Stokey

I’m a Londoner, North Londoner, if you want to be specific. I was born in London, I went to school, university and started work in London. I have worked as a paediatrician in the hospital that I was born in, I have worked as a paediatrician in the community that I used to be part of. I still live in London despite working in a job that is 50 miles outside of the capital. London is in my blood. London is my home. For the first 6 years of my life I lived with parents and siblings in Stoke Newington or ‘Stokey’ as it is affectionately known. All the memories I have of this place are in my head, heart and dreams. Social media did not exist when I was a pre-schooler but of course I did have access to photographs taken by father who was among many things, a trained and avid photographer. It feels like a no-brainer that this was going to be one of the places I was going to visit on my #Cycle50 (cycling 50 miles in a week for Cancer Research). I did not really have much of an idea of how long it would take me or how difficult it would be, I just had the goal of peddling past the house that I was I bought to as a newborn in 1976.

The ride was actually it was not too bad, from the roundabout at Waterworks Corner, there is a cycle-path that takes you down Woodford New Road, through to Leytonstone on the Lea Bridge road until the Lea Bridge roundabout which is just over 4 miles. I have taken this journey countless times in my car so it was interesting to do this on two wheels.

I am not sure I really have the words to describe how I felt while cycling around the area that was my small world over 3 decades ago. All I can say is that I seemed to generate a feelings of joy, loss, excitement, anxiety, and security. I have a complicated inner world, but who doesn’t?

Traffic lights at the junction of Chatsworth Road and Lea Bridge Road. The next generation of cyclists.
I love the signage on this place.
Defoe Road
74
The pub across the road from where we used to live. I’ve been in there twice, in my 30’s for dinner with my sister and a lunch by myself. When I was little I always wondered what the place was like – I had all sorts of weird dreams imagining the interior. Pubs were a sort of taboo growing up, one of the ‘places where we did not go’. In my adult life not much as changed, I only go to the pub on rare occasions birthdays or if there happens to be some sort of leaving do or work night out.
This, I am certain used to be my nursery. I remember it being called Defoe Road nursery, or something similar. I don’t remember much else except for being at a party with a teacher with a Micky Mouse T-shirt on!
My first school – a few memories of teachers, classrooms, classmates and many other things. Maybe material for another blog post or that book I’ve been meaning to write for the past 30 years…

I also cycled through Clissold Park another place the brings back a certain set of memories. There are no pictures of the park, it’s May 2020, we are still in lockdown, so stopping, for me was not an option I wanted to take up. Another day, maybe…

Not sure where my next cycling adventure will take me. I have 18 miles to go until I complete this challenge. As I write this post, it is a sunny Saturday afternoon and I am exhausted. Turns out cycling 32 miles in three evenings will eventually take its toll. So for today, I am resting. I am going to see I if I can get writing with a few more posts on the other 2 cycling destinations and I’m going to try and tackle version 2 of the banana bread (yup, that drama has not been shared yet, but it’s coming!).

Keep safe peeps! 🙂 x

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