October 2023


The art of belonging

Pict-copy©Karina Laymen

Wanstead House art tutor Karina Laymen has illustrated ‘grown-up’ children’s book Manny Motorcycle’s Miracle by Tricia Exman, aimed at anyone who has ever struggled to fit in

“How do you belong?” is a much more powerful and important question than: “Where do you belong?” Belonging is a basic, almost primal, human need. We can strive for it, fight for it, manoeuvre for it, and even muscle our way into it. Our intense need for belonging can create incredible chaos in our lives and the lives of those around us. We have deep questions about what is necessary – what we must be or do – to belong, and often in our best attempts to answer them, we create a false self and abandon our truest self. That loss of self is not only felt at the core of who we are but it is an incredible loss for the world.

When we take a close, focused look at the world, it’s not too difficult to imagine a stage of masquerading identities. In our efforts to make our way in the world, we compromise a little here and conform a little there. We may even push or prod to feel strong and powerful because feeling weak is terrifying. Others may intimidate us to elevate their own sense of power. In effect, the gift we are intended to be for the world is manoeuvred into submission and even silence. We lose. The world loses. And if all our efforts to garner belonging are based on the projection of what is false, what would happen if we lived from what is true? Authenticity can be terrifying! It often leaves us feeling exposed.

How do we shake the dirt of conformance and compromise off our feet and flourish in the deeply seeded, eternal purpose planted inside us? How do we show up authentically, trusting there is a place of belonging and a purpose intended for our specific design – that we have been crafted precisely to accomplish something only made possible by our uniqueness? Our souls will always know that if we belong based on a false projection, then the real us still doesn’t belong. We have denied, even forfeited ourselves and pretence is required to remain in this false belonging. Manny’s inspired story and journal will take you on a journey of discovery back to your truest true strength and power. The world needs the ‘youness’ only you can offer it.

The story of Manny Motorcycle’s Miracle is for anyone who has ever felt like an imposter or pretender, struggled to fit in, been bullied or been a bully, questioned their own strength, power and unique contribution, or compromised who they are or what they know is right for the sake of belonging and lost themselves along the way.

Stories and art are powerful tools that bypass our logical brains and reach us at deeper levels, making them incredibly transformative. This is why this book is written and illustrated as a children’s book. Big changes in our souls require us to become as children. Embrace the biggest change in your life through this fanciful story of the false identities we accumulate trying to answer our deepest questions.

Manny Motorcycle’s Miracle is available in hardback and paperback from Amazon. Visit wnstd.com/manny

For more information on the author, visit wnstd.com/exman

For more information on the illustrator, visit wnstd.com/karina


Park Life

P1033643©Diane Dalli

In the sixth of a series of articles featuring the images of local photographers who document the wildlife of Wanstead Park and the surrounding area, Diane Dalli presents her macro shot of a Batman Hoverfly

Wanstead Flats and Wanstead Park are havens for all forms of wildlife and are ideal places to find subjects to photograph. There is an ever-changing bird population as many species stop off here during migration as well as the resident population of birds of all sizes, including Skylarks, Dunnocks and Kestrels, in addition to the many types of finches and warblers, and many species of waterbirds on the ponds and lakes – too many to list!

During the summer months, the many areas of long grass are alive with butterflies, moths, spiders, grasshoppers and all sorts of other bugs. They are challenging to photograph due to their size and speed. It can take a while to focus on them and often before I can press the shutter they hop, jump or fly off!

It is fascinating to see the amount of detail that is revealed when you look at an image which is larger than life-size, much more than can be seen with a fleeting glance of the naked eye.

I use the long end of a telescopic lens for the larger subjects, such as butterflies, and a macro lens for the tiny creatures, such as ants, crickets and beetles. They are very easy to spook, especially if your shadow falls across them, so better to try to keep a distance. They can be elusive, so it is sometimes worthwhile lifting a leaf or looking closely at the area near a spider’s web to discover tiny creatures hiding away. Sitting still for a while in a patch of grass can also be rewarding as you can spot little insects moving around as they get used to your presence.

Hoverflies are one of my favourite subjects as their habit of hovering in the same spot for a while gives me a chance to focus and snap them. This Batman Hoverfly, so-called because of the shape of the marking on its back, feeds on pollen and nectar from many different plants and is common in the area. There are over 280 species of hoverfly in the UK, about 30 of which can be found in Wanstead Park. As well as their long Latin names, they are often given common names such as Marmalade, Banded, Pied and Long Hoverfly, according to their characteristics.

Insects both flying and crawling can be found all over the Park but the area near the stables known as the Old Sewage Works (so-called because it was a parcel of land that used to belong to a water company) is particularly rich in butterflies, spiders and grasshoppers in the summer months. Even grass snakes have been seen there, although they tend to slither away as soon as they feel the vibration of approaching footsteps!

I really enjoy my visits to Wanstead Park and will continue to explore the area regularly as there is a huge variety of species which is constantly changing with the seasons, and there is always something new to photograph.

To view more of Diane’s wildlife photos, visit wnstd.com/dalli


Listen and learn

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In the 33rd of a series of articles, David Bird discusses the work of Redbridge Music Society and introduces the Morello Quartet, who will perform in Wanstead this month

The aims of Redbridge Music Society, now entering its 75th season, are to promote talented young musicians and to bring high-quality live chamber recitals to the borough. This month, the Morello Quartet – Ana Popescu-Deutsch (violin), Kesari Pundarika (viola), Urška Horvat (cello) and Leona Crasi (piano) – will perform Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor Op.25, a masterful work with an exciting Gypsy Rondo last movement. The performance will be framed with other folk-inspired works.

Redbridge Music Society began in 1949, originally as a gramophone society putting on evenings of talks, live and recorded music at the Lambourne Room, Ilford. In 2014, it transferred to Wanstead Library. Many famous musicians have visited the society in the past, including Sir Colin Davis, John Ogden and Sir Peter Pears. The society’s current president and vice-president are international soprano Lucy Crowe and distinguished local pianist David Silkoff.

The Morello Quartet was formed in 2019 and has performed at many venues around the UK. The group is passionate about performing diverse programmes that combine classical, folk-inspired and contemporary music.

Romanian violinist Ana Popescu-Deutsch graduated at the Royal Academy of Music. She has played in the European Youth Orchestra and the Southbank Sinfonia and is a keen advocate of Romanian classical and folk music. Ana teaches violin and viola and resides locally in Woodford Green.

Kesari Pundarika studied viola under the distinguished teachers Ian Jewel and Martin Outram and has played in the Southbank Sinfonia, the Britten-Pears and the London Concert Orchestra. Besides teaching viola, Kesari is a member of the Chineke! Orchestra and has performed at the BBC Proms. 

Award-winning Slovenian cellist Urška Horvat studied with internationally renowned cellist David Cohen at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has performed at many major venues across Europe and the UK. She is a member of the Avant Piano Trio whose recent CD was highly acclaimed.

Romanian-American pianist Leona Crasi (also a Woodford Green resident) graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber player. She has won numerous awards at competitions across Europe and America.

Please come and experience this very special opening event to Redbridge Music Society’s 75th anniversary season.

The Morello Quartet will perform at Wanstead Library on 24 October from 8pm (tickets on the door; visitors £12; members £8). Call 07380 606 767. Redbridge Music Society is supported by Vision RCL and affiliated to Making Music.


Wanstead Beer Festival sold out

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The Wanstead Beer Festival – which will take place this weekend (Saturday 14 October) in the halls of Christ Church – has sold out.

“The beer festival has proved very popular, with the tickets literally going like hot cakes,” said a spokesperson.

Among the highlights on the drinks menu is East London Breweries’ Walthamstow Green Hopped Pale Ale, created annually from hops grown by local enthusiast’s.

There will also be a chance to sample Cowcatcher from ELA, a timely drink, coinciding with the long-horn cattle being released into Wanstead Park.

Other options include the award-winning Harvey’s Best Bitter from the renowned Sussex brewer, Walthamstow based Beerblefish’s Lee Valley lager, or if you fancy something a bit stronger, Infinite Improbability from the same brewer.

Plus don’t miss out on Pretty Decent’s cryptically named I Could Get Better In T*sco For A Quid.

And Hammers fans will be keen to try out Pride of Prague – brewed to mark the famous Europa Conference final victory in June.

For more information, visit wnstd.com/beer


Explore Africa: language and art

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Children are invited to learn to say hello in several African languages, take part in African dances and create African-inspired art at Wanstead Library on 26 October as part of Black History Month.

“We focus on building bonds through a shared African experience,” said a spokesperson for The School of African Languages, which will be running the event from 2pm to 3pm (£2; suitable for three- to 10-year-olds).

Visit wnstd.com/africa23


Seasonal Veg

Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 12.00.51

Local resident Red Willow reflects on her ambition to encourage variety in cooking and eating, a seven-year adventure which has led to the publication of her vegetarian cookbook, inspired by the seasons

May I introduce A Year of Veggie Adventures? Four scrumptious seasons of palate-pleasing pleasures. She is peppered with poetry, tall tales, handy hints, elegant scenes, and spans 17 countries of truly delicious dishes.

My intention was simply to encourage variety in cooking and eating. Although the tide is now turning, cookbooks, magazines and TV shows previously put a lot of emphasis on meaty cooking. 

Ever since I first began eating out in the mid-90s, I noticed restaurants and pubs always lacked any decent vegetarian food, often offering just one ‘option’, and that was usually mushroom risotto or vegetable penne pasta. Unbelievably, I still sometimes see those on the menu! 

Being a chef, and a curious traveller, I knew there were so many more ingredients that were being ignored. In conversation, I found many people were unwilling to widen their food choices due to having no knowledge of how to use grains, beans, vegetables, spices and herbs. I also noted that cookbooks had become more about the photographic styling than the food. The current fashion is bold, bright and blocky, with top-down messy Instagram-style photos. There’s also the puzzling phenomenon of that antique-looking spoon that seems to make its way into every photo, sitting in a strategic smudge of the relevant sauce. 

Well, I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. My goal was to craft a work of art, something beautiful and inspirational. I intended to express the energetic quality of the seasons and highlight the intrinsic bond between our lives, our food and Mother Nature’s cycles.

It has certainly been an adventure bringing her to life. I began in 2016 and first compiled four separate e-books to sell online before reformatting them all into one file, creating the cover and getting the whole thing print-ready. The cover is just one of the things that make Veggie Adventures so unique. It is a lovely, hand-painted watercolour, with prints and collage, using items found in our garden. This delicate, circular entwining of nature’s gifts spans both sides of the cover. If you open it out, you can see the full glory of the year.

Unusually, the adventure begins in autumn, nature’s most abundant harvest, and cycles through to summer. Every page is seasonally themed with vibes of nostalgia and good times. Also, there are no photos of the completed dishes in the book itself. Instead, I put photos in a gallery on my website, and saved page space for the all-important recipes, over 150 of them inspired by my global travels.

For now, I’m feeling accomplished, but pretty soon, it’s likely I’ll embark on the next adventure.

A Year of Veggie Adventures by Red Willow is available in hardback (£30). For more information, visit wnstd.com/ayova


Reverend Reflections


In the third of a series of articles, Revd James Gilder of Wanstead Parish is seeking volunteers to help the homeless at this year’s night shelter initiative, and introduces a new mental health outreach project

Most of us have probably felt conflicted at one point or another when being accosted by someone who appears to be homeless, asking for money. As a wearer of the dog collar, this can be even more of a problem for me – the expectation is that I will have an ever-ready supply of small change and sympathy. I’m afraid I often disappoint in this regard, particularly when trudging bleary-eyed to Tesco on the morning milk run.

In truth, it can be very hard to know how best to respond to people who present as homeless. Many of us would like to help in some way, but we want to know we will be safe in doing so and that whatever we give will actually do something to assist rather than compound the problem. That’s why, this year, we at the Parish of Wanstead are coordinating the provision of food and support at the Forest Night Shelter.

Since the pandemic, most night shelters have changed how they operate. You may remember, a few years ago, we hosted a night shelter in the parish halls. However, it is now thought best to work with other caregivers to provide homeless people with a proper bed for the night, which is safer and more dignified for everyone concerned. Forest Night Shelter is partnering with Walthamstow YMCA this year. This is great news, as many of those who are homeless are in fact from Waltham Forest – and this means they will not have to travel to a different borough to find shelter.

Would you like to volunteer to help on Wednesday evenings at the night shelter? We are looking for volunteers to help on a few Wednesdays throughout the winter. You will be asked to cook a nutritious meal at home for about eight people, then take it along to the YMCA in Forest Road, Walthamstow, and help serve it to the guests that evening – chatting with them and making them feel welcome. No overnight stay is required and professionals will be onsite at all times. The more people who volunteer, the less often each will be required (we will be running from November to April). If you’d like to help, even if only for a couple of sessions, please get in touch.

Finally, a big thanks from me to the wonderful Wanstead people who have volunteered their time to help start our mental health outreach project ‘A Place To Be’. This is a drop-in for all adults who are struggling with their mental health and who would like a chat. It’s not professional therapy, but it is a chance to share with people who have been there themselves, in a non-judgmental safe space. The first monthly session is on Sunday 5 November at 5pm in Christ Church’s vestry (the small blue church door next to the halls). All are very welcome and there is also a monthly quiet service of wholeness and healing afterwards in the church at 6.30pm for anyone at all who feels they would benefit.

To contact Reverend James Gilder, email wansteadparishadmin@uwclub.net


Ron & Doreen


As active members of the local community for many years, Ron and Doreen Coleman will be names familiar to many. Nick Park pays tribute to these stalwarts of Wanstead

Ron and Doreen Coleman have been lifelong loyal servants to the Wanstead community and fittingly deserve an honourable mention. They moved to Aldersbrook, Harpenden Road to be exact, in 1965, where they raised their three daughters. They remained there ever since. Ron also briefly lived on Dover Road (the adjacent street) as a teenager.

Together, they were an integral part of the Parent Teacher Association at Aldersbrook Primary School, spanning many years. Ron was instrumental in organising sporting events for the children during the holiday period. The ‘mini-Olympics’ being one of his inventions. Doreen was equally influential in the local playgroup for girls and boys. In addition, she introduced a babysitting club that catered for the local neighbourhood. Furthermore, Ron would dress up as Santa for the kids when the Christmas festivities were ablaze. He also represented Great Britain in the long jump as a young gentleman back in the late 1950s.This inevitably culminated in him achieving numerous victories when the fathers’ race featured during sports day.

Doreen originally came from Fairlop and Ron grew up in nearby Leyton. Their affair with Wanstead has lasted an amazing six decades, but sadly, Doreen passed away shortly before last Christmas. Ron recently reached the grand milestone of 90. As a couple, they both saw the scenery of Wanstead develop over many years. Doreen could remember rehabilitating at Wanstead Hospital, which has now been turned into a living complex.

By trade, Ron was a police officer in Leytonstone and would frequently conduct formal talks in schools within the vicinity. Doreen, on the other hand, was a bank clerk at NatWest in Ilford. Her mathematical skills were excellent.

As far as New Year’s Eve is concerned, many who knew Ron and Doreen would flock to their address, participating in the celebrations. It was a regular event. Mixed in were street parties on Harpenden Road, which they both played a massive part in. Doreen was a wonderful cook and her apple pie was delicious and very popular. I am sure there are many in Aldersbrook who have tasted the delightful cakes that emerged from her kitchen. During her later years, she would often attend the local club for women based at the nearby bowls club and happened to be the treasurer. I vividly recollect venturing to Midnight Mass with Doreen one Christmas and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who recognised her.

Even today, Ron will strike up conversation with other folk when pottering around outside in the front garden. He also allows the children of Aldersbrook Primary School to walk on his front lawn when strolling by.

Article contributions about local residents are welcome. Email editor@wnstd.com


The Wheel Argentina


During last month’s Fringe, Carole Edrich invited participants to sample the wines emblematic of her experience of cycling to every winery in Argentina. This month, her travelogue with a difference returns

As a freelance journalist, I occupy roughly the same place in travel editors’ priorities as the Taliban give to women’s football. Staff get the nice easy stuff, normally directly from the few PR-generated ideas that fly. They’ll get the spas, the shopping weekends and the beaches, and the posh trips or visits. Only the mad, the obscure and the downright dangerous travel pieces are entrusted to people like me.

That’s just as well. What is there to write about a beach? There’s sand. There are people, mostly. There’s sea. Babies crying. Towels. Shards of shells that get stuck in your bits for weeks after the visit is over. What staff do is legitimate – it’s fine to have a few cocktails and write about them. After all, the cocktails are on location. And booze can enthuse them on the most boring beaches. I couldn’t do that. Cocktails give me headaches. 

I am not particularly fond of writing for money, but it’s the only way I’ve found to fund my adventures. I pride myself on finding ideas that haven’t been done before (easier to write about, innit?). While my stuff sounds like it’s on the verge of the stupidly dangerous, it’s really only scary fun. And if I get pieces commissioned, I get the press trips that go with them. Sometimes, commissions even pay enough to help me pay the bills.

A high enough rate to enable me to write one piece per trip would be nice, but it’s not going to happen. I am enough of a realist to know that asking for more money will simply encourage my editors to look elsewhere. I want to keep doing this. Travel writing – the way I do it – is still one of the most fun ways that one can spend one’s time, what with someone already having landed on the moon, the queue for Mars immigration needing you to be friendly with That Musk, and so much social media work being required for pretty much everything else.

I did a course with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust to get a commission from Food and Travel Magazine. That got Harrods excited enough to send me off on a special promotional event, which got me there.

Terry Pratchett wrote: “The important thing about having lots of things to remember is that you’ve got to go somewhere afterwards, where you can remember them.” Thanks to Giles Wilson of Wanstead Fringe, Matt Day of Daygustation Wines and Patricia Ortiz who makes the wonderful Tapiz wines, I did that in an interactive wine-tasting-travelogue-comedy performance. It sold out. People liked it. I’m doing it again. If you’re a local, contact me for a discount. If you came to the last one, contact me for a bigger discount. If you’d like to learn how to get commissions to travel, like I do, contact me too!

For more information on Carole’s next event, visit wnstd.com/argentina

To contact Carole, visit caroleinnit.com


A mixture of 1861 rust and 1980s B&Q: church fundraising for new gates


The Parish of Wanstead is raising money to replace the gates on the north porch of Christ Church.

“The gates are a mixture of 1861 rust and 1980s B&Q! The original gates were too low, so at some point, a set of garden gates were added and the whole thing looks poor. We want to commission new gates, which will provide a beautiful entrance whilst dissuading antisocial behaviour in the porch. Perhaps you would like to donate to this project in memory of a loved one,” said Revd James Gilder.

Email wansteadparishadmin@uwclub.net


After Clyde

bonnie-1Bonnie and her two cygnets on Perch Pond

Wanstead Park swan couple Bonnie and Clyde were separated over the summer following an incident in which Clyde broke his wing. Helen O’Rourke updates on the sad separation 

After Clyde was admitted to The Swan Sanctuary with a broken wing, the vet went to great efforts to set the bone in an attempt to try and save the wing. However, it was not healing, and an amputation was necessary. He is still recovering but making good progress.

Over the season, many cygnets receive treatment for illness or injury at The Swan Sanctuary and are unable to return to their family if they have been away too long. When well enough and of a suitable size, these cygnets move to an outside, small ‘natural’ lake to prepare them for a return to the wild. This is called the Nursery Pond, where several long-term or permanently disabled adults accompany them. It was expected Clyde would be one of these adults, but instead, he was moved to a permanent home on the sanctuary’s large lake. He was getting bored being with rehabilitating birds, and a bit aggressive with other patients, so he now has plenty of room to socialise and make bonds with other permanent residents.

Bonnie and her two cygnets have remained on Perch Pond in Wanstead Park. They do not require lifetime care, and although these decisions are never easy, it was considered in their best interests to leave them in their territory and monitor them. We have a team of volunteers who visit twice a day to do this. We believe one of Bonnie and Clyde’s cygnets is male and one is female. The male cygnet is affectionately known as Clyde Junior. Bonnie remains very vigilant and the family is doing well. Although swans do mate for life, it is possible for them to find love again.

We are always grateful for donations to keep the swan ambulance on the road and The Swan Sanctuary also relies on donations to treat and care for admissions. Whilst every effort is made to return patients to their homes, it’s not always possible. And it is illegal to release disabled swans back into the wild. 

There are currently six of our local swans under lifetime care at The Swan Sanctuary: Clyde and Mr and Mrs Bob from Perch Pond and Edward, Moon and Shadow from Eagle Pond. You can help to support them by signing up to the sponsor-a-swan scheme, which is an invaluable source of income for The Swan Sanctuary and helps to pay for day-to-day running expenses such as food and veterinary bills. Sponsorship is £15 per swan for a year (you can choose to donate more per swan if you wish). In return for your sponsorship, you will receive details of your particular swan and newsletters throughout the year telling you all the news from the sanctuary. The sponsorship details can be sent to anyone of your choice with a card and message, making it an ideal gift for all swan lovers.

To report a local injured swan or waterbird, call 07970 404 866

To sponsor a swan at The Swan Sanctuary, visit wnstd.com/sponsorswan


Whine & Wine: Wanstead’s new menopause support group


A local resident started her own menopause support group in Wanstead last month.

“I was recently told I am perimenopausal at 44. When looking for local support groups it was suggested I start my own. And so Wine & Whine was created! It means local women can meet up, share, support, laugh and cry. I really feel this group will help women of any age or stage of menopause, building a sisterhood to support us all. I look forward to getting to know other local women on this journey,” said Elli Taylor.

Visit wnstd.com/whine