Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bromley - curry Mecca?

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I like Spring; it is just a pity that we have not had one this year – we have gone from Winter to Summer with nothing in between. I am relegated to walking in the shade and seeking cool breezes to keep me at a working temperature, as I cease to function properly at anything much above 22 degrees Celsius. Currently this is not a problem; I am sitting in my favourite corner table (tastefully converted from a commercial sewing machine) in the cool and serene Robin Hood & Little John pub in Lion Road, Bexleyheath - the absolute epitome of what an English pub should be. Great real ale properly served, and excellent home cooked food. No wonder it is by far the best hostelry in the area. My Asus EEPC 901 Ubuntu Linux netbook is my favoured blogging tool, and I am tapping away without interruption.

I note that I have picked up some new readers from the other side of the pond. One has even taken the trouble to respond to my recent request for feedback as to the quality of the three new American restaurant chains that are shortly to open in the United Kingdom. From the response, it would seem that Taco Bell are rather more than just a Mexican version of McDonald's, and opinion of them is generally rather favourable. No doubt time will tell when they actually get around to opening here.

I was contemplating calling this weeks' entry “Don't trust the post” after a nasty experience I had; my God Daughter had her 11th birthday and along with her card I sent her some money. She's now of an age where understandably she would rather choose her gifts herself. I posted off the card, with cash enclosed from the post box outside the Health Centre in Erith High Street early one morning. Even though the envelope was sent first class, over a week later it has not been delivered. It is becoming apparent that some nefarious individual has opened it and pocketed the cash.

Potion bar (see the photo at the top of the page) was hit this week; a massive raid involving officers from the Metropolitan Police, the Drugs Squad, and some plain clothes detectives descended on the place on Wednesday afternoon - apparently the Police outnumbered the drinkers by a substantial margin. My sources inform me that a number of arrests were made, though currently no further details are available. The place is still open to the public, but after all the planning and other legal issues the place currently has arraigned against it, I doubt it will be still around for very long. Coincidentally, both the Blue Anchor in Bexleyheath, and the We Anchor in Hope on Shooter's Hill have closed for the duration of the world cup, due to lager induced violence instigated by rowdy drinkers. I have a theory which goes a long way to explain why real ale drinkers apparently never get involved in fights or other forms of violence, event though some are renown for the quantity of ale they consume. Firstly real ale drinkers are generally more able to hold their liquor, mainly due to years of experience; secondly ales are far higher in hop content than lagers. The active ingredient in hops is an organic chemical called 2-Methyl-2-butanol which is a natural tranquilliser and sedative. It is well known that a pillow stuffed with freshly picked hops is a powerful natural aid to sleep for insomniacs. This leads me to think that real ale drinkers are inclined to be more laid back and tolerant of others than those who swill chilled, gassy and chemical laced lager. Comments please?

One thing that really irritates me is the way some people talk about "Nuxley Village" when they mean Nuxley Road, Upper Belvedere, otherwise referred to as "the village". There is no such place as Nuxley Village - it is a construct of estate agents and their warped marketing speak.

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Haynes Manuals seem to be diversifying these days. Originally best known for their definitive range of car maintenance manuals, in which famously they would tear down and rebuild each vehicle in the course of preparing each book, they have now published a baby owners manual, and a series including the Apollo spacecraft, the Spitfire, and most lately, the Avro Vulcan nuclear bomber. I actually know someone who wrote a motorcycle repair manual for Haynes. He spent an age breaking the bike down, photographing and then rebuilding it. He submitted it to the editor, but for reasons unknown it never got published, though he still got a substantial fee for his troubles.

80's icon and comic Chris Seivey, creator of Frank Sidebottom died last week. BBC Radio 4 carried a suitably definitive tribute to him on Friday evening. I must admit that I generally found the character to be somewhat on the annoying side, though having said that, the world will be a poorer place without him.

I note that 70's prog rock / pop superstars Supertramp are due to play at the O2 Arena in the autumn. They seem to have undergone something of a revival in the last couple of years, according to Classic Rock magazine. I understand that former main singer and songwriter Roger Hodgson will not be joining them, due to a long running dispute with the rest of the band. He's apparently gone as far as planning a solo tour to coincide with that of his former colleagues.

I notice that once again this year the practice of releasing Chinese lanterns has caused a spate of UFO reports around the area, the latest of which can be read here.  Back in 1992, I was walking down Picardy Road in Upper Belvedere, towards Belvedere railway station. It was a cold, clear early spring day with almost no clouds in a bright and sunny sky. I looked up by chance, and saw what I initially thought to be a dark grey hot air balloon. After a few moments I determined that it was not a balloon at all, but something far bigger and higher up in the sky that was slowly moving Northwards over the River Thames. It was the infamous flying triangle UFO seen by so many people. I watched it for a good six or seven minutes, and pointed it out to a number of people when I reached the station - the triangle eventually disappeared from view. I phoned the air traffic control centre at London City Airport, and they confirmed that they had detected a large vehicle on their radar at the time of my sighting. I never saw it again.

Something that seems to have evaded the popular press, which in itself is quite a surprise is that Bromley has found itself crowned curry capital of the UK. It would seem that it has the highest number of curry houses per head of population of anywhere in the country. Personally I would have expected somewhere like Sparkbrook in Birmingham (allegedly home of the Balti) or Brick Lane to have championed, but apparently not. I do recall having some great, and sometimes not so great Indian meals in the town way back in the past, but it is literally years since I have visited Bromley. You can read more about Bromleys' claim to be Britain's curry Mecca here.

Home fusion reactors have suddenly become a headlining issue in the USA. There apparently are no laws prohibiting them in most states, probably because the laws regarding what citizens could do in their own back yards were drawn up years before the legislators had even heard of nuclear physics. Here is an article originally featured on the BBC technology show "Click". Please feel free to leave comments below, as always.


  1. Hi, you mentioned that Roger Hodgson, co-founder of Supertramp has "gone as far as planning a solo tour to coincide with that of his former colleagues." Please be advised that Roger's worldwide 2010 tour has been in the planning stages for the past 18 months. Supertramp's tour was not even a thought as recently as January and was not even announced to the public until March - three months ago.

    Roger, who left the band in 1983, did offer to perform a few shows with Supertramp as his tour schedule would allow but he did not receive the courtesy of a reply of the other Supertamp co-founder, Rick Davies. Therefore, Roger will NOT be performing with Supertramp for any of their concerts. The fans should not be misled by Supertramp tour advertising that is currently using Roger's songs, voice, and image. Again, Roger has not been with the band since 1983.

    Roger solely wrote and composed the great majority of Supertramp's hits to include Dreamer, Give a Little Bit, It's Raining Again, Breakfast in America, The Logical Song, Hide in Your Shell, Take the Long Way Home, Fool's Overture, and so very many more.

    Don't miss out on the opportunity of see Roger Hodgson live in concert. All tour details can be found on his website at

  2. Hugh, I am surprised that you sent cash in the post! I have not trusted them for years after several of my mother's cash gifts to children/granchildren never arrived at their destination. If you must do this then it is safer to put the card, envelope and cash into a brown envelope - this seems to throw them off the scent so to speak. It is really safer to send a cheque whilst you can.