Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Tram Shed.

The Mambochino coffee shop and café that has occupied a single unit opposite Argos in the Erith Riverside Shopping Centre has now moved to bigger premises. It has now opened in the double units on the corner opposite Wilkinson's and Spec Savers, as per the photo above - click for a larger view. The doors opened for the first time yesterday morning. They have been advertising for extra staff, which has to be a positive move for local employment. As I have previously written, there are very few places, other than fast food outlets to eat in and around Erith town. One notable exception to this is the T-Bone Cafe in Fraser Road - see further down for more details.

I see that plans are afoot to build a new campus building for Bexley College on the piece of waste ground between the old Erith Library site, and Erith station. The land has been laid waste for years; it used to be the location of the old Erith Tram Shed. I can dimly recall going to visit the place as a child, when they held an open day. This was long after the trams had ceased to run; if memory serves, the open day was organised by the local historical society. I think this would be an excellent use for the space; it has good public transport links to the rest of the borough, it is close to Erith town centre, and will retain Erith's college identity, now that the site in Fraser Road is being wound down. Rumours persist that the old college tower block will be converted into residential flats. In the current harsh economic climate, I don't see that this would be viable – after all, who would want to pay premium money to live in Erith? If you want modern, designer apartment living in South East London, you are more likely to choose the Woolwich Arsenal development, with its' better links to both the City of London, and Docklands, along with better doorstep facilities, such as the Dial Arch restaurant and pub.

The photo above of the old Erith Tram Shed building in the 1970's is credited to Steve Thoroughgood - local historial, archivist and photographer. He's documented Erith to an extent that I could only aspire to, and he doesn't even live here!

Something that cropped up in casual conversation in the office earlier this week – do you remember the “Protein Man”? He used to patrol Oxford and Regent Street in the West End, wearing a sandwich board proclaiming the evils of eating too much protein, and “sitting”. He used to sell self published tracts explaining his rather unique world view. Stanley Green was a true British eccentric, and became somewhat of a tourist attraction in the 1980's. I can recall seeing him on an almost daily basis when I worked for Silica Shop in Tottenham Court Road. Stanley Green, one of 20th century London's best-known characters. For 25 years he was a regular sight on Oxford Street, warning people about the dangers of eating protein. He believed it made people uncontrollably passionate, and that this was a source of anarchy in the world.

Such was his fame around London, that his sandwich boards and a selection of his leaflets are now on display in the Museum of London. You can read more about him by clicking here.

You can read one of his eccentric tracts by clicking here for a scan. Stanley Green died back in 1993, ironically it is thought of malnutrition due to his poor diet, which consisted solely of a daily diet of porridge, home-made bread, barley water mixed with powdered milk, and one egg. Another article on him can be read by clicking here.

As previously mentioned, the T - Bone Cafe; This long established transport cafe that has just celebrated its' 30th birthday is packed with customers whenever I pass. To my regret I have yet to try the place, but from the photos they have online, the food looks great – roast dinners and properly home made pies – not just fried fare. From the number of motorbikes, trucks and vans parked up outside whenever it is open, I reckon it could well be Erith's most profitable small business, measured by square footage of floor space against takings. Take a look by clicking here.

I was standing, minding my own business at Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Station on Tuesday afternoon. All of a sudden, a young chap appeared, seemingly from nowhere, at a run, and leaped between the platforms and over the open track just as a train was pulling into the station. He then carried on running into the adjacent Canary Wharf shopping centre. It appeared that no-one else on the platform paid a blind bit of notice to this bit of guerilla parkour free running. He could have easily killed himself.

Don't forget to visit the website - the first dedicated and up to date local information resource. I hope that the site continues to grow and flourish, as we could sorely do with it.

I see that the ship used as the base for the fictional station “Radio Rock” in the recent movie “The Boat that Rocked” has been refurbished and is now up for sale. It can been seen by clicking here. It looks to be a nice, usable vessel, but the price is a tad on the high side for what it is. I am sure that Colin could have rented the films' producers the MV Admiral Jellicoe, before it had to go to the breakers yard.

One thing that absolutely gets my goat, that is so completely unnecessary and wasteful of language is the habit certain individuals have of following every pronouncement or comment they make with the mono syllable "Yeah?" They presuppose that those they are addressing are as dense and uncomprehending as themselves, and require confirmation of the receipt and understanding of their monologue. Only a dull witted gibbon would be so obtuse. I hear it on an almost daily basis, and I feel like screaming whenever I do. The same applies to the hooded Muppets who call everyone "Bruv" - for whatever pathetic reason.

I took the photo above from Erith Pier this morning; it shows a cargo ship docked on the River Thames at Lower Belvedere.

My Apple iMac is now back to rude health. Before I nuked its' OS X Snow Leopard installation, I backed up all of my data (close to a Terabyte of audio files, photographs and a few movies). I also wiped the Time Machine backup copy, as I knew that this contained a copy of the files that had caused the operating system corruption in the first place – I was conscious of not wishing to re – infect my computer when restoring files. Cutting to the chase, I blitzed the Mac's hard drive, reinstalled Snow Leopard from scratch, updated and patched, then restored my data. The machine now positively whizzes along. When I bought it, I did a data transfer from my old G4 Mac. I have never actually performed a clean OS X build a modern Intel Mac from scratch before – and the difference is astonishing, seeing how it should come “out of the box” makes me realise how messy my machine had become over time. It is now squeaky clean and fresh. Bearing in mind I have been using Macs for around seven years, and it is the first time I have had to do anything resembling an operating system rebuild. With a Windoze machine, an operating system restore is required on at least an annual basis. To top that, my Asus EeePC 901 netbook has had a bit of a schizophrenic week, having had three different operating systems on it within a week. It is currently sporting Open SuSe Linux with the full fat KDE graphic user interface – which is meant for full power laptops and desktop workstations, not really for low power netbooks, but it seems to be holding up OK.

The only ongoing problem from all this remedial work has been my Email address list. I had been using the Thunderbird Email software from Mozilla – the people that bring us the excellent free and open source Firefox web browser. The trouble I have found is that though I successfully backed up my extensive address list and personal contact details, they were in a proprietary format. I uploaded the file onto my Google Documents online office account and ended up having to spend what seemed and age, converting the file from the Thunderbird mail format, into a .CSV (comma separated variable) file that was readable by Google Spreadsheets. I have now recovered a majority of my contact details after what seems like a disproportionate amount of effort.

Check out amateur drummer Alex Warwick on his YouTube channel here. He's entirely self taught, and his technique could be described as flailing by the less than charitable; for all that he is an excellent drummer with a real feel for some really challenging pieces. Apocalypse in 9/8 from the Supper's Ready suite by Genesis is a case in point - technically it is a supremely difficult song to play, due to the time signature and key changes within the piece. See what you think and feel free to post a comment below, as always.

I see that the record for the Worlds hottest chilli sauce has been broken once again. The latest claimant to the title is Infinity Chilli Sauce. Click here for more about this current top dog in the spicy sauce arms race.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be interested to know what version/platform of Thunderbird caused the problem you describe - all implementations I've ever seen from 0.8 through to 3.1.3 (current) have had three options for exporting from the address book, LDIF (LDAP Data Interchange Format) - the default; CSV and TSV (Tab separated values)

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