Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini moto madness.

The photo above shows the newly boarded and shuttered Cross Keys pub. Strangely the place still has all the lights switched on inside. Rumour has it the place is up for sale for the relatively low price of £90,000. I suppose this reflects the amount of internal work needed to bring the place up to scratch, and to replace the carpets, as I am sure that horse poo must be very difficult to get out of the shag pile. The place never recovered from the late summer traveller invasion. You can read about the story by clicking here. I am going to Email Shepherd Neame to see if they might consider renovating the place and opening it as one of their excellent pubs serving superb quality real ale. I know they are actively expanding their estate at present - whilst property is relatively cheap in the current economic climate. Coincidentally, there are builders in the Nordenfeldt pub at the other end of Erith; rumours abound that the building is about to be converted into residential flats. More on this soon.

Just as I took the photo of the pub above, I heard the unmistakeable "wasp in a biscuit tin" rasp of a tiny two stroke engine coming from Erith Riverside Gardens. I looked over from my vantage point outside of the Post Office and saw a chav on an illegal mini - moto bike. Not only was he whizzing up and down, making a terrible racket on a Sunday morning, but he was giving rides to a couple of toddlers. One toddler nearly fell off his perch on the handle bars when the scumbag rider swerved violently to avoid a woman walking her dog. I got photos of the whole thing, and these have already been passed to the local Police. I am only showing the rider, not the innocent small children in the photo below. One of the kids was screaming and clearly terrified, and I thought the behaviour of the bike rider was a form of child abuse. The individual needs a stern talking to, and the bike (which in any case is completely illegal) should be crushed. People have very short memories - it is not that long ago that a youth from Erith was killed on a mini moto. He was illegally riding it on the road when the poor quality rear wheel bearing collapsed and he lost control, crashing into a parked van. The impact split the plastic fuel tank on the miniature bike and soaked him in petrol, which was then ignited by the red hot exhaust manifold. I don't believe he made it to hospital.

The News Shopper is reporting that following my recent observations in respect of illegal scrap metal dealers, the police in Erith and Crayford have been carrying out road blocks, stopping scrap vans and checking the operators for the correct legal permits and insurance. There have been a number of arrests made - click here for more on the story

I don't know about you, but I think some of the major charitable organisations should get their planning sorted out; every Christmas one gets assaulted by about half a dozen different charity collectors at any public transport hub or shopping centre. I get "charity fatigue" and I am sure that I am not alone. Why don't they spread their collection campaigns to other times of the year? People usually have less, not more money at Christmas, and running a gauntlet of massed charity collectors outside of train stations and supermarkets is not the best way to encourage willing donations. Spreading collections more evenly throughout the year would seem a sensible approach. Talking of trains, Darryl of the excellent 853 blog has said everything that needs to be said about the woeful level of service and information supplied by South Eastern Trains over the cold period. To add insult to injury, South Eastern Trains did not grit any of the platforms on the Dartford to London via Greenwich line. Obviously, for much of the snowy period, there were absolutely no trains running for you to stand on the platform to wait for. Once they were back, it would not have taken much effort to out down some grit and salt. To top this, Erith station main entrance has been taped off since early last week; only a year since the exterior of the Victorian building had a complete restoration, and now chunks of masonry are falling off the crenelated edge of the roof and down onto the main entrance. On Friday I saw a couple of structural engineers surveying the damage; I don't know how long it will take to fix, but you can guarantee South Eastern will get it done on the cheap.

Erith has two new retailers; one opened last weekend and is a branch of the popular Card Factory. The company have taken the old unit previously occupied by Mambocinos, before they moved to the much larger double unit they now operate from. I had not heard of Card Factory before, but after doing a bit of research, they sound like the kind of thing the Erith Riverside Centre could really do with. The second new arrival in the town is a flooring and bedding retailer; they are currently renovating the old Woolworth's building between Farm Foods and the Health Centre, as you can see from my photo below - click on the picture for a larger view.

I see that Plumstead has just got a 24 hour drive through McDonald's; it is located on the island of land that houses Plumstead Bus garage and is surrounded by Pettman Crescent. After a bit of online research, I have discovered that the new Plumstead branch is a franchise owned by local businessman Talmoor Sheikh. He already owns the Woolwich branch - famously the first McDonald's in the U.K. You can read about the £2.3 million Plumstead development by clicking here. Apparently the existing McDonald's in Crayford has applied for permission to open 24/7. I wonder how long it will take before the Erith branch does the same? I think it unlikely to succeed, as unlike Plumstead and Crayford, the Erith branch is slap bang in the middle of a residential area, and has an old people's retirement home directly opposite.

I love Wikipedia; the stories about its' alleged inaccuracy seem to be nothing more than an urban myth; I have yet to come across an entry that is obviously incorrect or misleading. I find it to be the first place I will look when wanting to learn about a given subject; The site is soliciting for donations at present, but feedback from former employees seems to suggest that things are not all that they might seem. You can read the story here. Anyway, what other website would explain the subtleties of the Bristol Stool Scale?

Christmas came early to Pewty Acres this week. Shirley and the kids came up to stay on Friday, and on Saturday we all went up to my Mum's for a traditional roast dinner and to exchange presents. They are all off to Ghana to visit family on Tuesday and won't be back until the New Year, so we thought to bring the festival forward instead of the kids missing out altogether. You can see more photos here.

The video this week is another curry recipe from Titli's Busy Kitchen - a comprehensive and easy to follow recipe website, that also has a strong sense of humour. The recipe is a quick and easy, but traditional Chicken Madras. Please feel free to leave a comment below, as always.

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