Friday 31 December 2010

Delightful Deptford and glorious Greenwich

If one of your new year resolutions is to take more exercise, or just to get out in your local area a bit more, you might like to join the local Ramblers Association for this walk on 2 January which is part of the RA's Winter Walks festival. (It's actually called Glorious Greenwich and delightful Deptford but I took the liberty of rearranging the title to reflect the true status of the two areas despite what it says in the blurb ;-))

"Greenwich might be a World Heritage Site but its less glamorous neighbour has much to discover including one of the most outstanding London churches and a curious link to a Russian tsar. Start the year by finding out more about them both on this enticing stroll, also part of the Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks. 6.5km/4 miles, 2-2½ hours.."

The 4-mile walk starts at 10.30am on Sunday 2 January, meet at the Cutty Sark DLR station. Full details are here.

Thanks to Luke for the tip-off.

Thursday 30 December 2010

New Cross underpass refurbishment

Darryl over at 853 has already posted some rather nice photos of the refurbished New Cross underpass but I thought it was worth a few more pictures and a short critical appraisal.

From the user's perspective, any refurbishment of this dreary link would have been welcome - it was dirty and uninspiring even if it wasn't really long or dark enough to be particularly threatening.

The entrance to the underpass has been improved at both sides - on the Deptford side with new trees, paving, a planted edging and decorative steel fencing panels, and on the New Cross side by improved paving and a direct link across to Fordham Park.

The architects have managed to include some rather artistic steel panels as part of the new lighting design through the underpass itself - the cut-out floral design is similar to those used as fencing on the Deptford approach and they are supported by steel piping units which have the main lights set into them.

I am slightly dubious as to how resistant to vandalism these panels and lighting units will prove - even after being in place for a very short time, a couple of the tubular lighting units were wrapped in hessian (perhaps broken?) and one of the lights behind the decorative panels was not working. The working versions of these lights change colour and give the underpass a very pleasant visual ambience at night time - quite an improvement on the previous set-up.

Fordham Park

There's been a lot of landscaping going on in north Deptford over the last year or so, and work on Fordham Park is now almost finished. I had a nosey around just before christmas to try and get an idea of what it's going to be like when complete.

The old park had some nice trees and a big grassed area in the middle, with a few paths skirting around the outside, but the railings that surrounded it meant access was restricted to just a few gates and there was little to entice anyone to linger unless they were playing ball games on the central area.

With the railings gone and more paths criss-crossing the park, permeability is considerably improved for pedestrians and cyclists. The hard paving is particularly good news for people passing through the park, especially in the winter months; the rest of the paths are gravelled. Access for cyclists is hugely improved, with the link through the underpass now going directly across the road and into the park, instead of having to do a dog-leg down the road to a different entrance. There is also a choice of routes using the improved paths through the park.

Although there is still a grassed area in the middle of the park for football and so on, there are also a number of other play areas which should attract other users. Next to the Moonshot Centre is a paved area for ball games and a couple of rather sturdy looking concrete table tennis tables with steel nets. Large stone block seating, the same as that used in Margaret McMillan Park, is in evidence in places, along with additional park bench seating.

At the far end of the park a children's play area is under construction (although I am not sure how long some of the pieces of equipment will last, they look rather alarmingly flimsy) and there are also a few of those carved wooden 'totems' that are also in Margaret McMillan Park. New humps and bumps have been added in the landscape to create a bit more visual interest, and it seems that most of the existing trees have been retained.

My only criticism (apart from the length of time it seems to have taken to do the actual work) is the ugliness of the lighting columns (you can see them along the left side of the first picture). On paper I'm sure they looked quite classic - a streamlined design with the lighting element set flush into the column itself. Unfortunately in practice they just look rather lumpy and grey and I suspect they may have been the victim of a bit of 'value engineering'; I'm sure that's not quite what the architects had in mind.

Monday 13 December 2010

Deptford christmas festival

Myself and the Geezer had fun at the Deptford christmas festival on Saturday; luckily we were unburdened by the usual shopping bags so we amused ourselves dodging the remote-controlled wheelie bins Sid and Nancy, taking a free ride on one of the cycle rickshaws and then peaking with a whirl on the big wheel. Please excuse the rather naff music on the first clip - I put it on to mask the screaming (not us) and sarcastic commentary (us).

(This one comes with real sound and a little bit of cackling at the end. Again not us!)

It was rather grey and my photos were crap so I won't inflict them on you here. I recommend you hop over to Darryl's blog where he's got some rather nice pictures especially of the Deptford Wheel at night and particularly of the new underpass to Fordham Park.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Things to do in Deptford this weekend

Apologies for the intermittent service of late; various family matters have required the Dame's attention and will undoubtedly continue to do so over the next few weeks.

Hopefully I'll find time to get out and about in Deptford this weekend though - there's plenty going on and if the weather keeps fine, it could be a great opportunity for exploring all those other parts of Deptford you've always meant to seek out.

I'm particularly looking forward to trying out a free ride on the big wheel that is apparently going to be up and running in Margaret McMillan park on Saturday from 10-7, it's always interesting to see familiar places from a different angle.

Get your bike checked over for free at the bicycle maintenance stand on Douglas Way between 11 and 3 on Saturday, where apparently you can also experience a 'smoothie bike'. I've kindly done the Googling for you on this one - apparently it's a pedal-powered blender which allows you to get some exercise and then ingest a few of your 'five a day' afterwards.

As well as free bike-powered rickshaws for getting between New Cross and Deptford market, there will be information stalls where you can find out about local walking and cycling initiatives.

You might be sensing a theme by now - and indeed you'd be right. Many of the activities are intended to promote the improvements that have been made on cycle and pedestrian links between New Cross and Deptford.

A kids' christmas tree decorations workshop in Giffin Square from 1.30 to 3pm will be followed by the christmas tree lights being switched on from the Albany Theatre. And if it's music you're looking for then there will be some oompah in Giffin Square around lunchtime from a brass band.

Stroll a bit further to Tanners Hill and you wil find an 'artisan market', morris dancing barbeque, mulled wine and music from 11 - 6.

Meanwhile there's an exhibition of photography by Anita Strasser taking place at St Nicholas Church in Deptford Green. Billed as 'A photographic and textual journey into life on Deptford High Street' it runs from 7-21 December and is open Tue/Wed/Fri 9am-1pm; Sat 10am-3pm.

If it's evening entertainment you are after, how about a traditional Christmas panto? The Bear Church is proud to present...

A Lad in Deptford; Join Aladdin on a magical carpet ride to the best pie shop in town

Saturday 11 Dec 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 12 Dec 2.30pm

At The Shaftesbury Christian Centre, Frankham Street, Deptford, London, SE8 4RN
Tickets are FREE by must be reserved in advance via or calling
020 8692 6480

The Bear Church’s much loved panto returns with a reworking of the classic
Aladdin story, set firmly in SE8. With a cast of adults and young people from
the local area and a hilarious original script by local writer Tracy Jones, the
production will delight children and grown-ups alike.

The cast includes the customary pantomime dame (WELL REALLY!), hero, princess and villain as well as a monkey, Loch Ness monster and two genies.
Before each show refreshments and gifts will be on sale with all proceeds going towards the Church youth’s trip to Uganda to work with children orphaned by conflict and HIV/Aids.

Not interested in Christmas? Celebrate the winter solstice instead at the Twinkle Park Winter Festival on Saturday in this small-but-perfectly-formed park tucked down at the end of Watergate Street. There's free lantern-making workshops at the Charlotte Turner Centre from 10.30 to 12.30, you can help out with some pond clearing from 12-1 in the park, and at 3pm gather for a lantern procession through the streets followed by food and entertainment till about 6.
(Thanks to Anon in the comments for tipping me off about this one!)

And finally if all that is a bit too pedestrian for you, why not pop down to our local tattoo shop Kids Love Ink and get yourself a free tattoo?! The tattoo studio moved premises recently - albeit only a couple of doors closer to the station - and is having a grand reopening this weekend, offering free tattoos from a number of standard designs to customers on a first come, first served basis. The only thing to remember is that you need to bring one of the flyers along that staff have been distributing around Deptford and New Cross over the last few weeks. Donations are invited and will be going to charities Lewisham Autism Support and ME Research UK.