Monday, 15 August 2011

This is south London

Last weekend, people from Lewisham and neighbouring boroughs came together for the Chinbrook Meadows art and craft fair. The fair ran for both days, and what glorious, sunny days they were. Children laughed and ran, adults and toddlers played football together, a lovely lady called Jo Jo bought chips for everyone to share, and music was provided by Alioune and his African drum.
There were stalls selling homemade jewellery and greeting cards designed by Ved Yilkan of V Seven Designs, photography by Lisa Hafey of Lemonade and Lamingtons Art, African clothing and art by Alioune and Helena Samb of SAMB Arts, as well as a charity tombola for Dementia UK, face painting, and portrait painting.
V Seven Designs

Lemonade and Lamingtons Art

And I did a flower stall for the first time! I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed the learning experience of seeing what people liked and what they were less keen on (everybody likes roses, especially when co-ordinating colours are massed together.) I also learnt which cut flowers can stand the sun (single stem roses, chrysanthemums, hypercium berries) and which are a bit more delicate (dahlias, spray roses) – I was spraying all of the flowers with water every hour, which prompted one man to nickname me 'The Reviver'! I made my first buttonhole with a Blizzard rose on Saturday, which reassures me that I'll be able to do the same for my friend's wedding in October!
One lady wanted small posies for her kitchen, and another wanted roses and flowering mint to thank her friend for babysitting. Jo Jo kindly bought all of my remaining bouquets and posies at the end of Saturday for herself and various people at the fair, including Carol who organised the fair and had been working flat out in the cafe all day.
Friends from Chislehurst, Bromley, Croydon and Blackheath came to visit me – one minded my stall while I ran home to get sundries that I’d forgotten, and another entertained us with his drumming and footballing skills.
I’m grateful to them, Carol for organising the event, and the other stall holders I met. But the biggest thank you goes to my dad, who helped me enormously, took lots of photos, and was pretty good on the drum.

The day after the London riots last week, people from towns that had been badly affected grouped together to clear up the mess and help locals restore their businesses and homes. Young people in particular wanted to prove that they should not be stereotyped as trouble-makers in a broken society. Lewisham at 9am on Tuesday did not seem ‘broken’ at all. And last weekend, it was idyllic. If only the world had seen these pictures instead.

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