Argall Industrial Estate

It’s ten days now since I’ve waited and rung the environmental lot in Waltham Forest four times for a single now single soaking wet mattress to be removed from my front yard. The last I was told by the office supervisor was that she would send an email, send an email! ( Garlic bread?) to escalate the job. That meant there was a note allegedly and not in pencil saying that the job should be done within 24 hours. Oh do me a favour! Should? The word “would” is juggling for position.

That’s why Waltham Forest is a mattress borough. It isn’t a mattress borough  entirely because there’s a transient society here: There’s actually an huge stagnant society doing the right thing.

On the corner of my road is a built corner protector, a piece of ‘street furniture’ (I know!) which is used daily as a prop for people’s bags of rubbish, broken umbrellas, old cots and mattresses, strewn and ripped clothes previously left out for AgeUK collectors and whoever trades in rags. One day the council truck came a-collecting and I asked why fly-tippers were being excused and money spent sending out trucks and men to gather and dispose of people’s domestic rubbish. Answer “Oh, it’s the foreigners, see. They don’t know about how to dispose of rubbish.”  Well, not on my and their back yards then! By that logic only white British-born, you know the new ethnic minority, know how to get rid of rubbish.

Behind what was the Burwell Residential Estate off Lea Bridge Road on the border of Waltham Forest and Hackney is the disgusting mess that is Argall Industrial Village. Its name changes like the weather but I like “industrial village” because it is so not that.

                 There are Argall Estate patrol cars checking out that all is well on the land, so I was told. The single decker bus W19 actually travels into it but ignores its own timetable so that’s not much use to residents. The place is nasty. Litter swirls around in any whiff of wind. Abandoned stinking mattresses provide hiding places for feral cats and the Black Path is known as Rats’ Alley by locals who know too well the stench of yeast and bread from Kingsmill. Hoo Hing Supermarket is a neon-lit beacon for those who lose their way or who fear being accosted by underage vagabonds. Only the mini-industry workers aka Eastern Europeans and nervous dog-walkers walk the walk.
          In 1986 Argall Industrial Village was dire and on the brink of going under. It went under and post Olympics it is doubly dire. Like Hackney Wick it provides recyclable buildings for weekend churches where the white-robed congregations are not fussed about what they step in. Unlike in Hackney Wick, where established artists mix oils with Forman fish whiffs, other creative types safe in E17’s Tokarska  Gallery and The Mill would only evaporate    remotely in Argall.         
          I’ve yet to see what’s good about it. I try.
“Where there’s muck, there’s brass”, I mutter.
             My lovely neighbour over the back fence who is long dead told me how in the thirties on a Thursday morning you could hear each door shut on the Burwell Estate as each housewife in her scarf and carrying her shopping basket or wheeling her wicker trolley made her way across the factories ( now the Argall Industrial  Estate) and through the rat-ridden pathway (now The Black Path) up into St James’ Park and onto Coppermill Lane for the market day. Love that story.  Her brother’s still at the back of me. He served in the army up in the Orkneys during WW2. Great geezer.

Forman and Field

I was unable to take the opportunity to use my booked places at the Open Day in Hackney Wick on 10th November. I was off to A Season Of Bangla Drama in Whitechapel.

Forman and Field, the ones who refused to move, who have expensive and posh hampers and a market obviously had organised a family day at their premises. The tour of the SmokeHouse was the magnet for me. Hackney Wick can never be. Billingsgate tours are way expensive. So I gave my tickets to some Up Your Street pensioners because I promote what’s out there for seniors for free remember.  And to see Hackney Wick.

This is what Mrs A texted me. I thought it was a great reflection on the free fishy Open Day in a few words.

“Hi Gillian, had a fab time. Formans is impressively tucked away among the canal and the historic dwellings of a bygone era and the street art. I had a good time.”

Floats my creel.

Don’t suit you madam!

I was on a walk yesterday arranged by a seniors’ project in Islington. We walked around posh Highbury with a young thirty something guide. There were 22 seniors with an average age of 72. Never mind “You’re gettin’ a good work out”, in response to breathless ladies gasping for a tea. Those oldies have worked out all their lives, mangling clothes, hauling bricks,  raising families.

I never knew Highbury had greenery let alone hills and valleys. Luckily I had on my BidUp trainers. The guide was just doing his job and actually showed no awareness that he was forging ahead in front of of a straggly bunch of septogenarians and the like. Any wall we saw we sat on because the hills were not what we expected. No-one would ever say outrightly that they found the walk unsuitable because they are mannered people and grateful for free bits and pieces. And no-one wants to lo0k weak.

After that stretch gawping at houses of past glories, with their servants’ bells and their courtyards we moved into the Olympic Stadium look- alike that is The Emirates Stadium. Loved the shower room , the hot tub, the massage room, the astro turf, the red RED RED.

Tons more walking about.

When we came out we landed in downtown boarded up Highbury: Memories of Hackney Wick. These places all share the underground Hackney Brook. Smells like it.

Dragged ourselves onto the overcrowded 393 bus out of the rain. Five bus stops along, it broke down. Ha ha  The worst bus in London! Found Diamond Geezer’s review of the area and was amazed at his honesty.

This is what I know

Been very busy chasing my tail to put up RAGWORKS exhibitions. You know you can’t take a car to so many venues in east London because of parking restrictions so thank goodness for buses and trainers. Plus my internet was down as BT had a major fault  at their exchange. I survived.

I have learnt loads and this is the chief thing; that major venues need events managers or managers who know what they’re managing.

Making characters out of discarded material is enjoyable and creative then arranging to show RAGWORKS to the world makes you know why Trace and Dames have agents and minions working under them. It is so nice to get back in and pick up the needle. Yesterday it took me ages to be welcomed at a venue but I should have known as my emails and calls were ignored so I was working in the dark. Ah puff tut. People eh?

How fabulous “Cinderella” looks on the wall at The Mill in Coppermill Lane, E17. Is she Egyptian, Somalian, Turkish? Well she came from my brain so who knows! I am grateful to Mo at The Mill for her support as one artist to another I guess. Wish her the citizen award. And she has a couple of exhibits at The Smokehouse in dire Hackney Wick. Way to go Mo!

On Friday, in the sunshine, a large group of Up Your Street subscribers met at an appointed time at The WaterWorks in Lea Bridge Road to air their views on ‘the Greening of the Olympics’  with Ph.D student Sadie. The venue is very good and the hot chocolate in the cafe extremely good. We all had so much to say and what came out of it and this is what I know is that if it weren’t for Up Your Street disseminating information about all the happenings around the Olympic and Paralympic Games Park then the committed seniors would never have got to Open Stage , A Taste of Hackney, Songololo, Holden Point, Hackney Museum and etc etc where activities spurred on by the excitement of London 2012 were put out as projects.

We had a good discussion around the building works at the back of Leyton Marsh and the upgrading of Dagenham Brook, a herethereto stinky stream. Some of us walked the shaved Black Path on the back of the Argall Industrial Estate and then past copses and Kingsmill Bakery up to Coppermill Lane. It was a fine warm day remember.

What was concluded from the PH.D gathering was that we the residents around the perimeters of the Games 2012 feel abandoned and alienated from the riches of a world event. So to broach legacy was a way in to complete negativity and misery! For me, the greening of the Olympics means that more people go on walks in their boroughs and get to appreciate the beauty. But only some types of people and hardly in big numbers.

Enjoyed a screening of a film about the River Thames by William Raban at The Stratford east Picturehouse. The film was full of beautiful photography and was an eye-opener for most of the audience who had no learnt history of the London Docks. There’s an exhbibtion in Newham currently about the women who worked in Tate and Lyle back in the day.

Up at The PictureHouse everyone had a guided tour of the RAGWORKS exhibition by Gillian Lawrence which was in its glory that day.

ImagineUREvery1 Hackney Wick

Mapping Your Manor, Lucy Harrison’s project making podcasts for the Olympic and Paralympic Games site perimeter was at The Yard Theatre in Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick yesterday evening to record performed tweets and to interview actors, most of whom are volunteers who responded to writer Stewart Melton’s call to join in. The performance is enjoying very good attention and reviews.  The London Riots only prevented the opening night and that was a safety measure as everything else in the area was shut down.

Mapping Your Manor will be promoting its work at the Stratford Summer Festival on August 2oth. Here you have the chance to share and record memories of Stratford and if you’re new in the area you’ll have an interactive chance to shape its future too.

Last night I watched on Sky Vintage TV  “Donovan in Conversation” with Mike Read. This is a well-put together and edited (editor, Zeb Achonu) refreshing  story of Donovan as told by him as he is now and with some good archive material. Donovan certainly creates great images of exactly how it was in the old hippy days. He was greatly influenced by Scottish ballad poets and folk songs in the parlour, which was a nice touch as we remember pre-non-stop radio called ‘wireless’ and way before multi-channel telly.

Finished reading “Bombsites and Lollipops” which I downloaded from Amazon Kindle books to my PC for 99p! Not that interested in another memory of post war London but persevered with respect to Jacky Hyams whom I’ll meet on August 18th at Sutton House, Homerton, Hackney “Book Brunchers”.

Coincidentally Hyams the name  turned up in the programme on BBC1  “Who Do You Think You Are? featuring June off East Enders. That format  has had its day. It was interesting but edited to the degree that we see the same ole pictures all through out. Fillers.

Wasn’t High Street Seniors right to feel it is time to reclaim the streets from youth? Increasingly seniors are not visible on our streets after dusk. It’ll take a massive group effort to get High Street Seniors running post Riots. People do not believe the Riots are over.

 High Street Seniors are walking groups for seniors. The seniors walk together, some with sticks, in a group at dusk . They end up at a cafe or a pub for a cuppa. More often than not the tea is given freely with a lovely welcome. When they walked in Wapping they attended the launch of Madge Darby’s new book about the history of  Wapping and a fine evening they had. They now await an invitation from the Hermitage Community Moorings (many of the High Street Seniors belong to the volunteer group) to enjoy a river trip on the ‘Cabby’.

issue 31 of Up Your Street

                                                 Up Your Street  issue 31

Tues   9th Aug  ( thru to 13th Aug.) £4  7-9.30pm Performance by public participants at

                                          The Yard Theatre, White Post Lane right next to Hackney Wick Station.

                                          All about freedom of speech via social networking.

                      free 6.30 pm Bryant Community Centre just behind Old Town Hall Stratford. Planning meeting with Action Community Team re The Stratford Festival on Aug 20th.

                       free 2pm Hackney Black and Caribbean Service trip around the Olympic

                                                                               and Paralympic Games site (full)

                       free 3pm   A Different Drum Productions present a free and  huge filming

                                and research project, “A Taste Of Hackney” at The Lawns, Matthias Rd (236 bus)

                     £2  2.30pm Yoga at The Centre For Better Health 1a Darnley Rd Hackney

                                                                                 (opp Hackney Town Hall)

Thurs 11th Aug  £6  Book for Museum of London 02070019844 for “Fabulous Fifties”

                              evening of learning the jive, looking at fashion, memory lane etc.

                        free  Leyton Community Action  coach trip to Eastbourne.Booked and full.

Fri 12th Aug   £4 4pm    Boleyn Cinema East Ham “Aarakshan” set around 1948

                                                                                                               the  partition of India and Pakistan.

                      free   6.30 pm Julie Rayne entertains at St Mary’s Community Centre, Upper Street N1

                                               arranged by The Stuart Low Trust. Refreshments too.

Sat  13th Aug        free 7.30pm for buffet then at 8pm a talk on knife crime locally at

                                                              The Epicentre E11 with the News From Nowhere group.

                         free  turn up.  11-12.30pm Hornsey Library, Crouch End. “Nitter natter”

                                                                                                  vintage knitting and 1950 memories.

                         free  to enter the big day  10-4pm “ Help for Heroes”. A pamper day at

                        North Romford Community Centre, Collier Row, Romford. Phone 01708769044

                        for details and to book a massage etc. Prices from £5 for 15 minutes.

                                                                                          Loads of other stuff too which is free.

Sun 14th Aug free 10-12noon. Guided walk “Epping Forest and Wintry Wood”

                                                                                                                             Meet Epping Tube Station.

                          free 8am meet Waterside centre Stonebridge Lock, Tottenham. Friends

                                                                         Of The Marshes “Surveying Life of the Marshes”.

                           £5  1-6pm African Tango at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Dalston Junction

Thurs  18th Aug free 12-4pm in Argall Estate via Argall Bid. Conference re eco-industries.

                                                                                                            All welcome.

                          free with The Stuart Low Trust 02077139304 10am meet at The

                                                                           Angel but book for a trip to Kew Gardens

Wed    24th Aug free with The Stuart Low Trust. Trip to The Houses of Parliament with tour guide.

Fri     26th   Aug  free   11-5pm Goan Community Association. “Festival For Over 50s”.

                                 massage, displays, stalls. Keston Rd just up by Phillip Lane gate to Downhills Park,

                                                                                                         Tottenham.(230 bus route)

The Stuart Low Trust does narrow boat holidays.

Imagine you are everyone…a play.

The Yard Theatre  with a cast of 139 is presenting a play examining freedom of expression and how it works through social networking .The venue, the base  in Queen’s Yard, White Post Lane in Hackney Wick  (next to station) is well worth a visit.

Last night was the first big meet-up of participants and professionals , the latter of which there are many , at Big Hill, Clapton E5. I hoped the Anthony Marsh building would be top of hill. Nope. That Big Hill is steep. How did horses and carts manage in days of yore but they did? The view from the top is tremendous, looking down to the lush Leyton Marsh and the still River Lea.

Well, the evening with Stu and Lauren and others was exhilarating as we were directed into group activities and awareness. Was a treat.

Then to come out of the sauna that is work and a hot building into deserted Mount Pleasant Lane at 9.30 on a summer’s evening is sweet. The 393 bus  does the route. There are beautifully kept houses along that way and hundreds of flats. It’s all well-lit too. Lots of sounds of clanging of pots in kitchens as the day’s fast during Ramadan ended. I see a High Street Seniors walk at dusk after the summer ignoring Big Hill!

 Love Hackney.

The big rehearsal is on Sunday and new comers are welcome. Come and find your space and place. We’ll be at The Yard in Hackney Wick with our scripts and packed lunches for the day will be long.(10-6pm) Just mention Up Your Street and doors will open.