Sunday, 30 December 2007

Walking Hither Green

Congratulations to Wulf for his new plan to walk every street in Hither Green in 2008.

His new blog, Walking Hither Green, has just been set up and considering his photographic skills are vastly greater than mine I am sure it will be worth following.

Good luck Wulf!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Today's (third last) walk

I've scoured the map for those streets I have missed on my other trips as I desperately try to ensure that Saturday will truly be the "last" walk of the challenge.

Today's walk was quite short (under 2 miles in theory) but there were a few hills involved and lots of staring at the sky (I love these clear days and low angled sun).

View Larger Map

Architecturally there is not much to report. I found what I think is the last remaining original frontage on Cranston Road, with not only the original windows and stained glass intact, but also the swirling wood & iron bar by the door. It is a shame more of these could not be preserved, but I understand that they were probably not made to last forever (I saw lots of rotten wood around) and that modern security and energy efficiency demand they be replaced. Shame a better compromise could not be found for more houses though. The rest of the street is generally rather dull.

I walked back along Woolstone Road and down Hurstbourne (retreading these streets) to reach one I had missed: Fermor Road. Again, a nice, quiet and relatively unremarkable residential street with views of the back of Stansted Lodge (that I would like to visit at some stage).

Then it was up Montem Road. I've been up here a few times, but either in the car or only sections of it, so I thought I would do the whole thing. Plus, there were some intriguing side roads at the top, namely Owen's Way & Austin Close, that I had missed previously.

The main interest were the views, as usual, towards the South and to the West & the Horniman (here on the left - click on the image to see more details), but there are also some interesting houses. There is the house I spotted last time on the corner of Lowther Hill (one half of which is for sale which allowed me to find out that they were built in 1820 but not much else), and opposite that there is a beautiful Art Nouveau (or Deco? I'm still confused) house. Check out those windows!

As everywhere, there was a lot of construction and refurbishment going on everywhere. I doubt there are many streets in SE23 that do not have at least one project going on at the moment.

Then back down the hill and home. It almost seems a shame to be finishing up.

"Be Nice to the Mayor" Campaign

Somewhat against the grain in political terms, but in the spirit of the season, I started a small campaign today that I encourage you all to join.

Forest Hill, SE23 recently topped a poll to find the place residents were most proud of in their area. Called 'Pride of Place', Forest Hill and the Horniman Museum won comfortably despite being in competition with Blackheath, the Catford Cat, the Laban centre and others. And quite rightly too.

The trouble is that we are a quite small and, relatively speaking, affluent part of Lewisham. I totally understand that there are big problems to address in other parts of the Borough that take up a lot of the Mayor's (Sir Steve Bullock) time and that of those involved with Lewisham Council. However, we too have our issues such as the ongoing closure of the pools, the terrible state and services of our station (as well as the shops that are part of that area, including the new Post Office within the WH Smiths) and the total lack of any visible effort to generate new businesses to fill the empty retail properties.

I decided, therefore, that rather than complain (again) I would turn it around and be nice; after all, it works in most other aspects of my life.

I have written a Christmas Card to "Sir Steve" to wish him well, and with a simple request to make Forest Hill a greater priority for 2008.

If you are a member of you may already have read the discussion and text here, if not (and you should be), here is the text of the card. If you are a Forest Hill resident and wish to join in, please do. It only takes a few seconds and the cost of a second class stamp. After all, this will only work if we get a reasonable number of people doing the same thing.

Sir Steve

My family and I wish you, your family and everyone at Lewisham Council all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

We are proud residents of Forest Hill and we were not surprised that Forest Hill and the Horniman Museum were recently voted Lewisham's top 'Pride of Place'. However, there are still too many empty shops, we desperately need our pool back and we would appreciate your active support in helping to regenerate our sadly neglected station area.

The best gift we could hope for would be for you and Lewisham Council to make Forest Hill a much greater priority in the coming year.

Wishing you a happy 2008

I'm sure others will word their notes better, but a few cards like this might just make the difference, you never know.

Please send your cards or emails to:

Sir Steve Bullock
Mayor of Lewisham and Forest Hill
Mayor's office
Civic Suite,
Town Hall, Catford
Tel: 020 8314 6193

Thanks! (oh, and drop me a note if you do decide to join in)

A graded pink reminder

Only two days to go to the final walk. I have frantically been finishing off the last few streets, with only one little loop left.

If you would like to join me and at least 6 or so others on our walk to Rockbourne Road, please do come along. It would be good but not essential, to get get the right number of mince pies if nothing else, if you could let me know you are coming.

Oh, and tonight, the sky will only be mainly blue (but also orange and pink)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

"Now, take a deep breath, and ..."

... cough, cough, cough!

Same day as the blue post earlier, but looking 'through' the layers of air above London

More photos here:

Breaking News: The sky today will be ... blue

Today's sky will be totally blue

More later

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Any idea how big SE23 is?

I have linked to my map of the outline of the SE23 postcode area already, but would anyone care to hazard a guess as to the actual area this covers?

Answers in square miles or square kilometers, or even acres if you must, in the comments below.

I was surprised when I calculated it.

Extra mince pie on Saturday for the nearest guess

Preparing for Christmas

Some things in life really speed up at Christmas, others dramatically slow.

Whilst the frenzied activities of shopping, meal planning and social events takes over, the more considered jobs, such as blogging, seem to become rarer and rarer (apologies in advance).

The most difficult to manage is the social calendar. Even those people who you rarely see all the rest of the year need to be called, visited, written to and bought presents. Then there are all the christmas fairs, office drinks, catch-ups, farewells and family gatherings to fit in. Unfortunately it means that some events get double booked and therefore you end up missing something or someone.

One of the first to suffer this season was my semi-annual pilgrimage to Havelock Walk's Open Studios. I think I have been to them all, every six months, for the last couple of years, so it was a shame to learn about this one too late to avoid the clash with a well planned family trip to Edinburgh. I would also have missed the Christmas Fair at the station, but I gather that did not happen anyway (due to adverse weather conditions).

As it happens we still suffered the adverse weather conditions in Edinburgh (getting soaking wet and cold, but rediscovering a great tapas bar in the process).

I hope to report back soon with the outline of my talk on Saturday (summing up a year of blogging about Forest Hill) ... unfortunately it is another SLOW job that just, somehow, is not getting done.

Must dash! Christmas cards to write.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Getting a bit late now

There are a couple of pockets of streets I have been meaning to walk for a while and never got around to, so with THE FINAL WALK looming, I thought lunch was a good time to do it.

I had a few roads around the South East of SE23 to cover, ones that again are not on my way to a specific place so have been missed out to date. The route was as follows:

View Larger Map

This was around 3 miles and I covered it pretty fast as, for a change, there weren't too many hills.

There were not too many events to report. As expected, the houses on Priestfield Road, Hawksfield Road and Ticehurst Road are all very attractive. This area is relatively quiet, well preserved and reasonable sized houses. I think I have mentioned already that Garlies Road has some very nice houses so I was not surprised.

I was somewhat surprised to find some original-looking Art Nouveau (or is it Deco?) stained glass in a building on Como Road. I didn't take a photo unfortunately, but if you are walking along there, look out for the windows above ground level. Very interesting!

Walking down Perry Hill I was struck by the decorative plasterwork above a series of doors on the houses just over the hill. It is common to about 4 houses in a row, so there must be more to this story than a simple design feature. Does anyone know?

On Priestfield Road I also came across an unusual sight that I have always associated with gas lighting, but to be honest have no idea what it is or how it works. Can anyone help me? You can see them occasionally around London and although I have lived here for a while, I can't say I have ever stopped long enough to consider them - ah the benefits of being a blogger!

What are/were these?

In future I will post some other 'posts' (excuse the pun) that I need to identity.

There are even some nice views of Forest Hill towards the North from here, and, once again, a view of Christ Church (you can see the church on the bottom left of the image, between the tall tree and the palm).

The other common sight, once again, was all the development happening - from large blocks (such as the ongoing development on Stanstead Road/Hurstbourne Road), to houses being re-roofed, re-painted, extended or even gutted and modernised. It is EVERYWHERE!

Nice roads to look at if you are in the market though.

... and ...

finally, back home (after a spot of lunch at The Honor Oak, with a great Club Sandwich and pint of Broadside)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Jolly Bloggers

Thanks to all the Lewisham Bloggers for another great get-together.

I did enjoy the beers, even if I have had far more beer in the last week than the rest of the year put together. I'm hoping for a more wine-friendly place next time. Having said that, those pints in the Jolly Farmers were pretty good.

As usual I enjoyed the chats with those I have met before, but also meeting some new faces too. Others have already added some lists of those present, so I shall leave it to them and to my newly updated blogroll (if I have missed anyone, let me know).

On a side-note, I think that maybe we ought to look for a place where the growing group can mingle a little.

Thanks again, and I look forward to the next one.