Da Scalzo describes itself as an “Art-Café Pizzeria, all-day ristorante”. It has an awning, flowers, tables outside and character – it is also very close to the second busiest train station in London. Ideal. It is the ‘somewhere else’ you’d rather be when you find yourself shouldering your way through the crowds outside Victoria Station. It serves good food, good wine and space to breathe.
The way the world looked from London in May 1879
The Graphic, an illustrated weekly newspaper from London, takes a sweep around the world and hands back what it sees. Here are some cuttings – the text and illustrations are as produced in the original publication. The award of the Victoria Cross to the “gallant” defenders of Rorke’s Drift is covered in a paragraph.
I have added links to similar articles in recent news – if you have the time please click. Not much seems to change except in the matter of gloves.
Winter – London gleams in the dark as the seconds tick towards midnight.
There is snow reflected in the burn of yellow lights and there is a diamond frost on the ground.
There is magic gathering for when the old day bumps into the new day and Big Ben bongs twelve.
Struck deep, the magic twists up fast as a flash – good London magic, midnight magic. It flies like slivers of sunshine, like lickety seconds that split through the city, and find you even in sleep. It fizzes in fox-coloured gold and jumps inside you so that when you wake up on snow days you won’t be able to sit still.
Jo, aged five, says he’s never seen the magic but he’s felt it. Just today he felt all tingly when he woke up. Sofia’s never felt it but Jo knows the magic’s got her. He says it’s burst like a sizzling star inside his sister and she can’t stop skipping.
Sofia is four. Jo says five is when you feel the magic best – five when you can jump high, when you’re strong, and you mostly don’t mind snowballs.
Tonight in London Big Ben stands tall for midnight. The great bell will be struck twelve times to sound the hour that ends the old day and to scatter children’s dreams in splashes amongst the stars.
May their names, bright and strong, light tomorrow.
Am I a Zimbabwean?
I think so but I’m a person first, linked to the world through the experience of childhood and the need to belong. I’ve survived adolescence and gradually gained a sense of self. It is rooted in family but propelled by some force of nature to always push to new horizons.
It’s now, when out in the world, that a need for labels begins to encroach. I have to be from somewhere.
Yesterday screens around the world flickered with the impossible images of a huge gossamer balloon as it floated into the nothing of the stratosphere. Beneath it clung the tiny dot of a capsule.
Austrian Felix Baumgartner – aged 43 – jumped from this capsule 128,000 feet (24 miles) above the Earth for scientific knowledge, to set a new record for the highest skydive and to be the first human to travel, unaided by a jet engine, faster than the speed of sound. He succeeded.
It’s enough to stitch us into our sofas and drown us in tissues.
But … it needn’t. As Winston Churchill said: ”If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Life’s out there and we’re all part of it.
A reflection and dissection of eight years in a small corner of Zimbabwe
A memoir of a country finger-nailed to a knife-edge should be a tough read but this isn’t. It focuses on one family, the author’s, and is injected with hope.
Fear and the absurd have become part of every day life for Lyn and Ros Rogers but not for their well-travelled son who reports their lives on his trips home.
Douglas Rogers is our interpreter at the ringside of this struggle in which the team in our corner doesn’t seem to have been told the rules. Gradually we realise that there are no rules but still Lyn and Ros, and those beside them, refuse to leave the ring.
This is in the spring edition of The New Londoners http://tinyurl.com/TNL0312
The views that follow are not mine. Neither are they Clive Handy’s nor the Migrants Resource Centre’s (MRC). They are observed.
The UK, like much of Europe, is in gloom. It’s been a cold winter and the piggy-bank stands ribby and forlorn.
It’s mainly our fault but we don’t like to think about that. There’s always somebody else to bop on the nose. Step forward the candidate – newcomers.
The slim book, Where do I Belong?, is about Shabibi’s life in Afghanistan and then as a refugee. The tale is written with precision and in English, a language Shabibi mastered in her late forties. She is a published poet in her own language of Dari and is careful with words.
Shabibi was born in Kabul 1947, the youngest of four. Both her parents were illiterate and her mother died when she was seven.
Shabibi, and the brother nearest in age to her, stayed with their father in Kabul and then moved with him out of the city and into the country. Her other siblings went to live with their aunt.
Shabibi loved school and progressed swiftly. In 1964, encouraged by her government she, and many other young Afghan women, enrolled in Kabul university. Four years later, by then married and with one son, Yama, she graduated with a degree in journalism.