weirdwalthamstow

Central Parade and Today Bread

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2016 at 4:44 pm

After a long run of successful pop up businessess in the council owned shop on Hoe St they’ve decided to go large and turn the big unit on Central Parade into a hive of startups (God, I remember when it was the benefits office while I was out of work 2008 to 2011). According to local artist Antonietta Torsiello (who I’ll return to later) the venue is a project with an organisation called Meanwhile Space who turn unused buildings to profitable community use.

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Minimal decor of a new venue. The room in the background is the shared working space area.

But initially we were there for lunch at the cafe run by local bakers Today Bread (Check out how rough their website is). While it’s clear in the picture it was busy it was not too bad for a Saturday lunchtime. While in the queue my partner went and grabbed a menu…

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Meaaaaat… must have meaaaat sandwich…

“Meat sandwich”. Nope, not at all ominous. Did not have me wondering where all those missing Walthamstow cats are, nope…

So we got to the front and the meat sandwich of the day was a sliced italian procsetto (sp?) with beatroot. Sadly they later found they were out of meaaaaat (sorry, just sounds like that in my head) so my partner joinded me in a cheese and onion pickle sandwich as she didn’t fancy the third and final vegetarian option. There are a few small cakes too but it’s nowhere near the spread you get at Indulgence. I had an Earl Geay tea and my partner a coffee. We camped on the stools next to the window to watch life go by. Already out were jugs of tapwater and fresh little glasses; always a classy touch. My partner really liked the coffee and thinks it may be the same nutty blend used in No 56. When they brought our drinks over we also got the wifi password which is always appreciated.

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Cheeeeese sandwich (okay, you’ll just have to imagine that running joke is being said by a zombie)

And the sandwich was really nice. The cheese tasted really good, not cheap supermarket gumf. And the bread, as one would hope, was excellent. Obviously more expensive than a sandwich along the high street but not overpriced and a genuine pleasure.

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Retail units

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Art and display cases

After the nice lunch we had a browse at the display cases around the cafe area showing local products and a look in a couple of the retail units. Which is where we met Antonietta who told us about her work and sharing the unit with another artist. My partner was very taken with one of her African prints which had red telephone boxes as a motif and treated herself to some art! Not what we expected to do today.

The other units seemed to be a photographer, a wedding dress designer and a crafts/gifts shop.

While browsing a map of the venue there seem to be office and studio spaces downstairs plus the shared work space.

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There’s not much segregation between the work space and a room full of young families and hard, flat walls. I suspect headphones are very useful.

Overall I think it’s a very positive venture. I was visiting family in Stoke-On-Trent last weekend and this is the sort of venture that could really boost an area hit by the recession like that. I’m glad we have one here; despite gentrification there are still plenty of people who need support to get their dreams off the ground.

Walthamstow Garden Party 2016

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2016 at 9:56 pm

When I started this blog during a period of unemployment I intended it to be a look into the stranger side of the stow. Well, I never made it to the fetish clubs and here I am writing up another Garden Party. Not really much in the way of rock n’ roll investigative journalism. Sorry.

But it does give me a place to talk about the fun, neat stuff we do have!

So there has been a lot of discussion online about the queuing on Saturday. I arrived with my partner and her elderly parents at 12:05 as we had scooched in quickly at this time last year. We arrived to find a long queue had already formed and joined it half way down Winns Terrace. It sat still for ages. Fortunately that whole stretch is shaded by trees in Lloyd Park so we were comfortable on a very hot day and my missus was quite happily catching Pokemon. Eventually we got moving and entered the park at 1PM. There was an odd segregation of families with prams/pushchairs and the rest. The reason soon became evident with the bag search and body scan at the entrance. We were swiped all over with a metal detector; a sad sign of the times. I suspect the sniffer dog was a bit overkill. But then we finally got in!

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So by this point were were ready for lunch and wanted to get fed before the inevitable massive lines. My partner and I went for Peruvian burgers; which only really differed from regular burgers by virtue of the crunchy, vermicelli like fried potato. They were nice and and the in laws enjoyed their sandwiches.

Fuelled we progressed to some of the stalls. Rather shockingly this year while we were given a map at the entrance there was no listings of timed events! According to the Barbican stall the listing was available online or we could photo their lamianted hand made one. Maybe a budget cut?

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The poetry tent

So we had a wander around South Field. The poetry tent seemed well attended and the blackboard outside listed a full day of performances. There was a ‘comedic’ trampoline act (sarcastic quotes intended). I took the opportunity to duck into the Wildcard tent to grab a pint of King of Hearts while they were quiet; £5.50 a pint feels like a festival price, but 50p of that does go to the Garden Party fund for next year.

Settling on the grassy knoll (sadly uncut on the sides; was such a nice perch last year for so many) we watched a Tai Chi group perform. Then the Walthamstow Acoustic Massive set up and launched into their cover of Hotel California. Sadly at this point my partner and parents had enough of the sun and voted to leave meaning I had to miss the WAM’s cover of ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’, which was totally epic last year. Mind you, this year they were a bit smothered by the booming PA of the big tent a hundred meters away😦

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The WAM

So off we wandered to the food tent, followed by the local groups tent. I had great chats with volunteers for the St James St and William Morris ward Big Local organisations which have both won £1 million development grants. As I live on the edge of the WM ward I’m really glad to hear of their work. St James St are already revamping shop fronts and interiors.

My partner wanted to look in the flower garden and we had a nice stroll through the flower beds failing to recognise any plants.

As we’d returned to near the entrance we took the opportunity to browse the arts and crafts tents (“The home of those who make an create”, y’know?) and checked out the Thams tile installation which was being built. It seems like visitors can make a tile using artefacts found along the Thames. It was a nice piece, I thought.

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The Thames installation in the front garden

At this point we gave up and retreated to Peaky Blenders for tea and coffee and a much shorter queue than the beer tents. But the weather had taken it’s toll on the in laws and they bid us good day.

In an effort to see some music we went to the big main Barbican tent where a band consisting of two drummers and a keyboard player were playing some sort of dance music (remember, I can’t tell you who they are, no listing). The keyboard player at the front was trying to be a bit of a poser, but that fails unless you are Rick Wakeman. Anyway, it was a all a bit samey so we headed to the dance tent where my other half had a bit of a rave reliving her yoof. I sat on a bench and wrote my notes for this review; my yoof was all metal and mosh pits.

I have to wonder at the demographic mix; There seemed to be lots of young families, hipsters and, unlike the Stoneydown park festival, teenagers. With the event appearing in Time Out and being tweeted by Eurostar it was widely publicised. There were still long queues visible outside. Is is choking on its own success?

So, more food. We queued for jerk chicken. They were out of peas and rice but did us plain rice with a dumpling. They also had no soft drinks left. Hopefully that was indicative of all the stalls having a prosperous day.

At which point we felt worn out by a long afternoon in the sun. We left and meandered home, feeling good. Very well done to all involved in running the event!

Sodo Pizza

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2016 at 2:59 pm

(Argh! My camera phone lost the photos!)

After having an afternoon seeing a film at the Barbican my partner and I fancied treating ourselves to dinner out. Which is always a good excuse to try a new local place we’ve heard so much about.

We turned up at 6:30PM on a Saturday and the place was really busy. Judging by the families probably lots of post-shopping meals. We’d had a nose through the door just after they’d opened and it seemed to me they have settled in a lot more since. They had space for us at the bar which gives a good view of the place, even if my short other half had a comedy moment getting onto the high bar stools. Sadly there were no chelsea hooks so I ended up sitting on my coat. I liked the warmly lit atmosphere, especially as the view from the window was the back walls of Hoe Street.

The waiter gave us a bottle of water and glasses with the menus which was much appreciated on a warm evening. The menu is short but focused; I hate having to read a multi page listing of minor varients of the same thing. They only do sourdough pizza; this is not a genric Italian.

There is a good beer selection from local breweries; I went for a Beavertown 8-Ball, my favourite of that house. My partner went for the restaurant’s own ginger ale which received a good review; while having chmotherapy last year my other half consumed a lot of ginger based products to deal with the nausea so is very qualified on the subject.

We were a bit boring and shared a simple garlic bread as a starter. It was very well done though; the bread slices had just a hint of crispness on the ouside. For our mains we had a goats cheese based pizza (mine) and a meaty one (hers). My pizza had a heap of rocket in the middle much like Pepe’s pizza at the Rose and Crown. The sun dried tomatos on it were really strong too. It was a very nice pizza and their reputation is deserved.

They had wifi but it was locked; I wasn’t too fussed at the time about checking my Facebook so I don’t know how good it is. But this isn’t a cafe where one checks out the Saturday night social reports on a Sunday morning; it’s a lively, social place where the staff are very friendly. I got into a chat with the guy seemingly running this branch about their drinks menu (I’d noticed the mixers).

Our meal for two came to £29. A totally fair price for good food and abiance and one which I suspect keeps their tables full.

It was funny back when it was the odd little cafe that had a lot of Equadorean food on the menu but hardly ever seemed to be open. But this back ally eaterie seems to have become a cornerstone of the local food scene and I can see it being one of my regulers – as long as they can fit me in at the bar.

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