Virtual Activities Update & Christmas farewell events!

Hi everyone. Just a brief update this week with some pics from December’s activities, and details of an exciting event happening next week!

Next Wednesday: Abbey’s Festive Sing-a-long, 4.30pm

We hope some of you will join us for our festive choir session next week, a great way to say farewell to each other for the term and enjoy some classic tunes with our lovely tutor Deanne. You can download the lyrics by clicking this link. Please let Simone know if you’d like to come along – email her on and she’ll make sure you get the Zoom link.

If you miss Choir, our Afternoon Tea session next Friday 18th (3pm) will also be one not to miss – our last activity before the Christmas break. Cameos from all of us to say goodbye and happy Christmas! Again, get in touch with Simone if you’d like to join in.

Recent pics…

All our activities have been going well the last couple of weeks with many a festive chat, new recipe, and craft idea in our Zoom classes (see the timetable here). If anything catches your eye that you’d like to join in with next term, please do get in touch as we always welcome new members. All activities apart from Children’s Services are happening as normal next week, and then we break until 4th Jan.

Re-cycle-art updates here and here, and Colouring Calm here and here.

Virtual Activities Update: Bridget Riley, Book Club, and burgers!

As November was a lockdown month that meant an extra-busy month on Zoom activities for us. As well as starting two new activities of Tai Chi and Seated Exercise with our tutor Jane (plus moving Men’s Fitness with Augusto totally to Zoom) we did all of the below together and what fun we had! Remember to check out our timetable which has details of all our groups and courses and who to contact to get involved. We would love to hear from you.

Abbey Book Club, Last Wednesday of the month 3.30-5.30pm

Many thoughtful faces on the Zoom this week (twelve in fact) as we hosted our first ever virtual book club! We all read the book Lido by Libby Page. Lots of mixed opinions, with some thinking some aspects of the description and plot were simplistic, but others really admiring the depth of the characters and their relationships along with the authentic depictions of loneliness and mental ill-health. We all agreed it would make a fantastic feel-good film!

Next month the Book Club will be reading Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. If you’d like to join Book Club in the New Year, you can contact Bryony on

Creative Writing, every other Friday 10.30am – 12.30pm

We’ve had a great couple of sessions of Creative Writing this month, looking at the themes of ‘Distractions’ and ‘Windows’. (for Windows we did a writing exercise taking inspiration from the website – check it out! It lets you open a window anywhere in the world…) The group now has 12-13 ‘regulars’ and is always so lively, compassionate and inspiring. I always come out feeling like I have a whole new perspective on the poems I bring for us to read together! I had the luck of being sent poems by two members of the group, which are below..

“A rock when there’s woe
I look out of the window
& see a rock
waves gushing soothes me
your love is the anchor
my hope is in you alone”

Berni Godinho


First to fill the Iron
Don`t spill a drop
There`s a special little pourer
That came in the box.
Check it`s not sticky-
Did I put it on the floor?
The board`s been re-covered,
I adjust it just right,
Set the iron to steam,
And wait for the hiss-
Only cost me a tenner,
So I know one day it`ll miss.
Now for the shirt,
Of course I`ve got a method!
Start at the front-
Buttons `till last-
Arms in the sharp end,
Then pull it down,
Work my way round
Those two darts on the back,
Always annoying
Then it`s the arms,
Must get them even,
Till finally, I`m back,
To the front where I started.
Phew first one`s finished,
It goes on the hanger….
Oh no! what`s this? I`ve forgotten the collar!

– Anonymous

Colouring Calm, Tuesdays 2.30 – 3.30pm

Everytime Simone sends me her updates from Colouring Calm I’m in awe not only of the beautiful delicate artwork but also the imaginative meditations the group do beforehand! On the 18th they imagined visiting the Norwegian Fjords by boat, the water reflecting clouds like a mirror. A whale suddenly emerged from the water and waved with its flipper… and the week before that, they visited a Japanese garden, admiring the trees, flowers, pond, waterfall, pond and fishes… The group has welcomed more members recently and is always open to more!

‘Thank you for a great class as usual. Lovely to see all these friendly faces.’

Re-cycle-art, Thursdays 3-4pm

As well as some festive Christmas cards this month (recycling last years and adding extra bits and pieces of course), the group did a really interesting ‘Op Art’ project. This is a technique for creating optical illusions, inspired by famous painter Bridget Riley. Participants used their own hand outlines or objects and produced 3D drawings using colourful or black & white curves and straight lines. They were thrilled learning this technique and ended up producing many different versions. They created more after the class was over and sent them into Simone, see below… Vimal suggested our project for next week: eggshell mosaics.

Cooking Classes – Men’s Mondays 1.30-3pm, Mixed Cooking Thurs 1.30-3pm

See below for a vast array of delicious dishes demonstrated at our cooking groups this month: from stuffed peppers to falafel burgers, toad in the hole to fruity sponge pudding, pork chops and much more! Participants often enjoy making them again at home.

Afternoon Tea Fridays 3-4pm

Afternoon Tea is still going strong and we chat about everything from IT, Tai Chi, exercise, The Crown, allotments, grandchildren, cooking, markets and much more! It’s always so lovely to see people from Abbey and there is such warmth between everyone. We always enjoy welcoming new members!

Virtual Activities update: curries, great conversations and courageous writing

Hi everyone and hope you are well this week. Enjoy this peek into our latest Zoom sessions! For our up-to-date timetable and contact information, click here – there’s something for everyone’s lockdown, including this month two NEW exercise classes with our very own Jane which we’re sure will be very popular. We always welcome new members so if you want more info, please do email the person listed on the timetable 🙂

Cooking classes! Men’s and Mixed

Dishes cooked up at our cooking classes recently have been fish kiev, clementine cake, aubergine curry and a roasted cauliflower & walnut salad, and chicken en pappiot and carrot top pesto along with spiralized courgette salad. Wow! We’ve been receiving some great feedback for these sessions – people are finding them relaxing and trying the recipes out for themselves afterwards, which is wonderful to know.

Creative Writing & new Book Club!

Meeting my lovely Creative Writing group every fortnight continues to be one of the biggest joys of my lockdown and I am always amazed at the discussions we have. Themes this month have been Music (with lots of playing and sharing music through Zoom to help stir our creative impulses of course) and Black History Month. Next week we’ll be looking at ‘Distractions’… how do we distract ourselves and what do we distract ourselves from? Definitely an interesting one in store.

We’ve also had 14 sign-ups for our Abbey Book Club, starting 25th Nov. We’ll be reading The Lido by Libby Page which is a warm and thoughtful novel about community, intergenerational friendship and swimming!


Last week the group made pencil holders from recycled tins using paper, ribbons, recycled buttons and strings. Despite the cold and rainy weather everyone was in a very good mood! The project was easy and very relaxing, so we also chatted loads while decorating pencil holders.

‘We all had fun. Thank you.’
‘Best part is that we all have fun in these difficult times.’
‘My nik-nak holder from tinned tomatoes! Thanks everyone I had an enjoyable class.’

Colouring Calm

We’ve had a couple of new faces at our mindful colouring and meditation sessions recently which has been brilliant to see, including centre regular Nora who the other’s hadn’t seen since lockdown: ‘It was great being with the group once more and seeing everyone looking so well. Thanks Simone I enjoyed the session.’ In this session we imagined we were walking on beautiful fields and saw many small colourful butterflies appear… then enjoyed working on our pictures with background music.

Afternoon Tea

There’s always a warm atmosphere on our afternoon tea zooms as we enjoy catching up with each other. We’ve now combined the sessions into one big session which has enabled everyone to meet and greet each other and have a bit more time to chat. And the conversational ground covered is always quite something… from photography to amazon shopping to shisha bars to Christmas to vaccines… we hope to see you one afternoon very soon!

Crowdfunded tablets for the Kilburn Good Neighbours

You may remember a few months back that we did a successful Crowdfunder for the Abbey Community Centre to support our local members during the difficult months of lockdown and beyond. This money, over £2000, was matched by a hugely generous individual who will remain nameless but to whom we are so grateful!

As we used some of these funds to maintain and adapt our services, we wanted to make sure no one was left behind, especially those who were shielding. Knowing that some of our befriending scheme members would a. be shielding and b. did not have access to technology for staying digitally connected, we decided to buy and distribute some tablets and Sim cards with these extra funds for some of our more vulnerable members.

We then helped to get these delivered and set up, with support from our volunteer ‘Tech Buddies’. And although this isn’t something we’d normally do, we think it’s been well worth it during an extraordinary time.

The story below is from Kilburn Good Neighbours Project Manager Lydia…

“The first KGN lady, who is 82 years of age, has had her tablet for 2 months now and is on her 3rd month. It’s been quite interesting and this is my feedback: she is absolutely thrilled to be reconnected to the outside world as she was shielding since March and was very isolated. She has no family in this country and her friends do not live close by.  She did not have internet or a smart phone so this is the first time she can be connected. 

She reconnected with some old friends using email and is considering Zoom, although is still nervous about it. She said she was thrilled to get some photos via email. 

She uses the Morrisons telephone service for food delivery but she is now able to go onto the Morrisons website to browse through what they have and then order over the phone. She enjoys doing this. 

She used to be quite active writing letters into Camden New Journal, which gets published, so she is thinking she might do something similar again using the tablet. She browses random information as she knows how to use google search. For example, she is wanting to replace her cooker so she can look for this on the internet.

In this day and age, the internet helps us do so much to make our lives easier and less isolated, which many of us take for granted. We are so pleased that we’ve been able to support some of our members in this way and send a huge thanks to every single one of our donors. If you’d like to support us too, go to our JustGiving:

Autumn stews, aubades, and… Abbey Community Centre

This month we’ve made the move back to the community centre so can’t call this a full virtual activities update anymore! Though much is still taking place on Zoom as you’ll see below…

Men’s Cooking: Mondays 1.30-3pm with Lydia

We welcomed back our cooking tutor Lydia recently who has been showing the lads how to cook up beef shin ragu (+baguette with cheese!) and a Polish dish called perrogi (similar to ravioli) – both very hearty meals! The group love sharing their own cooking pics with each other, see below. Men’s Cooking has now moved to Monday afternoons and Joss and Lydia will be alternating running the sessions. If you know a guy who would love to get involved, contact Kafia on

Colouring Calm: Tuesdays 3.30-4.30pm

Re-introducing Colouring Calm to the centre has been going really well, with about half of the group coming along in person and the other half tuning in over Zoom! Everyone showed their drawings to each other at the end too. Last week we visualised walking in a forest during autumn, with golden leaves falling from the trees and a deer appearing at the end of the forest path… then enjoyed listening to a playlist of Doris Day, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and Eva Cassidy while colouring. If you’d like to join, email Simone on,uk.

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30-4.30pm

Can you believe that these beautiful images were created using fresh flowers, leaves and a hammer? Participants loved using this new technique and were amazed at the results. Jyoti even found a mini snail in the middle of her flowers! She took it back to the garden, of course. ‘I enjoyed this different and unique technique. I have never done it before’ ‘Enjoyable class today.’

The group are wanting to keep Re-cycle-art over Zoom for the time-being, but are always open to new members so if you fancy something different one Thursday, contact Simone on

Creative Writing: Every other Friday 10.30am-12.30pm

Our writing group continues to get great numbers and wonderful poems and prose pieces produced each session! Some I’m lucky enough to be able to post below… last week we looked at Aubades which are poems written in the morning, and next week we’ll look at Music. If you’d like to join in, email me on

“Walking between dimensions,
between realities,
people are lying because they are scare from themselves,
outside wants you to be another sheep,
slaves, slaves of consuming things what we don’t need,
thoughts who try to mould you,
High and lows,
I feel my body heavy as a grey stone
out space and underground.
Signals from your universe for move forward,
red, yellow and blue, 
powerful energies,
six two zero of the morning,
numbers for getting in action good changes,
enjoying the sound when most of the people are sleeping.”

– Emma

Kilburn Morning 

Rain at dawn
your tatty jeans
my new\old dress, retro?
the bell sleeves 
A new look 
still me

dark scrambles
Into light 
losing end or beginning
losing  touch
time elastic 
awakening possibilities 


From my mother a love of cooking 
From my father a love of books & solitude 
From my auntie a sense of fun 
From my sister a feeling that the world needs to change 
From my brother the drive to make my mark 
From our Tom cat I learnt how to fight 
From my teacher how to delve, create, persevere 
From my friends how to trust without fear 
From my enemies how to protect those that are dear 
From strangers that there can be kindness 
From my lover that there can be pain”

– Maria

Afternoon Tea: Fridays 3-4pm

Our Afternoon Tea session is a lovely chance to catch up with the familiar faces at Abbey, or make some new mates! We’ve decided to merge this into one big session, which will be taking place from 3-4pm from next Fri onwards. Still on Zoom for the time being. To join in email any of us or call 020 7624 8378 and we’ll pop you on the list!

We’re also excited to be introducing mixed cooking (on Zoom) and table tennis (at the centre) in the next couple of weeks! Click here for our latest activities timetable.

Virtual Activities Update: Origami, Inheritances, Corned Beef Hash!

Colouring Calm: Tuesdays 2.30 – 3.30pm

Colouring Calm has now made the transition to the centre with people still able to join in over Zoom as well! Some of the group have been colouring in their own drawings, such as Paulette’s big cat below and Jyoti’s flower pattern.

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30-4.30pm

This wonderful group have been making different origami flowers the past few weeks, including lotus flowers! Lots of concentration needed to get the folding right, but well worth it.

‘I’m looking forward to make the Lotus flower. I enjoy your session very much.’                    
‘You always come with brilliant ideas thanks.’
‘Thanks you Simone. Enjoyed it a lot.

Afternoon Tea: Fridays from 2.45pm

Our two afternoon tea sessions continue to be going strong. We have been having great chats and laughs, sharing about what we have been doing and talking about ACC reopening.

Men’s Cooking: Wednesdays 3-4.30pm

We’re reviewing the time of Men’s Cooking as it clashes with our new Men’s Fitness sessions at the centre, so watch this space for updates. We’ve been having fun though, with the lads making chicken pie with Joss last time and George leading the session this week – corned beef hash!

Creative Writing: Every other Friday, 10.30am-12.30pm

We had a great session today, using clothes to talk about identity, memories and shared experiences. Alexandra shared with me a wonderful poem from last session, which was inspired by poems on ‘Inheritances’.


One Christmas I did something
That bothered my whole family.
I gave my brother a book of poems
Written by Leonard Cohen.
My mother in particular was upset.
“Why did you give Jeff a poetry book?”
“What did you mean by it?”
“What were you trying to say?”
“You think he’s that kind of person?”
What kind of person?
She wouldn’t/couldn’t say.

A poem can bring a shaft of light
Into a person’s mind,
Guiding them into an unexplored space.

I just thought he might like the view.

As you know, we now have some things going on at the centre too. For all activities and details of how to get involved, click here! Though our Zoom groups have been going for quite a while now, we always welcome new members so please get in touch if you fancy anything one week.

Tech Buddies: Pray and Tony

As many of you will know, we quickly adapted our Tech Buddies project for the months of lockdown as it’s all the more important that those who want to get online can do so at this time. Our Tech Buddy volunteers have been supporting their older neighbours over the phone to use Zoom, talk to their families on Whatsapp, order online shopping and much more. Below is a lovely example of our volunteer Pray and member Tony who have been working together for a few months now.

Pray helping at the centre pre-lockdown.

Pray: I’ve been a Tech Buddy since 2017 when I started helping out at the Saturday sessions at the centre. Abbey is the only place I know that does tech volunteering specifically for older people and I wanted something IT-focused. The centre is lovely too – whenever I speak to the participants in the sessions they say they love the community spirit and that it’s a place you can meet others.

What’s easy for me IT-wise can be difficult for others so the Tech Buddy role feels like a really great way to help others. A small task for me can make a big difference to them. I’ve helped people to contact family over video calls for the first time, which in a way is life-changing. It’s also a flexible role for volunteers and we all get along too.

During Covid-19 it seems that the elderly in our community are becoming quite isolated. So I was happy to carry on with Tech Buddy volunteering over the phone, and was matched with Tony. We’ve done a few small things together so far. He was having issues with not being able to see the text on his screen so I helped him sort that. We also cleared the storage on his iPhone, which was preventing him taking Whatsapp calls, and helped him access his two email accounts. It’s harder doing it over the phone but you’re still helping out and I think Tony appreciates it. We have a chat about life too.

Tony: I’ve been receiving help from Pray for about a month. Before lockdown I came to Abbey and tried to get help to make letters larger on my screen. Not being able to see them was stopping me doing lots of things I wanted to do. So I was happy that Lydia set me up with Pray. He’s a really kind person. We talk most Saturdays over the phone – I’m 85 and I’m shielding.

Another thing we’ve done is get my printer set up, it’s really helpful to have my own one. It helps me pursue my spiritual work which is important to me. I forget things quite a lot as well so it’s useful to have Pray to remind me of what we’ve covered before and how to do things so I get used to them.

The way the sessions were set up at the centre was really nice. I look forward to returning to them when all this has passed.

A Saturday Tech Buddies session, pre-lockdown.

We would like to thank London Catalyst who awarded us a grant in May, which has made continuing our Tech Buddies work during Covid-19 possible.

Virtual Activities Update: Pineapple cake, shadow art and a Moroccan Miracle

It’s been another lovely fortnight at Virtual-Abbey. See what we got up to below.

Men’s Cooking: Wednesdays 3.30 – 4.30pm

At cooking with Joss in the last two weeks, the lads were cooking up chicken, chickpea and fenugreek curry and pineapple upside-down cake. They are looking forward to next week’s session as member and cafe volunteer George will be leading them in making a dish he is familiar with from working at Abbey’s Community Lunch. We are really pleased that Joss will be continuing these sessions for the time-being so if are a man over 60 and would like to join in, contact Kafia on

Afternoon Tea – Fridays from 2.45pm

We expanded our Afternoon Tea sessions recently as members of our first session wanted more time to catch up! Here they are enjoying a catch up with Kafia 🙂 If you fancy a chat to kick off your weekend then do contact us on 020 7624 8378 and we’ll let you know how you can get involved.

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30pm

Lights, shadow, paint! Our shadow artwork session on Thursday 13th Aug was fantastic! We cast light from our mobile torches onto our house plants or any other object we could find around our homes and traced the distorted shadows on white paper. After that we painted our drawings. The group found it very relaxing. It was a hot day, but we all kept on good spirits.

Colouring Calm, Tuesdays 3.30 – 4.30pm

We had a lovely and very relaxing session last week despite the hot weather. We made sure we all had cool drinks just beside us to keep hydrated. This time we imagined we were floating in a swimming pool during breathing exercises. We welcome back Catherine, she joined us from Ireland! As always, if you’d like to join in with either of these lovely groups, email Simone on

Creative Writing, every other Friday 10.30am-12.30pm

This week we discussed sharing, touching on themes of community, connection and generosity. Alexandra sent me a moving story about a group holiday which I have shared below. This group is always open to new members so if you fancy it, don’t hesitate to contact me on All ages 18+ and abilities welcome.

A true story of generosity

Neat short back and sides haircut
Long-sleeved shirts and flannel trousers
Pale face and diffident manner
This was John on a Moroccan minibus holiday
Alone with four trendy women
And five extrovert Australian men.

Did he fit?  No
Was he a one-off person?  Certainly
Was he anxious?  Probably
Was he going to have a miserable time?  Maybe
Was he brave?  Very

John read electricity meters.  He started early and ran from house to house, street to street.  By lunchtime he was finished. Then John continued to do what he liked best: running.

Two days spent in Casablanca and  five days driving around the Moroccan desert. The minivan was full of music and chatter.  The Australians were very jokey and there was lots of laughter.  And John?  Was the oddball to be the butt of jokes, the recipient of tricks, to be ignored and cast away,  the common lot of those who do not fit the common mould?

Anyone seen John?  He’s disappeared
He’s off running again
Every time we stop !
Must be training for a marathon!
He’s run back to Casablanca!
Come on John.  Lunch is ready.
Come and join us Aussies, John
Move up and make room for John
You enjoying the dessert, John?
You a long distance runner?
How many cups have you won?
Let’s go for a run together, John

Back in Casablanca it’s the last day of the holiday.  Everyone is sharing a meal. The Australians are having fun teasing John about his running.  Everyone is laughing, including John.  Then he clears his throat and stands up.

“I know I am a slightly odd and rather unusual.  A lot of people find me difficult and usually ignore me. I’m used to this.  But this holiday has been different.  You have made a point of including me in everything and your acceptance of me has meant so much, I cannot tell you how much.  This has been the best holiday I’ve ever had.  Thank you everyone.  Thank you.”

“It’s been great having you around John.  See you in Aussie next year.”

© Alexandra C.

What’s coming up:

Choir Course (6 weeks course led by Deanne from Mary Ward): from 23rd September to 28th September on Wednesdays 4pm -5pm
Dance Course (9 weeks course led by Emma Weir from Mary Ward):from 25th September to 20th November. On Wednesdays 2pm-3pm.

Contact Simone for details of how to join.

Virtual Activities Update: Mosaics, Metamorphoses and Maurice x 2

Creative Writing: Every other Friday, 10.30am-12.30pm

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cw7thaug2.png

We continue to have lots of fun at Creative Writing every fortnight, with a bumper group of twelve today! Last week Liz sent me some of her wonderful, evocative poetry and gave me the privilege of publishing it here.

A Noise That Has Startled Me, Fear By Elizabeth Uter

The bus rattles away and is lost in the dark mumble
of a place that isn’t anywhere I know. 
‘Wait-a-Bit’ Jamaica.
Tree frogs warble their joyous chant.
There is slithering sin in the night grass 
to each side of the road
and the buzz of a bulb hanging before the static police station.
The rustle of clothes as I turn to my brother and he to me,
deep breath in –  the exhaling hijacked by mosquitoes 
squeezing, sneezing, breezing by.
The stiff swish of two nodding heads –
the middle of nowhere, in a foreign land, past sundown,
has the staccato beat of a movie-track and foolish folk
who are entering a vampire’s lair.
We hold hands – warmth swarms out of our hands – 
becomes one with the stifling heat.
We walk up creaking stairs, feet dragging against 
chipped wood, then onto the floorboards of the porch.
There is a single body in the shade, 
silent, still as a primed grenade on a table.
He shifts forward and up from his squishy chair,
the light halos him a moment, chitters
like burning flames, we see him, in his uniform
that is screaming out authority’s name.
I open my mouth that has lost words in a dry throat
bleaker than an endless desert – swallowing, once, twice
until wet smack of spittle allows me to say: “we are lost, 
we took the wrong bus, our family is waiting for us”
The long, watching face of the cop, lasts the length of 
a screech of nails across a doomed school blackboard. 
He jerks his head for us to follow, 
there’s a scrape of buckled belt, 
and buttons that back him up.
We drift like shadows into a ghostlike realm
of bullet proof vests, knives, sprays, walkie-talkies.
But no message home as yet. He stands behind a grand desk, 
offers us two stools before him, a king in a court 
of complete control as jaws twitch, veins throb aloud. 
We scuttle forward like mice cornered between 
a cat and a trap. He unholsters 
his gun, leather cracks, he aims at us. We gasp. 

What Must Come By Elizabeth Uter

“Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There is an awful shrug and, suddenly,
You’re beautiful for as long as you live.”

I wonder do butterflies perceive 
in different ways from caterpillars? 
See, hear, touch, taste,
smell from separate wombs of life?
There isn’t any right or wrong to this.
Complete metamorphosis 
– like a green-screened film 
into a vast technicolor vista of dots, 
flitting the global sky-scapes. 
They flow into numerous worlds, 
spurts of rainbow lights
to make the myriad human  
mouths turn up, curl into smiles.
Inexorably drawing 
two different animals into one.
Once – all was vast consumption.
Selfish, me first, blind devotion
to devouring, chops up, chops down.
Shovelling in the fuelling food. 
Perhaps with faint awareness
that they are here to create 
a later, better self?
Hunger’s edge cutting 
the stomach in two
again and again – 
a food transport lorry,
loading up time after time, 
until the 
And there it is…
only the thoughts 
fluttering from a mind that
sees the world anew.
are the saints of the air waves
painting the sky with their
myriad colours to delight,
from unimaginable heights.
They see interconnected 
webs of life before them.
Pollen bling clings to busy legs, 
glamorous as they search for nectar, 
all in a day,
gently brushing the wide 
faces of open flowers. 
Unlike their younger, shallow, 
shadow self, always on track,
the way they behave, dictated 
by a generous need to keep giving back.

Young Girl Meets Boy King by Elizabeth Uter 

It has travelled from countless countries,
his wonder of the world and I am all smiles
and sighs as we move up, in an endless awe of  
a queue we have stood in for hours. 
My feet are sore, head heavy, we have driven 
forever and a hundred miles to be here.
The glory of kings still manifesting their mastery over
us, lesser mortals – a sway of three thousand years or more
– he hasn’t lost his touch – holding subjects captive. 
We enter the hush of a room like a church 
in the dark and 
as my child hands reach towards the 
encased mummy in tomb, 
fingers are stopped by thick glass.
My eyes, dazzled wide by the treasure –  
the golden, glittering return of a king 
to the world of the living,
from the valley of the dead.
Gold is an undying x that marks the spot 
as far as the eye can see, exhibited.
Records that crumble to dust 
but not the precious yellow.
Reproduced in books, magazines, TV.
The boy king’s fragile masked head
beyond the price that a pen can fix. 
A voice circles like a hawk over dunes
above us and in ever decreasing circles
until it’s gone:
“The exhibition will open
with the beautiful painted-wooden 
torso of a young king, 
18th dynasty…”
Curses entomb him.
Faithful priests have wrapped 
him tight, smothered him 
in blessings and praises.
I peer at his glowing, 
deathly face – he, like me
seems tired at the end of a long day,
I think his blue eyeliner
is running at the sides  
– the deep blue glass –
I see his sad, tranquil, gemstone eyes, 
liquid as if ready to cry.

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30pm
Last week: Mosaics with grains!

Participants had to use patience and focus for this project, gluing small pieces of lentils, pasta, rice, beans, sunflowers seeds and even crisps over their chosen drawings (animals, insects, cupcake and abstract drawings). Nevertheless, we had great fun too! We welcomed back Christine, she joined us through WhatsApp and sang happy birthday to her.

This week: Initials

This project was a little tricky, it required loads of cuts, curling and folding, but the Recycle-art group simply excelled! Participants chose their favourite initial, not necessarily their own and they produced beautiful embellished ones. We were happy to have Sam back to the session as well.

Colouring Calm: Tuesdays 3.30pm

We imagined during our breathing relaxing that we were walking on the countryside fields, on very soft grass covered with very delicate and colourful flowers. It was a lovely session and we even stayed a bit longer chatting. Jean’s cat visited us again while we were listening birds singing as a background sound. Paulette enjoys drawing her own colouring pages, she is very talented.

‘Love your class Simone. Lovely ladies all together chilling out.’

Afternoon Tea: Fridays from 2.45pm

We have such a chuckle at our Afternoon Tea sessions so join us one Friday if you haven’t already! The perfect way to end a week. Even in the scorching weather the Abbey regulars have been coming along, iced drink in hand. Maurice’s favourite thing is to log in twice on phone and laptop – so we have Maurice but also his evil twin…

As always, if you’d like to join in with any of our activities call us on 020 7624 8378 🙂

Virtual Activities Update: Salmon en croute, statues and the seashore!

Men’s Cooking – Wednesdays 3-4.30pm

Last Wednesday we had our first Zoom Men’s Cooking session and both that week and this week it’s gone down a storm – along with the vibrant green risotto and salmon en croute the lads cooked up! Thanks very much to Joss for running these sessions for us this month. It’s a great chance for everyone to have a catch up and cook some delicious food. Joss even has two cameras set up on the Zoom so both she and the food she’s prepping can be seen!

Creative Writing – Every other Friday, 10.30am – 12.30pm

I had a great time leading the session this morning which was themed around creativity and our experiences of the arts. We had a group of 12 today including new participant Janet, which was lovely. You can read the session pack here and some great poems by our Derek below!


I am not a sculptor
But if I were
I would make a statue of Dominic Cummings
And put it up one morning in Parliament Square
So that a whole crowd of us
Could spend a joyous afternoon
Tearing it down and dragging it
Down to the Thames embankment
And chucking it in.

I made it all up

Jane Austen and I live in a grand mansion
Surrounded by beautiful grounds with
Fine mature trees and a lake.
The grass is cropped by discretely distanced sheep
To a comfortable length for wandering across
And early each morning unseen servants
Remove all the shit.

The skies are always blue with a few small clouds
Which never seem to obscure the sun.
Our companions are bright and witty and invariably
Attired in unaccountably clean and smart Regency costume.
They arrive in spotless horse-drawn carriages
Along smooth and rutless drives.

The meals are delicious and served with fine wine.
In every room candles gleam all day
Despite the bright sunshine streaming in through
Well polished window panes.

Our mansion is well-maintained and sound
And not a penny spent on its upkeep and improvements
Came from the slave trade or plantations.


(Of course I made all this up from watching telly)

Re-cycle-art: Thursdays 3.30pm

This week the group had great fun making these adorable chicks from cardboard, old leaflets, newspaper, maps or magazines, and welcomed new member Paulette. They also enjoyed a serenade from Jean’s cat singing along with Sally’s parrots!

’I really enjoyed the session.’
‘Thank you for caring for us all.’
‘Thank you for a good session.’
‘Nice to see everyone.’ ’
Hi Simone, my first recycle art and I loved it.Thank you so much for letting me join and thank you everyone it was a great workshop.’

Colouring Calm – Tuesdays 3.30pm

“This week we imagined we were walking on the seashore, catching shells and feeling the waves reaching our feet…”

If you’d like to join in any of these sessions, or Afternoon Tea on Fridays (3pm and 3.40pm) then just give us a call on 020 7624 8378 🙂 Monday – Friday 10am-4pm.

Happy weekend!