Page 1

September 2016

Issue One

The housing crisis David Attenborough | Hibo Wardere Dizraeli | Butterfields estate | Denim and Dine Walthamstow Garden Party The Strongest Woman in Leytonstone Anti-fashion pages | Reviews


studio : 3 south kilburn studios 2a Canterbury Road NW6 5SW

0207 625 6443

graphic design

web design



Contents 4


Letter from the editor



20 26



64 68

David Attenborough opens WoodberryWetlands


Tegan the Vegan recipe

Moving to Walthamstow

Daphna Baram

Hibo Wardere


Butterfields Won’t Budge

Tegan Christmas: The girl with the most cake





Walthamstow Garden Party review

Denim and Dine

The lost generation

Vine Collective

48 52


Leontia Gallery

Vintage wedding dresses by Pour L’amour

30 32


The strongest woman in Leytonstone

The Old Station Yard


The cats that may never be rehomed

Anti fashion: Galina Sherri

Salena Godden


Indian takeaway reviews


Be Good.Shop wishlist

Update on letting agencies


Letter from the editor


elcome to the first edition of The Waltham Cat, a free monthly magazine based in Walthamstow and covering the surrounding areas.

There are some incredible things happening locally. But while it’s exciting to see so many new businesses being created and hearing stories of how people overcame obstacles, it’s impossible to ignore the same issue that comes up again and again. On page 74, a resident shares her experiences of moving to Walthamstow. Unfortunately, these bad experiences are all too commonplace.

Unfair admin fees and renewal fees are now to be expected when moving to rented accommodation, so during the process of making this magazine we vowed never to advertise with estate agents, until an ethical one opened up in Walthamstow. East & Co charges no admin fees, which is a huge leap forward and we hope that other agents can follow in their footsteps. We are proud to include Gigi’s Dressing Room’s Galina and her 12-page anti-fashion section, featuring beautiful women and men of all ages strutting their stuff in Spitalfields Market. Plus there’s ethical shopping from Kate at Be Good.Shop and vegan delights for everyone thanks to Tegan Christmas. Rebecca Shahoud

Follow us on Twitter @walthamcat Email


Credits September 2016

Issue One

Editor Rebecca Shahoud Art director and design layout Rogan Jeans

The housing crisis David Attenborough | Hibo Wardere Dizraeli | Butterfields estate | Denim and Dine Walthamstow Garden Party The Strongest Woman in Leytonstone Anti-fashion pages | Reviews

Contributors Sarah Cox, Galina Sherri, Kate Brenneke, Tegan Christmas

Photography Stuart Moore, Luke Mescalito, Steven Holmes, John Jordan Magazine front cover photography and concept by Luke Mescalito with John Jordan shot at The Studio, Hatton Garden London

Advertising sales Jess Baldwin Marketing and design Vivienne Frances Long

For advertising rates email: Very special thanks to Nicole Holgate


Š 2016 Published by The Waltham Cat Ltd


News Number of private tenants evicted in England nearly doubles in five years High rents and welfare cuts have

families in England would not be

for the worst families are not faced

led to an 88 per cent rise in private

able to pay their rent or mortgage

with homelessness.

rental evictions in five years,

for more than a month if they

according to statistics from the

lost their job.

Ministry of Justice. The loss of private tenancy remains the single biggest cause of homelessness in the country. In the 12 months up to June this year, 22,592 private rental households were evicted, equivalent to 56,480 people. Homelessness charity Shelter has revealed that one in three working

He said: These figures demonstrate the terrible impact of crippling

This means that 3 million families

welfare cuts and a chronic lack of

are at risk of losing their homes.

affordable homes on thousands of

Shelter is urging the government to

renters across England.

protect and improve welfare safety

“The new Prime Minister and her

nets to help families protect their

government have a real opportunity

homes when faced with tough times.

to stop families from being pushed

Shelter Chief executive Campbell Robb said it is vital that there is enough support available for families, so that if life takes a turn


into homelessness, by ensuring the support available for struggling families reflects the sky high cost of private renting.�

Marlowe Road development not delayed after all Due to an admin error, residents

on the estate in Walthamstow due to

Plans to build more than 436 homes

of the Marlowe Road estate were

“uncertain economic conditions that

on the estate were given the go-

wrongly advised there would be an

have resulted from the decision to

ahead in December 2015. This

indefinite delay to redevelopment

leave the EU�.

includes 150 council homes. All

due to the outcome of the referendum.

However a spokesperson from Countryside said redevelopment

residents are being given the chance to stay or move into properties elsewhere in Waltham Forest,

A letter sent to residents by Waltham

is set to go ahead this September

Forest Housing on 6 July stated

as planned, and residents were

that Countryside Properties were

sent a new letter advising of the

The error was blamed on a junior

unable to commence development

administrative error.

member of the project team.

according to Countryside.

Illustration: Countryside Properties


News Central Parade pop-up opens Hundreds of guests attended the grand

Meanwhile Space, who are providing

arts and crafts salon Head and Hands

opening of Walthamstow’s pop-up

reduced rate studios to local businesses

and vintage wedding dress designer

retail hub Central Parade on 12 July.

for six months.

Pour L’amour.

The building at the junction of Hoe

The pop-up is home to traders such as

Fungizzle Art runs printmaking

Street and Church Hill is earmarked

bakers Today Bread, childrenswear

workshops while Keys and Hammers

for redevelopment but until then it

and maternity outlet Birch and Star;

Piano Studio offers lessons and

will be managed by social enterprise

contemporary art by Leontia Gallery,

chances for musicians to collaborate.

Photo: Stuart Moore

Waltham Forest pledges solidarity following Brexit Waltham Forest council has issued

tolerance and togetherness, and

It says: “Those who would seek to

a statement pledging it will do

condemns all forms of hatred.

divide us, to persecute us or attack

everything it can to ensure no one feels alone, scared or victimised in the borough.

The council wants to ensure residents from all walks of life that they can continue to call Waltham

‘One Community’ celebrates the

Forest home and enjoy a good

borough’s diversity and promotes

quality of life.


us will always fail. Waltham Forest is one community – tolerant and together.”

Mall redevelopment: No plans for affordable homes The owners of the Mall in

in height potentially between 12-27

According to the Capital & Regional

Walthamstow have not announced

storeys above the retail centre”.

proposals, the AAP supports the

any plans to build affordable accommodation in the proposed redevelopments, which include up to 500 new homes. Capital & Regional has proposed that the new, high quality homes “might be arranged in a series of tall buildings perhaps a cluster of four, ranging

A two-bedroom property in Orford Road, E17 was sold in March for just under £700,000. The plans to redevelop the Mall have been accepted in principle by Waltham Forest council’s Town Centre Area Action Plan (AAP).

potential of tall buildings on site and the delivery of 2,000 new homes in the town centre over the next nine years. The £120m planned development is set to include a gym, “aspirational” shops and restaurants and create up to 350 permanent new jobs.

Illustration: Capital & Regional





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Coat £14.00




Dizraeli “There’s a sense that gradually London is becoming impossible”

Photography by Fabrice Bourgelle 11

Rapper, folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Dizraeli’s latest EP, Eat My Camera, was largely influenced by Walthamstow Marsh, which was also the location for his video Dona Diaz. Dizraeli (also known as Rowan Sawday) talks to The Waltham Cat from his home somewhere in north London. The 33-year-old rapper had recently performed a sell-out gig at Hackney’s Sebright Arms, and was about to head to Wiltshire to record a track with folk artist Eliza Carthy.


His latest EP is stripped down to the bare bones, bringing him closer to where he was when he recorded his debut album, Engurland. “One instrument, one voice. It’s like the modern art idea of putting an every day object in a gallery, and because it’s in the context of a gallery, people will stop and pay attention,” explains Dizraeli. The final track on the EP features the sounds of the marshes, something which he hopes will encourage listeners to pay more attention to their surroundings. “It’s got some beautiful moments in it. There are children playing in the background which is then smudged into the sounds of trains and that tapers away into birdsong.” The first track on Eat My Camera is entitled Marvellous. Dizraeli sings about the rising cost of housing: ‘’I bought me a brick of house in London/

well, the promise of a brick/and my grandkids and my grandkiddies will still be paying for it” “The crisis affects me and my friends in the same way it affects all Londoners on low incomes, in that we’re constantly being priced out of our houses,” he says.

“Why is a rise in the cost of living the sign of a healthy economy? Surely it’s the sign of a sick one”

“Walthamstow Marsh is very important to me,” he says. “It’s been really the headspace of my years living in London and I return to there time after time. “Sitting at the top of Springfield Park and looking out over the reservoirs is my favourite view in London. It’s the closest you come to being outside of London while

He speaks of friends who have been moved out by the

still being there,” he says.

“whims of a greedy landlord” to places that are further and further away from the centre, or out of the city

He admits he feels “blessed” with the reception of the


tour. This time round he has opted for smaller, more intimate venues than his previous performances. It’s

Dizraeli says: “There’s a sense that gradually London

just him - the first solo tour without his band the Small

is becoming impossible, because of an unregulated

Gods, with whom he toured for five years.

housing market and because the landlords will charge

The track he has just recorded with Eliza Carthy deals

as much as they can get away with charging, rather than

with the British reaction to the refugee crisis. Dizraeli

as much as tenants can afford.”

spent four nights in the camp in Calais, which was

I ask whether he thinks London will follow in the

poetically documented on his blog. He writes with

footsteps of cities like Berlin and introduce a rent cap.

humility about the pain and loss of the survivors and the ignorance of those on the other side of the gates.


“Oh god, I hope so! It’s common sense, surely. Having

sorely lacking, especially in London. Let’s

a roof over your head is a basic human right and surely

move forward.”

it should be seen as such. But the way a sudden rise in

Eat My Camera by Dizraeli is available for download on iTunes. ●

house prices is trumpeted as a success for an economy: why is a rise in the cost of living the sign of a healthy economy? Surely it’s the sign of a sick one.” Dizraeli agrees the crisis makes it harder for artists and musicians. “It’s dangerous for art not to be supported in any way by the public purse because that means it becomes commoditised and people then create what sells, with an audience in mind rather than a vision in mind.” But in spite of all this, Dizraeli says that London still manages to produce excellent music and art. He’s especially excited about the success of grime as a genre. “It’s one of the last true remaining folk music forums in our culture and it’s very DIY. It tends to be people from poorer backgrounds that make it, and a lot of musicians are doing it in the framework that they create themselves, outside the traditional music industry.” “It feels like we’re in crucial times at the moment,” he says. “I hope people can find in themselves to be human, and pay attention to each other. It’s something we’re


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Vintage wedding dresses

Photographs by Stuart Moore 16

by Pour L’amour

17 17

After two decades designing clothes for other people, Walthamstow resident Paula Moore decided it was time to start working for herself. Inspired by her own name, she recently launched vintage wedding dress company, Pour L’amour which is now sitauated in Central Parade, Hoe Street. Paula studied at Glasgow School of Art, and excelled there. She was one of two students chosen by the university to go on to work at a textile factory in Stirling. It was a chance to get to sit at each of the machines, valuable experience for starting out as a designer. It was around 1990 when Paula headed to East London, to design big jersey prints for one of the many clothing corporations located on Commercial Road, before leaving to work for a company that supplied to C&A. Shell suits were in vogue, and it was Paula’s job to design them. Shell suits, and of-its-time knitwear that depicted men duck hunting with their dogs. The job took Paula to all corners of the world and the company relocated to Germany. Paula was honourable and decided to leave the company on hearing the news that most of her colleagues would be made redundant. She was immediately hired by C&A as their in-house designer, but again integrity kicked in and after a number of years had to leave over the “really boring zip-off camping trousers” she was asked to design. “I couldn’t do that.” “It got to the stage where I wanted to work for myself, and that’s where the wedding dresses came in,” says Paula.


“I’ve always worn old vintage clothes from charity shops. This is going back to my roots, something I couldn’t do when I was working for high street brands,” she says. Getting her inspiration from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s 1950s dresses, Paula came up with a range of designs and took them to China to be made. Although they looked okay, they weren’t perfect. It took Paula another four years until she was satisfied enough to launch the business. So within the four years it took to reach perfection, did Paula ever feel like giving up? “Constantly! But I just kept going and kept going. I kept thinking, ‘if other people can do it, I can do it’,” she says. But having the experience and seeing there was a gap in the market for a more structured dress made her more determined to continue. “I realised other vintage dresses weren’t that good or as well made as my own. I’m very picky about how things should be and I suppose that’s from being in the factory from the beginning.” There are currently seven tealength wedding dresses in the Pour L’amour collection, each designed to give the perfect silhouette. For information go to Pour L’amour 6-10 Central Parade Hoe Street Walthamstow London E17 4RT


Sir David Attenborough opens

Woodberry Wetlands

Sir David Attenborough praised the London Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve Woodberry Wetlands for reversing the decline of species in an area of natural beauty which is now open to the public for the first time in 200 years. The site, which is located next to the soonto-be open Walthamstow Wetlands is now home to priority species such as Cetti’s warbler, reed bunting, song thrush and kingfisher, which have been encouraged to breed with the creation of reed beds planted around the reservoirs. Photography by Stuart Moore

21 21

Opening the site on 30 April, Attenborough said he had spent the last 70 years of his career in the natural world dealing with endangered species and diminishing habitats, while working on preventing further catastrophes. He said: “We are losing so much that is precious, so it’s marvellous being here, seeing the reverse and seeing things get better. “We should celebrate that, and we should certainly thank the people that are responsible.” Woodberry Wetlands is situated on the site of Stoke Newington East Reservoir, which is owned by Thames Water. It actively pumps water into Londoners’ homes after being cleaned at the treatment plant at Coppermill, Walthamstow. London Wildlife Trust has been preparing the site for six years with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers and funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, Hackney Council and Berkeley Homes, among others. “Contact with the natural world is not a luxury. Of course it is a huge pleasure. Of course it is a huge delight, “But it is actually a necessity for all of us,” said Attenborough. “Knowing about the natural world and being in contact with the natural world is one of the most precious inheritances a human being can have.”

Photography by Stuart Moore 22


Now an area abundant with wildlife, the reservoirs were once disinfected with chlorine and sodium phosphate gas, which killed off existing species and prevented the natural world from flourishing. Since 1980, no toxic chemicals have been added to the reservoirs, allowing nature to once again take hold. The site is now a haven for bats, amphibians, dragonflies and the rare red-eyed damselfly, and it is hoped that the project will encourage declining birds such as the water rail, little ringed plover, snipe and bittern. The once rare great crested grebe, with its beautiful courtship dance, can be found here in London. Attenborough said: “This is part of our heritage. This is what makes life important and worth living. This is a source of joy and solace that anyone can have.

©2016 Photography by Don Lewis

“This is a great day. Long may it be remembered.”

“Knowing about the natural world and being in contact with the natural world is one of the most precious inheritances a human being can have.” Sir David Attenborough


Butterfields Won’t Budge: the story so far

A group of Walthamstow residents fights for their right to live in the borough


27 27

It wasn’t until some residents from the Butterfields estate

to an agent from BE17 who had arrived to deliver more

requested repairs to their properties that they realised

eviction notices.

something was wrong.

“If they can turn up at our doors, then we can go to

Their estate agent Clarke Hillyer told the residents that

theirs,” Nicole says. So they did. A group of residents

getting things fixed would be “difficult” as they now had

protested outside the Chigwell mansion home of BE17

a new landlord. Soon after, the eviction notices started

directors Jasbir Singh Jhumat and Pardeep Singh Jhumat.

coming in.

“We’re not just fighting for the sake of fighting. We’re

The Butterfields estate in Walthamstow is a quiet street

not simply trying to prevent the investors from getting

of mid century two-bedroom houses, nearly identical in

their money. The residents have established lives here –

size. Until November 2015, it was owned by Glasspool

schools, jobs, family and friends.”

Charity Trust.

The Butterfields Won’t Budge campaign has attracted

But in November the charity, who claims it gives “life-

media attention both locally and nationally. In April,

enhancing support to people in need”, sold every single

residents appeared on BBC’s The One Show to highlight

one of the 63 homes on the street to a property magnate,

their cause and the 38 Degrees campaign to stop the

without consulting any of the residents.

evictions has gained 3,500 signatures.

The property company, named Butterfields E17 Ltd

Earlier this year, hopes were raised of the possibility

(BE17), then started sending eviction notices to tenants,

of a deal between BE17 and Dolphin Living housing

giving them two months to vacate their homes. Around

association, who had previously bought the New Era

six households have left the street, while others united to

estate in Hackney during a similar crisis. During this

form Butterfields Won’t Budge to fight the evictions.

time, eviction notices had halted but residents became aware of negotiations coming to an end when the Section

Resident Nicole Holgate has helped to spearhead the

21s started reappearing through letterboxes.

campaign against BE17 and the evictions. Somewhat ironically, Nicole works in communications for a housing

It is estimated that BE17 set to gain around £3m in profit

charity, fighting against the effects of homelessness in

from the sale of the properties, which have been sold at

her day job as well as in her personal life.

auction and through local estate agents.

“It’s a sustained amount of stress for some people who

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has strongly supported

are already vulnerable,” says Nicole.

the campaign and lobbied for Glasspool to be stripped of their charitable status.

On Father’s Day in June, an elderly resident heard a knock at her door. Expecting family to visit, she opened it


Timeline of events November 2015: Glasspool Charity Trust sell 63 properties to Butterfields E17 Ltd January 2016: Between 10-16 households received Section 21 eviction notices February 2016: Butterfields Won’t Budge campaign officially launched February 2016: Tenants protest outside the auction of six Butterfields properties at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square.

The MP had Glasspool boss Keith Nunn thrown out of parliament after a meeting between the two in which he shrugged and said “it happens”, eschewing his obligations

March 2016: BBC films and reports on Butterfields estate

to the families now facing eviction. If the tenants are evicted, the majority will not even get

March 2016: MP Stella Creasy throws Glasspool boss out of parliament

to stay in London, let alone Walthamstow. They’ve been offered accommodation in Luton and Welwyn Garden

March 2016: Residents sent threatening letters saying they would face thousands of pounds in legal costs if they continued to fight evictions

City, miles from the lives they have built in the borough. The wait for social housing for a three bedroom property in Waltham Forest is on average 6.25 years, according to a freedom of information request answered by the

April 2016: Dolphin Living comes forward to negotiate with Butterfields – evictions halt

council last year. However the council also said that one family waited just over 20 years to be accommodated. To purchase the properties from Glasspool, BE17

April 2016: Comedy event in Walthamstow raises around £500 to help with legal fees for Butterfields

borrowed an estimated 50 per cent of the market value of the properties from NatWest bank. The bank has the capabilities to withhold consent from any sale, and the

April 2016: Creasy raises debate in parliament, asking Housing Minister Brandon Lewis to put pressure on NatWest Bank to halt sales

matter was raised in parliament by Creasy. Yet parent bank RBS denied it held any responsibility. It responded to the MP saying that an internal enquiry had taken place and said it had “found no evidence to

May 2016: Eviction letters sent to residents. Creasy confirms Dolphin and BE17 are no longer in negotiations

suggest that the bank has not acted in accordance with the relevant policy and procedures”. The residents continue to fight.

June 2016: More tenants receive eviction letters

Sign the petition at butterfields-won-t-budge-e17campaign-to-stay

July 2016: Residents hand deliver message to the home of BE17 directors.


The girl with the most

Tegan Christmas, singer from the punk band The Ethical Debating Society (TEDS), is on tour with a slightly different offering


In keeping with the DIY philosophy of her band, she

Tegan’s range of Not Chicken, Not Burgers and Not

set up her own homemade food venture – Tegan the

Sausages are proving a hit with consumers, and not

Vegan – which was born out of sheer frustration.

just vegans.

Switching to veganism just last year, Tegan realised

“I want people to see it’s good food in its own right.

the only way she was going to get to eat any cake was

It’s quite nice to feed people food, let them eat it and

if she made it herself. She had been baking “forever”,

then tell them ‘it’s vegan, by the way’. They can’t

supplying cakes to fans at gigs, so it was a natural

argue with that.”

progression to try vegan baking.

“The waste from producing Greek yoghurt, for

“There’s a lot to be said for just doing it,” says Tegan.

instance, is so toxic it can’t be safely discarded. It’s

Her refreshing ethos of getting things done touches

kept in warehouses in Greece because they have no

many aspects of her life, from her band, to her

idea what to do with it.”

approach to veganism and cooking.

It’s true. From every three or four ounces of milk, just

Her can-do approach means she hasn’t had to work

one ounce of Greek yoghurt is produced. The rest is

for someone else since she spectacularly quit a job

acid whey, which is illegal to dump and highly toxic

working at a large institution in 2009.

to the natural environment and destroys aquatic life. A similar product, cheese whey, recently killed tens

“It was a sensible job in a big open-plan workplace. But

of thousands of fish following a spill, according to

the office politics were unreal and I didn’t understand

Modern Farmer.

it and I didn’t want to be part of it. They were forever trying to cut costs by getting rid of staff.

Al Jazeera hammered the point home with some vital statistics: If the world went vegan, it would save 8

“They were all arguing over some minor thing I’d

million lives by 2050 and around £700 billion per year

done wrong one day and I just wanted to get up and

on healthcare. And a widespread switch to veganism

leave. I said, ‘I hate you, and I hate you. And everybody

would reduce emissions by 70%.

hates you. I’m leaving.’ And I just left. They’re still sending me letters.”

“There’s also a strange link between meat eating and masculinity,” Tegan points out.

Tegan quit meat and dairy in the summer of last year, while her band was on tour with riot grrrl act

“When you start to dismantle it, it’s ludicrous. There’s

Fight Rosa Fight. The band encouraged Tegan to be a

always one man, when I mention veganism online, and

vegan for the duration of the tour, which she did

it always is one man, who says ‘yeah, but bacon...’

without hesitation.

“Yeah, but climate change. You can usually logic

“I thought, yeah, I’m going to do that. And I tried to

it away.”

carry it on when I got back home. But then I realised

Cheese was the biggest hurdle for Tegan when she

there wasn’t any cake to eat.”

eliminated dairy, as it is with many other people who

She began baking for herself and her friends before

switch to a vegan diet.

launching the business towards the end of 2015.

“It took a while to get cheese out of my system and I

Using ingredients like aquafaba, the liquid that

mean that in a genuine sense, because I was having

remains after cooking beans and chick peas, a great

withdrawals. The thought of eating pizza without

substitute for egg white; silken tofu, and seitan, a

cheese was horrific. I had to have a word with myself.”

high-protein meat substitute, Tegan is confident that

Cheese contains casein, which is present in all dairy

she can make a vegan version of practically anything.

products. The substance triggers the brain’s opioid

She constantly challenges herself, taking requests

receptors, producing morphine-like effects. Cheese

from customers to make things like cheesecake

is known to trigger the same part of the brain as

and Lamingtons.

hard drugs.


Since going cold turkey, Tegan no longer craves cheese.

So there. Tegan the Vegan tours E10, E17 and E11 on

“Your palate changes so much, but for the better. The

Thursday evenings.

memory of certain things is always better than the food itself,” she explains.

“Cadbury’s Dairy Milk was a sticking point for me, but I had one about two months into being vegan and it was horrible. Tasted like rubbish.”


Walthamstow Garden Party 2016

Photographs by Gar Powell-Evans

Around 36,000 people attended the free festival featuring acts including Asian Dub Foundation, Max Romeo, Ana Tijoux and Emicida


I went to Glastonbury once and it took me so long to

anything there was too much choice. I tried to fill up on

recover both financially and physically that I never

Wildcard Brewery bevvies, but the dog spilled one pint

bothered to go back. Our tent was sliced open and we

and my pal spilled another.

were burgled, so I had no money or food and mobile

I can’t wait for the next time. It feels like a bigger more

phones were not yet a thing, so I spent many, many

expensive festival, but with the added bonus of getting

hours lost and hungry. The music was great, but I’m no

to go home and have a nice bath and sleep in your own

longer prepared to muscle my way to the front of crowds

bed. The queues just aren’t worth complaining about.

to try to grab Michael Stipe’s shirt.

And it’s all for free, at least for now.

I haven’t heard stories about anyone getting their tent slashed at Walthamstow Garden Party. Some people queued a bit longer than they would have liked, but then

E17 Designers:

that would have been the case at any festival, and this Photo: Rebecca Shahoud

one happens to be free. There were 36,000 people at the festival this year, which is a record for the event. Being able to walk to a festival like this is the best thing that could happen to a transport-fearing, skint individual like myself. I’m a miserable bugger at times but I can’t find anything to complain about with this event. It is a joy. It was worth going just to meet the marvellous Frances, a happy festival-goer who has partly inspired a whole load of fashion pages in this magazine. A great grandmother, Frances is a refreshing alternative to the sea of beige some younger people expect the older generations to wear. We sheltered from a light sprinkle of raindrops inside tents where E17 Designers were trading. The designers are a huge group of local artists and makers of beautiful things. Among these clever people are Malcolm Morris, a skilled goldsmith who can transform old jewellery into new, and illustrator Ros Shiers whose signature pet portraits adorn walls around the world. I’m proud to live in a town that contains so much talent. I’d like to rave about all the excellent bands that played, such as Asian Dub Foundation, Rocket Number Nine and Sam Lee, but most of Sunday I sat in the shade with a good friend and a black and white puppy and a cold cider. For the first time in a couple of months the rain held back and the sun was brilliant, which put lots of smiles on people’s faces. After a solid month of rain it was a welcome change. I’d been looking forward to trying all the street food on If you know Frances email

offer but when I got there I was actually too excited to eat. The variety of food here is overwhelming, if


Mo’ Kalamity & The Wizards, Walthamstow Garden Party



Just a handful of the 36,000 visitors to Walthamstow Garden Party


A taste of honey Making strides with Denim & Dine An extraordinary thing is happening in Walthamstow.

is transformed from a busy workspace into a cosy pop-up restaurant, Denim ‘n’ Dine.

Firstly, there is Blackhorse Lane Atelier. It’s a factory that makes and sells jeans designed to last a lifetime.

Chef Pedro Passinhas is at the helm. I find him

The factory operates a sustainable, ethical business

laboriously shelling tiny, bright green peas by the

model – the workers are also shareholders. They

hundreds in preparation for the evening’s six-course

also grow their own Japanese indigo, used to dye


the denim.

Restaurant-goers pay a fixed price of £50 to experience

It is possibly the first factory in London in over 50 years

the food, a price that is kept low by reducing the

to make premium jeans, and it is almost certainly the

amount of waiting staff. The chefs bring the food to

only factory in London that serves food prepared by a

the table to explain how it is prepared, which cuts out

Michelin-trained chef.

the middleman.

When the factory employees clock off at 6pm, the

Pedro explains: “We stripped everything down, so the

workbenches are tucked away, although the yarns

emphasis is really on good food and good conversation.

and the sewing machines remain. Bespoke tables are

It’s a chance for people to come and socialise. The food

unfolded, which were made specially for purpose by

really helps to start the conversation because it’s so

Palmer/Wilson; a Blackhorse Lane furniture-making

unique. And it automatically brings out questions and

duo. A few adjustments to the lighting, and the factory

gets people involved.”


“From the honey to vodkas to the coffees, to foraging, we are starting to incorporate a lot of local ingredients to our menus. “The idea was always to have a complex, high-level quality of food but not in the traditional restaurant that is associated with that kind of food.” Pedro trained at Le Corden Bleu and went on to chef in some of the UK’s top restaurants – Le Gavroche, the Fat Duck, The Square and Galvin at Windows. And because of this background, Pedro has retained the same suppliers as these restaurants. It’s unlikely that the suppliers would have catered to such a small establishment otherwise. In the near future, Denim ‘n’ Dine will offer cooking masterclasses using fresh vegetables grown in an allotment in Higham Hill. “The idea is to collaborate with Waltham Forest council and provide workshops for young people, so they can learn how to cook simple things grown from fresh ingredients. “We’re not from Walthamstow, but we’re finding out that the community is really diverse, with lots of interests. So there’s a lot going on.” ●

42 42

43 43

The lost generation People born in or after the early 1980s are facing the roughest deal for over 100 years, according to Goldsmiths University economics lecturer Dr Johnna Mongomerie

44 Photography by Melissa-Verhoeven Š 2015

The loss of social housing and lack of affordable homes, along with rising tuition fees and the loss of university grants has led to an unprecedented hardship. “If 2008 was 1929, it would have already begun its recovery, whereas we still have recovery forecast in 2020. The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) is still projecting it in five years from now. “Every year it’s five years from now.” She adds that the OBR predicts growth based on individuals taking on more debt. “It doesn’t solve our problems, but solves the government’s problems quite easily.” Reports in the press often suggest that students and young “Today’s young people are much more like Victorian young

people suffer from a financial illiteracy. Is this causing people

people. They finish school, then, they have to imagine all

to get into debt?

the debts they have to get into just to have their profession.

“The blame is on the

Once they start their profession, they are in debt and this goes

individual, rather than the

against them taking on a mortgage.” Dr Montgomerie lends depressing clarity to a predicament that many young people,

systemic causes of it. They

especially those not born into a great deal of wealth, find themselves in.

want to cast it as a personal

Last year, analysis published in the British Medical Journal

failure, when it’s actually a

calculated that a medical student graduating in 2014 would

personal failure on a huge

have accrued debt of between £62,000 and £84,000 by the time they graduate. The research concluded that it was

number of people in this

unlikely the doctors would ever pay their student debts off


in full. More recently the results of a survey published in the

“No,” says Dr Montgomerie. “I don’t buy that argument. If

Guardian found that 48% of junior doctors are actively

you’re out of the labour market, you can’t work and sustain

considering emigration. As it stands, 22-25% of all newly

yourself and you face selling your house, being able to

qualified doctors do leave Britain to work elsewhere.

calculate an interest rate payment isn’t going to make a

Cheery stuff.


“It’s worse than the Great Depression,” says Dr Montgomerie.

It helps to look at the wider picture, she says.

“What we have is a much bigger state of existential angst and

“The blame is on the individual, rather than the systemic

we can’t see an end in sight at the moment.”

causes of it. They want to cast it as a personal failure, when

Dr Montgomerie refers to the current financial crisis as

it’s actually a personal failure on a huge number of people in

“melancholia” because the economic stagnation is much

this country.”

more pronounced.


“And for young people, this will shape their lives in ways that they have never known. But we shouldn’t just accept it. And we shouldn’t sleepwalk our way into more debt.”

So if we are to take something from this, perhaps it’s that we have no choice but to think creatively about out futures. Getting into more debt to further our careers might not be the most sensible option. “We can only begin to guess at how debt will reach into the most intimate aspects of our lives,” says Dr Montgomerie. “From the birth of a child, to the death of a family member, we are making decisions about debt. Whether we pay off our credit card because the baby’s coming and you’re going on maternity leave, or your mother is ill and you’re deciding to sell her house to put her into care. “And for young people, this will shape their lives in ways that they have never known. But we shouldn’t just accept it. And we shouldn’t sleepwalk our way into more debt.” Dr Johnna Montgomerie lectures in PPE at Goldsmiths. She is also deputy director of the Political Economy Research Centre. ●


Photography by Luke Mescalito 47

Vine Collective

Image courtesy of Mark at PoPCampaign


Every other month since October 2015 the William Morris Gallery late slot has been commandeered by lively and thought-provoking acts, carefully co-curated by Walthamstow’s Vine Collective and The William Morris Gallery.


The free-to-attend night is as raucous as it is eclectic,

Vine Collective was founded in 2014 by Kirsteen

with guests that have included Luke Wright, The

McNish and Darren Smith, with the first gig at

Quietus editor and writer Luke Turner, Submarine

Blackhorse Lane Workshop. Their goal was to bring

author Joe Dunthorne, film maker Shelly Love, poet

like-minded people together in a free, accessible

Martha Sprackland, and illustrator and toy monster-

environment without the usual formal trappings of

maker Pete Fowler, to name a few.

a book reading. The night included sets from artists Rob Auton, Michael Smith and local band The Cats

Pete Fowler by Stephen Parker

Knickers, with DJ Leo Smee (Chrome Hoof). The formula was a success. Each night at the gallery was packed, with the boundaries between artist and audience more relaxed than conventional gigs so that conversation between the two sides flowed, leading to discussion among artists and the audience in the gallery bar. Each Vine Collective curation at William Morris was inspired by the gallery exhibition at the time. Transmission sat alongside Clare Twomey’s Time Present and Time Past, in which the ceramicist created a tiled interpretation of William Morris’s Chyrsanthemum with the help of 68 apprentices over 68 days.

But sadly Vine Collective’s tenure at William Morris has come to an end. Transmission on Thursday 8

Kirsteen said the reception at William Morris Gallery

August marked the last collaboration between curator

has been “fantastic”.

and gallery, at least for now.

She said: “Transmission was followed soon after with an event with The Magnetic North at Royal Institute

The Magnetic North by McCoy Wynne

of British Architects, with Laura Barton, Amy Liptrot & John Grindrod which was a huge success so I couldn’t be happier!” Vine Collective is currently planning more events. You can follow @vine_collective on Twitter to keep up to date with news.

On this final night, the stage was graced by gritty poet Salena Godden, Time Out writer Ellie Broughton and Walthamstow DJs Eastern Front Collective. Proceedings kicked off with the award-winning Clayground Collective, who passed on their skills of making beautiful things out of earth.

50 50

Vinyl Release O U T


Syn th po p + e lec t ro + n e w wave = SYN TH W AVE . “ T h i s i s n o t j u s t A g e n r e c o m p i l at i o n , i t ’ s a g l o b al c u lt u r e , a s tat e o f m i n d . R i d e t h e S Y N T H W AV E w i t h t h e s e 1 2 g r o u n d breaking






wo r ld.”

 E lec t ro n i c So u n d M agaz i n e D i str i b ut e d wo r ld w i d e by SR D • M ast e r e d by Pet e M a h e r

Train with the


woman in Leytonstone Professional powerlifting champion and personal trainer Sakari De-Meis sets the record straight



“Every female should be able to do anything that a man

When the day came, Sakari drove down to the qualifying

should be able to do,” says twice British powerlifting

competition, which was held at army barracks in

champion and 2010 European champion Sakari De-Meis.

Folkestone. As a new driver, the journey itself was nervewracking but when the judges decided her equipment

“A lot of people don’t know what they’re capable of.”

didn’t conform to the strict rules, Sakari wanted to turn

Sakari runs her classes from a studio in Church Street,

back home.

Leytonstone and outdoors at Hollow Ponds.

“I left the site and called my husband, who told me to

Picking up a 12k weight as if it’s a tin of baked beans,

stay,” says Sakari. “So I went back in, and some of the

Sakari might not look like a stereotypical weightlifter,

guys that were competing lent me the correct equipment.

but she’s keen to dispel any common preconceptions

“I did the competition and I qualified there and then. It

about ‘bulking up’ that many people fear.

was amazing, the best thing ever.”

“During training, you have various rep ranges to make

Lifting helped Sakari to learn more about herself, and

sure you don’t get bigger and instead I work on toning

with that came a new type of confidence which she now

and strengthening your physique,” she explains.

passes on to her clients.

Sakari didn’t start training until after the birth of her

Coming from an Indian background, there were certain

second child. Feeling out of shape due to an illness,

limitations for Sakari as a woman.

Sakari started using weights as part of her fitness regime. She didn’t consider competing in events until a friend at

She expains: “I didn’t have a very strict upbringing, but

her local gym said she was strong enough to stand a good

there were some things I couldn’t do. I couldn’t hang

chance of getting through to the finals.

around with a boy, for instance. The sport gave me something else, and enabled me to think ‘as a female, I’m

With just a couple of weeks to go to qualify for the

going to get to do everything a man can do.’”

British championships, Sakari’s friend at the gym briefly explained the rules.


This philosophy is something that Sakari passes on to her daughter and her female clients. “That’s why I love training women. I love to help build confidence and for them not to feel as if they have to be a size six or eight.” But don’t expect an easy session with Sakari. Her techniques are different from what you might see in a lot of gyms. As a champion powerlifter, she’s strict, and makes sure her clients put their best efforts in. “I don’t like to see people give up. I want to see good results, because there are so many benefits. People will get fitter and stronger. If something’s not working, I’ll look at the bigger picture and find out why.” Each programme is tailored to the individual client’s desires, and all levels of fitness are catered for.

Prices start from £35 per hour.


Art without the


Images courtesy of Dina Goldstein


Leontia Reilly’s newly opened gallery is accessible and affordable, without any of the snobbery that might traditionally be associated with buying art


Magnus Gjoen


Juan Barletta

Louise McNaught

58 58

Images courtesy of Dina Goldstein


“The art world can be a bit cloak and dagger – it’s

Leontia explains: “This was their street art tag, and these

quite shadowy and not as transparent as some other

wooden boards would be nailed up around London, but a

businesses,” says Leontia, whose background working

lot of them got taken down.” Stolen, then.

in galleries with similar ethoses has inspired her to do

“The galleries that I’ve worked in have always been

the same.

quite affordable, so we would work a lot with first-time

Alongside Israeli-born Dina Goldstein’s incredible

buyers and emerging artists. I think people can feel a bit

conceptual photography series In the Dollhouse hangs

intimidated by the art work and galleries can be quite

original work from local artists Static, and surreal

sterile places. The manner in which people are treated

compositions that confront difficult modern subjects

when they enter a gallery can be quite elitist.

by Joe Webb.

“We do away with that elitism, because once people know

Leontia Gallery launched in August as a pop-up for

a little bit of history and a story about the artwork then it

six months in Central Parade, Walthamstow. The space

helps to understand and appreciate it.”

contains a good mix of local, national and international

The gallery will showcase monthly themed exhibitions,

artists, with prices starting from around £25.

starting in September with Brave New World. This will

The gallery will feature cutting edge, contemporary and

feature artists’ interpretations of the future – the show was

often controversial work, such as work by Magnus Gjoen,

designed before Brexit happened – while October’s show

whose haunting 3D lenticular images portray mortality

Money Talks will delve into ideals and consumerism.

and new beginnings, and Louise McNaught’s depictions

Each month will feature art specially commissioned for

of nature infused with splashes of neon.

the exhibition as well as pieces handpicked by Leontia.

A large wooden plaque stencilled and painted with Static’s

Leontia Gallery is situated at 6-10 Central Parade,

signature image of a helicopter carrying a chandelier is

137 Hoe Street, London E17 4RT. Closed Mondays. ●

on sale for just £40.

Images courtesy of Dina Goldstein



Locally based, honest, unbiased independent financial advice › Wealth Management › Retirement Planning › Estate Planning › Protection › Finance › Employee Benefits Contact Antony Smith for a no obligation consultation today! Call 0333 456 0468 or email Providus Financial Limited is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Teas, cakes, crumpets & collectables The Georgian Village, 100 Wood Street Walthamstow, E17 3HX

07742 436995

Serving traditional afternoon tea daily 62

Tegan Christmas is a baker of vegan delights and goodies. She delivers cakes in and around the E17 area

Strawberry & basil flan All that’s left to do is to assemble the tart: Put a generous layer of the crème pâtissière into the pastry case, (about an inch thick) and then layer on the strawberries. I’ve arranged mine in a circle, but you may prefer them in straight lines. Pile them on! Finally, drizzle your slightly cooled basil syrup over the whole tart. Garnish with a couple more basil leaves to make that red really pop, and hey presto…you’ve got a strawberry and basil tart!

Strawberry and basil work together so beautifully, despite seeming like odd flavours to go together. The basil really brings out the natural sweetness of the strawberries, and combined with a gorgeous sauce and crisp pastry, they’re just spot on. The perfect last hurrah to the summer! For this recipe, I’ve made a vegan version of crème pâtissière, using ready made Birds custard powder, but it’s possible to make it from scratch using flax eggs and a lot of patience. This is best served fresh, as the pastry will be less crispy the longer it is left. Make and eat immediately! Firstly, make the pastry by rubbing in the soy margarine with the icing sugar and flour. It should look like fine breadcrumbs once it’s all rubbed in. Add a little water at a time, just enough to bring it together to form a stiff dough. Once it’s made, wrap in clingfilm, and leave to sit in the fridge for 10 - 15 minutes. Meanwhile, you can make the crème pâtissière. For this recipe, we’ll be ignoring the instructions on the back of the packet, and making the custard slightly thicker, so 2 tbs for half a pint of milk should do the trick. Mix the powder, along with the sugar and milk in a microwavable bowl, and heat for 3 - 4 minutes on full power, then remove, stir thoroughly, and heat again for a further 3 minutes. Once it’s cooked, allow to cool, and chill in the fridge. We need this nicely chilled.

Now, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it’s about half a centimetre thick…it’ll puff up a bit as it cooks, so don’t worry if it seems a little thin. Using an 8” pie dish, blind bake at 150° for 15 minutes. To do this, you’ll need to cut a circle of greaseproof paper to fit inside the base of the tart, and fill with ceramic baking beads. These are available at most supermarkets, and they’re useful for baking all things pastry. If you don’t blind bake, you’ll end up with a soggy bottom! Remove from the oven, take out the beads, and bake for a further 10 - 12 minutes at a slightly higher heat of about 170°. The pastry should be crisp and golden: A little tap with your finger should let you know if it’s done. Allow to cool while you prepare the fruit. Wash your strawberries, and cut of the tops. Slice thinly and leave on the side while you do the final part of the preparation: the basil syrup. For this, you need to either process the sugar and basil together, or use your hands to rub the basil into the sugar, in the same way as you did with the pastry. Whether you whizz the sugar and basil up in the food processor or rub it in, you’ll be left with a zingy, vibrant green sugar. Put this into a saucepan, and add 1 - 2 tbs of water, and heat gently. Keep stirring, as sugar can stick and burn if left alone. Once it’s melted, and becomes liquid, ta-dah….you’ve got basil syrup!


Tegan would like you to email your suggestions for October’s recipe to

Ingredients: For the pastry 190g plain flour 85g soy margarine 85g icing sugar 1 - 2 tbs cold water

For the custard: 2 tbs birds custard powder 1/2 pint soy milk 1.5 - 2 tbsp sugar

For the strawberry and basil filling 1 punnet strawberries, sliced 50g sugar 5 basil leaves 1 - 2 tbsp water


Photo: Steve Holmes

Moving to

Walthamstow: The renter’s reality A resident shares her experience of moving to E17 Having lived in god knows how many houses and flats over the years with god knows how many housemates - partners, friends, strangers I’d met on Gumtree - I’d seen my already sky-high anxiety levels rocket. Approaching 30, I just thought that I’d like to try living by myself for a year - given the ridiculous rise in rents over the last few years, it could be my last chance to do it.

My name’s Ronnie*. I’m 30 and single and I don’t have any children. I work in media relations for a medical organisation. I have a degree and a masters degree and haven’t been out of work since I was 16. I earn around £32,000 a year which sounds like quite a lot on paper. But once I’ve paid my taxes, National Insurance, £113 to the Student Loan company, £150 on my zone 1-3 travel card, paid back the money I borrowed from Nationwide for the deposit and rental fees to move house (more on that later), paid my phone bill, Waltham Forest’s council tax and of course my rent and bills, there’s not much left at the end of the month. And by not much I mean nothing, plus a big dent in my overdraft.

Originally I looked in south London, close to work, as far down as Croydon, and couldn’t find a single studio flat to rent under £800 a month. Few were under £900. And I wasn’t fussy - even the tiniest, shabbiest, places were out of my budget. I finally found somewhere on Rightmove for £750, in Walthamstow - a place I’d never even been before. I called the letting agent, Victoria Knight, within 20 minutes or so of their advert going online, yet I was still the fifth person to look round the next day. They made sure to tell me that.

I’m not starving and I can buy a round at the pub occasionally. But I’ve got no savings, and I haven’t had a proper holiday for years. One big unexpected bill would cripple me. As a teenager, even a few years back when I was finishing university, I never imagined this would be my life.

The property is a converted attic on very busy, noisy crossroads. It’s tiny, with a roof

65 65

On top of those £500 agency fees, the deposit then suddenly jumped up from £1500 to £1700 “because bills were included” - that’s £100 a month for utilities. I don’t have the option of saving money by not having the heating on, or taking a quick shower instead of a bath to cut down my bills. A hundred quid for one person, in a tiny flat. I don’t even own a bloody TV.

so sloped that I can’t even stand up in some of the living/sleeping area. The fridge buzzes loudly all night. Sirens scream past every five minutes, all day, all night. There’s no way of getting an internet connection. I immediately said I wanted it, because I was desperate. When I say desperate, I wasn’t fleeing somewhere - my then housemate (also my landlady) was nice. I wasn’t trying to leave an abusive relationship or family member. What on earth do the people in those situations do?

I had to use all my savings - £1200 - borrow £1000 from my bank on a low interest loan, and borrow £1000 from my mother just to move in, pay the removal guy for his van, and buy some cheap furniture. Those are loans I’m going to be paying back for quite a while.

Victoria Knight charged me £500 in various fees for things they almost certainly didn’t do. £500 in fees, for one person to move into a tiny cupboard.

On moving day, I called Victoria Knight twice to confirm what time I’d be there to pick up the keys. Arriving bang on time, I was made to wait for over an hour in their office, while they refused to tell me what was going on. Turns out they hadn’t bothered to transfer my huge deposit to the landlord so he had refused to give me the keys. With my van driver waiting outside with all my belongings, I explained to them that he had to leave soon. One of the women replied: “You could bring all your stuff in here for a while and let him go.

When I complained about this on Twitter someone said “well why didn’t I use a different agent?” What choice do we have? The number of properties in my price range was so tiny, the number of people so keen to get them so numerous, that you just can’t argue over fees or browse around. Decisions have to be immediate and you have to do anything and everything these agents want, or the flat goes to someone else. You have literally a few minutes to make massive choices, involving massive sums of money.

”Er, 20 years of belongings, dozens of boxes and bags, a double mattress.

The deposit was £750, plus £750 for a month’s rent in advance. Plus fees. Once I’d paid a big chunk of that as a ‘holding fee’, I handed in my notice to my then landlord. A few hours later, Victoria Knight called me up and said: “our landlord hasn’t decided yet so can you come up here tomorrow and meet him?” They clearly have no idea what ‘holding deposit’ means.

Not only did I have to pay my delivery driver for an extra hour (plus a big tip for waiting so long, bless him), I had to single-handedly carry all those possessions up the stairs to my new fourth floor flat, on a boiling hot summer day, because the driver had another job to go to. Not something I want to repeat in a hurry. I know that I’m relatively fortunate - I had that little bit of money in my savings account, and I was able to borrow a bit more from my family.

Luckily, I managed to get the day off work and after an interview the landlord agreed to let me the property. Did I say landlord? Clearly too busy with his £55m property empire, he didn’t bother turning up. I had to talk to his agent.

In August, my one-year tenancy came to an end. If the landlord had wanted to raise my


Update: So it’s August, as I write, and I’ve finally had an answer from the landlord’s letting agency after asking five – FIVE - times whether they’ll be charging me a “renewal fee”. Apparently those are a thing now. My contract deliberately wasn’t clear. Oh just £150, they finally say. That’s £150 – cash in hand, of course – for me to come in and sign a bit of paper. I’ve asked if they’ll replace the noisy fridge in exchange, but have had no response. Perhaps I’ll just turn it off? It’s now a real worry that I can’t afford to actually put anything in it for a few weeks.

rent, I’d have been forced to pay it. I have no savings and can’t afford all those up-front fees and other moving costs to go elsewhere. Where do you magic up another two and a half grand? And what is ‘elsewhere?’ My current rent and bills amount to about £930 - I can probably save a little bit each month by moving in to a bigger shared house with strangers but then I’m left with the anxiety, the compromises, the nightmare housemates. The extra costs of going out every night to avoid them. And with most rooms now £650 or £700 or more plus bills, I wouldn’t even be saving much money.

I’m angry that I’ve done everything by the books. I’ve paid my own way through university, worked hard, and I have to spend every single day worried. My council tax is late. My water bill is late. The present is just constant stress, and planning the future… impossible.

My parents live 40 minutes from Euston but a monthly season ticket is almost £500. I used to have a very long commute (it’s still 1hr 15 each way for me to get to work, on a good day) and I just can’t face going from their place, in Bedfordshire, to south London every day. And at almost 30, I can’t face the fact that this - living with my parents - is actually the sensible, and most affordable option.

*Names have been changed to protect identity

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Photo: Rogan Jeans

How to pass the

Englishness test

Daphna Baram

Comedian Daphna Baram is currently touring the UK with her show Begging to Differ. She talks to The Waltham Cat about the Israeli Defence Force, heart attacks and humour “I’m generally always scared when I go to Kent,” says

“Teaching was super rewarding. Even more so with

the former soldier, human rights lawyer, news editor and

grown-ups than with kids, because they knew what they

author Daphna Baram.

were missing.”

“Kent is very English. It’s exotic to be Jewish there.”

Many of Daphna’s young friends were destroyed by army life. She recounts: “Some people went into the occupied

It’s difficult to imagine Daphna ‘Miss D’ Baram is scared

territories and just beat people up and threw stones at

of anything. Following a successful UK tour of her

them. Some people became monsters, and some of them

aggressively funny show Something to Declare: How to

tried not to take part.”

pass the Englishness Test, Build a New Jerusalem and Become Nigel Farage’s Biggest Nightmare, she is back

After two years in the army, Daphna studied law,

on the road with Begging to Differ, a show about telling

becoming a human rights lawyer at a law firm that

the truth, even though it may not always be appropriate.

represented Palestinians in military courts.

Now living in Walthamstow, Daphna was born in

“It was something I really identified with and I thought

Jerusalem. She was conscripted to the Israeli Defence

was a really good thing to do. But I was young, and it

Force at the age of 18, where she was taught how to

wasn’t what I wanted to do.”

kill people. She then taught history, maths, Hebrew

She then sidestepped into journalism, progressing to

and English to salaried soldiers who had missed out on

news editor of Kol Ha’ir, a high profile weekly newspaper

important chunks of education.

based in Jerusalem.


69 69

“The problem with the place is that it was too bloody

It was exactly a month after the heart attack when Daphna

interesting. We had a suicide bombing at least every

was asked to give a speech at a friend’s wedding. It was

week, we had the municipal party oozing corruption, an

so good that Chris Morris (Brass Eye, The Day Today)

education system that was collapsing,” she reflects.

who was a guest at the reception, assumed she was an established comedian, and asked the groom the name of

“I never had the guts to move somewhere where nothing

Daphna’s agent.


The groom and his wife bought Daphna a course at the

But in 2002 Daphna won a six-month Reuter’s journalism

Comedy School in Camden for her birthday. One year

scholarship at Oxford University. She excelled, and

after the heart attack and one day before the showcase

stayed there for two years to write a fascinating book

presentation at the Comedy School, Daphna was on a bus

called Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel, which

in Haringay. When she felt like something had clicked

depicts the British newspaper’s reporting on Zionism and

back into place.

Israel. As a freelance journalist, Daphna has also written for newspapers such as the Independent, the Guardian

“I’m not in any way, shape or form a spiritual person,”

and New Statesman.

Daphna assures me. “But I felt that the death crow was flying away. It was an amazing feeling – the feeling that

Then, about seven years ago, outside a Fitness First in

I’m doing the right thing.” ●

Haringay, Daphna was waiting to meet a friend for coffee. Daphna was on a strict(ish) health regime after being diagnosed with diabetes. She’d lost ten dress

Daphna’s updates and tour dates can be found here:

sizes, but still smoked ten cigarettes a day. Following an

extensive workout at the gym, she lit a cigarette “for good measure” before having a heart attack. She was 39. When her friend arrived, she asked staff at Fitness First if they could help, as one may logically reason that people working in a gym would know first aid. But they said it ‘wasn’t their problem’ as Daphna was no longer in the building. They said her friend could use a phone to call an ambulance. “I wasn’t in too much pain, but I thought I would score some drugs in this ambulance if it’s the last thing I do. So I knew I was going to live. Then, I spent about one second thinking, ‘this probably means I’m not going to have children’. Then, I thought, ‘fuck having children, I’m never going to have sex again!’” The adrenaline had kicked in, and Daphna didn’t realise the gravity of the situation until after a night’s sleep. “When the shit hits you, you’re fine.” Daphna says. After the initial excitement of the heart attack, the noisy ambulance, the drugs and adrenaline wore off, she woke up the next day, sore from the hospital procedure that saved her life and depressed at the reality of the situation. The presence of death had entered. “It comes, like a black crow, and sits on your shoulder. It takes a while before it leaves.”


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Photography: Monika Marion

This barbaric cut Hibo Wardere talks about her experience of FGM

Hibo Wardere is on a mission. The anti-FGM campaigner’s book, Cut: One woman’s fight against FGM in Britain, speaks out against the brutal treatment of women and girls while drawing on her own experiences. “When she made the first cut, I was consumed from

The day before the cut, her family had held a huge party

head to toe with pain.” Hibo recounts the moment when,

with Hibo at the centre of attention. There were gifts and

aged six, her mother took her to a makeshift hut to be

food, and everyone seemed happy. Hibo was told she was


about to become a woman. She was convinced something amazing was about to happen.

Hibo was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia, which has the highest prevalence of the

As an infant at school, Hibo had experienced bullying

procedure in the world. Around 98% of girls undergo the

as a result of not having been cut. She was tormented by

brutal procedure, which can lead to infection, infertility

other girls, and segregated in the playground.

and death.

Shattered from the singling out she was getting at school,

“It’s to preserve your virginity until you are married,”

Hibo went home and asked her mother to cut her.

says Hibo. “As a woman, you are controlled from the day

“I didn’t understand what it meant, because although the

you are born. You can’t make decisions about your own

girls who had been through it were proud of it, they never

life, because everything is decided for you.”

talked about it. It was a muted thing,” she explains.

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Hibo was awoken early in the morning and taken to the

From then on, Hibo has been a spokesperson against

makeshift hut where her aunt and three people she’d

FGM, by campaigning in schools, training teachers,

never met were waiting.

working with doctors & the Metropolitan Police in Waltham Forest.

“All the love that you have been shown the day before gets stripped away in the most painful way you can

Hibo teaches people that there is a connection between

imagine,” she says.

FGM and the horrors that follow it, such as depression and domestic violence.

Hibo describes how she sat on the floor in the hut, while her arms were pinned back. She was told to relax, before

There have been 3,000 FGM injury-related cases in UK

two women painfully yanked her legs apart. Then a

hospitals in the past few months. A recent government

woman on a stool – the cutter – drew different sized

report suggests that girls aren’t just being taken abroad

scalpels from a bag around her neck. Hibo was utterly

to have surgery – it is happening in living rooms up here


in the UK.

“Everywhere was on fire. I screamed and screamed. There was no anaesthetic, and nobody helped, not even

Four types of procedure as defined by the World Health Organisation

my mother. “The woman kept on cutting and cutting and cutting. Wave after wave of pain just kept coming I wanted to die, because it would be better than experiencing this pain.”

Type 1: Often referred to as clitoridectomy, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

As part of the horrific experience, Hibo was sewn up. The pain doesn’t stop there. “It gets worse when you’re married,” says Hibo.

Type 2: Often referred to as excision, this is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without excision of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).

“I’m glad I didn’t get married there. Your husband has to force his way in, which means your flesh is ripped apart.” As a young child, Hibo believed her life would be full of pain, from being mutilated to being married to giving birth.

Type 3: Often referred to as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy).

“There is depression, there is divorce and there is domestic violence. Every aspect of your life is touched by this barbaric cut,” says Hibo. “And the worst thing is, we are told not to talk about it.” A recent Unicef report states that at least 200 million women and girls from 30 countries have undergone

Type 4: This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

FGM. In most of the countries, the majority of girls were cut before the age of five. Hibo came to the UK in 1989, but didn’t speak about her experience until four years ago. As a teaching assistant at Walthamstow school, Hibo had bonded with a ten-yearold girl, but there were suspicions that the girl was going to be taken out of school to undergo FGM.

Hibo Wardere’s book, Cut: One woman’s fight

“It filled me with rage and I thought how we really need

against FGM in Britain is available to order from all

to talk about this. It’s now or never.”

good bookshops ●

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Big ideas: The Old

Station Yard Cafe Walthamstow resident Enitan Akinde has been proudly serving hearty dishes to customers at the Old Station Yard Cafe in Walthamstow since January 2015. Enitan is busy turning the cafe into a sort of evening

I will not touch them.’ That for me was a real achievement.

social club, with plans to have different occasions spread

I’ve passed something on that is useful.”

throughout the week. Over coffee and cake at the eatery

Enitan continues to be useful by providing home

in Wood Street, Enitan talks about setting up a ‘tea

cooked, healthy food at a price that’s accessible to most

and tarot’ night, coffee-tasting sessions, and a possible

people. Most of the produce is from Walthamstow-based

curry night.

suppliers, such as Perky Blenders’ coffee, Second Nature

There are also wider plans to turn Station Yard – which

Val’s organic jam, sweet treats from Suzie’s Cakes and

comprises the cafe and Lancasters Home and Garden

meat solely from East London Sausage Company.

centre – into a twilight fair, with stalls and traders.

“I’m tired of being in situations where people find they

Enitan’s role at the cafe is a far cry from her previous

can’t afford to do things and it’s about time the money

life in Pentonville Prison, where she taught English to

barrier came down,” she says.


“We use free range chicken for our Sunday roasts. I

“Teaching in jail was the most rewarding teaching I have

cook everything from scratch because I believe everyone

ever done,” says Enitan, who has also lived in Rome for

should be entitled to a decent meal that’s affordable. You

16 years, teaching English to highly privileged adult and

shouldn’t have to spend lots of money to eat healthily.”

child students.

The Old Station Yard, 186 Wood Street, Walthamstow,

“I felt I needed to do something that I feel counts, not just

London E17 3NA. Open from 6am to 3pm

because their parents think it’s a good idea or because they want to further their career. I felt as if I made a difference.” One of Enitan’s Pentonville students had come from a violent family, and had planned on heading down the same path when it came to his own kids. She explains: “Discussions progressed over a period of time, and I told him that beating kids was not the way to go about it. I’ll never forget him. He said, ‘you’ve really changed my attitude towards children when I have them.

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The longest wait: the cats that may never be rehomed The Scratching Post cat sanctuary in Waltham Abbey is wonderful place for abandoned cats, but for every animal that is rescued here, there are hundreds that aren’t so lucky. “The waiting list for cats to come in is currently 45 pages

Tommy is a 10-year-old with a prescription diet for renal

long,” says founder and charity manager Susan Delaney.


But there are not 45 pages of potential owners wanting to take these cats home.

You don’t have to be an animal behaviourist to tell that Tommy looked a little sad. Fed up. His chin was resting on

Susan, along with staff and volunteers, do everything they

the side of his basket. Eyes open, but looking down. But,

can for the cats. No healthy cats are put to sleep, unless

as soon as the cage door was opened, Tommy came alive,

their vets advise that there is no hope of them having a

and nuzzled my hand.

good standard of life.

He’s been at the sanctuary a while. People tend to want

The Scratching Post can house up to 80 cats and kittens at

cats with bright colours, not black, or black and white

any one time. Susan is well versed at spotting the ones who

cats. People definitely don’t want 10-year-old black and

will get re-homed quickly, and the ones that may never

white cats that eat special food because they have kidney

find someone to take them.


The site is pristine, and each cat is well looked after, and

Never buy kittens from pet shops

that means expensive vet bills. A cat costs on average £300 to £1,000 per stay. All cats are neutered, vaccinated,

Despite the fact there are thousands of unwanted kittens

wormed, de-flead and many need dental treatment

and cats in the UK each year, people still go to pet shops to

or surgery.

purchase kittens, rather than rehoming a rescue animal. The horrifying truth is that many pet shops will not

78 Continues on page 82...

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Never buy kittens from pet shops


Housing crisis affects cats

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One cat can produce 20,000 offspring in five years display the kittens that aren’t deemed cute enough, such as the black kittens. These kittens are often abandoned. “Everyone wants the youngest kittens, but they often don’t realise that they can be hard work,” Susan says. “People seem surprised that kittens are so lively and people can’t cope with them running up the curtains or knocking things over. Some of them end up here.”

During the recession, the amount of animals being abandoned increased as people were being evicted from their homes. A timid, young black cat has recently had an operation to have one eye removed. It was a costly operation, and Susan admits it will be difficult to find him a home. He’s scared of people, so he will need a patient, gentle owner. The sanctuary is located near the Woodbine Inn, Woodgreen Lane. It seems totally inaccessible by public transport, as it’s three miles from a train station and although there is a bus stop nearby, it bears no timetable, and no information on destinations. It’s the only sanctuary around after Chestnut cat sanctuary in Epping closed down, and the request for admissions at the Scratching Post is constantly growing.


One cat can produce 20,000 offspring in five years Susan cannot stress enough the importance of getting animals neutered. Every admission could be avoided if only people prevented their cats from breeding. “An unneutered female cat can produce 20,000 kittens in just five years,” she says. “And breeding is a horrible process. Unneutered male cats can rip the females to pieces, while feral females can reject their kittens, or harm them.” An isolation room has been built on site. It is ideal for stray pregnant cats, who may even destroy their litter if they feel threatened, or those recovering from operations. A lot of cats that are brought in are from young couples that buy kittens as ‘baby substitutes’, but then split up, or move to a place run by a landlord who doesn’t allow cats. Many are given up when they are no longer considered kittens, such as two five-month-old siblings housed here. One of these kittens purrs as soon as the cage door is opened. “Everybody wants the kittens. Even people that come looking for an older cat, get drawn in by the ones that are younger or more colourful,” says Susan.

Housing crisis affects cats The amount of animals abandoned has increased as more and more people are renting, and most landlords do not allow pets. It may be no coincidence that the number of cats and dogs being abandoned has risen as the proportion of people renting, instead of buying houses has increased. The sanctuary has recently added a vet’s room so the animals do not have to travel far to get treatment. The room was built on donations, and the sanctuary relies on contributions and hard-working staff and volunteers to do its job. Many cats that come here are in a poor condition, in need of a lot of expensive treatment. To rehome beautiful Tommy or any of the other forgotten cats, visit or call 01992 626110.

To rehome beautiful Tommy or any of the other forgotten cats, visit or call 01992 626110.

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Gigi’s Colour Walk in Spitalfields Galina Sherri, owner of Gigi’s Dressing Room in Wood Street Market has taken over The Waltham Cat’s fashion pages with her anti-fashion take on fashion Photographs by Richard Kaby

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Galina Sherri, 41 is a stylist and owner of Gigi’s Dressing Room. Founder of the Colour Walk. Collector of all pretty things old and new. “My initial inspiration for the colour walk was the desire to bring my many friends together, all of whom dress in a very individual manner. Further fuelled by my interest in the amazing Advanced Style blog and book by Ari Seth Cohen which documents all the wonderful men and women dressed up and walking the streets of New York, I started the Facebook page Colourful People. In April this year we had the first Colour Walk. “We have had five Colour Walks since and every time it’s such a thrill. The walk is just for fun, which it certainly is, although when we are approached we tell people that we like to express ourselves with our own individual styles of dressing up and that we would like to challenge conceptions of what clothes are appropriate for certain ages and what size or shape we should be in order to enjoy fashion. “The colour walk will always be about spontaneous fun and the idea that everybody can be fabulous.” 86 86

Make up artist Astrid

Kearney has

worked extensively within the fashion, film television and music industry. She specialises in beauty, especially project based management for advertising, television and film.

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Amy McSimpson, 37 is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer of children’s books living and working in Walthamstow.


Florent Bidois, 29 is a fashion designer from Brittany. He recycles old materials and everything in our daily consumption from bubble wrap to plastic bags and tries to create beautiful from ugliness in a continuous fight against wastage. 89 89

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Sue Kreitzman, 75 is an artist, curator, mentor, collector, colour maniac and fabulous fashionista, wrapped in colour and art every day of her life. Her motto? “Don’t wear beige, it might kill you!”

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Jessica Bonarius is a costume designer and an avid hoarder of exquisite clothes. Inspired by elements of the world around her, such as TV, film, art and theatre, Jessica is just as likely to adorn her walls as herself with her finds from vintage fairs and car boot sales

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Kellyann Saunders

is a stylist, jeweller, event coordinator, clothes whisperer, accessory addict and hoarder of anything fabulous

Joseph Yosifov, 20 is a Bulgarian London-based theatre performer and window designer. Lover of colour and art.

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Sue Harding, 74 is a member of Urban Sketchers – a global group of artists who draw in various locations. Her sketches of the junior doctors strikes were recently licensed by the British Medical Assocation. Sue trained at Kingston and Cass universities.

Richard Kaby is a retired design and graphics teacher, journalist and jazz photographer. A cardiac arrest and open heart surgery two years ago drove home the desire to make the most of his life. Since then, he’s been making the most of life. A contributer to Humans of London, he meets fascinating people every day. He says: “I feel that I have come out in colour, and that life is wonderful”.

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Photography by Justin Westovere 96 96

45 second interview with...

Salena Godden Salena Godden is an author, poet and performer. The daughter of a jazz musician and a Jamaican go-go dancer, her memoir Springfield Road tells the story of growing up in a seaside town in Thatcherite Britain. Salena is often found at alternative boozy literary events up and down the country.

What time do you wake up?

Who do you have to meet today?


Mrs Death

How long after you wake up do you check your correspondence?

What’s the most boring thing on your list of things to do?

I usually check my dream mail before my email

I hate accounts and maths and tax crap

Breakfast? Hot drinks? What are you working on?

A glorious day is a day when there is time for two breakfasts

A new solo album

What are you listening to?

What are you looking forward to?

The window is open, the sound of summertime… bees and breeze.


Has anything pissed you off today? Any exercise?

Another rejection letter

I like swimming best What’s happening this evening? What have you seen in the news?

My love is happening

That the wind is changing and times are exciting What are you drinking? Wine


Each month we’ll be reviewing a selection of takeaways from the borough. Nothing fancy. Ginger, Forest Road Speed and quality of delivery: Half an hour (also half an hour earlier than expected). Extra points for the gentle knock – needs to teach the postman a thing or two. What I ate: Normal Ginger special, daal masala, keema naan, vegetable rice. Favourite part of the order: The daal masala packed a good amount of heat and was a dish in itself, and I was pleasantly surprised to find some brussel sprouts in my vegetable rice. Least favourite part of the order: Keema naan was a little dry. Normal Ginger special was tasty, but awfully named. Any freebies? Two poppadoms and four different dips. What drink? Washed down with a tin of Fanta. Delivery info: Minimum order £10, free delivery over £15. Portion size: Stupendous. It lasted three days. 444 Forest Rd, London E17 4PY. 020 8521 4466


The Sultan, Wood Street Speed and quality of delivery: I asked for a collection. It was on time, and the man behind the counter seemed like a nice enough bloke. Top marks. What I ate: A mixed starter of lamb tikka, chicken tikka and seekh kebab; tarka daal, two chapatis and a brinjal bhaji. Favourite part of the order: The leaflet said the food was ‘suitable for royalty’ so the expectation of getting something really special was a thrill. The cleanliness levels of the takeaway were excellent, and all food is prepared with olive oil. Least favourite part of the order: The lamb tikka in the starter was gristly and partly inedible. The daal and the brinjal bhaji were too bland – I was a bit underwhelmed. Any freebies? Two poppadoms and a green yoghurt dip (pudina chutney). What drink? Raspberry Yop. Delivery info: Free local delivery on orders over £9.99. Portion size: Ordinary. The Sultan, 239 Wood Street, Walthamstow London E17 3NT. 020 3417 7717

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Forest Tandoori, Wood Street, E17. Speed and quality of delivery: Wonderfully quick, and

my favourite part of the order even though I hadn’t

a very welcome 18 minutes earlier than requested. The

ordered it.

delivery guy remembered to call (there’s no doorbell)

What drink? About three pints of water. Nothing was

and turned up at the right flat, unlike 90% of Yodel

spicy, it just all made me overwhelmingly thirsty for the


rest of the night.

What I ate: I went for the coward’s option - veggie and

Delivery info: Free for orders over £15 within five miles.

pescatarian with minimal heat – and ordered a prawn puri, brinjal bhaji, vegetable rogan josh, a daal and a

Price: Quite expensive for bread and onions, but you get

couple of naans.

used to it as a veggie. There’s loads left. I grilled one of the naans the next morning and whacked an egg on top.

Favourite part of the order: The binjal bhaji

Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

was probably my favourite, but I’d happily live off

Portion size: Pretty standard.

aubergines so this wasn’t a surprise. There was minimal grease, but I’d have preferred chunkier bits of aubergine.

Forest Tandoori,

Least favourite thing: Everything else was a bit

102 Wood St,

disappointing. Unless you really love onions: My order

London E17 3HX.

was 80% onions. So many onions. The tarka daal was

020 8520 6085

extremely watery, boiling hot but went stone cold as soon as it hit a bowl, and my garlic naan didn’t taste even slightly garlicky. The prawns were small, and while I usually de-poop the chute with big ones, these little fellas were full of it. Tasted fine, I wasn’t sick the next day or anything, but it grossed me out a bit while I was eating. Any freebies? Two nice salty poppadoms, a little bag of salad (mostly onions), a strange folded pancake thing, and a yummy mango and mint yoghurt dip I’d happily have drunk a half pint of. Actually, that was probably


Bengal Curry House, St James Street

Speed and quality of delivery: Faster than expected for a Friday night. Delivery man turned up about 25 minutes after I’d ordered. Another gentle door-knocker. What I ate: Prawn pathia (comes with pilau rice), chana masala and one poratha. Favourite part of the order: The food. All of it.


The prawn pathia was pretty much perfect and a bit

What drink? Nothing. I was too busy stuffing my face

addictive. I ate more than I should have done. I wasn’t

to fill a glass.

even hungry before I started having eaten so many

Delivery info: 75p delivery, £10 minimum delivery.

Indian takeaways recently. Also reasonably priced: it

Can’t pay with a card over the phone or online.

was the least amount of money I’d spent on takeaways all month and by far the best meal. Least favourite part of the order: If I had to pick a fault it would be that you can’t order online, you have to ring them and pay by cash or turn up and pay by card and collect. Not that big a deal. Any freebies? One poppadom and a mango yoghurt

Portion size: Large. Bengal Curry House, 24 St James St, London E17 7PF. 020 8520 4434

Reviews: Sarah Cox and Rebecca Shahoud

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Wish list With modern life comes a lot of stuff. Phones, wallets, laptops, tablets, purses, keys – most of which need to be with you when you’re out and about. And if you’re even a little style conscious, you’ll want something that complements the occasion and your outfit. But before you buy yet another leather over the shoulder tote, consider these innovative alternatives. These first two bags are from Elvis & Kresse, whose mission is to make new from old. The

Tooley Tote,

£260 is an homage to the street that was decimated by a blaze in 1861, leading to the formation of the London Fire Brigade. It’s a perfect example of how a material which would be considered waste for most can be transformed into a striking accessory. This bag was designed in collaboration with renowned leather craftsman, Bill Amberg. But instead of using leather, these are made with decommissioned fire hoses. Wouldn’t it be great to

The Tooley Tote (£260)

think your handbag may have saved a life? Elvis & Kresse have also come up with the


Briefcase, £199 made from old printing blankets. The accents on this are again from British fire hoses and contains a padded pocket large enough for a 13” laptop. The lining in this one is reclaimed military-grade parachute silk. I must admit I’ve seen a lot of cork in my life, usually associated with a bottle of wine, but now cork is branching out into loads of new products. An example is Portugal’s Secret Cork Kate

Hobo Bag, £130 (sadly, not named

after me). The bag is made from cork, so it is fabulously light weight and water resistant. This one is big enough for all your goodies and a 15” laptop. All material that Secret Cork use is sustainably harvested which means no trees were killed in the making of the bag.

The Soft Briefcase (£199)


Kate Brenneke is the founder and managing director of the online ethical marketplace Be good. Shop. which brings together a variety of ethically and sustainably made products from homewares to fashion.  

Bags from Brandnative are all one of a kind designs, handmade in Colombia by the Wayuu communities using traditional weaving methods. This beautiful


Bag, £130 took three weeks to make and now provides a steady stream of income to indigenous people here, who are some of the poorest in Latin America. In addition, profits from the sales go back to the villages to improve the community. If you’re looking for something a little smaller,

Brandnative Luxury Clutch Bags, £125 will brighten up any evening outfit. Because these bags are made with a strong thread technique they are incredibly strong and built to last. And as they’re made of cotton and natural fibres they’re machine washable. The newest collection from What Daisy Did (available mid-September) is a perfect example of how companies

The Kate Hobo Bag (£130)

can change not just what products are made of, but how they are made. The

Raleigh Messenger Bag, £115

is made from recycled ex-army waxed canvas and lined with recycled rubberized tarpaulin. What Daisy Did has also teamed up with Northampton Hope Centre to provide sustained employment for homeless people. For a more casual look there are fair trade Recycled

Satchel Bags, £16.98 made from recycled fish food bags. These come in bright blue, pink and green. Or a fair trade Recycled Tyre Inner Tube Courier

Bag, £25.98.

Both are imported by Shared Earth, who work with fair trade producers across the world. We live in a magical world where someone somewhere is looking at a pile of what you and I would call rubbish and thinking: “I bet I could make a bag out of that.” That’s my kind of world.

The Raleigh Messenger Bag, £115

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Pompom Bag, £130

Brandnative Luxury Clutch Bags, £125


Be good. Shop.

Bulletin Update on hidden fees from letting agencies.

The main points to note are that: ● The description of each fee must be sufficient to enable the person who is liable to pay it to understand the service or cost that is covered by the fee or the purpose for which it is imposed.

Just before we went to press it was brought to our attention that letting agencies that charge fees that have not been previously made transparent are not acting in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

● All fees, charges and/or penalties must be quoted inclusive of VAT.

This means that hidden fees, such as £150 renewal fees that have not been made clear (in the article on page 64, a resident asks five times if there is a renewal fee without a response) are acting unlawfully.

● Fees, charges and/or penalties must be displayed prominently (i.e. where it is likely to be seen by consumers) at all premises at which the agent deals face-to-face with potential and actual tenants and landlords. (The test of whether they are displayed correctly is likely to be whether the consumer had to ask to see the fees list).

Our advice here is to question all fees and seek advice from The Property Ombudsman if necessary.

● Fees, charges and/or penalties must be displayed in full on the agent’s website.

Information published by The Property Ombudsman:

● Surcharges and hidden fees must not be used.

From 27 May 2015 new provisions in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 come into force which will impact on all English and Welsh letting and management agents.

● It must be clear whether the charge is per property or per tenant.

Section 83 of the Act relates to the provision of fees, charges and/or penalties and is intended to create full transparency to enable consumers (both landlords and tenants) to ascertain exactly how much they will be required to pay before they enter into any form of contract or agreement.

Act Summary From 27 May 2015 letting and management agents will be required to display a list of all fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) payable by landlords and tenants for any letting agency or property management service. This includes any additional fees, charges or penalties which may be incurred during a tenancy as well as fees, charges and penalties which are referenced in Tenancy Agreements and in Terms of Business. The only exceptions to Section 83 of the Act are tenancy security deposits (not holding deposits), rent payable to a landlord and fees, charges or penalties which the agent receives from a landlord under a tenancy on behalf of another person.

● If the fee cannot reasonably be determined in advance, it must be clearly explained how it will be calculated. ● There should be no duplication of charges between tenants and landlords – although it is acceptable to split charges between those parties, provided this is clearly explained in relation to the total cost of the specific service. • English agents must publicise their TPO membership (through their website, office documents, window display, terms of business, fee list) and any client money protection scheme membership. (Please contact our membership team in relation to stationary and window sticker orders). Trading Standards will be enforcing these new rules and have the ability to impose a fine on the letting or management agent of up to £5,000 if non-compliance with the Act is found. Please also note that Section 83 of the Act is in addition to the guidance previously published by CAP in relation the Advertising Standards Authorities ruling on the displaying of compulsory fees, which can be found here, and the inclusion of VAT within those fees which applies to estate and letting agents. TPO will be updating its Codes of Practice in the near future to take into account the requirements of the Act and other legislation and regulations coming into force this year.

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Walthamstow’s ethical and eco-friendly estate agent. We don’t charge tenant letting fees. (That’s right. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nuffink). Special offer for The Waltham Cat readers: Sell your property for only 0.5% inc. VAT Get one of our letting services free for 2 months Phone — 020 8004 4500 Web — Email — Twitter — @eastandcoE17 Facebook —

The Waltham Cat  

Issue One. September 2016 The housing crisis

The Waltham Cat  

Issue One. September 2016 The housing crisis