Saturday, February 28, 2009

Linda’s Lycra

Linda's Target FigureSo, after Allan’s funeral we adjourn to the Kenneth More Theatre for refreshments and there we are mingling, as you do. Now, the subject of a woman’s weight is not something one brings up lightly so I very subtly asked our prim Deputy Leader, Cllr Linda Huggett, how the Mayor’s Fund was going this year. She knew exactly what I meant and responded that her sponsored diet was going OK but not as well as she had hoped. She has lost one Stone [none of those foreign Kilogram thingies for Linda, which pleased me no end] and explained that a council lifestyle is not very healthy. You leave work, go to a council meeting, eat biscuits coz you’re hungry, get home at 11pm and then raid the fridge, which then lays on your stomach all night. [That’s the food not the fridge]. I suppose though it may also depend on what you keep in your fridge, but Linda assures me that hers is full of fresh fruit and veg. No chocolate at all, Linda?

Anyway, Linda is off to the Redbridge Cycle Centre [not on a bike, alas] starting next Monday evening for a crash course to shed those pounds [lbs] in time for the weigh in this coming May. We wish her well in her endeavours but in all honesty I can’t see that there are many more pounds [lbs] to lose. She may even find that a bit of exercise puts on weight.

The Mayor’s fund this year goes to Haven House and The Dream Factory.

You can sponsor Linda by email here.

P.S. I was going to title this post “Behind Schedule” but thought it may be taken the wrong way.

Life Finds a Way

the bearers carry the coffin into the chapelYesterday we paid our respects to the late Cllr Allan Burgess. In typical style his funeral service pamphlet opened with: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” - Winston Churchill, and concluded with “noli nothis permittere te terere” or Don’t let the bastards get you down. Nice one.

Allan’s Commemoration Fund is held at the National Westminster Bank, Wanstead and will be used for Research in to the causes and treatments of cancer, supporting disabled children, and purchasing equipment for the ‘relatives kitchen’ at The Margaret Centre, Whipps Cross Hospital.

Fare thee well, Allan, wherever you may be.

May your successor tread in your footsteps.

Report and photo credit, Wanstead & Woodford Guardian

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hello, Goodbye

Safer Neighbourhoods logo Out with the old, in with the new.

Police Officers move around. Generally they will do a 2 or 3 year stint in a job before moving on. Why they do this I don’t know, but they do. So, Sergeant Chris Chandler and PCs Mick Mooney and Adam Taylor are all time expired on Fullwell Ward Safer Neighbourhood Team. They are being re-posted as from April 2009 to the far flung outpost of next door Fairlop Ward. The 3 PCSOs, Imran Mahmood, Cat Slade, and Darrell Joseph have asked to go with them, bless.

The boundary between Fullwell and Fairlop wards runs down the middle of Barkingside High Street but the Fullwell SNT has for the last three years taken responsibility for both sides. This will now transfer to Fairlop SNT, who are the former Fullwell SNT, so a bit of continuity there for the traders.

Fullwell Ward will be greeting Andy Hobson, an experienced SNT sergeant but only recently appointed to Fairlop Ward, as well as the two present Fairlop PCs Adrian Towler and Rob Kirk along with the two existing PCSOs, Mark Rowe and Kabir Rathor, and a vacancy.

We wish Chris and his team a successful tenure as our neighbours and thank them for all the efforts over the past 3 years. They are of course welcome to pop in to our coffee mornings any time.

We welcome Andy and his team to Fullwell and look forward to an equally successful period.

All change, ting ting!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Denver Boot

In July 2006, we the people of Redbridge celebrated 100 years of Hainault Forest Country Park. It was given to us, the people, by Lord Carrington’s grandfather and the present Lord Carrington was there among the crowds enjoying the day.

Shortly after this wonderful event, though, our hearts sank when scrooge Redbridge Council imposed parking charges for us to visit our own park. Not only that, if you fail to pay, or are late returning to your car [for any number of legitimate reasons] you don’t get a parking ticket, you get a Denver Boot. And if you ain’t got the release fee, your car gets towed away at another exorbitant fee plus storage fees. a clamped car in Hainault ForestNow scrooge Redbridge Council are planning to introduce these parking conditions in other parks and libraries [note that they don’t mention swimming pools]. 10 of them. See Ilford Recorder. And this in conjunction with a program to roll out new Natural Play areas in our parks, some of which are already there.

Welcome to Redbridge kids – A Better Place to Play Pay.the  parking sign

Coming to a Park or Library near you.

Photo credit: Newbie

No Hiding Place

The ShiningBCS raises serious concerns about the Coroners and Justice Bill

The BCS' key points of concern centre on paragraphs 152-154 and Schedule 18 of the Bill and are as follows:

- The Bill runs counter to the intentions and provisions of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998; in particular by devaluing the principle of informed consent which lies at the heart of the DPA.
- The Bill severely curtails the independence of the Information Commissioner. It is doubtful whether it would stand scrutiny under the Human Rights Act 1998, Article 8
- It has the potential to heighten the distrust citizens have of government and central initiatives, and thereby set back the efforts of Government and its agencies to provide faster, more cost-effective public services using IT.
- The Bill could have disastrous consequences in the hands of a less benevolent government.

Other extracts:

- The common theme of the responses, …., is concern about the burgeoning power of the state vis-à-vis the citizen.
- The proposals conflict with the ethical codes practiced by several large professional groups, among which are clinicians and health informaticians.
- involve novel and very general - some would say draconian - powers of great significance to every UK citizen and organisation.
- these proposals are far too ill-defined and general for their stated purpose, and are as a result potentially dangerous, and will do more harm than good.
- "As past experience suggests, it is unwise to rely on the benevolence of a government to sensitively deploy such wide-reaching and general powers as these. In the wrong hands, it would permit the restriction - and ultimately the destruction - of the right to personal and corporate data privacy."

And that's not all:
Here's what NO2ID say: "Hidden in the new
Coroners and Justice Bill is one clause (cl.152) amending the Data Protection Act. It would allow ministers to make 'Information Sharing Orders', that can alter any Act of Parliament and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to use information obtained for one purpose to be used for another. This single clause is as grave a threat to privacy as the entire ID Scheme. Combine it with the index to your life formed by the planned National Identity Register and everything recorded about you anywhere could be accessible to any official body. That is what we meant by "the database state". It is now a threat not a theory."

See Also Ruscombe Green who marks the 57th anniversary of Churchill's "bonfire of controls". Note that Lee Scott has signed EDM 672. I asked him on Saturday, he signed it on Monday

Graphic credit, Coxsoft and Cartrain

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meter Trial – Volunteers Wanted

one of those gadget thingiesNot everyone reads the comments so I am flagging this up as a post.

Hello Barkingside 21 - the debate on the use of energy monitors comes at a good time!

I'm currently co-ordinating a Scrutiny Committee Working Group which is looking at household emissions - and the Council's role in reducing them. The Working Group has considered various good practice - including the loan through libraries of the energy monitors.

Before the Working Group reports to the Environment and Highways Scrutiny Committee, and thereafter Cabinet, I have been asked to undertake a short trial with the use of a couple of monitors to assess whether people find these easy to use, to consider their potential effect in raising awareness, and if the loan of monitors through libraries would generally be a worthwhile project to support.

The monitors are currently on order - would anyone from Barkingside 21 care to trial one for a week or so, in order to assist research?! (you never know - you could save some money on reduced energy bills as well!)

Many thanks
Paul Umfreville
Scrutiny Research and Development Co-ordinator
London Borough of Redbridge

Some Photographs

Below is Luke, a German Shepherd, who was our guest of honour at last weeks coffee morning. Apparently he weighs 44 of those Kilogram thingies. I have no idea what that is in Stones, Pounds and Ounces.
He made quite an impression on this young girl. We get all ages at our meetings.
As you can see from this group shot. Centre is Steve Miller, Luke’s handler.And this is what Fremantle Road looked like during the bomb scare in the High Street a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Food, Land and Skylarks

an allotment
The very first post on this blog was about food – Local Food is Miles Better, in June 2006. There have been a few more since then plus the campaign to save our allotments [Anne’s ears prick up at this point].

Demand for allotments is at an all time high. So much so that in some places there is a waiting list of 80 years, yes 80 years. You’ve almost got to put your grandchildrens names down before their parents are born. The National Trust though are listening and are planning to allocate some of their land over to allotments. All well and good, but?

Philip says he recently found out that [and I didn’t know either]:

the first review Gordon Brown commissioned on becoming Prime Minister was an analysis of food issues. The resulting report was published last July and concluded that: ‘existing patterns of food production are not fit for a low-carbon, more resource-constrained future’, and ‘existing patterns of food consumption will result in our society being loaded with a heavy burden of obesity and diet-related ill health.’
Unfortunately he does not seem to have taken much notice of it. Perhaps it didn’t give him the answers he wanted? Like how to tax it?

One thing that caught my eye in Philip’s post is this: 61% of our food is produced domestically. I was surprised at how high this figure is and also found it quite reassuring, until I remembered that such statistics are often misleading and/or misused and misunderstood. No reflection here on Philip, he is merely quoting a source, as am I, but I’m just putting in a disclaimer because I don’t know what or how it was measured or what assumptions have been made in the process. There is this you see: from the BBC.

Under current rules, meat from animals farmed in other countries processed in the UK can be packaged as British.
To round off, and cheer you up, Coxsoft reports hearing a once common Skylark [click, to listen] on one recent morning by the Fullwell Avenue allotments. A sign of spring and growth but not the sort that GB wants.

Wipe and Go

a Hard Drive on FireWhile I was on WEEE it seemed an opportune time to remind everybody about your hard drives. These days businesses and individuals have the opportunity to reuse, recycle or donate their old laptops and PCs. Even if you chuck it in a skip or dump it at the tip, you don’t know where it is going to end up and WHO is going to be tinkering with the information stored on it.

.. it is vital to remember that if you are disposing of a hard disk, or simply redeploying it as part of a new system, the disk drive needs to be fully wiped of existing data.
The problem is that a PC (and therefore its hard drive) is an extension of its user. It holds and stores important personal or corporate documents, such as tax details, employee records, bank statements and CVs not to mention all the applications that have been installed, passwords that have been created and content that has been downloaded. If these details found their way into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster for the original owner.
Did you know that there are companies who specialise in recovering data from fire damaged disks?

Read how to Wipe your disk over at the BCS.

Tale care now!


electrical wasteI am the sort of bloke who keeps “stuff” that might come in handy. My garage, shed and loft are full of it. I also tend to keep things as back up spares if they are still serviceable when I buy something new. Sometimes I just keep them for spare parts. But every now and again I have a clear out. So, piled up in my garage ready to go to the Chigwell Road Recycling and Reclamation site are: a dead flat screen TV, a dead set top box, a dead DVD player, a dead scanner, a hot tray, another scanner [serviceable but a Scussi connection], a serviceable 19 inch CRT monitor, a old hi-fi, a 33kbits external modem, And various other redundant bits and pieces.

Being an environmenally friendly sort of bloke this didn’t worry me too much as back in January 2007 The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) came into force. So all this stuff is going to be broken down and recycled or disposed off sensibly, right! Wrong! Possibly!

The Independent reports:

Tonnes of toxic waste collected from British municipal dumps is being sent illegally to Africa in flagrant breach of this country’s obligation to ensure its rapidly growing mountain of defunct televisions, computers and gadgets are disposed of safely.
Oh Bugger! Grrrr! What am I going to do now?

What am I going to do now?

What am I going to do now?

As Spike Milligan would say.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drains and Section 24

a Manhole coverToday I had a blocked drain. The gulley at the back of my house which takes waste from the kitchen and bathroom was not working. The water level had risen above the grate but it wasn’t as yet overflowing. No joy with my industrial plunger. Aha! I thought. Out comes my industrial screwdriver. There are two manhole covers on next door's drive close to the pavement. One is for rainwater and the other for kitchen, bathroom and toilet waste from 6 houses. The cover was opened with me having taken a deep breath beforehand. Sure enough the manhole was almost completely full.

I telephoned Thames Water, on 0845 9200 600. Someone will be round within 2 hours. It is explained that if the blockage is within the Thames Water part of the system there is no charge. If the blockage is on private property the operator will advise and charge £60 to deal with it, but you are not under any obligation and if you choose not to have the work carried out there will be a £35 call out charge.

5 minutes later I am called back. They were having some problems with their system. We go over exactly the same details and someone will be round within two hours.

5 Minutes later I am called again. This time I am asked lots of questions like do I have a basement, do I have a downstairs toilet and is my front door lower than road level? I am then informed that because the drain is not actually overflowing yet someone will be round within 8 hours, they have to prioritise the work. Fair enough I suppose. But get this. I am also informed that the records have been checked, it has been confirmed that the property is pre-1937 and therefore covered by section 24. What’s that I ask. It means there is NO CHARGE. Some of you may wish to make a note of section 24! I bloody have!

7 minutes later I receive another call. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.

10 minutes later a van pulls up and the manhole cover is off before I get to the front door. He gets a rod out and with a few swift movements the blockage is cleared. We watch as the effluent in the manhole recedes. Then there is another rush as the backed up stuff pours through. In conversation I discover that there is a U-bend or trap on the outward side of the manhole and above it a sort of trap door which can be removed if the pipe on the outward side needs rodding. Yer man explains he does this all day every day. 5 minutes later he’s gone, presumably to do another one.

Well done yer man and Thames Water.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ghost Bikes

Judith has bent my ear on many occasions about the plethora of road signs that seem to propagate at the junction of Clayhall Avenue and Woodford Avenue. It is debatable whether a driver could reasonably take it all in whilst simultaneously concentrating on their driving. Over on Redbridge-i there is a thread entitled “Ignoring Road signs”. Like the low bridge signs in Forest Road, a couple of posts back. Perhaps “ignoring” is not quite the right word?

So, what’s up? It’s a bit like advertising isn’t it. When you’re inundated you switch off. If you don’t have time to read this post you may skim it. To communicate effectively advertising, road signs or this post have to grab your attention.

Consider this. How many times have you been driving down the road and seen a shrine of flowers attached to a lamppost or some other street furniture? You notice them don’t you, and you probably slow down a bit too! They are effective, they grab your attention. They are telling you that there is a problem on this stretch of road in a way that road signs don’t.

Maybe the authorities should consider a different approach?

Adrian reports on Ghost Bikes [pictured].
The scene of James Danson-Hatcher's death in Brighton

More than 100 old bicycles painted white and chained to lampposts and railings have sprung up at ‘danger-spots’ over the past year. Dubbed ‘ghost-bikes’, they have been put there to warn motorists approaching dangerous bends to look out for cyclists and, in many cases, have been left at locations where riders were killed.
I haven’t personally seen one of these but I’m sure that if I did it would register just like I notice the restored white levered water pumps in Chigwell Road.

Of course painting an old Lorry white and chaining it, on it’s side, to a lamppost down Forest Road is not an option. But a large picture of a white lorry stuck under a bridge on one or more of those huge lamppost advertising thingies, I think might just carry the same sort of visual impact and avoid a real impact. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Anglo-French Relations

It would appear that a French Nuclear submarine has been caught having Carnal Knowledge with a British Nuclear Submarine! We are not clear at present as to what age the two subs are, or whether there will be an offspring outcome but European Social Services are apparently on the case and are seeking a suitable non-obese, non-smoking State to act as foster parents in that eventuality. The Cabinet Member responsible was unavailable for comment having not read the brief.
Steve bell's Cartoon Hattip: Two doctors.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wot What Watt

one of those meter gadget thingiesRuscombe Green posts on Household electricity monitors. Some local authorities have bought a stash of these and hire them out to residents just like library books. They have two parts. A base which is connected to the out wires of your electricity meter and a remote which shows the amount of electricity being used. So, you wander around the house switching things on and off and you can tell which appliances are the guzzlers. But why do you need a gadget? What is the fascination of modern society with gadgets? What did we do before we had gadgets? I’ll tell you. We looked at the rating plate on the appliance of science.

Electricity is charged by the unit. One unit = a Kilowatt hour. So, if you switch on a 1 Kilowatt hot plate and leave it on for an hour you will have used one unit. If you switch on ten 100 Watt light bulbs and leave them on for an hour you will have used one unit.

If you are reading this you must be using a computer, so can we assume that you can also handle a simple spreadsheet? Yes, I thought you could. Here’s what you do. You go round the house and make a list of all the electrical items and take a note of their rating – that’s the wattage. 100 Watts = 0.1 Kilowatts. Don’t forget the shed, there will probably be power tools or a lawn mower in there. Don’t forget the kitchen cupboards where there may be a rarely used food mixer lurking. If you don’t want to pull out the washing machine to find the rating plate the wattage is usually recorded in the user handbook.

Now, for each appliance you need to estimate how much it is used over the course of a year. So, if it takes approximately 30 minutes to cut the grass and you cut the grass on average 12 times a year you will get 6 hours. Plug this into your spreadsheet. And then multiply the usage in hours by the wattage in Kilowatts. You now know how much electricity that appliance uses. Add them all up and, if your usage estimates are reasonably accurate you should come to a yearly total that is within a few percentage points of your actual annual usage.

Now you can look at each budget line and see where all the electricity is going and where you can make savings, and trade offs according to your own lifestyle and priorities. You may well have leccy guzzlers but if you don’t use them much it may not be worth replacing them with more energy efficient models. On the other hand if you have lots of low wattage items that are used a lot, you may well consider taking some action. You may even find examples like the 100 watt lightbulb you leave on in the porch uses more electricity during the course of a year than your 5 Kilowatt oven simply because you prefer to use a wok and only use the oven when the kids have got the time to visit for dinner. This is what your gadget won’t tell you and it really is the important bit. So much for gadgets.

When I did this some years back I discovered that around 20% of my electricity usage was on incandescent lighting. I changed to energy saver bulbs and that figure is now down to about 9%. I have made other changes too. Flat screen monitors and TVs for example are much more energy efficient than their Cathode Ray Tube predecessors. Don’t forget now, when you are in the shop look for the rating plate.

Sermon over!
May the Energy Gods be with you.

Oh No, Not Again?

Mrs Secretary tells me that Forest Road was closed this afternoon. Something stuck under the bridge. That didn’t last long did it. The signs are obviously not big enough.

the new signs at Fairlop bridge

UPDATE: A neighbour has called to tell me that she was travelling immediately behind the lorry at shortly past 9am this morning and that the lorry tipped over on its side just outside the station. Precisely where pedestrians might be on entering or leaving the station. Redbridge Council and TfL really do have to sort this one out.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Redbridge Emergency Service Updates

the Redbridge Leaf logoLook what I’ve found. A new blog called “Redbridge Emergency Service Updates” created on 10th February 2009 and it seems run by Redbridge Council. Mind you, I can’t find any reference to this blog on red-i so it may not be them. The first post says:

“In the event of service disruptions in Redbridge, where redbridge-i cannot be updated, service disruptions will be posted here”.

Hmmmm, I wonder if the recent severe weather conditions have highlighted some resilience issues with our award winning website? It can’t be as simple as the red-i team not being able to get to work because they appear to have had remote access in the days when the forum was moderated out of hours?

Don’t get me wrong here, this is a jolly spiffing idea. The red-i website may not be available in an emergency situation for any number of reasons, so a belt ‘n braces boy scout approach is one I approve of, especially when it’s FREE! As blogs are.

Hattip: Miss J from Romford.

Update: The blog appears to have been created by Gecko84, a “local gov web editor”. So appears to be genuine.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Redbridge Strategic Partnership

Today I have received the pilot issue of the Redbridge Strategic Partnership e-newsletter, Working Together. If you would like to receive future editions direct then please email with the subject "newsletter subscription request" and your name will be added to the distribution list.

The newsletter itself is reproduced here but I wanted to pick out one thing.

flying pigs"Recent government legislation aims to enable people to have more say over their lives and in doing so give more power to local people and communities. A new 'Duty to Involve' places requires [sic!] the Council and public sector bodies to inform, consult and involve local people in the development of policy and delivery of service. Additionally, the white paper '
Communities in Control' aims to strengthen local democracy and devolve control of local decisions and services to a wide range of people."

RSP logoI’m also wondering quite what the RSP logo is trying to tell us. It’s not quite the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and the Green trousered lady with welcoming arms is right of centre. Assuming of course that the silhouettes are facing us and do not have their backs turned on us. I can’t quite make up my mind, they keep flipping on me.

Roger Reports

Roger Evans plays the devilSince Roger was so impressed with Ashley’s photograph I wondered what Roger would look like in that role. Here he is [left] “in character”. I always knew he was a luvvie in the making.

Meanwhile, there have recently been a few reports over on Roger’s blog that readers here may be interested in.

Help A London Park: "This morning I hosted a delegation from William Torbitt Primary School in Redbridge……"

Adventures at Hainault: "I have just returned from a wet morning in Hainault Forest Country Park, which was more fun than it sounds..."

Fairlop Waters: "Last week I visited Fairlop Waters to see Redbridge council's plans to rejuvenate this fantastic area of green space..........."

Redbridge Public Transport Liaison Group: "First up were residents of Coventry Road in Ilford who requested a diversion of the 364 bus away from their street........"

Footnote: I received a phone call today telling me that the car park adjacent to the lake in Fairlop Waters, the one where the disabled can sit and enjoy the scenery, has been dug up. Apparently Cllr Harold Moth is on the case.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Prime Evil

Ashley Gunstock in Prime EvilThis chap, pictured right, is Ashley Gunstock. No, he doesn't look like that because he lost the ballot for the leadership of the Green Party nor because of Chel$ki’s recent poor run of form. He is “in character” at least I hope he is. He’s a local actor you know; I hang out with all the luvvies.

Anyway he will be starring in a local production of Prime Evil by Mark Ryan, a dark gothic play that tells the fascinating, hilarious, yet terrifying story – involving identity crisis, murder and psychoanalysis – of an Area Committee 3 meeting the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as told to Carl Jung by an inmate of Broadmore Asylum.
‘Mark Ryan maps out a pitch black journey into the soul… stunning immediacy and complexity’ The Scotsman.

This takes place on the 4th, 5th and 6th March 2009 at the Redbridge Drama centre, no not the Town Hall Council Chamber, the one in Churchfields. Book early.

What else is on, click

Friday, February 06, 2009

Caption Competition VI

Bottles of 'Redbridge' Beer

Fair Trade Fortnight

2009 (23 February-8 March)

I don’t know what it is but whenever there is one of these fortnights or make a difference week, Barkingside 21 never seems to have any events planned. It’s always either the week before or the week after, as in this case our next coffee morning is on 19th February. But they are ALL Fairtrade and we do try to make a difference all year round.

the Fairtrade cakeAs you know Redbridge became a Fair Trade borough last year but this didn’t extend to the Mayor eating all the cake and Rebecca had to step in to save it – see graphic.

So, why not make an effort? If any groups are having an event why not make it Fair Trade? Having a dinner party, planning a birthday party or wedding, why not make it Fair Trade? And if it already is, why not tell everybody?

There’s a local store directory here, and if you know of anyone who should be on it but isn’t do let the team know. There’s a Fair Trade Wine and Coffee tasting event down at Wanstead House on the 26th February to get you started.

Valentines Day Out

What a really nice touch.
A Public Open Weekend at Valentines Mansion & Gardens on ………Valentines weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th February 2009.

Valentines Mansion circa 1905 Be the first to see the beautifully restored mansion and gardens in this very special public open weekend.

- Georgian and Victorian characters in costume
- String duet performance by the Royal College of Music in the drawing room, with light refreshments available.
- Explore the gorgeous gardens with the Old English walled garden and Victorian rose garden, Long Water canal, rococo grottoes and dovecote
- Opportunity to see the artists’ studios in the old servants’ quarters
- Guided tours
- Activities and trails for families

Free Entry
Further details call 020 8708 8100
Or visit the website
See also:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

No Grit?

a gritting lorryAs a regular visitor to the Chigwell Road Recycling and Reclamation site one sees the stockpile of road grit as one drives in. Reassuring? Perhaps. One doesn’t know how many applications are stored there or what other storage facilities the council may or may not have. I am informed that Redbridge gritters were out from 6pm last Sunday for the forecast bad weather on Monday and that main roads and priority routes were all passable, even for the non-existent buses. And now, today Thursday 5th, apparently there is another severe weather warning for London which continues into next week.

Wilson Chowdhry, former Labour Party activist and now Green, down Chadwell way alerts me to a report on the availability of grit which says "Grit deliveries are now being rationed throughout the country, with priority given to the nation's motorways." Not so reassured now! How are motorists or supply lorries going to get to the motorway, or come to that away from it? One can foresee miles of snow free and traffic free motorways, but no buses to get people to the shops for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread; not that the shops will have any because the lorries will be stuck trying to get out of their depot.

Anyone remember that emergency planning booklet from our government that was pushed through our letterboxes a while back? Boy Scouts, this government ain’t.

Allan Burgess

Allan Burgess R.I.P.

It is with sadness that we report the death of Wanstead Councillor Allan Burgess.
I did not know him well, but he was approachable and pleasant even when we disagreed. Many local people spoke highly of him and he was well-known, active and popular in his Wanstead ward. The figures for the last local elections in 2006 bear testimony with his tally being significantly higher than his two elected colleagues.
He was a loyal servant to the people of Wanstead, and one of the old guard who put duty first.

Our condolences to his family, friends and trusted colleagues.

Monday, February 02, 2009


snow scene in BarkingsideNow is a good time to pop outside and have a look at your roof. The amount of snow on it will give you a good indication of how effective your loft insulation is. But put your wellies on and wrap up first.

Redbridge Emergency Information - click!
Press Release from RSPB: Snow way birds could survive this weather without our help.

And here’s a picture from Freewheeler over in Walthamstow - "The Ancient House, Walthamstow village. Supposedly the oldest continuously inhabited building in London." Either they are out and the heating is not on, or the loft insulation is damn good.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


A bit of local history performed by local people to song.

The Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society present “The Likes of US” chronicling the life story and work of Dr Thomas Barnardo with the children of the East End of 19th century London.

Saturday 7th February 2009,

at Barnardos Church, 7:30pm for 8:00
Box office 07532 400 475

Sunday 8th February 2009,

at Kenneth More Theatre, 7:30pm
Box Office 020 8553 4466

All seats £10.