Friday, May 24, 2013

Mayfair at Burgess Park, among other things...

Kenz had a group project this semester. The group decided that part of their project was going to involve the community - engaging with them somehow. Luckily, I'd seen that our neighborhood park, Burgess Park, was having a Mayfair event and were soliciting involvement. Kenz got in touch with the coordinator and they were booked in. The entire event was being put on by the Friends of Burgess Park, which is a neighborhood volunteer organization. 

I had work to do that morning, so it wasn't until the early afternoon that I got out to visit the event. 

The static hot air balloon (a fav with the kids)
Kenz (and her group) learned a lot from putting on their exhibit - specifically what not to do. She maintained an exceptionally good attitude the entire day, despite the fact that just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Weather was bad in the morning. The wind blew half of their materials away. Folks showed up late. The first half of the event was simply underwhelming. However, in the afternoon, the sun came out, people came out, and the group finished on a high note.

They had three separate stations

Alejandra was investigating how drawing one's first home sparked memories that had been since forgotten

Another few group members had strangers come draw on top of their drawings. 

I took a crack at drawing the house I grew up in. Notice that the final drawing is not pictured; Kenz is the one in art school, after all, not me. 
Alejandra had stayed over at our place the night before. She and Kenz were up until well past 1am, baking cupcakes to hand out (bait to get people over to their station, really) and finishing their 'books'. The exhibits at the Mayfair were only part of their project. They've each also developed 7 copies of a book, representing the type of work they've been doing on this project. Kenz's is about the structural and decorative elements of southeast London Architecture. Her book is over 1,000 photographs of various architectural and ornamental elements on buildings around town. It covers everything from doors to windows to things I never knew had a name (like keystones and cartouches). It's impressive.

One of her inspirations was this website, which allows the visitor to explore where the bombs landed during the Blitz. You can see in the link that a building right next to ours was hit by two bombs, as well as Burgess Park and Kenz's school. Apparently Camberwell (as well as most of south London) suffered massive damage because the pilots discarded all of their 'leftover' bombs once they were finished with their mission in order to lighten the load for the flight back. It's mind bending to think about.

As a result, southeast London has a wide range of buildings and ornamentation. Some of it dates waaay back, while other stuff is from the '60s, '70s,and '80s.

I eventually strolled around to look at the other booths.

This park historian had lots of cool old pictures
I quickly realized there weren't many other booths I was interested in. I got a lot of pamphlets for various community groups, complete with a conversation about what their group does and how I can become a part of it. None really piqued my interest. Maybe if I'd planned on living here for good I'd join the 'save the Peckham train station' group or some other one equally as specific, but, alas, I'm not devoting my hours to that any time soon.

There was a petting zoo as well.

Kenz had taken her sculpture to the event. It's about eight or nine pieces, the biggest of which could function as a full-sized bookshelf. She called me at the end of the day to help her bring it back. It's a ten minute walk without carrying anything, but with a bookshelf on your shoulder, the walk feels like an hour. Neither of us were enjoying ourselves. I even had a passer-by say, 'good luck, mate'.

All in all, I think it was a success for her. She finished the project yesterday with a group presentation on their project, books, exhibition, etc. She's happy to be done with it, and has spent much of today asleep.

Random photo break:

Kenz finally dismantled her Diet Coke chair

The veggies are in full force! Carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini (aubergine), beets, and a fridge full of lettuces.

The Waiting Room is a funny little coffee shop in Deptford

Super old Rover

Approaching street performers from behind in Leicester Square

Waiting on the post office to open

Enjoying the erratic weather

A made for tv HBO movie coming out in cinemas over here

Charlie Chaplin grew up in Walworth - our part of town
I caught Mom'n'Tom on FaceTime while they were walking the streets of Santa Fe, NM. 

Kenz took this pic - a glass hearse with a coffin in it headed down the road

She found the fox again, too

And she took the rare photo of me
Visitor update:

My cousin, Sarah, emailed me on Monday morning, saying she'd just been told she'd be in London on Tuesday and Wednesday. One of the perks/downsides of being a superstar lawyer - you get flown over an ocean at a moment's notice. We organized to get together for dinner on Wednesday night. 

It was thoroughly enjoyable to get to hang with Sarah. We picked her up at her (awesome) hotel and began what we thought would be a ten minute walk to the Mexican restaurant we like. We were all in good spirits on the way, chatting it up. Sarah and I grew up hanging out every Christmas - Tom's side of the family would all get together the day after Christmas for about four or five days at a time. This was tradition for, like, my entire childhood - from about five years old until I graduated high school. Now the family is too big to fit in one place, and most of the 'kids' have kids of their own, so it's hard to get everyone together all at once. These days, we really only get to hang out if someone's getting married. 

So, we had a lot to catch up on. And that was good because the restaurant had an hour-long wait. Scoffing, I didn't even wait to see if Kenz and Sarah wanted to put their name down before I was out the door. We walked for another five minutes, stopped in another restaurant. Hour. No way. Another restaurant. Forty minutes. Nope. Move along. We crossed the river on a footbridge that had Sarah thinking she'd been on it once before when she visited in college. Another restaurant. Hour. We put our name down and promptly left, thinking if we didn't find another place, we could always just come back. 

After about an hour of walking, we ended up at the second location of our original restaurant. We decided to wait the 40 minutes there - Kenz had reached her limit with the walking around and I think Sarah was just being polite by that point. 

Kenz isn't the only one I'll photograph while eating. Salmon, avocado,  and onion on a tostada.
Sarah lives in NYC, so it was cool for us to compare notes on living in a big city. Discussions of square footage, public transportation, teaching 'hometown visitors' how to get around in the city, and acceptable walking pace ensued. We updated each other on various branches of the family, what our current 'plans' are for the future, what work life is like, etc.

All great fun.

Whereas it was a delightful surprise, three hours together simply wasn't enough. Our hope is that Sarah will get more advance notice next time and stay the weekend with us.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!