Flats-degraded-1910Looking south-west across Wanstead Flats at Centre Road in the early 1900s. Picture courtesy of Vestry House Museum

Busy doing nothing

Before the internet, boredom was something to be feared. Today, experts are wondering whether it is good for us. Wanstead resident Steve Wilks examines why this may be the case. Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard thought it was the root of all evil. Writer Mary Renault considered it intellectual defeat. French sociologist Jean Baudrillard declared it the world's second-worst crime. But where boredom might once have been something to fear, today we are never truly bored. In our era of non-stop notifications, how can we be? According to a survey, the average Brit checks their smartphone 28 times a day – at least once per hour. That's more that 10,000 times a year. "Those little spaces of 'no work', like walking through a park, are disappearing,"...


Cuban knees-up

Independent local travel advisor Jack Leaf offers an overview of his recent luxury cruise around Cuba, which allowed him to tick off a music-related travel ambition. Whilst cruising between the Spanish colonial cities of Trinidad in Cuba and Cartagena in Columbia, it struck me that I should be writing about MV Silver Cloud and the Silversea expedition cruise I am currently enjoying. I have long wanted to visit Cuba but the rumours of food scarcity and poor quality deterred me, until I heard about this cruise itinerary. Silversea is one of the finest international cruise lines, so one is assured of a high standard of accommodation and cuisine on relatively small ships (300 to 400 passengers) and their expedition cruises include a full itinerary of...

l-1©Peter Luscombe

Testimony to talent

Wanstead resident Peter Luscombe and other members of the Essex Art Club will be exhibiting their work at the Barbican Library this month. Here, Peter explains how his training as an architect led to a lifelong hobby

IMG_2394Sandy and Gemma working on their allotment

Allotment life

Gemma and Sandy Sanderson have created their own self-sustainable oasis at the Redbridge Lane West allotments. Paul Donovan, a member of the Wanstead Transition Initiative, meets them