the world through my eyes (part 2)

Further to my previous post, here is another time that my (lack of) height always becomes an issue – in an ‘audience’.

This is my view of David Lammy MP last night at the House of Commons.

Just a teeny-weeny bit of David Lammy was visible to me!

Luckily, his voice carried incredibly well – which is good, because he had some good stuff to say about the riots, what had obviously happened in his constituency, some lovely words about what we had all achieved etc.

By the time Yvette Cooper came to speak to us, I had managed to move forward.  But to be quite honest, I think I would’ve preferred to hear David Lammy speak a bit more 😉

I could see almost ALL of Yvette Cooper! (ooer)

(PS – although this was in the House of Commons, I do NOT want to get into any political discussion (hate it!) this is purely meant to be about my literal view point, not my political one!) 😀

looking forward to the e17 art trail

On Your Marks! At the E17 Art Trail Warm-Up

This will be the first year that I am going to take an active interest in the E17 Art Trail.  This isn’t really a surprise as it is less than a year since I first started gettign more involved in what was going on in and around Walthamstow.  I remember picking up a guide last year, but didn’t really have anyone to go round with – and I was sulking cos my mate had just moved out from the area.  this is actually the 7th year though and I have absolutely no excuse at all for why I haven’t ‘done’ it before!

This year, I have heard so much more about it as I know quite a few people who will be exhibiting and i am really ratehr excited – I have even taken 3 days off of work when I COULD have got someone to look after The Girl on the last days of her summer holidays  if I’d really wanted to!

So, what is the E17 Art Trail? It is an opportunity for local artists (of all types) in Walthamstow to display their work – whether it be within a local business premises or their own home over a period of 10 days. You can read more about it here.  It is amazing what an arty lot of people there are in Walthamstow though – over 1200 artists are displaying their work in this time – from sculptors to painters to photographers to knitters to filmmakers and poets, a real bringing together of all that’s arty!

How amazing is that??

Fabien's gorgeous dog promoting his exhibition - WOOF!

Even more amazing, The Girl is a guest blogger on the offical E17 Art Trail blog, and has made her first post today – proud mum moment 🙂  PLEASE do go and have a look (and comment) – she would love to feel she’s ‘famous’!!

I went along Sunday before last to the warm-up in the town square, where there was the opportunity to pick up a guide and meet some of the artists who were going to be exhibiting.  It was a beautiful day, and Mark Burton (the photographer whose exhibition I went to a couple of months ago) took loads of photos which you can see here (and I am actually one of the ‘people in frames’!).

It is really hard to decide what to go and see – the guide is full of intriguing stuff, and there’s even a fantastic E17 Art Trail App that I’ve downloaded for my phone!  Of course, I will definitely be visiting exhibits by people I know (obviously) – and here is a quick snapshot of those:

doing our community bit

Search for 'London riots' and this is the police image you are likely to see!

Well, it’s been a funny old week for the UK, hasn’t it?  Luckily, since my last post, there hasn’t really been any more trouble in London.

A lot of this has probably been due to the heavily ‘advertised’ huge police presence on the streets of London – 16,000 police have been enlisted across the capital – 10,000 than there were on Monday night, which I believe was double the usual amount as it was!

We still haven’t had any trouble in Walthamstow, but there has been a massive number of additional police (not surprising considering our close proximity to Tottenham (our house is less than a mile from where Mark Duggan was shot, to put it in perspective).   I had heard that the local police (I can’t speak for others) have had their canteens closed over recent years (don’t know when exactly) and so our MP suggested to a local church group that they open their building as a respite centre to give tea and coffee.

The wonderful Andy jumped on the idea, and it just grew from there – it didn’t take much to convince our fantastic local community to donate both food & drink and their time.  On Tuesday, the St Mary’s Respite Centre was up and running and serving many tired, hungry policemen (and other emergency services).

I managed to get along Wednesday night for 2.5 hours, making sandwiches, serving police and getting to know some of the others who I hadn’t met before – always great to meet community-spirited locals!  I even managed to get a chance to chat to our lovely Borough Commander Steve Wisbey who told us what had been happening locally, and what plans for the immediate future were.  It was great to have our minds put to rest – and he was a jolly nice fella too!  It was great to be able to come home and tell The Girl what was going on, as she had found the whole situation ‘a bit scary’.

Cater for the police and they will come! Such a good feeling 🙂

I went along again last night for about the same length of time, and this time saw more people that I knew, as well as others from the previous night – and there seemed to be even more police there tonight.  It was a fantastic atmosphere, even when it got extremely busy and I didn’t have a momen’ts respite from preparing  jacket potatoes, chilli, sausages or paninis (yes reall – we are THAT sophisticated in our charity here in the Stow!)  I was surprised how much I enjoyed it all!

Volunteer Jess tries on a rather cumbersome police vest

Last night the police wrote a load of thank you messages for us, which were really touching – especially a couple who wrote poems – it was great to feel that our efforts were so appreciated (photo of the board from Martin’s pics)!

A particularly warm fuzzies giving message 🙂

I will definitely be going along again tomorrow, and probably on Sunday too.  I’d love to hear if anywhere else in London has been doing similar.

You can read Andy’s blog on it here.

Fantastic set of photos from Martin here.

Much kudos to the church group – especially Andy, Dean, Nic and Frances who have been tireless in their support, organising the volunteers, getting the word out, gaining the support of local businesses etc and actually making this happen – an amazing bunch of people!

london riots

There is so much I could say about my thoughts on the London Riots (probably starting with the fact that I don’t believe they are ‘riots’, they are the reuslt of sick opportunistic thieving hooligans) but it’s too ‘now’ – too raw.  My beautiful city is being ripped apart at the seams, and it’s just way too sad…

We are lucky that we have appeared to have missed the worst of it (so far) in Walthamstow and the rest of Waltham Forest, but lying under my duvet the past couple of nights (as you know from all horror films, duvets are the ultimate protect-all), and hearing the sirens going along Hoe Street, my heart has skipped many beats, worrying that we could be next.

Beautiful old buildings and people’s businesses, homes, vehicles and livelihoods have gone up in flames or been totally ransacked, for no discernable reason.  This is nothing to do with Mark Duggan whose family must be going through hell at the moment – this is just people seeing the police stretched to their limit and thinking they could get some good gear out of it!

Out of all of it, this photo seems exceptionally poignant.

89 year old assesses the damage to his hairdressing salon after riots on Tottenham High Road

And yet this photo gave me a little faith in humanity.

Turkish shopkeepers in Dalston protect their community from looters

And this woman should be given a knighthood – or made an MP!

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