Thursday, August 27, 2015

Walthamstow Wine

credit: Barry Fontaine
In 1667 Samuel Pepys enjoyed a fine Walthamstow wine. Now Organiclea are bringing wine making back to the Lea Valley.

London grape growers invited to join Community Wine Making Scheme

Do you grow grapes in your garden or allotment that you would like to have made into a clean and pleasant tasting wine? If so, then community food co-operative Organiclea is inviting you to deliver your harvested grapes to its Hawkwood Winery in North London this autumn. The Winery will combine all deliveries into two batches to make red and white wine, and will then return the finished wine to participating growers in the proportion of grapes they deliver to this year’s vintage.

The minimum individual delivery the winery will accept is one full bucket of ripe, clean grapes. You can expect to get one bottle of red wine for every 1.5 kilos of grapes and a bottle of white wine for every 2 kilos.

In return for your grapes and a minimal production fee of £6 per bottle, Hawkwood Winery will ferment, age and bottle the wine, releasing it to you in September 2016. Your wine you will be for domestic consumption only – that is, it cannot be sold.

Since its launch in 2013, the Community Wine Making Scheme has turned 850 kilos of grapes into wine for 64 households across London. The grapes are fermented in the autumn and the wine is settled and aged in tanks through the winter. The white wine is bottled in the late spring and the red wine at the end of summer. The participating growers are invited to the Hawkoood Winery to taste the young wines in the late spring and pick up their bottled wine in September.

You may be interested to watch Steve Tippell’s mini-documentary about the beginning of this scheme - “Wine Revived; community wine making in North East London”:

The days on which the grapes can be delivered to the winery will be announced at the beginning of September, and will depend on how grapes are ripening across London in this particular year. Participants in the wine making scheme will be informed in good time to allow them to harvest and deliver their grapes to the winery.

To join the scheme please contact Marko Bojcun at with the following information: your post code, the expected weight or volume of your harvest, the grape variety, if known, and whether you treat your vines with any sprays.

Organiclea is a workers' cooperative, growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley. The co-operative’s main growing site is the Hawkwood Plant Nursery, where its winery and vineyard are also located. For more information and directions visit: 

Marko Bojcun 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bin Stuffers – The new crime that’s sweeping Britain

Redbridge Council may describe their bin service as “your rubbish collection” but actually their collection of household waste, recycling and green waste is quite good and not rubbish at all. We have even got a new free bulky waste collection service. However, all is not well elsewhere and given the state of our council’s finances I thought I’d get in quick before they consider taking on “best practice” or “innovative new ideas” from other council’s up and down the country. We don’t want this (below) catching on do we?

128 bus stop Wensleydale Avenue, 7pm 24 August 2015
Yes, that is a Tesco trolley behind the bin
The new crime that’s sweeping Britain via Business Waste
Who’s watching your rubbish bins? That’s the question that’s being asked as phantom bin stuffers are avoiding tip fees and council fines by stuffing their rubbish into other people’s bins.
It’s an anti-social behaviour that many in the recycling industry warned would happen as extra red tape makes it cheaper for rogue traders and lazy householders to dump their rubbish onto other people.
Recent cases of criminal activity meeting official lack of common sense have resulted in residential bins not being emptied because bin lids are open less than an inch, and companies unlocking their premises in the morning to find their bins filled to the brim with another company’s rubbish.
In a recent incident, one resident of Gloucester found that local contractors had not emptied his domestic bin because the lid was open by less than an inch, after a phantom bin stuffer had filled his wheelie bin to the brim overnight.
“It’s this kind of mindless red tape brought in with the best of intentions, that is infuriating for the victims,” says Hall. “And when councils start handing out on-the-spot fines for over-filled bins or the wrong kind of recycling, it’s only going to get worse.”
“‘Closed lid’ policies that encourage people to recycle more sound great in a council meeting room, but in practice it reeks of bureaucrats not understanding the real world,” he continued. “Council policy is often geared to punishing people for full bins, rather than help them cut down on their waste.”
Full article here.
Here’s another one spotted earlier by Redbridge Blue.

Friday, August 21, 2015

London City Airport
– the battle is not over yet!

From the Evening Stannit.

Boris Johnson gets £525,000 to fight City Airport’s appeal over expansion
Boris Johnson has secured more than £525,000 to fight an appeal by London City Airport after he blocked its expansion plans.
The airport’s bosses will take on the Mayor at a public inquiry next year after he intervened and directed local councillors to turn down the development because it was too noisy.
The scheme includes extra parking for larger planes, a bigger passenger terminal and a “taxi lane” for more planes to use the runway.
The plans mean the annual number of take-offs and landings would increase from 70,000 to 111,000. Passenger numbers would nearly double to six million by 2023.
Meanwhile a consortium that includes the Kuwait Investment Authority and the Ontario teachers’ pension fund was today reported to be considering a bid to buy the airport, valued at up to £2 billion. Australian financial group Macquarie could be a rival bidder.
We will have a new London Mayor next May as Mr Johnson is standing down. So, if you are a member or supporter of a political party and still have a vote in that party’s candidate selection process you might like to ask them what their views on this subject are before deciding who to vote for.

Hat/tip Helen Zammett

Intermediate Care - Is Redbridge Being Sold A “Pig In A Poke”?

Redbridge Healthwatch has recently published its findings following visits to Wanstead Hospital and King George Hospital. By law, organisations which run and regulate health and social care services have to listen to what Healthwatch says. Healthwatch [HW] will report them to national agencies like the CQC and central government if they feel any services are inadequate. They have the right to visit and view anywhere they wish to see within the NHS.
As you will see from the attached press release and report, various concerns are expressed:

The Press Release
  1. HW believes that unless patients and carers are involved in the planning of the new inpatient rehabilitation services, some of the current services will be lost.
  2. Staff at Wanstead Hospital [WH] did not feel sufficiently involved in the planning of the new inpatient rehabilitation service.
The Healthwatch Redbridge Enter and View Report
Some of the key points are:
  1. Patients have had difficulty in getting rehabilitation beds and discharge pg 5.
  2. The staff at WH do not trust their employers, so that they do not wish to be named pg 6. This applies to various staff there telling Helen Zammett that although Heronwood ward and its 24 beds was not officially closed, they have been instructed not to allow any patients to be admitted on to the ward. Local hospitals had their daily requests to send patients there, denied. Now the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group deny that this is true – they are claiming that there was no demand for the beds in Heronwood and so the ward should be closed. It appears that the same tactic was used at Grays Court, the other intermediate care hospital in Dagenham.
  3. The body which runs the intermediate care service North East London Foundation Trust [NELFT] failed to provide any of the information which HW requested as preparation for their visits pg 8. NELFT’s response that 5 working days was not sufficient notice is a lame excuse – operating details are always kept up to date.
  4. When Healthwatch visited WH they found Heronwood was closed: they were told this was because of underuse. Pg 9.
  5. NELFT knew that Foxglove Ward in King George Hospital [KGH] was not suitable as an intermediate care ward but failed to improve conditions there in the 3 years since it began to be used pg 12.
  6. There is doubt over whether or not intermediate care is being adequately staffed pg13.
  7. The standard of intermediate care at Wanstead Hospital is far higher than that being provided at Foxglove Ward in King George Hospital pg 14.
  8. HW was told that there were problems about delays in patients being transferred to WH from Whipps Cross Hospital, so that some patients had to wait longer than necessary for a bed. Pg 14.
  9. Not even Healthwatch were told where the new intermediate care wards would be at KGH pg 16. 14 months after announcing the plan to close WH the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group [RCCG] is refusing the name the wards to be used and is saying that it is too early to discuss details about what will be provided in each intermediate care ward.
  10. HW was told that there would be a “Centre of Excellence” pg 16 and so HW is asking for a definition of what a “Centre of Excellence” is pg19 and how it would be created at KGH. The Wanstead and Snaresbrook Residents’ Alliance [WASRA] cannot see how all that is listed on pg 16 can be fitted into KGH, given its current chronic shortage of beds there.
  11. NELFT says that HW and the three borough councils will only be shown the plans for the new intermediate care wards when they are completed pg 16. This contradicts the promised involvement of Councillors, HW, patients and carers in the process of the planning, which was promised at the 6 July Health Scrutiny Committee [HSC] meeting. HW is concerned about this pg 17.
  12. Some WH staff feel that they have not been given adequate information about what is to happen there pg 18.
  13. HW would like to be given a full explanation as to what constitutes inpatient rehabilitation services pg 19.
The WASRA View
NELFT and RCCG have plenty of assurances but few facts and solid information to offer after 14 months. When the planned closure of WH was announced, why didn’t they say where the replacement 40 – 61 intermediate care beds would be? Did they ever have a proper plan?
66% of NHS patients in hospitals are over 65 years of age. With all our local hospitals in special measures, why close 48 highly assessed beds in a well provided, purpose built facility?
We suspect that the real motive behind this plan is to save money. However, now that a new “Centre of Excellence” is to be created, how will the cost of its establishment and running compare to the cost of maintaining Wanstead Hospital?
When severe winter pressures created a crisis in bed availability, would the rehabilitation patients be given precedence over those with acute needs?

To put it basically, none of this adds up. Assurances cannot replace basic facts and solid information. Why is there so much delay and evasion? Is there something to hide?
The HSC has a duty towards, and key role, in scrutinizing the planning, delivery and performance of local health services. If the HSC feels that a substantial change in their local health provision has not been adequately consulted upon, they can refer the matter to the Secretary of State. This would enable the whole situation to be thoroughly investigated by an independent team of experts – exactly what is needed – urgently.

Helen Zammett

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Remembering Ireland and Russia

This year’s remembrance ceremony at Fairlop Waters Country Park will especially remember those who served from Ireland and Russia.

As always the event will be held on 11th November, this year a Wednesday, and commence at 10:30am. There will be a 2-minute silence at 11:00am followed by a wreath laying at the memorial led by the Redbridge Mayor, Cllr Barbara White. There will be welcomed guests from Ireland and Russia. The event is open to all.

Lt. Claude Handley Trotter
Alberta Regiment and 44 Squadron RAF
Died: 13 October1918 Essex, England age 23

Claude was born in County Galway Ireland in 1895, the son of the Rev. Canon John Crawford Trotter and Fanny R. Trotter, of The Rectory. Ardrahan, County Galway.

He attended Galway Grammar School and the Royal School in Armagh. He enjoyed playing cricket and football and was on his latter schools team for both.

He was living in Canada when war broke out and joined the Alberta Dragoons at Valcartier, Quebec, Canada on September 23, 1914.

He was soon promoted to Lieutenant. He was twice wounded, once with the Canadian Force while rallying his men in a bombing raid on German trenches, and again as an observer in the RFC when his plane crashed and his pilot was killed. On this occasion he was recommended for the Albert medal for endeavouring to save his pilot's life, but missed the award on technical grounds.

He obtained his pilot wings in late 1917 and flew with the Royal Flying Corps for months over France. By application, courage, and hard work he soon developed into a most efficient officer, popular among his brother officers and respected by the men.

He was serving with the Royal Air Force, No. 44 Squadron at Hainault Farm aerodrome on attachment from the Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment). He was blinded by a searchlight beam on the night of Sunday 13th October, whilst on patrol in Camel E5417 and lost his life in the resulting crash.

A guard of honour from no. 44 squadron lined up outside the gates to present arms as a trailer bearing the flag-covered his coffin entered All Saints Church grounds at Chigwell Row on the afternoon of Thursday 17th October.

As this gallant officer was laid to rest, a firing party from the 13th Artists Rifles fired a salute and Camels of No. 44 Squadron from nearby Hainault Farm, circled overhead.

The remains of the propeller from his aircraft is a memorial to him in the church.

F/O P1760 Stanislav Kurowicki
Born 22 May1918 Kotelniki, Russia
Served with 317 (Wilenski) Squadron
Died 11 September 1943 age 25
Buried Ste Marie Cemetery, Le Havre

11 September 1943. Slight fog in the morning, and in the afternoon, a remarkably successful Ramrod 216.

The squadron took off at 1800 hours, our 11 aircraft were part of the Polish Wing which made rendezvous and escorted bombers to a target at Rouen.

When over the target all wings into fours with 10 or more pairs of FW 190's. Combat followed in which F/Lt Janicki damaged one FW 190 and shared a destroyed FW 190 with F/Lt Martini who destroyed a second FW 190 and damaged yet another. F/O Wal shot down a third and F/O Kurowicki shot down a fourth FW 190 before announcing on the RT that he was hit. This pilot did not return.

He was last seen fighting with four FW 190's south west of Rouen.

David Martin
Fairlop Heritage Group