Homesick for London

Every morning in Massachusetts, I make a pot of tea. Black and white china decorated with the names of English foods (“Fresh Milk & Jersey Cream” says my milk jug), tea cosy covered in a flowery print, tray I bought at John Lewis. And strong Assam to drink. Some days, I make myself a slice of crisp toast spread with Marmite. I left London over 25 years ago, with two preschool children, to find a better life in a small town, in the country where I was born. But on [...]

Bulletin boards, real & virtual

I was dashing out for a walk before darkness fell but a couple walking up Castle Street waylaid me by crossing the street to introduce themselves. This is what community life is like - we can't do everything on our own schedules. But there's a big upside. I not only met two neighbors, but heard that they are happy about the bulletin board I put up on the corner of my property, at Castle and Hollenbeck, and that they like the email list (a virtual bulletin board or BBS) even [...]

November 22nd, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , |

SE5 Forum for Camberwell

I'm finding terrific websites for my old, and former, neighborhood, including SE5 Forum for Camberwell. Odd, isn't it that Great Barrington has nothing like this? Maybe not: Great Barrington has a year-round population of only 7,700, where Camberwell has 37,000. Demographics matter. Density creates new possibilities and provides what we used to talk about a lot, in the days when I was part of the leadership team of a Berkshire technology business network--critical mass. A rural area like this hasn't got the critical mass, the human or intellectual capital, of [...]

August 19th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , |

Constant Gardens for New York

I belonged to a community garden as a teenager in Palo Alto and had an allotment in London, so it's easy for me to see the story behind this story in the New York Times. Things don't always work perfectly between people, even in the garden. (Remember that the Biblical creation story is set in a garden?) While we start with good intentions and visions of melons and mesclun, other things can interfere--not only weather and weeds but work and domestic pressures. I remember, guiltily, the inconsistent attention I gave [...]

August 19th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , |

Another “nation whose sense of community is disappearing”

The loss of a sense of community is by no means a British problem--it's a global challenge. This article makes me more appreciative than ever of "my" London neighborhood, Camberwell, where I frequently dropped in on people, and where I, years later,

August 16th, 2010|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |