Friday, March 23, 2012

Dangerous Dog

Yesterday in our street This happened.

I presume the police didn't look at their intelligence, because this dog has been complained about by quite a few of the neighbours as being dangerous.

Last year, my dad heard a commotion outside his house and called the police, because there was quite a bit of screaming going on. A young couple, just walking down the street had noticed a dog running towards them which then sunk it's teeth into the young mans thigh and wouldn't let go. It did this without any provocation and just came out of nowhere. Eventually the girl managed to get the dog off and as my dad stepped outside he saw it running up the road and go into a house, which, unfortunately he couldn't identify. By the time the police arrived, the dog and the couple had gone. Then later last year, another neighbour had his dog bitten by the same offending 'pitbull' type.

The street is busy in the mornings, with nursery/infant/junior school children walking to the school at the top of the road and I suppose we can be thankful that the police decided to raid this house after the school kids were safely tucked up in school.

Until I saw  this video  (Warning: This is a very graphic and unpleasant video) on the news of the attack taking place, I didn't think I had even seen this dog, but then I remembered about 18 months ago walking up the street to visit a friend and seeing a young man walking towards me with a brindle (what I thought) staffy pup. It was walking beside him without a lead and I remarked to the man, what a lovely dog he was and how intelligent it must be to be walking at heel without a lead at such a young age. I bent down and gave it a pat which it happily accepted with a wagging tail.

Yesterday, it took 4 bullets to kill it, and for anyone who has watched this video, you can see why. It had been trained to be vicious and nasty and to hang on to it's quarry. It is pitiful to see the police beating,  I mean really beating, that dog to try and get it off of their colleagues, but what could they do?. I am not blaming the police, they had no choice. Who I blame is the owner. He has been arrested on  charges relating to kidnap and GBH and the dangerous dogs act and I hope they throw the book at him. I cannot imagine what kind of life that dog must have had to make it so vicious.

And I hope the 5 injured police officers make a speedy recovery

Sunday, March 18, 2012

York Minster

Friends of mine are in York for the weekend and it brought to mind a little tale

A good few years back, my parents were approaching their 50th wedding anniversary so my sister and I decided to buy them a trip on the Orient Express. It was a day trip to York, starting in the morning with breakfast on the train, then an afternoons guided tour of the Minster then back on the Orient express for dinner. We planned this in great secrecy to present them on the day, and were very happy with our gift.

2 weeks before the trip, my sister and myself visited my parents for lunch and while we were sitting around the table, my Dad started to tell us a tale of his about during the war. He was an aircraft mechanic and after fixing a Mosquito aircraft he was treated to a low flying flight by the pilot to check that the repair was ok. They flew along the railway and peeled off at a pub scaring all the locals, who ran out of the pub, to see what  all the noise was about. On the way back, the pilot decided to take a trip over York Minster and my Dad was describing how beautiful it looked and how he had never been inside and had always wanted to. At this point, I felt a very hard swift kick under the table and looked over at my sister who was trying silently to cuss me for opening my mouth, which I had not. I, in turn, was kicking her back and trying to descreetly shake my head to let her know this.

When we presented the tickets to them a few weeks later, my Dad was so overcome he burst into tears. When he had calmed down, he said. 'You didn't have to do this, I wasn't dropping hints' and just couldn't believe that, in fact, we had bought the tickets at least 6 months earlier so make sure they got on the trip.

We often muse on this, my sister and me. Perhaps he picked up our phychic thought waves, who knows?

Menu of the day

Today is leg of lamb day. The kids are coming over and I begged my son-in-law Petrus for his tips on doing his 'thing' with it. He has Caribbean parents and he does some wonderful things with meat.

The night before cooking get a:
Nice leg of Lamb.
Stab it all over (wonderfully theraputic, especially if you have someone in mind LOL)
Mix together:
Black Pepper
All Purpose seasoning
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Thyme
Garlic (fresh, but granules if not)
Water to make it into a paste

Once it's all mixed, massage it into the meat, taking extra care to poke it into those stab wounds. Leave it to marinate overnight then in the morning, seal the tray with foil and cook in a low oven for at least 5 hours. Once it has cooked, you should be able to lift it by the bone and shake the meat off so you can wrap it in foil and leave it to rest.

Thank you Petrus.

Days gone by.

I grew up in the east end of London, not very, but close enough, to the docks to know a docker or two. My Dad spent most of his working life working for a ships stores, providing supplies of all sorts to the ships that berthed in the royal docks, cruise liners and even the British Antarctic survey team. We were surrounded by a thriving community

What I remember most about those days, was the freedom I had to play in the streets and to disappear on Sundays over the park (Both being a good 2 miles away) with the kids who lived in the street and not coming back until dinner time. We had no mobile phones or much of anything really. If we played in the street, it was a rare car that interrupted our play. There were the Pikes, the Mansfields, Smiths, Bucklands. we all played together, silly games like tin can tommy and hide and seek. Most of their Mums were referred to as Auntie.

I look at my Grandson, Kai, who is 8 now and realise he has just started to be allowed to go to the shop on his own or to the local community centre, all within sight of his Mum's 5th floor balcony and worry. Will he be street savvy enough to resist the lure of gangs or to remain under the radar of bullies? As much as his Mum and Dad try and instill confidence in him, it's not until he is presented with these things will he know about them, because lets face it, someone can tell you, but it's not the same as the actual experience. At 8 I was travelling on buses and trains by myself, walking up to Forest Gate to buy books. Getting on the bus to meet my Mum at the factory ( in Leyton) she worked in as a surprise.

We met a lady on holiday who worked for an organisation in Manchester who tried to encourage the kids to play together outside without their parents intervention, because, she said, the fear of crime was actually far worse than the crimes that were really being committed.

Kids in the 60's were still (occasionally) abducted or went missing, there were still paedophiles in our communities and still gangs, but for some reason it was never a problem letting us out to play.

I wonder, what kind of adults will our grandchildren grow up to be ? And worse, how will their children learn to rely on their own intiative?


I have finally joined the 21st century and got internet access at home. My lovely 87 year old dad, with whom I live, has viewed it with great suspicion. If it wasn't for the fact that I will have to work from home during the Olympics, I wouldn't even have it. But work have kindly supplied the laptop and the hub arrived on Friday so I brought it home to set it up.

This morning, I took the laptop into the back living room to check that the signal is good enough, we live in an old Victorian house with thick solid internal walls, and my phone was showing a drop in signal in that room. I placed it on my lap and started tapping away when Dad walked past and made a flippant comment about it not being able to play Beethoven's 9th symphony. I went onto Youtube and searched for it. His face was a picture when his favorite bit started playing. It's witchcraft that's what it is............................

Friday, March 16, 2012

Under Siege

Hello people, been ages hasn't it? So much has been happening lately, I just don't know where the time has gone.

Anyway, we are a few months away from the Olympics and I don't want to be a killjoy, but living just a 10 minute walk away from the stadium it is beginning to feel like we Newham residents are under seige. The disruption of the last few years has been, at times, quite horrendous. Road closures, pavements dug up, gridlock traffic, it really doesn't bode well for the forthcoming big event.

The most noticable difference is as you come into Stratford from the city, where once it was industrial and depressing, that part of the high street is now lined with shiney new luxury apartments. They are not selling, of course, they are not. They are currently at a premuim price because they overlook the Olympic park. They are also built in a no car zone, so although the developers proudly tell you they are suitable for wheelchair users, they are only suitable for wheelchair users who do not have a motobilty car. I am sure there are some, but not many. The logic astounds me.

Rumours abound, yes we have a lovely new  Westfield shopping centre, but apparently from June they are going to close their doors to cars, buses and Taxi's. In all fairness it is right beside the train station. Then there is the residents car parking, most of it is permit parking, with the first car being free, but some roads that don't have resident permits are going to have temporary permits. Really only an idot would try to come in by car anyway.

But on the bright side, it is only for 4 weeks, and I have been granted permission to work from home (in bed, in the garden) Bow back rivers have had a massive clean up and it is lovely to walk around there now and we will be left with a wonderful swimming pool which will be open to the public afterwards.Also being a Newham resident we get a 2 day window where we are able to buy pre event tickets before anyone else. I have bought some to take my Dad to see the waterpolo as he used to play back in the day

I am dreading it now, but I know I will deal with it when it happens and will probably go along to soak up some of the atmosphere even if I can't get a ticket!!