Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale is on Sat 6 Dec from 10am.

So the festival is all geared up, reindeer are on their way and the postcards are all hung in Passobello 174 High Road East Finchley N2 9AS.

Even better, there is a parking amnesty on, which means free parking on the high road.

All the cards are £20 and, just to remind you, we have cards by Dame Zandra Rhodes, Axel Scheffler, Richard Lumsden, Davina McCall, Magnus Irvin, Louisa Crispin, Simon Roberts, Nadege Meriau, Martin Shovel, Somon Ellinas, Ben Jennings, and many many more.

There is a sneak preview of a small number of the cards here

See you tomorrow.






A pen–to register; a key–
That winds through secret wards
Are well assigned to Memory
By allegoric Bards.

As aptly, also, might be given
A Pencil to her hand;
That, softening objects, sometimes even
Outstrips the heart’s demand;

That smooths foregone distress, the lines
Of lingering care subdues,
Long-vanished happiness refines,
And clothes in brighter hues;

Yet, like a tool of Fancy, works
Those Spectres to dilate
That startle Conscience, as she lurks
Within her lonely seat.

Oh! that our lives, which flee so fast,
In purity were such,
That not an image of the past
Should fear that pencil’s touch!

Retirement then might hourly look
Upon a soothing scene,
Age steal to his allotted nook
Contented and serene;

With heart as calm as lakes that sleep,
In frosty moonlight glistening;
Or mountain rivers, where they creep
Along a channel smooth and deep,
To their own far-off murmurs listening. 

William Wordsworth

If the older people in our families and communities are the archivists of our history, telling us stories about our past, connecting us and giving us a different perspective, then maybe photographs can do that too. Capturing, keeping and holding our past for us; connecting us to it.

For the many older people in our community who live with dementia, photographs have a particularly important role. They can be the trigger for those memories and stories, a place for reminiscence to start. They can remind us of the life the person before us once lived, remind us sometimes that they are a person, something that can sadly forgotten in the face of severe memory problems. A memory box, placed near a bed or by the door to a room in care home, is an important part of care in my view


So it is with great pleasure that I can introduce some of the brilliant photographers who have contributed to Age UK Barnet’s Secret Postcard Sale on 6 Dec in East Finchley.

Simon Roberts is a photographer whose work deals with our relationship to landscape and ideas of identity and belonging. His work includes photographs of England, Russia and of seaside piers, to his work on the Election Project, commissioned by the House of Commons Work of Art Committee. His photographs are held in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House,  Deutsche Borse Art collection and  the Wilson Centre for Photography.

US based photographer KH Krena’s work is painterly and involving. You can find her blog here

Coming back to Barnet, there are three great photographers who have kindly donated work.

Nadege Meriau is a young photographer with an impressive list of exhibitions and prizes to her name. Her work is stunningly beautiful, visceral and surreal and beautifully crafted.

Debbie Jaye is a landscape photographer and, as a local, many of her lyrical images will be familiar to residents of Barnet

And last, but by no means least, the wonderful Anne-Marie Sanderson, photographer at the Barnet Press, has donated a lovely selection of images. Her work is vibrant and beautifully constructed, with a lovely affectionate eye for her subjects – her website is well worth a few minutes of your time.

All these photographers, and work by others, will be on sale at the East Finchley Christmas Festival, so if you can spot them, you may well pick up a bargain. Head up to the north end of the high street, past the dog show, music and mince pie bake off, and you will find us in Passobello, all day.



Easy to love – grandparents and cartoons

grandpa reading 001

Grandparents come with many gifts and with many different styles. They don’t need to be related by blood to hold their place in our family – we can draw our families any way we want to.  They tell us stories – snapshots of our history, stories about ourselves, and tales with a moral for us to listen to. They can be funny and playful; observant and warm; gentle or sharp. It is a simpler, more direct relationship than with our parents, and somehow, because of that, the lessons we learn from our grandparents stay with us.

Befriending is a way to bring this relationship into your life. For more information about befriending see here:

What has this to do with cartoons? Within the pages of our newspapers, we hold them with a similar affection, unlike the hectoring of the editorial or columnist, or the rote facts of an article.


I’m really grateful to the very talented cartoonists who have donated to Age UK Barnet’s Secret Postcard Sale this year – do click on the links to see their work so that you can recognise it on the day.

Ben Jennings won the political cartoonist of the year in 2011. You can see his work in the Guardian and the I Paper, amongst many others. He tweets as @bjennings90 and his website is:

Simon Ellinas is a Barnet local. He has drawn for the Sunday Times, the News of the World and The Week. He tweets as @cartoono and his work can be found here:

And last, but by no means least, Martin Shovel. He has worked for the Daily Telegraph, amongst others. He tweets as @martinshovel and his website is:

Gentlemen, your contributions have given me huge pleasure. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity, to Age UK Barnet, if not to your subjects.

Readers, all the postcards will be on sale on 6 Dec in East Finchley, anonymously and for a fixed price, so see if you can spot one of these and nab yourself the kind of bargain your granny would be proud of.


Cooking up some fun

A fair amount of the activities of Age UK Barnet revolve around food: lunch in the day centres, or a shared meal at one of the lunch clubs – the Muslim Ladies lunch club on Wednesdays at the Ann Owens for example, are all popular and, for some of people it is the only freshly-cooked hot meal they get. Carrying shopping, managing hot pans, or having the hand strength to chop, can all get difficult when people are older and becoming frail or lose some of their sight.

We also run cookery classes for men around the borough – in Barnet & Southgate College, New Barnet Community Centre and Ann Owens Centre. These incredibly popular classes are lively and fun. Many of the men who attend are carers or recently widowed, so have only just taken on the role of cooking at home. Some just want an opportunity to brush up their skills, or get out of the house and meet others.

Read more here



Healthy living advice is available from our Ageing Well service, and from our Eat Well, where volunteers trained by dieticians give one-to-one support to older people in their own homes to improve their diet and eat more healthily.

For many older people, malnutrition is a real issue, because of problems cooking, or loss of appetite. Many people do not realise that as you get older, just as your hearing or vision may deteriorate, your sense of taste may also lessen, making food taste bland and unappetising.

Our volunteers can give advice on meal planning, online shopping, or adapting to a new diet.

You can find out more about our services here


Scan13Eating is, in the end, a social activity. No-one enjoys a meal eaten alone as much as they do sharing a meal with a friend.  Please come and share some sweetness with us by popping in to Boyden’s Kitchen, Church Lane, N2 from 2.30pm on 5 Nov, and make a postcard for the Secret Postcard Sale.



Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale 2014 – Magnus Irvin


Magnus Irvin is another artist who has kindly agreed to contribute to the Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale for the second time in a row.

His work is held in the collections of the V&A, the British Museum, the Arts Council of Britain, the Imperial War Museum, the Museum of London and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. He is a founder member of the London Institute of Pataphysics and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. And he is utterly lovely.

You kind find his work on his website here – the surreal, the scatological and the seascapes.  His work is beautiful, funny and brilliant, imbued with mischief and wonder.

However, for those readers of a delicate disposition, unwilling to explore the sections of his website entitled “poo” or “anus”, here is a lovely film of the man in action, painting something rather larger than a postcard.

Thank you so much Captain Magno, for all the sweetness and joy you bring.

A Community Effort – Local Businesses and Local Charity


The Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale – another little preview.

The relationship between local businesses and local charities is a complex one, but they both support each other.  Sometimes the relationships are easy to understand – the estate agents who sponsor primary school fairs for example. Both the schools and the agents benefit from the advertising placards, but the agents also benefit from having good, well-supported schools, because a good school pushes up house prices and therefore the commission the agents can achieve.

The relationship between Age UK Barnet and the businesses which kindly support it is a little less straightforward.  I could tell you that Age UK Barnet’s benefit advice service put £165,000 into the pockets of older people last year, money which is likely to be spent locally, rather than online or in town. I could also tell you that, whilst 14% of older people in Barnet live in poverty, the section of the community with the most available income is the 55-65 age group (who are often caring for their parents, our clients).

Older people both need and support local shops and services, because many are not online, and find transport a problem. A thriving high street is a necessity for them.

But generally the shops and businesses which support Age UK Barnet, like Tally Ho Discount @thfruitandveg or Funky Flowers @lisanthusliz, who helped support the recent fundraising concert that raised £1,600, do it out of kindness. And in return, I would like to express my gratitude to them and to the local businesses who have offered to make postcards for the Secret Postcard Sale.

Planet Jump @planet_jump_dw – supercool animators who donated last year too

Insight School of Art @paul_regan – art classes for 6-18 year olds

Maven Design – @mavendesign – websites and branding

Artists Resource @artistsresource – Art and Craft workshops for children and adults

Frame Stop @frame_stop – framing

Ann Froomberg Design – @annfroomberg – hand painted silks scarves and textiles and another second time contributor

Thank you all for your generosity

If anyone reading this would like to take part, please see more details here







Secret Postcard Sale – Carrie Reichardt

One of the artists who has already promised a postcard for the Secret Postcard Sale in aid of Age UK Barnet is craftivist Carrie Reichardt.

You can see her work at the moment in the V&A.

There is another review of the show here

Follow her on Twitter @carriereichardt

Thank you Carrie.

For more information about the sale and how you can take part take a look here