Big poppy at King’s Cross. Not in Wanstead

The sale of poppies in Wanstead in the run-up to Remembrance Day is starting again this weekend for two weeks, returning to a more normal pattern of sales post-lockdown.

The details: All the shops on the High Street who normally sell poppies will do so, including Wanstead Station, Zoology,  Cafe Chi-Chi,  Daisy, Co-op, Harvey’s, Ginger Pig, Moments, Tesco, Nat West Bank, The Larder, Krishna News, Robins Pie and Mash, Heads and Tails, Toolbox, Snaresbrook News, Bare Brew, The Eagle, The Duke, The Nightingale and Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Street collections: Coordinator Susan Carroll says collectors will be on the High Street on two days – Friday 12th and Saturday 13th November. Scout groups will be joining in on the Saturday.

So completely back to normal? Not quite, says Susan. They are only being permitted the two days’ collection, whereas previously they had more: “It doesn’t seem particularly fair given that every other borough in the country has more time, but rules are rules and so we have to abide by them.”

Also: Poppy Man Jim, a longstanding seller, will this year be equipped with a card reader.

Culminating in: The traditional service of remembrance at the War Memorial on the High Street on Sunday 14 November.

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expands on 25 October to include Wanstead, some of South Woodford, and everywhere within the North Circular A406.

This means: good news for residents who should be breathing cleaner air.

But it also means: extra expense for residents who have older cars which don’t pass the standards – they face:

  • paying £12.50 a day to drive into or around Wanstead
  • buying a less polluting vehicle, or
  • stopping driving

TFL says: “Toxic air pollution remains the biggest environmental health risk, worsening asthma, lung and heart disease. Pollution levels are now returning to pre-pandemic levels across the Capital.”

Will it work? In inner London, where the ULEZ zone started in 2019, the proportion of vehicles meeting the emissions standards rise from 39% to more than 80%. Roadside nitrogen dioxide has fallen by 44%.

The details: Vehicle number plates are recognised by cameras at the edge of the ULEZ zone but also within it, so driving a polluting vehicle completely within the zone will still incur a charge. Fees are paid online, and drivers can check if their vehicle qualifies here.

Wanstead resident Riku Fryderyk was eight years old when he was offered a book deal. He’s now 10 and his book, The Witching Hour, has just been published. He hopes it will help children who are afraid of the dark.

He will be signing copies on Saturday 30 October in the Larder.

His mum, Agnieszka, says: “In the book Riku wanted to help children who are afraid of the dark, however the the book might be serving a much greater purpose in helping parents opening important discussions with their children. 

“We tend to assume because children are little, therefore they do not understand what’s going on around them. What we forget, is that children absorb it all, they may not talk about it, they just observe what happens in the adults’ world and make their own interpretations of it and give their own meanings to it. Children need so much more these days to be able to see the light in the darkness. And Riku’s book is offering to them just that.”

  • Riku will be signing books at the Larder on Saturday 30 October from 1pm – 4.30pm. Copies will be on sale at the Larder. It will also be available at Wanstead Bookshop here.

Wes Streeting MP, whose constituency includes a sizeable chunk of Wansteadium readership, has spiked scurrilous rumours that a kebab was left festering unnoticed in his dinner jacket pocket for weeks.

He was said to have found the forgotten kebab when he took his suit out of the wardrobe. The Times ran the story in its diary column during the week, based on a student source.

But Wes tweeted that the story had been somewhat blown up – it was not a kebab in the pocket, he said, but rather just a stain on sleeve. That’s cleared that up.

From The Times on Tuesday

Image: Acabashi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fears that the closure of the Poppy Pantry cafe in the City of London Cemetery might lead to a chain coffee shop opening have been dispelled.

The new operator will be the Royal Voluntary Service charity which is to refurbish the cafe and plans to introduce a healthy eating menu. It will be staffed by volunteers.

A spokesman for the City of London said: “We are very excited to be working with the Royal Voluntary Service. It’s a new step for the café with a focus on healthy eating which is a direction we are keen to take.

“It is also great to be working with a charity who have a dedicated team of volunteers who will help run the café. We want to provide the absolute best service possible at this site and look forward to the refurbishment.”

Paul Charters who previously operated the Poppy Pantry at the site had to vacate the cafe last week after his five-year lease was not renewed. A petition calling for a renewal of the lease gathered thousands of signatures.

Stevens Motors, a mechanic’s situated behind the Cuckfield pub, is facing closure following a planning application which would see two semi-detached houses built on the site.

Redbridge Council is to consider the application which would mean a four- and a three-bedroom house being built on the site where the garage has been operating for more than 40 years.

Mr Stevens himself has many longstanding customers who have relied on his service. One told Wansteadium: “Mr Stevens is a local hero and has provided an essential service in car servicing and repairs for Wanstead residents for many decades.”

If the plan is approved it will mean the end of another garage in Wanstead – in 2015 the former I&K Brown garage on Church Path closed and was converted into very stylish residences (see below).

People wanting to object to the proposal must however do so immediately as the consultation period ends on Tuesday 21 October. Details can be found here, ref 187753. [The short notice is Wansteadium’s fault. Apologies.]