Recent posts in my Walthamstow Category

September 5, 2012

A miserable afternoon with the EDL in Walthamstow

At the weekend I watched the EDL march through my hometown. It wasn’t an edifying sight.

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February 7, 2011

In support of "Save our libraries"

This weekend saw a wave of protests at the threatened closures to libraries across the country. I took the opportunity to visit my local library.

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April 25, 2010

Labour regrets the copyright error? Not so much.

Labour may have said they 'regret' stealing a blogger's photograph in Walthamstow, but that hasn't stopped them having it on prominent display in Stella Creasy's E17 campaign office.

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April 22, 2010

Labour will legislate to protect BPI copyright, but not respect the copyright of a Walthamstow blogger

Despite legislating against digital copyright theft recently in the Digital Economy Act, it seems that The Labour Party is not worried about pilfering their election leaflet images from a local Walthamstow blogger.

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January 18, 2010

Council coverage in local newspapers: Waltham Forest and Romford

Sarah Hartley has been using the 'Help me investigate' crowd-sourced journalism tool to find out how local newspapers cover local councils. I've chipped in with a review of coverage in the Waltham Forest Guardian and the Romford Recorder.

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January 12, 2010

The UX of moving house: Part 6 - Officialdom

In part 6 of this series, I turn my attention away from estate agents, and towards the user experience of dealing with Haringey and Waltham Forest councils.

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December 17, 2009

Katherine Green: "Wood Street, E17" and "1948 Olympians"

Two of photographer Katherine Green's projects have been about subjects close to my heart - one documenting the shops on Wood Street where I used to live, and one a series of portraits of British Olympians from the 1948 London Olympic Games.

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December 16, 2009

Katherine Green: "Going to the dogs" at Vestry House Museum

Katherine Green recently exhibited photographs documenting the last days of greyhound racing at Walthamstow Stadium. I went to Vestry House Museum to hear her talk about the project.

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November 13, 2009

Olympic Memory Marathon: Part 2 - "I am one of the 104"

At the weekend I took part in an art project for the London 2012 Olympics called the "Memory Marathon". Artist Simon Pope walked the distance of a marathon whilst talking to 104 people who lived or worked in the London Boroughs hosting the next games about their memories of the Olympics. Yesterday I blogged about the workshops leading up to the event, and today I wanted to write about my experience on November 7th, the day of the "Memory...
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November 11, 2009

"Waltham Forest is calling for back-up" campaign lays down a welcome mat for criminals

I became a crime statistic last week, when my bike was stolen in Walthamstow.Again.It has prompted me to blog about something that has been irritating me in the Borough for some time. On the day I discovered my bike was missing, I'd been in Selbourne Walk The Mall, where volunteers were out in force trying to get me to sign a council petition. "Waltham Forest is calling for back-up" is a politically motivated council campaign calling for more police in...
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November 10, 2009

"My first term" - a seventies pull-out in a noughties local paper?

I'm the kind of person who still buys a local paper, and this week in the Waltham Forest Guardian I noticed a feature I found distinctly odd. "My First Term" is an 8 page pull-out compiling school classroom pictures from a variety of nearby local authorities. The geographical range covered is quite wide, including Walthamstow, Woodford Green, Loughton and Waltham Abbey. Initially, I couldn't help but be surprised that, in these days of media paedosteria, the paper was trying to...
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September 25, 2009

Last chance to object to the church plans for Walthamstow's art deco cinema

Today is the final day to object to a planning application seeking permission to turn Walthamstow's listed art deco cinema into a church. As you may know, the cinema has been closed for some time, and the church owners have allowed it to fall into considerable disrepair. Back in the sixties, the EMD used to have concerts on, including The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who. It also has lots of cinematic history, being the cinema where Alfred Hitchcock grew...
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June 14, 2009

The shoddy Victoria Line replacement bus service at Walthamstow Central

This is purely and simply an unmitigated moan about Arriva's woeful Railway Bus Replacement service that operates between Finsbury Park and Walthamstow Central. I understand that the Victoria Line has to be upgraded to take the improved rolling stock I first got a sneak peek at in August 2006, but why does the replacement have to be so shoddy - it seems that every time I am forced to use it there is an issue. The first problem, as demonstrated...
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April 9, 2009

'No message' at Walthamstow Central

I'd love to know who was the person writing the functional spec for the London Underground matrix displays at Walthamstow Central who decided that there needed to be a special case for when there was: "NO MESSAGE" Even more, I'd like to meet the person who had to write the bit of code that must say something along the lines of: if ($message = undef) { print "NO MESSAGE"} Obviously, the code is there so that you can tell whether...
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March 1, 2009

"It feels like one hundred years..."

I can actually remember the exact moment I became a fan of The Cure. It was in 1986, and they had just released their first singles compilation - 'Standing On A Beach'. A friend used our 80's style peer-to-peer network to swap the music files with me i.e. he physically lent me his cassette of the album. Double-play edition with extra unavailable b-sides no less. I was on the 34 bus. The route ran as far as Whipps Cross then,...
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January 31, 2009

The Obama honeymoon seems over in Walthamstow

Is President Barack Obama's honeymoon period ending much faster that the traditional 100 day measure? Well, it certainly looks that was as far as the Walthamstow's branch of WH Smiths is concerned - they are giving away two Obama books for the price of one....
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January 19, 2009

"The Tottenham Outrage" centenary

Known foreign subversives living in London and committing crime.Public dismay at the lack of control over immigration.Brave policemen laying down their lives to protect the public from acts of foreign terrorists.No, not the result of a decade of New Labour Government, but the situation behind what came to be known as the 'Tottenham Outrage', which took place 100 years ago this week. At around 10:30am on Saturday 23rd January 1909, 'Paul Helfeld' and 'Jacob Lepidus' pulled off a wage snatch...
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January 15, 2009

Police try to stop Walthamstow blogger taking pictures of a bus crash

I spotted in London Lite this evening the story of the 97 bus that crashed into McDonalds in Hoe Street in Walthamstow, and then noticed a big spike in traffic to an old currybetdotnet post about a crash near Walthamstow Central station just after it opened in September 2004. That caused the station to be closed whilst all lit up for the evening, and I sneaked in to grab some photos.   I thought, as I've done with things like...
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October 12, 2008

Spooky shop on Hoe Street, Walthamstow

It appears that we might have a new ghost in Walthamstow - 'Spirits high despite the spooky visitors' Well, not a new ghost exactly, it apparently dates from the 1950s, and has been haunting a jewellers on Hoe Street in Walthamstow. There is a theory that it is the spirit of a young man who was murdered in the shop, but the local paper is appealing for anyone with more information about the building to come forward. It was the...
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July 29, 2008

60th anniversary of the 1948 London Olympics

With the 2008 edition of the Olympic Games just days away, today is the sixtieth anniversary of the opening of the 1948 London Olympic Games. Unlike the previous time that London held the games, in 1908, when they started in April and lasted most of the summer, the 1948 games had a recognisably modern two week format. London had only a couple of years to prepare, having been awarded the games ahead of Baltimore, Lausanne, Los Angeles and Philadelphia in...
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July 27, 2008

'Received pronunciation' for London from TfL

The BBC is famous for having an official 'pronunciation unit', that was the ultimate arbiter of how things should be said on air. With the drive towards using regional accents on television, and a move away from 'received pronunciation', the unit probably has more demand now for how to pronounce foreign names and words, than for working out whether English children were going to grow up saying 'bafth' or 'barth'. You could access a lot of the content via the...
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July 23, 2008

Looking after Walthamstow's greyhounds

At the weekend I was writing about my final trip to Walthamstow's Greyhound Stadium, and lamenting its closure. It was a local landmark just around the corner from where I grew up. As a youngster, 'going to the dogs' wasn't a Daily Express headline bemoaning the state of modern Britain, but a treat. Not everybody is unhappy to see the track close however. This quote is typical of some of the messages posted around the Internet on stories of the...
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July 20, 2008

A last visit to Walthamstow's Greyhound Stadium

When we were recently in London I paid a final visit to Walthamstow's Greyhound Stadium. After 75 years in the greyhound racing business, it will be closing its doors for the final time later this year, awaiting redevelopment as a new housing estate. Even a visit from Boris during his Mayoral campaign couldn't save it. Just a few years ago the British Greyhound Racing Board declared Walthamstow dogs to be their 'Racecourse of the Millennium'. It hasn't even lasted one...
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July 3, 2008

Google Street View spycams spotted in Walthamstow

I was hanging out in Stoke Newington the other day and wound up in a little Turkish cafe called 'The Dervish' - presumably, I'll have to ask forgiveness when I re-enter Greece. I spotted something that I hadn't noticed before - in the window, underneath a tattered old London Olympic bid sticker, was a sticker boasting that the business was listed in Google Maps. Once I'd spotted one, I started seeing them cropping up all over the place. And I...
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May 18, 2008

Walthamstow's Tramways Office building

Yesterday I was writing about the origins of the name 'currybet', which developed into a regular pub crawl around Walthamstow on F.A. Cup Final day. Part of that route was always from The Bell pub to The Dog & Duck, passing one of Walthamstow's most distinctive buildings - the Tramways Office on Chingford Road. Built in 1905, and later given codename 'WW' by London Transport, the Tramways office was a hub from trams, then trolley buses, and then motor buses....
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May 17, 2008

Exotic cuisine in Walthamstow

I know cuisine has got more exotic and sophisticated in the UK, but I draw the line at 'roast dog' for Sunday dinner. Today is F.A. Cup Final day, a day from which the origins of the name 'currybet' are drawn. The original 'currybet' started in 1993, and it was, literally, a bet between three friends about football, with a curry as the prize. Teams from the Premiership were divvied up at random at the start of the season, a...
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May 4, 2008

Wonderful Wifi at Walthamstow Central Library

The ratio of moaning and complaining to praise on this blog is always far too much of the former and not enough of the latter, so I thought I'd just write a few words in praise of the web services offered at Walthamstow Central Library by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The heart of the library is a listed building. It was where, in the 1970s, I first started getting addicted to reading the Doctor Who Target books. The...
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June 13, 2007

College to close swimming pool in Olympic Borough of Waltham Forest

It hasn't been a good week or so for the 2012 London Olympics, what with the logo fiasco and all that. The Sun, well known champion of minority rights and anti-discrimination, ran a competition featuring a blind woman and a monkey to improve the logo design. Nice to see The Sun think of them as equals. And I noted that they managed to plug the software used by their designer for her effort: "The Sun's graphics editor Kathryn George also...
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January 7, 2007

The new UK digital singles chart tries to avoid the old hype

Today marks a significant milestone in the history of the British singles chart, as when on Sunday afternoon the BBC counts down the Top 40 it will be the first time that downloads and physical singles will be competing on an equal footing. For me it is a bit like coming full circle, as it means that one of my projects, the Sony Connect digital music store, is now a proper "chart return store", just like the record shop in...
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December 21, 2006

Walthamstow Dog stadium on The Londonist, Visit London, and my Flickr stream

Last week the excellent Londonist site used another one of my Flickr pictures to illustrate a story about encouraging Visit London to make more of the attractions available to tourists outside of Zone 1. Apparently Walthamstow Stadium is one of only six attractions outside of Central London listed by Visit London....
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August 21, 2006

Evening Standard using Muslim anger to sell newspapers in Walthamstow

In the West End on Friday Evening Standard billboards were leading on the Heather Mills divorce saga. In Walthamstow it was a different story. The fact that Jack Lefley's "Community leaders blame foreign policy for anger" article was only ~250 words long, and was buried on page 10 of the paper, didn't stop the Evening Standard using it as their main sales thrust in E17....
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August 17, 2006

Being in Walthamstow during the "terror raids"

With a week gone since Britain was put on a high state of terror alert, it is quite odd to reflect that I flew back to Walthamstow just as it became the centre of what was, briefly, the world's biggest news story. In my wanderings around the borough I pass several of the houses that were raided, and there is still a large police presence and frequent over-flying by police helicopters in the area. The equally large media presence, whether...
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October 30, 2005

Al's Records, Walthamstow and Islington

As the music industry still struggles to come to terms with the way the internet has smashed through their business model, it is always nice to see something that demonstrates that the business model has not always been set in stone. Instead of trying to legislate and prosecute for the status quo, the industry should be working out how to adjust the model to keep the content publishing companies in business, if they are still to have a place. Whilst...
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October 27, 2005

Record Sleeves Reproduced With Permission From Universal

Now here's something I've never seen before. In Walthamstow's little heart of American retail - The Mall - River Island has a shop window display that features various album sleeves scattered around the floor underneath the showroom dummies. Plastered across the whole of the window is a transparent sticker declaring in bold text: Record sleeves reproduced with permission from Universal Perhaps Universal were worried someone might download the shop-window and file-share the sleeves? I noted though that River Island had...
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September 13, 2005

Panic On The Streets Of London

As I got home this evening panic buying of petrol in Walthamstow had begun.    As a non-driver myself I can't tell you whether it was the threat of the £1 litre, upcoming blockades that are not apparently happening, the fear that American oil consumption would leap following Hurricane Katrina, or that fact that two of our national newspapers today said "Please don't panic buy" that started it off. I do know two things for certain though: 1) Not one...
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September 11, 2005

The College Arms Re-Opens

So tonight I was at the re-opening party for my local pub - The College Arms. It has been shut for over a month for refurbishment. The doors re-opened on Tuesday (when I naturally checked it out), but tonight was the big event, with a band and free food. (The band finished their main set with a version of American Pie - co-incidentally on Thursday I had read a very detailed exposition of the frankly over-complicated lyrics of the song)...
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September 8, 2005

Haunted Walthamstow and Chingford

Followers of this site will know that my wife and I are no strangers to traipsing around bits of London looking for the locations of alleged hauntings - in fact currybetdotnet even has a Ghost Walks category. In all these trips though we have never investigated the haunted heritage of where we live and where I was born - Waltham Forest. So finding ourselves at a loss for somewhere exotic to stay over the bank holiday weekend, and wanting to...
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August 22, 2005

Things Our Neighbours Have Thrown Into Our Garden

Our house used to be pretty quiet when we first moved in. On one side was a young family with a polite chatty 3 year-old, and on the other side an old lady who only bothered us if she thought our drain was overflowing into her garden, or if she we thought we were cooking "that indian food" because she used oxygen and "that indian food" affected her breathing. When she died a year-and-a-half ago she was replaced by our...
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August 20, 2005

The Bike Shed at Walthamstow Central

So I think I've given up on my ambition to be cycling to work by the start of September - it is 22km each way, and apart from the physical issue of whether I can do it or not, I can't work out when I would either get to write currybetdotnet or drink beer. Plus there is the issue of whether I would actually have the energy left to do any work after a 22k cycle first thing in the...
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August 10, 2005

O's Top Of The League Ladder

OK, so I know it is early doors, and back in the good old days they didn't even bother drawing up a league table for you to replicate with your Shoot! Magazine League Ladders until a more substantial number of matches had been played, but four days into the new season, and my local team Leyton Orient are top of League Two. They'll be staying there at least until the weekend, as none of the teams playing their game in...
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July 18, 2005

So That's Cycling Over For A Bit Then

Yesterday I beat my time to do the circuit round my bit of Walthamstow on my bike by four minutes. This morning I cycled to the station for the first time as part of my commute to work. This evening I went home on the bus holding what was left of the lock that had failed to stop my bike being stolen from Walthamstow Central. *sigh*...
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Green Fair in Waltham Forest (Quietly)

This afternoon I popped over to my local park to visit Waltham Forest's Green Fair. There were quite a few stalls there, a brass band, some Shetland Ponies from the local farm, displays of dancing (African and traditional English) and a host of activities for kids. There was also a knock-out table football competition (although I wasn't sure what the 'green' credentials of that were!).       The crowd wasn't bad, but I think the event had been really under-publicised...
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July 14, 2005

London's Transport, and Passengers Back To Normal in Walthamstow

I knew things were back to normal yesterday morning when the quietly simmering rage of the average commuter broke through once again in Walthamstow. All the goodwill towards London's brave and long-suffering transport staff evaporated as a bus driver on the Arriva franchise 275 route refused to stop outside Walthamstow Central Train station, instead turning straight into the bus station. Before he even managed to turn right there was a cacophony of shouting, pleading and bell ringing. He shouted back...
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July 6, 2005

Olympic Round-Up

The BBC wasn't the only site to suffer from the volume of Olympic related internet traffic just after decision time this afternoon - whilst we had to switch to our frankly ugly mini-me version of the homepage to help the servers cool off, died completely. Elsewhere on the web the DCMS opted for a massive splash graphic to announce the news, whilst went for a more restrained approach.    Meanwhile the official Olympics site used the iconic image...
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May 5, 2005

Vote today - Hellfire tomorrow

I got up nice and early today to walk down to the Polling Station with my wife on her way to work to cast my vote. I've been taking lots of photos throughout the election campaign for Flickr's UK General Election pool - not, it must be said, to universal acclaim: I know that politicians interact with the general public as little as possible. and I know that public meetings are rare and that politicians sneak 'sorry you were out'...
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April 27, 2005

Election hustings meeting in Walthamstow

Yesterday I went to an election hustings meeting at St Johns Church in Walthamstow, which featured all five of the candidates standing in my constituency. The meeting had been organised by a confederation of local churches, and I only found out about it because my dad emailed me the details. There was no publicity outside the event, which I thought was a shame, because although the turn-out was around 70 people, even though I live 5 minutes away if it...
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March 6, 2005

Adopt-a-Station with 'one'

Earlier this year whilst at Tottenham Hale waiting for the Stansted Express I picked up a copy of the 'one' rail franchise's newsletter. One article grabbed my attention - "Adopt A Station extended". The company was announcing that: 'one' railway stations on the Crouch Valley line - Althorne, Fambridge, Woodham Ferrers and Burnham - will soon receive makeovers thanks to the 'one' Adopt-a-Station initiative. The scheme is aimed at improving lines of communication between the train operator and railway station...
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November 15, 2004

Smoking in pubs - A black mark for the Dog & Duck

So it is being reported that the Government are getting cold feet on imposing a total UK-wide smoking ban in enclosed public spaces by only including pubs if they serve food, despite the introduction of one in Scotland. One of the arguments against such a move is that it would be too much "nanny state" and that, after all, the market will eventually decide. This is despite the fact that giving pubs the ability to operate a non-smoking policy in...
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The worst train stations in London

Tonight the Evening Standard published a feature on the worst train stations in London, naming North Sheen, Hanwell, Clapham High Street and Maryland. They are asking readers to contact them about the dangers of their local stations by emailing They didn't forget to mention Wood Street Station in the text - after all like Walthamstow Central it is practically unmanned in the evening, and the CCTV isn't guaranteed to work if you become a victim of a crime there...
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September 16, 2004

Accident at Walthamstow Bus Station

If you are looking for information about the recent 97 bus crash into the McDonalds on Hoe Street, you can find that here. There was a serious road accident at Walthamstow Central on Monday evening - and it caused Selbourne Road to be closed. It meant all the bus routes had to be diverted away from Walthamstow Bus Station. It left the brand new building lit up for use yet completely abandandoned and empty, still chirping out the automated reassurance...
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September 12, 2004

Cause and effect?

I was travelling home tonight exactly a week after the murder that took place at Wood Street station on September 5th. There has been quite a palpable sense of shock and anger in the community. Still nobody was feeling worried or uneasy tonight at Walthamstow Central, as it was full of police officers seeking anyone who may have witnessed the attack which took place just one stop further down the line. There was something ironic about the fact that they...
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September 11, 2004

One angry man and fifty-five bored residents

On Monday I spent a very depressing evening at the latest Walthamstow West Community Council meeting - not least because it started with the observation of a minute's silence for the victim of a murder at Wood Street Station, just down the road from where we live. The main business of the night was the third attempt for the community to spend its' budget. After a lengthy intro into the voting process, the chair conducted a test vote into how...
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September 6, 2004

Walthamstow West Community Council meeting

I got mailed today by Waltham Forest Council to remind me that the next Walthamstow West Community Council is on 6th September 2004 at McEntee School. The mail included as attachments the agenda and supporting papers, and the minutes from the last minute. One black mark though for Waltham Forest's EGovernment is that I couldn't find those documents on their web site. That's a shame, as it makes the community council feel a bit like a closed club. It...
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July 1, 2004

There will always be a corner of Walthamstow that is Dukla Praha

I left town late this evening and only got to Walthamstow just in time for the kick-off of the Czech Republic-Greece Euro2004 Semi-Final. I rushed to my local, the College Arms, to be astonished to find it was standing room only. For some time they appeared to be operating a policy of only employing beautiful Eastern European women as barmaids - but I didn't realise they were all Czech, or were going to bring all their friends down for...
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June 28, 2004

Walthamstow Central Bus Station - accessibility and security

Nearly a year in the making the new Walthamstow Central Bus Station opened just over a week ago - with a celebratory concert that managed to feature Chas'n'Dave. There is still a lot of snagging going on, but, as the third station I've known standing on the site it is without a doubt the best - it is more spacious, better lit, and actually has capacity for the number of buses that park there It is also one that I...
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June 15, 2004

My first Walthamstow West Community Council meeting

This evening I attended the Walthamstow West Community Council at Greenleaf Primary School. Turn out was low - the council covers four wards, and out of total of 21, my wife & I were 2 of only four people from our Chapel End ward. Everyone attending the meeting was issued with an IML hand-set, which doubled up as both a microphone and an electronic voting device. This naturally appealed to the democratic geek within, but it was noticeable that...
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Complaint about the 212 bus route in Walthamstow

Below is a complaint I have made today to First Group, who operate the franchise for the 212 bus route in Chingford and Walthamstow. I would like to complain about an incident that took place involving one of your drivers on the 212 route this morning, Tuesday June 15th. The incident happened at the bus stop at the foot of Church Hill in Walthamstow, just after the bus turns right into Church Hill from Shernhall Street. Your driver pulled...
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May 9, 2004

Walthamstow Stadium on the homepage

It must be my lucky week, but after the promotion for Eurostars, now I see my home town is getting the promo slot on the homepage. (Well, it is in the background anyway) Behind James Nesbitt is the neon light fascia of the local dog track, one of the landmarks of E17. You can get a better view in this Murphy's Law desktop wallpaper image....
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March 25, 2004

Champions League Football and racist graffiti at The College Arms in Walthamstow

I had a fantastic time last night watching the first leg of the all English Champions League Quarter Final between Chelsea and Arsenal, at the College Arms pub in Walthamstow on Forest Road. The pub was packed, and was a brilliant example of how football can bring people together. It was the most diverse crowd I have ever seen in a Walthamstow pub. There were a Japanese couple, two generations of Afro-Caribbeans, and some ladies from Africa. There were...
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February 27, 2004

You might have to tape that for me

I sometimes feels like I live in a world where everybody I know has Sky+ or TiVo. And everyone, except me, has an iPod and has revolutionised the way they consume media. That the piles & piles of CDs and vinyl in my spare room are just so much clutter, and that the whole media landscape has moved so fast in the last few years that we are constantly playing catch-up. But then suddenly I get burst out of...
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