Saturday 27 June 2009

It's life Jim, but not as we know it...

Tomorrow I expect all the charts will be filled with Michael Jackson hits. A fitting tribute for a man who was musically talented and lucky to have worked with some of the greats in the business.
On the BBC news last night, Mica Paris and David was-once-kid Jensen were discussing his music and it was suggested that in 100 years people would still listen to Jackson but not Elvis. Hmm, well I am not sure I agree with that.
I grew up with the sounds of Michael Jackson and Elvis among many others. I saw Jackson at Wembley Arena and that was the last time I adored him. He was distant and I was just a speck among his many fans. The Michael I knew had sung softly, sweetly and intimately to me via my radio and the first album I bought - Thriller. The live experience just didn't work for me. He was also the sound of my youth and as I grew older, other stronger tastes developed.
Even in my lifetime, the way we consume music has changed dramatically. The personal listening experience really took off with my first Walkman giving me an universe filled with the sounds of the Boss, Ross, Goss, Cohen, Waits, ska, reggae, soul and rock. Unfortunately, passersby had to endure the tinny sound coming out my earphones that is so commonplace in any public place.
I was limited to the music I could get from Camden market, Our Price, HMV, Woolies, WH Smiths, and Virgin. The current generation have itunes, spotify, lastfm, myspace and so many other ways to get to access vast amounts of material. We aren't limited to the mega stars the record companies shove in our faces.
So, will Jacko be listened to 100 years from now. I think so. People will probably even manage to attend his concerts virtually (they brought Frank Sinatra back to the stage so why not Jackson). And as for Elvis, well I Just Can't Help Believin' that people will also be humming along to his dulcet tones.

Friday 26 June 2009

Parent's responsibility

I have never agreed to my toddler being looked after anyone but family. This has put a strain on my marriage as we don't go out often (we rely on family but they are not close to here). Every time I am close to agreeing to have someone watch her, I read horror stories online. Am I being paranoid?
Should parents who leave their children with unsuitable carers be prosecuted when those carers cause harm?
No doubt Karl Roger McCluney deserves a strong sentence for what he did to Demi Mahon but IMHO so does the mother that left her poor toddler with an unsuitable carer.

Thames Barrier Park...

Last sunday afternoon, we decided to take a trip to the Thames Barrier Park. It was super easy to get there...we parked for free at Woolwich Arsenal and took the DLR three stops to Pontoon Park.
The images below do not do justice to the incredible park and the views of the river (tide was out so I didn't take pictures).
The cafe on site is also well designed and surprisingly sold affordable coffee which was delicious.
There is an adventure playground onsite which my toddler loved.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Who is up for a bit of Flash Mobbing?

I keep reading about the lack of cafes in Plumstead. Well there are cafes here but they aren't of the Starbuck's ilk. Thing is, do the owners of the existing cafes know what the more discerning Plumsteaders want?
I suggest we all organise a not-so-secret Flash Mob on Tony's cafe next Saturday lunch time. Bring placards, or better still bring your requests for a cappuccino and a muffin.
Who's up for it?

Saturday 20 June 2009

Toddler world, Plumstead Leisure Centre

OK despite my previous post on playgrounds, I don't think things around here are all bad.
On friday we went along to the Toddler World session at the Plumstead Leisure centre. What a excellent way to spend a hour or so. Was even good to see some dads there ... perhaps they prefer the more physical activities compared to other toddler sessions e.g. library rhyme times or stay and play sessions.
We aren't members so paid £2.75. Since it only costs £2.00 to get a Greenwich leisure card, we will do that and pay less for our sessions in future.
There was a load of things to do. Balls, hula hoops, wheeled toys to go whizzing around on, huge soft play areas, slides, large connect4 game and a large lovely bouncy council. Halfway through the session, the castle was deflated and it was rhyme time. The lady who ran it had lost her voice but did well to get everyone involved. My tot loved the blanket game.
At the end of the sing song, the castle was inflated again by the super fast whizzy air machine. Kids were allowed on which I thought dangerous but hey, if you are happy for your kid to go on, go for it.
I definitely recommend this session which takes place from 9.15 to 10.45 Mondays and Fridays.

We walked home via the high street, which has a swanky new pharmacy next to Fineways. They opened last week and it will be open until 11, every night. Even the pub on the corner is getting a facelift. Looks like things are improving on the high street at long last. Yippee

All play....not much work here

Am I the only parent that finds the Winn Common playground a bit creepy? I went along there this afternoon and was a bit daunted by the large green border all around that meant I couldn't see if there were any hoodlums lurking around to pounce on me and tot. Or any dog wielding maniacs.
Once I got into the area, I swiftly turned around after seeing how rusty the little slide was and the general lack of suitable amenities for the little one. The teenager who decided to change her baby on the only picnic bench hastened my fast exit too!
We ended up going to the playground next to Greenslade school. The playground was full of rubbish, including broken glass but luckily most of this was away from the slides so the tot was happily allowed to play. I did find it odd that there was some older teenage boys just sitting around but they didn't seem to bother anyone so that was OK- I guess they have the same problem in that there are very few areas around here for them to hang about.
So sad that the council don't do something to improve these playgrounds and bring them up the the standard of the one at Eaglesfield park. Or worse, they improve the playground like the one on Blendon Terrace but then decide to keep it closed most hours during the week when toddlers would be able to play in there without having older kids around.

Friday 12 June 2009

All shook up, ah huh huh

Much fun was had last night at the Spice Island Elvis night.

As we walked up we saw an electric blue car that belongs to the Elvis - which was actually electric powered!
The restaurant was pretty booked up but we got a good table. Anywhere would be fine as Lee Jackson is an impressive 6'4".
We couldn't have much of a conversation at the table as the music pre-Lee appearing was pretty loud. I got a bit tired of trying to hear the friend across the table who unfortunately,was very softly spoken. So we just got stuck into some beers then after quite a long wait, some food. Food was not bad even though I had to take my starter back as it was still frozen through -s0 much for freshly prepared food. I am glad that I don't eat meat as I don't relish the thought of having half thawed flesh.
During the main course, Mr Jackson appeared. He managed to make himself heard above both the far too loud music tracks and the chatting diners. At first, I wasn't much impressed by his Elvis sound. He is not the King but once you get passed that and get into the parody mood, it's great fun. Funny moment when his guitar string broke and the restaurant staff wouldn't give him a knife or scissors to repair it...methinks they thought it was part of the act!
He covered a good range of late 60s Elvis songs and I suddenly realised that a) I have turned into my mother and b) I know quite a lot of the words!
2nd set was much more fun. We had finished eating and had tucked into a bit more beer. The fan ladies were also in prime mood for screaming and dancing esp. when Mr Jackson appeared in a fetching leather outfit, looked much more like the real thing and started the Elvis Pelvis movements. We all sang along heartily and I was very amused to see some old ladies shaking their stuff....go ON girls. Near the end he was shaking and gyrating so much I was worried he was going to have a stroke but wow, what fun.
There was an attempt to do the jokes Elvis-style and there is obviously a good relationship with Ben the restaurant owner, Ben. The crowing moment was when he sang Suspicious Minds (which I know more thanks to Fine Young Cannibals than Elvis).
The mood was only slightly spoilt by the surly family at the next table but even they started joining in near the end of the set.
A good night out all round though I think he would have been much better off with a night in the Rugby Pavillion.
Will post up pictures when I get them off my mates camera.

Monday 8 June 2009

Case against proportional representation?

Before you jump to any conclusions, I don't know much about politics. I think this should be made a crime. We should be better informed and should all be made to vote.

Also, don't really know about proportional representation so the following may all be b*******s.

Late last week, I came across this site:
I was hoping this section would tell me what each candidate stood for but no such luck. So I voted very woefully uninformed.

Anyway, this morning after a long yawn and stretch, I read my usual mobile BBC news and saw with horror that the bnp have got elected up north. I'm not surprised, a sojourn into the north many years ago was a strange affair. As I walked around a Christmas market I got many a stare and realised that many of the bods up there had never seen a real life person of colour.

Anyhow, looking at the above site which shows results, I noted that the bnp had not actually increased their votes significantly in the North East and had actually lost votes in Yorkshire/Humber since the last election, but that due to the poor performance of the Lost-it-Labour party et al, they got a seat through proportional voting. I also looked with some amusement at the number of spoiled ballots - over 11k of them. Is that down to the monkeys who didn't know where to put their cross?

I hope that Nick and his buddy Andrew will be in Europe a lot in the next 4 years, far away from these shores and away from the vulnerable fools who voted for them.

On the home front, things were as expected. Wonder how long we have until the general election as I think its about time I got better informed about all this politics stuff.

Friday 5 June 2009

Messy mini-picasso

We had lots of fun today when tod and I went along to the local mini-Picassos class at the Trinity Centre on Burrage road.
The two ladies that run it, Angela and Debbie, are very friendly locals who made us feel welcome as soon as we arrived.
And the group of other mums and toddlers were very friendly (some of whom we know from other playgroups). While we waited for the room to be ready, we were able to play about in the little garden at the back which was full of toddler friendly toys. Shame that due to the rain they were wet but tod didn't seem to mind.
In the room there was areas for painting, clay modelling and general art/craft havoc making. Once tod got the idea that you DON'T eat the paint, she seemed to get on marvellously with the paint brush. She still needs to learn that the glue is not white paint - but hey that's an honest mistake to make. She didn't really enjoy the clay modelling so no new statues in our house. But the rest was fun especially as mummy encouraged her to get good and covered in paint. If you plan to attend, I recommend very old clothes and lots of baby wipes.
And the best bits for mum were the tea and cake at the end followed by mummy happily walking out of a messy room that someone else will be clearing up for a change.
I must try to remember to pick up my tod's magical artistic endeavours next time so that I can share it all with the world.
What a bargain for £4 a pop. :)

Monday 1 June 2009

Flying the flag

Whilst driving past the Olympic site this weekend, I noticed that the Flag of England is being displayed along with the Union Jack. My first thought was "hmmmm what's that say about the Games". Then quickly thought..."Where are the Flags of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland?"
For me, the flag of England conjures up associations with the Far Right in the UK. This doesn't happen with the Welsh or Scottish flags.
During England world matches, this image does change as I see supporters of all types wearing England t-shirts and flying the flag. However, as those games fade, the negative image seeps back into my consciousness.
As I walk around Plumstead, I occasionally see the flag draped from windows or hung on cars. Do I wrongly assume the bearers are publicising their far right tendencies, or are just proud, but not racist/fascist, nationals?
I hope by the time the Olympics comes to these areas, that the flag will come to be a positive image and represent all the different people that live in Greenwich.