diamond geezer

 Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The News from Maryland - [an exercise in micro-local journalism]

Maryland is a geographically ambiguous district just northeast of Stratford.
Lots is happening in Maryland.
Here are seven 100-word news reports.
n.b. to avoid haemorrhaging readers, some of the local stories have a wider appeal.

The location of the Twisty Clock has changed

Work on digging up the road outside Maryland station for "Crossrail complementary measures, public realm and interchange improvements" continues, seemingly endlessly. The mini-roundabout has been replaced by a T-junction, with the former Time Spiral artwork relocated alongside the new traffic signals. Its refurbished clock mechanism will be installed within the next few weeks, along with additional street furniture and several planters. Final resurfacing will take place at the end of November. The junction now has paving and pseudo-cobbles, as well as raised kerbs to try to persuade people to use the proper crossings. Good luck with that. And about time.

Reduced ticket office hours at Maryland station

The tube may now be ticketofficeless but insignificant Maryland still boasts staff behind a window to sell you an off-peak return. Normal hours used to be until 1.15pm on weekdays and 1.45pm on Saturdays, then everything closed down because of the virus, and the new hours are now until 10.10am and 10.40am respectively. One day you'll be able to buy a ticket to Maidenhead and catch a train straight there, allegedly at the beginning of 2022 according to TfL's Transport Commissioner yesterday, but we can only wait to see if such generous ticket office hours remain available at the time.

Bow Street has been blocked by two planters

In August Newham and Waltham Forest launched a joint Low Traffic Network across the Maryland/Forest Gate/South Leytonstone fringe. 22 modal filters have been introduced, dividing up the wider neighbourhood into twelve distinct disconnected chunks. One of the modal filters is at the western end of Bow Street, forcing all motor vehicles requiring access to Maryland Square to enter via Forest Lane. It's also helped make Bow Street a school street for safer term-time dropoffs. Many local residents with cars are not happy, but local resident Derrick was very busy last month watering the Bow Street planters and planting spring bulbs.

The Cart and Horses looks like it's closed

As every heavy metal fan knows, Iron Maiden first performed at Maryland's Cart and Horses pub (as did the two bands they formed out of, Gypsies Kiss and Smiler). Iron Maiden emerged as a covers band in 1975 earning £10 a gig, although only bassist Steve Harris survives from that time. Their final gig at the Cart was on 7th April 1978. It's still a rocking pub but all boarded up at present, which looks potentially terminal but the good news is they're only closed for refurbishments and should reopen in March. The perfect time to go into hibernation really.

The Stratford Bollock is progressing

Officially it's the MSG Sphere, the 100m high auditorium due to crashland between the platforms of Stratford station, but the Bollock deserves a more hateful name. Laminated posters went up around Maryland last week announcing the receipt of additional planning documentation, including further details of the advertising lightshow the promoters want to emblazon across its surface. Apparently this will have a "moderate beneficial effect" on the local townscape by providing "a distinctly new visual experience", although they do now promise to lower the brightness between midnight and six. Balls to that. I hope 2020's collapsing entertainment sector kills it off.

Leaves in Maryland are changing colour

Reports are coming in that the leaves on many of the trees in the Maryland area are no longer as green as they used to be. Some have turned yellow, others are a bright shade of red and several are more shrivelled and brown. What's more this change of colour appears to be accompanied by reduced adherence between leaf and branch, with the slightest gust of wind causing the affected foliage to fall to the ground (as here at West Ham Cemetery). Scientists have however confirmed that this is a regular seasonal phenomenon and not a marketing campaign by Instagram.

Cat spotted on top of bin in Albert Square

A cat has been spotted on top of a bin in Albert Square. This was an actual black and white cat on an actual refuse bin, but not the actual Albert Square (of EastEnders fame) because this is a residential street in Maryland (i.e. E15 rather than E20). The cat was sitting on the hinged end of the bin and facing north. The bin looked a lot scruffier than the newer bins in nextdoor's garden. The cat is no longer believed to be in an identical position, but is expected to return to the bin top in the near future.

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