Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Nazi washing machine.

At long last, the delayed work to repair Erith Railway Station has begun; on my way home on Thursday afternoon, a group of men were erecting scaffolding around the main building. Not before time, as the small paper and coffee shop housed inside the ticket hall had been suffering because of the lack of passing trade. Although the ticket hall was still open, many assumed because the font door was closed and barricaded that the whole enterprise was closed, It was still possible to cut back inside once you were on the Kent bound platform, but many did not. Hopefully the station will be put back into normal operation. Not a moment too soon. Work is also under way on the steps leading to the infamous Tunnel of Doom - the ceramic tiles which topped and faced the steps had shattered as ice formed and expanded beneath them, The steps have been uneven and treacherous to use since the middle of November because of this. You can see some of this in the photo below, which I took yesterday afternoon. Click on it for a larger view.

I am currently ensconced in my favourite corner of the Robin Hood & Little John, complete with my venerable Linux netbook. I am supping a pint of Adnams Old Ale - a porter style ale which would be better served by the slice, rather than the pint, as it is rather sweet and heavy for my taste, but always interesting to try the guest ale. A man is propping up the bar, whilst trying to teach his rather elderly and asthmatic spaniel tricks. The dog is more interested in exploring the other pub customers, and looking for things to eat.

You can see more of my photos on Flickr by clicking here.

Earlier this week, I loaded up my washing machine with its' usual mix of clothing, and set the program; I then came upstairs to my office to work from home, as I do on a daily basis. As the washing machine got into its' spin cycle, it started to whine in a way that sounded exceedingly reminiscent of a Junkers JU 87B Stuka dive bomber - the main bearing was under stress. As if this was not bad enough, the load shifted unevenly in the drum, making the machine begin clanking in a very similar way to a Tiger 1 tank. Upstairs, I thought to myself "blimey, I have got myself a Nazi washing machine"! I think a new washing machine will be in order before much longer.

Some time on Monday afternoon, the Maggot Sandwich was host to its' 20,000th unique visitor since June 2010. The blog is now being read by just under three thousand regular visitors each month. Readers reside in the UK, Europe, North America, Latin America, India and Japan. There have recently been a few hits from Australia too. Not bad for something that was started as an experiment in cloud based publishing back in 2006. In many ways, I wish that I had enabled statistical logging much earlier, as I would have more information as to who and where my readers are.

My all time favourite restaurant is the excellent Sweet & Spicy in Brick Lane; unlike most of the establishments in this road, Sweet & Spicy is not set up to entertain the passing tourist trade; it cooks curries for the local Bangladeshi population, and makes few concessions to Western tastes. I have been a visitor since 1995, when it was even more hardcore - the food is served cafe style - you queue and place your order at the main counter, and the dishes are brought to your McDonald's style table a few minutes later. There is vinyl flooring and minimal decoration. Despite all this, the place is a regular entry in the Curry Club top 100 curry houses in the UK, and not without reason. The food is simple and hearty - home cooked, rather than restaurant style, and all the better for it. They have now set up their own website - and it is as endearingly ramshackle and eccentric as the restaurant itself. They are possibly the only Indian restaurant in the UK to serve a dedicated breakfast curry menu too. Click here to view the Sweet & Spicy website.

Below you will see a couple of photos - before and after, if you will. The upper one comes courtesy of Google Street View, and shows Erith Pop in Parlour, in Elrick Close, off Queen Street from around a year ago. The lower view was photographed by me on Saturday afternoon from approximately the same location, and show the building as it now appears - closed and boarded up. Not only have we recently lost the Erith Trades and Social Club, but we now have no meeting place for the areas Seniors. Nothing about this appears to have been publicised in the local papers, most notably the News Shopper; it was only the fact that I took a short cut to Erith railway station on Friday morning, and walked past the abandoned building that brought the matter to my attention. You can see a further view of the boarded up building by clicking here.

Going back to my earlier railway theme, I notice that when I visit Plumstead station, something like half of all the travellers have not paid to use the service. Last week I was entering the station waiting room when I was greeted by half a dozen ticket inspectors, accompanied by a similar number of transport police. They were interviewing a number of dodgy characters who patently had not paid for a ticket. This is a regular occurrence, and it really annoys me that people (usually the criminal underclass scum types) think they are above paying to travel. The problem there is that the costs get carried by the likes of you and me, who end up paying even more for our tickets. The chavs seem to think that getting caught for travelling is an occupational hazard, and the thought would not even pass what little mind they have to actually purchase a ticket. When they do travel on the trains, they inevitably cause disruption and inconvenience to others. I don't know what the answer is, other than the penalties for travelling without having paid really need to be revisited.

Talking of the criminal underclass, Potion bar (better known to Maggot Sandwich readers as Pooshun, due to its' incorrectly used umlaut - formerly the White Hart pub) has got its' drinks licence under review, due to the continuing criminal activity and anti social behaviour that the place hosts. The photo below was taken by me yesterday afternoon, and shows the licence review notice, which states that the place is under review, due to the need to ensure the "Prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, and the protection of children from harm". It is widely known locally that Pooshun is the centre of the hard drugs trade in Erith, with most of the local "players" being regulars in the place, and despite a number of high profile raids, it is apparent that much drug dealing also carries on under the roof. On top of all that, the building is in explicit contravention of planning laws from before it even opened - the destruction of its' original Grade II listed early Victorian salt glazed tile and etched glass frontage, and the blatant contravention of the rules regarding construction in a listed conservation area really need to be addressed. The Directors of Metropolitan Bars (the owners of Pooshun) should be whipped through Erith whilst paraded in chains. They run a house of irredeemable disrepute and deserve according punishment. As if that is not enough, Peter Andre carried out a public appearance in the establishment last year; that alone is enough to justify nuking the place from space.

The best investment I ever made was way back in 1987, when I purchased a Linn Sondek LP-12 turntable - the best record deck ever made; it transcended the CD era, and is still in rude health in the current time of MP3 files and online downloads. The Linn LP-12 is the definitive transcription turntable; mine needs a thorough service and upgrade, something that is entirely possible, as they are fully backwards compatible and upgradeable. Back in the day I spent over £700 on my LP-12; today the basic model costs £2295, though by the time it has been up - specced, you are really looking at something in the region of £4,000. It is possible to spend far more than this, should you have both the money and the motivation so to do. This might sound like an outrageous amount of cash, but until you have heard one through a decent amplifier and quality loudspeakers, you have not heard hifi.

And so to this weeks; video clip. This is allegedly a Syrian Doctor Who fan film; personally I have my doubts - I think it is actually an exceedingly clever spoof by persons unknown. It is so grindingly awful, it is actually good. Watch and let me know by leaving feedback below as usual.

No comments:

Post a Comment