Nightmare In Noddyland, Halloween Night, 31 October 2017

Here in the Hanger Hill Garden Estate (also known as Noddyland) polite children with polite parents dress up and come around “trick or treating” for Halloween, but in truth it is all smiles and treats, no tricks…

…or is it?

The Noddyland Witch Starts Scheming Early For Halloween

Here is the sound of the Noddyland witch preparing for Halloween:

Janie loves Halloween and plans for it well ahead of time.

No Jack O’Lantern Here: Janie Made A Very Girly Jackie O’Lantern

Even our pink flamingo, Flossie Pom Pom, wants a piece of the action.

Flossie Pom Pom, our pink flamingo, getting ready for Halloween…

So keen was Janie to participate in the local Halloween fun, she rejected the opportunity to see my good friend, Rohan Candappa, pilot his new performance piece at The Cockpit Theatre – for the review of my evening click here.

I think the rest of the story is told better with pictures than words – with thanks to Janie and local parents for these pictures.

Matching witch hats
Scary little visitors
Coral hair?
Do you want something, children?
Ah, yes, of course, sweet treats
Forming an orderly queue?
The Noddyland witch with some sweet children…
…and finally with some scary creatures of the night

Harvest Festival Play Street, Hanger Hill Garden Estate, 30 September 2017

Photographs by Janie, words by Ian.

Mini Tennis In Our Street

Every month or so, we have “Play Street” in our street. Some of the grumpier residents don’t like it, but we do, even though it takes place right outside our house. We like the sound of children enjoying themselves and the community coming together.

Normally the event really isn’t for us. Not even as a couple who inadvertently ended up at Young People’s Night at the theatre yesterday – click here for that story – can we claim eligibility to join in Play Street…

…until this time. This event was also designated to be a mini harvest festival for the whole community, so all and sundry were invited along. Yes, Janie and I are most definitely sundry.

Arts and crafts tent
Nim – one of the tireless community organisers
A bear in a bear suit – escaped from Edgbaston’s Eric Hollies Stand, perhaps?
Lots of mingling in the street
Three generations, one family, long-time locals
Councillor Nigel flogging his home-made jams for the cause
Many different ways to chat and enjoy the afternoon
Ian chats with local pharmacist Dion about photography

We thought the afternoon was a great success. We hope the community organisers arrange more such events in the future.


Aleksandra Turner kindly sent me a few more photographs, including some with Janie – which is a definite plus. Here is one of Aleksandra’s…

…and here is a link to my Flickr collection of photos from the event, which shows all of Janie’s (20-odd) and includes Aleksandra’s pictures (individually credited) at the end of the set.

Don’t be bemused by the first photo in that Flickr album; it is not from the street fair, but one I took at the theatre the night before.

Many thanks, Aleksandra, for sending me those super pictures of the street event.

We’ve Bin To A Meeting, HHGE AGM, 12 April 2016

Janie and I don’t like public meetings. We really, really don’t. We went to this one, because of our involvement in the Hanger Hill Garden Estate (HHGE) wheelie-bin campaign. So, we felt more or less obliged to attend, despite our near-allergy.

The committee provides a small incentive for people to attend; some half-decent wine to help the time pass. That pleasant gesture only helped us to a limited extent.

The opening act was supposed to be our local MP, Rupa Haq, but her arrival was delayed, so the opening act instead was a local copper explaining crime (or lack thereof) in our neighbourhood. The unfortunate spokesperson wasn’t really “our main copper”, although he is part of the local police team, so he didn’t seem completely on top of HHGE issues.

After the quintessential AGM business of accepting accounts, nominating committee members, etc., eventually Rupa Haq arrived on the stump, making much of the fact that she is a local lass, but mostly being party parochial rather than geographically parochial. I suspect and hope that public speaking is not what Rupa does best.

Eventually the meeting got round to the wheelie-bin debate; arguably the biggest deal on the agenda. Many people wanted, understandably, to have their say and raise questions and issues. But basically, when it came down to the vote on whether people wanted the service road collection idea (the idea I had advocated and helped get the Council to agree to do, if the local people want it), the vast majority of people voted in favour of the idea. Hooray.

It had been a long 135 minutes in the community hall, but basically a successful meeting, from a rubbish point of view.

Janie and I won’t be putting up our hands to attend public meetings again in a hurry. But I shall certainly be putting up my hand for the amazing pasta Janie had prepared for us to eat when we got home; a venison and veal ragù that defies description beyond a big adjective; tremendous.

A Mini-Revolution in Hanger Hill To Avert Giant Wheelie-Bin Chaos, 20 March 2016

I was feeling quite cross after Janie and I were fobbed off last week when we got no joy when we phoned the Council and then were refused a reassessment on-line, ahead of the impending wheelie-bin regime here in Ealing.

The problem here is that our conservation guidelines for the Hanger Hill Garden Estate, quite rightly, do not permit bins at the front of the houses. But how terraced houses are supposed to bring giant wheelie bins to the front safely and hygienically is anybody’s guess.

I suspect that simply no-one has thought it through, as we have rear service roads here that should be able to do the job. After those unsatisfactory responses from the council’s regular channels last week, I decided to leaflet all the affected houses and e-mail same to the local big cheeses on Saturday.

As I went off to start my mini-revolution, Janie decided she needed an appropriately belligerent-looking picture of me. As I’m sporting one of my new Nicaraguan bandannas, she describes it as my “San-bin-ista look”.


Within 24 hours, I had received personal emails from the leader of the Council and from our local MP. The Director of Environmental Services has already been in touch asking for a meeting on site to discuss the sensible possibilities asap. Not bad on a Sunday.

If you want to see the note that kicked all of this off – here’s the very note, this is what I wrote: HHGE Wheelie Bin Chaos Prevention 18 March 2016 Version Sent

Meanwhile, a version of the above piece has gone down well on Facebook, with some friends preferring to describe the look as Wheelie-Bin Laden or perhaps Jeremy Cor-Bin rather than San-bin-o. Feel free to choose your own preferred name for the look. I’m more concerned about getting the right result. With so much progress in such a short time, I am quietly confident that common sense will prevail.