“Ships In The Night”

Eastside   (after a field trip with Rosetta Art Centre to The Royal Docks. Autumn 2014)

Just still you were

And we found you

We smelt you

And sat down by your concrete bank

Overlooked by new-builds of towers

Perched on subterranean car parks

And noticed ships in bottles,

Trophies of the sea in front windows

Under nets.


A walk away through brown bushes

And scraggy pigeons

Not the sea gulls we expected

We held our noses by a lock

With its green wood and Keep Out signs

And open-mouthed

Wondered at its ancientness

What it meant to its new neighbours

Who pushed by with pushchairs

And Valium eyes

With sights on different horizons.


We reached the red brick bridge

By roads named after fishing ports

And placed the site

Of Harland and Wolff

Of a bygone monster

Of industry

And somehow saw workers in kerchiefs

With Woodbines balanced in toothless mouths.


A droning ship in the sky

Coursed into City Airport

A Scandinavian container lorry

Vibrated the metal under our feet

We looked again into the water

Saw no movement

No men, no boats, no shouts, no funnels

No cranes or moving parts

We touched the red brick as though kissing Madonna’s feet

And quietly slipped away.



*****************************************************************by Gillian Lawrence







Newton’s Cottage in E20

Had to find the venue: The way into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from Stratford/Westfield is a drag drag drag. You cannot avoid Westfield shops and shoppers and you know there’s a walk ahead on desert shingle. Only the security guys knew where were Carpenter’s Lock Road and the art installation entitled “Newton’s Cottage”.lock 4Up in the clouds.

Looking up and gawpinglock 2Jeremy attached to mic.

lockIn Newton’s Cottage, E20. Great timber art installation.

Once found, what an excellent location and speaker. Jeremy Batch was once a lock-keeper. He not only knew his stuff but had prepared all his visual aids. Passers by dropped by to join we five who had booked ahead. The history of the waterways in QEOP was outlined from the 19oos and “The Park is a waterway”.

It was great to hear about camaraderie and responsibility, rules and regulations, historical and present-day lock-management all under a mirrored canopy. One attendee reminded us how the Olympic Park Authority (aka ODA?) had assured us public during the planning and persuading days how the region’s clogged and polluted waterways would be sanitised and used as transport links during the Park construction. Twas a dream. The uplifting of the waterways in 2015 and the restoration of working locks is all about leisure.

Cup of tea afterwards at a kiosk on the Park was £1.60. Not too bad. But the macaroon was £2.50. Nice though.  I’d accomplished something for myself today educationally-speaking and almost got over my dislike of getting to the place.

Carpenter’s Lock was being constructed in 1934.

I’ve done the narrow boat trip with the Stuart Low Trust in Islington. Now that’s how to see a lock in operation at Little Venice/Regent’s Canal.

There’s arty performance stuff on the horizon:-

Talk: The Ins and Outs of a Lock Keeper
25 October, 2pm – 3.30pm
Join former lock keeper Jeremy Batch to learn more about the daily life as a keeper of the canals and waterways.
Newton’s Floating Cinema Afternoon
8 November, Stratford Pier, 12noon – 6pm
Come aboard the magical Floating Cinema for an afternoon of tours and screenings exploring the waterways of East London in collaboration with UP Projects. (Fully booked but a “waitlist” occurs).
Newton’s Narrative
23 November, 12noon – 4pm
Join students of the MA Narrative Environments course from Central Saint Martins who will be leading activities that weave a narrative relating to Newton’s Cottage and the history of this unique and historically significant lock.
Newton’s Dance
29 November, 4pm – 8pm
Come and enjoy a performance specially commissioned by East London Dance responding to Newton’s Cottage.  This immersive piece of dance will interact with the artwork and bring it to life for its final afternoon on the Park.

Up Your Street Issue 32

Mon Aug 15th     Phone  0300  2012550 at 9am to grab a tour of The Olympic and Paralympic
                          Games site, E.20 during Open Weekend 10 and 11th September 2011.
                          free 2-4pm Bruce Castle Museum , Tottenham.”Nitter Natter” chat,
                                       knit and remember 1951.
                           from St John at Hackney, Mare Street.
  Dear FriendsJoin us for an afternoon tea on Clarence Road this Monday 15th August at 5pm. We
will be meeting at 4.30 pm at St John at Hackney to move tables, please come and
help if you are free.The tea is happening on Monday to coincide with the moment the riots started
last week, this is a community event to reclaim the streets.
Tues Aug 16th     free   6.30pm Bryant Community Centre E15 Final ACT planning meeting
                           before the Stratford Summer Festival. Feel welcome at a lovely
                                     community centre and meet friendly as ever Stratford residents.
Wed Aug  17th    free  1.10-1.40pm St John’s Church Stratford, E15, Saxophone session.
Thurs Aug 18th   free   noon. Meet Jacky Hyams at Sutton House, Homerton High Road, 
                          author of “Bombsites and Lollipops”. Buy your 99p Ebook by Jacky
                          at Amazon Kindle offers.
Fri Aug 19th        free   (for residents of Bow primarily) Walking and photography
                           course for 5 weeks. Email Graham for details at graham@walkeast.org 
                          It’s possible the places are filled as it is a very popular Friday afternoon course.
Sat Aug 20th       free  noon-4pm The Stratford Summer Festival, Stratford Park. Meet
                                                     Up Your Street. 
                                                     Open Stage TRSE 2012
                                                     Mapping Your Manor
                                                     Action Community and Stratford residents.
Sun Aug 21st     11.30pm -0700h. free to watch The largest crane in Europe arrives in Stratford to erect a bridge
                                    over Stratford High Street …. all part of The Games.
Wed  Aug 24th   free  7.15-9.30pm Poetry in The Park, Coronation Gardens E10
               That Old Black Magic… tea dances on the horizon
 Stratford Old Town Hall £2 tea dances 1.30-4pm on  12th Sept, 17th october.
 Leyton Community Action £2.50 tea dances happen monthly at The Plum Tree Centre, Leyton Green, E10 
Go to London Transport photographs (IanVisits alerted me to this) to see  wonderful photographs of Wapping Station as it was.
Book at Floating Cinema for the free boat trip with eco-green films  and Harvest Festival at Abbey Gardens, Newham.
                    (no wheelchair access.) There is so much more to enjoy at Floating Cinema. www.floatingcinema.info
Check issue 33 for

activities resuming soon after the Summer Break “Still Alive and Kicking” (Songololo-Feet)

                                                                            Hackney Harmony Singers 
                                                                            Agewell Singers
Stocking up for Eid, BBQs, parties, larder? Go to Tesco. Bargains on savouries and 241 offers on those expensive Patak pickles.
Streetlife Radio is live on internet. Our very own Mary Katherine Presents plays marvellous music from golden times and chats , reads poetry and generally lifts us up for daily life. Other shows keep you on the music pulse as does Tony Regan at The Olde Rose and Crowne theatre pub in Hoe Street E17. 
Vintage TV on Sky is excellent for music and archive film from 1950 to 1980.
Up Your Street   an information-sharing service for seniors listing free events and activities in the 6 London 2012 boroughs.

Floating Cinema

Yes was great. I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t even know how to find Dace Road in Hackney Wick but I did cos I ain’t dumb and fell in love with Old Ford Lock (difficult to feel glad about my adventure as beautiful Amy Winehouse, now deceased, is singing in the background).

The Floating Cinema has a busy programme of free events and I’ll post them up on my uploads for UpYour Street5. It’s a refurbished narrow-boat, clean as a pin and comfy taking a few people at a time.

Today we travelled smoothly up and down the waterway (a canal, hardly teeming with wild-fowl but full of green duck-grass) in the Olympic and Paralympic Games site followed by security all the way. Our 2 hour free trip began and finished at Old Ford Lock

 It was a privilege to get that free ride and all photos taken are unique because the scenery is ever-changing, said the fox who stared at us from the bank. I found nothing really interesting; I might have been in awe if I’d never seen the growing of the Games site from Day 1.

Our hosts were excellent.

What was the icing on the cake was the 10 minute film by Michael Smith , BBC programme man and  resident of Globe Road, Bow all about the changing urbanscape around the Games site and how it is nothing unusual as London is permanently changing. Permanently changing, eh? (my words). Michael’s poetic documentary is ace: He talks once of flowers springing up in ignored pockets of concrete despair and the particular shot shows a gorgeous local woman finding her direction. There was something about London being a ‘roll-call of build upon build’.  Too true. Michael answered our questions then we had a tug-boat cake!  Mmm, chocolate sponge all iced in the shape of a boat.

Very good film, “Drift Street”.

Last week I watched  the recent film “Under The Cranes” with the poet Michael Rosen too. And on BBC 2 last night they showed “The Golden Age of Canals”

Now for some Vintage TV. with Rock ‘n’Roll.

Mapping Your Manor

High Street Seniors will be walking the walk around the perimeter of the Olympic and Paralympic Games site led by Lucy Harrison of Mapping Your Manor and Paula Peaty with Newham Striders.    Sunday 10th July

It’s a 3 hour leisurely walk taking in the sights and the site through Hackney Wick, Fish Island, Wick Woodland and stopping for events such as readings and memories. There are drop off points because it is a long stretch of time. End point is Stratford where we start.

Free and meet at 1pm at Theatre Royal Square i.e. in the Cultural Quarter in Stratford E15. (158,69, and many buses). Might be good just to let Lucy know numbers so call her on  07964878315 if you’re coming along. It’ll be good

All repeats next Sunday 17th July

Lucky me…got a place on the Floating Cinema Tours to check out more of the Games site, end of July.