Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
Ah June, not so much busting out all over but forcing us to run for cover. We seem to have spent a lot of time indoors this month, snapping our fingers at raindrops and hoping that the roof wouldn’t spring any more leaks. The May Gala to celebrate Spring Bank holiday in Stationer’s Park was a little damp towards the end but the children very much enjoyed painting a tipi and making hand decorated wings. There were jams, chutneys and a colourful assortment of knitted items for sale and various games to play. We were entertained by a local choir singing a capella and then assaulted by a steady stream of drum and bass, playing at ear splitting volume over the PA. I’m clearly getting old but give me morris dancers any day – I think I’d far rather be hit over the head with a pig’s bladder than have it explode with that racket. Clearly times have changed.
In a search for something a little more nostalgic we donned tea dresses, headed off to Alexandra Palace and stepped back in time for the Cakewalk Revival. There was a treasure hunt for the children, a lesson in swing dancing for a mere £3 and then the magic started. The Palm Court at Ally Pally was transformed for the evening with six piece band The Cafetieres, playing 1920s and 30s classic Swing and Ragtime Jazz and a wonderfully mixed crowd all dressed up for an evening’s dancing. The music was a revelation and seeing people of such a range of ages dancing together was a real treat. There was also special guest Gramophone DJ Foxtrot Fanny of The Shellac Sisters spinning her old school 78s, inviting guests to bust out the swing. Calamity Jane popped by to take some wonderful pictures which you can see here These events are held every month and I really recommend a visit – the next Cakewalk Revival is on the 17th July. The Salisbury on Green Lanes also hold regular swing dance evenings if you need to brush up on your dancing technique.
I have been invited to join the Friends of Stationers Park and attended an emergency meeting at the Hornsey Vale Community Centre with other Friends and people from the Council’s Parks division. Stinging cuts have meant that much of Haringey’s park maintenance has been cut so we were looking at ways to supplement their provision. There is now a broom in the toddler playground at Stationers Park and users are invited to sweep up the wood chips and keep things tidy. We are also holding regular litter picks and I shall be putting up another chalk board, pleading with people to clear up their dogs mess and remove their litter after picnicking. The board on the Weston Park School side that I decorated with daisies has been untouched by vandals and nobody has smudged the chalk message, so I think it’s safe to put one up on the other side. There was some outrage about the metal spikes that have enclosed what used to be Reg the Park-keeper’s hut, now used by Veolia to house their rubbish carts. It was pointed out that even the school opposite doesn’t have such severe railings and they protect little people, so why these scary looking metal bars have been used is beyond us. The Council are currently looking at ways to make them look more in keeping with the parks surroundings and less like a prison. I’ll be waiting to see what they come up with.
We’ve also witnessed the makeover of Budgen’s in Crouch End which has seen some impressive changes. Much more has been made of their Food from the Sky offerings, doors have been put on their fridges to massively cut carbon emissions and they have introduced a community hub in the store. This hub can be booked to promote your community events/projects, which Adrian and I tried last week. Outside there are some old-fashioned wooden stalls for fruit and veg and a dog hitch area complete with water bowls. The staff seem much happier too and you do genuinely get service with a smile. I’ve also noticed that Budgen’s stock squirrel, which I’m very keen to try. I just need to find a recipe for Squirrel Pie. On today’s twitter stream I read that Budgen’s will be boycotting selling the News of The World for a while, which is an admirable stance.
We’re still regular visitors to the Portable Bookshop, our favourite venue being the Devonshire House. Last night the pub was holding a feedback session for customers, followed by a free wine tasting with food. It’s great to see a local pub that is genuinely interested in its clientele – they’ve worked really hard to engage with the community and deserve to do well.
Next Sunday Suzi and I will be having our birthday picnic in Priory Park – we are keen to make it a local’s event so do come along with the family and celebrate with us. We’re kicking off at 1pm, so weather willing, we’ll hopefully see you there. Enjoy the rest of the Summer!
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