Today in the Community Room, Lea Bridge Library was held the last of six planned sessions for seniors brought together by Up Your Street networking. The finale was indeed wonderful as predicted because we had our very own Waltham Forest medicinal herbalist from her enterprise Hedge Herbs, Rasheeqa Ahmad.

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Her entry was magnificent as she sauntered in carrying boxes and jars behind her intern, Sara. Two beautiful women lit up the room and we in the greedy audience were ready to learn about her magic or the benefits of herbs. The kettle was boiled and the cups washed because we knew we’d be getting an infusion after the talk. Have you ever smelt Meadowsweet along country verges?  It is just gorgeous but short-lived. The dried stuff smells like dried stuff then looks like embroidery.

We sniffed, we smelt, we oohed, we questioned. We learnt about nettles and dandelions, tumeric , alfa alfa  (and I thought of “Of Mice And Men”), drank Hawthorn tea with mint, I think,  then listened as women in hijabs pleaded for help with their digestive systems or bruised elbows. Norman talked of Hops.


Rasheeqa’s visit was a resounding success as everyone was involved. The community had been engaged, been “pleasured” as the current insurance advert robot says.

Yasmin from NANAs kindly dropped by dragging in one other on her heels, an uninvited drunk, a drop-in, a cuckoo in the nest. She was great too, drumming up interest in voluntary work and something special at The Rose Lipman Building in Haggerston. “Where’s that?” said the Leytonites and the man from Hackney Wick.

Marcella’s Toblerone bar was scoffed. Penguins took away the herbal taste. The raffle prizes included Tesco slatted spoons (It was a job lot!), jewellery from bead-making class, dvds, nail varnish… and nothing second-hand here.

It was fun. Jolly good company. We’re done.

An hour later someone special emailed to tell me about a local project asking if any seniors might be interested. Hold them back!

Issue 25 of Up Your Street

                                          Up Your Street issue 25.

 Thurs 20th June   free 2-5pm The Stuart Low Trust** invites us to tea at The Culpeper Gardens hosted by Robin King in The Tea Hut, Culpeper Community

Garden, 1 Cloudesley Rd, Islington N1 0EG (weekly)

                                      £3  1.30-4.30pm East Ham Town Hall ( a Grade 11 listed building in Barking Road). Seniors tea dance

                                      free  7-8.30pm Gallery talk at Tokarska Gallery, Forest Road, E17 with Sharon Drew. Book via Eventbrite..

                                      free 6.30-8pm Chandos Hub, 90 Chandos St E15 Newham Community networking night. All welcome.

Fri 21st June             £3 donation for materials. 10.30-12.30pm “Elders Crafting” with Sara at Lea Bridge Library. Stories made into quilts!  

Sat 22nd June           free 2pm Medicinal Herbal Walk Coldfall Wood, North London. Ask Rasheeqa for details.

                                       £15 for 3 courses. 6.30 open for “Fork to Fork” at Hornbeam Café E17.(latest booking 9pm).
Advance booking is essential – email

Go along and see the RAGWORKS recycled textiles exhibition of bags at the Hornbeam Café!

Sun 23rd June           free     10 am Waterworks Walk about herbs. Book in advance at Lee Valley Parks. That’s the Waterworks Centre opp. Greyhound Pub on Lea bridge Road going west.

                                        free  2-4pm No need to book.
The penultimate film in the Border Film Series In This World (2002, 15) all about The Silk Road showing Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and London. Museum of Docklands.

Mon 24th June          free 1-145pm Rasheeqa Ahmad from Hedgherbs comes along to talk to Lea Bridge Seniors with Up Your Street at the Community Room, Lea Bridge Road Library. Book at Eventbrite or gillianamuir@aol.co.uk Come at noon for a free cuppa, free raffle and jolly good company.

                                     Final session of Lea Bridge Seniors with Up Your Street at the Library.

Tues 25th June   free      1.15-1.55pm. No need to book.  Museum of London( by Moorgate.) Talk “Hidden no longer: community history-making in London”

Dr Andrew Flinn will examine the origins and motivations behind community history-making, some of the changes and controversies that have occurred and how mainstream history may be challenged in the digital age.”



**The Stuart Low Trust in White Lion Street, Angel, Islington says generously, ” All our activities are either free or low cost. We welcome participants regardless of their circumstances or area of residence.

No formal arrangements are required to attend our events – just come along and check us out!”

Up Your Street subscribers  from Leyton, Leytonstone, Hackney, Islington and Haringey do go along. Join us!


Wed 26th June free

Tell it like it is.

Today I was warmly touched by honesty. At Lea Bridge Seniors with Up Your Street today our guest speaker was nicely informal and full of knowledge. She is a Spitalfields woman by residence, born in Whitechapel, lived all over east London and runs a stall in Spitalfields Old Market as well as craft sessions from her own front room. Respect where it’s due. Her talk was entitled “My Favourite Place: Spitalfields” and she had a nice ethnically mixed audience of senior citizens all full up on free tea and coconut biscuits.

She is friendly, very aware of her listeners and can talk ten to the dozen. Who can’t?

She is good at coming forward, very forthright but not offensive.Telling it like it is. Jan at LB Seniors

What was poignant was her description of not feeling totally at home at home.

Our guest said how Spitalfields is divided between the super rich incomers and those “on the tap”. She has nothing in common with either. She echoed the thoughts of many seniors  who feel that they have  become invisible without the nuances of a common language, and the tried, tested and familiar patterns of what is life. That disappearing life includes a recognition that working is good, an acknowledgement that neighbourliness is great, and that respect for someone else’s front door step should be paramount.

My mother used to talk for hours over the back fence with her neighbours on either side on the large council estate. Right then and for twenty years after, I never knew that that was a disappearing way of life. I became sad.

When my octogenarian Yorkshire friend retired twenty years ago she hoped she’d enjoy many a bus journey chatting away to the other elderly passengers. She never had that journey where she could share words. No-one spoke her language and she never practised theirs. I quickly learnt basic Polish.

As my favourite Igbo  saying goes, “No condition is permanent”.

Raffle prizes today included Tesco slatted spoons, key rings, pens, soap,  notelets and chocolates. Some of the elderly men had been machinists in their working days and other ex-machinists joined in with their love of sewing machines and memories of Wood Street E17. “HEBA” came out in the conversation being an all-female enterprise in Brick Lane E1 to which both our guest and some Up Your Street-ers had been for workshops.

Twas a relaxing couple of hours in jolly good company.

Up Your Street Issue 23

                          Gypsy and Roma Month in Hackney . Up Your Street presents Issue 23.

Mon 3rd June  free noon -2pm Lea Bridge Seniors with Up Your Street at Lea Bridge Library E10. Guest speaker Jan talks about Spitalfields and its recent tourism. We have a  raffle, free refreshments and provide jolly good company

.012Jan from Brick Lane cooking for the congregation.

Wed 5th June    free 7.30pm. Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. Presenting Ukrainian Literature.(Thanks to Derek Prince for the info.) No need to book.

                                free 10-4pm The Mill E17. Sprout There! Sale of herbs, cosmetics and more.

Thurs 6th June free 6-9pm. Boxpark in Shoreditch. A Photographic exhibition aimed at bringing social positive change through images. No need to book .

                               free 4.30pm Hackney Central Library launches  GYPSY ROMA MONTH: Explore the history, culture and languages of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Hackney this month. The London Gypsy Orchestra plays. Always an excellent evening showcasing Irish dancing and etc. Free refreshments.

Fri 7th June       £3 10.30-12.30pm Lea Bridge Library Community Room. Elders’ Story telling workshop and quilting with Sara. No experience necessary.

                              free 2-3pm New Hall at Claremont Project in White Lion St, Islington.. For members. Just join on the spot! See and enjoy Oh La La! a French jazz band . Cuppa and cake for 20p. Marvellous.

                              free 6.30-9pm St Mary’s Community Centre in Upper Street with the  Stuart Low Trust hosting an evening of  Quilts and poetry.IMAG002416A RAGWORKS Quilt

Sat 8th June     free noon -2.30pm History n Herbs. Walking the Marshes with HedgeHerbs

                                 free  7.30pm. The Epicentre E11.  Bring a dish or snacks to share.  “News from Nowhere” presents a life of “Hancock”.

                                 free  7.30pm John Arthur, the Walthamstow Bard, is playing in the closing evening party  event   at the Holloway Arts Festival   at the  Whittington Park. Community Centre  ,Yerbury Road, N19 4RS    near Upper Holloway  station.

Sun 9th June     free 2-5pm Dalston Eastern Curve Garden by Dalston Junction. Veggie taster session and sale of food grown in the Garden.



Free exhibition at Chats Palace, Brooksby’s Walk Homerton. Exhibition of posters from the archive. You must email www.chatspalace.co.uk to find out when the Palace will be open for you.


Coming soon

Sat 15th June  11-2pm. From The Children’s Centre, Cathall Road E11………

CLOTHESCYCLE We are having a nearly-new and second-hand clothes sale at Langthorne Park, Leytonstone E11″.

Please bring any clean women’s or children’s clothes you wish to donate before 14th June

Sat 15th June 8-6pm.  RANG is on its way. Art in Wood Street, E17.  The road will be closed for the major Walthamstow event.

Coming in a fortnight or so. free at The Centre For Better Health 1a Darnley Rd, Hackney. Come and share your poems and short stories. If you are an aspiring writer, well-spoken poet or like to write for fun; join us at the Centre from the 19th June 2013. Open Poetry…takes place every fortnight on Wednesdays. Refreshments too.