Sunday, March 28, 2010

Old Rosie and the Dial Arch.

Old Erith Library

Above is a view of the old Erith library, located in Walnut Tree Road. The building was donated to the local area by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, of Carnegie Hall fame. In addition to originally housing the library, it also was home to the small but excellent Erith Museum, which was run by a group of local volunteers. The library has now been relocated in a new building in Erith Riverside development, opposite the Health Centre, and the "museum" has been relegated to four small glass cabinets in the reading area. The new building is lifeless and uninspiring, unlike the old building which was both beautiful and interesting. You can view details of the new library by clicking here. The old building is now used as the HQ for Bexley Commission for Race Equality, who I believe only occupy part of the available space - bearing in mind the whole construction had undergone a specialist and costly refurbishment only a few years ago, it seems a waste of a valuable local resource.

I see that another UK resident has won the Euro Millions lottery, trousering something in the region of 39 million Euros. Good luck to them; if I was ever to come into substantial money, I would not go tthe common way of buying an Aston Martin or Ferrari (which have now got the reputation as up market Chav mobiles, thanks to the antics of several well known Premier League footballers). Instead I would have one of these (click for the details). Discreet, understated, entirely hand built and extremely exclusive. Bristol Cars motto is "Always understated, never underrated" A bespoke Saville Row suit for the road. A review of their Fighter sports car (faster than the Bugatti Veyron) can be read here.

I see that the press has picked up on the consternation from the West Country about the disproportionate excise duty increase on Cider in the recent budget. It has got to the point that seminal Somerset beat combo The Wurzels have issued the following statement: "Having just heard the news we are all very upset that Scrumpy Cider, being one of the few pleasures that we cherish down here on the farm in the West Country, is being hit by such a tax rise. We all realise that, in these current times, we have to tighten the string on our trousers but we must admit that having to cut down on this local favourite leaves us feeling that we are being unfairly penalised, and we'll tell him something, he won't be the Darling bud of our May". I think the Chancellors' attitude that cider is only drunk by the feckless criminal fraternity is short sighted; most social inadequates and chavs steal strong cider like White Lightning from corner shops and off licences, so any cost increase will be immaterial to them. Only last night I was out with a few friends in Dartford at the historic pub the Wat Tyler, where they were serving draught pints of Weston's Old Rosie Scrumpy. An organic, craft produced, locally sourced Herefordshire drink which is fruity and subtle, with hints of spring flowers and herbs with a good measure of ripe autumn apples and a sharp, dry after taste.  It does have an unfortunate habit of partially dissolving your teeth however, and should not be put into contact with polished surfaces or organic material. Nature's own rocket fuel.

The new owners of the Nordenfeldt pub at the Pom Pom have submitted a planning application to convert the building into eight apartments. Bearing in mind the pub has been closed, boarded up and empty for around eighteen months, with no sign of interest from any brewing chain or pub company, I suppose that this was pretty much inevitable. I believe that the same destiny awaits the Royal Alfred pub in Manor Road, as shown below. This too is now boarded up, though I understand there are tenants living in the accomodation above the bar.

Royal Alfred  602

I see that ITV have now announced that they will shortly be cancelling their long running Police soap "The Bill".  I don't think it is a moment too soon; in my opinion it started going down hill the moment the producers switched it from being a 30 minute Police procedural drama to an hour long soap - one of the original tenets in the show runners' "bible" was that the characters lives outside of their career would never be mentioned, the show was to be exclusively about the police work. Once this was dropped it started losing my interest, and apparently that of many other people.

BBC Radio 2 did an excellent documentary on Ian Dury this week. You can listen to it on BBC iPlayer here.

I had another celebrity encounter this week; I had got off the train at Woolwich Arsenal and decided to walk back towards Plumstead for my daily Dad visit. For a change I thought that I would cut through the new Royal Arsenal housing development, mainly to see how progress on the forthcoming Young's pub / restaurant The Dial Arch on the site was going. I was walking along Major Draper Street, when I saw Kelly Brook getting into the passengers' seat of a black Range Rover Sport; there is a row of eight newly restored Victorian town houses in the street, which have just come up for sale. I surmise that she had viewed one with the possible idea of having it as a London base, having recently put her house in Sydenham up for sale. You can see details of the properties for sale in Major Draper Street by clicking here. They are nice houses, but I think the restoration has got rid of too many period features, and that they are so modern looking inside that they will quickly date; also they are no more than 200 metres from Woolwich town centre, and adjacent to the forthcoming Dial Arch venue, so noise may well be an issue.

Here is a blast from the past - Rik Mayall (pre The Young Ones) and his investigative journalist character Kevin Turvey. Comments below if you so wish.

Continuing this weeks' pub theme, Ian has written an exhaustive and very informative review of the Red Lion at Snargate, one of the most important and historic pubs in the whole of the U.K. You can read his review by clicking here.

I could not make this up: staunch old - school socialist and professional Northerner John "Two Jags" Prescott is about to become a Lord. What a hypocrite; he's spent his life slagging off what he now aspires to. Still more evidence of politicians and their snouts in the trough I suppose.

The Times Online is going to become a subscription only news service, costing £1 per day for access; fat lot of good this will do them, there are so many free outlets of news online that readers will simply go elsewhere.

According to the Government's own figures, the roll - out of biometric ID cards will only be capable of issuing a total of 700,000 cards a year; bearing in mind the UK now has an estimated population in the region of 61 million people, this is patently an untenable situation for an already discredited and unworkable project that threatens the security and privacy of everyone. You can read more about it here.

The main video this week is an excerpt from a recent story from Sky News. It features a fellow radio amateur who has managed to capture some astonishing sub orbital photo images, using cheap and readily available materials, something that rather puts NASA to shame.

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