Books, Knitting And Curry – What’s Left In the World?

A brief one today and something that by rights should go in the Parish News but over the past week I’ve come across three local groups I like the look of, so, given the nights are drawing in and it’s the time for starting new hobbies, making your own fun or just consuming hot food with friends, I’m going to talk about them today.

Okay – first of all Magnetic North. Everyone has a novel in them. Some actually get down to writing them. And Magnetic North is our friendly local writers group. They don’t just cover novels, of course. Poetry and non-fic are welcome too – and they get results.

I heard about it from Elizabeth, whose travelogue Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo has just been published by Signal Books.

It’s her account of two and a half years living in Kosovo, apprenticed to a beekeeper, working with and learning from apiarists in projects ranging from resettled guerilla fighters to trafficked women. Sounds like someone Robert should be interviewing in his Full English to me…

Magnetic North was instrumental in Elizabeth’s writing process. She says “every week I took the latest chapter along to the group and they ripped it to pieces and helped me put it back together again,” which sounds like the sort of feedback you need when you’re writing a book.

So here’s the deal. Elizabeth says

“Magnetic North is open to new members and no, there is no entry requirement. It’s a very welcoming and unintimidating space for writers old and new. We have students from Greenwich University, a number of people doing MAs in creative writing, retired people, men and women with years of writing experience and those just starting out. The genres are equally diverse. We’ve had some erotic fiction, a lot of poetry, quite a few travel writers, some short stories, full-length fiction, screen plays… pretty much everything. Our quorum is 4 and we have a changing membership list currently standing at sixteen. People bring something to read and then receive very honest feedback from the others. We meet at 7.30 for a couple of hours every Monday.”

If your creativity is in a different thread, someone told me about the Pelton Arms knitting group while I was at a Los Dawsons gig (watch out for them this weekend at The British Oak Saturday, Chu and Cho, Sunday.)

I love this pub. It is a fabulous example of a grubby old boozer that by sheer dint of hard work and imagination on the part of the guvnor is now a magnet for the local community. It has a PROPER pub garden with greenery and niceness rather than some nasty concrete back yard full of cig butts, it has a cosy interior and Good Stuff going on practically every day, ranging from quizzes and bands to poker nights and DJs.

The knitters (I am very glad to see they don’t call themselves ‘Stitch and Bitch’ – a vile name) rather handily meet on ‘Pay What You Think It’s Worth’ night – Wednesdays where you eat your meal then just pay…well the title says it all.) All welcome, even beginners, help available with casting on purling and knitting, knitting and purling and whatever else knitting involves.

Finally, Greenwich Curry Club. It’s really a review blog for Indian restaurants, which has expanded way beyond the realms of Greenwich itself and has an archive almost as arcane as my own (you need to type the name of the restaurant into the search function, rather than click on it down the sidebar) but the original club still meets regularly and welcomes new members as long as they love curry and don’t do a runner before the bill’s paid.

They’re currently running a poll for the Greenwich Curry Club Awards (there’s a link from the front page of the website) and although none of my favourite Greenwich curry houses have made the shortlist I have dutifully voted for what’s there…

So – no complaining you have nothing to do this autumn, okay…


the attachments to this post:

travels in blood
travels in blood


3 Comments to “Books, Knitting And Curry – What’s Left In the World?”

  1. Belle says:

    Writing and knitting are two things I’m interested in and would like to do more of. I wish these groups had been around when I lived in London. It makes me wistful for Greenwich even more . *sigh* I really loved living there.

  2. Old China says:

    Good to know GP, ta. I’m already hankering for a curry now.

    I see Elizabeth Gowing’s book gets praise from Sophie Grigson and Matthew Parris no less. Wow, good for her!

  3. Robert Number 16 says:

    Dear Phantom
    Thank you for the “heads up” on Elizabeth.