Friday, 23 June 2017

Some art and parks in Northfields and Ealing or the power of Facebook

Today's tour started from drinks at Papillon Cafe in Northfields Avenue where we met with a local painter, Bronwen Dace, because she had mentioned on Facebook that her works are being exhibited there. I saw her post, liked the painting, contacted Bronwen, we fixed the date, I advertised the next Ealing Walking, Talking and Exploring Group tour and the rest is history, as they say! :-)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

To Athena's with a Thai taxi driver

Those who know me are used to seeing me on a bike on the daily basis. Not since Sunday when I got a puncture and with the feet covered in painful blisters and sores (side-effects of a lovely heatwave), I am forced to use a taxi when the public transport doesn't stretch to my door.

Today I needed to get to the Duke of Kent, a proper English pub in Scotch Common, a stone throw from Pitshanger Lane. I booked the taxi in advance, which is a wise option , Dear Reader, I can assure you.. The car arrived on time and what a pleasant chat we had with the driver on the way!  He is from Thailand which surprised me, because I somehow expect Thai people to be not very tall and rather lean. This man is tall and well built. He speaks very good English. No wonder, he came to the UK when he was in his teens. Now he is a family man. His children are both at local schools. The wife put her career on hook to look after the family properly. It didn't seem to work well to have nannies and babysitters. I liked a lot the man's views that we should cherish our cultural background rather than try to hide it as some do. He meant my compatriots. In his experience, many Polish people try to erase their roots as soon as they can and try to become even more English than the English themselves. Well, it takes all sorts! :-)

It felt good to arrive early at my very first  Athena networking event which turned out a pleasant experience.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bedford Park instead

Bedford Park Festival is one of this very British events that take place every summer. Of course, I don't need to explain to you that Bedford Park is not a park, the festival is held on the green grass of Acton Green along the underground line between Turnham Green and Chiswick Park stations! Well, Poles did help to break the Enigma code, but it was done on the English soil, so here we go, a bit of mystery and puzzle!  This year, for the 50th time, it attracts people from near and far. I went there twice on the same day this year. First, before the tour of Acton and then instead of the scheduled Acton route because it was something special. At the local church, St Michael's and All Angels, I had a pleasant chat with the two artist ladies at the information desk next to the local art exhibition which I keenly saw. One of them was Pamela Garnet Lawson and the other lady's name I cannot recall at the moment, unfortunately. I linked Pamela's website so you can find out all about her and her art (all that she wants us to know, I mean).
I was in time at the festival venue to see Sir Peter Blake on stage and to find a bargain hair band. Later on, at one of the festival stalls I met a long lost friend who co-runs Omushana, a small charity supporting communities around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in South-West Uganda. They work on locally developed projects to improve opportunities for children. I am full of admiration for people like Diane, who give their time and energy to good causes having reached the retirement age.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Charles Jones would be happy about the Ealing Business Expo!

Ealing Business Expo was a two-day event held at the historic Ealing Town Hall originally designed by Charles Jones  (1830-1913), one of the greatest men of Ealing. He 'was born in Beccles in Sufflolk as the son of a leather merchant. Having trained as an architect, he set up a practice in Ealing in 1856. Here he became surveyor to the Local Board when it was formed in 1863, and did a considerable amount of good work in the borough, both in infrastructure (drainage, roads, lighting) and new public buildings: the Times reported that the Prince and Princess of Wales came to open his new Town Hall and Public Offices there in December 1888. In fact, Jones did so much for Ealing that when he retired after fifty years of service, now in his eighties, he was promptly invited to become its Mayor for the following year.' You can click here to find out whether he did take office. 
The expo is a brain child and loads of super-human hard labour of the 21st century local female who follows in the footsteps of her Victorian predecessor trying to help local people live better lives by supporting local businesses and attracting inventors. It's Carlene Bender @carlenebender of The Contactus Ealing who organised this massive event. Big hand and big thanks go to Carlene!
If I didn't have to dash, I would tell you about the expo. Going to Central London today so have your fingers crossed for me and all us there!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Dulwich visit planned

I'd like to offer you , Dear Reader, another fascinating tour, of the picturesque area south of the Thames, called Dulwich Village. Save the afternoon and evening of the last day of this month, 30th of June 2017! More details will follow, but let me just tell you that I've booked ten tickets for an evening event at the famous Dulwich Picture Gallery so do get in touch if you want to join me!

Street art in Dulwich, let's go there!
So, here is my plan:

Let's meet at Rocca Restaurant, Dulwich Village, at 3 pm and go for a walk around Dulwich taking in its charm and style, street art and quirky shops, the park, the old and new Dulwich College, alms-houses and more, to arrive at 6 pm for a Friday Late Opening (6-10 pm) with live music and other attractions while looking at the impressive collection (originally meant for the last Polish king) at Dulwich Picture Gallery, designed by Sir John Soane who once lived in Ealing, home of ARTification!

Would you like to know more?

Here you go then:

Usually we, the Ealing Walking, Talking and Exploring Group, explore the Ealing Borough area, but this time the late opening of Dulwich Picture Gallery inspired me to offer a walk further afield. You probably know that Sir John Soane's house in Central London attracts visitors from all other the world. His summer residence facing Ealing Green, in Walpole Park, Ealing, now under refurbishment, ranks among the borough's top attraction. This son of a bricklayer designed the Bank of England and many other buildings including his family mausoleum. A renowned art and antiquities connoisseur, he stepped in to design the first purpose-built public art gallery which gave home to the long standing collection started by Edward Alleyn.

Edward 'Ned' Alleyn, an English actor, was a major figure of the Elizabethan theatre, a businessman and founder of Dulwich College and Alleyn's School. When he died in 1626, he left ' 'hangings and pictures', mainly of kings and queens, sibyls and emperors, to the College: 26 of these paintings survive in the Permanent Collection'.     The collection grew bigger over the years, especially when enriched with what was meant for the last Polish king, Stanislav Augustus Poniatowski, who unfortunately had lost his crown by the time the two art dealers based in London had it ready. All these Dutch, Flemish, Italian and other European masterpieces, including Rubens and Rembrandt's works, were added to the existing Dulwich College collection which its founder started.They needed a home and this is when Sir John Soane stepped in. Imagine the enthusiasm of this great art lover when taking on the task of designing a purpose-built art gallery for the general public to visit!

It's nice to know that the people of Dulwich appreciate how much they owe these men from distant past: Edward Alleyn, Noel and Margaret Desenfans, Francis Bougeois and Sir John Soane. You too, Dear Reader, can read about it if you click here.

Edward Alleyn with a schoolboy in Dulwich College grounds, by Louise Simson

This makes me think of Ealing and Charles Jones whom the Borough of Ealing owes so much. I mention it in another post.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

BEAT, Lilies and Landscapes in Northfields

If you like art and would like to see the works of many Ealing artists, look no further. Simply click here. Having looked at the website, I decided that I must go to The Papillon Cafe to see Lilies and Landscapes, acrylic paintings by Bronwen Dace. Would you like to join me?