For many people winter is probably not the best time for walks and short notice doesn't help.Only 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 for Iranian Studies 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 pop-up shop at the W3 Gallery 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. Quite by chance, I meet the artist in person soon after the tree appeared on the wall next to the Windmill Pub.) Sipping the tasty freshly squeezed juice 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 Collective, ATM'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. The estate 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. 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. In the meantime thus I was chatting to the young Iranian 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, 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. I like so much taking people places and showing them around, giving them an opportunity to connect, do a bit of networking and practise their English (if needed), and generally have a quality time in the fresh air.
If you would like to read about our walk in more details, please click here.
Which place would you like to see with me on one of the next Walking, Talking and Exploring Group walks?