Monday, 25 October 2010

B is for...

A pet hate. Duff spelling, that is, rather than cruciferous comestibles - although both are available in my local Costcutter. Or Costcuter, as it appears on receipts.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Coming up

Winter salad, ahoy! Just hope it survives the weekend frost.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


The Chatsworth Road market has been given the go-ahead by Hackney Council. The stalls will be going up along the street one Sunday in November. Read more here:
Well done to everyone involved.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A sunny day in Clapton town

An amazing autumn day in Hackney. The sun was out, the sky cloudless, with highs of around 20ÂșC. And then there was a glorious pinkish sunset finished it off, which bodes well for tomorrow. Sometimes - sometimes... - I think it's alright living in Clapton.

Millfields looked pretty and presentable in the sunlight (see top picture), the reconstruction of the Lea towpath is coming along nicely, and the Taylor Wimpey builders look in danger of finishing off the final block in the riverside Altius development. In between coffee breaks, the men in the hi-viz gilets spent the day taking down the protective fences and rolling out turf into lawns.

In yet more whimsical news, I went for an 8km run with my trainer - my farthest distance in quite some time - along the Lea Navigation, around the marshes, down into Lower Clapton and back.

I celebreated by baking carrot cake, obviously. I'm about to tuck into the first warm slice before cracking open the new Jonathan Franzen while Afrocubism plays in the background before Spooks at 9pm.

As I say, an amazing day in Clapton. More please.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Meet Lola, the cute little puppy who greets customers at Lock 7, the cycle shop off Broadway Market - and to my knowledge the only place in Hackney that offers a drop-in service. I kept Lola in strokes and cuddles as the guys fixed my brakes this morning. Now that's what I call fair trade.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


New Clapton blog - follow, my pretties.

Lord Sugar of Clapton, read all abaht 'im...

Good to see local Clapton boy-made-good Lord Sugar back on the television, growling and finger-jabbing at his loud-mouthed, big-headed would-be Apprentices. Last night's episode, in which a twonk from the Territorial Army was shown the exit for his inability to sell sausages, was a classic.

To capitalise (ho ho) on his televisular success, Lord Sugar's autobiography What You See Is What You Get is out now. If you're not getting yours from Pages of Hackney, roll up, buy your copy here, folks, etc.

In it, he details - in sometime hilariously bluff Surallan-ese - what he calls his "journey from Clapton to Clapton". (To explain - not a great starting point for an epithet - he grew up in Woolmer House on the Upper Clapton Road, and is now so grand that he has taken the title Lord Sugar of Clapton.)

Say what you like about the businessman formerly known as Sir Alan, he hasn't forgotten his roots. In this book, no east end cliche goes unturned ("I was a Cockney...", "Life was hard in the late Fifties...").

But he redeems himself. On the very first page of his memoirs, he recalls how:

"It was normal for babies to be left outside shops in their prams while the mothers went inside. That in itself gives you a picture of what times were like back then. Parents were not worried about weirdos abducting babies. One day, my mum went to Woolworths and parkedc me outside in my pram. She did her shopping, walked out, and took the 106 bus from Stoke Newington back to Clapton. Only when she was halfway home did it dawn on her: 'I've left Alan outside Woolworths!'"

I'll post more such gems to come as I plough my way through. There's are some lovely pics, too.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Ballad of Homerton Hospital

The A&E department at Homerton Hospital could be on the critical list. According to an admittedly speculative entry on the terrific Blood and Property blog, it’s a likely target for cuts as NHS London is looking “to swing the axe”, and north-east London is covered by by several emergency eepartments - Newham, Whittington and Whipps Cross are all close by. Even Murder Mile stabbings – which aren’t as frequent as you’d think – are dealt with by a team at the Royal London in Whitechapel, more than two miles away.

I have mixed feelings about earmarking Homerton’s A&E for possible closure. Six years ago, they saved my life when I collapsed at home in a coma, brought on by streptococcal meningitis picked up during a weekend in Warsaw. I wasn’t expected to survive the night, but the staff in the intensive care unit worked their magic and had me out of the coma within a fortnight, faculties mostly intactus. They didn’t even mind my friends gathering round my bed to watch Big Brother over my comatose body.

I don’t remember much from my first few morphine-soaked days in a recovery ward, except the hallucinations. At one point, I was convinced that my heart monitor was, in fact, Madonna who had come to see me.

My mum, however, recoils at the memory of the Homerton – not so much my visitors being waterbombed by the tykes in flats nearby, but by how dirty my ward was: the bloody tissues left by my bed by a previous occupant; how she and my sister brought their own disinfectant wipes to give the area a good clean. No one was entirely surprised when I contracted MRSA.

So, as I say, mixed feelings about the Homerton, then. But no reason to close the A&E department. If it hadn't been there six years ago, would I have even made it in to Whipps Cross or the Whitechapel in time?