He used to operate outside Palm 2 until his high-pressure sales technique resulted in his being asked to move on. So now he's made Tesco his pitch, which is also handy for the bus stop. You can't fault him for enterprise. The picture was taken on Christmas Eve.
"The power of social media," remarked one of the organisers of this heart-warming event. "A few mentions on Twitter and you get a lovely crowd like this." It was a lovely crowd too, which I stumbled across on my way to the shops having forgotten to remember that I wanted to see - and hear - the event anyway. It was a joint effort by the Clapton Pond Neighbourhood Action Group and St James's Church, which provided hot drinks and mince pies afterwards.
New restaurants, cafes and takeaways come and go at such a rate round here these days it can be hard to keep up, so there's something reassuring about the continuing presence of a fish and chip shop and a Chinese takeaway that have been feeding me and my family for as long as I have lived in this corner of Hackney (nearly a quarter of a century, since you ask). Visiting them is always nice, largely because of the welcoming women behind their respective counters. Even if you don't go in for a few weeks, it's nice to know that they are there.
Now that there is no truly traditional English cafe in the vicinity of Clapton Pond - must be an opening there, young entrepreneurs - the Amhurst Café on Amhurst Road opposite Hackney Central station feels even more precious than before. When only a straightforward bacon, egg and chips will do, it's definitely worth the walk or short bus ride to an eating establishment that, amazingly, celebrates its half century anniversary this year.
They have branches in Hyderabad, Manitoba and Milan as well as all over the US and the UK, and now the international pizza chain Domino's have turned up in Lower Clapton Road. This shouldn't be a big surprise - there are already outlets in Mare Street, Stamford Hill and Leyton, which tells you something about market taste for pizza in this part of London. Protests such as greeted the arrival of a Tesco Express near the pond seem unlikely. But how will this local manifestation of global capitalism affect rival pizza outlets down our way?
This is me lurking behind a copy of my book about the recent, revealing and often unpleasant fight to become London Mayor, which I covered extensively for the Guardian. I completed the book within ten days of the election on 5 May and it was out as an eBook a few days after that. Then, it became a paperback. I have published the book myself as a sort of experiment, which has turned into a voyage of discovery. Five boxes of "Zac versus Sadiq", each containing about 50 copies, have arrived at my house. Some of those copies - three, I believe - have already been sold at our local bookshop, Pages of Hackney. There are further copies there, just aching to be purchased. I would love it if you bought one. It would help create more space in my house. Thanks.
It's been years since an estate agent planted a sign heralding a "former toilet" above what was, indeed, the site of a defunct public lavatory at the confluence of Mildenhall and Millfields Roads - nearly ten years, would you believe. In 2011, an architect's design appeared in virtual form along with plans. There was a public consultation. But 18 months later nothing had happened and went on not happening until suddenly, recently... serious construction action! Will it look like what was envisaged five years ago? Will anyone who isn't absolutely loaded be able to afford to live there?
In July 2006, exactly ten years ago, the beautiful but disused Clapton Federation Synagogue on Lea Bridge Road was knocked down. The site has stood empty ever since until, at last, it is being redeveloped on behalf of the North London Muslim Housing Association. A microcosm of demographic change in Clapton on one small piece of East London land.
I took this picture during a visit to the Organic and Natural shop, where my wife and I often go on a Saturday morning in order to talk to the young man in the green jumper (there's a family connection). I'm no photographer, but I thought the image caught something of the flavour of the place.