Nuffield Health Chingford E4

  1. Nuffield Health formerly the prestigious Greens in dry ole Chingford is ace. From the smiling recepton staff to the non-stop cleaners, to the beautiful layout to the complimentary gel in the showers the place gets a massive thumbs up for providing a memorable and good experience. This weekend was on offer a free day pass advertised as 2 days free pass. On reaching the centre it turned out that another offer was available to celebrate Mother’s Day. Never saw that advertised! It was for members to bring a friend along for a day.
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A tour was available and that included a look at the gym areas with one for women only, a peek into the studio where all manner of keep-fit takes place, and a birds’ eye view of the swimming pool decorated with hot tubs and a sauna and steam room on the side. The changing areas are communal with not very private cubicles and are gender-specific.. The sauna and steam room are both unisex and there is no baby pool. There is no need for a women only gym: Root out the men who make anyone feel uncomfortable. It is 2013 UK after all. In any gym there are the odd types who bully others off the machines. You pay, you play.2013-03-09 17.32.30

The cleaning staff never stop. All smudges are swiftly sprayed away. The reception staff are as cheery and as glad as Gamesmakers  and the personal trainers about the place have beady eyes everywhere.

The W16 and the 357 buses pass the front door. Whoopee!  And there is ample parking space and a Costas Café joined to the Nuffield Health Centre. The clients are in the main white English and Chingford and a majority of seniors abound. I heard only English spoken all day and conversations about tea time.

good life

The hot tub is heaven. The pool is all one shallow depth. The poolside attendants are professional and keen. “Better” has much to copy. Excellent meet and greet, Billy.

Paralympic Swimming at The Olympic Park

Went on my senior ticket which I booked ages ago or won through the lottery system. Miserable cold damp weather would never stifle the joy emitted by the  Games Makers. Anyway the seat was right at the top at the back, up loads of steep stairs. Yuk. You sure get what you pay for.

Exciting swimming, jubilating crowd for GB and a mad rush to get away at the end. There were loads of babies. People had booked their tickets then found out they were pregnant I suppose. It was okay. Really I wanted a peek into the Aquatic Centre.

Personal Best at the Paralympics.

Is anyone monitoring the conditions under which the Olympic Park volunteers  aka Gamesmakers work? The concerned grapevine has it that breaks are rare, that they stand in all sorts of weather, and that they get only £1.50 daily food allowance, not even enough for a  Big Mac and fries.  What is true?  I did meet a volunteer  driver who uses the ORN of course who told me quite blatantly that London black -cab drivers spit at her. I’d dump the uniform and go home.

The Paralympic Games look like the poor sister to the biggies. It would help if people could say the word “Paralympic”. I was on a Personal Best programme in 2009 which was designed to motivate people back to unpaid work in the Games Park. Everyone was naive then.  I joined because I was desperate to get into The Olympics and Paralympics Games to watch or sniff. I was in love with the whole excitement about the Games coming to Stratford E15.

Ours was a poorly attended 6 days over 6 weeks local course. Women had been cajoled and enrolled from a large housing estate and their minds were filled with shivery memories of school, urgent child-care arrangements and what to get for dinner. The only regular attender was the tutor. I remember  lots of hole- punching as we collected and filed hand-outs all about the history of The Olympics and other character- exposing questionnaires to see if we would slot into the essential criteria bit on a application form. Oh dire it all was. It finished. Thousands received their certificates and all was forgotten.

I went to my Gamesmaker interview, and did a lot of Cadbury chocolate-tasting as I pretended to be in awe of the Sainsbury’s guy who’d been on an American style howdidoody presentation workshop. I ate more chocolate aware that I was being tracked on CCtv cameras. My interviewer was a slip of an Eastern European accented girl who had no idea of my involvement with or my enthusiasm for the coming Games on my doorstep. But smile I did as the camera was rolling. My mumma raised no fool.

I was taken on as Gamesmaker for The Paralympics and even then knew I was second-rate. The Paralympics is not The Olympics. And to those classmates on Personal Best, the word “Paralympics” is as foreign to them as the word “Ramadan”. Those so-called students who could never be suitable to represent British people to tourists because those stereotyped desirables only exist in “Chariots Of Fire” are nowhere to be seen through the Westfield E20 and John Lewis windows. They certainly never got free tickets to smell the flowers or the canals. There was all the time a wink wink nod suggestion that Personal Best students would get a freebie to the Games. Naive we all were, including the organisers and the tutors.

The person who gained from that course is the Eritrean tutor who learnt something about the failures of a British education system.

So, Paralympics and Personal Best: The London 2012 team is still recruiting Gamesmakers for the Channel 4’s Games. Forget interviews, security checks and just mention Personal Best like it’s a passport visa. Say that there was definitely a promise of a job on completion of the course. No-one will check that. Get your free fitted uniform  with shoes too and transport arranged to take you to your job. (As if the csa’s in Canary Wharf or wherever they flout their mauve shirts even know what Personal Best is. My interviewer dismissed my Personal Best mention because she had enough trouble writing down  my past volunteering activities.)

Now that non-selection process makes a mockery of my already degraded position.

But I am so over it. Good luck to those latecomer Gamesmakers who are joining forces with the Forces. I have been into the Park many times now and will go again yet. It was funny that I entered names into the Waltham Forest ballot to have a look about the Park. Every person got a place and a wonderful time looking at the flowers and the majesty that is Olympia. It was a ballot remember so Lady Luck was surely out there. I never got a ticket. How weird. But I’m over it. Over the Games altogether if the truth be told but hanging in there ready for the Legacy lies to morph into whatever McDonalds wants.

Sublimer spoiler. Argos  displays the Gamesmakers’ colours at the beginning of its current stoooopid advert.

Olympic fan

Since Day 1 I have been a fan of The Olympics and Paralympics Games coming to east London, Stratford. I took tours around brown sites and watched waterways being dredged and cleaned. I have butted negative comments all along the way, have done my utmost to engage Seniors (OAPs) with something growing on their doorstep which sprouted Arts Council, Heritage Lottery etc etc funded free activities and events  by running Up Your Street with its High Street Seniors and The Pamper Shop under its parasol.

I have seen the dejection felt by locals as no free tickets fell into their laps, have battled with my principles about taking up the Gamesmaker post and kinda working freely for Cadbury, Coco Cola and Maccas, and been insulted and ignored tons of times. (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).

I was worried about transport to and from the Games and recently, security.

Hey the journey to here was long and packed. I am dying to blog about yesterday’s rehearsal and my personal experience of it  but respect the #keepthesurprise.

Welcome World to my doorstep!

I woz there: The Olympic opening ceremony rehearsal


Free thoughts about Waltham Forest : “Anythin’ Can Happen”.

Big hooha in E17.  There was a plan by Waltham Forest Council to allow a big camp site over Olympics time down Low Hall Lane, E17.  Course the world objected and last night the deal fell through. W F.Council was relying on the money, the revenue from all of this , to pay Alexandra Burke on March 19th at “Party On The Pitch” allegedly. I said previously that anything can happen. The only positive thing was that businesses, you know the ones that collapse overnight in their own mire, would benefit from campers. Wrong, the campsite, like all holiday ones, would have had its own toilet- roll shop and Westfield (remember not E15 but E20) was a Dagenham Brook bus ride away! Actually I never heard any business say they were positive. Too busy keeping thieves at bay. That was another thing. I was offended that objectors said there would be more crime because of a camp- site being erected. Jeez.  Welcoming or what?!
Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” playing on BBC Radio 3 in the background as I type. Neat.
Now where will the Olympics lot go to put a massive campsite where maybe some of their out -of- town GamesMakers were supposed to lodge? Blow that for a lark! I am so over the Olympics now esp. as McDonalds has brought out its healthy eating nonsense and giving away pedometers instead of toys to kiddies. I agree we should all embark on and sustain  healthiness but Maccas! Where is our govt now? Swamped by Maccas and Cadburys.
Cadburys cleverly promoting itself by doing loads of offers in shops. Check the Co-op.
The nasty thing about the campsite was that the council signed a deal in secret allegedly to the camp organisers! The revenue was to pay for The Big 6, the series of events put on by Waltham Forest Council. We all wondered how WF suddenly woke up and began advertising major celebrity-led events.
WF only woke up last November. Before that they didn’t do anything for the people re: Olympics . Their Greeters programme fell flat. Their “It’s Happening Here in Waltham Forest” stickers faded two years ago.They are currently advertising for street cleaners to  sweep and at the same time become street guides. Bogoff.
Since Day 1 Newham was streets ahead…art music etc etc , and Hackney! Yes, Newham had the money. But didn’t Waltham Forest have its hand out? On the BBC London 2012 website dj SilverJay representing some of the youth of Waltham Forest was succinct in saying that the London Borough of Waltham Forest looks a disgrace with the London 2012 on the horizon. Since last November it looks as though every pavement has been dug up and every shop fascia done over. There are red and white barricades everywhere and abysmal traffic queues. Well, go into the side streets and see what’s what. Like any ticket-holders will come this way anyway. I’m sure their own what’s -on  websites will have fed them reports of knives and guns.
I have been in the know myself since Day 1 what with Up Your Street and my fervent interest in the coming of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Fooled I was greatly.