Thursday, 31 May 2007

A study of Greenwich Students Shows Apple Juice to Prevent Asthma

A recent study into childhood consumption of fruit and fruit juices has revealed a significant link between the consumption of apple juice made from concentrate and protection against respiratory problems like asthma.

Peter Burney from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, London assessed 2640 primary school children aged five and 10 years old in Greenwich and found that while the consumption of other fruits and vegetables were obviously beneficial, only apple juice concentrate had a preventative effect for asthma.

The prevention also improved in relation to how much of the drink the child consumed, prompting Mr Burnley to state that he would like to initiate more studies into the exact mechanics of the protective elements in apple juice.

Currently the British Dietary Association recommends that young children's drinks are restricted to milk and water, as many fruit juices have a high sugar content which can damage young children's teeth. Fizzy drinks are also off the menu to protect children's teeth and avoid obesity.


Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Concert for Cutty Sark in Greenwich This Summer

Cutty Sark fundraisers will stage a star-studded benefit concert this summer after last week's blaze caused up to £10 million-worth of damage. The bash will be staged to raise funds for restoration work due to restart in the next few days - and organisers hope to coax huge stars into performing. Organiser Stephen Archer is keeping tight-lipped on the line-up, but said he would love local resident Jools Holland and Mick Jagger to sing shanties at the gig.

Donors wishing to help should log on to:, or call 0208 858 2698. The visitors pavilion next to the ship has reopened with a video story of the fire.

Ravensbourne College to Move to Greenwich Peninsula

Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication has unveiled plans to relocate to South East London, specifically the Greenwich Peninsula Development. Construction is to be complete by 2009. The College is currently located in Chislehurst, Kent.

The college offers courses spanning product design, interiors, graphics, digital moving image, interaction and sound design, ranging from the level of further education to postgraduate study.

Greenwich Wins Award for Cleaner Air

Greenwich is one of four boroughs in the UK to be awarded Beacon status for delivering cleaner air. Council Leader Chris Roberts outlines what lies behind Greenwich’s commitment to the environment in this article.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Greenwich WeekEnd Guide

Friday 25 May
Planetarium Opening: The Royal Observatory opens the Peter Harrison Planetarium. Booking is essential if you want to be one of the first visitors.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park, SE10 9NF (020-8858-4422)/

Greenwich Theatre: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: Up until Sat May 26: contact:

Fri 25 - Sun 27: Greenwich Playhouse: Poprygunya: to book tickets, click here.

Saturday 26 May
Family Archaeology Workshop: In partnership with the Thames Explorer Trust, learn to find and identify archaeological objects on the River Thames foreshore. Suitable for ages 7+. Limited places, booking essential. Wear wellington boots and bring rubber gloves.
Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, SE10 9LW (020-8269-4799/
12noon-3pm (5 pounds per adult, 3 pounds per child).

Sat 26 - Sun 27: Peter Harrison Planetarium for younger children: Royal Observatory, SE10, 11am & 2pm: A brand new 120 seat planetarium which uses the latest technology to explore space better than ever before. The planetarium shows are presented by a Royal Observatory astronomer and special shows are available for children aged 3-6. (020-8858-4422) or visit

Sunday 27 May
Meet John Deman, Old Royal Naval College: A black Greenwich Pensioner in the early 19th century who left his West Indies home to join Admiral Lord Nelson's fleet. Hear about his life at sea as a young boy and in the Royal Hospital for Seamen as a Pensioner. This character was developed in partnership with the National Maritime Museum. Performances are free and suitable for all the family. (020-8269-4799)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Greenwich Theatre: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

The friendly bus driver leaves us with one simple instruction: "Don't let the Pigeon drive the bus!" However, the Pigeon is very clever and whines, bribes, pleads and even sings a song to get his own way... but will you let him drive?!

Wednesday 23 - Saturday 26 May 2007

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Peter Harrison Planetarium Unveiled Today!

According to the BBC, a futuristic planetarium built as a part of the five year redevelopment of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, south London will be unveiled. The 45-tonne tilted bronze-clad cone with a truncated glass top will seat 120 people. The Peter Harrison planetarium also boasts a one of the most advanced digital laser projectors in the world. The redevelopment, which cost £16m, will be unveiled by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The planetarium opens to the public on 25 May. For full article, click here.

Greenwich: A Village In Mourning!

Today's brighter skies in London have not been enough to lift the spirits over at the Cutty Sark. Just back from my morning walk, I went to pay my respects to the old ship and of course I wasn't alone. Families had gathered round taking photos of their kids with the wounded vessel. Although crew members still linger on (the Duke of Edinburgh is supposed to pay a visit to the site this afternoon), and although a lot of observers continue to mill around, the mood is quiet, sombre and very respectful. All that was missing really were the flower garlands (but I have a feeling those are yet to make an appearance).

The vessel, a celebrity most of her life, continues to shine through. Various questions still have to be answered concerning the cause of the fire that ravaged through it yesterday morning, but until then the Cutty Sark even in its sad appearing state stands tall still, bruised but not down.

The vessel had been undergoing major restoration worth of course millions of pounds and among the things I overheard a group of young men saying was "good riddance, now the project money can go to more good use". I have to unfailingly disagree with these few as the Cutty Sark has and if allowed to will always be a tourist attraction and a major money maker for the area. Even now, the shops around it from Starbucks, to local Greenwich shops are overflowing not only with media crews but also with visitors who come to be, as if consolingly, beside their beloved ship.

Monday, 21 May 2007

The Cutty Sark: A Sad Sight Indeed!

This is the last photo I had taken of the Cutty Sark before it went into the restoration project end of last year.

Well I've just returned from my tour of the Cutty Sark and the damage I have to say seems extensive. But what truly is encouraging among the rubble is knowing that 50% of it had already been moved elsewhere for the restoration. Whether this act of today was intentional or not, the bottom line is that what happened to the Cutty Sark is ultimately tragic.

The police are there still inspecting and I have heard that they are reviewing all CCTV footage. The fire according to news sources must have started about 5 am when witnesses saw some fire in the Cutty Sark and called the London Fire Brigade.

I have to admit that I never really knew how attached to the Cutty Sark I'd become. Just like many, I had taken it for granted that it would always be there. It's a shame to see what stands there now, a ghost ship, charred and in singes. It may be a while before the clipper can shine again (if ever) but one thing remains true today: It has touched all of our lives and will have a place in our hearts forever.

The Cutty Sark: History in Flames!

What a shocker and what a thing to wake up to this morning. The Cutty Sark has been engulfed by a huge fire. What a shame really and it being the most visited landmark in Greenwich along with the Observatory.

A famous nineteenth century clipper that had withstood so much up until now. It had been under renovation and therefore closed off to the public. The police are treating it as a suspicious fire and here's hoping that the damage is only superficial as parts of it had already been taken out of the premises for restoration procedures. The fire has been brought under control and the residents around the area have been told to return to their homes as they had been evacuated early this morning.

Complete damage figures are yet to be announced as the investigation goes on at the site. All roads around the Greenwich Cutty Sark area have been closed but the DLR has reopened.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Greenwich Planetarium Open to Public Next Friday!

The finally refurbished observatory will be open to the public next Friday. After five years of extensive work the project is finished and promises to be better and bigger than before (the new star show has one of the most advanced digital laser projectors in the world, the only one of its kind in Europe). The Queen will officially open the place on Tuesday.

Related Articles

Friday, 18 May 2007

TGG WeekEnd Guide!

  • Theatre

Greenwich Playhouse: Poprygunya: (Based on Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Grasshopper’)Written and Directed by Linnie Reedman, Original live music by Joe Evans. Presented by HONEST HANDS THEATRE COMPANY(8th – 27th May 2007, Tues-Sat @ 7.30pm - Sun @ 4pm), Tickets: £11; £9 (concs) Call: 020 8858 9256

  • National Maritime Museum

Sea sounds! (Music sessions): 5 May 2007 to 26 May 2007, Saturdays. Times: 10.30, 11.30, 13.00, 14.00/ A free musical adventure for tiny explorers. Join Klio Papadopoulou and students from Trinity College of Music for some noisy nautical antics. These sessions are part of an ongoing collaboration with Trinity College of Music. Collect your free ticket from the admissions desk. Suitable for under-6s. Location: Activity Room, National Maritime Museum. No booking required.

Magical masks (Drop-in workshop): 6 May 2007 to 31 May 2007, Sunday, Times: 11.30–13.30, 14.00–16.00 / As sailors voyaged the seas they created stories about the monsters and mermaids they had seen. Imagine you have sailed around the world and make a mask or headdress of a sea creature you have seen on your adventure. Suitable for all ages. Location: Upper Deck, National Maritime Museum. No booking required.

  • Old Royal Naval College

Dark Heritage: 15 May - 17 Jun 2007 / Free/ Explore the horrors of the 18th Century slave trade in a pitch black sonic installation. This is a touring event to mark the bicentenary of the 1807 Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act. Weekends: 10.00-17.00 / Open to the public; performances every 20 minutes/ Location: visitor centre grounds.

  • Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark Visitor Centre and Exhibition: Cutty Sark is undergoing a major conservation programme to ensure that she is saved for future generations to enjoy. Adjacent to Cutty Sark there is now an architecturally stunning pavilion where visitors are able to learn about the Trust’s conservation techniques and plans for the ship. Come and see aspects of the conservation project and learn about the fascinating history of Cutty Sark, the world’s most famous ship. See the Master’s Saloon re-created (fully accessible to all for the first time), and learn from fun interactives and innovative displays. There will be a new film shown in a mini cinema, and CCTV cameras will enable you to see the works taking place before your very eyes. Please be aware, when planning your visit that there is no access to the ship. There will be an opportunity to sample the type of tea that Cutty Sark used to carry. Cost £2/ person.

Greenwich in the News Today!

Laser technology will launch visitors into space at Greenwich

According to, visitors really will see space, the final frontier, when the National Maritime Museum's new planetarium opens. The article provides the first look inside the centre where the starstruck will be able to sit back and "travel" so far into outer space that the earth becomes a dot and then disappears. For full article, click here.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Books: Blake Morrison's South of the River

At first I was going to label this book as a bit of a tedious read. Packed with characters (five), it is quite trapping. Quite trapping to the extent that it could be suffocating at times. But I do believe that for fictional characters to invoke in me such a degree of irritation (Ned) and boredom (Jack) only means that the writer is a very very good one.

The story as the title suggests takes place along 'South of the River' and is rich with description and factual events. It broaches politics (the high hopes envisaged by all as the Labour party comes into power and progressively its demise), sex, fidelity, family and family values, racism, death, partnership, women's liberation, fox hunting as well as a variety of other issues that come about in the course of the novel as the characters go about their daily lives. Lives very similar to our own. It does unmask what British society has become; namely the society that the Blair government has produced whether intentionally or not but has nonetheless. I won't pass my judgement onto you but will leave you to make your own.

As I mentioned I stopped short of giving this book an undeserving review. The whole book (according to the author in one of his interviews) was inspired by foxes that lurked around the area of his residence in Blackheath. At various parts of the book we are taken through stories of foxes ranging from the amusing to the utterly incredulous to the absolutely horrifying to say the least.

I was amused but not a believer until last night when I was rudely awakened by the sound of a screeching bone chilling wail which, as I looked out of the window, belonged to a squirrel whose ill fortune had made it breakfast to a canny fox. I will never forget that howl or that wail that seemed to be not only an echo but a confirmation of what Morrison had written and now I know without a shadow of a doubt that it will be some time before I forget this book, if ever.

South of the River by Blake Morrison, £17.99 (at Waterstones)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Greenwich Theatre: Life of Pi

Greenwich Theatre was packed. Not a seat left unoccupied as Yann Martel's story of Life of Pi unfolded on stage. A simple uncomplicated set that accentuated the performers. It's been a while since I've been to an act where the characters are the main focus and not flashlights or other technological devices. Satin blue sheets are scene of the ship wreck, a raft ingeniously built before our eyes and an island of puppet meerkats. Brilliant.

Pi (played by Tony Hasnath) is a curious, innocent boy who has an undeniable interest in religion. All religions. We see him dabble in Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. All he wants is to love 'God'. That said, however, and as someone who has read the book twice over, although Tony puts in a wonderful performance, in a way he fails to deliver Pi's character as it would seem towards the end of the book. This Pi was made to seem too gullible, too innocent, and in a way wimpy (which undeniably goes well with the first part of the book) however, this Pi fails to project the maturity that Pi reaches at the end of the book brought on by his hardship. The power of the book lies in the transformation of an innocent boy to a mature man (reserved, quiet, reflective and yet stronger in belief and wisdom). This failed to transpire on stage.

The parents of Pi, played by Melody Brown and Royce Ullah, were the true stars of the show. Without their very apparent confidence and experience on the stage, it could have been a very childlike performance about animals in a boat. But they truly held it together and their presence and charisma on stage are undeniable.

The play had its funny moments particularly by Mark Pearce who plays several roles ranging from uncle to priest to Sufi and then later the zebra. Several of the other performers alternate wonderfully between roles and when it is the animals who take centre stage, none is better represented than the Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, played by Taresh Solanki. The acting skill is undeniable, the costumes fantastic, and the animal movements breathtaking.

It is obvious that all the actors are truly passionate about the tale. A passion well translated onto the stage particularly enhanced maybe by the fact that most of the performers are of Indian background. Some have been to India and have personally visited the landmarks highlighted in the book.

All in all a brilliant performance that will leave you wondering if not questioning (maybe even doubting) your own beliefs and views of the world.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Greenwich Traffic: An Observation!

I've just come back from my facial and I tell you passing through Trafalgar road is a nightmare. The congestion is unbearable. I read somewhere that they are actually trying to prove that it was a wise decision to apply congestion charges in Greenwich by diverting a lot of the traffic into the area. I tell you, a few months only there was never this much traffic. Even to a pedestrian, the change is visible. All in all it's a horrible situation.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Life of Pi at Greenwich Theatre Tomorrow!

Life of Pi charts the adventures of Pi, a 16 year old Indian boy, a Hindu who unusually embraces Christianity and Islam in his search for one God. His family owns a zoo in Pondicherry, southern India, but decides to emigrate to Canada, taking some of the animals with them. When their ship sinks, Pi finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, a female orang utan, a 450-pound royal Bengal tiger, his imagination and his faith...

The play takes place at Greenwich Theatre from 10-12 May. Hurry, buy the tickets. I've read the story and it's not to be missed. Let's hope the production is as good. Will keep you posted, or check it out for yourself and we can exchange notes. I've booked my ticket already!