Mortlake Summer Fair, Saturday 25th June 2016, 12-4pm

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Mortlake Summer Fair, Saturday 25th June 2016, 12-4pm

Don’t forget our local fair is on this weekend and promises to be full of fun, music, food and much more.

Mortlake Summer Fair 2016

Please share and spread the local news, thank you, Justine.

Living in East Sheen

Young local female resident to walk throughout the night for homeless charity Crisis, please come and support her!

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Young local female resident to walk throughout the night for homeless charity Crisis, please come and support her!

Siobhan Callas training for her 100k charity walk

Siobhan Callas training for her 100k charity walk


On the 13th September one of our local residents, a young woman named Siobhan is going to walk 100km, that is approximately a whopping 62 miles along the River Thames path from Putney Bridge to Henley (passing through Mortlake) for the homeless charity Crisis.

The difference with this particular challenge is that it is her first and she will be doing the distance in one whole lot which will mean she will walk throughout the night, the time scale estimated to complete it approximately 20 to 30 hours with short breaks.

I really do take my hat off to her, for her guts and determination that is evident, I would be uncertain to walk at night and the mere length of it I am sure my feet let alone the rest of my body would not cope and go on strike.



I am hoping that after reading this interview you will either come along to support her on the day and or top up some of her sponsorship funds for this very worthy charity, her just giving page can be found by either:

Clicking =   Siobhans just giving page


Copy paste the following link in to a web browser

The interview


Justine – “Lovely to meet you Siobhan, could you give me a little bit of history about yourself so everyone can get to know you a little better?”

Siobhan – ” I’m 32 and originally from a small village in the Highlands of Scotland,  I moved to London 4 years ago, currently living in East Sheen and working as a Script Reader which involves reading film screenplays for producers and filmmakers and advising them on improvements that can be made.”

Justine – “Have you ever done anything like this before in any form?”

Siobhan – “I have never done anything like this before ever. I’ve never done a marathon or even a 5k! I’m not really built for running, but I love walking, I wanted it to be a real challenge for me so I’ve thrown myself into the deep end and gone straight for 100k!”

Justine – “What made you decide to do this?”

Siobhan – “I’ve always wanted to raise money for the homeless as it’s an issue I care a lot about and don’t believe it gets enough attention or support. I came across the Thames Path Challenge website and as you are able to choose your own charity to walk for I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try and raise money for homeless charity Crisis.”

Justine – “How have you prepared yourself mentally and physically for this challenge?”

Siobhan – “I’ve prepared myself physically by just getting as much practise in as possible, even walking the 9 miles home from work from Waterloo to Mortlake instead of getting the train. I’m luckily enough to live near the Thames path so have been walking along it at the weekends and have almost got up to 50k, which is half of the challenge. Mentally, I have been trying not to think about how tough the challenge will be! As the walk takes on average 24 hours to complete, it’s the thought of doing the second half through the night which is most daunting, I should probably start preparing mentally!”

Justine – “What has been the reaction from family and friends?”

Siobhan – ” The reaction from friends and family has mostly been shock, with some saying ‘rather you than me’ and others just worrying about me and asking whether I can drop down to 50k – I could but I don’t want to, I know I could do the 50k. People have dropped out of past 100k walks, to me that makes it a real challenge, I want to push myself. If I feel like giving up I can always think about how much more tough it is for people living on the streets.”

Justine – “What is your future hope for other events like this?  Do you intend to involve yourself more, do other challenges for charity?”

Siobhan – ” As for other events similar to this, I don’t think im going to get the ‘sponsored challege bug’, this is definitely a once in a life time thing for me, that’s why I’ve gone in at the hardest level. But charity work in general i’d love to be more involved in. I recently helped out at a food drive for the Richmond Food Bank, but I’d also love to organise my own charity events to raise money for the homeless, perhaps locally in East Sheen.”

“Thanks so much for your help Justine, I hugely appreciate it. Siobhan x”
If you wish to find out more about the charity Crisis click here: Crisis Website
Thank you for reading, Justine x

The Open Day at the Hertford Avenue Allotment was a resounding success!


Hertford Avenue Allotment Open Day

Walking to the Hertford Avenue Allotment Open Day

Eager to see what’s going on

We trundled down to the Open Day around 1pm, expecting there to be a bevvy of burgers and cakes for us to chose from.

East Sheen Allotment BBQ man

Keith the BBQ man

No such luck the place was packed and most of the foods had been consumed, however we did manage to scoop up two sausage buns and chicken.  The latter had been sourced locally and marinated in a spicy chilli which was most yummy.

rice salad with chive flower heads

rice salad with chive flower heads

Two salads had been laid on, one very interesting with chive flower heads to decorate and eat, I bravely popped one in to my chicken burger and must say it was very delicious and has become a firm favorite for future Summer salads.  All four meals came to £8, a snip for Sunday lunch.


All cakes gone ;-(



My two children pounced on the last two cakes left, so mummy had to just smile and sup on a nice refreshing glass of water, until everyone was ready to explore through the allotment.

Money raised from the various sales which included raffle tickets, sales of plants and food, went towards general maintenance of the allotment.

At times they have had to prune trees back due to too much shadow and then insert drainage due to too much water logging.   The trading shed has also had to have money spent on it, due to vandals damaging the roof upon trying to break in.

The Trading Shed

The Trading Shed

On the matter of the ‘Trading Shed’, if you have a nice patch at home that you grow things in, you might be interested to know that if you join the Barnes, Mortlake & Sheen Horticultural Allotment Society which is very cheap,you can get heavily discounted seeds from the shed, without having to have an allotment,  details of which can easily be found on facebook here.

A story to tell

I met a very charming gardener called Keith, who also happened to be the BBQ man.

He has had his allotment for approximately 5 years.  Keith is heavily in to re-cycling and up-cycling all and any materials he can find and told me the ‘cycle’ of his allotment which tickled me pink.

As you will see, at the back of his patch the tops of the bamboo poles to support various plants have champagne corks on, ‘a time in his life before children, social life abundant and champagne a plenty’, we also moved on to a golf ball as a topper, presumably ‘a time ‘before children’ when golfing could be easily fitted in’.

We move then on to CD’s to scare away the birds, which is a great idea, ‘a time ‘before and with children.”

Moving on swiftly to the stoppers being very colourful plastic baby food lids, ‘a time ‘now with children’.’

Ending up with a lovely bit of re-cycling, using a babygate on the seedling shed, then a proud display of a small floral garden made by his now 4 1/2 yr old daughter, a baby also soon on the way, so now doubt another small bit of ‘lifes history’ will be added at some stage.

082We all took a walk down the allotment, from one end to the other as you can see it is quite vast, the picture only depicts a portion of the space used.

I noticed many things on my walk, one being that there were many areas of small tables and chairs set up, some by the river, some under pergolas and it was obvious that great friendships had been struck between allotment owners as they sat chatting and drinking a bevvy.

117There were also families, I could hear children by their own small little plots discussing the various things they had planted which was just wonderful to witness.

Below I am highlighting in a gallery some of the flower shots I took, one of my favorite things to capture as you might guess.  

If you click on the photo twice, it will bring up an enlarged version, there will also be an arrow which will allow you to scroll through the whole gallery to see the floral display in it’s full glory. 



Scarecrows were found everywhere, of which I took some photos.
There was a competition to make the scariest one, I do not know who won, which one do you think the scariest or best and why?


Different plots reflected the character of their owners too, some I found very ‘arty‘, some very ‘minimalist and functional’, some very ‘socially  orientated‘, some had birds, some ponds, it was very varied and interesting to view.

I finished off the day a little sunburnt but happy to have been given the chance to peruse this green space saved for hard working green fingers.

If you wish to apply for an allotment you apply through the Council, there is a waiting list.  Apply here.

If not and you just wish to enjoy the facilities when they are open, the next ‘Open Day’ will be in September so watch this space 🙂

Thank you as always for reading/viewing.

Justine x

© Justine @

The Boat Race – A clear win for Oxford!

Thames River The Boat Race

A murky view!

A murky late afternoon for The Boat Race

I am rather embarrassed to say that this was the first time that I had gone down to watch The Boat Race.  What a murky early evening it was too.  The skies were spitting, threatening to dampen our experience, but we were full of British spirit as we ‘all’ (kids included and dogs, no one dog!) wandered down to the Barnes area of the river.

We got a great vantage point, the camera crew were out and a clear space on the river wall to lean over and prepare cameras for ‘that’ shot, which unfortunately with my rather old camera was rather fuzzy, but nonetheless I shall share with you anyway.

I must say that though the weather proved to be rather dull, there was one bright ray on my viewfinder whilst toiling the minutes away waiting, rather sunny and lovely don’t you think, even for an umbrella?

yellow umbrella

A sunny sight!

We watched overhead, the helicopters giving a good clue as to what was going on, and here they were..or should I say…here Oxford was, with a clear win by a strapping 11 lengths, apparently the biggest margin of victory since 1973.

Cambridge started aggressively but Luke Juckett had his rigger damaged in an early on, making rowing effectively impossible for him.  They did however remain in good spirits continuing energetically for the crowd until the end, finishing at Mortlake.

Some fuzzy pictures for those who couldn’t be there.

I must say though short but sweet, I enjoyed the experience and will make sure to get my walking legs on again next year to support this grand event.

There is no better way to finish off watching such a sporting spectacle than to have  a pint and a burger.  We trundled down to The Sun who had a barbeque going.  I was presented with burgers that were just onions and beef or pork burgers.  Being a fusspot I said “what no cheese, what no salad?”  Promptly the reply was no.  My heart sank, thinking “not being a fan of burgers in the first place this is not looking good”.  However, I must say that was the best burger I have ever had, the meat was delicious, so if you fancy a great burger, head on down to The Sun.  Apparently they do more elaborate ones not on The Boat Race night, so it is a no brainer, you will be pleased.

Thank you as always for reading!

Did you go to The Boat Race?

© Justine @

relax and chat with cup of coffee

The BNY Boat Race – Sunday 6th April 2014 @ 5.55pm


The BNY Boat Race is on this Sunday 6th April 2014 @ the slightly earlier time of 5.55pm

 Some History about this fantastic boat race.

The Boat Race was originally founded by Charles Merrivale and Charles Wordworth (newphew of the poet William Wordsworth).

The story starts when two friends from Harrow School, Charles Wordsworth of Christ Church College, Oxford and Charles Merrivale of St Johns, Cambridge, who met during holiday time in Cambridge.  These two friends decided to set up a challenge.

On February 10th 1829 a meeting of the Cambridge University Boat Club requested that Mr Snow from St John’s write forthwith to Mr Staniforth of Christ Chuch stating that the University of Cambridge hereby challenge the University of Oxford to row a match at or near London, this to be held in an eight-oared boat during the East vacation.

Staniforth and Snow not only had been schoolfriends but also boating comrades at Eton.

The first race eventually took place on 10thJune 1829 at Henley on Thames of which Oxford won easily.  Their winning boat can still be seen in the River and Rowing Museum.

Over the next 25 years contests happened sporadically, moving to London for the second race in 1836.

And now?

The Boat Race mapThis year will be the 160 th Boat Race between the crews from the Univeristy of Oxford and Cambridge.  It is one of the oldest sporting events in the world.

There is expected to be another great Race this year, with two very strong squads.  Expect thousands to be watching along the banks between Putney and Mortlake.  It starts at Putney Bridge, finishing at Chiswick Bridge.

To re-iterate, The Race takes place at 5.55pm, Sunday 6th April, preceded by the reserve crew race between Isis and Goldie.  There will be events at the river bank from around 12pm at Bishop’s Park and Furnvall Gardens.


© Justine @


John Dee ~ another great article found on a once very interesting man of Mortlake

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ImageI would like to share a link I found for an article written on John Dee, such an interesting man once of Mortlake.  I covered information about him once before, but this is another great piece by notesfromcamelidcountry, really worth a read with some nice pictures too ~ click here

A complicated, intriguing and mysterious man.

Dr Dee of Mortlake, History

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A little mystery about Mortlake from Magical London, an enticing read!

Magical London

imageJohn Dee (1527-1608) of Mortlake, was an astronomer, astrologer, geographer, mathematician and advisor to Queen Elizabeth 1. Dee was born near London, the son of a gentleman server in the court of Henry VIII. At the age of 15, he went to Cambridge and was made a fellow of Trinity College. He taught in France and travelled to Holland before returning to England in 1551. During the reign of Queen Mary Tudor he was accused of trying to kill her with sorcery and was imprisoned in Hampton Court for two years. This may have been because he had cast a horoscope for her rival and sister Elizabeth. He was finally pardoned in 1556 and in 1558 when Elizabeth became queen, with his deep knowledge of astrology, Dee chose the most auspicious date for Elizabeth’s coronation. In the time of Elizabeth I there were many people who believed that the British…

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Sheen Living – my equivalent sweetie shop yet full of home & lifestyle furnishings


Sheen Living – home & lifestyle shop

Do you ever have those sweetie shop moments like when you were a kid, but transfer this instead in to a shop you might stumble upon?  What a delight and surprise.

I was lucky enough to have one of these treats in the form of Sheen Living, located on 321 Upper Richmond Road in East Sheen.  It is owned by entrepreneurs Anita and Jackie, who are not new to East Sheen or retailing as they also own Sheen Uncovered and Ruby Blue (lingerie and women’s clothing retrospectively).

The window caught my eye whilst I was on the bus, a huge pair of what seem to be angel wings.  I thought to myself I must go to that shop.  I have since heard that many people ask to buy these wings, but alas it seems they are not for sale, but they certainly do the job of attracting ones attention and peeking ones interest.

A captivating sight!

A captivating sight!

Upon entering you are aware of the rustic woodwork adorning the floor, giving it a homely warm feeling, the festooning of delightful items upon shelves, gracing the floor and walls.

The ambiance of candlelight

The ambiance of candlelight

I stood there taking my time to look around the various sections of the shop, each part taking me to somewhere else in my mind, perhaps a French Chateaux, a British Farmhouse, a country pub or home.  My conscious prodded me constantly saying “oooh ahh, I like that, I’d like to have that!”

Makes an outstanding entrance

Makes an outstanding entrance

I exercised quite some self restraint considering and met the lovely Nicola, who I have taken to popping in to and chatting to.  It is nice to walk in to a shop and not have an assistant leap towards one asking if you need help.  She sat quietly, busying herself with I am sure the many jobs she has to do whilst I ambled within the small shop.  Upon approaching I got a gentle smile and conversation was then struck.


I believe items are sourced from local artisans as well as maybe further afield.  There are two types of tags, one for vintage and one for more modern.  So for me being a vintage freak my taste buds were tickled in a visionary sense.

Bits & bobs

Bits & bobs

My first purchase was for a French Breakfast I put on for some of my neighbours, with a Christmas theme (yes I am going back in time but not too far).  I bought some lovely rustic pottery, apparently by a local lady, the name evades me, but there is I promise you some of her pottery left in the shop.  They are apparently soup mugs but my latte looks far more promising in there than minestrone in my mind.  Having done pottery myself I can appreciate how hard it is to produce each piece and in this instance each piece is different, giving it the character of the artist behind the wheel.

soup or latte?

soup or latte?

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I took some pictures in the naive dream that upon sending them to my husband who had not done his shopping he would perhaps buy me one or two things.  One can only hope.  I have to say in the whole shop, there was perhaps only one thing that though of fabulous quality did not fit my desires.  I of course did not take a picture of this.  However, men being men (I hear a tirade of angry male feet chasing me accusing me of feminism), he managed to in fact go in to this shop to purchase something, be it very near to Christmas.  Unfortunately all photographed items had gone and hey presto sods law he bought the one and only thing I did not like.

Being a pug lover, I suppose I am a bit fussy about in my own particular way of how I would like a pug to look, the idea of one with pink lipstick brought visions of a cross between a drag artist (not that there is anything wrong with drag artists!) and a trout pout and it really was not something I wished to perch my bottom on, besides the roof of the house is nearly exploding from an abundance of cushions.

I looked forward to seeing Nicola and recounting my story of a man’s Christmas shopping antics and she very kindly gave me a credit note for said item with a subtle grin adorning her lips.  The note is cherished lovingly in my purse and I am exercising self restraint not to use it yet, just to window shop and enjoy the visual delights on offer within this shop.

It's a pugs life

It’s a pugs life

(one of my favourite items, not bought yet last I looked!)



Really well worth a visit.

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