Saturday, 25 February 2017

Cultural mix of historic Acton explored on 25/02/2017

The tour that took place today wouldn't have happened if I hadn't met Anne of The Slow Coaches. If you follow the link above, you will find out that Anne Burniston has been coaching and mentoring Entrepreneurs, Corporate Employees and Individuals for over 20 years.  She is a former Corporate Board Level Director with a Masters in Psychology, a certified Goal Mapping Practitioner and a member of The Coaching Academy.We only met last week chatting after an event with one of the most inspiring men I've recently met: Chairman Kato
You should know, Dear Reader, that Chairman Kato 'is is an artist, musician and former Accident and Emergency doctor. He works across painting, photography, installation art and electronic music. He also lectures and teaches. He shares his East London studio with his stuffed mouse Vinnie.'  You will find out much more about Kato following the link above though. I tell you, it's well worth following this man. Mind you, I heard about him from a very trustworthy source: my dear friend, artist, graphic designer, traveller and a soulmate: Danni Emery who can paint an amazingly awesome miniature picture inside a vintage tin for you! Kato told me that Danni was helping him with one of his installations and how did I meet her? Owing to a torrential rain that caught us in White City one summer Sunday evening! We started chatting, didn't need to dash back when the rain finally stopped so we cycled together to Acton and I showed Danni our local pride Carrie Reichardt's house and studio! Danni, I'll never forget your bright yellow duck-shapped dangly earrings matching your equally yellow raincoat, neither the fun we had!
Let me now get back to the tour of today. I didn't know I would do it until last Thursday afternoon when discovered an unread email from Anne offering to meet that very afternoon should I be free. It was too late. Therefore, instead, we talked via social media and decided that we could meet for a couple of hours this Saturday, which is today. My new friend was interested to join one of my tours and so the tour was hatched. I waited till Friday morning to see if we could visit the Library for Iranian Studies in Acton. We had already agreed that Saturday would be the best day to bring my group there. I also thought of taking my friends around South Ealing with the original Ealing Village and its unusual church and a very interesting shop where Angela sells items from Venezuela, made by the young designers of this country. Luckily, I checked with her to find out that she was away on business. Another time, Angela.

Once I knew what we were to visit I could write an event ad - very hard work for me, with not much talent for IT and advertising. It took ages and then the shared event wouldn't open, an ordeal it was. To cut the long story short, this I what I promised:
Cultural mix of historic Acton
This walk will take us around historic Acton through the streets not visited on our previous walks.
We will meet at 11 am at Acton Town Station and walk through the Mill Hill Estate with its hidden green space, looking out for the unique green plaques on the old, but nicely kept buildings, to learn who 'subjected' us to the summer and winter time, spot the remains of older properties and admire an impressive oak tree, the very symbol of Acton. Some of our group know that the local artist, Carrie Reichardt and her collective, are finishing work on on a huge mosaic oak tree which will soon be displayed.
This time we will be be awaited at The Library for Iranian Studies to explore this place and learn about the people and country of immensely rich past. Nearby is the starting point of the annual Acton Carnival Procession which is great fun. You can go to to find out how to join in.
We will also see more green spaces, historical buidings including an ice-house, churches, a mosgue, but also a street with many Somalian businesses and the one with lots of arty and musical connections, which is full of local shops and businesses.
You may be surprised a few times, for instance finding out that Acton is the birthplace of Waitrose, teddy bears and other soft toys were made here and that in the distant past London people came here for the first class fresh air and supposedly healing waters (now the streams and rivers run underground) and how later ii became 'Soapsuds Island' and what it meant.
Of course, we will have a look what contemporary Acton has to offer and won't miss Polish shops and eateries, a historic pub with free live music on Wednesdays and much more, so just have £10 ready and turn up at 11 am at Acton Town Station this Saturday, 25/02/2017 and be prepared to stay a little bit longer than till 1 pm, because that's what often happens on these tours.
And of course, we never know exactly what may happen and who we are going to meet on these tours! Be very prepared!;-)
And as always, children come free but your responsibility.
We will finish our tour near Acton Central Station (Overground) and near Uxbridge Road with plenty of buses.
Four people met me at the station this morning and one had to go back home as his Achilles was giving him trouble. However, we managed to get a group picture owing to a kind member of the TFL staff. We followed the itinerary, enjoyed the tour of the library by a kind man of the name Yousif, looked for the Waitrose sign, sampled Lucy's delicious Handmade in Ealing chocolate at the Wonderland Collective and purchased  home-brewed beer at the George & Dragon, saw many shops and businesses from various countries and continents (Somalia, Poland, Bulgaria, Japan, The Middle East, Eritrea, Lebanon, Italy, Portugal and many more), did even more sightseeing looking at the oldest church in Acton, St Mary's, and  at the green domes of The Acton Mosque from the distance when going past the old graveyard in Churchfield Road and talking about the famous people who lived in this Acton Street which is following in the footsteps of Pitshanger Lane further west (if I may say so). 
Then we sat down at the Kasia Bar & Restaurant in the High Street near the Trade Union Club and opposite the big oak tree mural, a symbol of Acton by John Aldus. I may have already blogged about meeting the artist in person soon after the tree appeared  next to the Windmill Pub!  Sipping the tasty beverage we discussed further plans and decided to head back to Acton Town Station as it was more convenient for all participants. This enabled us to see more of Acton south of Uxbridge Road, take a picture of Peter in Petersfield Road, see the spectacular mosaic bench by The Treatment Rooms CollectiveATM's owl, the remaining murals and graffiti including The Big Mother by STIK and his smaller piece which is to be saved when more demolition takes place of the South Acton Estate. You may not know, Dear Reader, that it is currently being replaced by the Acton Gardens estate and the works are progressing really fast. It is good to know that The Oaktree Community Centre is going to be spared as it is a very important local hub. 
Walking down Osborne Road towards Bollo Lane I could show the tourists the local youth club where one of the recent Artification projects, Citizen 2020, took place over the last month, The results of it are soon to be seen at three local venues later this year and you can find all the details on the organisation website here. Going past the Victorian red brick schools we had a little chat about the use of this material and I wouldn't be myself if I didn't mention the awkward building material used to build the Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall and Library and what difficulties it has been causing. Mind you, this brought about a thought of a new encounter at the Iranian Library earlier on. While our host was telling us about the place, he couldn't be serving a client at the same time. Meanwhile I was chatting to the young lady and found out that she comes to the library quite regularly all the way from Holland Park (where, in the park of the same name as the area, dear reader, you will find a more elaborate example of an ice house than the one in Acton; it is now used as an art gallery and there was a day in the previous decade that I had the pleasure of looking after the exhibition for a renowned Japanese artist - painter and ceramist Sharon Yamamoto.)
We only got to the station before 2 pm having had a really enjoyable time together. You know, Dear Reader, how much I like taking people places and showing them around, giving them opportunity to connect and have a quality time in the fresh air, Lucky me, I got a lift home as on this rare occasion I had left my bike at home having planned the tour to end at Acton Central. Is it better to plan a circular walk? What do you think?
Which place would you like to see with me on one of the next Walking, Talking and Exploring Group walks?

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