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Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

Spring Cafe, Forest Road

In food, Uncategorized on July 15, 2017 at 11:56 am

Today was a rare Saturday where I get a lie in at my flat and not my partner’s. So I decided to treat myself to breakfast at Grill on the Hill and form an opinion for a review.

They were shut. On a Saturday morning.

Being the ‘adapt and overcome’ type I moved on to Spring cafe, half way down to Blackhorse Road station. I must have walked past a thousand times, usually late in the evening when they are shut. So today became the day to give them a try!

The décor is very ‘caff’. Lots of London pictures like they want tourists to feel at home.

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The ‘London’ tablecloths

I ordered a set breakfast. Eventually. The staff member who took my order assumed I was trying to order off the other breakfast menu. When I said the set 3 breakfast I had to then describe the contents as the staff member wasn’t tall enough to see the menu board over the fridge. Ho hum.

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There are also impressive indoor plants!

While waiting I noticed they have a 4/5 council rating, which is respectable.

My fryup was typical of other local eateries. The bubble n’ squeak was particularly chunky, with plenty of veg in it. At one point they propped the front door open; like cafe 56 I don’t think exposing your customers to extra bus fumes is particularly helpful.

I think I have a softer spot for Rodi and Jessies but Spring is a reasonable fall back option.

Froth & Rind and the 60’s Photo Exhibition Review

In Events, food on June 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

After a visit to the excellent Goddards Vet Clinic to pic up a new cat carrier after our cat bust his last one my partner and I wanted to grab some lunch. Not gripped by any of the wares on the little Orford Road Saturday market we decided to give Froth&Rind a try.

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So this little cafe is simply kitted out and the menu seems to be predominantly craft beer (I imagine canned/bottled), coffee and toasted cheese sandwiches (I imagine Froth&Rind&Hops is a bit unmanageable). They do have a few other things on offer.

May partner and I decided to go for a classic chedder cheese and onion pickle toastie. No diet coke in this classy place, but Fentiman’s Lemonade for me and coffee for my SO was fine. Sadly I was so hungry by this time I’d eaten the food before I thought of a photo! While the bread wasn’t as great as the toasties in Central cafe (being your own bakery) the filling was so ample it spilled out (yay for napkins). But hey, Central is a bit more pricey too.

It was warm indoors so we sat out front being all continental. Fortunately there no smokers about, although the yummy mummy coming out with a crying child in one hand and a tiny coffee in the other had us laughing with “I’ll buy you some brie later, sweetie!” Ah, you know when you’re in the village…

Not much of a review I guess, but when we’re next in the village I’d go back for more. A little later in the day and a toastie with a beer sounds a great way to spend an hour.

Since we were in the area we dropped into Vestery House Museum to see their 1960’s photo exhibition. There are lots of great pictures of the area, many of the usual local landmarks. I liked one of the Priory Court Estate as you can see the old Walthamstow FC ground where my home is now. There were also lots of newspaper clippings and other ephemera. As public transport users we particularly enjoyed the bits about the opening of the Victoria Line, and the quotes of locals wondering who would want to use it! The exhibition is free and well worth 15 minutes if you’re in the area.

 

The Great Get Together

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2017 at 8:56 am

Before anything else yeah, I know I didn’t write about the Art Trail. We just did a few of the showings on Hoe Street on the first weekend, as well as seeing a few around town. Look, if you’re the sort of person who reads local blogs you already knew and probably planned out a whole weekend to see as much as possible like artistic Pokemon. So lets just take it as read, m-kay?

On the anniversary of the murder of MP Jo Cox there was a nationwide celebration of community and we had one here in Walthamstow town square. I arrived with my partner just as Stella was opening the event. We gratefully had some of the free food laid on by Deja Vu Garden (who I must try soon) and settled in a bit of shade. The DJ played music, kids played, people lounged. I grabbed a beer (and water) from the supermarket and just chilled.

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The first of a number of local musicians.

There were performances over the afternoon from local singers, the Rose & Crown choir and some drummers. My partner and I had a walk around the stalls and made a donation to the wonderful local food bank Heat or Eat. There was a van where locals could randomly meet others from the community.

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I reckon we had a couple of hundred people at peak

As the evening wore on we came to the point where the Muslim community was about to break it’s fast. There had been a number of tickets to join them for Iftar but for the rest of us lovely Sodo pizza and Roosters chicken put on plentiful free food. The food was preceded by statements of community by Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Humanist representatives.

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Council leader Clare Coghill joined in too.

Even as the evening came to it’s end at 10PM there was still food being handed out including lovely cups of dates.

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Stella helping to hand out food while having a bop

It’s easy to talk about community but I wonder if we could have had a bigger turn out. I’m sure team running it did everything they could to publicise it but I suspect there are many people here who are so disconnected they don’t follow local blogs like this or chat on Walthamstow Life. I hope at least some of them were passing and came and sat a while. I hope they’d feel like they belonged.

Yard Sale Pizza

In food on June 1, 2017 at 10:47 am

So for my partner’s birthday her mum decided we should all go to lunch to Sodo Pizza (her mum’s favourite). However since the big day was the bank holiday Monday Sodo was shut which gave us a perfect opportunity to try Yard Sale Pizza.

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The building is one I’d wondered about over the years, a medium size commercial looking property on the North stretch of Hoe Street, pretty much Bell Corner. I’m told it used to be a stained glass workshop. It’s age is still apparent and I think it suits a hipster pizza joint.

It had customers on the day but we only had to wait a minute to be shown our table. It has a system of going up to the counter to order and pay but instead of numbers on spoons they just take your name.

It looks like they follow Sodo’s path of doing a small number of pizzas well.

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Take your pick of 8 toppings. Note the menu seems to have been printed on an inkjet, hence the print smears.

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Dips, sides, desserts and drinks. The guest ale was Wildcard’s Queen of Hearts.

We got our order in and the food did not take long to arrive.

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We ordered 2 garlic breads between 4 of us. Crisp shell and soft inside, but could have been heavier on the garlic.

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Two of us went for the Holy Pepperoni. It was very nice, just the right side of spicy with a great base.

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My partner went for the ham and courgette one which looks great.

I didn’t get a photo of my partner’s mum’s aubergine pizza but as and we we ever get back I think I’ll give that one a try.

While we were all on soft drinks the can and bottle beer selection for East London breweries was good.

The décor looks like an America pizzeria trying to look like an Italian one, an image boosted by the 80’s US pop-rock soundtrack. There are benches outside for those who want the al fresco street café experience of breathing in diesel fumes from passing buses.

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Very Americana, although the orange plastic schoolchairs add a tint of British naffness.

Overall we liked Yard Sale but unanimously agreed we preferred Sodo. For me it feels a bit more grown up, adventuress and has a better drinks menu. But I like Yard Sale and will happily eat here again.

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And of course they do deliver.

‘Twas Ever Stow’ Exhibition

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

There was a little craft market today in a car park on Hoe Street. Just a half dozen stalls but cute (apparently they may be there on future Sundays). But while there we were handed a flyer on a new free exhibition in the council shop on Hoe Street (where they have the pop ups) so we dropped in for a look.

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No photos were allowed inside so this is the sign in the window

The show is a celebration of the local shopping streets of High Street and Hoe Street. There are some paintings and lots of photos from each street showing the history of their development. There are quotes from local residents on display on what it was like to shop here plus focuses on a few key shops (surprisingly Sainsburys is one).

It’s a nice little exhibition and well worth dropping in to see.

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And local stained glass in the other window.

May Day at Lloyd Park

In Events on May 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm

I’ve never quite made it to the May Day event at the park, even though it’s near where I live. And with the grey skies this year raining on me and my partner on our way to limp sandwiches at St James street Costa I came close to missing it again. But my other half wanted a walk so we strolled over for a look.

When we got there to the large back field it had not long officially started but there were well over 100 people there, many with small children. We were immediately drawn to the Maypole where organisers were organising many children into holding ribbons and dancing around.

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Dancing around the May Pole

Yet again I’m impressed at our community’s determination to go out and have fun no matter the weather.

It was not as busy an event as the Garden party but there was a long line of stalls around the outskirts of the field.

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More fun than the Fyre Festival!

We gave the inflatable slides a miss and started at the other end. There were many food stalls which at 12:30 were already getting business.

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Yay, Chips With Dips is back!

As you can imagine, we rapidly regretted the Costa limp sandwiches.

Chips with Dips is back in service with a revamped van. I hope to see them at other local events. Giggly Pig from the Farmers Market was there and many other food stalls.

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Love this hot dog stall’s branding.

Speaking of dogs we were far to early for the dog fancy dress pageant but there were loads of pooches socialising. We enjoyed a happy 5 minutes watching people try and persuade their dogs around the obstacle course. Adorable unintentional comedy.

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Doggie training

It was a nice community event and it was great to see the Friends of Lloyd park getting a lot of attention. Well done to all involved.

My embarrassing Higham Hill post

In Drink, Places on April 9, 2017 at 5:32 pm

I bet that subject line got your attention.

So I’ve lived in Higham Hill for 13 years yet haven’t really explored my local area much. Walked up Higham Hill road a couple of times and a bit of Blackhorse Lane. I think the problem is I’ve rarely had the time. I used to work in Surbiton, then a West End job working crazy hours, then my current job in Chiswick. The 3 years I was out of work in the recession contained crippling depression. Spending weekends at my partner’s near the high street means I’m not much in my home area.

But today I got home and got the vacuuming done and thought “Fuck staying in on a sunny afternoon. Fuck being that guy.” So I went out for a walk. Time for a nice, cold beer. Time to try some local pubs.

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Facelift?

Just a 10 minute walk up the hill from my flat is the Warrant Officer. Lots of scaffolding on the outside didn’t stop it being open on a Sunday afternoon and it was pleasantly quiet. The sound system was playing various Americana  from Country to blues to a ‘Lighter Shade of Pale’. Speaking of pale I chose a pint of 13 Guns yank IPA. They had a couple of ale taps on but I was in the mood for something cold. £4 tells me I’m not in the pub at the West Midlands council estate I grew up in (seriously I get change from a twenty when I buy 6 pints at Xmas). I settled into a corner armchair to let life go by.

I’d rank the Warrant Officer under ‘nice estate pub’. It seems to have a bunch of middle aged and retired men making up the clientèle in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. It’s got a couple of TVs (not on, fortunately), pool table, free wifi. Apart from the mix of old chairs the décor revolves around military insignia and a case full what I think are replica flintlocks.

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Look, in the middle, a case full of guns!

Eschewing the wifi I sat, made a few notes for this post and enjoyed the music. I think I’ll be back for a quiet pint again sometime.

Fortified with a beer I decided to go look for  Higham Hill Park, which was just 2 minutes away. It was a bit smaller than I expected (Lloyd park has spoiled me, and is nearly as close) but has good facilities which were being well used; tennis courts, basketball courts, playground and playing field.

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So many of the trees are in blossom. Since there were loads of kids in the park I deliberately tried to avoid photographs with people in them.

I found myself a patch of grass to write some notes. And then stretched out for 20 minutes. It was warm with a cooling breeze and I found myself occasionally chuckling at how I never make time to make time for myself. I watched planes overhead leave contrails and pigeons flirt with each other.

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So, more beer. On a previous walk I’d noticed another pub and decided to try the Prince of Wales on St Andrews Road.

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Prince of Wales’ unassuming exterior.

No interior shot of this one. I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact I wasn’t the only bloke in the pub watching the football. This is your classic estate pub; choice of Guinness, John Smiths or Fosters (I went for lager on a warm day). Judging by the missing paint it’s not seen a decorator this century. Two of the three TVs in this smallish bar were showing the game. There’s a pool table and a one arm bandit if Sky Sports doesn’t get you excited. Looking out back there seems to be a beer garden.

While I may not be kind the ‘stow needs a mix of pubs to serve all of its residents. As we don’t have a ‘spoons it is pubs like this and the Lord Palmerston which serve the ‘basic’ end of the local beer trade.

While I doubt I’ll return to the last venue I hope to spend some time chilling in my local park. Certainly, I’ll drop into the Warrant Officer of an evening for a pint.

And next time I get chance for a walk I’ll try and venture a bit further North into my neighbourhood.

A World to Win. Posters of Protest and Revolution

In history on January 1, 2017 at 1:19 am

So just before Xmas I had a chance to go see this exhibition at the William Morris museum. And unusually I puposefully did not take any pictures. I was so moved by this beautifully curated (by the V&A) collection of protest posters with the stories behind each one from all around the world over the last centuary. I don’t want to spoil for you the intersection of activism, design and art that is collated here.

The pictures are grouped by themes and allow you to see different angles on similar causes from different cultures and times. There is a jukebox in the middle of the room that is full of protest songs from the likes of NOFX, John Cooper Clarke and Deacon Blue! It souldtracks the exhibit wonderfully and I could have spent hours working through its catalogue.

The exhibition is free (although I ask that you drop some change in the WM Museum collection box on the way out). The show is yet another win for the reinvigorated building; it’s funny to think the council wanted to slash its opening hours to a tiny amount. If they try that again I think some posters will be arranged…