Jonathan Lethbridge, a faithful Wanstead birdwatcher and blogger, was among those who discovered a spate of dead birds this week at Alexandra Lake on Wanstead flats. The authorities are now investigating, especially after an Alsation dog died too. Jonathan wrote;

It is a deliberate case of bird-poisoning, and the eight Crows I found were just the start. They have been falling out of the trees almost constantly since Tuesday. I don’t have the exact figures yet, but so far the deaths include over 100 Crows, many Canada Geese, Coots, and particularly Moorhens, 2 Greylags, and some Pigeons.

The Wanstead Guardian is reporting that post mortems are being carried out on the bodies, and that staff from Natural England are testing the lake. The City of London corporation – which owns the lake – told the paper:

“There have been unexplained bird deaths on and around Alexandra Lake and we have also received details of the death of a dog that was taken for a walk in the area of the Lake on 8th March. The area has been cordoned off and warning signs have been erected.”

Beautiful example of mistletoe growing in the branches of a tree in Charnwood Drive. So today’s nature lesson for Wanstead is about the parasitic nature of mistletoe, how it can be spread in bird poo from tree to tree, and how in some legends, Christ’s cross was made of mistletoe but shrivelled up after the crucifixion. (All of this courtesy of Wikipedia, so may be quite fictional.)

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The Larder has been ranked by the Independent as the 12th best coffee shop in the country.

A licensed café and very tempting deli, the owners of the World’s Larder work with small, artisan producers for everything from their delicious coffee to their daily bread (delivered each morning from French bakery Boulangerie Jade). Alan calls it a ‘great little star in the east and brilliant all-rounder’.

(Well spotted, I Heart Wanstead.)
Meanwhile bookies Jenningsbet, which became the High Street’s third bookmakers when it opened in the former Woolwich Building Society office, has ceased trading at Wanstead.
A sign on the shutters refers customers to its branches elsewhere. Jenningsbet was the subject of a Wanstead Society campaign when it opened with an illuminated sign; planning permission was later refused for it. One tweeter believes it’s going to become a cafe.

Much to-ing and fro-ing in Labour party circles has resulted in former MP and union official John Cryer being selected as the candidate to follow Harry Cohen as Leyton and Wanstead MP. TV historian Tristram Hunt was one of the losing hopefuls.

And Wanstead’s most notorious feline resident, Pebbles, better known as Susan Boyle’s cat, seems to be on her way west. The Sun has reported that SuBo is leaving Lothian to buy a flat in Chelsea, meaning cat and owner can be reunited.

The Co-op, currently an increasingly tatty-looking Somerfield, has applied to put new signs on its shop. The question of what kinds of signs Wanstead shops have is a vexed one, especially for the Wanstead Society, which ran a competition last year to encourage a “smarter High Street”.

Artists' impression of how Wanstead Co-op will look, part of the planning application, ©

The Co-op’s designs are available to view on the Redbridge-i website
, and though much larger and (literally) greener than the existing Somerfield signs, will not be illuminated plastic boxes – they will be lit with spotlights. This may be cheering news to those who thought the High Street was in a spiral of aesthetic decline.
The council is inviting comments on the application now.

Wansteadium reported last week that the Wanstead Guardian had tracked down Piers Pereira, who was named in a mischievously doctored Wikipedia entry about South Woodford. Mr Pereira blamed his friend Sean Preston, who has had the chutzpah to write to the Guardian this week explaining his actions (no link available). He writes that his time living in South Woodford has been “the worst five years of my life, mainly due to the lobster-like majority that inhabits the area”.

He says he’s leaving and is moving back to Zone 2, “a mythical land of opportunity and natural complexions”. He adds:

“I find the women of South Woodford to be vulgar in appearance and thus, unlikely to encourage the desire within me requisite for courtship. In short I’m too cool, dashing, intelligent and outright good-looking to find a suitable life-partner in the area.”