Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Night Live With One Third Soup Kitchen

Tonight was very busy but very fruitful. Kam made his home debut and ended up cleaning the pot out. A great start indeed.

We were joined by Jay and I got my 60 second skateboard lesson. Mariusz, Maureen and Paul visited (pictured). Annan, Alou, Chris also turned up along with our regulars and other new faces. Amanda was missing today but I got to meet Rodney - an ex army veteran in his 70's. His spine is severely curbed and he is constantly hunched. Rodney was starving and had seconds. Jakob turned up late. He was famished and cleaned out the pot with 4 helpings.

There was a lot of nice comments about the tasty soup tonight, which was a veg one with a touch of spice. In fact Kam and I sampled some. It was simply delicious.

We made three new contacts, 2 to supply the pot, and 1 to join the team with volunteering.

During the shift we were told by a security team from the Stratford Centre to move on as it was their land. They were civil so we didn't go all verbally militant on them. It seems next week we may need to pitch up a few metres away.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Football Legend Relives Golden Past

Interview with Sheikh Aslam: Bangladesh's greatest striker

Emdad Rahman

Sheikh Mohammed Aslam is one of Bangladeshi football's golden boys.

His father Sheikh Ali Ahmed was a notable footballer and he encouraged the young Aslam to share his love for the beautiful game. "I started as an athlete and it was because of the support of my father that I became a footballer and achieved my boyhood ambitions.

"I was playing competitive football whilst in Class 4 and it was just a dream come true as I progressed up the ladders of both club and country."

The golden boy of Bangladeshi football learnt and honed his considerable playing skills whilst playing football barefooted at his family residence, the forecourt, roads, and bumpy fields. "It is simply the greatest training methods for aspiring young footballers and there are thousands who did and still do the same as me," he said.

"We played in these unusual settings and imitated our heroes all day. There was no pressure to bring in silverware, perform, achieve and the only emphasis we placed on ourselves was to enjoy to the maximum and to develop the freedom to express ourselves. It helped me become a half decent footballer and it is a refreshing attitude that I believe should be adopted by today's grassroots coaches.

"Young people playing with carefree attitudes will develop into better and more technical footballers. Today there's a lot of emphasis on strength, power, on speed, and although this is important, we are losing the raw skill elements from the players performances."

The 58 year old is currently touring the UK with Sonali Othith Bangladesh. The name of the team roughly translates as "Golden Past," and is made up of veterans who have played out careers in the Bangladeshi Leagues as well as the national team.

Aslam gained his greatest fame while playing for Abahani Krira Chakra, one of Dhaka's two major football clubs. He was a lynchpin of several league-winning Abahani sides, and was the national league's leading scorer several times.

During his playing career Aslam enjoyed some momentous career highlights. The barnstorming hit man was top scorer in the Bangladesh Premier League for 5 years; 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989.

Aslam scored 176 career goals - all in the top flight Premier League. His 38 international goals make him Bangladesh's record goal scorer at national level. He said: "It was a golden period for my career. We were unbeatable and it was amazing being the fulcrum of the attack of such a powerful and successful team. I'm in my fifties now but I still have people hugging me, inviting me for tea and food and congratulating me wherever I go. I understand their sense of love and reverence. This is an emotion that is unique to the world of football."

Aslam is still a pin up boy for Bangladesh after establishing himself as one of the country's greatest ever marksmen.

The national hero grew up watching Pele but for the legendary number 9 it was another famous number 9 - the flying Dutchman who became his best player: "Johan Cruyff was for me the greatest player I have ever seen and he was my favourite. The Flying Dutchman influenced my style of play. Cruyff was handsome, he was of a slight build and effortlessly rode and navigated the attentions of some of the world's strongest and aggressive defenders.

"He was like a prince and he conducted that Dutch team like an emperor did with his army. His skill and mark on the game will never be forgotten."

Aslam's greatest moment in the lush green shirt of Bangladesh came in 1986 when he netted a hat trick against Finland. The moment cemented his place amongst the echelons of the greatest Bangladeshi players.

Bangladesh Football Federation Chief Rakib Khandoker had feared a heavy Bangladesh loss but had promised Aslam a reward of 10,000 Taka if the gifted frontman made history by scoring Bangladesh's first ever goal against a European nation.

Aslam was in brutal mode. After Bangladesh went 2-0 down he unleashed a devastating hat trick to exact a brilliant comeback. "On a purely individual basis it was the greatest moment of my career," said Aslam.

Aslam believes the English Premier League is the best league in the world. "No other league comes close. The passion amongst fans is also second to none. In England the crowds in the second and third tiers have larger attendances than some of the biggest leagues in world football.

"The Premier League attracts the best players and the TV revenue is single handedly supporting it to become the place where the world's best players want to be seen. I cannot wait to see the day a Bangladeshi will play in this league."

For now Aslam is enjoying participating on the UK tour: "It's great to be touring, meeting known faces and making new friends, travelling and sight seeing whilst playing football in one of the world's great capitals - London. We have had a tremendous reception and I hope that football can be used to build positive bridges between our two nations."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Legends of Bangladesh visit East End

Legends of Bangladesh visit East End
Mile End Stadium hosts football showdown

Sonali Othith UK 1-2 Sonali Othith Bangladesh

Emdad Rahman

A game between Bangladeshi veterans on a rainy night in Mile End Stadium may not be most people's idea of a glamour game but plenty turned out to watch the visiting golden oldies turn in a match winning performance. 

Sonali Othith Bangladesh are currently visiting the UK as part of a four game tour. 

With high winds, rain and the winter air in full effect many locals thought it would simply be a case of turning up as the visitors from the warmer climes would be expected to struggle to cope with the harsh British elements. 

Sonali Othith Bangladesh started off looking to hit their hosts on the break. It was a wise tactical move by Nasir Ahmed's men as they raced into a two goal lead through Mohammad Aslam and Mohammad Arman. 

Sonali Othith UK rallied, and buoyed by the home support, the local veterans stepped up the pace. But their opponents were resilient throughout - stifling creativity through the deployment of Arman as a holding midfielder. Aslam's energy up front also caused the Sonali Othith rearguard countless problems. 

The second half tactics remained consistent as both teams played cat and mouse. In the 89th minute. Rahoul's lofted free kick was struck home by Ferdous Alam for a consolation goal for Sonali Othith UK. 

"I'm proud of my team," said Sonali Othith Bangladesh head coach Nasir Ahmed. 

"We were given a very good workout by our opponents and are very impressed by the standards we met today. Football unites communities and it is this very reason why we have travelled such distances. Thank you to the British public for the amazing welcome."

Captain Mohamad Aslam said: "I have played football for decades and I'm grateful for the very nice people I have met through playing the beautiful game. I would also like to thank the fans who braved the weather and came to support both teams."

"We failed to gel tonight," said Sonali Othith UK captain Runu Miah. "Our opponents played a measured game designed to stifle our attacking instincts. The tactics worked to a tee and by the time we got warmed up it was too late."

Midfielder Hamid Yusuf added: "Despite the disappointing result the game was a great spectacle and an advert for football in general. I'm proud that we are hosting some of Bangladesh's great footballers and look forward to conducting further football programmes in the future."

Sonali Othith UK are hosting a gala dinner night on Tuesday 21st October 2014 at the Dhaka Regency, 501 High Street North, London E7 9HA. 

To attend, please contact Faruque Mahfuz Ahmed on 07956 972328

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Eid and school assembly presentations

I had kindly been asked to do Eid assemblies at two primary and schools (pupils & parents) and I'd like to share the short presentations with readers.

Eid is one of the most important of celebrations for global Muslims. Part of the celebration remembers the sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim AS (Abraham) was prepared to make as an act of obedience to Allah. 

In many Muslim countries Eid is celebrated as part of a Bank holiday and festivities can continue for the maximum 3 days. 

Eid Al Adha is a time for happiness and to reflect, to forgive, unite, serve and ponder. It is about sharing and a portion of the meat from the sacrificing of animals is delegated to the poor and needy. The whole Muslim community is bought together to remember the importance of sacrifice, and that their lives are a submission to the will of Allah.

Although Eid is a Muslim festival, the majority of Muslims celebrate with people of other faiths as well as those of no faith. In Barking & Dagenham the community gets together to celebrate with a fun day straight after the compulsory Eid prayers. This has served a number of great purposes:

• The fun day brings the local community together, Muslims, those who are non-Muslim, elected representatives, the Police, fire brigade have all attended.

• It has a very positive impact on interfaith relations. Rivergate Church/Centre is where the Muslims of that area pray.

• It gives the young ones (and elders) a chance to get out of the house and do something memorable together. The children go crazy on the rides and activities by lunchtime. The rest of the day can easily be spent visiting and entertaining guests.

We also talked about doing something amazing on Eid day (do something amazing every day is my precise motto). I spoke about visiting Pete on Eid day and goofing around with him by taking selfies, watching F1, sharing a few jokes and... writing a short Eid poem for the assemblies.

I shared the story of One Third Soup Kitchen deciding to keep the momentum going at Eid and holding the Soup Kitchen at Stratford to serve food to the homeless guests who sleep rough in Stratford. I explained the reason for sharing these experiences was in the hope that the young listeners, supported by teachers and their parents would do similar activities when they were older in order to help those less fortunate but also to unite and come together as one human race.

There was a mention of the Salvation Army Harvest Festival in Tower Hamlets - A great example of how the likes of Nick Coke are doing wonders with their interfaith activities. I’m a great admirer of the amazing works of Sister Christine Frost and was chuffed as a cherry when she said that she’d like to invite me to events and activities that she runs. Now that would be an honour indeed.

Here's that Eid poem Pete and I penned together...

Eid

All folks happy
Faces so shiny

And Mum screams yay!

Dad seems cheery
Hooray it's Eid day

number 7
© Peter Chatfield & Emdad Rahman

P.S. I had a super Eid lunch at Cyril Jackson too.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Pat - Keeping London moving



Pat is now firmly established as one of the faces of the East End. Please say hi or give him a toot if you see this Big Friendly Giant on Tower Bridge or the Blackwall Tunnel. 

#eastendlegend

A Haiku For Alan Henning

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Eid with Pete

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it." C.C. Scott

I took a small break from family gatherings and the Eid fun-day to visit Pete at his care home. I initially went to the Hospice and saw his bed empty. I shared a joke with the nurse and asked if he had gone AWOL for Eid walkies. We had a laugh and I was told that he had been discharged and had returned to his care home. That was a relief to me as it meant that his pain treatment had gone well. It's only a short drive back so I made my way over pronto.

Pete was in great spirits. He was watching the news and switched to Formula 1. This is a great passion of his and the mechanic in him came out as he spent a good half hour taking me through the intricacies and sciences of what exactly the technical teams go through in preparing a car and monitoring performances before, during and after a race. "They earn their bread do those lot," he said. It was interesting listening, and his eyes sparkled bright as he talked.

We called Farhana who had visited and he spent ten minutes talking to her and Tamim, thanking them for the privilege of their company last Sunday. That's Pete in a nutshell for you I thought - Grateful and unselfish. Contact with the outside world rejuvenates Pete and keeps him chirpy. Farhana is convinced he can beat the Cancer and I pray she's proved right.

We took a few selfies and shared a few laughs whilst recording an Eid greeting video.

Pete is super intelligent. He's street wise and sharp as a tack. I always learn something new when I sit with him and his vivacious attitude is nothing short of endearing. Like many, he dreams of a just world free of violence, hatred and enmity.

Pete needed care from his nurse so I left. Missed Sam today but I'll be back very soon to meet up again with both these lovelies.

Pete isn't bitter. He's accepted his fate either way. He will continue to be Pete: quirky, inspiring, loyal and brave. He's a battler and will not let his condition leave him a withering wreck.

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me." Dr. Seuss

Eid Mubarak video from Pete - http://youtu.be/b060VcptrWw

Eid Greetings From One Third Homeless Soup Kitchen

"Only the pure in heart can make a good soup." Ludwig van Beethoven

To keep the momentum going the team agreed to continue the kitchen over the Eid weekend. We bought our shift forward to Friday and set up stall a little later than the normal time.

It was a boisterous evening with many revellers hitting the town. Stratford is noisy on a Friday night.

Omar made his debut and I think we might have secured a deal for a kind soul to pay for branded T shirts and hoodies for us to wear whilst serving guests.

We got lots of greetings and Eid wishes and I met Ram from the Whitechapel Mission. Bless him, he can't do late nights as he has to be at the Mission to do an early morning shift with homeless visitors coming in for breakfast.

Our regulars popped along but there were plenty new faces too. Alou had four helpings (no bread and no water). He's regimental is that one. Edwin had two and we also gave him a Nandos Peri Peri breast piece donated by a member of the public. I joked we had no Reggae Reggae sauce to top up his chicken. Paul (centre) said it was the best soup he'd tasted for a while. A productive evening and we all got to go home and prepare for Eid with our families. None of our guests are so blessed. We received a donation of a tenner too.

Hope you all have a good Eid!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Walter Tull: Football icon

Emdad Rahman interviews Author Dan Lyndon

With October being Black History Month it is perhaps appropriate to celebrate the life of a truly great football pioneer.

Walter Tull was a football pioneer who served as an officer in the Middlesex Regiments Football battalion during The Great War. In 1916 Tull also fought in the Battle of the Somme.

He was of mix race origin. His Grandmother had been a slave and his Father left Barbados to ply his trade in England as a carpenter. He settled in Folkestone where he met Alice Elizabeth Palmer. Walter was born to the couple. He lost his mother to Cancer aged 7. His father remarried Alice’s cousin but she found it hard to cope with the children and so they were sent to a National Children’s Home orphanage in Bethnal Green orphanage and grew up to play amongst others for Tottenham Hotspur, Northampton Town and also signed up to become Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers’ first black player.

His brother Edward was an established Dentist in Glasgow and was Britain’s first black man to practice the said profession. William Wilton signed Tull for The Gers after he was persuaded by Edward to join in 1917. Before he could make his debut at Ibrox he was shot dead at the Somme in March 1918 – aged 29. Tull’s body was never recovered.

As a player at Spurs Tull became the first black football player to tour South America.

Despite the 1914 Manual of Military Law specifically excluding “Negros” from taking command as officers Tull became the first black infantry officer to lead white soldiers in the British Army.

Arsenal fan and teacher Dan Lyndon has authored Walter Tull: Footballer, Soldier, Hero - a book about the life of Walter Tull; published by Collins Educational. I caught up with him during an event to discuss Walter Tull’s life and achievements at Bethnal Green Library, London.

I asked Dan how relevant is Walter Tull's story in the modern day. “I think Walter Tull is hugely relevant to modern football. He was someone who had to overcome real adversity on the pitch - the first recorded example of racism at a football match in Britain (maybe in the world!) when he was abused at Bristol City in 1909.

“He also had to deal with the fact that Tottenham didn't really know how to deal with the situation and decided that the best course of action would be to drop him to the reserves, through absolutely no fault of his own. He also had to rebuild his career at Northampton who were in a lower division, so that would have been a challenge for him too. Throughout all of these difficulties it seems that Walter just got on with it and didn't whinge or make a fuss. A lot of footballers today could learn from his experience.”

Glasgow Rangers were steaming ahead in Scotland in 1917. William Wilton’s men had won the league, Glasgow Cup and Glasgow Merchants' Charity Cup Winners. Lyndon feels that in the modern game Walter Tull would most probably have fetched millions of pounds in transfer fees.

I ask if Tull was good enough to play for England at the time and if prejudices affected his international chances for the English national team: “Again that is a very difficult question to answer; we know that Andrew Watson, the first Black footballer in Britain, who played for Queens Park in Glasgow, was capped a number of times for Scotland, and played against England a few times. That suggests that there wasn't particular prejudice against Black footballers in the 1870s which is interesting. However we also know that it wasn't until Viv Anderson was capped for England in the 1970s that a Black professional played for England. I would like to think that Tull was good enough, but he probably didn't have the same profile when he was playing for Northampton Town.”

Lyndon strongly believes that the history of this country should reflect honestly the diversity of its inhabitants: “Britain truly is a 'nation of mongrels' or 'a magpie nation' which has taken elements of so many different cultures and merged them into what has become the dominant narrative. We know that there were Africans in Britain before the 'Britons' - Roman soldiers from North Africa arrived in the early part of the Roman conquest, long before the Saxons and Normans. We also know that there has been a settled African community since the Tudor period and a settled Asian community from the 18th century.

“You can study every period of modern British history and find a black presence whether it was John Blanke at the Tudor court, William Cuffay the Chartist, Dadabhai Naoroji the first Asian MP. That history is there all around us. The tragedy is that it was hidden for so long, but now it is becoming much more present. If you look at my websitewww.blackhistory4schools.com you can find plenty more examples.

Lyndon was introduced to the Tull story many years ago when he did some work for the Northamptonshire Black History Association: “I fell in love with the story. I also have some weird connections with Walter; we share a name (Daniel), we share a birthday (28 April), my grandmother was born in Folkestone as Walter was and my grandfather played for the same team (Clapton) as Walter did albeit a few years later. So I was very lucky to be given the chance to write the book 'Walter Tull: Footballer, Soldier, Hero' in 2011 so I could share his story with a wider audience.

www.blackhistory4schools.com

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Visiting Pete

“Even death has a heart.” 
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Pete phoned me Saturday morning.

Pete: "Hello"
Me: "Pete, how you doing?"
Pete: "When you coming to see me, it's been a long time bruv?"
Me: This eve for sure, I'll bring food!"

He weren't hungry when I visited but it was super spending time with him and Sam.

I told Pete about my recent exploits, Scafell Pike, Maggie's Culture Crawl for Maggie's Cancer Care Hospices and the Mosque Run. Pete enjoyed listening to the stories. I've told him I will dedicate next years night walk to him if I do it again.

Pete has had a tough week and is now in a Hospice for pain relief. He is still fighting the cancer that is ravaging him from within. He was jovial but also very tired. The pain in his back is now more regular and more intense.

Thank you to the wonderful staff for taking such good care of him.

Here's a few verses I penned today.

Peter Chatfield Haiku

such a fine sweet treat
i'll miss that hugged greet, as pete
departs his earth suite

number7
© Emdad Rahman

Walter Tull - 1888-1918

Black history is a chance to mull
Over the inspiring life of Walter Tull
From an orphanage to lead a white soldier
The British Army's very first black officer

Walter found it so tough at Spurs
Joined Northampton to escape racist slurs
Herbert Chapman and peace with the Cobblers
Alas no appearance for Glasgow Rangers

Walter lived life with dignity and aplomb
He fell tragically in the Battle of the Somme
Now coins commemorate this "Negro"
He is truly a bonafide British hero

number7
© emdad rahman

The 1914 Manual of Military Law specifically excluded "Negroes" and "Mulattos" from exercising command as officers.

#waltertull #blackhistory #blackhistorymonth

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Longest Night

Liverpool 2-2 Middlesbrough
Liverpool win 14-13 on pens

Rossiter fulfills a teenage dream
Mignolet short of Adam's Reach
Suso strikes on returning to the team
Paddy Bamford makes the Kop screech

Reds match The Daggers and Orient
Gunners, Millers, City, Stoke, Villa
Silkmen surpassed on the ascent
In the longest League Cup shoot out ever

An F.A call from the national elder
Roy Hodgson to make an approach?
A vital role earmarked for Brenda
As England's spot kick coach

23.09.14

number7
© emdad rahman

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

R4YM 2014

This year I changed my solo routine and took my boys, bro in law and my friend Dulal with me.

Dulal is diagnosed with the ever rare Gurg - Strauss Syndrome and he is paralysed from the waist down.

It was a joy seeing his awesome smile and I know he's single handedly inspired many more to pick up the baton and do something positive. Even Mayor Lutfur Rahman came off the stage to greet ol Dulal. He's a special one is that one and I'm guessing there's more to come from the soldier.

God bless you mate!

Maggie's Culture Crawl 2014

Emdad Rahman

"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats" ~Voltaire

One thousand walkers took part in the annual Culture Crawl for Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres.

Participants from all over the country swamped the capital clad in brilliant Dutch Orange to head out into the night, discovering cultural, architectural and artistic delights, raising as much money as possible to help people living with cancer.

Working in partnership with Open House London, Maggie’s Culture Crawl is a 15 mile night-walk, part cultural adventure.

From the Foreign Office, to Fulham Palace by way of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, all the walkers were encouraged to and got exclusive access to all these buildings and many others.

George Clark got the Crawl rolling and venues along the route included many of London's most iconic buildings: Chelsea Physic Garden - a walled garden that celebrates the beauty and importance of plants, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foster + Partners Studio.

Also on the menu was Fulham Palace - Dating back to 700, a Tudor manor house with Georgian additions and a Victorian chapel, and Maggie's West London - The first Maggie’s in England.

There was also a visit to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a new cultural destination in the heart of London designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The Foreign Office kickstarted the evening and hosted a 4 minute ballet performance.

The night finished at the The Royal Festival Hall. Opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain, the Grade I listed Hall is one of the world’s leading performance venues. Last year there were over 4 million visitors to The Royal Festival Hall which hosts musicians, comedians, dancers, artists and films. The Clore Ballroom which sits beneath the main auditorium will be welcoming our Culture Crawl participants at the end of their 15 mile journey around London.

At each stop there was delicious food all along the way. This was mightily impressive and surpassed last years superb arrangements. Each stop was like a visit to Mr Willy Wonka.

The standout feature was the friendly chat and banter with fellow walkers. For me, each exchange was simple, brief but memorable. I will most likely never see any of these people ever again.

The walk route was first route and the mouth waters at the prospect of just how better the organisers can make the route. I'm fully confident that the route will continue to become more cultured (enjoyable) as each year passes.

I had a buddy with me this year with Omar accompanying me. I made my excuses early, citing my recently healed Achilles as reason for not speeding the route. Nevertheless we were told that we finished in the top 100.

No offence to the comedy performance
but we didn't hang around after getting our medals. I had a full Saturday in store. The ever reliable Chach and Mabs were ready and waiting to whisk us home.

Bravo to the organisers and the volunteers. You're all just simply amazing.

For further information and to sign up for next year please visit - https://www.maggiescentres.org/culturecrawl/

Striving to the top

Tara is hiking to the summit of Kilimanjaro. 

Emdad Rahman: Tara Kaur is hitting the heights as she joins a team if friends on an expedition to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Office Manager at Woolmore Primary School in East London is raising money for 'When You Wish Upon A Star.'

Here is a quick interview: 

1. Why did you choose trekking?

A few years ago I watched a number of celebrities including Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole climb Kilimanjaro Challenge for Comic Relief and I was really inspired and touched by what they did and I said to myself one day I will do that climb.

2. Who are you trekking for? 

As well as achieving a personal dream of mine I wanted to raise money for a good cause and chose a charity called 'When You Wish Upon A Star.'

3. What is the cause about? 

This Charity raises money to make dreams come true for terminally ill children.

4. Have you done this before? 

No this is my first time, it is also my first time sleeping outside in a tent - something else I will be doing a lot of during my climb.

5. How have you prepared? 

I have been going to the gym at least 3 times a week, doing a variety of cardio and resistance training, I also go to Surrey every Saturday to do a hike and walk when ever possible. I feel fit and ready for the challenge.

6. How have you funded your trip? 

I have funded the whole trip myself. Every penny I raise through sponsorship will be donated to the charity.

7. With the trek days away, how do you feel? 

I feel excited and ready. I am looking forward to the challenge and pray that I stay fit and healthy throughout the climb.

8. What advice do you have for anybody inspired by you? 

Keep focused and never give up on your dreams even when when it gets tough. Believe that you can and you are halfway there.

9. Your inspirations in life? 

My Mother - She is the most determined and most positive person I know. As a child my mum made everything possible. She has always been my side, supported and encouraged me to follow my dreams. I am the woman I am today thanks to my mum.

10. Your charity link? 

https://www.justgiving.com/Tara-Kaur69/ 

Monday, September 15, 2014

A tumble and an inspirational encounter

Emdad Rahman

"I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched." - Edgar Allan Poe

As I descended Scafell Pike I lost my footing and took a clumsy tumble. It could have been really bad and I fell on my back. Just before hitting the deck I swivelled a little in mid air and avoided full impact on my spine. I ended up with some muscle pain and hurt my left knee a little as well as my forehead. I was already taking medication for the right knee so that's all I needed eh?

Firstly, I was very fortunate to have Moklis, Mosh, Akik and Omar with me and these fellas sorted me out pronto; one stretched my legs, one sprinkled water and kept me talking, one rubbed my back and one lifted up my head. Looking back I can't thank you guys enough for being there. We had initially feared the worst. It could have been terrible and changed everything.

I was back with the earthlings literally within 30 seconds. As I was coming to I could make out a new voice. He insisted in waiting with us until I confirmed finally that I was good to go. His name is Chris and he used to climb hills with his daughter Keira. She succumbed and lost her life to cancer. Her dying wish was for her ashes to be scattered at the summit of Scafell Pike. Chris did this and he frequently hikes to the top as it gives him peace. When he scattered Keira's ashes he also threw some glitter and shiny stars in too. He found one of the shiny red stars when he reached the summit this time.

Chris' story was enough to give me the strength I needed to get up and carry on the descent. We embraced and I asked for this pic (Thanks Akik).

On Friday I am taking part in Maggie's Culture Crawl 2014.l where I will head out with thousands into the night, discovering cultural, architectural and artistic delights, raising as much as we can to help people living with cancer.

Working in partnership with Open House London, Maggie’s Culture Crawl is part 15 mile night-walk, part cultural adventure.

From the Foreign Office, to Fulham Palace by way of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, we’ll get exclusive access to all these buildings and many others, encountering talented performers and enjoying delicious food and drink along the way.

I've decided to dedicate this run to the memory of Keira.

Thank you for the opportunity to meet and spend a few very valuable moments with you Chris. God bless!

"That's the ideal meeting...once upon a time, only once, unexpectedly, then never again." - Helen Oyeyemi

www.maggiescentres.org/culturecrawl/

One night with John Barnes, Didi Hamann and John Aldridge

5 Times, the Liverpool Former Players Association held an evening in London to celebrate all things Liverpool as well as to raise money for various charitable causes they support.

The event was held at a packed out 02 Islington Academy and the guests on the night were Liverpool legends John Barnes, John Aldridge and Champions League winner Dietmar Hamann.

The crowd sang You’ll Never Walk Alone to make London into a mini Anfield. Liverpool and non-Liverpool fans were led on a trip down memory lane as 3 men who lived the dream and played for one of the greatest clubs in the world spoke about their career highlights.

John Barnes recalled some of his memories: “I was an established England player before I joined Liverpool FC. Playing alongside Aldridge, Beardsley and Houghton during my first season added greater finesse to my game. On a personal level it was a dream come true to play for England’s greatest club and I was no different from any other schoolboy other than that I fulfilled my dream to play top class football.” Those in attendance went “bananas” as Digger “Bar-nez” sang along to the Anfield rap and World in Motion.

John Aldridge spoke about how Kenny Dalglish changed the way Liverpool played from through the middle to out wide in order to accommodate him as Ian Rush’s replacement. It worked a treat and was a testament to Dalglish’s managerial prowess. His only regret is that he did not stay at Anfield longer: “I have been a Kopite all my life, I was a regular on the terraces for a s long as I can remember and to join Liverpool Football Club was a dream come true.” There was plenty of industrial language as Aldo described the moment when he “lost it” in the 1994 World Cup group game against Mexico. Aldo did score a consolation during the 2-1 loss and at the end of the game he was reminded by Tony Cascarino that his goal meant the Irish could draw with Norway in the next game and go through to the last 16, which is exactly what happened.

Dietmar Hamann’s main point of discussion was that amazing night in Istanbul when Liverpool came back from 3 goals down to lift the Champions League against AC Milan. “Thank God I’m not playing,” he announced as Liverpool went 3 goals down There were a few funny references to Djimi Traore and the German general’s dry wit had the crowd in stitches.

The night ended with a meet and greet session whereby players and fans were able to meet, autograph items and take pictures with the legends.

Mohsin Ahmed attended the event: “I thought it was a superb evening and a venue twice as big could easily have been filled. The legends were fantastic and it was a dream come true to meet them all. I will certainly be attending more legends events like this in the future.”

www.5times.co/

Friday, September 12, 2014

Look mum! No hands!


The awkward moment when a G4S securicor guard tries to leap the gates action man style to get to his van and hits the deck flat assed as his legs get caught in the railing. 

This gentleman was no Greg Rutherford and he then sprinted into this van. The vehicle did not move for a long time. It was simply stationary. I imagined him sitting in disbelief and crying to himself for a few minutes (the way my kid sis does when she gets lost driving to Asda Isle of Dogs). Oh the agony!

I must admit that after the initial "ooh" I had a good old chuckle to myself. I positioned myself where I was and waited with my iphone so that j could snap this plonker, sorry, securicor guard. Alas, he did not emerge soon enough. Maybe a call was placed to a counsellor. I didn't find out. I had to get back to my desk!

If you're going to do similarly then here's a few pointers:

A. Practice
B. Pull it off
C. If you trip then instead of sprinting off like a weirdo, feign it or stagger. You'll get a  bit of sympathy and avoid the catcalls and juvenile shrieks  busting your eardrums. 

Apart from me and my pap iphone there were only a few hundred college kids who witnessed this at first hand...

Bless!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Peter, Mario Balotelli and Frank Zappa

"Get busy living or get busy dying" - Andy Defresne

Peter is now in a hospice and I joined him for a few hours. It was one a very few thongs I would've sacrificed watching Mario Balotelli's Liverpool debut for. Anyway Pete is more box office than Super Mario. 


It was tremendous to meet his daughter Sam and she is a spitting image of Pete in every sense. 


It was a very enjoyable afternoon and Pete had Sunday lunch whilst we all talked about life and Franz Zappa. 


I'm going to take him a curry next time. Liverpool hammered three past Spurs to make it a complete afternoon. 


Chatfield, Balotelli, Zappa - Now There's a mega line up if ever there was one. 


You'll Never Walk Alone Pete!

Bridge

Great feats of engineering and architectural works of beauty, the city bridges we cross everyday are as iconic to London as Big Ben and red phone boxes.

Drawing on the museum's significant art collections, Bridge is the largest art exhibition ever to be staged at the Museum of London Docklands and features rarely seen contemporary and historical artworks, alongside photography and film, to consider the significance of bridges within London’s landscape.

From Hungerford to Blackfriars, Westminster and Millennium, Bridge also looks at how London’s bridges allow people to move around and experience the city, and looks ahead to projects such as Thomas Heatherwick’s ambitious ‘Garden Bridge’ proposal to consider how this landscape may change.

Museum of London Docklands
West India Quay
Canary Wharf
London E14 4AL

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Caravan Gallery

Emdad Rahman: I spotted this gem on my way to the London Eye with my eldest today. I made a mental note and a public pronouncement to my son to be on his best photographer mode as we would be stopping there on the way back.

The Caravan Gallery, a diminutive mustard model (circa 1969), with white walls and beech floor on the inside (like a ‘real’ gallery), provides the perfect setting for an evolving exhibition of wry, often tragicomic, photographic observations made in response to the areas visited.

The mobile exhibition venue and visual arts project was set up to document the ordinary and extraordinary details of everyday life. Eager to examine clichés and cultural trends, the exhibition is particularly drawn to the absurd anomalies and curious juxtapositions typical of places in transition and in the process of reinventing themselves as regeneration fever spreads.

The Caravan Gallery Tour details and showcases photographs from the archives of Portsmouth-based artists Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale. The duo host a touring exhibition of photos from their 'Is Britain Great?' Archive accompanied by a selection of images from each area.

Since 2000 the customary mustard coloured caravan has documented the artistic insight into the photographers’ take on their own local environment.

I enjoyed the Gallery particularly because it's the type of photos I look out for and take whilst I walk. It's the humour side that really struck a chord with me.

"Our collection of photos goes back to the start of the millennium and a lot of it is humour related as well," said Jan.

"The Caravan Gallery is making a tour of localities to publicise our works and hopefully encourage the locals to get involved."

The Caravan Gallery exhibits at an eclectic range of locations, rural, urban and suburban, from small-scale community events to prestigious contemporary galleries and international art and photography festivals.

Jan and Chris' travels have inspired a growing range of merchandise which now includes 4 books, Welcome to Britain – a celebration of real life, Is Britain Great? 1, 2 and 3, subversive Visitor Guides, postcards, greetings cards and gift wrap-cum-posters that show the world from a Caravan Gallery perspective. "We also produce some limited edition prints and sometimes draw and collage too," said Jan.

Much of 2013 was devoted to Merseyside. The exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool – Merseystyle: Photographs by The Caravan Gallery, was a key part of LOOK/ 13 Liverpool International Photography Festival and was complemented by Pride of Place Projects in Liverpool and Wirral.

www.thecaravangallery.co.uk

From Scintilla CC win to One Third Soup Kitchen

I left straight after Scintilla Cricket Clubs record 404 run victory over ACE CC, which leaves my club on the brink of the Essex County Cricket League Championship for 2014.

It was a day of celebration and I dropped Enamul Haque Jr and Bellal off home before meeting Kay at Stratford. It was only the two of us and we enjoyed our catch ups with the regulars. It was good to hear from Amanda that she had missed me. She was aware that I had travelled on holiday.

The soup was fantastico and Marco, Chris, Gary, Amanda, Ali, Hannah, Keith and the rest of the gang left the pot empty and shining.

Due to not having the time to change my cricket whites I was able to engage in discussions with a few visitors who follow the game. I may even have recruited a potential new fast bowler - a gentleman who played cricket at public school. In the future I hope the senior and academy members at Scintilla will join me here.

I even had time to take a skateboard lesson with Jay - something I've been meaning to do for a while.

Here's till next time.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Offering hope to the homeless

Munchy and I had a good chat this evening. He's had a really tough few years and after 18 hard months of hell has been able to get himself a room at Booth House, which is a few hundred metres from where I grew up.

I've invited Munchy to our soup kitchen and the Whitechapel Mission for breakfast. He said he's unwell and not fit for work after battling with physical and mental illness.

Whilst we immerse ourselves in charity abroad we forget that there is often a huge need for support and assistance on our very own doorsteps.

If you'd like to support fantastic non government funded charities like the Whitechapel Mission, One Third, Foodbank and The Pavement Magazine then do get in touch with them.

Volunteers are always required to keep services running.

Volunteer at the Whitechapel Mission...
Volunteer at Foodbank
Volunteer at The Pavement Magazine

Monday, August 18, 2014

Glenda

Forty two years of kind compassion
Every day you watered a seed
Your gusto nurtured motivation
Many young minds took heed

We rejoice those famed locks of hair
Blazing blonde and belting brown
Teacher's race and broken arm despair
Couldn’t stop a night out on the town

Tottering heels in that convertible motor
Off to Hanoi, Dhaka or Algiers
But the best thing about our Glenda
She gets children, her little dears

Now you've reached golden time
Let’s all rejoice and reminisce
It's now for you to enjoy your prime
And relish that hard earned bliss

number7
© emdad rahman

Congratulations on your retirement Glenda. Wishing you the best for your new adventure, because retirement is not the end of one’s life, it is a time to fling off the chains and fly.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Scintilla and Waqar steam on


Emdad Rahman

Scintilla Cricket Clubs second XI recorded another resolute performance to despatch Walthamstow CC with ease at London Playing Fields in the latest round of Essex County Cricket League encounters. 

Scintilla won the toss and elected to bat first. Waqar Ali was again the star as the scintilla opener made mincemeat of the Walthamstow attack.

In his second game Ali notched 187 and was ably supported with an unbeaten half century from Ayaz Karim, 49 from Asheeq Ul Alam and 37 from Khizir Mohammad. 

Walthamstow CC were all bowled out for 112 with captain Shaha Riadh taking 2 for 26, Syed Iftekhar 2 for 10, Andul Waheeb 2 for 17 and Asheequl Ul Alam 1 for 10.

It was always going to be an uphill struggle and Scintilla CC won by a massive 290 runs. 

Shaha Riadh said: "Another excellent performance today. Ali's near 200 to follow on from last week has added an extra impetus to the squad. It has helped raise our game."

Captain and half centurion Ayaz Karim had merely hours before returned from volunteering at the Commonwealth Games 1014. He added: "It was a pleasure playing with the team. The attitude is fresh and there is a spring in our step."

Waqar Ali was reflective: "Our opponents were not as easy as the scores show. The most important thing is we won the match. It's satisfying that we did it so convincingly."

Scintilla's first XI made it 9 wins in a row as Hawks CC were all bowled out for 102. 

Captain Faris Almas Lee Rosmanizam said: "We are entering a crucial period in our season and the theme is the same, to stay focused on our next opponents. There are no easy games and we must ensure we are fully prepared, both mentally and physically. 

Club captain Ahmed Choudhury said: "The boys have been immense. We have taken 200 points. This is fantastic but we won't rest easy just yet."

Scintilla host Barking CC next at the Peter May Sports Centre on 9th August.

“Cricketing tactics and strategies help with everyday life”

Interview with Malaysian cricket star Faris Almas Lee

Emdad Rahman

Malaysian cricket star Faris Almas Lee Rosmanizam is an all rounder who bats right-handed and bowls leg breaks. His passion for cricket blossomed at the age of six as he followed in the footsteps of his brothers, who played for Malaysia's Under-13 and Under-15 teams.

Faris, a Malaysian under 19 star, has just completed his studies in England and has combined a tough learning schedule with captaining Barking & Dagenham based Scintilla Cricket Club in the Essex Cricket League.  “Fazza” has captained the team to new heights and Scintilla currently sit proudly at the top of the table with three games to go.

The Kuala Lumpur born star and mid order batsman hails Ahmad Faiz Mohd Noor, the current Malaysian senior team captain as his favourite player: “As a cricketer, he is very approachable and takes self-development and producing results seriously.

“My favourite player of all time has to be Sachin Tendulkar. He has always been inspiring on and off the field. He has played as a true gentleman on the pitch for decades, whilst performing consistently in all formats of the game. A true legend indeed, and I think no one would disagree with my choice.”

Faris hopes to return to Malaysia and carry on combining his quest to forge a successful career in both the accounting profession as well as cricket: “I recently received an offer from an international auditing firm for a permanent job, but I would still like to play a competitive level of cricket. Many have questioned how I would balance work and cricket? I think I'll be able to manage since I have been living a very busy life since I was a kid!”

Faris has enjoyed a hugely successful cricketing career in his short spell as captain of the first XI at Scintilla CC. The Barking & Dagenham club has offered him a platform to shine as a player whilst honing his leadership qualities: “My one and a half year commitment with Scintilla CC has been a good eye opener for me in terms of cricket exposure. I enjoyed working along the players and academy members of the club as all of them are eager to improve their standard of the game and constantly looking for positive results on and off the cricket field.

“Some names that deserve a special mention are Ahmed Choudhury, Ayaz Karim and Bellal Hossain who have assisted me throughout the season in managing the players and their morale.

“Cricketing tactics and strategies help with everyday life. I have also been honoured to captain the truly talented 1st XI side, and hopefully we can become the league champions this year.”

Access to cricket in England is not the same as everywhere else in the world but Faris feels that there is enough investment in grassroots cricket to provide good national players for years to come: “Cricket is an expensive sport, not just in England but around the world. Nevertheless, in England I see a similarly high enthusiasm for cricket, especially amongst the young as I see in cricket-crazy nations such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“In my honest opinion, everyone should have access and opportunity to learn the game while enjoying the sport with friends and family.”

Faris takes away many golden memories: “It wasn't easy at first to balance between studies, cricket and adapting to different weather. I was soon able to cope up with the fast paced London lifestyle and culture and was lucky enough to meet wonderful friends and teammates who were very helpful during my two years stay in England.

“My favourite Scintilla CC memory I hope is in the near future, when I hope to proudly raise the league winners’ cup at the end of the current season.”

With Malaysia ever improving as a test nation the cricket board could have a battle hardened ex youth international ready to step up and be counted. The humble Faris just wants to stay fit and enjoy cricket: “It’s every cricketers dream to play for their country and I am no exception. I see myself playing competitive cricket for another 7 to 8 years and I will probably delve into coaching after retirement from serious cricket as it is important to keep in touch with the game.

“From what I saw in Malaysia, the number of children starting cricket in their primary education (considering Malaysia is not a cricket nation) is growing rapidly. This is due to the ongoing support from Malay Cricket Association of Malaysia (MCAM) and the Malaysian Cricket Association. I believe it is important to start from the roots to have a bigger formal structure of cricket development in Malaysia or anywhere around the world. If more people have an interest in cricket, there will be more competition between players to fight for a national team spot. This directly improves the overall standard of cricket for the country”.

Faris can play a massive role in the development of cricket in Malaysia. He is a thinking man’s cricket, cool, calm, composed with a laid back approach to leadership. He concentrates on setting the right example and this has inspired his team to a ten match win streak as his team have taken 200 points during a whirlwind unbeaten run. With Scintila CC unplayable at the moment we may just see the quiet man roar come the end of the season.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

Foodbanking

"Food is to eat, not to frame and hang on the wall" - William Denton

Today's Foodbank shift was short, sweet but tough work. Joey and I loaded the trolley with food items, took the lift down and loaded the van. I think we make a good team and we had our task at hand all completed well within my allocated time. Tough work, but a great all body work out and immensely satisfying. I hope I can be approved to become a voucher holder soon.

Foodbank helps families and individuals who have been hit hardest by issues of unemployment, ill health, bereavement and addiction in London. Most of us don't have a clue how hard some people have it in one of the world's greatest and richest cities.

To volunteer please email volunteers@towerhamletsfoodbank.org.uk and you will be sent a pack and form to complete. One can give as little or as much time (I do my lunch break) as they want.

Once you state this on the form Tower Hamlets Food Bank staff will be in touch to offer you tailored time slots.

Visiting Peter on Eid day

Our welcome friend Ramadan came and went in the blink of an eye.

Having finished with the fun day I thought I'd pay a visit to Pete on Eid day. He was in fine fettle and was keen to hear stories of the celebrations taking place. I sat with Pete and showed him my facebook messages of well wishes from my friends, Bootle Jan, Rebecca, Michael, Choosy, Ahmed and Scintilla CC, Liz, Asma and Lyn.

Understandably, there were not many visitors but by the time visiting time was up there were four of us including Pete. I'm hoping to see Pete again before I go on holiday and might even take him a doner kebab with all the lashings. We both do like a touch of the grand stuff!

Seeing Pete is always an inspirational visit for me. I natter, share a few stories and ask for his take and perspective on stuff. He's a shrewd man and is still sharp as a tack.

Here is his video message to everyone.

Homeless Haiku

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Waqar launches whirlwind for Scintilla B



Barking & Dagenham cricketers shatter score records 

Emdad Rahman
​​​​​​
Waqar Ali top scored with a gargantuan 220 not out as Bow Green were pulverised by Barking & Dagenham team Scintilla CC in the latest round of matches in Division 2 of the Essex Cricket League. 

The Barking & Dagenham stars scored the seasons highest score - 363 from 40 overs as Bow Green were soundly beaten by 174 runs. 

Bow Green won the toss and chose to field first on a grassy wicket, drawing first blood by dismissing Rifat Mahmud for one run in only the second over. 

Khizir was joined by Waqar who unleashed a tornado, devastating the Bow attack in a partnership of 140 with Khizir - dismissed after reaching 70. 

Abdul Waheeb took to the crease and added a half century as Scintilla reached 245. Sensing a historic win Scintilla captain Shaha Riadh elected to continue applying the pressure as his men continued to pile on the runs. Zahid joined Ali at the crease to complete the rout. 

Bow Green cane out fighting and hit a few early boundaries as they set out their intent, however Syed Iftekhar's rugged bowling shook the openers as he took 3 vital wickets for 40 runs. Scintilla co-founder Paul rounded off the match to hand Scintilla a win by 174 runs. 
 
Man of the match Waqar who destroyed one ball after he butchered a six was humble: "I'm just glad Scintilla have given me an opportunity and I hope to put in consistent performances. I'm happy that the team came together to take the points."

 Skipper Shaha Riadh said: “Another good show from the players. Nevertheless, there are worrying points that need to be taken into consideration. Our bowlers are still giving away too many extras and we will work hard on this area to produce even better results.”

Scintilla CC: 363/3 in 40 overs. 
Waqar Ali 222 (not out)
Abdullah M Khizir 70
Abdul Waheeb 50

Bow Green: 189 all out
 
Man of the match: Waqar Ali 222 n.o (Scintilla CC)

Scintilla's first XI are still leading the Premier Division after seeing off Tennyson CC at Clayhall. 

Scintilla won the toss by default and elected to bat first reaching 240-9 in 45 overs. Enamul Haque top scored with 48 runs, Ashraful Islam contributed 44, and Bellal Hossain hit a useful 35. 

Scintilla won by 117 runs as Tennyson were all bowled for 123 as dynamic skipper Faris Almas-Lee took 5 for 23. Zahed Mamun also added 3 for 27. 

Captain Faris Almas-Lee Rosmanizam who was joint man of the match with Enamul Haque said: "I'm fairly satisfied with our performance today. The heat was immense and I'm proud of the way my team were committed throughout. 

"We are taking one game at a time. This league has some excellent teams and there will be no complacency in the run up to the end of the season as one slip up can totally change everything."

Peace for Gaza


Gaza has quite rightly led to unprecedented levels of condemnation, protest, activism, mobilisation and unity. It's beautiful when strangers can unite for a worthy cause. 

But I've noticed there's a dark side to campaigning too. I've de friended and blocked one idiot after getting fed up of his unhelpful and soapbox diatribes. 

I've concluded that this one probably lives with erectile dysfunction and is an agent provocateur. I have made it clear in no uncertain terms have made it clear that his irresponsible and frothy mouthed rants are not wanted or needed, especially as they lack intellectual depth and are designed to provoke and disunite. This in turn offers no support and adds zero value to the cause. 

Call me a conspiracy theorist but I seriously doubt the motives of such people and make my distrust very clear. 

Cowardly keyboard warriors also provoke heavy handed backlashes and their actions often lead to dangerous reactions against vulnerable members of the community - old people, women with head scarves and children. See, it's not they who suffer because of their selfish malpractices. 

We should challenge/educate these morons and tell them to stop spewing hate on our behalf. There is a distinct difference between intelligent and co-ordinated debate, campaigning, lobbying, protesting, engagement and spewing hate. 

Gaza is a humanitarian issue and people from all races have united to campaign, protest, debate, lobby and raise charity. Unfortunately there are hate mongers who walk amongst us with their own agendas and they should be rejected in no uncertain terms. They are bad apples who will upset the applecart. 

It's vitally important to keep ANY campaign relentless, but just and fair. Anything less than that and we risk becoming that very monster that we so vehemently criticise and campaign against. 

My name is Emdad. I am a proud Londoner, born and bred and I #supportgaza

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weird



Hi there!
Why do you stare?
Is it the way, or what I wear?

I'm just 
The same as everyone
And you.

Only life has made it harder
For me,
Than you.

© Peter McGuire

The amazing Peter and his brother Steph McGuire are known as the Boccia Brothers. 

They both have muscular dystrophy, an incurable degenerative condition. 

Having overcome the barriers that have affected their lives since birth both brothers represented Team GB at the London Paralympic Games in 2012. 

Both are still competing competitive at the highest stage. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Peter, Steph, young Ciaran and Peter Junior in Glasgow on Monday. Steph and I were in the same team as we carried the Queen's Baton during it's Commonwealth Games relay in Woodlands, Glasgow and I've made a friend for life.

If you feel that life has dealt you an unfair hand then look at these two awe inspiring humans. 

Let their inspiration envelope you, shake you up, and help you rise up and reach for the stars again. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Another Longbridge Road car smash



Just seen this on the way home. The passengers had to be cut out. 

With EID a week away I thought I'd share this for the benefit of any potential joyriders. 

Drive safe everyone. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

RMA hold community Iftar event



The Riverside Muslim Association, Barking organised a community Iftar to celebrate the month of Ramadan. 

Residents and guests from various backgrounds came together to break bred and eat at sunset. 

Barking Councillor Cameron Geddes said: "I was so privileged to have been invited. The atmosphere was so peaceful and friendly. And the thunderstorm rumbling in the distance and lighting up the night sky helped make it a memorable night!"

Imam Muhammad Imran added: "It is extra special that members of our community have joined their Muslim neighbours and shared food together. 

"Thank you to the volunteers for their hard work. We will have a community funday on the day of Eid. The event is free and open to everyone."

Glasgow Rangers club tour

Emdad Rahman: Glasgow has an abundance of history and Mohammed and I popped up to Gasgow for the day. Our first port of call was the historic Ibrox Stadium - to survey and savour the history of one of the world’s great football clubs.

Many moons ago 4 young men shared a dream - to start a football club. They had no money, no kit - not even a ball.

Yet from such humble beginnings emerged a magnificent football club  - Rangers FC. None of those four men could have foreseen the shockwaves the ripple effect of their actions were about to do when they met in 1872. At that time all they wanted was having their own little team to play for and represent. No one dared dream that over a century later the baby named Glasgow Rangers would become a venerated football goliath.  Nor could they have envisaged that Glasgow Rangers would win trophies galore and have a worldwide following running into millions.

All those championships and cups would never have found their way into the Ibrox Trophy Room but for that encounter between Peter McNeil, his brother Moses, Peter Campbell and William McBeath.

Their first match was an unlikely affair against Callander FC at Flesher's Haugh on Glasgow Green.

The pitch was open to all-comers, so to claim it for your game you had to make sure you were there first. The home team played in street clothes, with the exception of four "guests" who, as they were members of other clubs, already had their own strips. The ball was second-hand.

The result was 0-0, but that didn't matter. Rangers had been born.

The famous 'RFC' Scroll crest is now instantly recognisable to football fans across the world and is steeped in history.

It is believed to have been used by the Club since its formation in 1872 although the oldest item to be found with this crest stamped on it is from 1881-82 season. The Rangers-Celtic Old Firm rivalry is one of the oldest and fiercest in world football, dating back to the late 19th century when Celtic were founded in Glasgow's East End.

The teams first met at Celtic Park on May 28, 1888 in what was also the Parkhead club's first-ever match. Around 2,000 fans saw the home side win 5-2.

The nickname 'The Old Firm' originated during the early year of the 20th century when the clubs began to dominate Scottish football and the term in part referred to the financial benefits associated with their frequent meetings.

No two teams have dominated their national championship as much as Rangers and Celtic - between them they have won 96 of the 114 Scottish titles available since 1890.

And they have also contested numerous dramatic head-to-head encounters.

Taking over as manager from William Wilton in 1920, Bill Struth was Rangers' most successful manager, guiding the club to 14 league titles before the onset of the Second World War. On 2 January 1939 a British league attendance record was broken as 118,567 fans turned out to watch Rangers beat Celtic in the traditional New Year's Day Old Firm match.

Leading the club for 34 years until 1954, Struth won more trophies than any manager in Scottish Football history, amassing 18 league championships, 10 Scottish Cups, 2 League Cups, 7 war-time championships, 19 Glasgow Cups, 17 Glasgow Merchant Charity Cups and other war-time honours. During the wartime regional league setup, Rangers achieved their highest score against old firm rivals Celtic with an 8–1 win in the Southern Football League.

Our tour guide was Chris and what was evident right away was his love for the club. Couple that with his knowledge and constant research into all things Rangers, and you have a fantastic Club Ambassador. A big thank you to Chris for being such a terrific host.

Whether you’re a football fan or not you too can experience the magic of this world famous stadium with your very own 'access all areas' pass!

On the Ibrox Tour you will get exclusive access to the home dressing room, climb the marble staircase and explore the illustrious Trophy Room. Plus take a virtual tour of the Club's state of the art training facility at Murray Park and run down the tunnel before taking a seat in the dugout.

Ibrox Tours run every Friday, Saturday* and Sunday* and are priced at just £8 for Adults, £5.50 for Children/OAPs - Kids 5 years & under go free and a family ticket for 2 Adults & 2 Kids is £24.50.

*Not on match days.

www.rangers.co.uk/club/ibrox/tours

The Stratford Soup Kitchen



"Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someone's whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place."

Mike Yankoski

It takes a lot of bottle to present oneself at a soup kitchen and ask to be fed. One is nervous, self conscious and the sense of pride feels particularly bruised. 

There are proud people who visit our soup kitchen, educated people, individuals of good stock. However , unlucky circumstances have placed them on a level par with the 80 or so people who sleep rough in and around Westfield and the Stratford Centre, London. 

Within that kingdom your accent or social status doesn't quite cut it. You're vulnerable and need help and support from the community. And this is where soup kitchens like One Third are so necessary. 

I saw Maureen smiling at me from a distance but as I was in the zone, serving with the team and chatting to visitors and general members of the public it didn't click, until later. I beckoned her over and offered her a plate of food. 

Maureen loved the new dishes we had on offer that evening. As a special treat our cook had laid on meat biriani and chana chick peas. We were all tempted to do a little cheeky takeaway but failed in our bid to do so as the pots were wiped clean well before the final bell. "I'm really hungry," said Maureen. "My mate has gone to McDonald's. We don't have enough for two so she's gone to eat first. She'll be out soon and will be shocked to see me. This is delicious. God bless you all."

Jay joined for a little chat and even took our group pics. He said he'd bring his dad over next time. We had a lot of new faces and some of the regulars like Amanda were missed. George came to visit us in his wheelchair. He liked the food so much he even had thirds. 
 
At the latest One Third soup kitchen we had three new volunteers join the pack. It was great fun, great banter, great company all the way. 

Kind hearted members of the public donated £22.00 for contribution towards the next pot. 

My cricket team Scintilla CC had thrashed Bow Green so all in all a great day. I had to break my fast on the way back but got in to share a wholesome family meal. No food problems there - Lucky me, eh?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rekindling happy thoughts with Lily Tsoni

Emdad Rahman interviews the author of Josephine, the black, the white

“When mother was a little child, she’d need two or three French grammar books which couldn’t be easily found and cost a lot of money. “You will need this in two years time from now, in high school” grandma had said. “In two years time? From now for the year after next?” “These, she had told, were far more useful and essential than a doll whose her head, arms and legs would eventually fall all! I, of course, insisted that nothing would fall off!” - Lily Tsoni

Greek writer Lily Tsoni is the writer of “Josephine, the black, the white”. It is a vivid recollection of the Author’s childhood memories.  Lily says that her chronicle is a “book for all, teens, tweens, young adults, their parents and grandparents.

“I hope it will ignite happy memories within all my readers. It is a happy box of childhood innocence and blissful thoughts.”

As a young girl Lily recorded vivid and cherished details of her childhood. “I stored them in my heart,” she said. “In later years I decided to open my heart and share its contents and so have written this memoir.”

The book has been described as a charming, cute and evocative memoir by Richard Hunter, Professor of Classics, Cambridge University. Lily runs her own publishing house and is a permanent member of the Greek Literary Union. She is also a TV and radio journalist and presents shows about culture, the Arts, ecology, children’s issues, health, and of her travel experiences throughout Europe.

Lily is passionate about a wide range of community issues: “I support equality, human rights, education, the Environment, animals and criminal Justice. These matters have always shaped my thoughts and expanded my thinking.”

Lily is a volunteer for the Arts & Civilization of the Municipal Art Gallery in Lamia, Greece and also attends Classics at Cambridge. Writing though is her favourite pastime: “I have been writing for years. There are many things in my drawers waiting to be put on paper. I have a second book planned too and will continue to publish my writings.

“My intention is to complete a further two books by Christmas. One of a child’s experiences at Christmas - but when I say child I also refer to those adults who still shelter a child inside of themselves. It's a glittering celebration of a special time of the year.”

Lily has lived in London and has been visiting annually one month at a time for the last 7 years: “I visit my son in London - I think it is the most colourful and promising capital in Europe. But sometimes you have to ‘mind the gap.’ I have also made many good friendships here over the years.”

‘‘Josephine the black, the white” was published in December 2013 and in the UK in March 2014 by Perfect Publishers. It is a pleasant read that can be enjoyed reading alone, on the go, sitting shaded under a tree, on a dull and dark rainy day, with children, friends and loved ones. Lily’s crafted narratives will evoke happy memories of childhood upon those who pick up the book. I very much look forward to her future books.

“Whenever I am in Lyon, I always dash to the second floor of Musée des Beaux-Arts to stand in front of Gericault Mad Woman’s portrait. Last time, the guard of the museum looked at me strangely when he heard me calling her... Maria!” Am I to blame that she is identical to poor Maria, Aristides’ sister, of my childhood years?” - Lily Tsoni

Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Cambridge Pen (December 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 6188104823
ISBN-13: 978-6188104822