Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hippy Woodgreen

There's a man with dredlocks twirling a light baton and dancing badly outside the cinema - the kind of thing that would look impressive on the beach in Ibiza when you've been up all night dancing and are coming home bleary-eyed but doesn't look quite so good in a dreary high street.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Lurk of the Spider

Its that time of year again, having evicted many many spiders from the house one comes running across the floor at great speed, sensing me it creeps off into a corner, finds it way round the back of something and out into the light again, waiting, waiting, then running. Running over to the skirting board under the window. And he's gone. Gone for the time being. Ready to scare me later when I've forgotten he's gone under there.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Union Point Demolition (what I knew as the carpet shop)

Today they started to knock this landmark down. I don't expect we will get a comparable building when they put something else on the site. A small group of people from the community stood and watched. People came and saw and drifted off, replaced by other people. Couples walking their dogs. Father and son. Subdued atmosphere. Several media companies there, doing talking heads in front of the demolition.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Evening aftermath

Getting off the train at Bruce Grove, walk through a corridor in the cordon through some business' back gate, following a group of people talking about the looting across other areas - they think its stupid reporting when the youths are just breaking windows.

Through the park, a man is standing on one of the man-made humps flying a homemade kite. He manages to let the line out and out and out until its high high in the sky - over the gardens of houses about a short block away. Rippling sound of the fabric it is made of and the whoosing as it twists and turns in the sky making huge diving figures of 8. Someone behind me says to him the last time he saw a man fly a kite was in the Caribbean, at Eastertime. The kite flying man agrees - its good weather for it. Then his concentration is lost and he lets go of the line, the handle on the end of the line is dragged off, out of the park and over the wall of someone's garden. The kite is flying itself, higher and higher. The man and another chase after it, trying to call to the owner of the garden in case they can climb over and salvage it. As I go round the corner they are climbing onto the garage of the end of the terrace in an attempt to grab the middle of the line. Can't believe it hasn't crashed to the earth yet.

Round the corner a very drunk Pole is sitting on the ground with a half drunk pint of Guinness and a keg of guiness with homemade straw/pump contraption sticking out of the top.

I turn onto my road away from the rest of the walking neighbourhood. Must have been like this before regular public transport. When I get home the news is showing helicopter footage of a fire in a building next to Gregs - it looks like Rye Lane to me but the newsreader doesn't know where it is. There is nothing anywhere near - no buses, no fire engines, no bystanders. Nothing. Just a house and business on fire, unattended. Close the door and lock up behind me. The outside world still feels a little unstable.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tottenham is Burning

On the way home at 5.00pm the bus was turned around when it came upon a protest outside the police station on Tottenham High Road. Later on the news the protest didn't come to the expected end and had escalated into something much more violent and destructive. Glued to the news the pictures were shocking - cars burning, riot police, burning buildings, youths throwing fireworks, petrol bombs and bricks. Choppers circling overhead persistently all night long.

In the morning it transpired that the rioting had reached much closer to home - completely destroying the carpet shop that acts as the landmark for Lansdowne Road. Walked down to have a look at the destruction for myself. Community members were shocked at the scenes. Horrified at the level of violence and destruction. One man said he lived in the flats over the carpet shop - someone had rung him and told him he shouldn't stay in too long (at 2am) because it was coming that way and they were burning things. He went out for a walk and half an hour later the place was completely engulfed. Further up the road it was possible to see some of the burned out cars and debris strewn across the street, further burned out buildings and broken windows. At the other end of the high road the media frenzy was in full swing with anyone who fancied being on TV hanging on the shoulders of journalists, or giving interviews. Nearby an icecream van had rolled up and was doing some swift business.

Hate the fact that the only time tottenham gets in the news is in these negative terms. Having come to live here 4 years ago I was suprised at the historic nature of a good portion of the buildings. If the Council had worked thoughtfully there could have been some building  here that  enhanced the historic while updating the neighbourhood. The regeneration was only half done - new shopfronts for some had created a uniform look to some of the stores. Many in the street were feeling the area has been put back 20 years. Time will tell.

Georgian London

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


After the sweltering heat of the unairconditioned office and a stifling journey home by tube, it is bliss to sit in the garden, following a long bathe, in loose unconstructed clothing reading as the light fades until unable to see the words on the page any longer. Visited by a couple of neighbourhood cats - the barely grown kitten who has already had her own litter and a stray tom. The air cooling considerably, prospect of a more comfortable night's sleep. Eating a red grapefruit sour enough to make the mouth go OO. Finally the flittering flight of the pipistrelle eating gnats overhead. Time to go in.
Good day for the beach

Halfway to the station it became apparent that the lady in the straw hat, big bag of beach things and an excited toddler was in a group that filled half the bus. A cacophony of bright shorts, designer sunglasses, vest tops and playsuits, bead necklaces, coolers and hampers.  Well provisioned, turned out for a fashion-mag day at the beach. Wished I was going.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Morning terrors

Blood curdling screams from next door made my hair stand on end. Thoughts of some terrible tragedy befalling family members went through my head. Then shouting at the dog. Dog came out into the garden making weird snuffling noises. Somehow he had killed a fox and was carrying it round. 

Later they have cleared away the evidence but the dog is excitable barking at phantoms.