Monday, 30 July 2007

Scouts Gather at Meridian Line to Mark 100 Years!

Scouts in Greenwich will be leading a worldwide 'Sunrise' event to mark the centenary of Scouting on Wednesday, August 1. The event will be held on Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory at 7:45am and everyone who has ever made the Scout Promise can attend. Local scouts will be allowed to hold their own overnight camp in Greenwich Park to mark the event. For more information contact event organiser Gwen Zammit on 020 8856 7373 or email

A Bit of History

  • On August 1, 1907 Scouting's founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, sounded his kudu horn on Brownsea Island at 8:00am to open the very first experimental Scout camp for 20 boys.
  • The founding army general was inspired by the enthusiasm of young cadets during the Boer War in South Africa.
  • Baden-Powell also started Girl Guides, the parallel female movement, in the early 1900s.
  • Today there are 28 million members (male and female) in 216 countries around the world.
  • A very useful website to look at would be

Fancy a Picnic Tomorrow? It's lovely weather!

Meet the staff of East Greenwich Pleasaunce tomorrow and enjoy a picnic with your young ones (under 5s) with the Under 5s Play Centre and the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce. You bring the picnic and they supply the entertainer. Call Play Centre 020 8858 8114. Free entrance. 12 noon - 3pm

Thursday, 26 July 2007

The Greenwich Gazette WeekEnd Guide

Saturday 28, July 2007

The Red Bull Air Race World Series (Sat 28 & Sun 29 July): this race is the one of 12 races taking place around the world and is a first for London. The course involves 20 metre pylons called 'air gates'. During the event the world's best daredevil pilots will navigate a course along the Thames against the clock. The qualifying rounds are on Saturday, July 28 and the actual race on Sunday, July 29. Tickets for the event start at 20 pounds and are available at The race on July 29 will be broadcast live on Channel 4 from 3:30pm.

Summer Fun: Greenwich Heritage Centre has lined up summer activities for five to 12 year olds. This Saturday, youngsters can create cave paintings. There will also be a talk on outdoor entertainment from the past (2pm, 3 pounds with refreshments, call: 020 8854 2452). Greenwich Heritage Centre, Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal SE18.

Multicultural Festival at Plumstead Common: 1:00pm - 7:00pm. A community festival celebrates diversity in the community. There's fun for all the family with community and food stalls, fairground rides and sports activities and a music stage.

Sunday 29 July

Red Bull Air Race World Series: See above for details.

The Big Wild Read: The summer reading challenge: Children of all ages are encouraged to read six books and collect stickers and goodies as they go. The Reading Challenge is launched at the National Maritime Museum with stories and rhymes at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm as part of the National Maritime Museum Family Fun Day. Each library in Greenwich is running exciting events based on the Big Wild Read theme.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Rainbow Shakespeare Open Air Season Starts Today!

What can be better than to spend a summer evening under the stars enjoying a picnic and being entertained by acclaimed professional actors presenting sparkling, fresh Shakespeare? All you have to do is bring a rug, picnic chairs, and your own picnic hamper (leaving the glass and metal utensils and cutlery at home).

Today Rainbow Shakespeare (in their 11th season) launch one of two acts prepared for this summer at the Greenwich Royal Observatory Gardens. 'The Winter's Tale' tells of the devastating effect that mad jealousy has on the lives of two royal families. And how time, love, laughter and forgiveness brings about reconciliation and hope for the future. It is an exciting tale, funny and compelling that the whole family can enjoy.

July 25 to July 29, 2007 / Box Office 020 88 58 77 55, Greenwich Theatre or tickets at the gate from 5:30pm for evenings or 1pm for Saturday Matinees. Evening performances start at 6:30pm (Gates open at 5:30pm for picnics). Matinees at 2:00pm on Saturday 28th July. Tickets: adults £15, Under 16s £7 / Family Ticket: £40 (comprising 2 adults + 2 under 16s). Greenwich Royal Observatory Gardens.

For more information on the group visit: or email them at

Nautical Fashion Exhibition Launches at National Maritime Museum Today

If you're into nautical attire (think stripy T-shirt and epauletted jackets), then you're just going to love the fashion exhibition being launched today at Greenwich's National Maritime Museum. Be inspired by 'Sailor Chic' and then discover more about fashion, costume, image and identity with curator or student tours, knitting sessions and symposia.

'Sailor Chic' is a celebration of fashion's love affair with the sea. No summer catwalk collection is ever devoid of the trend. And the exhibition will prove just that as it packs over 20 costumes in total (one of which is by YSL that has never been seen before and several pieces by Jean Paul Gaultier) alongside paintings and drawings showing the look through the decades.

The exhibition runs until December 2, 2007. Open daily 10.00–17.00 (18.00 until 3 September). Last admission 45 minutes before closing. Adults £5.00 Concessions £4.00 Children (under 16) free. The exhibition is fully accessible to wheelchair users. Book tickets at or for further information call: 0870 780 9218.

Olympic Festival at Greenwich Park This Friday

To celebrate the start of the five-year countdown, Greenwich Council is inviting young people aged 11 to 19 to come along to Greenwich Park, itself an Olympic venue, for a festival of sport this Friday. For five hours from 1pm, the bandstand field will be choc-a-block with sporting opportunities from cricket and fencing to football training provided by Charlton Athletic, and mini-tennis.

There is even horse riding, as Greenwich Park will be home for the equestrian events in 2012. This week's free festival is open to young people from the borough of Greenwich aged 11 to 19, of all abilities, until 6pm. The open format will enable them to turn up anytime in the afternoon to join a range of team and individual sports, six of which include provision for those with disabilities.

Councillor John Fahy, Greenwich council's cabinet member for culture and Olympics, said: "In the two years since London won the 2012 bid, we've seen a growing level of enthusiasm for the Games and the sporting opportunities they offer. "The council hopes even more young people will come along on Friday to find out which sports they enjoy and even to discover talents they didn't realise they had. The fact young people with disabilities can share in these opportunities is a very important element of this celebration for the council."

To attract young people to try out sports over the summer, the council, Charlton Athletic and Greenwich Leisure Ltd are offering vouchers entitling young people to free swims or discounts on swimming lessons and football coaching. Anyone bringing the promotional event flier along on the day will qualify.

Cllr Fahy added: "This festival isn't the only sports activity being promoted in Greenwich this summer. "The council has a summer parks programme throughout the school holiday, offering a range of sports including football, rugby skills and go-karting."

For further details, call 020 8921 2012 or visit


Greenwich In The News!

Mending Up Greenwich Theatre

James Haddrell, Greenwich Theatre’s new executive director, has vowed to revive the venue’s relationship with the local community and raise its profile to a wider audience. The theatre’s former head of marketing took over from Hilary Strong, now director for the National Council for Drama Training, earlier this month and will oversee both the site’s artistic and administrative workload.

He told The Stage: “I have been here for quite a long time and have a good understanding of the plans for the future. I’m responsible for programming and dabbling in the production of in-house work, but equally I will be balancing the books at the end of the year. I do think it’s a huge job, but I think that the theatre is just the right size for the model.”

Haddrell believes that his greatest challenge will be reconciling the theatre’s position as a London venue with the fact that it is situated outside the centre of the city. He said: “It is a theatre with a split personality. Because it is one zone away from the West End, it should attract a London audience. But Greenwich also has a regional feel, because we are funded primarily as a touring house.”

As well as increasing advertising, Haddrell will try changing performance times to encourage people to travel into Greenwich. If the theatre can secure funding in addition to that which it already receives from the local council, he also aims to increase the venue’s producing work.

However, Haddrell complained: “South London has such a pitiful percentage of London arts support. The art subsidy spent in London is so north-London-centric.”

Until funding is secured, Haddrell is looking into co-producing work with other regional venues, and presenting outdoor productions around Greenwich. He also plans to make the site available to community groups throughout the day to raise the theatre’s public profile. It is currently also used by young people on theatre apprenticeships.

“I hope we can bring in others - mother and baby groups, or knitting circles. It doesn’t matter. If we can make the space available for community groups, they will build a relationship with the building and feel comfortable here.”

The theatre’s 15-show autumn season will open on August 28 with The Gruffalo’s Child, directed by Olivia Jacobs.

Teen Girls Saved from River Mud in Greenwich

TWO teenage girls were dramatically saved after being stuck in mud and sand on the Thames shoreline in Greenwich as the tide rapidly closed in on them. Coastguards were alerted to the girls' plight at 4pm on Monday.

The girls, aged 15 and 16, were pulled to safety using police mud mats and brought to the shore by the Tower Royal Navy Lifeboat. One girl suffered an ankle injury and the other needed treatment for shock. The Marine police and London Fire Brigade also attended the incident.

Coastguard watch manager Frank Aubin-Hart warned people that if they do get stuck in a similar way, they should stay as still as possible because if they wriggle to get free they increase the chance of going under.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

So Organic opens flagship store in Greenwich

So Organic has opened its flagship store in Greenwich’s bustling indoor market. So Organic’s full range from its online store will be available, including beauty products such as its own range of everyday basics, which can be found as you walk into the beauty department at the front of the store.

At the back of the shop is the house and home department. Here you can use the Ecover refill station and get everything for an organic home from silk filled duvets to
Biofa natural paints to loo rolls. There’s also a baby section where you can pick up your choice of washable or disposable eco nappies, maternity products and toiletries.

So Organic’s founder, Samantha Burlton, is on site to answer any customer queries and the shop has signed up to an ethical loyalty scheme so you could get
Bags of Change for your organic shopping.


Chinese Crab Mittens

Due to the floods the UK is witnessing of late, from Woolwich to Windsor, London's riverside dwellers are coming under attack from crabs, or more specifically the Chinese Mitten Crab. Here's some interesting information about them:

  • It was given its name because its large claws covered by soft bristles resembles mittens. The crab's body is the size of a human palm.

  • The mitten crab is catadromous - adults reproduce in salt water and the offspring migrate to fresh water to rear. Once the crabs mate, the males are thought to die and they leave the females to brood the eggs.

  • The mitten crab can travel extraordinary distances. In China it migrates up to 1,500 kilometres along some rivers. They feed on small worms and juvenile shellfish.

  • In Asia, the Mitten Crab is considered a delicacy.

  • It was reported in the London Evening Standard in 1995 that the residents of Greenwich, UK, saw the Chinese mitten crabs coming out of the River Thames and moving towards the high street.

  • Scientists studying the furry-clawed crustacean, which is thought to have arrived from China as larvae in ballast water, now want people to eat the crabs into retreat. Really! Don't believe me? Check out this article published in the National Geographic.

Monday, 23 July 2007

The Beach at The O2

It's the summer break, and it's raining outside. What do you do? Well, think O2 this summer (well up until August 27). They've laid out tons of sand and made a sort of waterless oasis with fake palms, deck chairs and a bar that stocks cocktails, drinks and chocolates to the kids' delight. No UV rays to worry about, no weather forecast to dampen the mood, it's all indoors and there's no care in the world.

The kids all around me were eagerly participating in the pirate training carried out by pirate-clad friendly staff who do a really excellent job entertaining the young ones. There's also volley ball for the older ones (children up to the age of 14 are allowed inside I'm told). The whole area is dotted with spades, shovels, buckets, balls, even inflated dolphins here and there. This was a fully equipped beach minus the heat and waves and nobody seemed to care. To the kids this was their own piece of heaven. And did I mention that it was all FREE?

Junior was having the time of his life, bouncing from one activity to the other. He managed to make a shaker, dig for a treasure and paint his own silk pirate hat. He gleefully did about all he could do with the sand from building castles to literally burying his friends' legs in it. This was sand galore and it was several hours before I could coax him to leave. The only break he took was when the picnic was laid out and he hungrily and quickly gobbled it all down before he could miss any of the fun still in store (note: you can buy food on the premises but you can also pack your own lunch).

Us moms enjoyed it too. We just felt so at ease as the place was definitely set up with kids in mind. So there were no safety worries at all. Besides the doors were heavily watched by at least three staff members to ensure that no kids just wandered out of the premises unattended. So it was just great to lounge on the deck chairs, gossip and check from time to time what our kids were up to.

My only point would be the coffee and the toilets. The bar as I mentioned stocks soft drinks and alcohol but it does not offer your handy cup of coffee or tea. As The Beach is situated at the far end of the O2 I had to walk the whole distance back to the entrance to buy my coffee at Starbucks. So a note to the wise: get your coffee at the doors before you head to the beach, or else you'll be dragging unwilling kids all across the O2 just for your java fix. And avoid the toilets beside the Beach like the plague (they stink), walk the small distance to the toilets by the cinema. You have been warned.

I've been told that the Beach caters to the young ones up until 5pm each day, and then it turns into a really funky bar with live music and all. So as soon as I visit it by night I'll tell you all about it. But for now, I've got to sign off as I've still got my little pirate trekking sand all around the house bouncing the beach ball they gave him there and waving his sword. We've had a great day at The Beach and it's still pouring rain outside.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Basketball Academy Set for Greenwich

London United, the capital's leading professional basketball team, is joining forces with the London Borough of Greenwich's 2012 Legacy Team to establish a new full-time basketball academy in the borough. The aim of the link-up is to nurture home grown talent for the London Olympics and beyond when the new G plus academy opens in September.

Organisers will draw on Greenwich's already successful G plus college scheme, which has created a new network of post-16 centres across the borough.The academy will focus on a schedule of combined basketball training and academic study.

Academic studies will be based at Shooters Hill Sixth Form College, whilst basketball tuition will take place at a brand new training facility at the nearby Eltham Green High School. The G plus academy will accept applications from all over the borough and surrounding areas. A total of 20 players will take place in the initiative, who will compete in around 40 over the season.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

The Greenwich Gazette WeekEnd Guide

Friday, July 20

Giant Rhymathon at Maritime Museum: Greenwich Council, in partnership with Surestart and the National Maritime Museum, invites babies and toddlers, parents and carers to a giant sing-a-long at the Queen's House lawns. Call: 07939 535 629

Saturday, July 21

Dig Deeper- family archaeology workshop: 10:30am - 1:30pm. Hear about recent discoveries at the Old Royal Naval College and join Thames Explorer Trust on the foreshore to carry out your own archaeological investigation. 7+, limited spaces. Booking advised so call: 020 8269 4799. Price: 5 pounds per adult and 3 pounds per child. (Part of the National Archaeology Week).

Wizarding Fun: wizards take over Canary Wharf to celebrate the release of the final Harry Potter book, plus an open air screening of a Harry Potter film. Canary Wharf, E14.

Sunday, July 22

Meet John Deman: Greenwich pensioner and sailor in Nelson's Navy - character performance in Painted Hall at the Royal Naval College. 12:00pm, 13:00, 14:30, 15:30. Free event.

Foreshore Finds at Docklands Museum: Head down to the foreshore with a museum guide and learn about London's past from the objects you can find by the river. Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 4AL (0870 444 3855 / 10:15, 11:45am
Classic Cars at Eltham: Transport yourself back in time to see vintage cars of the 1930s in the drive at Eltham Palace once again. 11am-5pm.

A Bit Further out:
Sat 21 - Sun 22:

Fun on the foreshore, Tower of London: Celebrate ten years of "fun on the foreshore' with two days of free events at the Tower of London, including a rare opportunity to visit Tower Beach. Stands include museum-quality artifacts and handling collections, as well as replicas, activities and games, covering everything from bones and burials, through shoes and coins, to exploring a spoil heap, making a mosaic and dressing up as a Roman Londoner. No booking necessary but prior contact recommended. Call 020 3166 6637 or visit

Home Sweet Home, Roman Style, Museum of London, EC2: 11am-4:30pm. What was life really like for Roman Londoners? What were their homes like? Come and see how the Romans built their houses and what went on inside. 0870 444 3850 or

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Greenwich to Russell Square bus route to run 24/7

Transport for London has announced that from 28 July 2007, route 188, which links Russell Square with North Greenwich, will run for 24 hours a day. The extension of operating hours follows a review of the existing service and means the route will provide a half-hourly service throughout the night, seven days a week, improving night-time links from central London to Bermondsey, Canada Water and Greenwich.

It will also provide an all-night service between central London and North Greenwich, serving the 02 arena. John Barry, head of network development for London Buses, said: "The new 24-hour service on route 188 is another accessible transport connection for late-night travellers in the Capital. London’s night bus network has expanded dramatically in recent years with passenger numbers more than doubling since 2000. Almost half the users are people travelling to or from work."

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A Good Summer Read: Ageless Body, Timeless Mind

One assumption we tend to make is that death is unnatural, even evil. Most of us shy away from mentioning it, and some of us (if not most) are terrified of getting old and dying. If you feel this way, then this is a must read for you.

It turns out that ageing is a choice after all and how you choose to age will determine the quality of your golden years. The book sheds light on how our attitude towards ourselves can change the way we age. Not old and useless, but a new beginning and a new time line.

Deepak Chopra refers to three forces pervading all life: creation, maintenance and destruction. And even though each life span unfolds in a sequence over time, the three forces themselves exist simultaneously. But the best thing ever is that it seems we have the power to shift the balance of these forces.

The book talks in detail about centenarians - their secrets to a long healthy life - also introduces questionnaires and scientific evidence of a fantastic life after 60. The book combines lucid theory, case studies and a wealth of practical exercises to demonstrate the innate intelligence of the mind/body processes and the extent to which sickness and ageing are created by nothing more than gaps in our self knowledge.

Friday, 13 July 2007

The Greenwich WeekEnd Guide!

Friday July 13
French Market, Woolwich (Fri 13 & Sat 14 July): The French Market is coming back to Powis Street, Woolwich. Produce and crafts from across the Channel will be on sale from 9am to 5:30pm.

Saturday July 14
Final Frontier, Royal Observatory, Greenwich: British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted workshop. Discover more about time, space and our position within it, in this hands on workshop. Suitable for families using BSL with children aged 5-13. Limited places so book in advance; call 020 8312 8575 or by email to:

Explore the National Maritime Museum's Library, Greenwich: From letters written by Pepys and Nelson to journals of the Fox written during the search for Franklin and exquisite 15th century atlases, discover the treasures of the Caird Library and learn how to gain access to them. 11am - 12:30pm (call: 020 8858 4422).

Artist in Residence's Workshop: Local sculptor Pat Rae, this year's Artist in Residence for Greenwich Park, offers two workshops exploring the potential of natural materials in the park. Her work has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy and overseas and is inspired by natural materials (plants, leaves, seed heads, stone, wood and trees). 10am - 1pm. Secret Garden Wildlife Centre, Greenwich Park, SE10 (020 8852 6158 or

Trust Thamesmead Summer Festival: Celebrate Thamesmead's 40th Birthday with a fun filled day of entertainment, music with Jamelia, Antony Costa, Showaddywaddy, The Real Thing, Sybil and The Honeyz. Circus Big Top, Treasure Island Beach (bring your swimsuit), Festival Parade (children with wear costumes from recycled materials) and Thamesmeads's 40th birthday marquee and more with an activity zone and children's zone. Free entrance. Birchmere Park, 10am - 8pm. ( or tel: 020 8320 4470

Sunday July 15
Car Show at Devonport House, Greenwich: Cars from the 1920s to the early 1980s will be on show in the grounds of Devonport House, Park Row, Greenwich from 10am to 4:30pm. This is the third year of the show organized by the Forest Hill and District Classic Car Club. Entry is £3. All proceeds will go to St Christopher's Hospice, Sydenham and the New Lodge Riding Centre, Eltham which helps disabled people. (For more details call: 07980 548637)

Well Hall Pleasaunce Music Event: Local band, the Wranglers, play a selection of traditional rock and roll tunes. Free event. 2-4pm.

David Beckham Academy Children's Summer Festival: Come along with your team and enjoy full access to the Academy, memorabilia hall, changing rooms and an Academy coach to teach your team tactics in advance of the festival games at the end of the day. £38 per player, £2 spectators. (020 8269 4620

Sega Dance Festival: An exciting line up of dancers, singers and musicians. Browse the stalls selling food and wares from around the world. Dancers will be demonstrating the national dance of Mauritius (the dance originates from 1500s from Mauritian slaves who worked in East African sugar cane fields) for an open air sega dance festival. Bersford Square, Woolwich. 1pm - 7pm. Further information from George Lauricort (event promoter) on 020 8854 3164

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Colors of Bins Deciphered

Greenwich Council has announced the introduction of so many bins that it has become confusing to know which is for what. Here's a guide:

Green Top Bins: Perishable food waste
Blue Top Bins: Recycling (glass, paper, plastic)
Pink Top Bins: Smaller goods like hairdryers, irons, toasters and kettles.

And look out for the new household battery-bins alongside the blue-top bins in car parks and community locations (they're for chucking away all those batteries if you haven't figured it out yet).

For more information call 020 8921 4661 and to find your nearest recycling outlet for particular items, visit

The Report Card: Demons Unleashed!

By Whimsy ChiChi

Mr. ChiChi Junior just got his first report card. I know that it's not officially called a report card - more of a progress report - and he is just in nursery, but it's one of the firsts in his life to be packed away with the first lock of hair, first photo and first words diary. Before you start with your oohs and aahs, you'd better read on first!

As a mother it is nice to hold on to memorabilia; Whether to give the kids a sense of rooting when they are older or whether to brag to future in-laws of the achievements of your offspring. But I have, I've been told by my lovely husband, taken this all somewhat to the extreme. I carefully label every item from writing on the backs of photographs (when the photo was taken, where and who the persons in it are - even if it's just us) to keeping the butts of plays we've been to, to holding onto every single doodle and scribble. We have a shrine set up with all the empty boxes he's glued together at school. Empty old boxes that would serve the better good if they went to recycling. It may be extreme, but the paranoid individual in me keeps these records in case, just in case I should be struck down with amnesia or some other disease that attacks the memory cells. Pessimistic? You bet. But some things we just can't help.

Where was I? back to the progress report. Sure it revealed a lot about how my darling fares in school away from my doting self, and how he gets along with his peers, teachers and other general matters such as developmental and cognitive progress. But this progress report has also been a personal eye-opener. It has brought out a side of me that I never knew I had. A side that may not seem too pretty if left unchecked. I realized that I was hanging on to every written word. I was left wondering whether my son's progress was good enough? How did he compare to the other kids in class? Did X's son get a better assessment? and was Y's son better at scribbling than mine? And although it said my four year old had proper command of the pen, did that mean that Z did too? Was my son ordinary or exceptional? Stop! Is this really me? Who is this perfection seeking monster holding the report card? Oh God, I realized, who and what had the report turned me into? He's only four I had to keep reminding myself. Oh God, oh God, oh God!

Let's face it, we all want our kids to be the best out there, but rationally speaking we also don't want to exert undue pressure on them to perform beyond their capabilities. Give me a happy, well-rounded child any day, and who cares if he messes up his 123s, he'll learn them soon enough. It's the psychological upbringing these days, in my opinion, that matters most. It's the values we instigate such as hard work, respectful behavior, and doing what they love that will make them the adults we aspire them to be. Sure academics matter but it's the overall picture I seek.

Rationalizing it all seemed to calm me down as I kissed my darling and wiped away at the tears that threatened to escape. Laughing to myself, I officially declared myself a mental cow, made a cup of coffee and went to call X's mom. "How was Junior's report?" Come on, I told myself, it's only to prove I care. Honest!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Star Wars Celebrations Coming To London This Weekend

Star Wars celebration Europe will bring the best of the Star Wars universe and its fans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the saga. the Lucasfilm Ltd event will include interactive entertainment, celebrity guests, Jedi training, life-size vehicles and sets, exclusive merchandise, a 2000 seat theatre and much more. This happens Friday 13 (10am - 6pm) - Saturday & Sunday 15 July (10am - 5pm). ExCel1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16.

For tickets call: 0870 060 0245 or (prices for three days if you pay in advance: £53 adults & £27 (8-12 year olds) & prices for 3 days if you pay on door: £59 adults & £32 children (8-12 year olds). You can pay for only one day which will cost you £27 & £17.

Also to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original film's release, the London Symphony Orchestra Strikes Back with a free concert of Hollywood film themes in Canada Square Park (at Canary Wharf, E14), including a selection from 'Star Wars' at 7:30pm also on Friday July 13. The orchestra will be directed by Francois-Xavier Roth. (

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Opera at Blackheath

In collaboration with Trinity College of Music, Blackheath Halls Community Opera Project is staging the classic tale of Bizet's Carmen. The production will involve approximately 60 chorus members, 60 orchestra members, 300 primary children from Greenwich and Lewisham and 12 soloists.

Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road SE3

10, 12 and 14 July at 7:30pm

How Much?
12 and 15 pounds.

For more info visit: or call 020 8463 0100

Monday, 9 July 2007

Ghosts Do Exist at Greenwich Theatre Says LPS Director

You may or may not be a believer in the Paranormal and you may never have experienced a paranormal event first hand, but the chances are you know a local legend or two.

Ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, apparitions, voices from beyond the grave...Interested? So were we when last week, Greenwich Theatre called in the city's Ghost Busters, The London Paranormal Society (LPS), to help them set up a seance right in their theatre (click here). Sightings of The Grey Lady and other incidences had prompted the vigile and all had one question in mind, "Could Greenwich Theatre be haunted?"

According to Ian Shillitto, Director of the London Paranormal Society and a paranormal investigator, who states on his website that "over the past few years 80% of the population now believe in a possible afterlife. Spirituality and psychic awareness has become main stream in many areas of our lives. With the arrival of Mind, Body and Spirit, the word has been spread very liberally throughout society. It's just as commonplace to pay a visit to a psychic, as it is to visit any of the other alternative therapies".

The Greenwich Gazette called up Ian who is not only a celebrity in his own right and has made several TV appearances but is a genuinely pleasant man who passionately loves what he does. Although extremely busy (between workshops, ghostly encounters and dashing from one investigation to the other), he found the time to answer a few of our questions.

GG: Did the seance uncover paranormal activity at the Greenwich Theatre? Ghosts maybe?
Ian Shillitto: The séance is only a part of the 7 hour investigation, we held one large séance on stage and several smaller ones throughout the night. The greatest discovery was a character called John who was witness to a massive fire in the building. Amazingly this information was independently picked up in three groups at the same time. It was later confirmed by the theatre manager, that a large fire did take place after a bomb explosion in WWII. However, John could not be accounted for – many of the theatre's archives were lost in the fire. John was also said to be responsible of the activity in the Wardrobe dept. We all experienced a table vibrate, shake and then move across the room. Much to peoples' excitement. We also tuned into medieval Greenwich and made links to monks, dissolution of the monasteries, religious conflict and marshland – most of which was later validated in Greenwich’s history.

GG: Did you make contact with the Grey Lady and does she exist at all? What's her story?
Ian: The Grey Lady has been seen in the auditorium, and interestingly most of the phenomena we experienced also happened here. No names as to the lady apart from [that] she worked in the building, possibly as a singer and was not of English descent. She died of a broken heart. We had several EMF fluctuations around the area and heard various auditory phenomena.

GG: What was the attendance like? and did you encounter any troubles on the night?
Ian: The attendance was great and we all splintered off into three groups led by our team leaders and investigators.The guests get the chance to be pro-active in our vigils and use our gadgets for recording base line tests and monitoring activity throughout the night.

GG: What is your personal assessment of the situation as a professional? And how would you advise people to deal with the findings?
Ian: I would say, to the future client - "Come along to one of our vigils and discover the paranormal ghost hunt yourself.” We are holding one event per month and several around Halloween. Our next big London event is at The Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell. This location was one of the largest courthouses in England and is said to be a hot bed of poltergeist activity and apparitions have been seen. All bookings or information is on our site.

GG: Any plans to revisit Greenwich Theatre for another seance?
Ian: We have been asked back to the theatre, and I will probably add it to our 2008 schedule.

So what do we make of it all, and how do we go about the findings from a personal perspective? I think that Ian sums it up perfectly when he states on his site, "The best way to react is to keep an open mind. Accept what you are given and if you don't agree, let it go. It doesn't matter."

Sunday, 8 July 2007

The Tour de France In Greenwich!

Here comes the race. The starting point at the National Maritime Museum.
By six o'clock this morning the roads had been closed, the barricades set up as Greenwich residents woke up to what was promising to be a very exciting day indeed. Just by looking out the window, even the heavens seemed to be in high spirits as sunlight bathed the course which only in a few hours would welcome the wave of The Tour de France cyclists whooshing by for the first time in the tour's history.

And whoosh by they did. The crowd went wild, the kids waved their flags and the horns hooted all reflecting the wave of excitement that can only be created when groups of total strangers come together to cheer at an event. Nobody knew who the cyclists were nor did they really care. They were there because it was an event that was right there at their doorstep and they were insisting on making a day out of it with all the "Bonjour" and "Ca Va?" they could manage. The French were here and the British were ready to embrace it all.

Ten minutes and the race was over. Already a memory, but the festivities of the day were just beginning. Greenwich Town Centre had been transported into a French town for the day, a "Greenwich en fete", with warm crepes and bonbons for good measure. The red, blue and white decked the walls, the stalls and even the hairdos. Nothing escaped. From Trafalgar Road down to the Cutty Sark Gardens and Greenwich Pier, the town was speckled with one French performance after the other. But the main reason of this "Get Together" was always close to mind as spectators could keep up with the day's race by means of a giant outdoor screen at the Cutty Sark gardens. Greenwich was going all out on this one.

The Get Together organized by Greenwich Council was in full swing today, with the mayor listening to people's views at Talk Cafe at Cutty Sark Gardens.

The Red Giraffe parade took a good part of the morning as well as most of the afternoon. It had the kids and a good part of the adults following it as the Giraffe-clad acrobats masterfully maneuvered their way between the crowds. A task that by no means seemed simple. But the kids could just not get enough of them and eagerly raced to collect the confetti they sprayed about on their way (a thing that wasn't going down too well with the street cleaners). There were music performances, face painting stalls, cycling events and information as well as the covered Greenwich Market which seemed to be busier than ever today with all its quaint stalls and wonderful bargains.

It must have been a great day for the town shops, eateries and cafes as wandering past most of them you could not but notice the queues. This has been a test run for Greenwich Council as well as London as a whole for the 2012 Olympics. It is certain that the load will then be tougher and more organization needed, but if the organizers can guarantee the sun, they have nothing to worry about when it comes to the crowds. Just make sure there's enough ice cream to go around.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Hightlights of Tour de France in Greenwich

  • You can follow Stage 1 of the Tour de France on a giant screen in Cutty Sark Gardens as the riders head out from Greenwich. A must-see highlight from France will be Compagnie Off's amazing life-size red giraffes in a spectacular parade.
  • Greenwich Heritage Centre is hosting a weekend of free activity for 5-12 year-olds to celebrate the tour passing on its journey through the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. On Saturday, July 7, from 10:30am - 12 noon, there will be cycle training and safety games (book in advance 020 8854 2452), and on Sunday, July 8, from 10am - 4pm, there will be creative collage activities on a cycling theme. The borough's cycling heritage will be on display all weekend.

Join the Eltham Community College Orchestra on Saturday

Celebrate 25 years of the Eltham College Community Orchestra with a programme of music including themes from Star Wars and Mission Impossible, the cantana Carmina Burana and classics from The Last Night of the Proms.

Eltham College, Grove Park Road, SE9 (020 8857 1455), tickets 25 & 30 pounds.

Greenwich WeekEnd Guide!

Sunday 8 July

Greenwich Yacht Club Open Sailing Day: All ages invited to sail a cruiser or dinghy from 11am. Buoyancy aids and safety equipment provided. More info call Greenwich Yacht Club 020 8858 7339 or visit

The Tour de France: a caravan of floats will pass through Greenwich at 9am followed by the riders at 11am. Greenwich Council is organizing "Greenwich en fete" with street entertainment and an open air French feast in car-free Maritime Greenwich.

Boule Afternoon: hosted by the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce, East Greenwich Pleasaunce. 4-7pm. Wine and cheese, and Tour de Pleasaunce for kids on bikes in yellow jerseys.

Events Close to Greenwich

  • As mentioned by Deptford Dame, the Made in Deptford festival will take place this weekend. Saturday and Sunday will see many events take place such as art events, cycle demonstrations, fashions shows and food tastings. For more info, click here.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Tour de Blackheath at Greenwich Park!

To celebrate the Tour de France coming to London, 50 students from Blackheath High School will compete in timed relay races in Greenwich Park tomorrow. Everyone's invited to bring a picnic and watch the races. The event hopes to get pupils on their bikes.

Greenwich Park, 12:30 - 3:30pm. For more information call: 020 8557 8410

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

St. Alfege Church Recitals For July

Thursday 5 July
Recital: Ivan Andrews, Cello & Piano, 13:10, Free.

Friday 6 July
Recital: Acroama Duo, Flute & Guitar, 13:10, Free.

Saturday 7 July
Recital: Mary Curtis, Mezzo-Soprano, 13:10, free.

Thursday 12 July
Recital: Shiho Izuno, (Soprano) & Ryoko Homma (Piano), 13:10, free.

Thursday 19 July
Recital: Shiho Izuno (Soprano) & Heidi Pinder (Mezzo-Soprano), 13:10, free.

Thursday 26 July
Recital: Edward Renshaw, Guitar, 13:10, free

Address: St Alfege Church, Greenwich Church Street, SE10

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Roads Closed On 'Tour De France' Day In & Around Greenwich

Five more days left to go before the Tour de France comes to Greenwich. The entire route through Greenwich is going to be packed with so many visitors and a lot of roads will be closed to cars. This is the first time the race's start has been held in London so it is a big deal. The riders are expected to arrive through Greenwich at around 11am, but the streets will be closed to cars from early morning. So if you're planning to come here by car, here is the list of roads to stay away from on July 8:

Creek Road: (from Evelyn Street to Greenwich Church Street, from 6am to 12noon.
Greenwich Church Street: from Creek Road to College Approach.
College Approach: from Greenwich Church Street to King William Walk.
King William Walk: from College Approach to junction with Romney Road.
Romney Road: from King William Walk to Trafalgar Road.
Trafalgar Road: from Romney Road to Woolwich Road.
Woolwich Road: from Trafalgar Road to Woolwich Church Street.
Woolwich Church Street: from Woolwich Road to Woolwich Ferry Roundabout.
Woolwich Ferry Roundabout: from Woolwich Church Street to Woolwich High Street.
Woolwich High Street: from Woolwich Ferry Roundabout to Market Hill.
Market Hill: from Woolwich High Street to Warren Lane.
Warren Lane: from Market Hill to Royal Woolwich Arsenal.
Tom Cribb Road: from Royal Woolwich Arsenal to Pettman Crescent.
Pettman Crescent: from junction with Tom Cribb Road to junction with Plumstead High Street.
Plumstead High Street: from junction with Plumstead Road and Pettman Crescent to Bostall Hill.
Bostall Hill: from Plumstead High Street to Woolwich Road.
Royal Arsenal - Cornwallis Road: from gate at Warren Lane to Wellington Avenue.
Wellington Avenue: from Cornwallis Road to Tom Cribb Road.

For more information on public transport and road closures, call TfL on 020-7222 1234

Monday, 2 July 2007

Dulwich Rhino Run Tomorrow Night!

We've all seen those adorable rhino costumes on the streets of Greenwich when the London Marathon passed through here two months ago. Well, now you get the chance to actually wear one of them if you decide to sign up for the Dulwich Rhino Run that takes place tomorrow night at 7pm at Dulwich College.

The route takes you around Dulwich Wood, Dulwich Park and Crystal Palace Park, starting and ending in Dulwich College.

Sponsorship money raised by participants will be used to support rhino conservation projects around the world, as well as a charity nominated by Dulwich College. There will be prizes for the highest fundraisers and fastest runners.

For more information on the event, click here, and Save The Rhino projects, Click here.