Friday, 13 December 2013

Alfred Vodna's Andover Report

I've lifted this from the comments. Do you agree?

'What is there to report? Bar someone setting off fireworks at 3am for about 5 minutes last night there isn't much going on bar the trouble making gangs that hang out in the middle of the estate - making it not a very safe place to be after dark. Growing up there in the early 90's, bar it's notorious reputation it was an extremely happy place for me. I knew every single one of my neighbours on my part of the estate, hung around with their kids, had dinner with them, played throughout the estate (the football pitch in particular) until I was so dirty and tired I couldn’t possibly stay out any longer. I remember one summer in particular and it was the summer of Euro '96 and the place was absolutely buzzing, flags out of windows, music pumping during the day, kids running about having water fights, BBQ's... Now with everything fenced off for security and safety reasons the place has lost its heartbeat I once used to feel being there, I know these were meant for a safer environment, which I fully agree on but it's just lost its soul - I only have a few neighbours that actually stop and say Hi now - neighbours come and go – some keep themselves to themselves, the ‘lifers’ as we called them have left, people dump their waste on their own doorstep, gangs hide in the dark.... I have lived there for almost 30 years and have recently just had a child of my own and (not that I'd feel safe letting them play in the estate.. ever) would never imagine them having the same experience in the estate as I did. It’s not all doom and gloom , I’ve never really had any trouble living there. I do have some great memories of how it once was but there is definitely no love pumping through its veins.'

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Have a Hornsey Road Christmas (presents)

Forget Oxford Street and Posh Islington. Amaze your family and friends by doing the Christmas shopping on the Hornsey Road.

The Match Day has everything for the Apartment Therapy reading Arsenal fan:

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Arsenal's The Armoury if you're buying for new parents or to undermine Spurs-supporting relatives:

Look! Matching
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Lioness on 159 (post coming shortly) sells, amongst other things, the kind of T-shirt that Topshop tries and fails to copy:


Bobby Joe's  ukeleles for the godchildren. Hipstery without being wankerish and easy to learn. Also, cute.

Organic Stall. Lovely things  from the local soap makers and ace mince pies:

Atlas World of Birds because your cat is worth it:

The African jewelery/bag pop-up at 336-8 because shiny:

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Clever Mike for anyone special enough to deserve a very very beautiful bike. Statue not included:

Done. Now go for a beer at the Shaftesbury

p.s. If that isn't enough, try Stroud Green Road. Italian Farmers Deli, Jack's, Hettie Holland and Concept should sort you out.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Organic Change

Setting up business on the Hornsey Road Home of Blight is always a brave move, but the Organic Stall seems to be doing reasonably well. They're now selling pies. I approve of shops that sell pies. The lack of pies is one of the may ways in which the South is less civilised than the North. Even butchers here think they they can get away with being pie-less. There should be a law. The 'Pastry Enforcement Act 2014'. It could also tackle the scourge of pubs where 'pie' turns out to be a limp blanket of pastry over stew. IT IS NOT A PIE IF THERE IS NOT A PASTRY BASE.

Anyway. Kay now wants to change things and make the store into a community shop. To get there he needs 150 people to sign up a £6.99 direct debit per month (no cancellation period). To start with he'd use the money to buy a fridge, then he'd use it to lower prices. Then (and this is where it gets interesting) he'd be able to hire some help, spend more time sourcing products, negotiating with suppliers, doing events and suchlike.

Go talk to him about it. It's early days, but like Hubbub or the People's Supermarket it's the kind of idea that might give the high street strength.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas Carol on Hanley Road

Charles Dickens wrote a letter about visiting his sister Frances Elizabeth (Fanny) Burnett as she was dying in Hanley Road. It's here.

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Christmas on Hanley Road, 2013
Fanny had studied music at the Royal Academy and married a tenor, Henry Burnett. Their son Henry Burnett Jr was what was then called 'sickly' and 'crippled' and would now be called sick and disabled. He was a thoughtful, kind child and the inspiration for Tiny Tim. He died shortly after his mother.

Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim Cratchit as depicted in the 1870s by Fred Barnard, Wikimedia commons image.