Sunday, August 15, 2010

BT Infinity.

Erith shops.

My relief at getting my ADSL broadband back up and running was short lived; it came up last Friday evening and lasted until Monday afternoon, when it disappeared without trace, never to return. I was then without any internet access at home until Friday morning, when I had a tame BT engineer on site to upgrade me to BT Infinity Fibre Optic broadband. I am now getting a genuine 40 MB/Sec download and 10 MB/Sec upload speed. It is fearsomely fast; I downloaded an ISO disk image of the latest Ubuntu Linux 10.4 build – the whole 700 Mb CD image download took less than thirty seconds, and part of that time was my Mac handshaking with the Ubuntu FTP server. Quite astonishing. I can watch full 1080p HD video in real time with no caching or stuttering, whilst simultaneously uploading photos onto Flickr. This is definitely the way forward. One fact the engineer told me was that BT are not putting into any of their advertising material is that only one in ten BT customers on any exchange can upgrade to BT Infinity; apparently the infrastructure costs are such that Infinity is unlikely to make any money; it is being done as a loss leader to please OFCOM and comply with BT's charter. I am lucky that in being an early adopter (and the first person on my telephone exchange) I have become of of the ten percent able to take the fat pipe internet connection. I undersand that others may not be so fortunate. The lesson would seem to be, get in early whilst connections are still available.

I notice that Erith Health Centre is now shrouded in scaffolding and building materials. The place has only been open for a scant few years; I wonder what remedial work is needed? The place would appear to be undergoing some extensive repair work. I wonder of the flat roofing is experiencing accelerated wear after the bitterly cold winter, and subsequent blistering summer we have just gone through.

I was told an eye opening story about Erith pub the Cross Keys this week. Apparently Jason was on the point of entering the establishment some time back (not something I personally would recommend, as you can hear the banjos twanging as you walk past), when he encountered a couple of Police officers who were in the process of escorting a horse out of the main bar area! I don't know if it had been abandoned or TWOC'ed, but it certainly sounds like a surreal out – take from an episode of Father Ted. I don't think it is that practical to fit an immobiliser or alarm to a horse, and anyway, how do you get it started?

My quest to explore Erith's food vendors continues, which is a bit of a forlorn hope, as the area is not exactly renown for culinary excellence. A new Bangladeshi take – away has recently started up from their base in Riverdale Road, near the Pom Pom and opposite the now long closed Nordenfeldt Tavern. It is engagingly titled Chilli Chilli Indian. Ian has tried their fare and found them to be rather good. I will give them a try in the near future, and report back accordingly. One place that has been based in Erith for as long as I can recall, and that show no sign of changing is the extremely long established Star Burger restaurant in Cross Street (see the photo at the top of this entry). I have never actually eaten in the place myself, but from reliable reports, if you are happy with a menu of predominantly fried fare, the food is fine; it is run by a Turkish family, who are very child friendly. Erith, as has previously been mentioned, does not have anything resembling a “proper” destination restaurant. Star Burger would appear to fill a gap, especially if you have children and wish to avoid the dismal corporate experience of McDonald's or KFC. I know Ian occasionally takes his daughters to the place, and both he and the children are always made to feel welcome. He does note however, that  if you ordered chips, they would come with a side order of chips! I note that the town centre still has a couple of free units specifically assigned to food outlets, though at this point I have heard nothing in respect of plans to actually get them occupied and operating.

My occasional piece featuring local Erith companies continues with the food theme, and has a new entry this week; Ming Foods Ltd, a Manor Road based enterprise who make delicious Chinese pancakes. Their website is here. You can see a variety of recipes using Chinese pancakes by clicking here.

In passing, I note that late but not lamented Bexleyheath bar RSVP, formerly called Yates is currently being redeveloped as a Caribbean themed night spot called the Caribbean Kitchen. I don't have much information on the new place right now, but rest assured I will update you just as soon as I do. I just hope it does not become the drunken and violent den for Bexleyeath's hordes of chavs, which is what caused RSVP to go under.

The Maggot Sandwich engine room.

Here is something I have never shown before - a screen capture of the engine room behind the behemoth that is the Maggot Sandwich. Here you can see the Blogger user interface with the text of this weeks' update displayed via the Google Chrome web browser. It is all a tad recursive. More of that below...

For the last five years or so, I have been using the Camino web browser on my last two Apple iMacs. It is a sister application to Mozilla Firefox, but skinned to have a Mac - like appearance and user interface. This week I  have taken the plunge and migrated away from Camino and onto Google Chrome.  Why? Camino does not get the regular updates and security fixes that Firefox gets, and to be honest it very much feels like the poor country bumpkin cousin. I don't think much in the way of development goes on, and I understand that the Camino team is tiny and over stretched. I occasionally use Opera browser, but find it too quirky for my tastes, whereas Chrome "just works" - it also has a default minimal appearance which gives me lots of visible screen estate. It renders Java / JavaScript and plays H264 encoded video blisteringly fast too - something imperative on my new, ultra whizzy net connection. It is also currently the fastest browser to render web pages - something you can see imaginatively illustrated by clicking here.  You can download Chrome for Windows, OS X and Linux by clicking here.

Friend and electronic engineering genius Bernard filmed the clip below on a camera that was discarded for scrap. The Fuji FinePix camera was given to him by a friends' daughter after she had severely knocked it, and put the lens and auto focus mechanism out of kilter. Bernard spent eight hours pulling the device apart and making intricate repairs - and as you can see, the results speak for themselves.  The video clip is of cult 80's Neo Prog Rock group Twelfth Night, playing a gig at The Peel in Kingston Upon Thames this Saturday night.

Fullers are currently offering free branded beer glasses delivered to your door if you send them five beer bottle caps from their ESB beer bottles. I have got a couple of glasses in this way; not bad as in essence it just costs you a postage stamp. Details can be found on a small paper neck ring on bottles of the beer taking part in the time limited offer.

Ian and I repaired to the Prince of Wales in Woolwich Road last night; the place serves Westerham British Bulldog, Brains Reverend James and Courage Best. We watched a couple of chaps engaged in a protracted game of Bar Billiards. It was quite the most baffling game I think I have ever encountered. The rules are almost incomprehensible. It seemed almost like a sporting equivalent to the game of Mornington Crescent.

The main video clip this week is a trailer for a recently shown new adult puppet comedy series from BBC3 called Mongrels. It is a bit like a British mixed live action / puppet of "Family Guy" or something similar. The humour is most definitely not aimed at children, and some of the jokes are a little hit and miss, though it is a innovative approach. Seeing a puppet fox as Sam Tyler from Life on Mars had me hooting. If you are in the U.K you can watch all of the episodes of Mongrels on BBC iPlayer.

1 comment:

  1. Pewty without BB?
    What did you do to fill your time? LOL!
    I imagine when it first went down you'd thought the balloon had gone up so I can imagine you sitting on your sofa in your full Chemical Attack Suit get up waiting for the bombs to start falling.
    Seems like you landed on your feet with the new connection, "blistering" does seem the best description. My speeds only something like 8/9mbs but it's fine for what I need it for but being a bloke I am thinking "Hmmm…MoRe PoWeRrrr…WANT!!"

    Dunno if you've been in the Health Centre but it does feel HORRIBLY cheap in there. I was seeing a Nurse there regularly last year (no, not in a Carry-On kind of way!) and found the place dark, dingy and it felt incredibly flimsy and cheaply built, Oh and damp!
    Probability a case of cheapest contractor got the job.

    The Horse story about The Cross Keys was a classic!
    Apparently none of the locals in there seemed phased, not that it surprises me.
    Actually I have a "spot" for that pub but only cos the only time I've been in there was I had my 18th Birthday held there (cos it was cheap and 2 other friends had theirs there, not really through choice).
    I have fond memories of that night, I'd broken up with the then love of my life and was still heartbroken and she then quietly asked me to go outside with her which I obviously jumped at and though we'd at least be sucking face or summat (well I was 18!) when out of the dark about 8 of my mates jumped me and managed to "Atomic-Wedgy" me so badly I was left having to go commando for the rest of the party as my boxers were in shreds. In a funny way I always associate the Cross Keys with Lust, Love n' agonising pain as I'm hoisted into the air! Can't say that about many other pubs!
    Talking as you were about local pubs The Prince of Wales in Belvedere is a strange place. I have to say the pub is probably the least friendliest in the Village but they do have some bloody good beers & cider. The landlady is the preverbal Dragon and too be honest I like antagonising her now even if it is just putting stuff on the jukebox like Plan B and Budgie!
    As for Starburger, to be honest I've not been in there for something like 2 years.
    I do like the odds "burger, frankfurter, beans, egg, chips" fry up and as you say it's run by a Turkish family so it's friendly and charming in it's own way. Used to hate it before the smoking ban as I used to meet up with other Mum's and the place would be a fog of fag smoke. Doesn't usually bother me but totally detest it in a food environment and espeiacally when I had 2 tiny babies.
    Your little dig about on Erith companies is interesting although I think I can Top Trump you, there's a company locally (can't remember exactly where) who a mate used to deliver Calor Gas to, it was something like "Allied Mouldings", fairly innocuous but they actually made industrial strength (and sized) $ex toys! They had them stuck on the wall behind reception.
    Oh to be a fly on the wall there…LOL!
    I'll try and find out the details.

    Always surprised that the RSVP building was snapped up, it's in the perfect spot for a "trendy" bar/pub resturant. Mind you the rent must be a hell of a lot…I'd like to see some sort of theme family resturant but then only cos that’s the sort of thing I'd use.
    Anyway RSVP was too up market for Chav's, was still full of bottle swigging idiots though…

    Can't see the vid at the moment but Twelfth Night?
    That's going back a bit!

    Talking of freebee's from beer bottles, I LOVE these but then I'm a sucka for "stuff". I absolutly LOVE my Fullers ESB rugby shirt, my Guiness polo shirts, "The ReV" engraved Abbots Ale glass and all the other "tat" I've sent off for!

    Good to have you back Mr.P'!