A sunny morning in Dalston

I finished a difficult article yesterday (as well as spending the evening doing my civic duty at a meeting of the Licensing Subcommittee of Hackney Council) so I feel I deserve a gentler than usual start to the morning. The sun is shining and the cherry trees at the end of the road still in blossom and I venture out to buy some ironmongery wherewith to fix a rail in the kitchen. Three crocodiles of excited primary school children, perhaps seven or eight years old, are converging on the Rio Cinema. From the west, in yellow tee shirts, from the north in green and from the south in turquoise ones. At the head of each line is a teacher walking backwards, conducting. Round the corner in Kingsland High Street there is the sound of rap music being played. It is coming from quite the most amazing pimp-my-ride bike I have ever seen in my life – a rococo extravaganza in bright green, yellow and gilt – to the admiring Ooohs and Aaahs of young and old, black and white, male and female passers by. The rider is much too cool to acknowledge this response but, a few minutes later, I notice him cycling back the other way so it seems to be designed more for performance than as a means of getting from A to B. Further down the road, another crocodile of even tinier children (perhaps five-year-olds), this time in purple tee shirts, is being threaded expertly southward through the exuberant crowd of vegetable sellers and their customers at the entrance to Ridley Road market. The guys in the hardware shop are as helpful as can be, cutting my steel rod to length for me amidst some banter I am too deaf to catch (centring I think on double entendres about ‘rods’ and their length). On the way back, I buy for my breakfast some fruit from a stall and an ispanakh gözleme – a Turkish flatbread stuffed with cheese and spinach – from one of the headscarved aproned ladies who sit in the windows of the local cafes making these things all day. (I notice that this vogue has now spread to restaurants with other ethnic cuisines. In other parts of London I have recently spotted grannies making tortillas in the windows of Mexican restaurants, and dumplings in their Chinatown equivalents). And I am back home before the coffee has gone too cold to drink. What a great place to live!

1 thought on “A sunny morning in Dalston

  1. Dear Ursula…do you remember me from the Courtauld? I was sruck, when I read your Dalston blog, by the coincidence that my son Michael is living in Sandringham Road, 24B, with his cat Tiny. Across from the cinema with Argos at the top of his road. He is working as a (commercial) photographer, and has been there for a number of years, a perfect (at least up til now) location. For a photographer, …the high ceilings and proximity to the City.
    He did a degree at SOAS then developed ME, and after a long illness became a photographer.
    I have spent most of the last years working abroad, but am back now to take care of an elderly mother. I’m teaching art history (sic!) 3 days a week in a Jewish Faith School in Bushey, and painting the rest of the time.
    How are things with you ? I worked for six years in Turkey, and would have complete confidence in their ability to defend their patch.
    Do let me know how things are with you and what you have been doing. Cybernetics??
    Best Wishes Edwin

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