Down Lea Bridge Road, towards B&Q.

I wrote about my disgust about Staffa Road. I talked to some residents of Overton Road who have lived in what was the Burwell Residential Estate for years and years. All said that if they put so much as a sweet wrapper out their front they’d be prosecuted. The recklessly abandoned white goods are an eyesore and those long-term residents feel powerless to improve their neighbourhoods.

Councillor Ebony Vincent is on the case of the abandoned fridges and other heavies. argall aveShe saw my Facebook status update and responded straightaway..

We cannot give up caring about our neighbourhoods. Our children grow up in them. One lady I know nagged and nagged her council until she got the huge mammoth bins moved from the Peabody Estate Buildings front doors. Imagine you’re a child coming home from bright primary school to see on your doorstep pee-ed on overflowing bins of plastic wrapped faeces and tins. Not all London Councils have imposed recycling sorting. The child would think that’s normal. It isn’t normal in England.

That same active woman, only thirty years young,  got the prostitutes moved on too. They’d have sex in the communal hallway amidst the waft of curried goat and Febreze coming out of family homes. Not on. I salute that community right-minded resident.

The Mill in Coppermill Lane E17  was busy yesterday with the front door continually opening with cyclists popping in, artists submitting their work for the forthcoming “Soft” exhibition, grandmothers and younger women arriving to knit, and Polish speaking babies going out in strollers having banged away on crèche drums. The Mill moves its neighbourhood down in St James Lane and by Blackhorse Road (W12 and W15 buses).

A few months ago, it decided to move in on Lea Bridge Road Library and agitate the surrounding neighbours into community mindedness. Good luck there. It’s difficult to feel a community in that part of Leyton because it is such a place where nothing except the poverty and dirt stay the same. Comings and goings. Who knew the library there only opened three out of five days in the week? What else besides the library  is there to feed the soul down that part of Lea Bridge Road ? The population is poor. Businesses fall after a week of optimism. There is a pub, not much interest to the Moslem mums and dads: The Bingo Hall just gave up. The lights on the Mosque in the winter months are lovely. A bit more westwards there’s The WaterWorks Nature Reserve if you’ve time on your hands to walk forever and have the energy to lift yourself from the lethargy of being unemployed. Dismal.

If Lea Bridge people wanted that library to be a hub they could have got it done. The past movers and shakers of E107PH  watched their kids get settled,  saw the neighbourhood change colour, and moved away or inwards. B&Q became the choice of venue for families during Bank Holidays. Banks and post offices closed and men sniffed out Paddy Power and his brothers. Restricted hours were imposed on the library and no-one blinked.

I once worked with a woman who moved into an area “to show the local people how to live properly”. Imagine!

Nag’s Head in Walthamstow Village

Well, I jus’ don’t know! How do people put up with non-welcoming staff?  I said to myself, “Let me find this pub that everyone ..IN THE VILLAGE raves about”. I’d taken the W16 from Leyton up to Shernhall Street and remembered that there was that hail and ride (if you’re lucky) W12 bus that sweeps through the backyard of the Village.

The driver dropped me off just next to the afore-mentioned glorified pub. The back garden was packed. (“Nobody works then? “as Jezza would say.) The staff never even acknowledged me, a stranger to their bar. It wasn’t as if they were busy; people were hogging one glass for an hour. Maybe the sour faces from the bartenders meant they just didn’t want to be there. But I just don’t get it. A local gets bumped up. Everyone wants a piece of the action and then nothing. It happens again and again. A venue is revved up and then the front of house staff just make you wonder why you made the effort. Exceptions are notably Stratford Picture House E15 , the Hackney Empire and BSix male reception staff. Good examples of front of house disdain are Rich Mix, (no smiles there and chewing gobs), my doctor’s surgery, Sassoon in Brooke Street up West, Age UK office in Dalston Junction, Hackney Museum, Lea Bridge Library, Hackney Post Office in Narrow Way e5, ward staff in any NHS hospital..any!..aah and so many more.  Civil servants are reknowned for their lack of expression, disdain or not. Still adopted the CSA name though so who trained yer, baby?

You know, front of house employees are often labelled as CSA Customer Service Assistant. They could well be unpaid interns who long lost their passion to be part of The Big Society and/or are those who stay on in the job until something better comes along and you’d think that would be in a couple of years. So the long-termers are still there AND as miserable. It could well be that as a senior I am invisible and so they are just rude or nasty by habit  as they keep their faces to their screens, hearing my polite voice coming from the backside of their computer . But people half my age get the same treatment. Don’t worry. I haven’t started on the attitude of bus drivers up and down Lea Bridge Road.

I am used to the alarmingly frank ignorance from CSAs but cannot understand why we put up with it.  I did ask for an audience with the owner of the Hackney Post Office shop knowing I was wasting my breath. I had six months earlier complained to the Post Office big guns and they said they would look into everything from the attitude of staff to the mess on the floor. Looking and doing eh?  So the owner of the shop told me that the staff have so much abuse from the public. So what? Most folk are just wanting a little bit of human service and why should they suffer because of some other customers’ frustrations , madness or anger? William Hill Management trained me well enough to deal with rude and spitting men old enough to be my dad and at the same time I could make sure that the normal well-behaved person gave over their money  knowing that I was giving the best of my service. Never was I trained to look at anyone as less than human altho I had my diddly doubts.

I’ve seen medical reception staff talk so rudely to non-English speakers in particular. Not every immigrant lives in a caravan.Everyone needs to be on a GP list so the vulnerable and the polite know not to answer back as that will be construed as violence towards the employed hallowed ones. No witnesses will bother to come forward as the receptionist has her moment of triumph, throws beige records on the floor and stamps her stiletto-ed foot.

The Hackney shop owner didn’t impress me at all. Ebay should set up its own Post Office then many of us wouldn’t need the Post Office at all. Passports you say. How come we are European in UK but still have to carry an UK passport to travel to Tenerifé and beyond? Why is the sky blue? So many Apps and I’ll have my answers.

I know a lady who had her baby by Apps. Her waters broke so she Googled for extra information, checked the Apps from Mothercare and downloaded the breastfeeding Apps too. No need for wise old sages like me anymore.

Nuff said about Nag’s Head.