To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

about me
photo of Dave Middleburgh
Hong Kong

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Me .. I was born in Hackney, and initially lived near Hackney Downs. When I was 2-3 we moved to Leytonstone, which at that time was on the edge of London. Leytonstone has many famous sons including Jamie Oliver of TV and school dinners fame and David Beckham who made a career choice not the play in London (except on away matches). When I was 7 we moved up the road to Wanstead which I believe at that time was still in Essex. (at least culturally) After university when I had left home; mum and dad decided on another move up the road to a flat in Snaresbrook.

Since I hadn’t been home for about 15 years you imagine how exited I was to go and visit my mother. I left early and got off at Leytonstone at 7.45am : Strange how you notice little things like the nets under the platform roofs to keep birds from nesting and the spiky things on top of the signs to stop them perching. The ticket hall was smaller than I remembered but the newsagent and drycleaners were still there. Outside was a cafe where a coal merchants used to be (wonder if they serve smoked bacon sarnies ?) and a bus terminal in what I think was a car park ?

Walked up Church Lane past the former location of one of Sainsburys opened arround 1900. (I remember going in there when I was about 4 ? when they had shop assistants in aprons behind marbled counters and they sold unpacked butter (patted to order) and you could choose your own eggs individually).

Went down the high road which was a lot tattier than I remember; past the site of the former Macfisheries shop (this is when there was fish in North Sea and you could buy fresh fish in the high street)

The footbridge which was build in the days when juggernauts thundered into London down the High Street to allow you cross from one side to other has now gone.. There was less traffic although mum insists it still snarls up; I don’t know why – volume traffic should now be diverted along extended A12 (M11 link) which now runs where Claremont Road used to be.

The 2 Indian restaurants up the Green Man end are still there. I was once stopped by two policeman near there as I staggered off a bus.. “Where you going?” says one “where you been?” As it happens I was coming home from Tangier (Morocco) . I’d met a couple on the Algercias (Spain) ferry and they had giving me a lift all the way to Orpington (Kent) ie a single hitch through Spain via Andora and up through France to the channel ports and on. So I said truthfuly “Home (and pointed down the road) ; Tangiers (and offered my passport). For some reason they seemed surprised.

Went down Browning Road - there are lots of houses were for sale. It’s a listed conservation area; North star PH is still there but a water pump, which was in one of front gardens has disappeared. There are some new town houses past pub. I remember when there was a tenement building there (a real evil slum). After they knocked it down they built a council tower block (20 story) - John Drinkwater tower – there was a really good view of east London from top. I realize now I am back in HK that the tower block was gone - it was demolished in 1998 and replaced by the town houses.

Crossed the edge of forest; near the Quaker’s and walked up Bush Road . More scrub there than when I was a kid and the London Plane (trees) seen to be dying. I used to fly kites there.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t see any evidence of the refurbishment to the columns at the start of Overton drive that I had read about on the internet . The houses in Overton Drive were more tatty: I am afraid I don't approve of using front gardens as car lots. My old home looks pretty much same as when I left except that the front garden and wall has gone (this happened soon after it was sold) and the privet hedge has been replaced by quatermass.

During the was the house was hit by a stray bomb in war and after it was rebuilt there were problems with the brickwork and the windows. There still is a problem with the pointing and the windows are now held together with brackets

The lake (in the golf course )opposite is just same except there were no seagulls; We have none in HK and I miss the gulls which came up the estuary; claimed the lake and perched on the roof. In fact in Istanbul when I saw a Gull I got so excited that it got photo’d . I got a general impression that there were fewer birds inUK than previously. Collapse of the ecosystem ??

Seagry and Tennyson Roads looked stunning with all the trees all in flower and I got a big buzz standing on Wanstead Green .It was bigger than I remember. I associate it with walking home from the Tube after the last train in November when it was all frosty and the constellation Orion was dead ahead with the Pleiades off to the side.

Wanstead High Street was sort of "faded". (I suppose that is to be expected) The George Hotel was resplendent and is now a Free House. Forty years ago if I remember correctly the landlords son killed a policeman and hid out in nearby Epping Forest for a couple of months until they caught him. Mum and I explained to Becca the association of the forest with East London criminals and its use as a burial ground. It is said that if you use a metal detector in the woods you are just as likely to find tooth fillings as archaeological remains. The only question is whether the teeth come with a body or just the head.

The Conservative party headquarters is now a branch of the Allied Irish Bank. Winston Churchill’s bust is still out front. (Wanstead & Woodford used to be his constituency 1924-1964) I wonder what he would feel about the new occupants ?

Went to the library to kill some time before going to mums and had very strange moment when I booked PC to access the internet: The librarian spelled my name correctly without asking. Mum obviously uses the library a lot.

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