Tuesday 29 December 2009

No More Doctor

The BBC are getting their money's worth as David Tennant has been on nearly every show I've watched. It's almost reaching saturation point for me as though I find him awfully sexy, I think we've had just a bit too much of him this festive season and I let out an awful groan whenever I see him on yet another show or turn on the radio to find he's taken over there. Sad to say that now I'm in my 40s I'm an avid Radio 2 fan but even I had to turn it off when the Tennant and Tate show was on.
I don't even know if I'll bother to watch the last ever Tennant Dr Who. Alright, I lie, I will but that's it. After that no more. Well I'll watch the Hamlet I've got recorded and then THAT's it. I kinda feel sorry for the new Who as he's got all this to follow. Wonder if he will cope.

Tuesday 22 December 2009

mobile again

I am trying a touch of mobile blogging for a while as I am without my clunky laptop. Last time i tried things did not go well as some posts and comments failed to appear.
We escaped London yesterday no thanks to me who freaked about driving in snow but mostly as the snow rushing to our windscreen looked like that effect in star trek when they go to warp speed.
Two things stick in my mind from the journey. The first is how do kids learn that annoying moan that does not illicit sympathy...our tot has had colds, coughs and puking on and off since mid oct and has developed a self pitying moan. Note the lack of sympathy in my tone :(
The second is why have a gesture activated button to flush a loo but no such thing to open the door...germs travel. Then have a gesture activated tap but have dryers that require physical contact. So stupid.

Thursday 17 December 2009

A land without borders

I'm an odd shape so I'm not much of a clothes shopper and I'm not girly girl enough to go for much jewellery (though any received over Xmas from Mr Plummy will be welcome) or shoes. Given spare cash, I'm more likely to spend my time in Forbidden Planet, Gosh, Borders or independent book stores around London.
So tomorrow is going to be a very sad day for me as the Borders group has gone into administration and it's shops are closing down.
Utterly shite timing for the staff too, rather like the poor Woolies people last year.
In case any of you are reading out there, I'd like to thank you for the hours I spent in your Oxford Street branch, scanning shelves for the excellent collection of UI design books, philosophy (still no clue about that though), art books and films upstairs. I also discovered a lot of my favourite authors in that shop as I spent happy hours going along the fiction shelves picking up that book or another. Even a rather boring trip to San Fransisco was made happier by the discovery of a great Borders there, though I realise that's not related to the Borders UK stores.
I was rather shocked the stores are closing as unlike Woolies, I always thought Borders had got the mix right with good store layouts, plenty of places to sit and read through the books and the introduction of cafes instore. But I must admit my guilty secret that I, in my little way, helped the demise by going to Amazon and for that I will feel shame.
I hope that things will work out for the staff and that they will find other jobs.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Tis the season to be jolly

Growing up, we didn't celebrate Christmas as my family aren't Christian. We also didn't celebrate New Year as my parents weren't party people. I found the whole holiday really hard as my western friends would be talking about the pressies they got, their trees and parties. As I grew older and was able to go out, I would join the mad rush to find parties and stuff to do, especially on New Year's Eve. After a few years of trekking down to Trafalgar square to be squashed and then some party or other, and a totally horrendous Millennium Year party, I was in tears and a kind stranger at Baker Street station told me to give myself a break and not feel the need to "celebrate". So from then on, pressure was off and I would spend NYE at home watching films and hopefully falling asleep before the countdown. New Year's day would involve an extremely long walk - it's one of the best times to walk around London as it tends to be empty. My best walk was one around central London into Convent Garden.
How times have changed. Now I've got the tree, decorations, pressies and the whole NYE to look forward to. But in some ways it's been a tough year, and at times the despair keeps me awake at night. I also still feel some pressure and worry about the pressies as I don't have an income but I don't want my tot to miss out and my hubby's family are Christian and celebrate the whole thing.
Tis the season to be jolly. However, for many people it's the exact opposite. The depression alliance have said that 1 in 5 people suffer from depression. This is the one of worst time of year for sufferers of depression - full of pressures whether you are alone or not. If you are alone you may be fine with that - or you may also be lonely. And this season helps people dwell on their loneliness. Or you could be part of a family (but still lonely) with the pressure to buy presents, cook dinner, entertain and so on. To breaking point.
So there is a helpful guide that you can look at:


If you don't want to be alone, consider volunteering on Christmas day. Crisis are looking for volunteers:

And most importantly, remember that this is only a short 2 week season. People aren't always as happy as they seem so don't assume you are alone in your feelings and know that you will get through it all.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Charlton Fair

We went along to the Charlton Xmas fair last weekend. Wish we had gone in the morning when it was sunny rather in the rain as we ended up doing. And when we got there, after some time finding parking, it was also dark (as were my photos :( ).
The fair had a small farmers market, then an area with some very gorgeous reindeer who were sat rather peacefully while all around them children loitered (I hope they weren't somehow drugged!) and owls. Some of the owls were MASSIVE. And a very tiny little horse that kids could take rides on.
One [depressing] thing that immediately struck me is that now we have a tot, we are doomed to spend our lives in queues. There was a very long queue for Santa's grotto and an even longer one for the little Thomas-like train taking people [i.e. not just little kids but big ones and even bigger adults] around part of the grounds. We didn't bother. Much as we love our tot, we didn't think waiting in the cold and rain was justified. She was happy just to watch the train go chugging by.
I've never been to Charlton House, but I will definitely make the time. We saw part of the inside and it is beautiful.
There was a jolly steel band of Santa clad drummers that added a bit of atmosphere. However, perhaps as we were a bit late getting there, we didn't think there were enough stalls and only left with a small stash of fudge and a loaf of bread.
I had read there were fireworks but I'm afraid we also gave those a miss. I am sure if you are the sort of parent that is willing to queue and wait, this would have been a great event. I hope it's there next year as I'm sure by then, tot will have us properly trained.

Friday 4 December 2009

London Bridge is Falling Down

Swinford bridge which spans the Thames has been sold. I wonder if we could persuade the new owner to take it down and rebuild it near here. I am not sure people would pay the 5p toll but if their alternative routes across London are on fire (Blackwall tunnel) or effectively sunk (Woolwich Ferries), then the average Southeast to North London commuter may be willing to cough up.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Christmas comes early

We took a walk around Plumstead today which was remarkably clean and leaf free...almost as if Autumn had not happened.
We popped into Roy's stores and saw they are full of Chrimbo decorations and had trees outside. Now I've been wondering all week if it's too early for mince pies and some good friends assure me that it isn't. But is it too early for trees...well not for a house behind Herbert road that has a beautiful tree. I was going to snap a picture but came to my senses when I noted the owner was sitting on his couch and might have been offended at this almost paparazzi-like invasion of his privacy.
Even it's too early, who cares. It's lovely to see beautiful decorations anytime of the year. And if anyone knows of any Chrimbo markets then please let me know as I love them.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

School days are the happiest

Tot started nursery this week. She settled in very well and didn't seem to miss me at all today when she spent 1.5 hours there. In fact, on both days she cried as we had to leave and today I had to chase her around the place just to take her out.
I've had time today to do knitting (boring maybe but it relaxes me and reduces the hands that I would otherwise devote to eating chocolate) and to watch two episodes of the excellent "In Treatment". I also had a few minutes where I was a bit upset about not being missed...the fact that she doesn't need me constantly is a shock but I'll get over it. I am so proud that she is able to settle in without too many tears.

Next week, I'll have a whole 8 HOURS to myself. I'm giddy with the thought of it. I've gone a bit kids art and craft mad so I'll have time to look up fun things to cut, paint, glue and glitter with her on the days she's with me.
Thanks to all who wrote encouraging notes to my earlier post about this.

Friday 13 November 2009

Dog owners...the parks aren't just for you.

I'm always amazed at how selfish dog owners who use the parks in this area are. Earlier this week, my amazement reached new heights as I walked with a friend and our tots in Shrewsbury Park.
We were on a leaf hunt to do some collages with the kids so were walking around the wooded area near the car park area. On two occasions, dogs come bounding up to us with no owners in sight. I'm not fond of dogs so had a bit of a panic snatching up my tot and blocking her from the dog. Amazingly, the dog owner didn't bother to apologise and even more mind blowing was another dog owner came up to me and said that the dog was harmless and wouldn't have hurt us. What is it about dog owners that makes them so blind to anyone else's feelings? There have been numerous stories of dogs who have attacked kids and adults. But this isn't the point. I have the right to walk around the park without some hound running at me and my kin.
On the second occasion, the dog ran up to my friend's tot and nearly knocked her over. This dog then went on to lick the balls of another dog....lovely :S Again, the dog owner did not apologise and just said that it wouldn't have hurt her. My friend was understandably upset that this genital licking mutt had jumped up on her 2 year old daughter.
I understand that dogs need to be out and about and am not suggesting they shouldn't use the parks. But god, I wish the selfish owners could all be locked up. We won't be going back to the park as now I fear that the tots may fall in dog poo or be mauled....and what makes me really sick is that that's probably what the mutt loving jobless gits want.

Sunday 1 November 2009


The Plummy Mummy household has been full of lurgies for the last few weeks. We have had our first wave of winter colds though I was convinced I had man flu as I could hardly move. On top of this we have been waiting to see if tot has got chickenpox as she was in close proximity to another tot who got the pox which has meant being confined in our movements.
All in all, we have felt sorry for ourselves as we have been hacking up our lungs and noting the colour of the stuff coming out. Poor tot hasn't learnt how to do this particular trick so ends up regurgitating her food.
The potential of pox means we have to avoid all preggers ladies and any recently borns. So I am considering carrying a bell and loudly declaring the presence of the tot as we walk around Co-op.
I've been peering at her skin rather closely to see if she has any tell tale signs....so far we have seen rashes but they aren't itchy. They also disappear so perhaps this is a case of projected pox psychosamaticism?
Hope we get better soon as boredom may bring out a severe case of the terrible twos...a fate which we have so far managed to avoid :D

Sunday 25 October 2009

Should she stay or should she go?

Earlier this year, I applied for part time places at nursery for our 2 year old. One replied saying they had nothing available and would reconsider us in January. The other didn't even bother replying. I was secretly happy as I felt she was too young to go. And I was also quite reluctant to have someone other than me or my hubby change her. Then once the horrific stories of child abuse at nurseries this summer came out, I was very happy with my decision.
Life does throw curve balls. Last thing on Friday I got a call from the first nursery saying they could offer us afternoon sessions. I have been given the weekend to discuss with hubby and make a decision if tot should go.
I have to say this seems one of the hardest decisions of my life. I keep to and fro'ing.

IF SHE GOES: she makes new friends (I hope) and has some stimulation outside of mummy. Mummy gets time to clean the house, do the weekly shop and maybe in the long term, get a hobby or actually go back to work.
IF SHE STAYS: I know she is safe, we are free to decide each day what we want to do and I spend most of the day entertaining her. She laughs and sings all the time and even amazes us by singing the whole alphabet..we know she doesn't know what the letters are but her memory is remarkable. I see every development she makes and am amazed by what a wonderful child she is.

IF SHE STAYS: our house doesn't get cleaned, my nerves sometimes get frazzled by the relentless "What's that", "Why", "I don't like it" and "Please mummy PLEASE". If I spend any time on the computer, I feel guilty, then I feel annoyed as she tries to play with the keys and destroys anything I'm working on.
IF SHE GOES: she has not been left with anyone for over a year. She has never been left with a non family member or a very well known neighbour.
The nursery which only scored a Satisfactory with ofsted 3 years ago may not have the right staff to stimulate her, she may get bullied, she may get bored, she may pick up all sorts of colds and germs in general making her eczema go wild. Her routine will be disrupted as she has lately taken to napping in the afternoon. We go bankrupt with the cost of the sessions. The separation anxiety may be more than she can bear...OK more than I can bear.
What is the right age for a child to go to nursery I wonder and will we be able to decide by tomorrow? I hope so as she's getting confused about why mummy keeps grabbing her, holding on tight and showering her with kisses through teary eyes.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Better the devil know

I'll be watching Question Time tonight and sincerely hope that Nick Griffin appears. I'm not a fan. Quite the reverse. I'm hoping that the show will reveal him for being the insidious snake that he is. If he comes across well, that will be worrying but at least we will know the devil for what he is.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Useful links for toddler stuff

I haven't got around to doing a calendar of events for toddlers. However, if you are looking for activities here is a list of links I use:

Netmums Greenwich site: Also worth joining the Bexley site if you live nearer Welling etc.

Greenwich gov site:
Family days out:

Tramshed site ...now a lot of activities are based at Plumstead Leisure centre:

Leisure centre activities:

Online activies:

Milkshake on Five:
Baby First:

Direct gov site on childcare options

Things to do with kids site:

Sunday 18 October 2009

Tudor Barn Eltham

We went to Tudor Barn today for lunch. It still has the feel and foibles of a newly opened place. On first walking in at around 12.30ish, the place was virtually empty apart from a pair of old ladies. We decided to walk around and I bumped into another mum from Toddler World. As they had baby chairs we decided to give the food a go. Unfortunately, there wasn't a menu for toddlers (ours wanted pasta!) although we later overheard a waitress state that all the menu items could be ordered in children portions...something our waitress hadn't told us. They did happily produce a cheese sandwich for her so we were happy. The pricey menu is limited but even so, there were options for vegetarian me. Hubby and I both opted for baguettes which were lovely and fresh, accompanied by a fresh crunchy salad with the hint of a delicious dressing and fries (when did they stop being called chips?). The desserts were limited but still we enjoyed a donut and a brownie.
I was a bit miffed that I had to change tot in the function room above the restaurant as they didn't have a baby changing room. This did give me a chance to have a quick look at the room which has impressive beams and a nice view of the surrounding park. Anyway, there are plans to add a baby changing room so it's not the end of the world. I didn't notice if there were toilets for the disabled but I sure hope so as there were at least 2 elderly people in chairs by the time we left who would not have managed the steep step in the ladies loo.
The best part was saving the tot's crusts and feeding them to the ducks who were floating in the moat surrounding the Barn together with the fattest fish I've ever seen. The ducks must have been overfed as they didn't bother with the bread unlike the pigeons that nearly mobbed us!
I wasn't overly convinced that the Barn would be a good venue for a wedding reception as there is a lack of local parking but for a lazy Sunday lunch it's not too bad and there are some Boppin Bunnies classes being run here on Mondays which we are thinking of joining....try to support any toddler classes that are not in Blackheath or Greenwich.

Shrewsbury House

Shrewsbury House, Bushmoor Crescent, SE18 3EG
OK not quite Plumstead but close enough. I decided to have a look at this place as there is a toddler group based there. Autumn always produces lovely colours and our walk was chilly but in lovely sunshine.
I expected Shrewsbury House to be in the Shrewsbury Park but its nestled in among houses nearby in Bushmoor Crescent.
There is some parking in front which is useful. I went in hoping to pick up a leaflet detailing the activities in the House but sadly there wasn't one. They could do with producing something along the lines of the list that Mycanae House which shows activities by day of week and all contact numbers on the back. Luckily, the porter was able to answer a few questions and the activities, which are far and few, were listed on the board.
I made an appointment for the toddler pre-school and returned a few days later to have a look around. The room they use is large and has a gorgeous ceiling. They also have sole use of the gardens at the back so there is plenty of outdoor space for the kids. So I've put tot's name down even though she's got to wait nearly 14 months to get in as they only take children who are over 3 years, 3 months old.
Other activities at the House include a ballet class for older toddlers, Aperture - a camera club and a Shooters Hill local history clothes.
On our way back towards Plumstead, we noticed some rather impressive trees.

Friday 16 October 2009


Tomorrow is the most important day in the Hindu calendar. I'm not overly religious but I do observe this day...probably in the way most people observe Christmas.
Diwali is a 5 day festival but the end day tomorrow, which marks Hindu New Year, is the one we get together for as a family. And that means food, glorious food. This year , the food is being ordered in. I only found out this afternoon after having spent the morning going up and down Plumstead High Street trying to buy fresh rations. Considering there is a large Hindu and Sikh population round here, there didn't seem to be much celebrating going on. I had to abandon a basket in Dadoos as the queue was so long (down to a broken machine rather than hordes of customers). So off I went to Fiveways. At the checkout, I asked if they sold sugar coated almonds (a family favourite) and when the boy said no, I exclaimed shock that they did not have this Diwali staple. His rude shrug indicated he was not either Hindu or Sikh. Ah well, I was able to get a lovely pack from Tesco Express. I did find it funny that the Express was stocking Indian supplies but if the attitude along the high street doesn't improve, you can't blame people for going off to the big giants.
Diwali is the Festival of Lights. For different Indians, this means different things. I take it as the homecoming of Lord Rama after exile and a celebration of Good over Evil. It's celebrated by lights and fireworks so from tomorrow night, expect lots of bangs around here. In reality, that'll go on all week as we merge with Guy Fawkes. Bang bang goes the toddler's sleep routine.
We will be doing it a bit more quietly, by stringing up fairy lights and lighting divas. I managed to find some beautiful ones in the internet cafe on the high street. They were painted by the owner's husband's niece. And very pretty they will look too with white tealights in them.
Happy Diwali everyone and a glorious New Year.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Time to change passwords

Seems that a lot of online email accounts have been phished.

As it's raining and we are stuck indoor, there is plenty of time to spend a few minutes creating new passwords for all your accounts. Should do this on a regular basis (I don't. I should but heck there are other things to do like eat and stuff).
If you can, use a phrase and mix in numbers etc. For gawd's sake don't use the name of your pooch, your street, your kids' names or anything even more obvious such as your birthday. If you do that, you are just asking for trouble. And get a decent Antivirus software (but not Norton which I reported in a previous post is too heavy on the old OS).

Monday 5 October 2009

Baby bingo

I'm sure some of you have heard of Bullshit bingo. Well I think we should make up baby bingo. I am painfully aware that as I try to control my tot so that she doesn't hurt herself (in a manner that is like herding cats), I often use the same words or phrases. So tomorrow I'm going to start playing baby bingo. All I have to figure out is what to do if we score on all words/phrases.

Good girl
Well done
You are a clever monkey (or some variation)
Wow you ate all your breakfast/lunch/snack
Would you like some apple/cheese/other food stuff
Let's play
Lets read a book
Sit down
Stop that
I said NO
Just eat it
I take it you don't like mummy's [insert name of today's culinary creation]
What do you say [required response is Please]
What do you say [required response is thank you]
Shall I sing you [insert nursery rhyme. I have to sing all of them but she selects the order]
Shall we go to [insert playgroup, name of playmate's house, co-op, the park, the playground, to bed]
Go to sleep darling
GO TO SLEEP for heaven's sake! (note the tone of exasperation creeping in here)
That's a nipple (she keeps pointing to body parts and asking. Today's obsession was her and my nipples)
Behave yourself
Stop being naughty
In a minute
Come on (usually said when on a walk with the tot who could win awards for dawdling)
Move it (see above)
Don't touch that,it's dirty
Don't touch that, it's hot
It's naughty to throw food on ... the floor/at someone
Well say something (she likes to call up people on the phone but then goes all shy....sweet but not for the person being called)
Stop that! (usually putting a figure up her nose)
Good girl, you did a poo. (unfortunately potty training's going a bit slow so its still nappy time here)
Have you done a poo?
Wow that's a stinky one.
Tidy up please
You are very naughty so you stay in there for 5 minutes
Do you want a smack?

She amazed me today by being able to sing the whole alphabet. She of course is too young to know what it means, but wow what a memory. Maybe she'll start telling me what words/phrases I've missed out.

All these phrases are in English because unfortunately I don't know enough of my mother tongue to keep up a one sided conversation with her. But perhaps if I did she would feel the fear I did on the few occasions I was disciplined as a child in my language. It's just so much more scary - a bit like when your parents use your full name to call you...you know you are in trouble! I do that with tot but she thinks it's hilarious :S

Sunday 4 October 2009

My beautiful laundrette

Our washing machine has been broken for about 4 weeks now. Frankly this is a nightmare of epic proportions for us. Mountains of washing piling up, stinking out our house and so I had no choice but use a laundrette.
None of local ones seem to be open in the evening so my poor tot has made the trips with me.
We began with the laundrette on Plumstead Common Road. Luckily my mother-in-law was with us to help carry bags since it's impossible to park in front.
Once in, I was transported to the 70s and memories of going to laundrettes with my dad and brothers. It was a treat then and we played around a lot. In those days not many people had washing machines so laundrettes were better run and had longer opening hours.
A long chat with the nice service wash lady in the Plumstead laundrette revealed that the owners used to open from 8-8 (rather than 9-4 as they do now) but they just didn't make any money and couldn't afford to keep the service wash lady in there for longer.
After a few hours we emerged with lovely fresh clothes. My tot was happy as she got a walk in the park in between washes and enjoyed this first experience.
After that, I did a service wash. How expensive...who can afford this on a regular basis?
Last week, I tried out the laundrette on Conway road. Again had a bit of walk as there are parking restrictions in the road. This one doesn't offer service washes, is more run down but had a choice of 3 machines and the dryers stayed on longer for 20p. The clothes washed and dried very quickly.
It's different being down that road. There is a strong Asian community who seemed to know eachother well. I bought some veg from the grocery shop (not fresh but better than nowt). I also noticed that Wild East is now called Purple Chilli and during a walk we could smell the most delicious curry smells. Will have to try that out at some point.
If and when our machine gets fixed, we will not need to do these trips (though I'm convinced my towels were better cleaned than at home). But maybe once in while when the towels need a cleaner than normal wash, I just try a few more local laundrettes as it gives me a couple of hours to explore the neighbourhood and see it from a different angle.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Stay at home dads

On Sky3 last night there was a programme about mothers who leave their kids. My tot has been sick since last Thursday and today I just blew up as I couldn't take caring for her anymore. That may sound heartless but I've had her in the bed with me every night and she's a hair pulling/kicking in the back kind of kid. She's not doing it on purpose I know but hey, a mum can only take so much. I'm not about to leave (though a long weekend pretending to be single again wouldn't go a miss).
Part of the show was about the rising number of men left holding the kids when the mums disappear. Which makes me think about Stay at Home Dads (SAHD). I very rarely see Dads in Plumstead's stay and play sessions. I do see them in the park or at Toddler World. I don't know if they are SAHDs or just looking after the kids for day. For some I feel I need a sign saying "I'm just being friendly, don't want to get into your pants or anything" before approaching them. Luckily there are those sane ones who you can chat to but mostly its quite superficial as we don't know eachother well enough yet.

I'm curious, do SAHD's get depressed like the stay at home mums (SAHM)? Do they find that a year on, the experience was not what they expected. I thought I would have time to learn some new cool recipes, go to the gym, start book clubs, exercise my brain in ways I couldn't at work etc. Fat chance. Time is devoted to the tot and spare money is rare so some activities are unaffordable.
Do men join sites like Netmums.co.uk, Mothers35plus.co.uk, babycentre.co.uk, raisingkids.co.uk,mumsnet etc? Some of these sites have pages for men specifically but I think most of the articles are targeted to women.

I found a site for dads but it seems an American site: www.athomedad.org. There are UK sites such as dadathome.co.uk.
The following blog has an list of links: www.stayathomedad.blogspot.com

It's sad but at work I got used to having yearly assessments of my progress. It showed me where I had done well, helped vocalise my plans for the future and highlighted any areas of improvement or training needed. You don't get that as a SAHP (Stay at home parent), apart from the few visits from the health visitor in the first few months. I guess once tot starts school, I'll know how well she is doing and therefore, how well I'm doing at this most important of job. In the meantime, the fact that, apart from the odd shouting session, most days are filled with fun and she's not injured, means I must be doing OK. Much as I may fantasise, I have no plans on leaving just yet.

Monday 28 September 2009

Reciprocal care

The world has gone mad. I woke this morning to find out it was not legal to trust a friend to look after my child and for me to look after theirs. Now, I don't currently do this. I don't have friends in this area yet that I trust. I live far from any relatives and my best friend who I have known for over 30 years. So it means we don't go out and it means I cannot afford to go to work (that's a lie, I could but I don't want to spend all day working just to pay a childminder when I can do that job myself). My neighbour who I have known for a few years has often offered to look after my little one. I have been in her home many times and I trust her. I'm thinking of taking her up on her offer.
I think the current ofsted stance against two POLICEWOMEN is ridiculous (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8278189.stm). These two women know eachother very well. Trust eachother. And can only afford to go back to work if they look after eachother's kids.

I've signed the petition to get the law changed. If you feel the same, the please sign it too:

Saturday 26 September 2009

Walk along the river

Another walk along the South Bank today. I was intrigued by all the cranes that were present in the London skyline. Also wanted to take a picture of the Thames Clipper that I have yet to go on.

Outside the National Theatre there was some sort of band playing - the same song over and over (I fought the law but the law won). And a hula hoop festival. The little girls were very impressive in keeping their hoops going.

At the back of Festival Hall, there is a strange sculpture made of cardboard tubes. I liked the lines it made.

As I walked to Waterloo East station I was somewhat saddened by the lack of seediness that gave this area character. There used to be a bookstall/comic seller under the bridge just outside the station. All this has gone now and though the area attracts more tourists, I felt a bit sad for that lost part of London life.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

El Gato Guerro: Damn more poops

The cats have been at it again so the sonic device and curry plants aren't working. I don't want to use chili powder anymore as I have now read it hurts the cats pretty badly.
Next options are mothballs, but they are toxic.
Or to keep the ground wet which may be good for keeping cats off but may kill the plants.
On the plus side, the garden is looking better now it's planted with flowers. I'm going to get some more so that there are fewer patches of earth for the damned beasties to dig up.


Walking along the riverfront from Royal Arsenal to Woolwich Leisure centre you pass the Royal Arsenal gardens. Among the wildflowers, skater park and debris from last nights drunks, you can see many pieces of sculpture. The one above caught my eye as it looks like a shivalingum that you find in Hindu temples. I must admit, I don't know what it is about. Next time I'm along there, I'll take a better look and try to photograph the other sculptures dotted about.
Coming up upon art in life is interesting. Don't get me wrong, I like walking around galleries - for instance, the Barbara Hepworth works displayed in St Ives museum in her name. The pieces seen together form stories and show the progression of the artist. But seeing sculpture in public makes it less about the artist and more about the environment. You can also touch it which galleries tend to frown upon.
"Assembley" by Peter Burke, displayed at the Thames Clipper pier at Royal Arsenal reminds me of a Dr Who scene. My tot doesn't like the faceless statues. They are quite creepy. I'm mildly surprised that they haven't been vandalised. There are signs saying cameras watch the area but we couldn't spot any (note: that's not an invitation to vandalise). I'm always curious why the statues are all men but maybe Gormley-like, they are based on the artist. Luckily, the place is never busy, so they aren't in the way. But I'd love to see them placed somewhere like Oxford Circus to see how people would interact with them.
I was excited to read about Anish Kapoor's exhibition at the Royal Academy http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/anish-kapoor/about/. Somehow, I don't think they will let me take the pushchair around the galleries so I need to find someone to look after the tot who would want to climb all over the sculptures and mix the colours or get her fingerprints on the shiny surfaces that he often uses.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Eltham Palace

We missed going to this at the Open House weekend when the grounds were free and entrance to the house was half price. However, went today and spent quite a few hours in the house and lovely gardens. It's not possible to take pictures in the house so these are exterior shots only. I got a bit fed up with the image upload tools here so only a few photos.

Monday 21 September 2009

To Hilly

Hilly, I can't post comments on your e-shooters hill site but think that Poosation is a marvellous word. Hope it makes it into the Oxford English dictionary one day :D

Friday 18 September 2009

Your Plumstead

Just came across this site. No idea who runs it or how accurate it is but there is a pretty map on it.
A lot of the links don't work so if you know who runs it, speak up and I can email them a list :)

Coffee grounds

Some cafes are giving away coffee grounds to use as garden fertilizer.
I did a search of the internet and as usual found conflicting information. Some say coffee grounds are useless, same say they are great for acid loving plants. We bought a weigela which has really wilted in a week so I'll plant that with the coffee grounds we got yesterday at lunch to see if they can bring the plant back to life.
And an added bonus is that grounds are meant to be a cat deterrent!

Thursday 17 September 2009

A visit to the South Bank / NFT / RFH

My mother in law, tot and myself went into town today to have lunch with the hubby and walk around the South Bank which is one of my favourite parts of London.
We took the train into Cannon Street where some lovely railway men helped us take the push chair into a lift, even pressed the button for us and when we got out told us the trolley friendly way to go. So nice, so unexpected.
Walking down Thames Path, we passed a cafe where to my great surprise I saw an old colleague who I last saw 8 years ago. The remarkable thing is he lives in Edinburgh and was just down for the day on business. What are the odds? So we had a quick chat before having to rush off to meet hubby under the one wibbly wobbly Millennium bridge.
We had a nice lunch in the Salvation Army cafe just by the bridge where the food is not cordon bleu but edible and in a great open space. This is the first time I've gone in to meet hubby for lunch and it was such a enjoyable experience that I think I'll do it again.
He then had to go back to the office and we three girls continued our tour of the South Bank. Crossed the bridge, went "Oooo" at the view, took pictures then ambled into the Tate Modern. I was a bit cross at the all the young folk waiting at the lifts and kept muttering rather loudly that the lazy sods should take the stairs. I love the turbine hall and with great excitement took my MIL there. Only it's empty as there is an exhibition under construction. As we didn't fancy taking tot around the galleries we made our way to my ultimate fave place - the NFT passing Gabriel's Wharft and the National Theatre which is currently decked out in lurid orange.

I love the NFT. That isn't an statement in the style of Americans who seem to lurve everything but a truly expressed emotion for a wonderful place which is dear to my heart and holds many memories for me. I enjoy seeing films here as there are no adverts, no food and no rude buggers talking the whole way through. It means more to me as it's the first place I saw hubby face to face. We met on the Internet and after a few months agreed to meet there as we both enjoy film. That night we watched the terrifying, disturbing performance by Robert Mitchum in "The Night of the Hunter".
Currently, there is season of Japanese Oshima films on but I've either missed "In the Realm of the Senses" or they aren't showing it. It's a very sexually explicit film and changed the way I viewed eggs forever. I have never managed to watch it to the end as it horrified me. Japanese films have a real power to horrify - if you don't believe me just watch Audition or the original Ring. I would prefer to wait for Kamui, a ninja story, which is part of the London Film Festival - World Cinema offering.
I was a bit sad the benches at the front of the cafe have been replaced by tables. Those benches encouraged conversation with strangers and I have spent many a pleasant time there sipping beer whilst watching people browse the book stalls that are always in front. Today, I decided to forgive Louis de Bernieres for 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' and bought his 'A Partisan's Daughter'.

We then proceeded to Royal Festival Hall and the South Bank Centre. The central bar at the Centre seems to be a haven for mothers as I saw many there including one breastfeeding (yippee for public breastfeeding). We met another baby called Charlie...so many Charlies in the world.
The day ended with a stroll across Hungerford Bridge into Charing Cross and a train journey/bus ride back to the Common. My tot's squealed in delight the whole day whenever she spotted a train and was in 7th heaven on the journeys both to and from old London town.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Style over substance

Sorry about the continually changing style of this blog. I'm trying out new looks with the limited options you get in Blogger. I've also switched to the the more advanced editor but it deals with fonts differently and there is no spell check. Also preview doesn't seem to show any formatting. Pants really. The only advantage so far is that image placement is easier.
I'll stop soon I promise. But it is addictive...like constantly picking at a scab.

El Gato Guerro

I typed my husband's name into a lucha libre name generator just now and it came up as El Gato Guerro - the Cat War which is hilarious as I'm currently fighting a cat war. They are poo-ing in my garden and I want the beasties gone, gone, GONE.
This I have discovered, is not a unique problem. Even one of our own SE bloggers posted about the issue a few years back and hilariously they were advised to use Lion Poo. http://plumssel.blogspot.com/2007/09/roys-stores.html
Now I'm not sure about that as it seems to be replacing small moggy poo with large ferocious beastie poo. So we are trying other methods.
When we moved back to our house last year we noticed cats were using planters filled with pebbles as their own personal litter trays. I chucked those out and we got a sonic device from B&Q. That works well as long as the batteries are working. So yay a batlle won and we have a clean patio.
The war has moved to a new frontier...the front garden. As I want to replant this, we have been simple digging the soil (that's what it's called according to Gardener's World). But the soil is in poor shape and we have to replenish it with manure. That doesn't arrive until Friday so until then, I have to keep the cats off.
Hubby got an even more fang dangle sonic repellent and ...it's not working. So I bought curry plants from Thompsons.
This morning there was more poo. So I have placed the curry plants strategically and have also doused the whole area in chilli powder. Had to wear some glasses as the wind blew the powder straight into my eyes and stung like hell. I feel a bit guilty that the cats are going to be hurt but it's only temporary and all's fair in love and war. I do wonder if curry restaurants have a beastie problem as they must always smell of curry. I also wonder if it is worth just dumping left overs from curry dinners in the garden...bit nasty for us to watch it decompose though.

If this doesn't work we still have the following options:
  • lion poo
  • moth balls
  • citrus peel
  • citronella
  • citrus plant (can you see a pattern forming)
  • clear plastic bottles half filled with water
  • cat repellent chemicals from diy store
  • water pistol
  • gun ....No not me, I'm a pacifist.
This is all distracting me from creating a beautiful garden. Someone at a toddler group asked if this latest fad was due to my recent miscarriage. Maybe. And my war on cats is also a war on toxoplasmosis...it may not have caused the miscarriage, but it may have. Stupid me for weeding without gloves.
On a more positive note, we had a wasp nest in our roof and a man in a suit descended on our property to spray some wasp eliminating stuff in the roof. Hopefully that beatie problem will now be resolved.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Back to me...

It's very odd to feel sad when a celebrity dies - unless I guess you knew them personally.
This morning was a double shocker; first Patrick Swayze then a few hours later, Keith Floyd.
Now with PS I was sad. But with KF I was gutted.
I loved to watch Floyd cook even though most of it was meat or fish and therefore not really something I could do. But he was pure entertainment before all the wanker arrogant TV chefs of today were on the box . And he reminded me a lot of my dad's style of cooking. When my mum died, dad went mad and started taking over the kitchen. Much to my annoyance as I was also trying to do the same thing. Our styles of cooking were different. I chop as I go, quite happily cooking in chaos with a sink full of dishes. Dad on the other hand would first clean the kitchen, then get his glass of booze, his rolled up ciggie and set off on the great and LONG adventure of cooking that night's dinner. Before the actual cooking began, he would have everything chopped and ready in little dishes, Floyd-like. I would be told to get out of the way and would only get him coming into the main room to tell me a story or summat whilst he set something to simmer, blanch or burn (frequently, though he denied it). Dinner would take ages and often we didn't sit down to eat for at least 2 hours.
We both enjoyed watching Floyd. The man had style even if he was a rude sod. He would embrace the cooking and life etc. I wanted to go where he went, drink what he drank and be that enthusiastic about eating (something I think denied to veggies as we often say No to food). And I loved that. So sad to see that vitality gone.
Dad's coming over this weekend and I think we will do a tribute lunch to Floyd. But there is no way the old man is kicking me out of the kitchen this time and NO booze for him as he's driving. And we will eat before I age another year.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Food Hygiene

One way of finding restaurants in your local area is to look at the council's food safety site.The added benefits are that the list tells you whether a place has got a food safety certificate and also shows me how many restaurants are in Greenwich. I was also curious to see there is a local Vegetarian Cakes place so I'll be looking into that a bit more.
Being a paranoid mummy, I tend to look up take aways before ordering food and am happy to say that my latest favourite, Ruchita, has got a certificate. Now if I could only get them to make my sag paneer spicy but not burn-your-head-off hot then life would be dandy.
I couldn't see any information on Namaste Cafe which is near Plumstead station...has anyone been there?

I don't know how to attach a pdf to a posting so here is the link where you can download it if you desire.

Friday 11 September 2009

Royal Arsenal Gun Pit Cafe

I've been to this place twice now and my reactions are mixed.
On the positive side,
1) What a great location and set up. There are comfy sofas to sit on or if you prefer, tables inside or out.
2) The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff seem friendly enough.
3) The lady behind the counter told me they were very busy at lunch and during the evenings

On the negative side,
1) On both visits my coffee was lukewarm when served. And in today's outing my ciabatta wasn't toasted very well.
2) I had ordered soup for my toddler and was frankly shocked at the near boiling temperature at which it was served. Very, very irresponsible especially as they only have metal spoons. Luckily I had my trusted plastic toddlers' spoon so after much blowing got her to eat some. She rejected it. And the reason...the soup was simply boiled carrots. No flavour whatsoever.
3) There was absolutely no tie up to the Firepower museum. I would have loved to see a wartime themed esp considering it's the 70th anniversary year WW2.

I'm probably being a bit critical. I should have also just said something to the staff but despite its' negative points, I'm sure I'll go there again as there are such limited options around here.

Future reviews will include Couture and the new cafe on Lakedale road.

Resident's permit to dump waste

Was just on the Greenwich gov site and noticed that you now need a Waste Permit Sticker to take household waste at the Recycling centre. When did this change happen? What a pain as I have to get rid of some rubble from my current gardening project.

Oh and my gardening project may end pretty sharpish as I realised I know pooh all about gardening and it is very very hard on the back and the knees!

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Community Calendar

I've been looking into the options here. My list of requirements were:
  1. Have a calendar that can show events in and around Plumstead
  2. Enable anyone else to also add and edit events. The calendar is owned by the community so anyone can add.
  3. Give a few bods admin control to delete unsavoury events.
  4. Enable visitors to narrow searches for the type of event they are interested in
  5. Have day, week and month views.
  6. Enable businesses to advertise and for reviews of these businesses to be added (thinking restaurants or attractions here)
  7. Enable visitors to turn off adverts
  8. Be web based so accessible irrespective of computer platform. Include ability for mobile access.

Events include:
  • one off events
  • regular events (like playgroups, toddler world)
  • club events (rugby club events etc)

Each event would have - date, time, repeat, contact information, map and directions, prices.

In the states,there is TownSync.com but it's in beta stage so I can't assess how useful it is.
I also thought the Council or local newspapers would have some sort of events' calendar but I found nothing of significant use so far.

I'll keep on looking but if anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Friday 4 September 2009

Birthday beach party!

It was tot's birthday yesterday so as a treat we planned to take her to Minnis Bay beach. I checked the weather on the day - sunny intervals so off we went. Unfortunately, I didn't look at the windspeed which would have warned me that we would be blown about quite a bit. At the beach, the tide was in so we went for lunch in the restaurant expecting normal beach fare. What a delightful lunch. The chef really is to be complimented. Once sated, we ventured out and decided to go the beach children's playground. Eventually we took a very windblown walk on the promenade before deciding to go the Whitstable. There we had a lovely walk around the harbour and once the wind died down a bit of fun on the beach. It's so lovely to do this mid week when there are very few people about. I really liked the feel of both places and I'm sure we will go back one day. Next time I'll remember to check the wind speed!

Wednesday 2 September 2009

What is in a name?

In our first General Studies lesson when I was in 6th form (a long long time ago) our teachers told us that we would need to learn to fill forms, and that we would be filling forms for all our lives. How very right they were; bureaucracy is rife in the UK.
I've been very slowly been changing my bank and all other stuff to my married name. Sometimes I wish I hadn't bothered as it's such a hassle. Forms forms forms.
The mother of all forms is the passport one. And to top it all, I had to change photos too. Now, in the olden days, there used to be photobooths everywhere. But I guess with the advent of camera phones and home printing, the need for booths has diminished. But I needed one to take my passport photo. So I went on the hunt, ending up trotting all over Eltham high street. After some time, I found a booth in WH Smith.
So photos done, form filled in, covering letter written for bits that didn't fit in the form. I happily trotted to the Slade post office hoping to get it all checked and sent today as the price goes up tomorrow.
Then the nightmare begins. Apparently, I have to get my photos countersigned. However, this was not clear when I was filling in the form, nor on the IPS website in the section for name change. The arse behind the post office counter started getting funny with me. If it was so clear, he could have easily pointed it out to me. But no, he had to spend ages reading the guidelines, then had to get out an over sized operation manual and really he couldn't find a clear indication that a name change required countersigned photos. In final desperation, he looked at my existing passport and then at my new photos and declared my appearance had changed. Utter and complete tosh. And this point, I want to grab his tiny little brain head and shove it into the floor. Everytime I have to do anything more complicated then buying stamps from this place, there are complications.
I left the post office in a bad mood. I must admit that I am not surprised post offices are dying out. The customer service totally sucks. I will eventually get my photos signed once I find an official to do it, however, I am sure many are put off by the need to put their own passport number on the form. The sad thing is that the bureaucrats can justify all this madness.

Friday 28 August 2009

A Tale of Two Hospitals

Health has been very much on the Plummy Mummy household's minds in the last few weeks.
Hubby went for the first stage of his anti-snoring programme....having a deviated septum fixed at Lewisham hospital.
As I'm not overly familiar with the layout of Lewisham, let alone the hospital, there was much teeth-grinding and general moaning on my part as I dropped him off and picked him up later in the same day. Some of that moaning was to do with the distance we travelled for him to have his nose picked.
Poor sod was in agony for a week and I cowered as I realised that it was my fault he went for the surgery (threats of my leaving him if he didn't get that snoring sorted). But as you will see below I had some justification for being in a bad mood.
Our second visit to the hospital was less stressful as I knew where I was going and actually found the parking to be logical once you figured it all out.
He's a lot happier now that the splints have been removed from inside his nose and should be back at work next week. He's also snoring less so I'm happier.

My hospital experience was somewhat different. I was 7 weeks pregnant, but am no longer having miscarried 6 days before hubby's surgery. There has been considerable pain and sadness over this not least because at our age, any delay in increasing the size of our family is quite a blow. I spent a lot of time on the net during the whole business (which took nearly 2 weeks to complete and is still ongoing) looking at causes. In my case methinks its AGE. There is a 51% chance of miscarriage. I didn't know this before. It's burned into my brain now. Mostly I feel sad for my tot as she is that much further away from having a sibling.
I had two visits to QEH in Woolwich. A much easier place to get to and to park in than Lewisham hospital. As I sat for hours waiting, I was reminded just how many chavs live round here. I saw red when a couple of the stupid bints got on the phone to graphically discuss their miscarriages while others, including me, were waiting around to see the sonographer. The saddest thing was on the 2nd visit when I knew it was all over, a young woman came in with her daughter and new born child. She obviously didn't cotton onto the fact that there were women around her who had lost theirs. My heart went out to a very sad looking lady sitting next to the oblivious one.
I have no doubt we will try again and have been encouraged by women who have told me they went on to have successful pregnancies. In the meantime, my heart has a tiny hole for the soul who only stayed with me for 7 weeks. I will never forget that baby.

Steer clear

On way home from IKEA Edmonton tonight we noted that there are roadworks planned for Blackwall tunnel, that the Woolwich ferry is down to one service (they say broken ferry, I say people skiiving off for Bank Hol weekend), roadworks on the A12 and huge tailbacks on the Dartford tunnel approach.
So this weekend, we won't be travelling anywhere by car.
I must admit that I would rather do the Dartford route as you don't get the utter rudeness of drivers seen on the Blackwall tunnel approach. But by far the best way to come is via London bridges. As long as you are happy to wait until the congestion charge doesn't apply and prepared to brake every now and again for a jaywalking tourist.
Even better, I wish I could get a lift off one of them Chinooks that are always flying ahead. That would be cool.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Royal Arsenal

Sometimes I get quite down living near Woolwich which I consider to be quite a dump. This is made worse driving back from North London which takes two hours because there are yet again, roadworks around the Tunnel.
Today I was however, pleasantly surprised when I took tot and hubby to Royal Arsenal. We wanted to look at the boarding point for the Clipper as I want to take a boat trip down to Waterloo.
The development is rather nice IMHO. And very un-Woolwich like. We enjoyed a stroll along the river, watched the Woolwich ferries making some circles in the water and then went for a coffee in the Royal Artillery museum. Not a bad cafe for the standards around here though my coffe was a little cold.
I'll post some pictures up soon.

Saturday 8 August 2009

Open for anon

A comment made by a poster in Plumsteadshire's blog made me realise that I had turned off comments from anonymous posters.
Well I've changed that for now. Hope no-one abuses me as I'm a rather sensitive sod to that sort of thing.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Apocolypse Now?

Every night around midnight our peace is shattered by the sounds of helicopters. Sometimes I think they are flying so low that if I looked out the window I'd be able to see the pimples on the stupid pilot's face. This annoys us and also leads to a lot of breath-holding as we wait for our sleeping baby to wake up in the middle of what sounds like a warzone.
I initially thought these were taking prisoners to their cells but realised that was a silly thing to do around midnight. Then thought maybe they were to do with the barracks.
Now I believe its tourists who want a midnight view of the o2 else why would they fly so low. No doubt it will get worse in the run up to the Olympics as people want to fly around the site.

Now don't get me wrong, people are entitled to view the sights. But fuck me, I am entitled to sleep and this is too much.
To break the so called camel's back, from 4am we have the sound of airplanes going into City airport and the barking of some very annoying dogs who are obviously owned by drunkards who are in a stupor and don't hear their mutts disturbing the peace.
If you hear banshee like screaming, that's me. I've had enough :(

Sunday 2 August 2009

Toddler swimming Eltham

After a restless sleep filled with nightmares of dilapidated leisure centres, verrucas and spotty teenagers, I woke this morning to a sunny day and a more positive attitude. We took tot to Eltham leisure centre to try out the swimming.
What fun!
The centre is very well set up to take toddlers. The large changing areas included 4 family sized changing rooms which included a baby changing table to park tot while hubby and I changed.
We were pleasantly surprised that the pre-pool showers were warm.
The family pool includes a beach entrance and again the water was warm and did not reek of chlorine (a worry as tot is eczema prone). This was very encouraging for our tot who has never had a cold bath. I was also happy as I'm a short arse so the water started at my ankles and never got higher than my chest area.
There were plenty of parents with tots including quite a few dads with young sons and daughters.
I'm not a good swimmer but felt very comfortable. Between my hubby and I, we were able to play plenty of floating games with our tot and she seemed to enjoy herself.
We were in the pool for about 15 mins when a fountain shower started at the shallow end of the pool which the kids all rushed to. Unfortunately, when we tried this on the way out, the water was a bit too heavy for our little one.
Once out, we took the showers and I was delighted to see a playpen where I parked tot whilst I had a quick shower.

All in all a great experience. The centre is a wonderful civic centre and with Sunday parking free it wasn't too costly. Thoroughly recommended.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Queens House / Museum Greenwich

My brother in law was visiting for a week so of course, we decided to the do the Tourist thing and head to Greenwich.
I must admit that I have wanted to visit Queen's House for some time and also the Museum next door. The architecture of Queen's House was a treat but I must admit I found most the paintings dull. The only one that I found fascinating was the one of Queen Elizabeth I that was a propaganda machine in action! The House is very easy to get around with a pushchair and the staff were very lovely about letting us in via the ramp entrance.
The Naval museum next door was also interesting. You could get up close to the boats and I enjoyed the P&O exhibition. Even the ubiquitous crowd of surly French students didn't dent my enjoyment. You aren't allowed to take pushchairs upstairs but an area is provided to store them. (Was a bit annoyed to see woman with pushchair on higher floor but hey ho). The cafe area is big and open and has the most marvelous window ceiling that I am sure would be amazing to be under in a thunder/lightning storm.
We then proceeded to stroll through Greenwich park up to the Observatory that was thronged with people from everywhere. And stood on the GMT line again. My only regret is that we didn't manage to get into the Planetarium.
After a quick dinner in the Gourmet burger place we took a final walk around the ruins of the Cutty Sark. Its a shame things have changed here...in my younger days I remember visiting and taking a pleasant stroll along the waterfront. Maybe when the renovations are complete, the Council will do something about that.