vile about Jehovahs and I wanted to show my mercy.
I forgot about all of that as Tracey and her family came to blows. The doorbell rang and I said to myself that that must be the postie with my buttons from China. Caught I was as three devout Christians stood at my door with Sunday smiles on a Saturday and clipboards. I dreaded the call to prayer but stopped my nastiness and said I’s answer their doorstep questions. These visitors at my threshold were not Jehovah’s people but folk from the nearby singing church who were finding out about the community and would soon discover a high Moslem content. I know that soon I will get another call as they have my name and address. Bovvered? Not. I went into full swing with a captive heads bowed audience and stated that as a non-believer I saw the community value of the Church as a meeting point for everyone to come out of the cold and push away their loneliness and isolation and that a little singing with gusto and clapping brings joy.
Many seniors find company at their church and a couple of senior Moslems who join in Up Your Street activities delight in the joy of communal curry laden lunches at their mosques. Most church people I know enjoy finger-licking chicken peppered by their African congregations on a Sunday regularly. As long as people are brought together then communities have a chance to protect their own when the day arrives.
Churches accommodate craft fairs and art exhibitions and candle-making and sometimes meditative navel watching. They are usually huge halls with smaller rooms and corridors about. I went to dance expression at St John at Hackney and there we were stretching our calves on stone-cold floors in a tiled corridor. Crazy. The nest week I went to creative writing around a table in the same corridor. I was the only participant. Luckily I drowned my shock by visiting Sainsbury’s opposite to buy fig rolls for the bus journey back to sanity.
Last night seniors got together to taste Jerk Chicken, Pork, and the rest at Butler’s Bakery in Cann Hall Road. We turned out to be a group of twelve from all areas: Some came from Ilford and Romford, one from Walthamstow, a few from Leyton and Leytonstone and then those from Hoxton area and beyond. What a smashing time we had. One queen sent back her fish because it wasn’t big enough for her. Imagine. But nothing was really soured for the joy of coming together clouded everything else. Some of us stuffed ourselves to the brim. The food was that good at what is really a small bakery corner-shop. On the pavement outside the owner was dishing up Jerk Chicken and salads to punters coming back from work. Someone’s daughter came by on her bike just to wave hello to a group of women who don’t usually eat out together let alone empty their purses…but they will now. Some of the group are practising artists so were doing sales across the tiny tables measured for nine people only. Port and rum punch heightened the spirits.

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Ladies Who Jerky

It’s hard to get together sometimes. People are busy and always want to meet but it’s difficult always what with people fasting, observing prayers, lacking cash, having to sort out them indoors, being tired so it’s all glory when we can get together and when we find a homely place which is welcoming and ready to accommodate seniors with respect. So we’re doing it.
Still obstacles in the way like people not being able to access a menu online to peruse what’s on offer and those who don’t use their diary and confuse the dates. Ah, but it all works out.
Here’s a potato print just celebrating an achievement.
It’s great to support local businesses when they support us. Our eatery is Butler’s Bakers aka Chef’s Corner up Cann Hall Road, an up and coming road lined with Victorian terraces sitting on dark and damp cellars selling at three quarters of a million now.

As I write a New Orleans Restaurant in which I dined and which was then flattened by Hurricane Katrina is being given the four-letter once-over by wotsisname Ramsay on telly. Aah, Mississippi grub.
ladies who jerky

On Later Years

This getting old malarkey is hard. Up Your Street is ten years old now. Many of the original seniors at Up Your Street are no longer out and about or joining in group activities. They are no longer interested in volunteering or going along anymore to workshops about collages or memories because what’s on offer saturates their brains: One hub does an art workshop; all the others follow. They have been talked to for years in a most patronising way and have known for ages that their presence as representing seniors in the community at the meeting places does not make them more visible. They are never re-engaged. Their turning up gives relief to the organisers who in turn satisfy the funders. The community has then been served and the Big Society goes from strength to strength.

Arthritis prevents these ageing seniors from museum trawling and tea-dancing.
People get older and in the main, tired. No longer is a one hour activity increased to three hours because of travel become part of the day. That one experience is a day out. Sapped energy prevents a mooch around the shops and spending nearly three pounds on a coffee is not an option. Home in those four walls with TV for company is not so bad and who is anyone to judge?

People’s dietary habits change. Diabetes takes away the joy of a cuppa and cake at a local hub. Vegetarians and gluten-free followers club in with vegans so social outings to local cafés turn into sessions where participants quiz each other with suspicion about their choice of food and that pulls people apart. Differences are highlighted rather than the nicer light of bringing people closer to each other in conversation. The cafés catering for all dietary needs are expensive and probably for the young. It’s difficult to chose a venue.

Those missed Up Your Streeters who ten years ago subscribed to receiving emails about activities and events no longer use email. They in the main never use a mobile phone and have not expanded their use of digital technology or changed their negative opinions about social media. It is obvious that in another era a young intern helped them to set up an email account and that was that. Added to that many seniors pick up emails once in a blue moon and then at a public place such as a community centre.

Unwittingly by moving away from Up Your Street those original subscribers have isolated themselves from the wider community. Up Your Street is less exciting without them.
Of course just like playground habits, people move away from others they just don’t like. Experience has taught me to be aware of who shares an event with whom if everyone is to have a positive lasting experience.

People are very good at keeping inside their comfort zone. They dipped into the weird and wonderful but came back to what they knew for fifty years. I know from over the years who prefers poetry to plasticene installations, tea dances to classical concerts.

And I cannot forget to mention about how seniors become grandparents so go off the social scene for a worthwhile while. Child minding is exhausting.

Those who cannot access Up Your Street activities and became older and less fit will not return. They will cease to use their Freedom Passes. They are over seventy and entering another chapter in their lives. What fun they had though. Some went to “You Me Bum Bum Train”, unwanted and invisible by the way; some became market researchers during London 2012 and some navigated locks in Little Venice. So much they did.

Naively, I thought they were hibernating. Not so.
I include them by using emails still until they tell me not to or occasionally landline them and even post details to them because never say never.

I Love Telly

It’s a cold Good Friday. Last week someone on Facebook said rudely that I should not watch television but should go outside and be in the flippin’ community. Cheek. That brigade of white middle class wannabee teachers put me off life. So today I am enjoying the mastery that is Hitchcock at London Live Channel watching “The Lodger”. Reading the
write-up is like doing a PH D in filmography and if I lived again, I would do that. A great review there.
Firstly I tuned into the film because I was settled enough to watch a film and then it is silent, so I have to watch. Then I like to see all the scenery, props and costumes. I do have a degree in drama. I want to see my grandmother as she dressed up like the chorus girls (?) in 1926 fashion and ways. Lo and behold when Daisy receives her dress in the post it is just similar to my old Auntie’s 1920s dress now owned by her miserable daughter.
My daughter’s just moved into a Victorian terraced house (Is there any other?)in Hitchcock country and many of the features in any old film can be seen in her house, you know the dado (pl) and the door surrounds, the mantelpiece, the mirrors, the banisters, the dividing doors, the fireplace and much more too. I do wonder if Hitchcock made a set in The Lodger or used an Essex or Leytonstone house as he comes from there.