Friday, November 30, 2007

Sainsburys Revisited

I went back to Sainsburys the other day and was disappointed to discover that not only has the recycling bin for cartons failed to return but the one that they had put back for electrical items has also disappeared.

Following my first visit to the re-opened store I did email Sainsburys asking if the carton bin was going to be coming back. I was told that I would get a response from the store manager, I never did.

It does make you feel that despite superficial efforts to appear to be green Sainsburys really doesn't care very much for the idea. It certainly doesn't take complaints about the matter seriously.

I've now got the very awkward choice of either throwing my electrical items (which admittedly are few) and juice cartons (which are many) in the bin or going to ASDA to do it. And If I'm going to ASDA why not shop there? Now much as I really dislike the local ASDA store the idea of throwing all the cartons away when I know that I can recycle them seems like the greater of the ills.

So I might be becoming a reluctant ASDA customer...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Win tickets to see Led Zep, well if you hear about it anyway...

The Council are running a competition to win tickets to see the Led Zeppelin show at the O2 from their (our?) corporate box.

So how did I discover this piece of hot news?

Perhaps the Time newspaper? No.

Or I'm on the Council's E-Alert email list that gives all the latest news, maybe through that? No.

I found out about it from a comment made to a post on the excellent Greenwich Watch web site.

Details of the competition can be found here.

I should point out that there is a link to the competition from the Council's Home Page, how many people check that often though? You'd have thought that this is exactly the sort of thing for which the e-mail alert system was made for. Maybe it's just too busy offering scraps from the O2 to deal with this sort of thing.

Anyway five pairs of tickets are on offer. How many seats does the box have? I wonder who else will be going...

The Pointer Sisters (not) at the O2

I've commented before how AEG appear to use Greenwich Council to provide bums on seats for concerts or events that apparently haven't sold out.

Well once again on Tuesday someone at the O2 must have counted up how many tickets were sold for the Pointer Sisters gig in the IndigO2 and panicked somewhat. As if by magic a rapid response unit at the Council sent out an email offering free tickets to Greenwich Card holders.

It's nice to see they can be rapid about some things, unlike they are with us mere Council Tax payers complaining about burglar alarms.

Anyway today I find another email waiting for me, last nights gig was cancelled, at "very short notice."

They then go on to say "GreenwichCard negotiates and passes on offers from organisations such as AEG in good faith - so obviously we cannot take responsibility for late cancellations etc. Please be assured we are concerned about this and will be checking with AEG at The O2 to find out what happened."

So I wonder if it was actually cancelled a bit before the Council were told about it, if indeed they were told about it. That might be about as miffed with AEG as they dare to sound. Well perhaps miffed enough so as to get them to lay on free drinks in the Council's Executive Suite?

From AEGs point of view there might have been a fair few extra punters at the O2 wondering around with nothing to do after a cancelled gig, except spend money in the bars, restaurants or cinema....

So will the Council keep on accepting the scraps that AEG/The O2 throw them and making it sound like we're getting a great deal or might this mark a change in the relationship?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cutty Sark Update

The News Shopper web site has put a story up with an update on what's happening at the Cutty Sark, read it here.

Thankfully, as I hoped when it happened, it doesn't sound like the fire did too much damage at all. Basically the Iron Work appears to be fine and only about 10% of the planks were charred by the flames.

A couple of things were lost but they're apparently not original features of the ship and one of them isn't going to be replaced.

So all told it was an incredibly lucky escape. Hopefully some good will come out of the fire, maybe those of us who are local(ish) to the ship will realise how special she is and how lucky we are to have her in Greenwich.

Anyhow good news that's perked me up on a cold Monday morning :)

Foo Fighters at the O2

So last night I went off to go and see the Foo Fighters playing at the O2. I don't want to go into too much detail about the band other than to say that they were really rather good, as per usual.

However I will talk about the O2 for a bit. I've been to the Arena a couple of times now, once for the opening night and again for Andrea Bocelli. This time I was sat high up along the side. The sides are really steep, I worried for a moment what would happen if I slipped, it looks possible to roll all the way down and fall over the edge. I'm sure it's impossible though. What the steep sides did do was to give us a fantastic view of the stage. The sound quality was great as well.

I went with a friend who's not been there before and he was impressed with the Arena itself and also the easy access to food and drink facilities as well as the loos. However he's not been to the revamped Wembley Stadium or Arena so he's not totally up to date on the O2s competition.

All told I think the O2 Arena is a great Arena venue. Sure I'd rather see the bands in a small club but that's just not going to happen. The O2 makes Arena concerts about as good as they can be.

The only slight downer to the evening were the smokers. I popped out to the loos at one point and suddenly a female member of staff burst in and demanded that whoever was smoking stop, they'd set off a smoke alarm and it was claimed the management were on the verge of evacuating the venue. Maybe that was a bit exaggerated but to be honest I can see the management panicking when a smoke alarm goes off in the loo. Sure it's probably a smoker but can they risk it?

Also a woman in the row in front of us was smoking. She was trying to do it furtively, bending down in her seat with one hand covering the end of the fag. Was she really so stupid as to think that she could do it and not be noticed?

A part of me was angry that people were flouting the rules and making me smell of smoke, something I thought I'd never have to go through again at gigs.

A bigger part actually felt quite sad and sorry for those individuals who are so hooked on their addiction and lack sufficient self control so that that have to skulk off somewhere like a teenager at school for a crafty fag somewhere.

It's not big, it's not clever and it makes you look like a real idiot.

Anyhow a top venue and a top band.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sainsburys Open Again!


I managed to only go to ASDA once during the time it was closed, that was bad enough, I'm happy to see Sainsburys open again.

So what did I think?

Well the first thing I noticed is that the recycling bin for juice and milk cartons hasn't reappeared. There's a new run of recycling points for all sorts of things and a pink wheely bin for electrical things but no bin for cartons. I wasn't impressed. I'll try contacting them and asking if it's going to make a reappearance.

What about the changes inside?

Well the store seems strangely simultaneously bigger and smaller. It all seems much brighter than it used to be. Maybe it's just that I've never noticed the roof before but I noticed it this time. All big and curving over your head with what seemed to be a fair amount of glass windows.

So that's why it's bigger, why smaller?

I can't quite put my finger on why. Many, if not all, of the aisles have been moved about and maybe that's it. Perhaps there's less space between the sides, or maybe they're shorter. A very strange effect anyway.

I didn't notice anything new that made me think "oo, that's good." There's no new take-away or cooked food counter for example. However there wasn't a queue when I got to the tills, zoom, straight through I went. That's despite the shop actually feeling quite busy too. Could there be any marketing logic for making people spend longer around the shelves on the off chance they'll pick up an impulse purchase but quicker at the tills so their last impression is positive? Could they have made the layout a bit cluttered on purpose?

Oh and one final thing at least for today they weren't giving out carrier bags, they were giving out free "bag for life" things. These are tough plastic bags that they'll replace if/when they wear out. In the future they will be charging for them.

Although I admit that's a good idea I can't help but miss the old carrier bags. I used to use them for my recycling. I'll have to get some of the clear bags from the council. Though the idea of getting bags with the express purpose of then just recycling them somehow seems less "green" than reusing the side effect of my normal shop for the same purpose.

Anyhow, welcome back!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Police to talk with gang leaders

Apparently it's bad blogging form to just post up a link to an article elsewhere and then give a few opinionated comments about it.

Oh well.

It's Friday and I'm waiting for some work to finish so I'll do it anyway.

According to the BBC, click here, the Police are to hold talks with several south London gangs. Greenwich is one of the Councils involved.

Now on the one hand it's worked in America so there's got to be something to it.

On the other is it just giving the little scruts the attention, profile and "respect" that some say they are after? Without the guns and violence the closest those gang members would get to a senior police officer would be passing them by in the Police Station as they're dragged to the cells for stealing cheap cider from Morrisons. So they listen to some big guy rapping about rolling with his gun packing homies, think they're in down town LA rather than SE7 and start popping caps in peoples bottoms.

So anyway you end up with feral children with no hopes or dreams, other than perhaps to end up as another "fallen soldier" when someone from the postcode next door takes a dislike to them. Then they begin to get attention and one to one chats with big and important people. Is that really going to encourage them to stop playing silly sods or will it just reward them and incite them to keep on doing what they do?

I also wonder how bad the gang situation really is? Is it really that serious or is it just the latest thing that the media like to go on about?

There's meant to be the gang at the top of the hill, the Cherry Boys, and Woolwich has a few too. There's also been one incident of gun shots within a couple of minutes walk from me. I can say that I'm hearing about it far more now than I used to but I don't think I'm actually seeing any more evidence of it.

I still feel pretty safe around here and toddle around without too much concern. Head in the sand?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Smoke on the water

There's a big fire at the Olympic site in Statford, click here for some more information on it.

I popped out to have a look and there's an awful lot of smoke and it's heading south from the fire and passing over Charlton.

It looks quite nasty and I hope that no one's been hurt.

Looking to Statford from down by the river.

Looking up the hill, a very dark sky.

Trying to give some impression of how the sky looks, to the left of the antigallican it's blue, to the right it's black. It looks a lot more impressive than it does in the photo.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Charlton vs. Cardiff City

Did anyone else notice how noisy and rowdy the fans seemed after yesterday's football match? Normally the crowds coming and going are really good and if I'm elsewhere in my flat it's easy for them to slip in and out of the stadium without attracting my attention at all.

Yesterday was a bit different. There was a fair bit of noise and singing going on, there seemed to be police shouting at the crowd getting them to stop pushing and stay back and the crowd were singing back slightly offensive ditties about the de Menezes case.

I can't help but wonder if these were the Cardiff City fans, that would explain the difference in behaviour. They also had just seem their team get a 3-0 drubbing so perhaps they weren't in the best of moods.

However even though the crowd seemed rowdy by usual standards they weren't really a problem. I don't think anything's been broken and it didn't seem to be anything more serious than a bit of shouting and pushing.

It says a lot about how well behaved the fans that come here are that yesterday was the worse I've ever witnessed them behave and it really wasn't that bad at all.

Sure I have to move my car when the games are on but living so close is an interesting experience.

The idiots who were at the "party" in the club thing on Charlton Church Road and were still shouting at top volume to each other in drunken voices at 12.30am were far more of an annoyance.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blackheath Railway Tunnel

If you're observant as you walk up to Blackheath from Charlton as you enter the Standard you'll notice a gap in the run of houses on your left along Charlton Road. Looking off to your right you'll see that there's a road, Invicate Road, running almost directly opposite it. It looks almost as if the road used to cross Charlton Road and run between the houses.

If you check it out on Google Earth you'll see it really clearly indeed. There's a very obvious gap running in a straight line all the way south to Shooters Hill Road.

It puzzled me when I noticed this at first and I wondered if it might be some old road or railway that had been removed.

However a Google Earth session shows that the north end of the gap lines up with where the rail tunnel emerges back above ground. It's also easy to image a curve linking up the southern end with the entrance into the tunnel to the east of Blackheath station.

As far as I know that railway has always been in a tunnel. However could the gap above it be because it was dug using the cut and cover technique? That is rather than tunnelling you dig a big trench and then build a roof before covering it back over.

Looking around on the internet I can find mention of some kind of accident in the tunnel in 1850 but with no details. The station dates back to 1849 so that does suggest that the railway never ran above ground.

Does anyone know?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sainsburys closing for a while

The Sainsburys store in the Millennium Retail park is closing soon, in fact if I read the sign right I think that today was it's last day. I think that it's closing for about two weeks. I did get a leaflet about it but I think I filed it with my recycling.

The store's being refurbished with a new bakery, amongst other things, being added to it. Again the leaflet had all the information but I can't find it...

Basically I can't shop there for a couple of weeks. So what's an average Sainsburys shopper to do? Well logic would say that I should go to ASDA, it is after all actually closer to me. However for some reason I've never liked ASDA, what they sell just doesn't seem as good. I do know that in the end one's Supermaket preferences are really pretty arbitrary and that they're all much of a muchness. So in the end I know I'll be fine.

I will be looking forward to it reopening though, oh yes.

One thing that does appear to have gone from the store already are the recycling facilities. My blue bins already full up (three households, one bin) with a week to go before it's collected. I get in the habit of taking my extra stuff shopping with me and popping it into the bins at Sainsburys, plus they had a bin for recycling juice cartons of which I produce a lot.

Left with a few bags I headed up the hill to the recycling bins that I knew were in the village. However they don't have the one for taking the juice cartons, which is a shame.

If I'd remembered by own posts I'd have recalled that ASDA does have a juice carton bin. So it looks like ASDA will be my best bet for the next couple of weeks.

I do hope all the bins return to Sainsburys though. Once the recycling collection shifts to weekly I won't need to take my regular recycling down there but I will still need to dispose of those waxed cartons.

Oh and on the subject of recycling someone has been popped bags of it into the normal green bin. Odds on it being one of my neighbours who seeing the blue bin full couldn't be bothered to take it somewhere else and just binned it, which is kind of a shame. Again that'll be fixed by weekly blue bin collection so it'll be over soon.

Blackheath Fireworks!

So last night I was up in Blackheath watching the fireworks. As usual it was excellent, I really enjoyed the show.

We were told by the announcer that we'd be seeing some things that had never been seen anywhere before, I'm not too sure what they were though. There were jets of flames that were "dancing" to the music, a huge wheel suspended by a crane letting off fireworks and some odd dancing light things that I couldn't quite see properly from our position. I'd have loved to have seen those dancing lights up close, they look really rather nice from what I could see of them.

So basically another great show. A huge pat on the back to Greenwich Council, Lewisham Council and everyone else involved in both putting it together and keeping it free.

Getting home was nice and easy too. We tried to stop at the Royal Standard pub in Blackheath for a drink but while it wasn't actually packed there was a huge queue for the bar. I think a lot of people were ordering food and/or hot drinks so there was a fair wait for service. We gave up in the end and returned later in the evening when it had calmed down somewhat.

Anyway a great evening and if you've never been to the show you've got to give it a try one year.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Blackheath Fireworks Tomorrow!

Well it's that time of year and there's the big firework show up at Blackheath tomorrow night at 8pm.

If you've never been before then let me just say that it's a really good show. I've been to a fair few shows over the years and this one is one of the best, it's also free!

I know that I knock Greenwich Council a fair bit but they, along with Lewisham Council, deserve a big pat on the back for putting the show on.

Here are the links to the two Councils' pages about the show:

Lewisham have by far the better page, a fair bit more information and a mention of the company, Festival Fireworks, who are helping put the show on.

Not content with having a lazy minimal page Greenwich Council seem to rise to the occasion and also squeeze in some some ineptitude too.

The map link they provide is this.

As far as I can recall the show centres around here, about half a mile to the east.

Let's face it, it's a stonkingly big fireworks show, half a mile isn't a lot. However I don't think it would have taken much effort to get the map right.

Edited to Add:An anonymous poster has said that the organisers are advising people to get there for 7.30 for the "warm up". Not sure quite what they will be but it's sound advice and I'll be heading up there a bit earlier than I would otherwise have done.