2012 – The year of sport, pubs and meeting people via the Internet

The world didn’t end on the 21st of December and against all the odds I didn’t overdose on turkey or wine at Christmas, which means me and my liver have made it through to new years eve, the last day of a really memorable year.

I will never forget the Olympics and Paralympics, living so close to the worlds biggest sporting event and working on it was pretty special. Not that I always saw it that way, it was a long hard slog but I’m glad I was involved. The games had their fair share of controversy, including the building of the temporary basket ball courts on Leyton Marsh. I still think the decision to build on the marsh was the wrong one and although the scars are healing it’s going to take a long time for the marsh to get back to normal. That aside, London did a great job of the games, the world came to our city and we showed them how brilliant it can be. When it was all over someone said to me “does this mean we have to go back to being miserable again?” London did seem a little bit more friendly during the summer.

Walthamstow had its own special event in the shape of the extended and bigger than ever art trail, I remember picking up a copy of the guide from the Mill and then spending time with a highlighter pen and ruler trying to figure out what to see and when to see it. There was so much on offer this year from a 5am sitar performance at St Saviours to the letterbox cinema and pretty much everything in between, including a giant game of pass the parcel up the high street. Outside of the art trail we also had a visit from lady Godiva, or at least a giant pedal powered puppet of her as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

With all the events in E17 and the games just down the road, Walthamstow had a lot of visitors this year, but some of them were less than welcome. The EDL came to the stow to spread their own special kind of bile, whilst I believe in everyone’s right to freedom of speech I don’t agree with anything the EDL have to say. When they visited, the people of Walthamstow took to the streets and told them in no uncertain terms that they were not welcome.

Pubs have featured heavily in the Walthamstow year with three old ale houses, The Cock, The Bell and the Goose reopening. All three of the refurbishments have been followed closely and their opening nights have provided the perfect opportunity to meet fellow stow folk face to face. In fact meeting people who I sort of know from twitter has been a real highlight this year. Many people think that social media and technology is destroying the art of conversation but that isn’t the case in E17. What starts on the Internet tends to move on to a pub visit, coffee or accidental meeting and long may it continue.

I hope that this time next year we have a cinema, I hope that the constituency of Walthamstow doesn’t get wiped off the political map and I really hope to meet more people, probably in a pub. Whatever 2013 has in store I’m sure Walthamstow will do it in its own special way. So as my Gran would have said if she had made it to today, happy new year you daft buggers.

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