February 2016




February 2016 ISSUE 24 Free





The Gentle Author

Meet the Spitalfields Life blogger, plus

art in the making at an East End foundry

Your East London – What's on – Food – People



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Welcome to your local magazine

Dear neighbours

This month it's my privilege to feature the Gentle

Author (p4). Some of you may have heard of

him and if you haven't, then I'm very pleased

to introduce him to you. He's been writing his

blog Spitalfields Life for several years now, writing

daily stories about the many fascinating people

who live in the East End. He doesn't write about

celebrities. HIs interest from the start was to

uncover the many interesting but "invisible"

people who live in this part of London. His work

is an antedote to our celebrity culture, and we're

much richer for it.

We've discovered two more great East London

charities, one provides fruit & veg vouchers for

people on low incomes (p12), and the other is

gathering volunteers to continue its great work

inspiring children to read. If you fancy getting

involved take a look at p25.

Christine Preisig continues our East London

makers series, visiting a local foundry where

some of the world's greatest art is cast (p8).

There are our regular features on food, history,

fitness, legal matters and wellness, as well as our

comprehensive what's on guide.

Have a great February everyone, and don't get

hung up on Valentine's Day. Take a leaf out of

Sophie Parkin's book instead (p14).


Julie Daniels

T: 07752 288405

E: julie@nutshellpublications.co.uk


Facebook: facebook.com/LoveEastMag

Twitter: @LoveEastMag



Meet the Gentle

Author, creator of

Spitalfields Life


The foundry casting

the work of our most

celebrated artists


Spread the love like

Sophie Parkin


All you need is love:

this month's great

reads for all ages


Be a Beanstalk

volunteer and inspire

kids to read

To advertise in LoveEast please call 07752 288405 or email julie@nutshellpublications.co.uk

for further information. Deadline for March edition is 5 February (please allow an extra two

days if design is required). Nutshell Publications cannot be held responsible for any errors

or omissions, or endorse companies, products or services that appear in this magazine.

©LoveEast all rights reserved. Magazine design, www.ilkadickens.com. No reproduction can be

made without permission. Please recycle.


East life

Illustration: Lucinda Rogers

The Gentle Author, writer and creator of Spitalfields Life,

talks to Christine Preisig and Julie Daniels

For more than seven years, and without missing

a single day, the Gentle Author – for that is the

name he prefers – has written a daily story on his

blog Spitalfields Life about the people and culture

of the East End. There, he describes his "harebrained"

promise to write 10,000 stories about

Spitalfields, which has grown to cover a much

wider area of the East End. He affectionately

depicts local people and places, and by doing

so has become a celebrated diarist and cultural

historian of our time.

The project has a deeply personal motivation.

After his father died, the Gentle Author moved

back to his childhood home in Devon to look after

his mother who suffered from dementia. During

the six years he lived with her until her death he

was rarely able to leave the house. He couldn’t

have done this, he says, without the help of some

amazing people.

It was something that altered his view of life and

made him realise just how extraordinary it is to

be in the world. He had had a successful career

as a writer, but from that point on he wanted to

write in a different way. For one thing, he wished

to express himself in an unmediated way, with no

gatekeeper between him and the reader.


East life

He also wanted to write stories that nobody else

was writing – about the ordinary and, to other

eyes, invisible people that surrounded him.

He moved back to Spitalfields in 2009 (his first

job was there in 1981) and began writing his now

famous Spitalfields Life. He started without much

purpose beyond trying to take the idea of a blog

as a literary form quite seriously. Very quickly he

noticed that the more ambitious the stories, the

quicker the readership grew. Besides writing his

daily stories, he publishes books, teaches writing

courses, leads political campaigns and writes

articles for magazines and newspapers.

By way of writing Spitalfields Life, the Gentle Author

found out that his family actually came from the

East End. When he published some letters his

grandmother had written to his father (she was

an unmarried mother who had to give him away

as a child), two genealogists who read his blog

got in touch with him. Together they were able to

uncover his own ancestry.

It turned out that his great-grandmother grew

up just 50 yards from where he lives now near

Brick Lane. To know that he is connected to the

place through his ancestors makes him feel more

comfortable writing about it.

The Gentle Author's pledge to write his daily

stories means he will be writing for many years

to come, but seven years into the project he is

still enthusiastic. "The fact that I’ve written the

life stories of about 1,500 people – that’s a real

personal passion.”

It's very distressing to the Gentle Author to

know that when people die, sometimes their life

stories, along with their work, are lost for ever.

This is part of the reason he writes Spitalfield Life

and the stories he reveals help to immortalise

the fascinating people of the East End. Last

autumn, for example, he published a selection

of remarkable paintings created by artist Doreen

Fletcher. She had given up her art years ago

because of the lack of interest in her work. When

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East life

he published her paintings of the East End in

Spitalfields Life it was a sensation. Several galleries

became interested and a solo show is now


It's wonderful to hear stories like this and it shows

just how influential Spitalfields Life has become

and how many possibilities it has created.

In all the years the Gentle Author has been

writing, and to his own surprise, he has been able

to keep his identity secret. Writing anonymously

is not a publicity stunt but a device deliberately

chosen to put the people and the culture centre

stage. “I decided to step back and all I want to

reveal is that my intention in doing this is benign.”

We are lucky to have had the chance to meet the

Gentle Author and, by way of Spitalfields Life, will

continue to accompany him on his wanderings

for many years to come.

What makes you most proud?

I suppose you could say that I’m proud that

the 1838 Marquis of Lansdowne Pub is still

there in Cremer Street, Hoxton. We saved that

pub when the Geffrye Museum wanted to use

Heritage Lottery funding to demolish it. I thought

it was disgraceful, because they call themselves

a "museum of the home" and in the East End

the pub is an extension of the domestic space.

When the director of the museum justified this

by saying that the museum was "not interested

in the culture of the labouring classes" it was very

disappointing. But at that point I realised that we

had a huge readership who could write letters of

objection. It was class war. And the Hackney

Planning Committee refused

permission for demolition. That’s

a victory you could say I'm

proud of.

What are you working on?

Photographer John

Claridge took more

photographs in the

East End in the

fifties and sixties

than anyone else.

Because he

was just a kid

with a camera,

Paul Gardner in his paper bag shop

everyone was very open to him and he took many

beautiful photographs, which we are now putting

together into the definitive book of his work to be

published this summer.

Best coffee in these parts?

I don’t drink coffee but my favourite places for a

cup of tea are Pellicci’s in Bethnal Green, Leila’s

Café in Shoreditch and the Town House in

Spitalfields. Those are the places I like to go.

Where do you eat out?

I like St. John Bread & Wine in

Spitalfields – it’s my regular and it

never disappoints.

What do you do at


I don’t really have

weekends, but I do

love to go to the



East life

Occasionally, it’s been possible to have guest

writers take over sometimes, but the irony is that

when I do get a few days off it is to finish a book

or to tidy the house.

Anything you would change?

In Spitalfields, there’s now a vacant lot where

they demolished the London Fruit & Wool

Exchange. There were more than a 100 small

businesses in there and Tower Hamlets Council

voted unanimously to save the building but

Boris Johnson overruled them in favour of the

developers. It’s going to become chain stores and

headquarters for an international law firm. Boris

wants to do the same thing in Norton Folgate.

Tower Hamlets refused the developers but he

is going to overturn that. And then there is the

Bishopsgate Goods Yard... With over 40,000 on

the housing list, Hackney and Tower Hamlets

object to a luxury development of tower blocks

of flats that will put the Boundary Estate into

permanent shadow. There will be no benefit for

local people and it will blight the East End for

generations to come. Boris Johnson is able to

overrule local democracy and do all this. If I could

change one thing it would be to take that power

away from him.

The area’s best-kept secret?

Well, I’d say it is Paul Gardner’s paper bag shop

(see picture, above left). I’ve written about it a lot.

It’s just up the road at 149 Commercial Street. It

was opened by James Gardner in 1870 and then

his son Bertie took over, and then his son Ray

took over and now Paul Gardner is there. It is

the oldest-established business here and it’s the

cheapest paper bag shop in London. It also sells

balls of strings and tags… anything you could need

to do with market trading. And it’s a wonderful

place because Paul is a very charismatic man and

all the customers love him. His shop is like a pub

where people stand around and tell stories, an

incredible institution and the hub of Spitalfields.

The whole meaning of Spitalfields is bound up

with that place.

If the East End were human?

It would be Nicholas Culpeper, a physician in the

17th century. He believed it was wrong that the

Royal College of Physicians could set the price

of what it cost to see a doctor because it meant

that most people could never see one. He worked

and lived in Spitalfields and was the first to put

forward the idea that healthcare ought be free

as a human right. He treated 40 people a day

for free and translated medical books from Latin

into English so that anyone could read them. His

generous and radical spirit embodies the best of

the East End.

East End in a word?



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East London makers

out of its mould (see picture,


Despite the foundry's glittering

clientele, which reads like a

Who's Who of the world's most

celebrated artists (Tracy Emin,

Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley

to name a few), Jerry Hughes,

the foundry’s manager, is

refreshingly down to earth. He

has run the place with Henry

Abercrombie, the foundry's MD,

since 1992 and is unfazed by

the artworks that surround him.

Jerry introduces us to bronze

casting – a craft that dates back

thousands of years – and in

particular “lost wax casting”.

Once the artist's idea has

materialised into a model, a

mould is made from its shape.

The inside of the mould is then

covered with molten wax, and

once cooled and hardened, the

wax copy of the original model

is removed from the mould (see


Gary Hume's snowman

Christine Preisig takes a tour of the

AB Fine Art Foundry

The corridors of this beautiful

Victorian warehouse and former

dog biscuit factory, are lined

with bizarrely shaped moulds.

In one huge room Gary Hume's

shiny silver snowman sits

forlornly in a dusty corner

awaiting restoration. Pieces of

an enormous pumpkin by Yayoi


Kusama are ready to be welded

together, and Gavin Turk's Self

Portrait bronze statue is draped

in cloth, restoration complete,

waiting to be collected.

In another room, American

filmmaker and artist Philip Haas

watches as his double-faced

Francis Bacon wax cast is taken

Wax copy of Philip Haas's Francis

Bacon sculpture

East London makers

Next, a system of wax tubes,

which provide ducts for pouring

the metal during casting, are

attached to the outside of the

wax copy. The copy with its

tubes is then dipped into a

slurry of silica and covered with

a sand-like crystalline silica.

When heated in the kiln, the

wax copy melts. More heat is

added and the combination

of slurry and grit transforms

into a ceramic material that

withstands the heat and

pressure of molten metal.

The molten metal – bronze

mostly – is then heated and

poured into the ceramic shell,

filling the space left by the wax

(hence “lost wax casting”). The

next day, the cast is released

and the sculpture receives the

finishing touches.

Every step in the process

requires a great deal of skill,

and that's evident in the 20 or

so employees who work there.

Some are artists themselves

and most of them have been to

art school.

It was great to see so many

skilled people at work, and

there was a warm, family-like

atmosphere at the foundry. But

there was also a bit of magic in

the air.

It was a privilege to witness the

skill that brings great sculptures

to life, and to see the finished

artworks in all their glory.


Gavin Turk's Self-Portrait

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What's on in February



8.10pm: Hatha

yoga, Victoria Park

Community Centre,

Gore Road, E9. Nadia




11am-6pm Whitechapel

Gallery's Electronic


exhibition. £11.95.



manicures and more.

VP Community Centre.

£5. Email Christine

for appointment



10am-12.30pm. Bird

Box-making for kids,

Victoria Park. Book:




7-11pm. Dancing Years

play at the Moth Club.

£8 adv. mothclub.co.uk


12pm-11pm. London

Beer Week, Old

Truman Brewery. £10.



1pm. Take part in the

world's biggest youth

music festival. Rich Mix.

Details: mfy.org.uk



Ballet for children at

Hackney Forge. Call

Mafalda on 07550 722

693 for details.


Storytime for under

5s at Victoria Park

Community Centre,

Gore Road, E9. Except

29th. Free.


7-10pm. The

Breakfast Club Hoxton

host The Big Breakfast

Club Quiz. £5 entry.


11am-1.30pm. Try a

Cooking On A Budget

workshop at St Paul's

Church Hall in Stoke

Newington. Contact



6.30-11.30pm. Mussel

Men host Lobster

Tuesday. £30pp for

food, drink & live

music. musselmen.com


8pm. Winner of

the Kevin Spacey

Foundation Artists

of Choice Re: Home

begins its run. £12.50.



7.30pm. Junior Boys

play at Oslo Hackney.



Vinyasa Flow with Zoe.

Text 07972 367663.

Ping Pong fun and

fitness for over 50s,

Dalston CLR James


4.30-5.30pm. Creative

writing for children,

7-14yrs. Dalston CLR

James library.

10, 17

6-9pm. Cookery

classes for £75 at

e5 Bakehouse. 020

8525 2890 to book.



7.30pm. The 5 star

Edinburgh smash Janis

Joplin: Full Tilt Stratford

East Theatre. £12.




Free Coffee morning

at Victoria Park

Community Centre.



Half-term fun at




7-10.30pm. What's

Your Poison, a talk

on toxicology and

drinks. £20 early bird.




10.30am. Mini Builders

at Shoreditch Library

for under 5s and their

parents. Free.

1pm-3pm. Knitting and

natter at Victoria Park

Community Centre, Gore

Road, E9. Free.

6pm-9pm. Painting

& throwing evenings,


Ceramics. info@



6-9pm. Pop down to

the Blue exhibition at

the Espacio Gallery

on Bethnal Green

Road, open until 7 Feb.



10.15am Playdoh

Imagined Worlds

Workshop, Museum of

Childhood. For kids ages

5-12yrs (w/parent). Book

now, £5. vam.ac.uk/moc


February Half Term -

Forest School Holiday

Club. £30 per session.

fothcp.org for info.


7.30pm. Electronic pop

artist Rosie Lowe plays

at Oslo Hackney. Tickets

£9 and available at


Continued on page 17

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Local heroes

The 'Rose Voucher' is

helping to improve the

health of families in need,

says Rhowena MacCuish

Jonathan Pauling, Alexandra Rose Charity (left) with Wayne

Campbell, Ridley Road market manager

In recent years rates of food poverty in London

have skyrocketed, with huge numbers of families

seeking support from the capital's food banks.

At the same time, rates of childhood obesity

continue to rise among the poorest communities.

The Alexandra Rose Charity recognises the

importance of early-age development and

have set up a scheme that provides fruit and

vegetable vouchers to families

receiving benefits and who

have children under the age of

5. The vouchers, worth £3 per

child per week, or £6 if the child

is under a year old, mean that

hard-up parents can keep their

children healthy, avoid obesity

and illnesses related to poor

diet, while helping their kids'


Jonathan Pauling, the charity's

director, has been working

closely with Wayne Campbell,

manager of Ridley Road market, to encourage

more vendors to get on board with the scheme.

As well as at Ridley Road market, the vouchers

can also be redeemed at fruit and veg stalls set

up through East London Food Access. Head to

elfaweb.org.uk for a diary of where and when.

“a great way

to get families

eating fresh fruit

and veg”

"The Rose Vouchers for the Fruit & Veg project

is a great way to get families in Hackney eating

more fresh fruit and veg," says Jonathan,

"while supporting local markets who play

such an important role in promoting a healthy

food culture. We are proud to be working in

partnership with Hackney’s children’s centres,

the markets team at Hackney Council and Food

Matters to deliver the scheme. Over the next year

we hope to expand the project

to support more families. If

you want to help local families

to access healthier food and

avoid food poverty you can

donate through our website.

Most importantly, shop local to

support your fantastic street


This great charity is working hard

to help the most vulnerable,

with planned expansion into

a number of new children’s

centres and other markets in

Hackney. It hopes that the success of the project

will encourage other areas to take up the scheme

so that more families can be supported to give

their children a healthy start.

Vouchers can be collected at local children's

centres, which also provide a range of health

and wellbeing activities, together with support,

workshops and play groups.

To find out more information head to their website at




Sophie's world

Photo: Claire Lawrie

Sophie at her East End club, Vout-O-Reenee's

Forget Valentine's Day cards, red roses

and expensive restaurants. Spread the

love like Sophie Parkin

February is the month of

Valentines, as if you didn't know,

and should be celebrated... but


I am sick of watching my

cleverbeautifulsingle friends

consumed by a marketing

ploy that sneers,"if you're so

successful how come you

haven't got, or worse, kept, a

lover? Failure!" So years ago I

started sending anonymous

cards to give them what, hope?

No, love. (Sorry, it was me.)

It's hell for us all, because

apparently if you are lucky

enough to have a lover, you

must buy roses, chocolates and

dinner at a fancy restaurant at

double prices, for one day only.

Each way we're all losers.

Why don't we change the

meaning of a day that excludes

so many, to include everyone?

Make it a day when we

celebrate our ability to love

in the true sense – whoever,

whatever. Don't just declare it

on social media, have a love-in,

tell friends and family, do a

public recital of Walt Whitman's

Leaves of Grass, a love poem to

the Universe.

This year at Vout-o-Reenees

(Saturday,13 February) we're

staging an anti-romance

evening of nudity, comedy

poetry and performance art that

will blast its way into Valentine's.

It's called HUSH. All singles

welcome and I promise to do no

match-making, for one day only.

The next day, the Dutch

husband and I will do the

things we love. This may or

may not include a walk along

the river; a cycle to Pellicci's,

my favourite café; the Bethnal

Green Museum of Childhood

for the dolls houses. Or... a walk

up Brick Lane for a new vintage

hat; to Chez Elles for a Kir

Royale brunch with my grownup

kids and mum, followed by

The Carpenters Arms, Cheshire

Street, for a drink with friends,

and a movie at Rich Mix in


Or we may go for a swim and

before lights out, I'll whisper

one of the poems I wrote to

my husband when we first met,

thereby fitting in all the things I

love most.

So forget about cards this

Valentine's. Fill your day full of

love, with things you love and

people you love. Be happy,

practise random smiles at

strangers, and love yourself in

doing what you love most.

Sophie Parkin is an author and

owner of vout-o-reenees.com


New Year’s Resolutions?


classes p/month






fitness classes - spin - personal training


londonfieldsfitness.com / @londonfieldsfit


Acting Bugs

What sort of classes are available?

Acting Bugs sessions introduce pre-school

children and toddlers to the magical world of

drama and storytelling. The classes are designed

so that the parent or carer can join in alongside

the children.


Describe a typical class

Under the umbrella of a story (which could be a

well known classic or one of our devised stories),

we play games, sing songs, role play and use

props and bubbles to bring the stories to life.

Samantha Seager talks to

LoveEast about the great

fun to be had at Acting Bugs

What is Acting Bugs?

Acting Bugs is a drama and storytelling group for

pre-school children and their parents or carers,

using puppets, role play, music and props to bring

stories to life.

What do the kids get most from the classes?

The main thing which many parents comment

on is how their children grow in confidence. It

is also very beneficial for developing focus and

concentration. And all this while having lots of fun.

The parents really have a great time, too. Some

tell me they're so sad when their child goes off to

school or nursery as they can’t come any more!

What else does Acting Bugs do?

Well, if you're looking for a party that will get

your little one's imagination buzzing, while giving

them fun-filled exciting adventures, Acting Bugs

specialises in creating magical parties for children

aged 2–7 years. See our website for more info.

Acting Bugs classes take place every Wednesday

morning during school term time at the Hackney

Forge, 243a Victoria Park Road, London E9 7HD.


How did it all come about?

I am an actress and some of you with under 5s

might know me as Bobby from the Cbeebies

series Me Too! I started doing Acting Bugs

sessions in 2012 as I love working with children,

particularly pre-schoolers and toddlers, and have

a passion for play and having fun. When my kids

were younger, I was frustrated with the lack of

creative and imaginative activities we could attend

together. The seed for Acting Bugs had been

planted and now, in 2016, I'm running several

weekly sessions in many locations throughout

East London, including Victoria Park, Clapton and

Stoke Newington.


What's on in February



8pm-2am. Carnival

party vibes at The Get

Down club night, The

Book Club Shoreditch



10pm-6am. An evening

of deep house and

techno wth Fred P and

Lakuti at The Pickle

Factory, Oval Space.

£10. ovalspace.co.uk


1-2pm The Way to

Wealth for SMEs

powered by Brian Tracy

Delivered by FAB

Consulting Group, Quay

House, Canary Wharf.



7.30pm. Have

some old-fashioned

fun at Valentine's

Games Night. £15.


12, 26

7pm. Fiver Fridays

at Chisenhale Dance

Space, E3. £5 for

5 performances.





Wildlife Art and Craft

for children and young

people .The Hub

Victoria Park.



Geffrye Explorers.

Various activities. 3-11

years. Free. geffryemuseum.org.uk

10.30am-1pm. Stained

glass-making at St

John at Bethnal Green

(crypt). More details:.




10-12.30pm. Junior

Wildlife Club, Victoria

Park, Under 12s must

be accompanied by

adults. 020 7364 4504

or email victoriapark@



7pm. A Belter For

The Shelter. Hackney

Winter Night Shelter

hosts an evening

of comedy to raise

money for Hackney's

homeless. £10-22.50.



9.30-4pm. For A Taste

Of Forest Gardening

workshop, contact Jo at




7.30-1am. Hush at

Vout-O-Reenees – the

alternative Valentine's

Night: an evening of

decadent cabaret. £10.



9.45-1pm. Various

dance classes for ages

2-11yrs at Chisenhale

Dance Space, E3.

£5-6 per class or term

prices available. Book.



Yoga Nest, St

Margaret's House on

Old Ford Rd. £30 for

a 3 lessons. To book,

email agathe.guerrier@




Celebrate Chinese

New Year at the

Museum of Childhood

with traditional &

modern dancing,

mask & lantern

making, costume and

calligraphy workshops.



10am-1pm. Jumble at

St Joseph's Hospice.

Grab a bargain from

the huge range of

stalls. New clothes,

toys, DVDs or

something for the

kitchen? This jumble

sale has it all. stjh.org.




10-12.30pm. Bird Box

Making for adults. £5.

Book via 020 7364

4504 / victoriapark@



7-10pm. Pop down

to The Marksman on

Hackney Road for their

Sunday Night Music


12-7pm. FREE. Hackney

Wick's Vintage & Retro

Flea Market at The Old

Bath House,



Introductory Meditation

Day at The London

Buddhist Centre. £30-

40pp. Booking essential




Superbowl Sunday at

POND in Dalston. £25

gets you entry, all you

can eat and the first

beer. designmynight.



Whiskey & Blues Revival

#3 night at The Ace

Hotel's Club Miranda

in Shoreditch. Dinner,

Whiskey and live music

for £35pp. acehotel.com


12pm. Jay & Pea

Nearly New Baby

Boutique Market. The

Boiler House, George

Downing Estate,

Cazenove Road, N16





Hatha yoga, p10


Superhighway exhib



Cook on a budget, p10

Ballet for kids, p10

Storytime, under 5s, p10

Big Breakfast Club quiz,



Vinyasa flow, p10

Ping Pong fun, p10

Creative writing, kids, p10


Blue exhib, p10

Mini builders, p10

Knitting/natter, p10







Hatha yoga, p10

£5 Beauty

treatments, p10

Ballet for kids, p10

Lobster Tuesday, p10

Re-home @ Yard, p10

Janis Joplin: Full Tilt, p10

Ping Pong fun, p10

Vinyasa flow, p10

Creative writing, kids, p10

Cookery classes, p10

Mini builders, p10

Knitting/natter, p10




Hatha yoga, p10

Bird Box-making for

kids, p10

Dancing Years play,

Moth Club, p10


Junior Boys @ Oslo, p10


Ragged School Mus, p10

Ping Pong fun, p10

Vinyasa flow, p10

Creative writing, kids, p10

Cookery classes, p10

Coffee morning, p10


Playdoh Imagined

Worlds, p10

Mini builders, p10

Painting/throwing, p10

Knitting/natter, p10

Forest club, p10


Hatha yoga, p10


Ballet for kids, p10


Talk: toxicology &

alcohol, p10


Electronic pop, p10

London Beer Week,

Old Truman Brew, p10

Vinyasa flow, p10

Ping Pong fun, p10

Mini builders, p10

Painting/throwing, p10

Creative writing for kids,


Knitting/natter, p10


Leap day

World's biggest youth

music festival, p10

Art events

General events

Outdoor events




Carnival party vibes, p17

Networx computer skills at

Victoria Park Comm Centre, E9

House & techno, Oval, p17


Fiver Fridays (dance), p17

Carnival party vibes, p17

Way to Wealth for small-medium

businesses, Canary Wharf, p17

Valentine's Games night, p17


Carnival party vibes, p17

Wildlife Art & Craft, kids, p17

Networx computer skills at

Victoria Park Comm Centre, E9


Carnival party vibes, p17

Networx computer skills at

Victoria Park Comm Centre, E9

Fiver Fridays (dance), p17


Forest Gardening, p17

Stained glass-making, p17

Geffrye Explorers, p17

Junior Wildlife Club, p17

Belter for the Shelter, p17


Stained glass-making, p17

Geffrye Explorers, p17

Kids' dance classes, p17

Yoga Nest, p17

Alternative Valentine's p17

Chinese NY at MOC, p17


Yoga Nest, p19

Kids' dance classes, p17

Geffrye Explorers, p17

Stained glass-making, p17

Bird Box-making for adults, p17

Mega Jumble Sale, p17


Yoga Nest, p19

Kids' dance classes, p17

Geffrye Explorers, p17

Stained glass-making, p17


Intro to meditation, p17

Live music, Marksman,


Superbowl Sunday, p17

Vintage/retro flea market,



Whiskey & Blues, p17

Live music, Marksman,


Vintage/retro flea market,



Live music, Marksman,


Vintage/retro flea market,



Vintage flea market, p17

Live music, Marksman, p17

Nearly new baby boutique

market, p17



Faraday School

Europe. Faraday School prides itself on providing

a traditional education in a creative environment

and its unique location at Trinity Buoy Wharf

beside the Thames and the River Lea offers a

multitude of opportunities to learn and play.

After-school clubs this term include sewing, chess,

choir, guitar, karate, coding, drawing, dance,

Mandarin and cooking, to name just a few. Nearly

half the school takes advantage of the school bus

service, using 18 different stops, including south

of the river.


Faraday School's riverside

location is just one of many

great things to shout about,

writes Emily Sutton

Faraday Prep School has another exciting term

ahead, packed with fun events, educational treats,

and impressive outings.

The year kick-starts with a welcome back disco,

a football tournament against another local

school and visits to the British Museum. On World

Book Day in March, pupils will dress up as their

favourite fictional character and later in the term

the PTA will be holding a film night. Science week

looks set to be a blast (quite literally) and the

annual art exhibition will showcase all pupils’ work

throughout the school. This year the school hopes

to strengthen its links with the neighbouring Royal

Drawing School by inviting a senior lecturer to

judge their pupils' creativity.

Faraday aims to have small classes to ensure

all pupils receive individual attention. As a small

school, children socialise across year groups

and learn from each other during clubs and

assemblies. It is this nurturing environment that

particularly appeals to parents.

"The school has given my son the brilliant start

that I had hoped for," says parent Geeta Kasanga.

"The teachers are superb and very professional.

They have absolutely identified, understood and

appreciated his learning style. The head teacher

is not only approachable, but under her guidance

the school thrives as a small, flourishing and

supportive community. I highly recommend this

amazing gem of a school."

To find out more or to book a place on an open day,

visit faradayschool.co.uk, or call 020 7719 9342.

Faraday School, Old Gate House, 7 Trinity Buoy

Wharf, E14 0FH.

In the curriculum, Faraday follows the Core

Knowledge approach. In the spring term, the

lower school will be learning about, amongst

other things, the seven continents, prime

ministers, the weather and the Impressionists.

Meanwhile the upper school will be studying

a wide range of topics, including poetry, data

collection, electricity, the Stuarts and Eastern



What to do


Storytime for the under 5s at Victoria Park

Community Centre every Tuesday from 10am to

11.30am. 5 Gore Road, E9. FREE.

Fourth Tuesday of each month, Chatterbooks

reading group for 8-12yrs, quizzes, competitions,

prizes. Dalston CLR James Library.


Free Mini Builders at Shoreditch Library for under

5s and parents.


Free drop-in activities every day at The Museum

of Childhood, including arts and crafts, tours, trails

and storytelling. For ages 3-12 years. Cambridge

Heath Road, E2. Plus: check out p24 for this

month's extra activities.

There's always something interesting happening

at the Ragged School Museum, 46-50 Copperfield

Road, E3.

Want to be a Geffrye Explorer? There is lots of fun

to be had between 12.30pm and 4.30pm every

Saturday at geffrye-museum.org.uk


Hackney Picturehouse Kids’ Club is for ages

3-12 years. picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Hackney_



London Fields Lido offer swimming lessons and

they’ve started giving stages 3-8 swimming classes

again. Go to betterlessons.org.uk for details and

booking. Plus of course, there's Mile End Leisure

Centre, York Hall in Bethnal Green and the

gorgeous Aquatics Centre, QE Olympic Park.

New Year resolution

fail? Let us help you

get back on track


At city farms in Hackney, Stepney, Spitalfields

and Mudchute you can introduce your kids to

the pongs and pleasures of real farm animals.

Stepney City Farm has a great café, as well as

a farmers’ market every Saturday from 10am-

3pm. stepneycityfarm.org, hackneycityfarm.co.uk,

spitalfieldscityfarm.org, mudchute.org

Check out the websites for events.

Personal training with Michelle Crawford

Children welcome if you can't get childcare

Fighting Fit Studio, 15 Bow Wharf, E3 5SN


07805 612127

Children's Centres

Wentworth on Cassland Road (wentworth.

hackney.sch.uk), Gainsborough on Berkshire Road


and Morningside on Chatham Place (morningside.

hackney.sch.uk/childrens-centre). Meath Gardens

Children's Centre, 1 Smart Street, E2; Mile End

Leisure Centre, The One O'Clock Club (Vicky Park


with the kids

near boating lake); Overland Children's Centre, 60

Parnell Road, E3.

Yoga for babies...

Baby-focused classes using massage, classical

yoga postures, stretches and balances adapted

to their stage of growth. Fridays, Royal Inn on the

Park, E9.10.45am-11.45am. £6.50. Karen: firsttouchmassage@hotmail.co.uk,

07902 227 669.

Yoga for babies... and their mums

Yoga for Mums and Babies, every Tuesday

at 10.15am with tea and biscuits afterwards.

Hackney Forge, E9. 07958 645 978 or email



Wiggly Jigglers at Rich Mix. Creative movement for

0-2yrs. Call 020 7613 7498 to book.

There’s ballet for children at the Hackney Forge

on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call Mafalda

on 07550 722 693 for details and check out


Also at the Hackney Forge you’ll find Saturday

Street Dance and Musical Theatre classes. 12

noon-1pm, 1.15pm-2.15pm and 2.30-3.30pm, Call

Lisa on 07985 945 335 for details.

Activity times may change, so please do check on

times/availability via the websites or phone numbers



Angel Voices, tunes for toddlers. Tuesdays,

9.45am-11am in term-time at St. Michael’s and All

Angels in London Fields. No charge but donations

welcome. Call Connie on 07830 349 362.


Hackney Children’s Theatre situated in 700-yearold

St John at Hackney church, hosts monthly

performances for kids and their families. facebook.


Award winning classes for 0-5 yrs


Diddy Bugs. Try Hackney Forge on a Wednesday

morning. Cbeebies actress Samantha Seager runs

acting classes for little tots. actingbugs.co.uk


Piccolo music for babies and toddlers, Mondays,

Wednesdays and Fridays in the V&A building

in Victoria Park. Toddler class 10am, baby class

11am. Just drop in. Stefanie, 07708 451 314.

Suzuki Hub runs music lessons for kids (violin,

viola, cello, flute). Suzuki Hub, 116 Weymouth

Terrace, E2 8LR. suzukihub.com

At Gymboree our focus is on encouraging

and nurturing your baby in every aspect of their

development, with you right by their side. We

offer a variety of fun and sensory led

classes from newborn to 5years.

Gymboree classes are designed by experts

in early childhood development to

help young children learn as they play.

Book your FREE trial class today!

Gymboree Bethnal Green


020 7537 2901 / 07966 227583

59-61 Roman Road, London, E2 0QN



Culture corner

Museum of Childhood

On Saturday, 13 February why not celebrate

Chinese New Year at the museum with

traditional and modern instrumental and

dance performances. Free activities including

Chinese opera mask and lantern-making, as

well as costume and calligraphy workshops.

Also on 13 February London Children’s Book

swap returns for the 5th year running. Bring

your old books to trade for another person’s

favourite read. Plus, there's a book-making

drop-in with the London Centre for Book Arts.

The literature of love

“Love is a better teacher than duty,” said Albert

Einstein, showing himself to be a genius on

matters more extensive than simply science.

A well written love story or poem might prove

to be the best learning tool of all, giving one

the experience of falling in love without the

accompanying discomfort or actual heartache.

Here are some of our new(ish) favourites you

might want to consider this Valentine’s Day.

The Big Book of Love by Laurence

and Catherine Anholt. Gorgeous

rhymes all about love which can

be shared with the whole family.

The Color of

Love by Suzy Taylor. A new

colouring book but this time with

a seasonal theme, and with tearout

pages which can be used to

spell any words you like

Play-Doh, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

To mark 60 years since the launch of Play-

Doh, one of the most enduring of childhood

products, the museum explores the squish,

squash and squelch of the plastic arts with

a range of free family-friendly drop-ins. Plus,

there’s a great choice of workshops: Play-Doh

Story Modelling (4-8yrs, 15-19 February); Play-

Doh Animation (5-12yrs, 15-17 February) and

Play-Doh Imagined Worlds (5-12yrs, 18-19 Feb.

All workshops cost £5 per child (with parent/

carer). To check the times and book one of the

workshops (places are limited) visit the website.

V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath

Road, E2 9PA. For full details on all events visit


Love is my Favourite Thing;

A Plumdog Story by Emma

Chichester Clark. Children’s book

author and illustrator has turned

her hand to something graphic

to appeal to everybody, including

the family dog.

A Little, Aloud With Love by Angela

Macmillan. Anthology of poems

and prose from the Reader

Organisation to be read aloud,

covering every conceivable kind

of love. Includes work from

Auden, Murakami, Whitman.

The Pursuit of Love, and Love in a

Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.

Reissues, with beautiful new

covers from Penguin, of the two

wittiest and most moving novels

on love and loving probably ever

written in the English language.

Jo de Guia, storyhabit.co.uk


Local heroes

Inspiring children to read is a hugely rewarding experience,

says Beanstalk volunteer Tristan Hill

"Don't tell me, don't tell me".

These were the words of one of

the children I worked with this

year and spoken with the huge

passion of someone who didn't

want to be defeated.

He was making a stab at

pronouncing a complicated

word from a Roald Dahl story.

For much of the year, he was

the least committed, and the

most disruptive of the three

children I worked with. He

would do everything he could

to avoid anything, so it made it

all the more rewarding when he

expressed such determination.

Choosing to do voluntary

work sometimes comes with a

vested interest. Many people

don’t quite believe me when I

tell them that I struggled with

reading and comprehension

at school, but it was this that

prompted me to volunteer

with Beanstalk after hearing

about them through an Evening

Standard campaign.

Beanstalk provide volunteers

with in-depth training, and

on-going support, as well as a

box full of books and games.

From then on it's is up to

each volunteer to be creative

and to capture the children's


One contribution I made was to

show them an illustrated book

of ballet stories. This captivated

one child and drew out her

genuine passion for dance.

Volunteers work individually

with each child, and away from

the demands of the school

curriculum. While an integral

part of volunteering is to help

them to improve their reading,

there is no pressure on the

children to meet targets. A

30-minute session is about

creating a space where they can

express themselves through

talking and interacting with the

volunteer, as well as developing

ways to interact and socialise

with others.

It's challenging at times, but

seeing the children grow in

confidence, as well as develop in

the classroom, has made it the

most rewarding experience of

my life so far. That’s quite a bold

statement, I realise, but so true.

Beanstalk is a national literacy

charity which places volunteers

in local primary schools to help

children who have fallen behind

with their reading. They currently

work in a number of schools in

Hackney and Tower Hamlets and

need more reading helpers.

To find out more about

volunteering opportunities visit the

website beanstalkcharity.org.uk

or call 020 7749 7965.



you will fail occasionally but that doesn’t mean

you will not succeed in the end.

Enjoy a drink

Here we are talking quality not quantity. Enjoy one

glass of a nice wine (or beer) rather than chug a

bottle of something cheap and nasty. It means

you drink less and perhaps enjoy it more.

Take a photo of yourself in your underwear

Take a picture and then – depending on your

confidence and living arrangements – either tuck

it away somewhere private or print it out and

stick it on the bedroom mirror. Research in Spain

found that those who took regular pictures found

it hugely motivating because they could literally

see the changes in the body.

Sign up for the Hackney half-marathon

If you need a goal to help drive your training, sign

up for the Hackney Half on Sunday, 8 May. There

are plenty of running plans online (Bupa do great,

free ones). If you are looking for a good cause,

St Joseph's Hospice, on Mare Street, are building

a team for the day. You can apply for a place

through their website, stjh.org.uk/hackney or sign

up at runhackney.com

Roger Love, personal

trainer, gives some tips on

how to keep your new year

of fitness going

As the weather closes in and the demands of

work and family chase away your New Year

resolve, it’s time for you to dig in and consolidate

your 2016 health regime. Here are six ideas to

help you.

Don’t beat yourself up

If you miss a workout or let a sneaky drink pull

you off the wagon of dry January, don’t be too

hard on yourself – and don’t give up. Accept that

Set a new goal

Your first goal was to train once a week. Now,

you can set a new one. It could be a specific

outcome, say to lose 3cm off your waist, or to add

a second session. To try something different, how

about a visit to Mile End Climbing Wall, afterdark

swimming at the Lido, or badminton at the

Britannia Leisure Centre?

Improve your sleep

Lack of sleep can affect hormones and that could

interfere with the weight loss process and make

you crave higher-calorie foods. You can track your

sleep with a fitness monitor that you wear – and

start to make changes by keeping your room cool

and turning off your phone (or put it on airplane

mode). Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep.

Roger Love is a personal trainer based in Netil House,




Drama and story-telling

classes for under 5s

Has your little one

got the acting bug?

Join Sam Seager

(Bobby from Cbeebies

Me Too!) and her team

First class is FREE

Come explore one

of Hackney’s last

independent high streets

Market every Sunday 11-4

Shops, bars and restaurants

7 days


Homerton overground | E5 0LS

Every Wednesday morning at

Hackney Forge, 243a Victoria

Park Road, E9 7HD

Email Sam at info@actingbugs.co.uk and

get your child's imagination buzzing


Your safety is

our concern

The most comprehensive lock-based service available

www.empiresecuritylondon.com 020 8986 7921

8-20 Well Street, London, E9 7PX


Eating in

Valentine's French toast with caramelised pecans

and orange sauce – for two, of course

Thickly slice the brioche and

get your ice cream out of the


Turn the brioche in the egg

mixture until each piece is

completely covered.

Heat a little butter in your

frying pan on a medium-high

heat then fry them on both

sides until you have a perfectly

caramelised finish.

Illustration: rachelgale.com

To top it off, get yourself a big

scoop of smooth vanilla ice

cream, stack everything on a

plate and recklessly top it with

the crunchy pecans and your

mouthwatering orange sauce.

Patrick Drake


This is a perfectly delicious dish

for a Valentine's Day breakfast

or brunch. Let's face it, it isn't

going to compliment your New

Year regime, but who cares? If

you want to treat yourself and

your lover to something tasty

and decadent, this will push all

the right buttons.

Ingredients (for two)

1 large orange

1½ tbsp butter

2 tbsp runny honey

3 free range eggs (preferably


½tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp pecan nuts

4 thick slices of brioche bread

¼ tsp of sea salt flakes

2 scoops vanilla ice cream


For this ludicrously tasty French

toast, zest half an orange into

a pan then squeeze in all of its

juice. Bring it to a gentle bubble

on a medium low heat, then add

1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of

honey before you reduce it to a

beautifully thick syrup.

Once it is thick remove it from

the heat.

Crack and whisk a few eggs in

a bowl before adding ground

cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Cook your pecans in the

remaining butter on a medium

heat for a few minutes, together

with the remaining honey and a

pinch of salt. Then, when they're

golden, let them cool down.

Patrick Drake is the creator of

the online cookery course The 60

Second Chef and co-founder and

Head Chef of HelloFresh.

LoveEast Reader Offer

Patrick is offering LoveEast

readers 40% off the price

of his full 60-Second Chef

cookery course. To get your

discount, just quote CHEF40

when you make your

purchase at:



Eating out

Saray Broadway Café

We’re still in the bleak winter. It’s cold, there’s

been some snow and those post-Christmas blues

are still hanging around, but the good news is

we’re out of "dry January".

Who does that? It’s never made sense to me to

give up stuff in the hardest months of the year

and then to bore everyone with it as well. At

least I had the decency to start my regime during

September. This is the time for comfort and

familiarity to tuck yourself in and keep it simple

and local. What could be nicer than a quick walk

to a local café for a straightforward, inexpensive,

no fuss breakfast or an OAP-loved lunch? These

cafés are a local amenity for all of us.

The Saray Broadway Café is just this sort of place.

It’s been along Broadway Market for an age, with

easy-wipe surfaces and those tables and chairs

that are built as one unit. It contains no irony and

it could be anywhere in the UK. Brilliant.

If you haven't been there you'll know it from the

front window attraction, where fresh spinach

and cheese Turkish flatbreads, also known as

Gozleme, are cooked before you in a little wooden

cubicle in the front window.

When you wedge yourself in you'll be able to

check out the street view through the large

windows, but it's inside where the real action

happens. School kids, builders, locals, OAPs,

workers, we're all In there, in the know and

enjoying a cuppa and contentment.

This isn’t fine dining; there's nothing fancy. It’s

what you’d expect, and that's the virtue. We all

have a moment when there's nothing better than

a greasy spoon. I had beautifully fried eggs, soft

and perfectly round by being cooked in those

rings, along with a generous portion of crispy

bacon with mushrooms. They even had fried

bread. Where else are you going to get that and a

gammon served with a pineapple ring? One of my

Granny's favourite meals.

The service is forthcoming and gracious, setting

the tone for the easy atmosphere and good times.

We paid £13 for our three breakfasts.

Susan Birtwistle

Saray Broadway Cafe

58 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ


Legal eagle

argument. They are not able to give detailed legal

advice but legally trained mediators can give

general guidance on the law and how the courts

approach the matter.

The main advantage is that issues are resolved

out of court, which invariably means that it's far

less stressful, more cost-effective and produces

results that the couple agree on. That makes for a

much better outcome.

The process is particularly useful when there

are children involved, and some mediators

are specifically trained to involve the children

themselves in the mediation process, and this can

be very effective.

Mediation is not suitable for some cases, for

example where there is domestic abuse.

At TV Edwards both Denise Ingamells and I are

accredited mediators. Our success rate is very

high in helping separating couples to reach an

agreement, even those who initially had great

difficulty speaking to each other.


Divorce is difficult in any

circumstance, but mediation

helps to ease the process,

explains David Emmerson

Mediation is the most effective, quickest and

cheapest way of resolving issues concerning

children, finance, divorce and separation.

It's a process by which the couple meet with the

mediator – usually in the same room but not

always – and talk through their views, feelings

and proposals in order to resolve issues.

The mediators use their skills and training

to encourage discussion and to make sure

everybody has a voice.

Mediators are skilled at dealing with a couple's

power balance and they ensure that each party

knows and understands the relevance of every

If you feel that mediation is something you would

like to pursue, then please do call us. We will find

out whether it is suitable for your situation, as

well as talking to you about what the issues might

be. A separate meeting will then be arranged to

explain the process. If it is decided that mediation

is suitable, the first session is arranged. At

that point the agenda is set and any financial

disclosure, valuations and other necessary

preparation is planned.

Mediation sessions can last up to 90 minutes and

many disputes are resolved after two to three


For advice or further information, please

contact David Emmerson on 0203 440

8089 (david.emmerson@tvedwards.com), or

Denise Ingamells on 020 3440 8087 (denise.


tvedwards.com, 35-37 Mile End Road

London, E1 4TP.



Critical analysis – the ability to challenge your


Review – an ability to pause and to ask "What

would I do differently next time and why? How

will I do it and how will that give me the outcome

I want?"

New learning – an ability to learn about yourself

from experiences (your potential and areas for

improvement), rather than seeing yourself or

others as a failure.


Make a little time each day

to reflect, says life coach

Karen Liebenguth

We usually talk about picking up bad habits, but

here’s a good habit to pick up – regular reflection.

Reflection can be a very empowering process. It

can help you to make sense of your day – to come

to decisions, to set a course of action and to step

away from the "autopilot" that is the habit for

many of us.

As we move into 2016, a good starting point is

to reflect on the intentions you set for the new

year, giving you a chance to track progress and

to follow through rather than falling back into old


Preparing a reflection skills toolkit

Reflection requires a number of skills which can

easily be developed:

Self-awareness – an ability to pause, to pay

attention to thoughts and feelings and to question

yourself without judgement. This will help you to

become aware of your habitual ways of thinking

and behaving in any given situation.

Non-judgement – it's important to be able to

describe / recall situations neutrally.

Reflection tips

1. Give yourself at least 10-15 minutes for regular

reflection, in a place where you feel at ease and

at a time that suits you best (when your mind is

open and alert). I like to reflect while walking in

Victoria Park or during a weekend hike. Others

reflect during a long soak in the bath.

2. Switch off all background noise – radio, TV, your

phone – to create the best conditions to clarify

your intentions and to help you verbalise your

thoughts and feelings.

3. Capture your reflections in a notebook.

Between Christmas and New Year I used these

tools to reflect on the past year. It helped me to

gain clarity about what worked and what didn’t

work so well in 2015.

These tools can be applied to anything, big or

small. They will add depth to how you live your

life, rendering it more satisfying and meaningful

as a result.

Karen Liebenguth offers 1:1 coaching while

walking in Victoria Park, 1:1 mindfulness

training & courses for the workplace &

mindfulness for stress and chronic pain.

To book a free taster coaching session email

karen@greenspacecoaching.com or call

07815 591279. For more information visit



History hangout

beneath the summit at the north-western tip of

Springfield Park. In the British Museum there is a

Roman sarcophagus that was found last century

in the immediate vicinity, so we know that the

Romans were present there.

Having marched with his legions all the way to

Anglesey, Governor Paulinus left his southern

strongholds unchallenged to the ravages of

Queen Boudicca, accompanied by her own Iceni

tribe from Norfolk and the Trinovantes tribes from

Essex. It was a most unfortunate coincidence. She

wasn't defending the religious Druids, she was

claiming back her royal inheritance.

Stephen Selby investigates

the mystery of Blood House

In 60 or 61AD the Roman governor of Britain,

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, with the approval of

Emperor Nero, set about to annihilate every single

Druid, man woman and child. Only in Anglesey did

the remaining Druids escape death by sailing to

Dublin for safety.

Here in Hackney we have our own possible

connection to the Druids in the form of caves

beneath the legendary ancient burial mound in

Springfield Park. It is believed by many historians

that places named as "spring" and "well" were

linked to the Druids. Julius Caesar called these

cave-dwelling priests the Cavernii when he first

encountered them in Kent in BC54.

There is a rather grizzly 1786 map reference

to “The Blood House”, where Springfield Park

overlooks the vast Lea valley. Could nearby

Moundfield Road be a link to the mass execution

of the local Druids?

Two of my dowsing colleagues specialise in

identifying Druid burial locations in Britain and are

certain that there was a Druid temple complex

Boudicca and her tribal armies first destroyed

the major Roman military base at Colchester.

Next, she burnt London, killing 70,000, and then

ordered the destruction of St Albans. Paulinus

had made a great error of judgement by being

absent. These military and civilian massacres were

a major setback for Rome. According to Tacitus

the famous Roman chronicler, Boudicca’s victory

was only temporary. After annihilating the Druids

across the entire country, the disciplined Roman

legions encountered the celebrating tribes in

the south, somewhere along Watling Street. The

Romans then massacred their adversaries; Queen

Boudicca was eventually pronounced dead.

Thus Paulinus provoked two of the most bloody

events under the Roman occupation; the

countless murders of the Druids, and Boudicca's

own revenge.

Was this "Blood House" named after the

massacre of Druid cave-dwellers from Springfield

Park? This pinnacle is located on what is now

Moundfield Road – just a hundred yards from

the possible temple complex. As the Druids did

not fight the Romans, it leaves us to conclude

that they were perhaps lined up like sheep to

the slaughter. Dowsing over the whole area, at

all times with witnesses, there are the possible

remains of literally hundreds of human corpses

beneath this high mound.

Next month: Shoreditch and its ancient Holywell



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