Sunday, March 02, 2008

A return to Charlton

I've been bubbling away about leaving Charlton for quite a while now, this weekend I took some serious steps towards it with a scouting mission to somewhere far away from here. Queue drives through country lanes, over old stone bridges and around various towns that I've never seen before.

I'm not naive and I know that everywhere has problems, but I did see some very nice places, and some quite ropey ones.

Charlton has taught me lessons. The best of those has been that the area has history and that I really appreciate and enjoy that. I've spent some years in my life living in a soulless commuter estate or two. After driving for several hours only to end up in an estate that felt so much like somewhere I used to live the point was hammered home that I don't want to be somewhere like that again. I'd far rather have a smaller home than one of those large commuter homes but have it somewhere interesting, somewhere you can connect with, somewhere that exists for a reason other than it being a large plot of land near a station or main road.

So I got rather sentimental about Charlton. The river, Charlton House, the history all around us and so on and so forth.

Then I come home.

It's bin day tomorrow and the morons around and the morons around here seem determined to enter some sort of incompetent muppet competition with the Council when it comes to the new bin scheme.

There's so many black sacks out and green bins with plastic bags poking out of them. How hard is it? Come on really? What's wrong with all of them.

I then read about another local blogger who's having that problem with his own bins and feel strangely lucky.

There is so much that I like about this area and while I do tell my friends that a major motivator for me leaving is wanting a bigger place without a bigger mortgage, however in all honesty I've got to admit that the uncaring minority of idiots is playing a bigger part than perhaps I want to admit.


Anonymous said...


Firstly, thanks for a SUPERB blog!

I was more interested than most at your most recent post, as I made the move away from the area almost 10 years ago myself.

I lived there all my life and still have a great deal of fondness for the place. That said, I could not and would not ever live there again. I was last back in 2006 and it surprised me how much the place has changed.

We sold our 3 bed semi and for 10k less, bought a large four bed detached house in a very small, very quite rural village near Sherwood Forest on the North Nottinghamshire / South Yorkshire borders. I work from home, so it doesn't matter where we are.

It's extremely friendly here and everyone knows each other. We get no problems with noise or gobby kids (like I did in London) because here in the village, we all know each other. So, a kid's not going to get lippy as you know his parents and grandparents in most cases too.

The village school has just 40 kids and before my son joins, we already know all the other mums and dads and most of the teachers.

Nope - not perfect!

We get occasional burglaries, where people drive into the village from outside, because we have some very nice homes here.

Also, everything's a drive away - It's a 40 mile round trip for example to my nearest Cinema, PC World / Comets / Dixons etc. The bus service is one bus per hour and they stop running at 6pm!

If you like being able to sleep in total peace and quiet 364 nights of the year (They do have Christmas parties here) - then a small rural village might be worth considering.

If you like opening your bedroom curtains and looking out over hundreds of acres of fields, trees and cattle - then a place like this will be heaven.

If you want to be able to nip on a bus and go to a great restaurant, museum or night club - forget it!

To be honest, the only thing I REALLY miss about London is that here, EVERYONE is like me - white and English. No, I am not a lefty and to be honest, I cannot believe how much I miss all the different cultures.

I really worry that my baby son will grow up ignorant of other cultures - and whilst I will do all I can to prevent it happening; it's not like it was for me, where my mates were from all over the place.

Oh yeah - and the villages here are FULL OF LONDONERS!

Hope this helps mate and good luck with your search!

Anonymous said...

I also moved away (from Plumstead) in 2002 and have to admit, it was the best thing I ever did.

I now live in a village in Lincolnshire with great neighbours and a real community spirit. It's exactly as the person above said in his comment.

Oh, and like the other commenter said, lots of the people here are from London too. Even our village pub is owned by a Londoner.

The insane thing is that the VAST majority of people in Charlton / Plumstead / Woolwich are great! 99.9% are the salt of the earth! They are decent, kind and honest.

The problem is with a tiny minority of muppets who have been allowed to balls it up for the rest. They seem to be above the law or below the law. Either way, they are getting increasingly worse.

I go back to London a couple of times a year to see mates and it's amazing how rapidly things have gone down hill.

I dont have the answer, but it would be good if there was a way for the majority to live with the same peace-of-mind that we all enjoy here.

Charlton Average said...

Thanks for both of the responses, it sounds like I am not alone...

I think around me a bit more than 0.01% of the people are selfish muppets. What compounds the problem is that many of the houses are now broken down into two or three flats, which increases the number of households living around you. So playing the odds there's a good chance you'll have a reasonable number of selfish households.

Anonymous said...

Hi Charlton,

Incidentally, I posted the first comment.

Yes, there is a definite link between the number of people you squeeze into a small area and the number of problems you end up with.

Too many people in too small a space causes problems, because one muppet can impact so many other people with their selfishness.

By the way - Like the other commenter, we too had new wheelie bins introduced here without any problems either.