This is my very bad photo of a very nice woman sucking the milk from a jelly coconut outside the very good shop where she bought it. Back To Eden is owned by a guy called Lloyd who, if he's around, will personally chop the top off a coconut for you. Or, if he's not there, the bloke from another shop down the road will (that's him heading out of the door). You even get a free straw. The woman is a neighbour of mine called Martine. She sometimes takes her two delightful daughters to Back To Eden - which is on Lower Clapton Road at the junction with Laura Place - and they suck the milk from jelly coconuts all the way home. Sometimes they buy other stuff from Lloyd's shop too. I don't know exactly what, but the choice includes various fresh Caribbean fruit, vegetables and tinned goods and a variety of health supplements and other products. Oh, and there's; organic pasta. I know this because I bought some after taking the photograph. The pasta is better than my photography, you'll be glad to know. Anyway, Martine recommends Back To Eden and that should be good enough for the rest of you.
Following this post about the minor mysteries of what our borough's fine recycling team leaves behind and the comments it inspired, a reliable source at the council provides the following clarifications:
"Plastic bottles are made out of a high grade plastic which can be recycled. Yoghurt pots, hummus tubs etc are made of low grade, non-recyclable plastics which will contaminate the load. Fruit juice cartons and tetrapaks are made out of a hybrid cardboard/plastic material which is non-recyclable. In terms of cardboard with plastic bits on (like muesli packs with plastic 'windows' for example), if you peel off the plastic bits and just put the cardboard in, they will take the cardboard."
Now that's what I call service. Any more recycling bewilderments, just let me know.
I have to be away for several days on family business. I'm hopeful that some posts will appear during my absence but I won't have much time for writing stuff or responding to comments. I've switched on comment moderation for the time being to help me manage the site better while I'm elsewhere. I hope that won't deter friendly readers from contributing. Please bear with me until normal service can be resumed. Thanks.
This is Glyn who is not only a reader of this blog but also a poster of comments of quality and distinction. Along with its main subject the photo captures the view from the charming balcony - or is it more of a mini roof garden? - at the back of Glyn's Blurton Road flat. Born in Corwen in Denbighshire, Glyn works at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and has lived in Clapton for two years. During that time he's amassed an impressive amount of knowledge about the neighbourhood. He has a few thoughts about the bus service too.
"Dave has asked me to write a guest entry for his lovely blog. However, I'm not too sure how interesting the views of a miniature Welshman will be to the heavyweights of Clapton society. I am willing to give it a bash, and well, here it is...
There are loads of things that I can witter on about endlessly - from the mushrooming of betting shops (bad), voting (really quite good) quitting smoking (very good, but also bad) and the marvels of Hackney's cheap takeaways (bad, but also, tantalisingly good and lovely at the same time). However, I thought that I would blather about one of my pet gripes at the moment, which is buses in Hackney. Don't get me wrong. I love buses. The 38 is regular, comfortable, lovely and warm in winter and bends very cutely. The drivers are usually pleasant and often saints when faced with surly teenagers and fare dodgers. No, my problem is with the seemingly permanent gridlock that freezes Graham Road almost every day on my way home from work.
I work in Bloomsbury and usually, if I take the 242 or the 38, I sail through Holborn, Islington and Dalston like a breeze. However, once we cross Queensbridge Road and enter Graham Road, it's a different world. Everything stops. The bus creeps forward foot-by-foot, metre-by-metre, creaking and making those strange keening noises. People strain to look down the road. Kids start crying (Mum looks impatiently on). The bus stops under the railway bridge. Ten minutes, 15 minutes pass - we hardly move. People force open the doors, and scuttle off towards Mare Street, with the bus driver cursing and shouting over the tannoy to the rest of the passengers (who all sit there looking startled). Kids cry again and sulky teenagers turn up their phone MP3 players even louder. One small Welsh commuter starts grinding his teeth. If the weather is passable, I usually give up and walk the rest of the way - it's a pleasant enough walk through 'the green heart of Hackney.' However, if it's rainy I'll sit, waiting and waiting for the never ending queue to move. Of course, after what often can be 15 minutes waiting, we eventually whirr around the corner to Amhurst Road. I can go home! However, as we all know, life is not that easy.
'Last stop! Last stop!'
So, why does this happen? Why is Graham Road so packed? I would love to know. I think part of the problem is the sheer number of buses that use that road. I have, in recent months, began wondering why, for instance, the 242 doesn`t head further up Dalston Lane, past Hackney Downs station. It's a road that is poorly served by public transport, with only the 30 taking passengers into central London. I appreciate that the 242 does provide a link from the grossly underserved areas of Chatworth Road and Homerton to central Hackney, but I do think this route needs some review. The congestion on Graham Road surely cannot continue in the way that it has forever. What is the sense of taking 45 minutes to travel from Centrepoint to Graham Road and then another 20-25 minutes to traverse a fairly small area of central Hackney to get me home in Lower Clapton! What can we do? What can the Council do?"
As this blog's readership has gradually grown I've received a couple of interesting invitations. One was from the council's communications department to a mini-conference held at the Town Hall last Tuesday. There I explained to a group of press and PR folk from a variety of Hackney organisations - the police, the hospital and others - what this blog was about and why local blogging might become important in the future. A couple of days later I was asked if I'd like to appear on Hackney-based Sound Radio, "a multilingual and multicultural radio station that reflects, as far as is possible, the make up of the East London community." I'll be taking them up on that as soon as I can. In the meantime, find out more about - and, of course, listen to - the station - here.
"I was born in Nigeria, where I had my early education, which I continued in Britain. I have served as a Councillor for Haggerston ward since 2002 and was Deputy Speaker in 2005-06. I am a devout Christian and have been married to Gbolahan, a maths and science teacher, for 15 years. We have three wonderful children - Joshua, 14, Princess, 11, and nine-year-old Abisola. Being a mum is my most important job...I've lived in Hackney for 15 years, but in the past year I've come to appreciate just how warm the people of Hackney are. I've learnt so much about the wealth of cultures and religions we have in the Borough. I've enjoyed attending events and meeting people at venues ranging from churches, mosques and synagogues, to care centres, hospitals, community centres and schools. The Tet-Vietnamese New Year celebrations which I was invited to take part in at the VLC Community Centre (an organisation for refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) in February were so enjoyable and just one of many events where I was made to feel so welcome."