I recently spent an enjoyable hour with a Year 6 class at Millfields school talking about what I do for a living. I told them about the very first articles I had published and was paid for way back in 1981, when things like blogs had yet to be invented and dinosaurs roamed the Earth. We then had an interesting discussion about how journalism works and why it sometimes - well, quite often actually - doesn't tell the whole truth and tends to exaggerate things (there's been an example of exaggeration in this article already. A big tick to any reader who's spotted it).
Eighteen months have elapsed since architects drawings of the proposed redevelopment of the long-standing former toilet - as an estate agent sign described it with such memorable candour - were produced and Organic and Natural hosted an informal public consultation with the landowner. Since then, nothing outwardly has changed. In September Dalston's very own Andrew Boff AMlearned from Boris Johnson that 107,000 potential homes aren't being built in London because the development process has stalled. The former toilet site accounts for nine of them.
It's over three months since a fire in this Lower Clapton Road building, formerly a hostel for homeless people, killed Polish national Kzysztof Waleczek. I walked past it the day after the fire and was told by an offical in a confiding tone that a body had been found inside. It turned out that four other people, who'd been squatting the building, got out alive, but one who had jumped to escape the flames was in a critical condition in hospital. A man was arrested on suspicion of arson the day after the fire and bailed pending an investigation into how it began. Now the blue fence serves as a sad reminder of a terrible event and the hidden world on our dorrsteps it gave a tragic glimpse of.
Seeing this little scene at the entrance to Clapton Passage earlier today underlined for me how routine it has become to see young people - mostly students, I assume - making films about the neighbourhood. See that woman behind a tripod outside the shop filming the man up the ladder cleaning stuff off the wall at the side of Danny's Motor Shop?
It's not altogether new, having appeared on top of the previous, deeply cosmic, mural several weeks ago. Looks like the work of the same artist (or artists). I slighty preferred the original but like the idea of a new piece of work showing up in the same space every few months - like in a gallery, come to think of it.
One of my daughters took this photo of two of her siblings in our garden on 5 November. Like many parents, I'm now accustomed to Halloween being a bigger deal with my children than Bonfire Night, but we still try to mark the occasion on the traditional evening and the kids still enjoy it, even though we don't actually have a bonfire.
If anything Halloween activity this year was even more intense than last, with Mildenhall Road in particular experiencing heavy concentrations of small, spooky individuals. These resulted in what can only be described as ghoul-jams in a number of porches and front gateways. Fortunately, no serious disorder occurred, though concerns have been expressed about long-term damage to vampiric milk teeth.
The house in Thistlewaite Road where the late Harold Pinter, the legendary playwright, actor, theatre director, Nobel prize winner and political agitator, grew up was officially given blue plaque status yesterday. Pinter's widow, Lady Antonia Fraser was there to say a few words along with a handful of luminaries from the world of the stage, one or two of whom themselves live within walking distance. Councillor Ian Rathbone gave a speech.
I gave the Killer Crossing its name because of the peril it presented to pedestrians. The arrival of the new traffic island layout made the nickname seem a bit extreme, but perhaps it ought to be retained after all. I don't know who was to blame for this alarming scene outside the dry cleaner, but it hardly strengthens my confidence in the safety of the junction, despite the recent improvements.