Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Acne Carriage.

The Ship in West Street

The Ship pub in West Street (featured above) has now re - opened following the suspension of its' licence, as per my previous posting here. The rowdy clan of drug dealing ne'er do wells who took over the place have now been dealt with by the local constabulary, and hopefully it is now business as usual. Pity they don't serve any real ales, choosing to stick with the gassy and chemical laden grot such as Stella Artois, that the local chavs neck down by the gallon. Ian played a free gig there on Friday night to try and drum up support for the landlord, who by all accounts is a decent fellow who was caught up in a situation that rapidly spiralled out of control.

The Acne Carriage. A great new definition of a badly souped up chav car. I have always thoroughly detested customised cars; when a youngster I always valued authenticity and originality over the laughable changes the ignorant make to production vehicles.

Even as a teenage driver I always had a preference for “interesting” cars. Whilst friends had Escorts and Fiestas, I went for an old Triumph Dolomite – it was slow and not very reliable, but it had a lovely interior with lots of real wood, and great big comfortable arm chairs for seats. I used to pootle around at a sedate pace and watch the world go by. I never once got stopped by the Police, or got into any kind of motoring trouble. A week after I sold it, the drivetrain fell out – something I genuinely knew nothing about. Nowadays it seems there is the same bone headed minority of young drivers that soup up sad old shopping cars with improbable spoilers and under car lighting. I call such vehicles Acne Carriages, as mentioned above. The Citroen Saxos, Vauxhall Novas and their ilk almost always end up with a giant wing over the rear tailgate; the spotty oiks who own the asthmatic poser mobiles have not the faintest clue about aerodynamics and vehicle engineering. The cars are all front wheel drive. The spoiler (if it actually does anything at all) is meant to provide more down force on the rear of the car at speed – but this only applies to rear wheel drive vehicles. The chavs who stick them on shopping cars are at best doing nothing except increasing drag. At worst they are actually making the grip and handling substantially worse. They don't seem to realise that it is far cheaper to get “dickhead” tattooed on their foreheads – and the effect is just the same.

Almost two years to the day from the last great Pewty Acres fly infestation, and they are back again. For three days this week, I have arrived home from work to find the kitchen and living room infested with house flies; I gave up counting at thirty on the first day, after liberally applying chemical warfare (fly spray) against the repulsive creatures. I then ended up polishing every flat surface with antiseptic cleaner cloths, and hoovering thoughout the house to remove the corpses. I have checked everywhere I can think of in case a small creature had crawled under a piece of furniture and died, but absolutely nothing has been found; anyway, I would have noticed the horrible smell long before any flies would have had a chance to hatch. The doors and windows had not been opened in the interim, and I am utterly at a loss as to where the repulsive invaders originated from. All I can think of is that I have a wooden floor under the Wilton carpet in the living room; there is a void beneath this and the ground - I reckon something like a mouse or small bird must have crawled through one of the air bricks that keep the void ventilated. It must have then died and the resulting flies have found a tiny crack or whole to get through into the lounge. As said, this is not the first time this has happened, and I am absolutely at a loss as to what I can do. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please leave a comment at the bottom of this entry. *Stop Press* The mystery appears to have been solved. I was doing a clean of the lounge earlier this afternoon, and moved my heavy, 1930's era vintage oak folding dining table from its' normal location. Underneath the central podium of the folded table is a small void between the base and the wooden feet. The carpet in this area has a multitude of small white fly eggs and areas where the carpet pile had been eaten away, back all the way to the hessian backing material. Unable to eat rotten meat or poo (the house flys' favoured food) they must have turned to the woollen carpet pile instead. This would explain why the flies hatched and died within hours - they were suffering from severe malnutrition. I have comprehensively blitzed the area, and nothing now remains of the unwelcome invasion. Here's hoping I don't see it again.

Units seven and eight of Erith Riverside shopping centre have been let, and are now being worked on by a team of shop fitters; I have yet to discover who has taken the space, but it is good to see the units gradually being taken up after several years where the centre felt like something from a George Romero zombie movie. I understand that the high rental prices that are being charged has put off a number of retailers in the past.

I have recently been invited to join an online community, the Plumstead Integration Project. Their leader, Doctor Marta Rabikowska invited me - she's an occasional reader of the Maggot Sandwich, and realised that I spend a great deal of time in and around Plumstead. The community group meets up from 7.30pm onwards at O'Dowd's pub on Plumstead High Street on the first Tuesday of each month. I will try and get along there soon.

I see an online petition has been set up to protest against the proposed Ebbsfleet giant white horse sculpture. Personally I don't find it particularly repulsive, though I do think the money could be put to better use elsewhere. Details of the campaign here.

Kebab shop in West Street, Erith.

The photo above shows the view looking West along West Street from Erith towards Lower Belvedere. In the foreground is the excellent kebab shop the Yildiran, which is frequented by more than the usual after pub drunkards - local cabbies, shift workers and the local Police eat at the place regularly,  such is the quality of their cooking. You can read an online review of the place by clicking here. Some people bang on about how unhealthy kebabs are – personally, though I only eat one or two kebabs a year (and avoid the notorious fat saturated doner like the plague, in favour of the shish, halep or adana kebab). What can be so wrong with marinated, lean grilled lamb, with shredded raw vegetables and unleavened bread? Answers below if you will. Erith really has nowhere for locals to go for a proper sit down meal with cutlery, rather than eating with your hands as with KFC or McDonald's. You have to go to Upper Belvedere, Northumberland Heath or Barnehurst for that pleasure. There are some pretty decent takeaways, like Massala Reef, but I think the area would definitely benefit from something a little more upmarket and formal. Suggestions as to what you would like to see, if you will.

I am getting rather ticked off with people nicking my photos and calling them their own - it has got so bad that one chap has passed off a photo I took of a ship moored on Erith Pier and subsequently won a photographic competition with it! Suffice to say I have contacted the competition organisers, and the guy has been stripped of his award. All my photos on Flickr are under the Creative Commons licence - basically people can reproduce them and do pretty much anything with them, as long as they don't make any money with my photos, and I get full credit as the author of the work. The licence is legally enforceable, and I will uphold my rights vigorously. You can see my Flickr photo stream here.

I am still getting advertising leaflets for takeaways from miles away; only this week I got a flyer for a pizza delivery place at the Brent, on the far side of Dartford (and the actual historical place of birth of famous proto revolutionary Wat Tyler). Why they would want to advertise in Erith is way beyond me; any pizza scootered from the Brent to anywhere in Erith would be cold and rubbery by the time it was delivered. What a waste of paper and effort on the part of the vendors.

I see that Radio Caroline are having a presence at the O2 Arena this week, as part of a festival celebrating 1960's music. You can read more about it here.

The Daily Mail are currently running a promotion to give away DAB radios to any reader who collects 60 tokens, one from each day of the detestable tabloid rag that unsuccessfully masquerades as a quality paper. What supreme irony it is that only two years ago a leader in that very paper called DAB “The Betamax of radio technologies”. You can read the original story by clicking here. They seem to have rather substantially changed their tune now. The Register carried more on the story, that you can read here. The irony is that the analogy of DAB and Betamax is inaccurate. DAB is a poor, not fit for purpose and outdated broadcasting system. Betamax was technically a superior video recording and playback system to VHS, that was crippled by initially only having blank tapes that lasted an hour - not long enough to record an entire movie or sports fixture. People bought VHS systems because of this. By the time Betamax could handle longer, thinner tapes, the market had been dominated by the inferior VHS system. If you wish to learn more about the great video format war of the early 1980's, click here for more.

It seems after Plumstead, Barnehurst has also got its' own online community, winningly called Barnehurst Online. It seems that more and more areas are getting their act together to produce virtual village notice boards filled with local news and information. I wonder if Erith will get one soon? The Erith Town Talk site hardly counts, as it seems to have been abandoned some time ago, and never had much in the way of content at the best of times.

At work, the multinational professional services company that I work for has been making a few promotional videos, one of which features a couple of free runners (often called Parkour running) dressed as accountants, racing across London to reach Head Office. I have to say the video in question is rather naff, as pretty much all corporate videos tend to be; though the free running is excellent. Parkour began in France, but soon spread world wide. Surprisingly one of the first places in the UK to have an active free running scene was Erith in the early 1990's - probably due to the preponderance of concrete obstacles that formed the hideous old Erith Town Centre. The tradition seems to have been upheld, and the video this week is of two seemingly fearless and very agile lads free running in and around the new Erith Town Centre.

1 comment:

  1. I like the sound of "acne carriage"! Peter