Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tugs and Beer Ticking.

I took the photo above this morning; I went for a long walk around Erith, and I found myself on the pier; there were three tugs moored alongside, and the picture above was the result. Erith Pier is an under recognised and under utilised public resource that I am keen to see more people appreciate.

I count myself fortunate to still be able to blog this week; I have had unfavourable encounters with rogue cyclists twice in the last week. On Tuesday Morning I was crossing New Bridge Street in the City of London. I was using a pedestrian crossing, and the traffic lights were indicating in my favour. I looked both to the left and the right before crossing, but despite this, I got almost to the middle of the road when I was struck a glancing blow by a banana helmetted eco Nazi on a high end racing bike who had, as is increasingly common, decided that traffic lights and the rules of the road did not apply to him. He shot off, ignoring the tirade of abuse I shouted in his direction. These neanderthal cyclo scum pay no road tax, have no insurance and gain all the benefits of road use, with none of the responsibilities. I had a similar experience on Friday, when travelling from Fleet Street to Southwark tube station. I was going from my company's HQ building to their new Canary Wharf flagship office for a meeting.  I crossed Stamford Street and was once again accosted by an eco - mentalist on a bike, who had also decided that the laws of the land did not apply to him. I just wish I had been in possession of a full - sized furled umbrella. When an object like this is thrust firmly into the front wheel spokes of an illegally speeding bike, the end results apparently can be quite entertaining. I recall seeing this happen on the pedestrian crossing at the end of my parents road when I was a kid - an elderly chap was crossing the road, when a cyclist tried to jump the lights. The old chap stuck his walking stick into the bike's spokes and the rider went over the handle bars and into a messy heap on the road. All highly entertaining for me, and educational for the errant cyclo Nazi.

The 99 bus continues to offer a patchy and intermittent service to the area; they seem to travel in groups of two, and sometimes three or four - I don't know what is threatening them so that they feel the need to travel in convoy; whatever, it means the service is not nearly as reliable as one would expect.

My Asus EeePC 901 netbook has had a bit of a makeover this week; for some reason it would see my BT Infinity 802.11n wireless router, but would not connect to it, whatever black magic I tried. I came to the conclusion that the wireless driver in the Ubuntu Linux build was corrupted. I thought about updating it, but thought that I would try and alternative Linux netbook remix given to me on a CD by fellow guru and data ninja Lance. He works in an underground bunker surrounded by CCTV monitors, but uses his time wisely. There is not much gets past a determined hacker with time and a fat pipe to the internet. Anyway; I digress. I have now installed Jolicloud 1.0 Linux on my netbook. Click on the link for a look, and to learn a little about this HTML 5 based cloud computing centric operating system for low powered devices.

Here is an Easter Egg.

The spotlight on an Erith based business is this week trained on the Model Train Shop. This small business shares premises with the Threes and Fours mini cab company in Erith Town Centre. They mainly trade online, and by post through a umber of model train hobbyist publications.

In what is quite the most amazing coincidence, I discovered only on Thursday afternoon that the Cross Keys pub, that I mentioned in last weeks' Maggot Sandwich update has been forcibly closed by Bexley Council. I took the following photo of the building, and the enforcement notice posted in the window earlier this morning:

It would seem that the place had been overrun by a group of extreme undesirables; suffice to say the future of the establishment is now in the hands of the council and the Police. It is extremely unfortunate that a historic and architecturally important building should be run into the ground by irresponsible ne'er do wells; if the place could be handed over to a landlord who would respect and nurture the place, and serve decent food and real ale, I am sure discerning customers would flock to the place - it is something the area could sorely do with. Comment below, as always.

I see that the exploitative flying saucer cult Scientology has very quietly gained a foot hold in the UK media. I saw a TV commercial on the National Geographic channel this week that was extremely slick and well crafted, and no doubt a few weak minded individuals will be suckered in to give the pariah organisation all of their money. I am not going to embed the commercial, as I don't want any search engine results to associate the Maggot Sandwich with them; however, if you are curious, you can watch it here.

I spend a great deal of my time in and around Woolwich and Plumstead; whilst there are many things that could be improved in these South East London suburbs, they both seem to have a wealth of multi cultural amenities, not least in terms of the wide variety of food outlets, cafes and restaurants that proliferate. One thing puzzles me, and I would be grateful for your thoughts and feedback regarding this. I note that there are quite a number of both African and Nepalese eating houses. They seem to all do moderately good business, but seem to restrict their appeal to members of their own communities.  Back in the 1960's many young men came to the UK from Bangladesh, looking for work. Some set up "Indian" restaurants, adapting the traditional dishes from their home land for the tastes of the less educated palates of their English customers. Thus Chicken Tikka - a dry dish of marinated chicken cooked in a clay tandoor oven was accompanied by a mild sauce, or Masala, (originally containing a large amount of tomato ketchup) to make Chicken Tikka Masala - a fantastically popular curry dish related to Butter Chicken that had no roots in India whatsoever. In adapting the cuisine, and serving alcohol (not something many traditionally Muslim people would feel comfortable with) they appealed to a wider market. The curry became part of British culture, and in a relatively short period of time Indian (actually modified Bangladeshi) cuisine became a staple part of the British diet. In doing this, many of the originators became seriously rich - there was cash in curry, so to speak. It would seem to me that the African and Nepalese restaurant owners could do well to take a leaf out of the same book. It appears to me that they are somewhat insular and happy to stick with the market that they know - whereas if they were to branch out and try to capture the wider market, they could well clean up financially. An example of the type of eating house I think should try and appeal to a wider audience is The Marble Nigerian restaurant. Click on the link for more about the place. I would love to eat their food, but currently do not feel particularly welcome - surely I would be an ideal new customer - I have a fairly high disposable income, and am keen to try new foods and ideas. Do leave any comments and suggestions below.

My new BT Infinity fibre optic broadband continues to impress; I ran a simulated aggressive port scan on my new router, and got the following results below. As you will see, it passed the security penetration test with flying colours. If you want to test to see how secure your home computer or network is, then you could do far worse than checking with the Shields Up! website. Oh - and before you ask, I have changed the I.P address. I was not born yesterday.

A new pastime, although I have a friend called Martha, who is a long time Beer Ticker. Beer Ticking is to real ale what train spotting is for the railway industry. You can read all about the documentary on Beer Tickers by clicking here for more information.


  1. Cycling should be a sedate mode of transport. 'Whizz-kids' need all the abuse possible hurled at them.

    Beertickers whilst harmless do tend to give us beer buffs a bit of a pr problem.