Friday 30 April 2010

Serious about immigration

Bit disheartening to see in both the Leaders debate and the following Question Time that very little positive is said about immigration. Not until a member of the QT audience said something, did the politicians all agree.
Perhaps predictably since I'm an immigrant, I don't believe all immigration is bad. It enriches a society to have people come from elsewhere. I do appreciate the issues with having too many people in the UK or having people who don't want to integrate and that's where a lot of the fear comes from.
However, my warped mind wants to also see the funny side.
  1. In Scotland, many Polish people are employed on farms - I heard a radio interview on this where a farmer said he preferred to employ the Poles as they would do the job, work hard and not grumble. He had HAD to get Polish workers as local British people didn't want to do the job. So we cannot have a system that just chucks out all immigrants's got to be a bit more selective. We could perhaps have a system where a British person identifies a job taken by a immigrant then said immigrant will be dropped off the Dover coast so the British person can have the job.
  2. If immigration is capped, will the same be applied to emigration. Only 10 people allowed to go abroad at a time so that Britain has time to cope with the loss. Stop the Brain Drain out of Britain as the best of the best go abroad to find better jobs and a way of living (but beware of the banker clause here, keeping these elite will cost us). Stop those moving to Australia for sea and a more relaxed way of living?
  3. Have a bouncer at border control - if 3 people leave the UK, 3 people can come in. Those 3 better not have kids else the status quo will be ruined though.
  4. If there are too many people, perhaps Logan's Run is the answer. Everyone over 30 is encouraged to do the right thing for society and top themselves (thereby legalised euthanasia is no longer an issue). No more grumpy old bods around clogging up the roads and so on.
  5. Too many people - birth control. Chinese style system of 1 child per household. Or better still stop plastic surgery so everyone is really ugly and no-one will want to bonk.
  6. Have a lift type alarm for land...too many people on the same spot and bells start ringing. When the whole of the UK is covered, then extra bods better learn to swim pretty well.
  7. Nick Griffin was on Radio 2 today and the policy of giving immigrants money to go home came up. 50k. Blimey. Only if like me, you've been here for over 35 years then where is home? Certainly not the country where my parents were born nor where I was born both of which would regard me as some strange western woman with weird ideas. And if you took the 50k but came back, would you owe the BNP a refund. If you left, would you be entitled to take all the tax and NI contributions you made with you or is that part of the 50k? I won't even start to contemplate what happens with mixed race couples since the British person leaving may contravene the Brain Drain clause and that would be the end of the marriage (I know the BNP would love that!)
  8. Once the immigrants are all gone will all trace of their existence be wiped out? All the restaurants shut down, all the clothing and food outlets shut up, all the art, music and foreign culture deleted? Perhaps I should point out that Idi Amin tried to do this and now 40 years on, they are trying to get all the asians back to run the businesses left exactly as they were when they forced to leave.
Just a few thoughts to lighten the mood. However, I will take the immigration issue very seriously once the politicians come up with sensible answers to people's concerns.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Junk mail

I remember reading that recently the limits to the junk mail that were delivered to you by the Post Office were lifted. We get at least one horrible restaurant leaflet a day.
But now I guess the politicians took note as recently the amount of paper being pushed through our door has gone up. And as there are 2 voters here, we are getting twice the crap that we normally would.

None of these leaflets, letters, posters, bits of rubbish are going to sway me in the election so I just wish they would stop. Thank goodness we have only one more week of this. Grrrrrrrrrr

Thursday 22 April 2010

27th June 2010: Asian Mela

Sad to see that the 20th Asian Mela won't be on Plumstead Common this year. :(
It's being held at the Army Barracks in Woolwich which gives you a chance to nosey around the site. I've always managed to miss the festival and only know it's on when I drive past so this year, I'm putting it in my diary early.
If you want more information then look at the Asian Mela site.... a little later on this year as many of the pages don't seem active just yet.

Gardens at the Farm

We went for a walk around Woodlands Trust Farm today. I've been a few times and enjoy looking at the animals.
However, I have NEVER noticed the wonderful gardens they have on site. There are three:
The cottage garden which is by the side of the house
The sensory garden - in truth I saw little here in terms of senses but maybe mine were dulled by the glorious sunshine
The wildlife garden - small and just off the sensory garden.

All very pretty. The cottage garden had the splendid Imperial Lily that blew me away, and pretty ornamental raspberry bushes (I think that's what is was called). It's maintained by two lovely ladies.
So next time you go to see the ducks, pigs, sheep and horse, take a quick gander at the flowers too.

P.S. Please don't smoke when you are at the farm like the chavvy lady that was there today it's not nice for the animals or humans.

2nd May 2010: Bluebell Walk in Oxleas Wood

Up until recently I thought bluebell walks were only available at Kew Garden or some other posh park like that. But NO, our neighbourhood Oxleas Wood has it's very own walk to look at bluebells.
More information here: Bluebell Walk in Oxleas Wood
A summary of info taken from the site:
Time: 2-4pm
Meet: At the cafe ...why not stop there first for a cuppa and lunch as they do great food.
Organiser: David Goodfellow,
020 8855 2868
While you are on the London Wildlife Trust site have a look around as it's there to encourage wildlife within London and even has a campaign to turn our gardens into wildlife and climate friendly places. I'll be reading through the guide and hope that even my very small patch of garden can do something helpful.

5th June 2010: Plumstead Make Merry

This year Plumstead Make Merry will be on 5th June.
I went along last year and it was great fun, a celebration of Plumstead and a generally wonderful way to meet the neighbours. I'm looking forward to sitting in the sun and listening to live music while my tot goes wild around all the stands.
If you are interested in more info look in local press for announcements or join the following: Facebook: Myspace:

Sunday 18 April 2010

Popcorn tulips

I love all the flowers that can be seen around Plumstead at the moment. The gorgeous cherry blossom, roses and tulips. There is a house on Plumstead Common Road just up from the co-op that has 2 trees in their front garden with the most beautiful red and pink flowers.
This is my first year of gardening proper and I've been a bit dizzy with the violas that have just created a riot of colour in my pots and garden. And now this morning, some of my creamy white tulips popped open just like popcorn. I can't wait to see what the purple ones will look like. Dizzy dizzy me!

Friday 16 April 2010

Mum - just One More Day

15 years ago today, my mum passed away. It's not normally a date I pay much attention to as I prefer to celebrate her birthday, her life and not her death. I even had to ask my little bro the exact date and got a shock it's just one day after the wedding anniversary. No one mentioned it at our wedding.
15 years. Wow. 15 years.
All month I've been composing this post in my head. Yet as I sit here to write, I wonder how many of you would want to hear of this seemingly ordinary lady. Ordinary to everyone but us, her family and to her friends. Weirdly, I lived with her for 28 years, but I cannot remember the day to day. It's the occasional memories that stick. And also, of course, every moment of this day 15 years ago. The hospital, the sounds, my brothers' reactions, the nurses in the ICU, the hug I got from dad (the first one I ever remember getting from him, the shock was too much to bear almost), seeing her laid out in the hospital mortuary and not wanting to leave her there. Then there was the overbearing 14 days of relatives coming to our house to mourn - a part of my religion/tradition that I have always detested. The shock of how easily and freely my tears flowed on the day of her a tap.
I cannot cook without thinking of her. I cannot make rotlis without wishing I'd paid more attention to her excellent skills and oh my god, the sweets, pickles, and exotic chevdos and other mixes she made.
Without facebook, twitter, camera-phones and so on to record her every moment we are left to stare at the few old fashioned printed photos of her. She is young in them. I'm getting older in comparison. But in them, she is static unlike in real life. We have one small recording of her voice in the background at my brother's's the most precious part of the whole video for me.
The memories I have are different to my brothers even when talking about the same events. That aspect has always fascinated me of memory recall.
She never met any of her grandchildren who were all born in the last 15 years. Two of them, including my tot are named in her honour. I sometimes see flashes of mum's face in tot. I often see them in the mirror especially when I am cross as she had a hell of a temper. I used to feel the brunt of that temper and developed a colossal one myself. For most of our life together, we didn't get on. Too alike I suppose. But there were days where we could sit in eachother's company and all would be right with the world. She had beautiful brown eyes, like pools of chocolate that I loved to stare into. She must have thought I was a bit potty but it would soothe me.
She would have loved the kids, spoilt them rotten and taught them all the mother tongue. With her passing, the ties to our language started to wither away to almost nothing now but a painful attempt to pass unfamiliar, uncomfortable guttural sounds when I need to speak to a relative.
Since having tot, I've thought more about how she coped remarkably and courageously with moving from one continent to another twice (India to Kenya, then to the UK). How she had 3 of us in quick succession and didn't break down (not sure I'd do the same). Many other things. We aren't in touch with her family or old Indian friends so a whole segment of her life is not known to me.
15 years. Cannot believe it. Mitch Albom got it right - One More Day is all I would need to say sorry, to say thanks, to question her relentlessly about everything and to hug her like there was no tomorrow. Every day for the 15 years, and for the rest of my life, I'll be doing those things in my head.


Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. Instead of going in town we opted for a meal in Bromley at the quirky Tamasha. If you like Indian food, it's worth giving this place a go. It's total Days of the Raj dontcha know.
On arrival, our tot was whisked away by the door man (yes they have a dedicated person to open the door) and plonked onto a huge statue of an elephant. He found it funny, she was a tad scared. We were seated at the back of the restaurant which seems to be where the smaller tables were. Next time, I'll ask for a more central table so tot can look around - although I think we may leave her home next time!
To begin we had papadoms - I really loved the yoghurty, coriander sauce that they came with. Yum yum, will have to try to emulate it somehow.
The starters were fine. I had Aloo Palak bhajiya (£5.95) which are light and tasty spinach and potato pakoras. Hubby opted for calamari peri peri (£6.95) which was spicy.
I wasn't as impressed with the mains. There were spiced but not chilli hot which I like. Even the pakora chillies (huge green chillies fried in gram flour batter) weren't that spicy though I didn't eat as far as the seeds. I opted for Karahi Paneer (£9.95) that was creamy with fresh paneer but not much kick and Baingan Bharata (£7.95) which is an aubergine based dish. I basically left most of the latter as it there was the amount of dhana jeeru was too much for my palate. Also I make a very of this which I like better and will be posting a recipe on my other website soon.
Hubby went for Achari Duck Sashlik (£13.95) which was palatable if somewhat lacking in heat.
With beer, deserts, accompaniments and service charge the bill was nearly £100. In future we will do what fellow diners did - don't order the bottled water, just have tap and share things like rice and naans.
The place is very child friendly in terms of providing baby seats and waiters making a fuss. But I think the menu lacks options for the really young. The waiters also gave tot some chocolate which I whisked away, not wanting her to be any more hyper than she was. I know it's nice of them but if they asked, I'm sure most parents would not want their tots and even babies (they gave same to a 10 month old at the table next to us) to be given chocolate. It's a shame as on Sundays, they encourage families and even put on a magic show for the young ones! Also, the loos are definitely not child's hilariously shocking to find pornagraphic images, inspired by the kama sutra I assume, adorning the walls. When I went years ago, I found this funny, but now as a mum I just didn't know where to look and wouldn't want to explain any of the images to my tot!

131 Widmore Road, Bromley, BR1 3AX
tel:020 8460 3240

Bar du Musee

Well I never. I went along to Bar du Musee this week with some other local mums for a drinking and gossip session. I've passed this place many times and haven't been tempted in which has been my loss. The small exterior is misleading as the place is cavernous. Even more importantly, there are lovely comfy couches to sit on. This Wednesday, it was strangely empty...where are all the tourists?
I did find the lighting a bit too low - lovely for a romantic liaison but not so much for a bunch of friends trying to see each other in the dark. And I found it hard to hear what my friends were saying though I think we can put that down to old age rather than bar ambience.
Unfortunately, I'd been tucking into some trail mix at lunchtime which rendered my tummy a no-go zone for drinks so stuck to cranberry juice. I think I'll have to venture there again for some alcohol and maybe even a bite or two :)

Bar du Musee
17 Nelson Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9JB
0208 858 4710

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Little Miss Sunshine

Little miss sunshine... brilliant film and also a nice name of the Mr and Mrs type of character.
I loved that film because the little girl stood up for what she was.
Yesterday, I was out shopping in Matalan and H&M. There are a lot of outfits in there that my tot will NEVER be seen in. She also won't have her ears pierced until she's old enough to decide for herself, nor wear make up.
She's happy in jogging pants or dresses and just wants to play. Ideally I'd like her to be able to play outside all the time, but these days, supervision is better.
As her mum, I have a big say in what she wears and what I buy for her. And as I won't buy her clothes that I deem too old for her, I am a firm believer in consumer power.
As such, I am really like the Mumsnet campaign to Let Girls be Girls. This is trying to end the premature sexualisation of young girls.
And Yippee to Primark for removing a padded bikini targeted to toddlers. Dumb nuts shouldn't have had the thing in their shops in the first place but well done for removing it (somehow cynical me thinks that ismore to do with poor sales than bowing to consumer pressure, but hey ho, the thing is gone)

Thursday 1 April 2010


Great. Live in London home of so much culture. Live in Greenwich even, down the road from a venue where you can see pop stars and comics and so much more.
Errrr No. I find that I'm increasingly unable to enjoy London because every ticket costs so much. And don't get me started on public transport.
A mate sent me an email about Russell Peters at the 02. Tickets are £41 EACH. Seriously. WHO CAN AFFORD THIS?

DW comes to town

OK I admit it, I'm prone to changing my mind. Whilst old David Tennant was rather good as the Doctor, his swansong was so protracted that I got a bit bored. Even so, when the new Doctor was announced I was dubious though have much faith in Steven Moffat's writing. But my gosh the BBC have got me all dizzy and excited. The Doctor keeps popping up all over the place - Jonathan Ross had an official visit, Paul O'Grady on BBC2 an unofficial one right in the middle of a song. I have to say that I was worried he would be too young, but all the previews show that Matt Smith is an old soul in a young body.
Brilliant!! So I could barely contain my excitement and headed down to Woolwich General Gordon Square. In truth, the 3D preview was a bit ropey and didn't show anything that hasn't already been previewed. But it was pretty cool to see the Cyberman up close and then to run away from the Scarecrow as he was a bit too scary for the little one (honest it was her and not me that was screaming like a girl).
Here are some photos. Sorry about the quality, they are from my battered phone.