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Wanstead wedding

On a glorious summer morning on Saturday, Wanstead Park’s first wedding cavalcade in living memory delighted the well-wishers who turned up in good numbers to cheer the occasion. Anticipation had built gradually as the expected departure time of 11:30 arrived, to a crescendo as the expected wedding time of midday also passed.

Then suddenly, in a splendidly thunderous approach, the wedding carriage drawn by a pair of white horses hove into view, covering most of Wanstead Park Avenue at an extremely impressive clip.

Due to the carriage’s brisk rate of progress across the park, there were scant opportunities for photography, but Wansteadium is extremely grateful to Melanie Hartt for this photo of the scene.

aturally the wedding party were all smiles, especially the bride to be Luisa, to whom we wish every happiness in her marriage to Graham. Congratulations!

The bane of Wanstead

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Guerrilla gardener Marian Temple writes: “Now that the council have run out of cash and have stopped spraying our tree surrounds and pavement cracks to death, there are all sorts of delights popping up in cracks, poppies, linaria, even lavender seedlings. There are the usual wayside weeds but one in particular will probably take over Wanstead and the world.

I have to admire its sneakiness. It’s quite a strapping looking thing and as most people assume that weeds are weedy looking and garden plants are legal looking, it escapes attention and sends its thousands of seeds to populate any crack in the pavement or unsuspecting garden.

From its leaves, it looks like a tall wallflower, or maybe a golden rod. It goes from bud to fluffy seed head with amazing speed. The flowers are totally unnoticeable. It can be a mere 6” high or a strapping 3 foot mini shrub. I would suggest that people get rid of it as soon as they see it. Once it is covered with fluffy seed heads, it’s much more difficult to deal with and needs to be carefully cut from the base and put into a plastic bag to prevent the seeds flying to pastures new.

We are into a new era now with money being in such short supply. Things that were automatically done by the council in the past are no longer being done. So maybe we have to readjust our thinking, keep an eye on our public spaces and be more proactive if bodily condition allows. Hoiking out Canadian fleabane on sight would be a good start, not too arduous in fact probably good exercise.

There is a silver lining to the Canadian fleabane cloud. Perhaps in a strange way, we owe our much-loved Corner House Garden (the one on the High St opposite the Coop) to this particular weed. Some years ago I had been watching with sinking heart the demise of this garden. Not only was it full of take-away rubbish, but had spawned a harvest of Canadian fleabane loaded with fluffy seed heads just waiting for the first breath of wind to send seeds all over Wanstead. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and had me reaching for my secateurs. All was cut and carefully put in plastic sacks.

Something more long term was needed for this prime garden patch on the High Street. The Wanstead Society approached the council with the idea of taking it over as an honorary Wanstead flower bed. All was agreed and hey presto! We have had 13 years of that lovely High Street cottage garden. Many thanks to Candadian fleabane, but please rip it up when you see it.


Harry’s home

  Harry the 40-year-old tortoise with a traumatic backstory who went missing last week has been discovered safe and sound. 

Wansteadium reader Tina Nieman Da Costa, Harry’s custodian, writes: “Harry was found on Saturday by a lady who went to investigate her barking dog who had been intrigued to see a walking stone coming out of the forest. He spent a whole week on holiday, but was tempted out by the sunshine and because he couldn’t find any strawberries. Thank you so much to that wonderful lady and her dog and to everyone who called about the terrapin sightings in Eagle Pond, we were really touched with all your concerns.” 

‘Blakey’ dies in Wanstead

Stephen Lewis, the actor famous for playing Blakey in the 1970s sitcom On the Buses, has died in the Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead, where he lived. He was 88. Rashid Ebrahimkhan, manager of the home, told reporters: “He still had his sense of humour, very much so. He was very resilient until the last.”

Look out for lost tortoise

 This is Harry, a 40-year-old tortoise who has gone AWOL from his Snaresbrook garden, probably now tramping through some Epping Forest undergrowth. His owner person, Tina Nieman da Costa, has been hunting for him without joy. 

Tina says: “We hope he comes back to us. We can’t imagine house without him.  He’s not very big – 7×10 inches at his shell – and although he’s 40, he was a rescue tortoise. Sadly his previous owner put a hole in his shell and painted him. There is now a missing shell segment and the paint is all gone but he never grew very big. We took him to a specialist who says he suffered a trauma when young (probably dropped). That being said, he is very friendly for a tortoise and loves strawberries and cucumber.”

Anyone in the vicinity of the Rivenhall Estate is asked to check their gardens and let Tina or husband Troy know. Tina’s on 07841 421267 and Troy is on 07735 577399.

Tips for Wanstead folk deciding to cycle to beat the Tube strike

Last Tube strike Wansteadium shared a map of walking times from Wanstead stations. But for those who might be brushing the cobwebs off a mostly unused bike, here are some tips from avid cyclists Robert Dineen and Nick Affleck.

1. Skip Leytonstone High Road. For many Wansteadites, the northern tip of Leytonstone High Road will be the shortest way to get to central London but the contra-flow there makes it among the most dangerous urban roads we’ve encountered. By encouraging cyclists to ride in the opposite direction to the traffic, you forever take pedestrians and drivers by surprise, and sharply increase the risk of an accident as a result. As for Blake Hell Road which is beset by roadworks and traffic jams, careful cyclists should be able to pick their way through the stranded masses. (Anyone hoping to hop on a 101 bus to Stratford or a 308 to Manor Park should remember this.)

2. There’s a reasonably calm route west from Wanstead Flats via Cann Hall Road, and Honour Lea Avenue in Leyton which takes you to the Olympic Park. Continue west across a connecting flyover into Victoria Park, which then joins the Regents Canal, allowing pleasant pedalling all the way to City Road. Go steady, and use your bell liberally on the towpath!

3. Consider cycling to Stratford for DLR and Overground connections. There are 500 cycle parking spaces at Westfield.

4. Avoid Whitechapel High Street if you can. Roadworks building the new cycle lanes here have reduced the lanes available to traffic and made the ride into the City much longer. Better to use the Cycle Superhighway that links the Docklands to Tower Hill and can be accessed at Mile End. Be warned, though, it has only one line in each direction and tends to get busy at rush hour, so you will probably need to curb your inner Mark Cavendish and avoid overtaking.

5. Give way to buses. There will be 200 extra buses on the roads during the strike and they will have the right of way priority, despite the number of cyclists who refuse to halt and allow buses to leave a stop. Buck that trend and you will contribute to improving cyclists’ reputation on the road, as well as help to keep the flow of traffic moving.

6. Be especially vigilant around Boris bikes. The demand for the hire bikes that have popped up across central London will presumably spike during the Tube strike. Though a welcome addition to the city’s transport network, the bikes are heavy and unresponsive, making it hard to respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Robert Dineen is author of Kings of the Road: A Journey into the Heart of British Cycling. He will be taking part in a special cycling evening during the Wanstead Fringe – more details to be announced.

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Wanstead Social Diary

9:00 am Wanstead Flats 5K Run
Wanstead Flats 5K Run
Aug 29 @ 9:00 am
Weekly timed runs on Wanstead FlatsShare this:EmailFacebookTwitterGooglePrint
10:30 am Wanstead Walks
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Aug 29 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Wanstead Walks @ Outside Wanstead Place Surgery | London | United Kingdom
Residents are invited to join walks exploring Wanstead. Walks generally last an hour. Organised by Redbridge Sport and Physical Activity Team. Call 020 8708 0952 for details.Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterGooglePrint
11:00 am Angels, Hearts & Creative Crafts...
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Aug 30 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Acoustic tent music and picnic afternoon in the Temple Garden. Free with donations.Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterGooglePrint
6:45 pm Adult Yoga Class
Adult Yoga Class
Sep 1 @ 6:45 pm – 8:00 pm
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8:30 pm East Side Jazz Club
East Side Jazz Club
Sep 1 @ 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm
East Side Jazz Club @ Tommy Flynn's | London | United Kingdom
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What’s Cookin’ Music Night
Sep 2 @ 8:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Bluegrass, country and rock ‘n’ roll musicShare this:EmailFacebookTwitterGooglePrint
8:00 pm Weekly Line Dance
Weekly Line Dance
Sep 3 @ 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Weekly Line Dance Teaching and Social Evening Everyone welcome (teaching for beginners). Bar available. Come and enjoy an evening of dancing and fun. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterGooglePrint

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