Monthly Archives: March 2012

New community cafe in N15

The past few years have seen a rise in the number of community cafes opening across the country. In Haringey alone we already have a couple that I know of: Downhill’s Park (affordable food alongside training and employment for people with learning difficulties); and Station House on Stapleton Hall Road (serving food donated by supermarkets that is past the sell-by date and providing catering training for volunteers). I’m sure there are probably more.

And what’s not to like? Usually run by enthusiastic volunteers – people who care about community cohesion and giving something back, rather than profits alone – they are a place where local residents can get together and eat a good meal, something not always that simple for many in the community.

On Friday I lunched at a new community café opening near West Green Road, here in Tottenham. Filling the Gap N15 is an initiative set up by local parents Rennee Taylor and Kate McMath King. Tired of having to trek over to Crouch End for a kiddie friendly, healthy lunch, they decided to try opening somewhere in our neck of the borough.  Their aim is to provide lunch every Friday for all-comers, charging just £5 per family. Continue reading

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Blogging is paying off!

I’m very pleased that off the back of a blog post I wrote last month,  I have managed to get a piece in The Guardian today on febrile convulsions. You can read the Guardian article here and the original blogpost here. Spot the difference!

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Uncomfortable questions from a 4-year-old

“Why are willies sometimes straight and sometimes bendy?” Stan’s reasonable question when he woke up for a wee last night with an erection.

Erm, anyone know a four-year-old-friendly version of that one? I’m all up for straightforward, no-nonsense answers when it comes to kids’ tricky questions, but seriously, any suggestions? Continue reading

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Get your fountain splashing in before the hosepipe ban – Diana Memorial Fountain

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in ...

From April 5th the hosepipe ban across southern and eastern England will mean no paddling pools in the parks and no public fountains will be filled. So with this lovely March weather we’re having I thought I’d get in while I can and took the kids on our first trip to the Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park. I’ve not much fancied it before because I heard you couldn’t paddle in it in case you fell over and sued the Queen and I also envisaged it heaving with tourists. Continue reading

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A knitted fireman

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished Stan’s knitted fireman. Stan’s response to all my hard work? ‘Where’s his hose mummy?’ Gah, four year olds are tough customers.

If anyone wants the pattern, just let me know.

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Call out for local kids’ events

I want to compile a list of the regular kids’ events and activities in and around Haringey. Every time I find myself with a spare half hour with the kids I have to trawl through several children’s centre timetables or conduct an online search. So I’ve decided to try to list all the events in one place, by day. I’m nearly ready to publish it – I have pretty much all the children’s centres and libraries, but if anyone knows of any groups, please message me or comment below so I can add them. I’m mainly interested in under-fives at the moment, and I’m not including courses, like swimming or football.

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In Praise of … Markfield Park, Tottenham

Despite having grown up in Seven Sisters and having lived in N15 for the past year, I have only just discovered the wonders of Markfield Park. Tucked down off the one-way system at Tottenham Hale, about half a mile down the canal from Springfield Park, is a little unexpected delight.

Markfield Park map

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Fix My Street – I made a complaint to Haringey council and it got sorted!

Complaint_Department_please_take_a_number

I know, I know, the headline to this post is pretty unbelievable, but I swear it’s true. For the past 18 months there has been building works going on at a property on my street. I say going on, they actually ground to a halt around 17 months ago due to a lack of planning permission, apparently. But the building-site hoardings remained and have blocked the pavement all this time. So every day for a year or so I have grumbled my way into the middle of the road with the pram, unable to pass safely on the pavement. Never once did I think that I, little old me, had the power to effect change.

Then I discovered this site: www.fixmystreet.com, a kind of Complaints ‘R Us. No pothole too small, no dog turd too big – you can make any complaint you like and they will forward it to the relevant department of your local council, wherever you live in the UK. Continue reading

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Sticker Heaven – the Obliteration Room at the Tate Modern

After school today I took the kids to the Tate Modern to see the Obliteration Room – a completely white room, turned polka-tastic with thousands of dotty stickers handed out to children (and kidults) as they enter.

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It’s part of the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, a Japanese artist who is a bit spot and dot obsessed. The main exhibition is supposed to be quite a good one for young children, but we spent so long in this room we didn’t have time for the whole shebang. Plus the Obliteration Room is free and the exhibition is a tenner (kids under twelve are still free) – so winners all round.

The kids loved it – Stan mainly liked sticking stickers on Gertie and Gertie mainly liked eating stickers, but both were happy for at least 45 minutes.

The Obliteration Room is on level 1 of the Tate Modern. Open Sun-Thurs, 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10am-10pm. On until March 18th.

Follow this link and check out these really cool pictures in The Guardian of another Obliteration Room in Brisbane:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2012/feb/01/obliteration-room-yayoi-kusama-in-pictures

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Book Review: What the Grown-Ups Were Doing, Michele Hanson

What the Grown-Ups Were Doing, Michele Hanson

Written for Time Out

Growing up in suburban London in the 1950s as an odd-looking Jewish tom-boy, with a ‘pin head, and staggeringly ugly profile’ wasn’t much fun for Michele Hanson. Suburban Ruislip, with its ‘one cinema, and the lido and woods’ didn’t offer many thrills. But, lucky for us, 50 years on it provides an amusing read.

Covering the years from naïve child to questioning teen, the memoir charts the vicissitudes and enlightenment of this transition. Hanson attempts to understand her family, her Jewishness, and the surprising facts of life – from the shouting, farting and general vulgarity of her mum and dad (‘I did not want to hear my parents laughing loudly and crudely at things to do with sex and bottoms, or using Yiddish words beginning with “schm …”) to her own somewhat painful developments (‘Bosoms were the last thing I wanted … There was something terrifying about them.’).

Dashes of flavour mark place, as well as time. We visit the seedy Soho of the 1950s, where Hanson’s father owned a belt factory and her mother opened the second-ever Soho coffee bar; and where later on, Hanson is horrified by the goings-on at the Heaven and Hell bar on Old Compton Street. Quentin Crisp appears as a life model at the Ealing Art College where Hanson is a student, with his ‘bouffant purple hair, purple nails, eye make-up, and rather worryingly loose jock-strap.’

The book is filled with the Guardian columnist’s trademark warmth and wry humour, despite the ever-present backdrop of the recent war and the difficulties facing Jewish families at that time.

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