Following closure for improvement and re-development one of our local parks finally re-opened 29th May 2010, and in honour of the event our friends Daniel Lehan and Joanna McCormick arranged a Tea-Dance Twist as part of the celebrations. And as they have truly splendid taste they invited my fabulous husband Frog to compare! As my parents (and their dog) were visiting we took them along too.
Hatcham Park Gardens is a lovely little space just off Kender Street in New Cross and the community has pulled together to make a new playground and community area. Unfortunately the sun did not shine on the reopening, but despite the rain people came out in force – whether out of support or curiosity I am not so sure! There were various stalls and tents, including art and crafts for the kids where they were making paper bag owls, a health awareness tent being run by the NHS offering free healthchecks, a healthy eating stall with organic veg and information, cooking demonstrations, drumming demonstrations and an animal show which reportedly had meerkats and snakes! (which I would have thought was a dangerous combination… don’t meerkats kill snakes?) and best of all The T-Dance Twist tent.
In the best English community fair manner there was a Tea Coffee & Cake stall – which far surpassed the generality of cakes you get at these events normally – and yes they tasted as good as they looked – utterly sublime!
The event was officially opened by a local counselor who was presented with photos of the completed park which are to be hung in the local town hall. Then the entertainment – first Frog, who as usual took great pleasure in confounding several audience members (including my parents) whatever they were expecting, it wasn’t this!
Then Cello Singer Laura Victoria, who was fantastic, although perhaps the most enthralled audience members were two little girls who took great delight in dancing and twirling to the music. They were also very taken with my parent’s dog Freyr, who behaved beautifully and was quite happy to be made a fuss of.
The little girl didn’t actually talk to my parents, despite at one point climbing into my Dad’s lap to better stroke Freyr – luckily my parents were quite happy! At one point when she was getting very close to the dogs head – dad said “be careful she has a very long tongue” of course this inspired nothing but a desire to see how long Freyr’s tongue was!
I had taken Esmeralda (my new camera – Canon EOS 1000D) with me in order to take a few snaps of Frog and to generally ‘play’ – but as Esme is quite large and professional looking I was soon roped in to taking photos of some of the other acts! I tried to explain I wasn’t a professional but just a friend of the organizers – but I don’t like to offend and Esme takes pretty good photos with almost no effort on my part, so I agreed, And I do enjoy taking photos. Although not sure when my folks decided to come up from Devon to visit, they banked on having to sit in a damp marquee for a couple of hours while I did my paparazzi impression – but they seemed to enjoy it.
So I took photos of a dance troop called Mia Dancers, who did Broadway inspired routines and were received very appreciatively by the audience. It felt very small and friendly in that marquee – a real community experience – which coming from a small rural visit is something I always felt was lacking in London – but obviously I was just going to the wrong places. Community spirit and groups are very much alive here, and when Mia Dancers lead an impromptu dance class it was great fun.
As mum and dad (and dog) were getting cold tired and hungry – we decided to make a move – bouncy flat coat retrievers which remain puppies at 9 years old aren’t designed to sit quietly for that long, so we headed home for lunch and left the others to it. It was a shame we couldn’t stay longer as the afternoon continued with many more fantastic acts including the incomparable Mr Solo.
Thank you Daniel & Joanna for a splendid afternoon!