Saturday, May 29, 2010

Great Green Rebels - Half Term Workshops

Tuesday 1st – Thursday 3rd June, 12noon till 4pm
McMillan Herb Garden are running Half Term art and gardening workshops for kids. For details, call Great Green Rebels on 07736 648348.
McMillan Educational Herb Garden is situated on McMillan Street opposite Rachel McMillan Nursery.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Free fireworks display

Thanks to san who tipped us off that there would be a private fireworks display on Friday 4 June at 21:45 (duration 10 minutes) from a barge off the entrance to Deptford Creek (Greenwich Reach).  It will make a welcome change actually knowing that it's going to be on - they always take me by surprise and they're over by the time I get there.

Estate Inspection and Crossfields TRA Meeting (unrelated)

Lewisham Homes Estate Inspection 2pm today
Those residents living south of the railway might have seen the notice at the foot of your block and promptly forgotten it, especially if you're at work during the day. Lewisham Homes recently promised us evening inspections and/or Saturday inspections, so that working folk could attend, but no doubt that'll take a year to get going. Last year we weren't even told when inspections were happening, so at least there's some progress, though some critics think letting us know also gives the caretakers forewarning to make things look better than they would normally.

But inspections are not just about caretaking. This is our opportunity to point out any problems, especially things that haven't been sorted. Historically, however, the inspector doesn't take much notice of what tenants say and scores an uncritical 90+%, whatever state he finds things in. The reports then fail to appear on the Lewisham Homes' website (no reports for over a year to date).

I reckon there'll be plenty to point out to the blinkered bloke with the inspector's badge...unmown lawns, spilt worker's paint, uncollected 'bulk household rubbish' – plus all the usual stuff...and even if he doesn't include everything in his bogus report, surely he'll want to know what needs doing so they can sort it out before the Audit Commission comes inspectin' next month...?

Tenants & Residents' Association Meeting  7.30–9pm this evening
You won't have seen any notices for this – sorry about that. TRA meetings are always the last Thursday in the month, and we're too untogether to put up notices, especially since the caretakers often remove them. Pop along to the Pink Palace if you've got any problems...

Postscript: Raphael and Sue attended the Estate Inspection. We met with a new Quality Inspector who was not wearing blinkers, Ruth Hindle, who promised to email us her report (something unheard of last year)...Also in attendance was an elderly Resident Inspector, Martin, from another part of the borough. He appeared enthusiastically thorough...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Local events this Bank Holiday

Please get in touch if you have any events you want to advertise on this site.

'35 Shots of Rum' at Deptford Film Club
Wednesday 26 May, 7.30pm
Birds Nest, £2/£3 donations

Creekside Walk
Thursday 27 May, 6-8pm, FREE
Creekside Centre
See previous post here

Greenwich Beer Festival
Thursday – Monday 27 – 31 May
As well as BEER, lunchtime and afternoon music events, the evening headliners include: James Taylor Quartet, Fun Lovin Criminals, Hayseed Dixie, Brand New Heavies, Tony Hadley & His Swing Band, Incognito and Omar at the Old Royal Naval College. Tickets from £15. More info and booking at 

Brockley Max
Friday 28 May – Saturday 5 June
Music, art, comedy, dance, kids stuff, workshops, film and more...happening across Brockley, Crofton Park and Ladywell, culminating in an all day open air event on Hillyfields on 5 June.

Probing Cranks at the Montague Arms
Friday 28 May, 8.30pm
Crossfields resident Tom will be playing with his band The Probing Cranks + Milk Roar + Bert Shaft Orchestra
Montague Arms, 289 Queens Rd SE14 (£3.50 entry)

Deptford Last Fridays
Friday 28 May, FREE
Late openings at Deptford galleries include Bearspace, Arch, Old Police Station (Dirty Cop Friday), Utrophia, Core Gallery, Lewisham Arthouse...More info at

Deptford Darling presents 'America' at The Bunker Club
Friday 28 May, 10pm-3am
La Shark play live, plus DJs Good Shoes, Bailout, Deptford Darling. Fancy dress theme High School Prom, Hollywood, Rock'n'Roll. £3 fancy dress, £5 without.
The Bunker Club, 46 Deptford Broadway SE8

Deptford Beach Babes at the Birds Nest
Friday 28 May, 8-11pm, FREE
Expect 'hot chicks' on guitars and brass, Medusa wigs, grass skirts and lots o' surf hell raisin'...

Charles Hayward & Lol Coxhill
Sunday 30 May, 3-6pm, FREE
Crossfields's very own Charles takes a break from guest drumming with Hot Chip to join legendary Lol...  
McMillan Herb Garden, McMillan Street, SE8  

Shedload of Love at Brockley Max
Sunday 30 May, 8.30pm, FREE
The Wickham Arms, Upper Brockley Road

See also:
The Albany
Amersham Arms
Greenwich Picturehouse
Greenwich Playhouse 
Greenwich Theatre
Royal Albert

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lewisham Homes Inspection in June 2010

My post on Stair Cleaning posed the question of whether there will be any "Decent Homes" money in the offing for Lewisham's what their website says:

"Decent Homes update: Funding delay for Round Six Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs).
The Government has advised all Round Six Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs), including Lewisham Homes, who had not yet got a two star rating by the Audit Commission, that they would not be able to access Decent Homes funding until 2011/12.
This announcement means a delay in the commencement of work in Lewisham by about six months. To access this funding we must get two stars in our inspection in Spring 2010."

(See Lewisham Homes' website)

However, the Audit Commission will still come a-visiting...

For more on what the Audit Commission does, please see Audit Commission Inspects Lewisham Homes on the Crossfield's Leaseholder's site or go to Lewisham Homes' site here.

Your views on the service provided by Lewisham Homes would be most welcome.

Bulk Household Waste Removal

Leaseholders were subjected to a new charge this year, with absolutely no explanation or warning that it would be introduced. Last year, when we queried the new charge for Anti Social Behaviour, we were told it included Bulk Household Removal. That answer came from Andrew Barrett, Head of Resources, who obviously didn't have a clue what the ASB charge was for at the time.

We are still waiting for a reply from Leasehold Services, but in the meantime a search of the Lewisham Homes website produced this:

"We are running a new service this year 2010/11 called bulky household waste removal* - to collect large waste items from estates.

As a result of consultation through the Residents’ Business Plan
(I don't believe any resident from the 365 flats on Crossfields was consulted!), tenants and leaseholders requested that Lewisham Homes look into providing this service. The service is paid for by your service charges and will be charged at £0.26 per week.

* Bulky household waste removal will only be charged to those tenants who live on estates as we are unable to provide the service for street properties.

The table below details the collection day/s for your estate. If you have items of bulky household waste such as old furniture etc, please place them outside the entrance of the block on the morning.


There is a timetable posted which you can see on this page on the Lewisham Homes website. It says the collection days for Crossfields are: MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY and SUNDAY.

Whilst it is hard to complain about paying 26p a week for this service, one might wonder why, with four scheduled collections a week, this little lot is still here after a week...and why we should be paying for what might be a little off-road flytipping.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stairs finally get a bit of a clean

Last Monday and Tuesday the Holden House caretaker was out on both days cleaning the stairs. The normal cleaning day is Wednesday, but on the Monday he did the normal perfunctory routine with the mop and bucket of cold water. The next day he was accompanied by another guy in white overalls who watched while our guy used a plastic bristled broom to really scrub our filthy old stairs. This was the result:

The stairs didn't look much better, and the caretaker was unable to get to the areas between the bannister uprights with his six inch broom. Also, having worked up a bit of a dirty lather, much of it was spread to the unpainted concrete surfaces of the balconies, which are now quite badly stained on all floors.

The dirty lather also dripped down the sides and stained the paintwork there.

Today, more caretaking operatives were working on the stairs, attempting to clean the areas between the bannister uprights. They were at it all day and I spoke to one of the guys, Jim, who explained that first they were using a scrubbing brush with a special cleaner that would lift the dirt.

Then another guy was a couple of flights behind him with a vacuum cleaner...

Both were critical of the surface, which was laid over ten years ago. Jim suggested it was Health & Safety gone mad that had led to a paint surface mixed with grit to prevent slipping. Such a surface was impossible to keep clean, he said, and he thought the best thing to do would be to remove it, but he wasn't sure how. He later set about some already chipped areas with a knife and removed quite a bit from the first mezzanine landing, in an attempt to see how easily it might come off.

I suggested that their cleaning operation was just a precurser to the stairs being painted again because last October Leasehold Services told us they wanted to trial a new paint surface, but we'd said the stairs were too filthy to take any sort of paint...(they didn't go ahead with it and actually blamed us for holding them up). He said he'd seen some new paint surfaces over at Honor Oak and that they were no better and would not last. But he knew nothing of any plans to paint our stairs.

This exercise, which is apparently going to be done on all the blocks that have painted stairs, must surely be in advance of the AUDIT COMMISSION's visit next month, when Lewisham Homes will be tested on whether they have done enough to qualify for Decent Homes government money – if any is still available.

Free Creek Walk on Thursday 27th May

If you've missed the Creek Walks organised by Creekside Centre because you're a bit strapped for cash, you may be interested in this opportunity, organised by Lewisham's Rivers and People Project. There's a low-tide wade through Deptford Creek this Thursday from 6-8pm and it's FREE. Meet at Creekside Education Centre, no need to book.

You'll notice that the Creekside Village development is not in these pictures which were taken last year in April. How times change! If you go on the walk you'll also be able to see how overshadowed the Creek now is by the Greenwich High Road development at the south end of the Creek, which also wasn't there last year. (The old boat in the picture below was removed because the developers deemed it an eyesore)...

If you're feeling a bit consciencious, there is also another opportunity to get down on the Creek for free on Saturday 5 June (10.30am-1.30pm) but the payback is you have to help clean up the Creek while you're there!

The Rivers and People Project is funded through Natural England and the Big Lottery's Access to Nature scheme, and is being delivered by Lewisham Council and the Creekside Education Trust. More information on the Lewisham website here.
Meanwhile, Creekside Centre's Summer programme can be found here.

Elephant hunting...

Sue managed to hunt down the 2 elephants by the visitors' centre in Greenwich but one successfully evaded her.  I tracked down the third and final elephant to the covered market place, where it was disguised as a bag of peppers.  I almost missed it, so effective was its camouflage:

Code named ''Piquant,'' it's lurking by the northern entrance.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Minority Sports....

This probably only appeals to me but here goes anyway.  The first round of the Halfords cycle tour series is being held just over the river, a mere 3 miles away, on Tuesday evening, 25 May. 
The main event starts at 7pm but there's a fun race that kicks the event off at 6pm.  The main event involves 10 teams of 5 professional cyclists racing for an hour around a tight little course.  This is the first of 10 rounds and highlights will be broadcast on ITV4 at 7pm on Wednesday, 26 May.

The fun event involves teams of amateur cyclists recruited from local companies, each with a professional cyclist.

I'll be cycling up there, aiming to leave just after 5pm.  Anyone interested in forming a Crossfields peloton and going up to see it, please drop a contact number/email address at the account.  More details here

And a little afterthought: If you want to get back on a bike but are a bit nervous about riding in traffic, Lewisham council are offering free adult cycle lessons.  Your free lesson can be tailored to your needs, be it road confidence, cycling in traffic, positioning, rules of the road. Call 020 8314 2216, email or visit the website

Opportunity to comment on Paddy Power appeal

The Deptford Dame has posted an update on the progress of Paddy Power's appeal against Lewisham's Planning decision to disallow them to change the frontage of the Deptford Arms. Read the Dame's post here, where you can also see the Paddy Power plans.

The Dame says: "anyone can comment on the appeal, you can do so online at this link, by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page (to documents) and then clicking through from the new page to 'comment on this case' but you must do so by 8 June 2010." Please find a moment to do this!

The Elephant Family at Greenwich

A campaign to save the endangered Asian elephant was recently launched, bringing over 250 brightly painted life-size elephants to tourist locations all over London. Each is decorated by a different artist or celebrity and will be on display until July in the biggest outdoor event on record. The elephants are for sale in an auction organised by Giving Lots – live online bidding began on 15th May, and the charity 'Elephant Family' hope to raise £2 million to protect the Asian elephant whilst also benefitting 20 UK conservation charities.

Here are two of the elephants outside Greenwich Discovery Centre (Lot number 52: 'Claire de Lune' by artist Adam Durrant, and Lot number 128: 'Cotee' by artist Joanna Martin). There is also another in Greenwich Market (which I missed!). If you've been into town in the past couple of days you'll probably have seen some more...

An amazing project: more info at where you can download the 'route map' and find out where the other elephants are and perhaps place your bid...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Free local events this weekend...

Greenwich Market celebrates 25 years of Arts & Crafts...
Friday 21st May from midday
Live music, free tastings, craft demonstrations, plus the unveiling of 'the new market clock'... More info here.

Private View: 'Wilderness' at Core Gallery
Friday 21st May 6pm-late
featuring Cor Blimey Arts members Rosalind Davis, Enver Gursev and Neil Kelly, who explore the idea of wilderness through painting, drawing and installation.
Exhibition runs 22nd May to 4th June
Core Gallery, C101 Faircharm Trading Estate, 8-12 Creekside /

The Duplicates
Friday 21st May, 9-11pm
The Bird's Nest, 32 Deptford High St, SE8 (late license till midnight)
Saturday 22nd May, 9-11pm
The Pelton Arms, 23-25 Pelton Rd, SE8 9PQ (late license till 1am)

Brian Foley Band
Saturday 22nd May, 8.45-11pm
Wickham Arms, Upper Brockley Road

Please get in touch if you have any events you want to advertise on this site. 

Surrey Docks Farm Spring Fair
Saturday 22nd May, 10am-5pm
Surrey Docks Farm, South Wharf, Rotherhithe Street SE16 5ET

Invitation to the rats - and possible eviction

This is what happens when you leave rubbish at the bottom of the stairs...first the foxes break open the bags and sniff out the chicken wings (this pic was taken a couple of weeks ago, late at night, after a fox was spotted rummaging at the bottom of 41-60 Holden). Then the rats come and feed...a gigantic rat was spotted on this very site a week later...

At the last TRA meeting, we were joined by Karen Sweeney, a Lewisham Homes officer based at Pepys Estate. She told us she had particular responsibility for pest control. Part of the job involved spot checks on rubbish left by bin chambers. We were surprised to hear that in a particular case on Crossfields, she had opened a dumped rubbish bag, and rather like a paparazzi reporter, had gone through the bag looking for evidence of where it had come from. She told us she had found a letter and traced the bag to a flat in Castell. The occupant was then visited and threatened with eviction if they continued to dispose of their rubbish incorrectly.

That indicates how seriously Lewisham Homes takes the matter of rubbish disposal, and how we should too. There is no point in the TRA complaining that the bins and bin chambers and hopper heads (the balcony bin chutes) aren't properly maintained and kept clean, if residents continue to dump rubbish on balconies and outside the bin chambers, or dispose of unwrapped food down the chutes. So please do your bit to keep the rats at bay!

Madcap Community Arts

MADCAP Coalition, a local open-access Community Performance and Visual Arts group welcome you to join them.

They have transformed a Warehouse on Pepys Estate (see map) into a rehearsal & making workshop, and open their doors every Saturday from 11am - 5pm for people to come and make things for events, from fairground games to cutting out masks and making bunting. You can also come up with your own ideas. You can bring an instrument, and have a jam, bring the children to do some informal arts & crafts activities, and generally have some fun.

If you would like access at other times, to rehearse or make things, get in touch and they'll see what they can do.

Sing yer heart out with the MADCAP CHOIR on Tuesday nights, 7-9pm at the warehouse.  They will be getting a repertoire of songs together to perform at cabarets and events throughout the year.

MADCAP will also be organising a Circus Hall Cabaret, the first Thursday in every month at the Montague Arms, New Cross Gate. They are looking for acts ranging from music, stand-up, poetry, sketches and magic, or anything else you can think of.

For further information, email or check out their website at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Something for the girls

As another pub goes down (see last post), there is at least some positive use being made of another ex-pub on the High Street.  The Girl's House (led by the Young People's Health Project charity) has set up shop in the old Windsor Castle. 

The Girl's House project, catering for girls and young women aged between 11 - 25, is a project which first set up in an unused shop in Lewisham High Street.  It aims to engage with young women, help them access local services and information, as well as ensuring them a safe women-only youth centre environment.  Girls can just drop in with no need for an appointment and get confidential help and advice and take part in a range of self-help and health awareness workshops.

But it's not all worthy health and education - there's fun stuff as well - they have a ''state-of-the-art Dance Mat'', street dance sessions, Playstation Singstar, computers with free internet access and a chill-out area with magazines and books.

It's at 163 Deptford High Street until June.  Opening times are Monday to Friday from 3pm to 7pm and all girls between 11-25 are welcome.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deptford Finally lays down its Arms

San brought this to the blog's attention earlier today.  The Deptford Arms is closing tonight (15 May) and it is having a last night party.

There doesn't appear to have been much notice that it was closing tonight. Perhaps it's time to handover to the new owners (Paddy Power), or perhaps Declan's shut it as a protest at having planning permission refused*. All we know is that in a street where once there was a fair offering of pubs, there's now only one pub left open on the High Street – right at the far end, the White Swan. Bookies are the new pubs....

Or perhaps the relationship between Bookies and pubs is like the relationship between Chelsea, victors of the FA Cup, and Portsmouth, losers faced with defeat, debts and relegation.

From tomorrow, all we'll be able to do is peer in the windows from the outside.  (No, that's not a footballer at the first floor window, it's the man who missed his penalty for Portsmouth on the telly inside.)

*Though, to be fair - as Sue just pointed out to me - we did know (and publicised) that their last gig was on as couple of weeks ago.  Still, it's a bit of a surprise to me anyway.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What did you learn today?

If your answer is ''too much,'' then look away. If your answer is ''not enough,'' then it might be a good time to seize the opportunities on offer at the Adult Learners Week which runs from Saturday, 15 May until Friday 21 May. There's a launch event at the Civic Suite in that Catford starting at 11am until 3pm, where, in their words...

''For the first time in Lewisham we will be celebrating the start of Adult Leaners* Week with an open event at the Civic Suite. There will be a number of learning providers on hand to offer advice and guidance regarding the various opportunites for learning within the borough. There will be a range of free activities for all the family, including a CV workshop, art and craft based activities as well as a chance to win prizes and enjoy refreshments.

*That Adult Leaners Week is not my mistake - that's what the text says. I guess it's simply an event in line with Teenage Tottering Tuesday and Wife Wobblers Wednesday...

Anywho...the events are listed on the calendar page if you can't be bothered with the council website.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting to Tescos...

People who always travel by car will probably not have noticed the disappearance of Silk Mills Passage.  But walkers and cyclists will remember that you could get to the lower Tescos entrance ''along the bottom'' by following Silk Mills Passage.  Because it's deliberately not signposted, you may not have realised that it's open again since they completed the Silkmills development.  Not the exact same route and, cyclists beware, there are a handful of steps to negotiate.

On the positive side, though, it's perhaps straighter (and shorter) than it used to be. 

But first, how do you get to Silk Mills Passage from Deptford?  Again, it's deliberately not signposted - because heaven forfend, what on earth would happen if strangers started walking or even cycling through our investment?  (This route wasn't there before the development very quietly opened it up.  Car drivers, please note that you won't be able to drive through One SE8 unless you have a card that opens the barrier.)

What you do, is walk straight into the One SE8 (or whatever it's called) development and follow the road past a right-left dogleg into Beck Close (which in effect is no longer a Close) and then into Coldbath Street.

View Deptford to Tescos in a larger map

If you really want to get to the main entrance, turn left at Silkmills and follow Conington Road.

Damn it, I can't get rid of this map!  I blame Blogger - though I admit it was my first attempt at using the ''my maps'' function of Google Maps.  Please ignore it.

Art Openings this week

Crossfields resident David Webb is showing his paintings at Arch Gallery...

Oxaxaca Stadium: New Paintings by David Webb

Private view tonight, Thursday 13 May, 6-9pm
Arch Gallery is at 15 & 16 Resolution Way, 7 May – 12 June (Tue – Sat 10am-5pm)

Also opening this week:
The Assistant Part 1 at Bearspace, 152 Deptford High St 
Private view Friday 14 May 6.30-8.30pm
Show runs 15-29 May, Wed-Sat 10-6pm
Late night opening on Friday 28 May, as part of Depford Last Fridays, 6.30-8.30 pm
More info at Bearspace website

Also showing:
Rhythmanalysis: New paintings by Cath Ferguson at APT, 6 Creekside
7–30 May, Thu-Sun 12-6pm

...and last chance to see:
Agency@theAgency ends 15 May. See the Agency Gallery for details.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blues or Reds in a First Past the Post game?

This Sunday at 4 pm the Blue rosettes will go to the country with a slight 1-point lead over their nearest rivals in red to see who has the right to govern the Premier League.  The ruling party in red, after 3 re-elections, suffered severely in European negotiations earlier this year ("One bad week," according to Sir Alex Ferguson) and, perhaps distracted by rumours of an alliance with the Green (and Gold) Party, now find themselves trailing in the polls by a single point.

(As today's Guardian sees it, fighting over the banking industry.)
Current predictions suggest that the blues are in the driving seat and that the title is now theirs to lose.  The Scots-led reds can now only seek to see their campaign out with no further setbacks in the hope that the blues slip up at the final hurdle.

However, all the evidence suggests that even in the event of a likely blues win, they will still not have enough points to establish a clear majority in the Premier league.  Financial markets have been jittery faced with the uncertain prospect of a hung premier league.  In the words of a commentator: ''They think it's all over.''


Other news: No change in the Council Championship.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Still undecided?

I was hoping to find a website where I could tick individual policies I liked and then find out which party might fulfill most of them, if not all of them. For instance I like some but not all Green Party policies, I like a lot but not all Lib Dem policies, I hate a lot of New Labour policies but like some of them...

I found a site that comes close to what I was asking for:

It's a lot simpler and much quicker than the Vote For Policies website which Marmoset has linked to in the previous post. VoteMatch gives you individual policies to choose from – rather than the headache-inducing group of policies in the Vote For Policies poll – from unidentified parties, and you find out at the end who you are closest to.

The Vote For Policies site isn't working very well at the moment, possibly a victim of its own success on the very night it may be needed most. The link to it was sent to Crosswhatfields by the Green Party, and we found it strange that almost everyone who's done it comes up 'mostly Green'.

However, I also came up 'mostly Green' on the VoteMatch site, and that is sponsored by the weird combination of the Daily Telegraph, Goldsmiths College, and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

Of course, that doesn't mean that's what I'll vote...

If the Greens get in, my MP will be the first Green in parliament and be swanning off round the country being a mascot for most of the time. If Joan gets in again along with her party, she'll be in Europe doing Junior Cabinet minister business on climate change most of the time. If her party doesn't get in, one wonders what she'll do...(possibly Shadow Cabinet Minister for Climate Change?) If the LibDems get in, we'll have a young novice, but also female, who will maybe stick around, and this may be the right tactical vote to keep the Tories out...or not...

However, who gets in as MP is of little importance to local matters compared to who is running Lewisham Council. Here I am tempted to vote ALL of the PeopleBeforeProfit folk in as councillors – or shall I do a smattering of Green, LibDem and PeopleBeforeProfit? Or do a three-hander of Lib Dems? Then again, Cllr Padmore (Labour and one of the few black candidates) has worked hard in our little area this year, even against his own party. (PeopleBeforeProfit also have a black candidate in our ward, Barbara Raymond; the LibDems have Duwayne Brooks in Downham; David Michael is an Independent in Catford).

As for Mayor, I love the idea that John Hamilton will do it for £24K instead of the normal mayor's salary of £80K (plus probably enormous expenses since that's less than half what the top execs at the council get) and then abolish the role. But I've met him and he has a permatan and he's quite posh, so I'm not so sure, he might possibly be a bastard son of the Redgrave family (if you know what I mean) and the policies are radical (as are those of the Greens - heroin on prescription, anyone?)...

But then, if ever a change was needed it's got to be at Lewisham Council where Labour have ruled the roost for 40 years, and worse, have been a New Labour flagship borough for the past 13. You might as well vote Conservative if you want more of the same.

BTW, LIb Dem Chris Maines also pledges to get rid of himself if elected Mayor...

The Deptford Dame has done some analysis of the litterature (I now have more election leaflets than flyers for local takeaways, with menus almost as long) and has posted about the Mayoral candidates here.

And take a peek at Brockley Central's election posts if you have the time...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This is as near to politics as I'm going...

''Undecided'' posted a comment this afternoon on the Perhaps none of the above post from last weekend and it's bumped me out of my political anomie.  He or she (I've not decided) mentioned an election overview site on the BBC's webpages and it reminded me that we were going to post the page to the blog in case there were any other voters who class themselves as still-deciding.  So, thanks to Undecided for shaming me into action!

Here you can compare the main policies 3 parties at a time, and there are links to the parties' manifestos lower in the page.  

(As a general policy, Crosswhatfields has not taken a political line and, though we were asked by one party for support, we didn't go public with it.  But for your own diversion, they also forwarded a link to policy comparison site, a sort of ''which policies do you like'' site that then tells you which parties' manifesto you have supported the most.  It claims to be impartial, or at least independent.  And salt in itself doesn't clog up your arteries...until you swallow it.  So, if you've got a wee while, have a look here)

Ruddy duck alert...

The cold northerly wind has dampened the great tits' early morning song but today, minutes ago, the very red plumaged Ruddock was sighted on the top floor of Holden.  Unfortunately it had already flown before I got my camera out.  Compared to the great tit's regular morning call, the ruddy duck only makes its territorial call on a 4 to 5 year cycle, so I'm going to have a long wait before I get my next chance to capture it on camera.

Talking of gas engineers, the gas safety inspection man came round today so it's been a busy day up here!  I wasn't expecting him but that's most likely because I expected the Lewisham Homes letter to be about rent arrears so I simply left it in the hallway pile.  Luckily, it seems that neither I nor my neighbours are in imminent danger of exploding.  That's one positive thing.

But the visit has left me wondering about a PC question.  The chap was a Sikh and I couldn't help noticing - well you probably would, wouldn't you - that his turban was Lewisham Homes purple.  I found myself wanting to ask whether he'd chosen purple to match his Lewisham Homes sweatshirt or whether Lewisham Homes insisted on him wearing the house colours.  But I hesitated and the moment passed.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book signing at APT Gallery

On Friday evening, ex-New Musical Express photographer Peter Anderson launched a book of his photographs at APT Gallery in Creekside. Designers Malcolm Garrett (Applied Information) and Jane Pluer (Pentagram) who collaborated on the design of the book were there to sign copies which were being offered at a special discount.

The Observer's music writer Paul Morley who was Anderson's colleague at the NME in the 80s wrote the introduction to the book, and turned up to add his moniker.

Paul Morley catches up with another ex-NME photographer and fellow northerner, Tony Barratt.

Crossfields resident Charles Hayward popped by to introduce himself to Morley for the first time and give him his latest CD. In 2006, Morley included Charles in a meandering list of his favourite drummers of all time (read the Observer article here).

Rather coincidentally, Morley has recently written about The Belles of London City, who graced the stage at the Deptford Arms the following evening in Kit & Cutter's May Day celebration (see previous post May Day, May Day). See Morley's Guardian article about The Belles here.

The Belles of London City may also be seen this summer as part of the entertainment provided by local community arts group Madcap Coalition in their Urban Village Fetes.

Perhaps None of the above...

The council's Life magazine very kindly attempted to help us with the voting procedure on May 6th, with examples of what we might expect in the voting booth. Perhaps because of printing deadlines, the magazine presented us with examples rather than the real thing, and these show us the choice of voting for Pigeon, Blackbird, Sparrow and other wildfowl for our MP.

We are pretty sure there is no foulplay here, but if you're living in Reginald Road where some twat is feeding the pigeons and all your laundry is covered in pigeon shit, you're probably going to be totally averse to voting for the Pigeon Party, top of the list....The real list has Darren Johnson, Green Party, in that slot.

Likewise with the council elections list. Those people who we're most likely to meet and ask to act on our behalf are portrayed as insects in Life magazine. Ladybird, beetle, spider, earwig, caterpillar, millipede. Shall we like the ladybird at least? That's a LibDem (Atkins) on the real list. But the most feared insect, the spider, (of course it's not an insect but many people think it is, including the council's communications team) is also a Lib Dem (in third position, alphabetically, Chris Gee). Next feared insect, the earwig, occupies 4th position (Ian Page is 4th in the real list).

For the Mayor, we have plants, and this is where the Communications Unit has had the most fun: the top plant is Pimpernel = Bullock, the second Chickweed = Culnane (BNP), then Periwinkle = Dare (English Democrats), Bluebell = Hamilton (People Before Profit), Pansy = Maines (Lib Dem), Buttercup = Nundy (Con).....

A Crossfields resident opted for a postal vote and we therefore present the forms as you may see them on May 6th if and when you wander over to Tidemill School to do your thing.

General election: your MP vote (white ballot paper) – One vote:

Council election: your councillors (yellow ballot paper) – THREE votes:

Mayoral election: (peach coloured ballot paper) – Vote for 1st and 2nd choice (two columns):

Thanks to DD for the real thing.

Dejeuner sur l'herbe

Translation: The Lunch on the Grass...

Crossfields residents celebrate May Day yesterday in Holden's idyllic (but not very private) backyard – fully clothed, unlike the famous painting, yet still charming. (Watch out for the dogshit, girls)...

Spencer Tunick – a Deptford first

American photographer, Spencer Tunick, makes the news today as 1000 volunteers posed naked in Peel Park, Salford, to create a commemorative piece to celebrate The Lowry Gallery's 10th birthday. See Times Online report.

Why mention that here? Well, Tunick's career began to take off when he hooked up with Hales Gallery on Deptford High Street (now in Shoreditch), and some folk round these parts were showing their parts in a mass photographic installation in Greenwich in 2001. See anyone you recognise?

Photo credits: Reuters and Sarazale

May Day, May Day

OK, that was yesterday, but in parts of England, particularly Kent, the celebrations continue. Rochester likes to do it in style. Likewise Hastings. Only a short train ride away, Rochester's Sweeps Festival goes on till Monday. Download the brochure here at the 'What's On in Medway' site (go to Downloads). A Crosswhatfields roving reporter was there today...these are surely the scariest Morris dancers you have ever seen.

Meanwhile, May 1st was celebrated at the Deptford Arms last night by the lovely Kit & Cutter with guest Martin Carthy (legendary folk musician, extraordinary storyteller and guitarist) and others – including a slideshow of Deptford's celebration of May Day through the ages to modern day by Transpontine (local blogger), and the Belles of London City (making Morris dancing sexy if that's at all possible)...

Kit and Cutter (aka Helen and Kate) ended the evening on a "to be continued" note – they are now looking for a new venue since, by all accounts, the pub will shortly close to become the seventh betting shop in the high street, despite planning permission being refused (see previous posts).

To be continued indeed...As I left, a fearless young woman named Anna had approached the landlord to propose the astonishing idea of a community buy-out...

Thanks to Peter Tingey for photos. 

Transpontine has written in more detail about the evening here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Body found on Crossfields

The body of a vagrant was found last Saturday, 24 April on the borders of the estate.  He was thought to have died approximately 2 weeks earlier.  His corpse was discovered by lads who were building up the jumps on their BMX course on the strip of waste land  that runs alongside Deptford Church Street to the south of Cremer House.  They had noticed that the shelter where the vagrant, believed to be Polish, had been living had collapsed.  It was when they went over to investigate that they uncovered the body.

It's a very disquieting thought that a body can lie undetected outdoors for so long and so close to our own doorsteps. All in all, a miserable death to follow a miserable life - no home, no friends or family - I simply hope that he didn't suffer a painful death.  It seems unfair that someone suffer night and day through such a cold winter and then die when the weather gets milder.  RIP.