Friday 24 May 2024

Friday's Fave Five - 24/5/24


Well it is 3 weeks since I posted a blog and 4 weeks since I did a Friday Five!

It's been busy here - my son and his family moved in with us on 1st May in preparation for their move to Vermont.  There are things that need doing in the flat that meant it was easier for them to just move out and stay here for a bit.

But of course they wanted to keep some normality for the 2 children which meant Rory going to school and Vinny to nursery every day - a trek!  We've tried to help out as much as possible so I've been taking them to a bus stop in the morning leaving the house at 7 am each day.  This saved them one bus journey and made the remainder of the journey a little easier.  I've also been helping out at the flat and doing some pick ups. 

Thankfully our house is big enough to accommodate them but it has meant more planning for meals etc and a change to our lifestyle, albeit temporarily.

On Wednesday my DIL flew to Vermont with Rory.  There were a lot of tears.  They have arrived safely and will be getting the house there ready for the family and, hopefully, securing a job for my DIL.  She's a teacher so hopefully there will be a job for her although it sounds like she will have to jump through hoops to prove her experience of teaching in the UK qualifies her to resume teaching in the US.  Why do things have to be so complicated?

My son and Vinny are still here.  My son is still working for another couple of weeks and completing the things that need doing in the flat so that it's ready to rent out.  Vinny is still going to nursery.  Packing up a home to move is hard but packing up to move abroad is harder still.  And of course Vinny is sad that Mummy and Rory are not here.  Bedtime has become a bit of a challenge.

But there are still things to be grateful for:

1)  A fun day at the park on Sunday - it was a Spring Festival with lots going on and the weather was lovely - if anything slightly too warm.  I'd volunteered to help set up in the morning and then I also helped out for a bit on the stall the Foodbank had.  They had a couple of fun games they were using as fundraisers plus donation buckets and raised an amazing £800 pounds.  With more people signing up to the Foodbank we need all the funds and donations of goods we can get right now.

2)  A house that is big enough to accommodate my son and his family - we all have our own bedrooms and we're managing to cope with the extra people for meals, washing etc.

3)  Safe travels for family members that flew to far away places this week.  My daughter and her family are currently in Boston for a holiday break.

4)  A husband that cooks - with all the extra things I've been doing it's definitely a blessing to know that dinner will appear without me having to do anything.  (Well apart from a bit of planning and organising the shopping delivery lol)

5)  Resilience.  Today has been very stressful.  I won't go into details but I had to deal with a situation that was unexpected, didn't go exactly to plan and involved a lot of driving around.  But my mission is accomplished.  I'm back home and I might even pour myself a glass of wine!

Have a good weekend all - we have an extra day as Monday is a Bank holiday but of course when you're retired all days are holidays!  Hopefully I'll get a lie in but with Vinny here I might not.  He came in for a snuggle one morning this week and his feet were like blocks of ice! One way to get woken up.

See more Friday Fave Five posts here.  Thanks to our host Susanne.


Monday 6 May 2024

A-Z Challenge 2024 - Reflections Post


Well I completed the challenge in that I posted for every letter of the alphabet and on time!  (Although some came close to the wire.)

Did I win?

I'm not sure that I did.  There's a lot going on in our house right now so I'm not sure that I gave the same amount of input as I've done in some of the previous years of taking part.  I certainly didn't find time to check out too many new blogs but I did try to visit those of people who had visited mine.

Thank you to all those who did, especially if you left a comment.  Apologies if I missed getting back to you.

Thanks also to the A to Z Team (Arlee Bird, J Lenni Dorner, Zalka Csenge Virág, John Holton, Jayden R Vincente, and Ronel) who supported everyone through the challenge and do such a great job every year.

There were lots of suggestions from the team of what to consider for this post (read more here) but if I tried to address all of them this post would probably never see the light of day.

For me one of the main reasons for doing the challenge is to try and keep my blog active and interesting and to stretch my writing.  Well I need to work on the being active part as this is the first post I've done since completing the challenge!  I'm also not sure that I really stretched myself as there was very little forward planning done apart from drafting out what each letter would be.  Many of the posts were written either on the day or maybe a day or two in advance.

But, having said all that I expect to be doing it all over again next year!

Tuesday 30 April 2024

A- Z Challenge 2024 - Z is for Ziggy's

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Z

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

One of the shops in Highams Park is called Ziggy's


It's actually a gift  shop selling a variety of gifts and cards but they also serve coffee and cake.

It's directly opposite the entrance to our Tesco supermarket so in an ideal location to catch passing trade.

And that's the A-Z of my local area done!

Thank you to all those who have visited and left me comments.


Monday 29 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - Y is for Yellow birds

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Y

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Wildlife is always a plus and there are plenty of different types of ducks on the lake near us plus swans of course.  And in the forest there are deer and cattle as well as squirrels and foxes.

We get a number of different birds in the garden too including yellow tits (which I have no photos off yet) and parakeets.

There are lots of parakeets around here - and yes they are mainly a green colour but they definitely have yellow on them too.  Yes I was scraping the barrel trying to think of a word for Y lol.

These pics were taken in the park a while back.



but we often get them squabbling over our bird feeder in the garden.

I only managed to get a pic of one this afternoon.





Saturday 27 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - X is for Xylography

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter X

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Right, hands up who knew that xylography is: the art of making engravings on wood especially for printing

Well my hand is up because I found the word when looking for an "x" word for the challenge.  And it fits in nicely with the "Wild about Highams Park Animal Sculpture Trail".

Not exactly the same sort of woodwork - the animal sculptures that are dotted around Highams Park were created with a chainsaw by artist Marshall Lambert.

The trail contains 12 sculptures but I think there are a couple of additional ones in the park.  I've got photos of most of them but need to get to the park area for the last couple (I did a long walk today!).

The animals are as follows:

1)  Terrapins




2) Fallow Deer (this is about 25 yards from our home!)


3) Otters


4) Hedgehogs


5) Squirrels


6) Tawney Owl

7) Frogs

This one has seen better days!

8) Badger


9) Rabbits



10) Foxes

11) Swan (Apparently this one is on the base for the Maypole - never noticed that in the park before.)

12) Ducks  (This one is the other side of the park - I just didn't have time to get there today.)

The sculptures and trail were created in 2019 when Waltham Forest was the London Borough of Culture and the trees were donated by the Corporation of London who are responsible for Epping Forest.

Friday 26 April 2024

Friday's Fave Five - 26/4/24


I'm here on time this week!

Susanne reminds us every week to look back and find the blessings in the week - there are always some.  Here are mine:

1.  A family gathering last weekend - it was bittersweet for me as it was a farewell party for my son and his family who will be off to Vermont quite soon.  But it was good to catch up with a lot of family members and also their friends.  Many of their friends and of course their cousins have young families like them so there were lots of children there.  They'd hired a bouncy castle which kept them entertained all afternoon.

The party went on into the evening but we took their boys home and put them to bed so my son and his wife could enjoy the evening without two tired little ones bothering them.

2.  The party meant we got to see my other son and his family for the weekend.  And Ness the dog.  Ness doesn't like being left alone, especially in a strange place so we have a crate for her.



Which doubled up nicely as a den for the two boys.  Kept them amused for ages.  Unfortunately they were able to let themselves out! lol

3.  Knit and Natter session on Wednesday - I'm always thankful to meet up with like minded friends and catch up.

4.  Postal voting.  We have a London Mayoral election next week and the London Assembly.  I like voting by post as I don't have to worry about if or when I can get to a local polling station on the day.  We got our ballot papers at the end of last week and we've both completed and posted them.

5.  Quick delivery from online shopping.  I ordered a few necessities earlier this week.  One parcel has already been delivered and the other is on its way.  

Of course there are lots of other things to be grateful for - especially if you dare to turn on the news right now.  Probably best not to.

Have a good weekend all.

Oh and as a P.S.  only 3 letters left for the A-Z challenge I've been doing.

A - Z Challenge 2024 - W is for Walking

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter W

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Places to walk was high on the list - I love getting out to walk.  Often I walk alone and I like to listen to music - I use Spotify to generate a walking playlist where the tempo of the music keeps me walking at a fairly steady and quick pace.  Not fast, but just not an amble either.  Of course sometimes I walk with Hubby but that's definitely at a slower pace.  I like to convince myself that by walking regularly I can at least slow down the aging process.  I don't obsess about doing e.g. 10000 steps a day but I do like to keep a good average going.

Of course just a walk around the lake is a good mile and a half and with Epping Forest on our doorstep there are lots of walk we can do.

Thanks to all the rain we've had it's been tricky walking around the lake as it's been so muddy but we walked the circuit on Sunday and it wasn't too bad - still not ideal for nice trainers but fine for old ones and it was fairly easy to avoid the really muddy patches.

When it's really wet and muddy I tend to do a loop incorporating the park which at least has tarmac paths or if all else fails there's always a Leslie Sansone video to follow on YouTube



Thursday 25 April 2024

A - Z Challenge - V is for Volunteering

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter V

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Well I'm writing this post late in the day - it's been a busy day filled with helping out with school runs for my eldest grandson and Volunteering!

Being retired I have a fair amount of spare time. Once the pandemic was finally over I began to look at ways to involve myself in the local community.  

One thing I have done is help out at some of the big events organised by the Highams Park Planning Group such as the Summer Fair and Christmas Market.  This is a good way of being involved and helping out but without a big commitment.  I've been in situations before where I've found myself sucked in to things and then it's been tricky to take a step back.

The main volunteering I do though is to volunteer at the Foodback run through The Hub which I wrote about here.  The Foodbank runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I help out on Thursdays.  Again I didn't want to get overloaded and my Hubby attends a walking group on Thursdays so it made sense to do something on the same day rather than tying up another day.  

The Foodbank operates in the local church and during the session we provide hot drinks and snacks as well as various other services.

There are various roles for the volunteers during the session.  There are people who serve the people coming for food.  We don't just give out bags - people can choose from a wide range of fresh and canned/dried goods with amounts determined by the size of their family.  Then we have Befrienders who will sit and chat with people and try and see how they can be helped in ways other than just providing them with food.

My skill sets are put to good use in the store room.  Each Thursday we get a delivery from The Felix Project an organisation that collects and distributes food that would otherwise go to waste.  Some of what we get is prepared meals that can be microwaved but we also get a range of fresh food and a lot of dried and canned goods.  We also get donations from the public that are collected from various collection points locally as well as donations from a nearby bakery.  We also have a group of people that have allotments who donate food.  Grants and fundraising also provide funds to buy goods.  

The deliveries/collections have to be sorted and either put out to be given to people or stored for future use.  The store room is not huge and sometimes it feels like a game of tetris - moving things around to accommodate all the goods.  There is a good shelving system in place as well as a number of fridges and freezers but finding space for everything can sometimes be a challenge, especially on days when everything has to be moved out of the church because of events taking place over the weekend.

The other role that I regularly undertake is to work in the kitchen.  This involves making cups of tea or coffee, serving cakes/pastries and preparing jacket potatoes or simple things like beans on toast.  Nothing very complicated but surprisingly many volunteers shy away from that role.  I quite enjoy it because it does give me contact with the people using the foodbank.

The good thing about volunteering at the foodbank is that there are enough people that if 1 or 2 are missing we can still function.  There is a paid manager who co-ordinates the volunteers and at the beginning of each month we're asked to say which dates we can commit to.  It usually works out fine and the nice thing is that if numbers are low on  a Thursday for example, people from the Tuesday session will help out and vice versa.

Phew I'm just going to get this posted on the day!  Only 4 more A-Z posts to do.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - U is for Undertakers

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter U

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

I was struggling to find something to write about for U and then I realised that at some point we will need an Undertaker.  Thankfully there are two Undertakers in Highams Park so we'll be ok.

I've left a letter for my kids with details of what I'd like.  Hubby doesn't give two hoots what happens to him, or his ashes.  At least that leaves me free to do as I think best if he goes first.

And on that cheerful note I'm off to think about the remaining letters of the alphabet!

Tuesday 23 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - T is for Transport

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter T

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Transport was near the top of the list.  We do have a car but we wanted to future proof our location as much as possible.  For example we wanted somewhere that we could walk to the things we needed or use public transport if we got to the stage of not being able to drive.  Plus it is becoming more and more difficult to drive around London, not to mention expensive.  Fortunately our car is fairly new so it doesn't fall into the emissions charging scheme but finding anywhere to park is becoming harder all the time.  I try not to use the car if I don't need to but sometimes you just have to - for example going to our daughter's house, which is just over 3 miles away, takes 10 minutes by car, 36 minutes by bus & train, except the bus is currently on a major diversion and would take much longer than Google thinks.

Anyway.....we are a 10 minute walk from Highams Park Station.  This is on the London Overground (Liverpool Street to Chingford line).  It is 2 stops to Walthamstow with a connection to the London Underground.  Trains run every 15 minutes most of the time and are air conditioned.  At rush hour they can be a bit crowded travelling home but not sardine style crowded - just seats full and quite a few people standing.  Going into London is never a problem as we are the last but one stop on the line.

We can also get to Walthamstow by bus - the stop is right opposite our house and the return stop is about 200 yards down the road.  Walthamstow has a busy bus station with lots of routes available to us.

We could also get to the Central Line of the Underground by getting a bus in the opposite direction to Woodford station.  Except there is currently a problem with a road bridge that goes over the railway lines close to the station.  It needs to be reinforced so currently the bus is driving 3 sides of a rectangular diversion if that makes sense.  Originally the signs said the diversion would be in place until 31st March.  That was revised to 30th September and today I noticed that a couple of signs now say "until further notice".  It's not looking good.

As a further problem - our daughter lives the other side of the tracks from us so we have to cross them.  There is a crossing point close to her house but, the crossing point between that one, and the one that is totally closed, is only half open - with traffic lights controlling the traffic.  It makes for fun when I'm doing the school run for my Grandson, especially if the traffic lights break!  There are only certain points where you can cross over the railway and everyone seems to be trying to do just that.

Thankfully I only have to cross that bridge once or twice a week.

The London Overground system actually connects areas of London quite well with many stations interchanging with the Underground system:


Sorry for the poor quality of this - you can view the original here.

But soon our section will be known as the Weaver Line - all the various sections are being given names.  You can read more about this here.
The renaming and all the rebranding that it will entail is costing over £6 million.  I'm sure there are better things that money could be spent on.




Monday 22 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - S is for Supermarket

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter S

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

One necessity is food so we wanted a good supermarket nearby.

We have a big Tesco store right in the centre of town:



It isn't one of their biggest style stores but it has the full range of groceries plus a small home department as well as clothing, toys, books etc.  It also has a Costa Coffee area.  There aren't any other concessions in there but it does serve our immediate day to day needs.  And to be honest, we still get our weekly shop delivered - from Tesco.  They have a good delivery service that we relied on heavily during the pandemic and continue to use.

One slightly unusual feature of the store is that the car parking areas are on the ground and basement levels, while the actual shopping floor is on the first floor.  This necessitates using the travellator or lifts to get from your car to the shop.  Fine when everything is working normally but, the lifts in particular seem to regularly have problems.  Of course if the travellator isn't working you can still walk up and down them but you can't push a trolley up or down them.  Not good if you have heavy bags of shopping.  Thankfully, because we get our main shop, particularly the heavy bulky things delivered this hasn't been too much of a problem for us.  It does spark heated debate on Facebook though.

We also have several smaller grocery stores but Tesco is a good all round store for when you need for example an extra small frying pan, or some socks or a present and card for someone.  Or new bath mats.

They also have a collecting basket for the Foodbank I volunteer at and a bookshelf of second hand books raising money for charity.  Oh and a big tick in my checklist - toilets!


Saturday 20 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - R is for Restaurants

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter R

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Places to eat out were a must and we have quite a few restaurants within walking distance.

Breeze serves a Mediterranean style cuisine.  We've had take away from here and it was really good.  One we need to visit in person.

The Good Friend is a Chinese restaurant - we've eaten here and it was good.  Not fantastic let's recommend it to all our friends good but we would go again.

The Indian Dining Club has good reviews on our local Facebook groups so that's one we plan on trying soon.

No 1 The Avenue is an Indian restaurant that we've eaten at and had take away from.  Definitely one we recommend.

Purbani is opposite No 1 and also serves Indian food.  We've had good takeaways from here with the bonus that they will deliver.  Another one we need to try in person.

Yaz is another Mediterranean style restaurant that we have eaten at.  We weren't actually too impressed with this one - it clearly caters for a younger market.

We also have quite a few take away places so if we don't feel like cooking we have plenty of options!


Friday 19 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - Q is for Quirky queueing

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Q

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

One of the quirky things in our area is that we have a level crossing in the centre of town.  Trains run from Chingford (just to the north of us) to Liverpool Street in Central London.  Trains run every 15 minutes in both directions so the crossing closes at least 8 times an hour.  The warning sound goes, the lights flash and then the barriers come down.  And then we wait!



Not the best picture of the crossing and of course there's no queue as it's open.  However when it's down people and cars queue either side of the crossing.

It's not usually down for too long and actually pedestrians don't need to wait as there is an underpass that goes under the tracks.  Of course if the barriers malfunction you can be there for a while.  Sometimes if the trains are a little out of kilter the barriers can seem to be down for ages but in situations like that a few minutes can feel much longer.

It's been a bit chaotic down there this week because of this:

Photo from Facebook

Photo from Facebook

This is the other side of the crossing.  A circular hole approx. 2 foot wide opened up earlier this week and quickly became a major problem.  Apparently it's due to a burst water main.  Traffic is only being allowed across the level crossing in one direction and bus routes are on diversion.

It has been very chaotic and a major talking point on social media.  

The latest news is that the leak has been identified and fixed but they now have to fill in the huge hole.  Hopefully that won't take too long as we're currently experiencing a lot of extra traffic on our road plus 2 extra bus routes using it.

Still it could be worse - at least the hole was caused by a burst pipe and not a bomb.  

Thursday 18 April 2024

A - Z Challenge 2024 - P is for Park

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter P

This year I'm blogging about my local area.  

My area?  Highams Park which is in the borough of Waltham Forest in North East London, (UK) a little known place that nestles between Chingford and Woodford that most people only come to if they have a specific reason to - if not we usually get bypassed.  Suits us.

Having lived in Forest Gate in East London for 36 years (and for my husband 65 years!) moving was a big deal for us.  But we've been in Highams Park since September 2020 so I feel I know enough about it now to fill out 26 posts! 

We've only moved just over 5 miles but we didn't know this area at all before moving here.  Although of course we did have a good look around when looking for a house and there were a number of things we wanted on our check list.

Open space was a must for us as we had so much of it right outside our front door in Forest Gate but Highams Park has a large park area that meets our needs within easy walking distance.




There is a lot of open space for games, picnics etc and there is a small playground for the younger kids



There is also a café (Humphry's) with toilets.


The renovation of an unused building from disrepair into a popular, successful café was initiated by the Highams Park Planning Group.  More details about this can be found here.

Several large events are held in the park during the year, including a Spring Festival which will be taking place next month.

The other good thing about the park is that it borders the lake area.

I love walking around the lake and the surrounding forest area, even when it's iced over in the winter.




It has a resident pair of swans who are very territorial - every year since we've been here they've had 5 or more cygnets which they protect fiercely until they are grown and then they chase them off the lake - or in many cases the cygnets have had to be rescued and relocated elsewhere.  Mr Highams Park particularly is not to be messed with!


For anyone wanting more historical information about how Highams Park came to be click here and for more information on the lake and some lovely photos click here.