Bee garden in bloom – near the Junction

April showers, April thunderstorms and now a lovely April evening with sunny blue(ish) sky and a little heat left over from the day.

A walk to the under threat Minet Library, home of important Lambeth archives, with its welcoming atmosphere and good selection of books and DVDs. Attempt to be more highbrow than usual so take 3 books from the Orange Prize Winner shelves and 1 Agatha Raisin for pure pleasure.

Past the back of Loughborough Estate towards Atlantic Road and one of the best chemists around and then meandering on towards the back of Brixton Village – past a new cake shop.

£60 apparently for a humungous cream cake – not a bad price and very good-looking cakes!

Cake stall at back of the Village has some of the best Cranberry and Pineapple cake I’ve ever eaten but sadly today the store-holder’s chief cook – her mum – is behind schedule.

Take Two Caribbean and jerk chicken stall closed and looks like it’s not going to be opening anytime soon – next to it the new Village spots are heaving with customers. What would be interesting to know is if the older stalls are benefiting from the revamped village or if newbies are bypassing the stalls and heading straight to the Village eateries.

Who would be monitoring that?

Then onto M&S for a £10 deal and home through Angell Town Estate – lazy in the intermittent heat of the day ….

Things that I noticed on my bus route into town – the Crown and Anchor on Brixton High Road seems to have been turned into a Gastropub – need to check it out.

And I found out about the Whirled Cinema under the Loughborough Arches reading Stella Duffy’s blog

Brixtonian blooms

Some of the bee favourites in the garden

Fascinating – even after reading about it (briefly) I couldn’t find it – Sat Nav while walking next time?

Then home to look at garden – filled with flowering bushes and bees, sadly not as many as during previous years. It’s still fairly busy though and it seems the ‘weeds’ are most popular with the bees, so they get to stay and spread throughout the garden.

Inner City London sometimes has its moments!

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Lambeth library consultation April 2012 – no libraries to be lost!

Last night was the consultation on Lambeth Libraries at Brixton Library where a small group of us met Adrian Smith, Divionsal Director of Culture and Communities in Lambeth and Pravin Manghani, Head of Lambeth Libraries and Archives (below).

We were assured that Lambeth Council had no plans to close any of the borough libraries – and discussed a document entitled Cooperative Libraries.

The library services have to make a £750,000 cut as local budgets are squeezed from the centre and we were told that the council saw it as important for as many residents as possible to have their say into the future of the libraries and how they would be run.

Interesting data: the figures were for the short-term as the next Local Council allocation will come in 2014

Also that Lambeth residents used libraries least of all London’s boroughs – at somewhere like 46%, which some of us thought was really quite high considering election turnouts!

Possible options being looked at include: transferring library management and/or buildings to community led organisations in consultation with local people and also exploring partnership opportunities including franchises.

Read the document and have your say – the consulation period ends on Friday 20 April 2012.

Check it out at this website Imageand complete the questionnaire – especially if you care about the free provision of libraries in our borough

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Profile on Aletia Upstairs – cabaret dynamo

Chatting to Aletia Upstairs is always fun and most informative too

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Ritzy Picturehouse – a Lambeth treasure

Who doesn’t love the Ritzy? Maybe some of us are not so sure about the changes re the cafe below Upstairs and the queuing for tickets along with popcorn ‘n cola etc but it’s a real treasure.

And it’s popular – even on the breeziest days you’ll find avid smokers and social beings sitting out at the tables provided.

Before my time I believe it was a true indie cinema – and nowadays it’s a Picturehouse member, showing pretty much the week’s best sellers. But there is just enough of an edge left to make it relevant – and who can ignore the live shows and comedy nights Upstairs (and the really good pizzas)!

Or being warned that the screen – was it screen 5? – was getting so overheated you could ask for you money back (and a door onto the street being left open to ‘cool’ things down). That’s indie…

So, not strictly a Loughborough treasure but a borough-wide one – sorely needed in the desert of Macs and chicken burgers abounding on the High Street.

Now to save the neighbouring library…

PS reading about The Cinema Museum, sounds like a must-see. Not very well publicised but sounds fascinating. Another treasure to unearth?Image

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Not Loughborough Junction but it’s worth … loving the Thames

Sun on the river Thames

Walking along the Thames is a never-ending delight for anybody in the capital. As the buzz of this huge old city gets the better of you and when you’ve decided that the very next person to walk into you as you head along the Strand is going to get a thump – simply duck down a side road and there she is.

Gleaming in the sun (rare but true) or chugging along grey but alive, this river lifts the spirits like nothing else. And there is always something to watch, whether it’s a skimming hovercraft dropping off passengers, a barge pulling what looks like rubbish upstream or a couple of mad kayakers dodging the pleasure craft.

Head to Chiswick for a superb walk past gorgeous pubs and little houses that cost a bomb and head towards Richmond nodding to Brentford across the way and passing Kew Gardens with its enticing displays and glorious colours. Early morning – come mist, sun or wind – listen out for the university and boat club rowers doing their stuff. Sometimes its so dark they have little lights at the front and end of their vessels – but watch out for their trainers on the path as they have a dodgy habit of tearing past you on a bike while yelling instructions.

Nobody enjoys that kind of surpise!

And who can forget Joseph Conrad’s ode to the river in Heart of Darkness – where the waterway’s connection to other world’s and other people’s is eerily brought to life.

Who can say how many explorers and conquerors have set out from the shores of this river. How many monarchs have swept (or gently trilled) past their subjects on their way to Hampton Court or Greenwich and how many prisoners were sent on their last journey to the Tower of London – bobbing along on its waters.

Standing along the Embankment looking across at the Oxo Tower and onwards to the Tate Modern and across the river to St Paul’s Cathedral, hearing Big Ben strike the hour is wondrous experience.

Savour this river’s majesty and relish its majestic power before heading back to the hi-speed stresses of London’s buzzing streets .

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Images of our neighbourhoods

Think Brixton and it’s funky and cool or possibly you’d think postcode gangs and d-r-u-g-s
Think Chelsea and Tory voter, Chelsea tractors, money and oodles of it seem to pop up
Think Loughborough Junction?

Blank for many – an overland station, a traffic jam or two and a load of HUGE estates looming over your head

Plus gangs and d-r-u-g-s

well there’s a lot more going on than you probably think _ i know I have been suprised so I want to take a look at people and projects who are making a difference in a good way

If I amble off towards other areas and even countries I fully intend to return to L Junction … so bear with me

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