Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hackney's saving graces

It's been a while coming, but finally I'm leaving Hackney. I've spent the best part of 20 years in this neck of the woods, on and off. Finally, I'm off. Especially treacherously, I'm heading south of the river. By way of a goodbye (or is it adieu?), here are a few things I'll miss about Clapton. In no particular order: • The River Lea Navigation towpath. So pretty in parts, so strewn with litter in others. I only wish i'd jogged along it more than I did, and learned to kayak at the Springfield marina. • The 56 bus. A better class of passenger than the 38. • Hackney Picturehouse. Great seats. Mostly great sightlines (bar the odd pillar...). Particularly crap ticket queuing system, esp at peak times. And it doesn't just attract arch Dalston hipsters. Best thing to happen to Hackney in ages. • Poking around the bookshelves of Pages of Hackney, particularly the 'Local' section. I've spent too much money in that place. Use it or lose it, people.  • Hackney Library. The bookstock itself isn't up to much, and I never sussed the computer system. But the "eclectic" (to say the least) CD collection occasionally threw up some gems. And the loos are handy when you get caught short. • The rebirth of Chatsworth Road. Once a crappy rat run. Now a hipster hangout. So swings and roundabouts. • Getting my bike fixed at BikeYardEast. Celia's a whizz with a puncture and gives the best two-wheel service in the borough. (Don't be smutty.) • London Fields Lido. Especially in autumn when the leaves start coming down and the steam rises. • Palm 2. The only supermarket Claptonists will ever need. You listening, Tesco? • The bike lane that cuts diagonally across Millfields. Because when cycling home - or running drunk from Homerton station after a Kylie concert - you know you're nearly there. • Princess of Wales pub - or 'The Diana' as I annoyingly called it. A tipsy evening spent playing darts with my sofa-surfing mate Mark, a pint of Youngs in the beer 'garden' with my beloved grandad. Ah, such memories.  • Homerton Hospital. Saved me from death-by-meningitis, and gave me a dose of MRSA in the process. *So* Hackney...     Until next time. You can now find me blogging here. Do drop by.