Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vote for Maryon Park!

As local news papers and local bloggers have reported Maryon Park has been nominated as one of the Help a London Park parks. What that means is that it's up for a vote as to which ten should get grants of up to £400,000.

Maryon Park is a lovely little park, though perhaps it's easily confused with Maryon Wilson park which has the little animal zoo. If you've never been there it's well worth a stroll through, there's some great views, nice greenery and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Apparently the Council would like the grant to "improve their management" (well that shouldn't be hard, the whole lot can quit and be replaced by a several small kittens and a ball of fluff) and to "open up the archaeological site". By that I presume that they mean what little remains of the Iron Age Hill and Roman Settlement. At the moment all of that is fenced off and you can't get to it, I for one would love to be able to see what there is to see.

So anyway please vote here to lend a hand!

Spooks vs Bins

Brenda emailed me the other day to say Thought you might find it "amusing" to know that the big blue bin at the top of floyd Road made it on to an episode of Spooks last night as they drove up Floyd and turned left onto Charlton Church.

I'm not a big fan of Spooks so I had a look using the BBC's iPlayer that let's you watch you episode on line, you can see it here and Brenda is indeed on the ball! As it turns out Floyd Road has a safe house for MI5, who'd have guessed!

It's really quite fun to see your local area on the big screen, it's also amusing to see them make "mistakes" such as drive along the same piece of road several times during one conversation.

Brenda's also right in that the big blue bin that used to live at the top of the street is visible in one brief shot.

Also visible during many of the other quick shots are other unemptied bins and piled up rubbish.

So I wonder if anyone from Greenwich Council has seen this? How did they feel having their failures and lack of interest recorded for all posterity in the background of a BBC show? I doubt that they care...

Anyway here's some screenshots...

Dashing to the safe house, the young lad appears to have noticed the rubbish and is trying to comfort his mother and reassure her that not all of London looks and smells this bad, just the bits under Greenwich Council's care.
The secret safe house at number 38!
Heading away from the safe house.
The lovely bins at the top of the road, well done Greenwich Council!

Big thanks to Brenda for making this post possible!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Healthy Start with a pack of fags?

I've just seen a woman use her Healthy Start Vouchers to buy two packs of cigarettes, a bottle of wine and what appeared to be a tin of pineapple chunks.

The vouchers are meant to "give your kids the best start in life" and can be swapped for "milk, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and infant formula milk."

That's working well then...

I'm not sure if I'm more shocked at the shop or the shopper.

Hazel Blears vs. Political Bloggers

A few weeks ago a journalist from the Bexley Times contacted me and asked if I would submit something to go into their Your Shout column in response to Hazel Blears' comments on political bloggers. Amongst many other places you can read about those comments here.

After emailing in my thoughts I was told that the newspaper didn't have room for the column that week and that what I'd said might be reused in the future. I'm not sure that it has been and given the time since I sent it in and that far more eloquent and political local bloggers, such as the Last Boy Scout, were also asked to submit something I doubt that it will ever see print.

So I thought that I might as well share what I had to say here.

I have disdain for the political system and politicians and I’m encouraging a culture of cynicism and despair! What am I doing? Well those are the words that Hazel Blears recently used to describe political bloggers, which is a category in which some would include me.

I have a blog that covers my local life and during my time online I’ve covered a number of political issues that directly affect me. Examples of that would be the peculiar allocation of tickets by Greenwich Council for the first Red Bull Air Race or the recent changes to our rubbish collections.

I’m a strong believer that our political system thrives when people are informed and feel involved and when politicians feel accountable for how they are performing. It’s when those two parts of the system break down that it is damaged. When people feel in the dark about what is happening around them and when there is no examination of what our politicians are doing then the gulf between the electors and the elected grows and real cynicism sets in.

Local blogging can both inform people and expose low level local politicians to the public eye. For example I came to know that it wasn’t just my small area that was affected by rubbish being uncollected and other people in turn knew of my attempts to get things cleaned up. We’re not alone and we can do something about our problems.

It used to be that only the politicians working at a relatively high level were exposed to the public’s gaze and judgement. Now if you go onto the internet and search for your local Councillor the chances are good that you’ll find bloggers talking about them. Good deeds and answered letters will be remembered, details of unanswered letters and promises unfulfilled will be readable for years to come.

We’re shining a light into our political system from the bottom up and that surely has to be a good thing? This isn’t about cynicism but is instead about hope that when we are involved we can change things.

Edited to add: Just after I posted this up I heard from the newspaper and apparently my "Your Shout" went into the paper yesterday. I should try and get a copy...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Bombay Bicycle Club

The Bombay Bicycle Club chain of Indian Restaurants has recently opened a take-away branch in Greenwich, they're meant to be pretty famous but I'd only heard of them in passing before and didn't know that much about them.

Recently I've begun to feel a bit let down by my usual delivery Indian, the Coriander in Westombe Park. It's just felt like their standards were slipping and things just weren't as tasty or as well presented as they used to be.

So after I had a leaflet popped through my door from the Bombay Bicycle Club I decided to give them a go and I'm pleased to report that we really enjoyed our dinner, we enjoyed it so much we had another one the following night too.

The best part of the experience for me was that you can order online where a complete menu is displayed, this is especially useful for me as I often lose menus. You go to their website and chose what you want and then select a delivery time. Both of my orders turned up in the selected half hour slot and were still hot enough to eat without a brief spell in the microwave.

The dishes that we've had have been tasty and one in particular, the Lasuni Murg, was nicely spicy but was still flavoursome. Many lesser curry houses will just overload a spicy curry and attempt to napalm your tastebuds into hiding but not the Bombay Bicycle Club.

The only negative thing I can comment upon is that I found the Naan bread to be a bit too similar to the ones you buy in supermarkets. They had that slightly floury texture where as I like mine to be bubbly and ever so slightly doughy so you get that lovely sensation as you tear at it.

Price wise it is also a bit more expensive that other places seem to be, the Lamb Biryani (a common price thermometer for me) was £9.00. However considering that I got easy online ordering, "club card" style reward points, delivery at the time requested, hot food and it all being very tasty I think that price jump is worth paying.

Two thumbs up and a new favourite Curry House from the Charlton Average Household!

The Details
Tel: 0845 478 8214
192 Trafalgar Road
SE10 9TZ

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Blackheath Fireworks

So last night I went up to Blackheath for the Fireworks and as per usual I thought that they were great. It always seems to odd to see so many thousands of people all up there and aside from the actual display it's a real experience. Was it just me though or did they move the location of the display?

Before the show a number of us had plans to meet and eat at the Royal Standard in Blackheath. However due to the numbers of people they had through their doors they had a much reduced menu of burgers and nachos, worth remembering when you're planning for next years event.

There are rumours that Lewisham Council may not sponsor any more fireworks shows, I hope that they do continue as it is a great evening and I'm looking forward to next year's one already.

So a big pat on the back to Greenwich Council, Lewisham Council and the fireworks company who sponsored/subsidised the evening but who's name I've forgotten. Thank you all very much!

Oh and there's only the one photo as I've got a new camera that I've not quite figured out how to work, the fireworks setting appears to be rubbish if you don't have a tripod or a steady hand.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Body Worlds and the Mirror of Time at the O2

A few days ago I took myself down to the O2 to see the Body Worlds exhibition that they've got there.

So how was it?

Personally I found it all very interesting, I've never been to one of the shows before so this was all new for me. I did find it informative and it was quite fascinating to see how we're actually put together.

Although I knew what the exhibits they didn't look macabre or gory, in fact they look strangely unnatural and I didn't get any "ick this is a dead body" thoughts.

However there were some things that I found a touch gratuitous. I couldn't, for example, see the value in the gymnast on the rings having his internal organs hung beside him. It's as if they're trying at times to make an artistic statement, which to me just didn't work. I personally wouldn't mind my body being used in an exhibit to show someone how it works however to use it to make something that looks "interesting" to me seems somehow different.

Was it worth my £14 to get in? Definitely. However I'm not sure how useful the audio guide, an extra £3, was. I often found it a distraction and stopped commentaries short preferring instead just to look for myself.

One thing I should perhaps point out is that a number of the exhibits are things that I'd heard of from previous exhibitions (the man on horseback and the pregnant woman for example) so it might be the case that if you've seen one of these shows before you won't get as much out of this one as I did.

Oh and I'm still a bit clueless about the "mirror of time" thing. Yes there was a vague theme about aging on the information boards but that seemed to have little to do with the exhibits.