I have lots of sewing to occupy my mind: two projects for friends, plus Gertie’s Bombshell dress. Lots to think about. But tonight I am entirely distracted by this:
My Cycle Ride Home
You may have heard about recent events in London, all prompted by a shooting that happened down the road from me. Last night, the looting hit Walthamstow High Street. Yes, home of my beloved market that I’ve celebrated in countless blog posts such as these here and here.
Tonight, I cycled home from work with the noise of police sirens and police helicopters filling my ears. Best to have a quiet night in with my sewing, I thought. Then I saw the cloud of smoke up ahead, looked down and watched my wheels crunch over broken glass. Too late to swerve.
This photo is in Hackney, East London, the place where I first lived when I moved down to London nearly 20 years ago. The East End – an area that has been unremittingly overlooked and sometimes mocked.
‘Why would you want to live there?’ people used to ask me.
‘Because I don’t have any money,’ I’d reply. It was cheap and it was the first place that allowed me to call it ‘home’ in this big city.
From the moment I moved to Hackney I’d hear rumours of regeneration, but I never saw the evidence. So much remained neglected, ignored, despised. Yet my experience taught me that there was a vibrant community here.
Fast forward many years and the 2012 Olympics were announced. Millions of pounds poured into this part of London. At last! Money was being spent where it was sorely needed and reputations could start to be polished. We were still polishing. The final bits were being put into place. We were so nearly there.
I don’t know if the above is opportunistic violence or a deeper symptom of social unrest and I’m not going to speculate here. But someone is trashing my home.
I hope they stop soon.