Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Football @ Millwall

I went to see Southampton play Millwall with Tom. Walking down to Millwall was like walking along a the set for This is England or The Football Factory. I expected from every corner an angry mob to appear chanting and spitting hatred.

It didn't happen - not until the match itself, during which a group of the Millwall fans spent the whole of the match facing us in the Southampton stand doing what they could to look menacing. They didn't care about the football - if they had they would have been looking towards the pitch.

They were the same people who ran past me later shouting 'there's too much police here we're gonna meet them at Waterloo' ...the action they were interested in was no where near the pitch.

If you're interested in the match - on the pitch, check out the Southhampton Site

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Make & Do Fun

Practiced face painting, baloon modelling, making friendship bracelets, scoobiedoos so that when we go out to Kenya for YAP we can do these things with the kids for fun.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Paradise Garden 2

Phase 2 of Paradise Garden: Painting the first coat...

...blue sky brick with clouds...

To Be Continued....

(Also did some more video interviews and followed the painting with some pizza and lightly toasted pitta & hummus... as you do)

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Simpson Movie

Saw The Simpsons...would have preferred 3 half hour episodes rather than a feature...but at least they tried to tackle global issues in Springfield..


Saturday, July 28, 2007


A beautiful day in Southend ... just a coach ride away ... threw the bike in the back ... had a wander along the beach ... chatted & laughed ... had fish & chips .... went for a cycle along the promenade (more kms for YAP & a little time to get away from it all)

Even got some shopping in for going away ... some school equipment & T-Shirts to design on ... and not to forget ... the Owls!

Even though it was a beautiful day at the beach, Owls always remind me of winter ... and a piece of poetry ... at the time I heard it first I didn't know it was from Shakespeare's Love's Labour Lost.


When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marion’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs his in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


As theatre goes Fame was OK. The hi-light was seeing the hilarious Natalie Casie of Two Pints of Lager & a Packet of Crisps and Hollyoaks fame and the low-point was seeing H from Steps trying to pretend to be a young person while his hairline receded before our very eyes.

Perhaps it was spoiled by the 'free' show we got in Covent garden by a street entertainer who added Craig to his show.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Epping Camping

We were packed and ready to head off to Epping Forest and the weather forecast was good...this day would be hence-forth known as summer.

Craig picked up some map reading skills - the best way - by knowing where he was on the map and where he had to go to on the map and taking us all there.

We arrived, put up the tents and then set up the fire and tree stumps round it (with the aid of two small children)

I had forgotten that one of my poles had been snapped on a previous excursion, so out came the gaffa tape - a cure for all evils...yes that spider leg looking thing is part of the tent.

Emma then introduced us to the Arrow Game where a team goes 5 mins ahead of another team and makes arrows like the above in the ground and the other team follows to the point where there is an X in a circle and then it becomes hide-and-seek.

We climbed...we played...(btw thats Emma below, if you were wondering...and she is winning).

Next was food which for us was bangers & mash & gravy...which was as delicious as it looks. Usually I don't care for smash much but Emma found a great one which actually tasted like creamy potato...and yes they are veggie sausages (Sarah & Craig had the same but had real sausages which looked good for dead pig).

Kelly, Georgi & Thomas had noodles to start ...

...while Josh & Josh had spinach & ricotta tortellini with an arribiata sauce...as you do.

Due to sub-standard sausages & a surfeit of lard, Kelly, Georgi & Thomas' second course did not go as planned ...unless you call a melted-mess-of-lard-soaked-sausages a second course. This brought out some great team work shown below in the Ceremony of the Bacon, where Josh & Josh handed over their bacon to the K, G & T team so that they would not go hungry.

This generosity was reciprocated in the Ceremony of the Lard where the aforementioned Lard was presented as a token gesture to Josh & Josh for their contribution to the team. It was a beautiful moment.

There were threats to use the lard to start the fire but instead a kind-camper gave us a fire lighter (later we gave them some of our marshmallows - if we had eaten any more we would have been sick)

And this is me...only cos there have been complaints that I am never in the pictures...thats cos I'm usually taking them!

This one Craig took of me sitting in the dark (hence the headtorch on my head...yeah thats what that is) playing either Duck Duck Goose or Honey Bear...I know we aren't kids...our excuse was that we were practicing playing for when we play the games with the little kids...anyway in the dark in an open field its like a more dangerous more adult version version of the games...hey who am I trying to kid...we wer just having fun!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Paradise Garden

We started Paradise Garden today. This meant cleaning out under the fire escape stairs, re-potting plants and making stencils, wind chimes and mobiles to decorate it.

We had plants donated by Trees for Cities and some also grown by ourselves and paint and art materials from the Scrap Project. After that all we needed to buy on the day was more compost and some bamboo.

Emma, Thomas, Josh & Craig then concentrated on preparing the plants using the compost to fill some of the large planters of potatoes and attaching bamboo to the tomato plants so they weren't bending under their own weight.

As well as this the area
was cleaned and swept, holes had to be bored into the large planters for drainage and everything watered.

Sarah, Georgi and Kelly made stencils and mobiles. Georgi began the pain staking task of making a Paradise Garden stencil and Sarah finished it. Kelly worked on glass painting a wind chime and sewing foam letters into a mobile.

Thomas, Emma, Craig & Josh L & Josh S braved the t
errifying garden inhabitants including a "very very big spider" (according to Thomas) and some tadpoles or other similar water creatures in a basin that had obviously been left out too long in our British summer.

After all the hard work Josh & Josh worked hard in the kitchen to make Pasta with tuna, mayo & sweetcorn (even some without sweetcorn for the 'allergic to vegetables Thomas') and we all enjoyed stuffing our faces.

In our garden so far we have the following:
  • parsley (yeuch why do people put it on baked potaotes?)
  • rosemary (that's more like it)
  • oriental basil (same as ordinary basil but more purple & pungent)
  • dwarf beans (same as ordinary beans but smaller)
  • tomatoes
  • chillies
  • potatoes
  • chard (I have never heard of it before either)
  • a melon plant (don't ask)
  • a very very big spider
  • tapoles
  • some flies (less as the spider gets bigger)
Ainslies strawberries haven't made it although John's seedling tomatoes are still indoors and may join the bigger tomato plants when they grow some more. The mushrooms were a complete disaster because they needed to be in a dark environment and watered constantly but as they couldn't be seen no one remembered to water them...sorry mushrooms!

This photo is for Gina...Craig's mum...just to show her that he does know how to use a sweeping brush!

Oh and this was all in an afternoon before Sarah donned her uniform to go off to work at Waitrose's and she and everyone else picked up their camping equipment to pack that evening to go camping next morning!

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Urban Escape Volunteers

This year instead of our usual summer club with a large group of young people we instead concentrated our efforts on our small but dedicated group of young volunteers.

These guys for more than two years, week in and week out come and volunteer at the junior sessions as part of their service section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and/or just because they are loving and giving people.

This year we decided that we would concentrate on developing these young people so that they and other young people would benefit in the long run.

We decided that they would pretty much plan and run the summer club and that the summer club would be about developing their youthwork skills.

So together we decided on the programme, planned it, wrote it up and gave it out, prepared the centre by clearing and tidying it, did kit checks & lists, planned sessions, did the risk assessments, booked outside organisations & people and bought the equipment and materials needed.

The idea is that not only will these young people have gained new skills and improved on old but that these skills can be used when they volunteer in the future whether that is in August at a children's home in Nairobi, Kenya or in September training our next intrepid young volunteers in Tower Hamlets, London.

Summer Programme 2007
16th July to August 24th

July Mon 16:
  • Summer Club & YAP Prep inc. programme writing, checking risk assessments
  • Young People's consultation meeting with Met Police (post to follow)
Tue 17:
Wed 18:
Thur 19:
  • Scrap Project - for paint & art materials
  • Summer Club Prep inc. equipment checks, kit lists, clearing & tidying
Fri 20:
  • Getting rest of necessities for camping & Yap kit list
  • Supervision & Panel meeting.
Mon 23:
Tue 24:
Wed 25 & 26:
  • Epping Expedition
Thur 26:
  • Theatre - Fame
Fri 27:
  • Video Project & Monitoruing visit from funders
Mon 30:
  • Cooking with Diane, Paradise Garden 2 & more Video Interviews
Tue 31:
  • Make & Do Fun - leaning & teacing how to face paint, make friendship bracelets, baloon model, & make scoobies & T hshirt printing
August Wed 1:
  • Climbing & Abseiling
Thur 2:
  • Kayaking
Fri 3:
  • Cooking with Diane & finishing up any of the above and sharing a meal with friends

Tue 7-Fri 24th:
  • YAP to spend 2 weeks volunteering at a childrens home in Nairobi using all the above skills...and staying hopefully at the top of the ladder of participation as they have done more and more in the past two years and throughout the summer programme.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Guitars On the Southbank

Cycling along the Southbank from the Strand I was just thinking that I hadn't yet seen anything worth my while taking my camera out for and then I came across these larger than life guitars...so I got my camera out.

So another successful venture - picked up the gear I needed from a camping shop near Covent Garden, got some exercise cycling, did another 20km for YAP, got a bit of fresh air and sunshine and checked out some art...thats multi-tasking!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

First Aid

Another session of First Aid...this time, though to be able to peer-educate in Kenya.

Amongst other things the young people will be able to teach the recovery position, CPR and bandaging for bleeds and other injuries.

The young people will be taking a portable resuscitation unit (Annie or Andy) to Nairobi and will be able to teach the older young people of the Children's home we are volunteering at, so that those young people in turn will be able to teach the younger ones.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Paradise Read Book Club 1

We had the first Paradise Read Book Club and the book discussed was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The night was hosted by Craig who provided a fun quiz to get people thinking about the book and then some questions to start off discussion.

Everyone loved the book for the insight it gave to the mind of a 15 year old with Aspergers Syndrome and learned lots about different ways of looking at what we take for granted.

We talked about everything from whether we liked the ending to who we thought could play the characters if it was turned into a film. We argued over the rights and wrongs of what characters did and shared our favourite incidents and insights and what we might have done in similar situations.

Next Paradise Read Book Club is on Tuesday the 11th of September @6pm...the book to be discussed is Of Mice and Men...and the host is Thomas...that gives you (that is anyone... young, or old like me) at least 6weeks to read the book (or re-read it)...so buy it, borrow it or dig it out from under your old GCSE text books and get reading!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rise Festival

The Rise Festival saw about 100.000 in Finsbury Park united against racism...despite the rain.

There were stalls, tents, villages, a funfair, over a dozen soundstages and stars from Jamelia & Kelis to Bill Bailey and Ade Adepitan (below).

And there was even a little bit of graffiti art...

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Last Week of Club

Will explain another time...all will make sense...

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

School Summer Sale

Headed with our wheelie cases full of stuff to sell at a local school fete...

Sarah & Sadia escaped the power of the money dance...Thomas, Emma & Craig were not so fortunate.

Sadia obviously was keeping her energy for the dozens of mehindi designs (henna tattoos) she applied though out the day to make a large part of the £66.50 more made for YAP!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

South of the River

Had a great session at Southwark Corps youth group with Sarah and her team. It included meeting new young people, catching up with ones I'd met on previous visits, a team quiz, Wii, the park and my highlight of the night - playing pass the ball with Hope & Johan.

Hope suggested we call the name of who we were passing to as she illustrates in this great drawing showing even the movement of the ball between the three of us. Oh for such simple pleasures!

(I was also quite pleased with myself for cycling there and back - another 16km for YAP)

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