Great day in Islington and Hackney

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Off the 56 bus at The Angel Islington, into a sea of white people and into The Claremont to check out submissions for The Claremont Project’s forthcoming art exhibition and to grab my seat for the Tap-dancing show. Fabulous Stella with equally fabulous senior women were doing their thing which in this case was showing their skills having learnt  since January 2013 to tap-dance or to improve their techniques. They thrilled a small audience. Cameras clicked and video-phones silently recorded the treat.

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Move over Beyoncé!

I collected the “Strawberry Tea” tickets for Culpeper Gardens on 2nd July from Claremont office. One hundred pensioners are expected by host, The Stuart Low Trust,  on Tuesday and a appeal has gone out for scone-bakers to bring forth their goodies. Thought Stuart Low Trust was in cohorts with Sainsbury’s. My home-made quiche  for lunch today was to die for. Enough of me.

Left elated and took the bus back to cut through Navarino Mansions and into London Fields. Babies were everywhere. The paddling pool was freezing cold: The toddlers said it! Grannies were out and about with their grandchildren and granddads led dogs of all shapes and sizes. The Lido was packed in the lunch hour.

Ended the afternoon in Vinegar Alley E17 with rumours about ladies of the night. More Googling to do.

On email, Yasmin from NANAs told me about craft afternoons in Chatsworth Road E5 on Tuesdays. Good. Checking the fee.


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!