19 March 2017

Member’s Profile: Belinda Evans

Q: How long have you lived in Forest Hill?
A: My partner Keith and I moved to Forest Hill in 2006. I lived in Hither Green before moving here, and Keith was in Islington.

Q: What is your role in the Forest Hill Society?
A: I am the Membership Secretary of the Forest Hill Society, which means I keep a record of members and when they renew their membership. We have a complicated spreadsheet which I attempt to keep in some type of order and try not to delete, lose or destroy.

Q: How can people to join the Society?
A: There are many ways to join the Society and the easiest way is either by using PayPal or a standing order, which automatically renews you membership every year. Details are on the Forest Hill Society’s website. It's hard to remember when your membership renewal is due.

Q: What do you grow in your garden?
A: Since we have a very large garden we grow a lot of our own produce. We have many apple trees — both cooking and eating apples — gooseberry bushes blackcurrant bushes and rhubarb. We always grow potatoes, runner beans, courgettes and salad leaves. We’re also lucky enough to have a greenhouse, in which we grow tomatoes and aubergines. We are trying to grow grape vines, but we’re not having much luck yet. My husband is jealous of the vine at Alexandra Road Nursery, but it must be a very old established vine so, fingers crossed, our vine will eventually produce some actual grapes.

Q: How many chickens live with you?
A: We have four chickens in the garden: Lily, Lavender, Mandy and Tweedy. They are actually the chickens from Sydenham School which had to be re-homed due to the school’s rebuild. They are very amusing birds and have funny, individual personalities. Mandy is the boss, Lily and Lavender are the naughty bantams and Tweedy just follows the crowd. They have just started laying eggs again after a winter off, so are earning their keep. They love roaming the garden (but only when we are in the garden as there are lots of foxes resident here) and scratching about for bugs and tasty treats.

Q: What do you like most about living in Forest Hill?
A: I really like Forest Hill as it has great train connections to central London now and also seems to have quite a few independent cafés and shops. We actually now mainly go out in Forest Hill rather than travel into town. Since I work in west London, it's hard to go back out again once I get home.

Q: What are your favourite local shops?
A: We go to the All Inn One pub quite a bit (or Steve's house, as my husband calls it!) and love the Perry Vale. We’re very happy to use Waters’ fishmonger and greengrocer, which stocks a good range of veg, and the prices always take us aback as they’re so reasonable. I have a policy of buying all my presents for birthdays or special occasions from Bunka, as there is always something unusual and interesting there. It's a real treasure trove!

Q: If you could bring any shop in the world to Forest Hill what would it be?
A: I'm quite excited to see the arrival of Superdrug as I do like the offers and products there and think it's going to be a good addition to Forest Hill. It's a chain, I know, but let's hope it encourages others to consider investing in the area. I love the products in Il Mirto — if you haven't tried the burrata cheese you are missing out. I would love to see a lovely Italian restaurant in Forest Hill; we have two great pizza restaurants but nowhere really for good pasta. Perhaps we could encourage Trattoria Raffaele in Sydenham to open up on Dartmouth Road?

Q: Other than the Forest Hill Society, are you involved in any other groups in the local area?
A: I am involved in a local book group that meets monthly in the All Inn One. I was also part of a Wednesday walking club that walked for an hour early on a Wednesday evening, but I haven't gone for a long time. Perhaps, now the lighter evenings are nearly here, I may start walking again as it's fantastic to get out and walk and to get to know the local area even more.

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