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Keeping the lights on in NW10 and beyond

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As heard in the 'hood and beyond, ideas of inspiration, recreation and - occasionally - desperation as we navigate our way through these extraordinary times.  Do you want to give a shoutout for someone/something 'extra' that's going on right now?  Share your ideas with us, suggestions to carin@thelexicinema.co.uk.

via GIPHY

->->Warning: cute dog alert! The Eagle Pub, at the corner of Ladbroke Grove and Telford Road, is using its windows for a very fun and funky exhibition of paintings of local dogs.  There's a Rosie, a Don Ciccio, and a Frida, among others, but our favourite is the turqouise-grounded Bertie, a lop eared terrier.  The 'gallery' is open at all times and makes a nice destination for a walk from the Kensals, and proceeds from sales are dedicated to the Mayhew.  Two claps!

->->A freshly decapitated street tree has been playfully modified for elf dwellers.  Currently posting as 'For Sale, suitable for fairies or elves' on Hardinge Rd, opposite College Green Nursery.

->->At the newly-founded Community Response Kitchen, they say "the added ingredient is love."  Just six weeks ago, Wembley-based Daksha Varsani and her husband Paresh Jethwa decided to cook 50 meals a week for NHS key workers. The project expanded - Daksha doesn't know how to stop - and now their goal is to make 200,000 meals in 100 days. No one is paid, everything is sponsored or donated (and the food looks fresh, nicely presented and tasty).  Share in the project by supporting here. Two claps!

->->Wild mignonette, bird's-foot-trefoil, love-in-a-mist and rosebay willow-herb, to name but a few; who knew a weed by any other name could smell so sweet?  Chalk one up for the guerilla botanists currently identifying the forgotten flora in our cities.  A bio-diverse, pollinator-rich urban environment relies on the stubborn creep of greenery from cracks and crevices, and these city chalkers are encouraging us to notice and appreciate with the chalked names and arrows cropping up on our pavements.  

->->If you're screened out, Zoom-zausted and Kindle-cringing, how about reading a book, one of those things where the spine cracks with delight when you flatten it out, and where signs of wear and tear are testimony of previous pleasure. With libraries and book stores closed and deliveries much delayed, you may just find something to pique a picky palate on the Kensal Rise Station bookshelf. (There are also a good selection of DVDs at the moment.)  Find the Community Bookshelf on the Chamberlayne Rd level of the station.

->->Take time out to view the world through the eyes of a nesting osprey pair in the Scottish Highlands.  Louis and Aila live in the heart of an ancient Caledonian pine forest, lord and lady of all they survey, their home a vertiginous moss-lined nest.  Share their unique worldview here.  (The clutch of 3 eggs is expected to hatch about 1 June.)

->->Pachelbel's Canon has never sounded so sweet.  Residents in the vicinity of Wrentham Ave NW10 have been serenaded by a string duet every Thursday at 8:00, as part of Clap For Our Carers.  On Sunday night the duo offered up a programme of Mozart in a front garden concert, and then swelled in number to a quartet for the Pachelbel finale.  People stopped.  Traffic stopped.  Even the birdsong stopped. (We think they were probably picking up a new riff or two.) 

->->You folks in Kensal Green rock!  There are rainbows aplenty out there, but this balloon bedizened house in NW10 is a mainline jolt of joy. Thank you.

->->While we continue to be a donation point for Brent Foodbank on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 11am - 2pm, there is a new initiative called Gift Your Neighbour, which does just what it says on the tin. Bringing together food donations, home cooked food, supplies purchased at a discount from participating local shops and more, this is a bold initiative to get food to local people in acute need.  There are all sorts of ways to support, take a look here.

->->Missing live sports coverage?  So was top BBC sport commentator Andrew Cotter, who has been videoing mundane events and providing them with hilarious mock sports commentaries.  A frequent subject of his sport spoofs has been his irresistible labradors, Olive and Mabel, here seen in a race to finish their food.  We expect to see this event at the next Olympics - whenever they eventually take place!

->->Art is where the home is!  Get some artistic inspiration from the top dogs, with these artist-created activity packs from Firstsite.uk.  Antony Gormley, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Grayson Perry and more give ideas about how to get creative at home. Anyone can have a go – there are no specialist materials required, plus it’s completely FREE to download!  As you would expect from such a pukkah pack, the creative tasks and challenges are eclectic. Go on. When else are you likely to have the chance to 'work with' such artistic doyens?

->->Fashion forecasters are predicting a trend for longer hair in the future. wink

->->#LetsMakeWednesdays with the V&A - from now on the V&A will make every lockdown Wednesday a design day for children and will offer fun activities and challenges inspired by objects in the collection.  It begins with fashion, and will include Dame Edna Everage’s breakfast dress, a wildly over-the-top creation featuring sausages, bacon, fried egg, baked beans and tomato ketchup.  We are so there!

->->How to successfully make music together remotely has had the sound engineers and tech bods scratching their heads recently, but there are some excellent examples of success out there.  The Guardian has compiled some of their favourite virtual performances here.  That would be an 'ode to joy' enough, but at the end of the article is a link to a performance of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus performed by the Royal Choral Society, which includes Queen's Park chorister Cathie Hammond.

->->Cable Coffee - regularly featured on 'Best Coffee' lists - have rewarded their loyal 'bean heads' by reopening with a safely distant way of doing takeaway from their Chamberlayne Rd doorway.  Enjoy their usual hot drinks + tasty baked goods between 9:00-1:00pm. 

->->We can't all be David Hockney (see below), but who knew how much pleasure there was to be had from bad art in charity shops?  Such is theattraction in this niche interest that there is a Facebook group dedicated to curating the 'collection'.  Humour is part of the appeal, according to co-organiser Laura. "This might be the only place on the internet where people write ROFL [Rolling On the Floor Laughing] in their posts and I believe them."  Learn more, although we can't promise ROFL...

->->With the garden centres and nurseries on the brink of collapse and not a seed to be had, for either potato, peony or pansy, a group of heroic entrepreneurs have banded together to get the stock out, direct.  If you're at home twiddling your green thumbs for lack of plants, check out the Plantsavers site.  Three cheers!

->->#loveLocal, #liveLocal, now more than ever.  Reports say that 1 in 5 small businesses will run out of money sometime in April. Help these independent traders who enrich our high streets - the people, their jobs and their families -  to survive this period of closure.  Two claps to Giles Deards for compiling this engaging directory of local businesses, services and individuals.  Keep our communities intact by keeping it Local! (And keep checking the website as more businesses and freelancers are added to it.)

->->Adrian Chiles isn't best known as a baker, but he's bang on trend with his observations on 'the dark arts' of sourdough baking.  Read his three key principles here. (Our top tip:  sourdough starter - the Mother - and the all elusive flour may be found at Parlour if you, too, fancy yourself as a Lazy Baker.)

->->We'd like to offer a tip of the titfer to our local traders, who we rely on now more than ever. 

Independent merchants Mohamad at Kensal's Green Grocery and Ruby & co at Euro/Kensal Shop, both of which are prioritising those in need by making local deliveries - two claps!....  Pelican News at 65 Chamberlayne Rd NW10 are taking on new customers for morning newspaper delivery (although we're not sure how much news we can cope with just now)... Ken the Milkman who, although his round is full, has made exceptions for new customers who are elderly and long-term isolating...  Tracy at homestore Chine, who will deliver plants, potting compost and simple gardening supplies. Yay!... Florence continues to be a cheery face at the centre of busy butchers Brookes as they juggle new suppliers to maintain the same high quality and range... Simon and Richard, the devilish devisors of @7thHeavenKR quizzes, and Adam at Adventure Quizzes, for keeping our wits sharp even as our muscle get flabby... Max at Taste, who has converted the premises into a well stocked greengrocers, and will deliver attractive veg boxes... Nisha, who has kept her ever-so-useful corner shop on Okehampton open. We are grateful... Julio at Moncada Brewery - home of our favourite Notting Hill beers - who will deliver your choice of brews from their natural range...  Jesse-turned-baker, down at Parlour, who is driving us crazy on Instagram with glorious images of his hot cross bun making. (Sometimes a little of what you want, rather than what you need, is a powerful tonic!)

And biggest clap of all to the staff keeping open chemists Dollmead and Greenfield in Kensal Rise.  Without normal access to our GPs, these very knowledgable professionals come into their own as we use their shops as GPs' consulting rooms.  Thank you for your dedication!

->->Some of us are finding that our homes stay cleaner for a lot longer than we thought... wink

->->Knit teddies and stay calm! Repetitive, rhythmic knitting movements have been shown to normalize blood pressure, decrease the stress hormone cortisol and contribute to wellbeing. And if you need any more encouragement to get out the needles and wool while #StayingHome, you can knit a Red Cross Trauma Teddy. They go to children to help offer comfort. Here’s the pattern.

->->David Hockney has advice for anyone who fancies taking up art as a hobby during the lockdown: take out the pencils and brushes and put away the camera. "Look really hard at something and think about what you are really seeing."  The materials don't matter; a pencil or an iPad app such as Brushes.  "We need art, and I do think it can relieve stress.  What is stress? It's worrying about something in the future. Art is now."

->->It's been cheering to clap for our carers these last Thursdays, and now there's another way to show support.  Poetry anthology These Are The Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS provides deeply moving accounts from the front line, and all proceeds go to support NHS charities.

The book sold out almost instantly, but while you wait for it to come back in stock you might care to sign up to receive a poem a day chosen by KR local Tom Goodman. Themeing his selections on 'Poems for a strange time in isolation', he emails out his choice every morning.  If you'd like to join Tom's mailout, drop him a line here.

->->London is teeming, we hear, as the natural world is taking back our urban environment.  Bring a bit of that into your own life by positioning a bird feeder where you can enjoy watching - and hearing - the visitors. No need to grapple with non-existent Amazon deliveries, Eco How has an easy plastic bottle based design which doesn't require any exotic materials.  And there are several nifty apps out there to identify birdsong if, like us, you're more familiar with varieties of polenta than the vocalising of magpies...

->->Feeling stressed by the rush to get out of bed in the morning to go sit in your front room?  Take some Zen time out to watch this Jelly Cam, live from the jellyfish tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

->->In the mood to browse some poetry?  If so, the appropriately named anthology  Emergency Kit: Poetry for Strange Times, edited by Jo Shapcott, is a proverbial jar of sweets!  Published in 1994, Shapcott was looking for poems - from known and unknown poets - to help make sense of crazy times. 'Times' have certainly got crazier since then, but the delight to be had from this eclectic collection remains the same.

->->How to travel the world during isolation: expand your horizons with the fascinating Radio Garden.  Scroll round the image of the globe, pausing to listen to local radio stations, in real time.  All of a sudden the rest of the world doesn't seem so distant anymore!  It can also be a comfort to listen to a local station, with neighbourhood news and views, when you're far from home and family.

->->You heard about the Italians singing from their balconies in support of their medical staff.  Well, we're English so we're doing it in rather different style.  Join us at 8:00 pm on Thursday the 26th for the Clap For Our Carers.  From open windows, doorways, balconies and gardens, let's make the skies ring with appreciation for our doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists and other NHS staff.

->->A shoutout, also, for the many local people who are mobilising networks of support, whether it's to provide shopping for the shut-ins, a phone call for the isolated, or sharing news of where paracetamol/toilet paper/baby formula is still on the shelves locally.  angelheart

->->Many corner shopkeepers have been working double shifts and ferrying multiple van loads of stock from the wholesalers to compensate for shortages on supermarket shelves.  And a lot of them are holding their prices, too.  Anxiety dreams triggered by not getting a supermarket delivery slot recede when we're greeted by the familiar face of our local shopkeeper.   

->->While we at the Lexi are continuing to provide you with curated film content, we're very impressed by how nimble and creative some of our local businesses have been, repurposing from fine dining  to takeout with alacrity (Parlour and Le Comptoir, among others), and Rise and Vine and local brewer Moncada are complementing that with deliveries of fine wines and beer. We're also super delighted that Queen's Park Books can deliver books to your door faster than Amazon.  Bravo a tutti!

->->And if you've been noticing rainbows popping up in windows, here's why.  With social distancing and schools and nurseries closing, children are painting colourful rainbows and putting them in their windows for others to see. (This doesn't have to be just the work of children!) 

->->??? The family that quizzes together ???  More commonly found in local pubs and clubs, AdVenture Quiz Master extraordinaire Adam Coston is taking his challenge online in the meantime.  Fancy a little intra-family challenge - or possibly an inter-family challenge?  Learn more here.

->->Our friends over at Little White Lies - surely the most beautiful of film publications - have launched a Movie Matchmaking Service xoxox.  Avoid the frustration of staring at endless streaming menus in vain; drop them a line with details of what sort of a film you're in the mood for, and their keen team will matchmake you a movie match they're sure you'll love!

->->Home schooling isn't just for the kids! Browse thousands of free on-line courses, some from premiere universities.  We're particularly keen on the Film and Theatre selection.  Immerse yourself in deliciously escapist Film Noir: learn how to write a script: or maybe take a more generalist approach with "Film, Images & Historical Interpretation in the 20th Century: The Camera Never Lies" from UCL.

->->How about some guidelines from ACAS on working from home?  (Who knew Health and Safety assessments would ever follow you home...)

->->For a quick good news fix, curated by journalists worldwide, visit this Instagram page.

->->Creativity in Crisis Use creativity to help stay well; never has so much been made available online.  For starters, why not try nightly new opera from the Met Opera in New York; sharpen your coloured pencils and your wits with drawing challenges; or sign up to Creative Quarantine, a daily email of activities and adventures for people young and old to do in their own home.

->->With schools and playgrounds closed, let a professional - actor and voice talent Alix Wilton Regan - read stories to your children.  It's #storytimewithalix over on Instagram, weekdays at 5pm.

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