Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Christmas is Here: Switch On at Greenwich Market

The 'switch on' of Greenwich Market's Christmas Lights are this Friday November 30th with a huge programme of entertainment running between 3pm – 7pm.

The lights will be switched on at 5pm by the cast of Greenwich Theatre's pantomime 'Dick Whittington' bringing the magic of Christmas to the Market square and the town centre.

Date:Fri 30 Nov Time: 3 - 7pm
Greenwich Market SE10

This Book Will Change Your Life! I Promise!

The Book: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

What The Greenwich Gazette thinks: A great read. Very insightful and truly a joy to read.

What you'll get out of it: It promises health, wealth, happiness and a parking space. Really!

Why should you buy it? Well, you don't have to but it would make for a cool and cheap (It's only £12 for the hardcover) Christmas gift.

Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life transforming for all who experience it.

In this book you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life - money, health, relationships, happiness and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.

Monday, 26 November 2007

PARENT- Job Description

I received this email today and thought I would share. Enjoy!

POSITION:Mum, Mummy, Mama, Ma Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities . Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updat ing your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that university will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

Friday, 23 November 2007

100 Cauliflowers Invitation

Hi all,

This Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th November, environmental artist Kerry Morrison is inviting you all to come and see (and take part in) her '100 cauliflowers' installation on the peninsula be installed.Attached is a aerial view showing you where the plot is. Known as the 'bowling green' is on the riverside path between GMV and the O2.

You can park at the end of John Harrison Way and walk the 150 yards to the site. but better to walk, cycle, or get the bus there of course! The installation is a culmination of work over the past 6 months, in which Kerry researched the areas environmental history and issues, and worked with some local people to develop ideas.

see www.independentphotography.org.uk/urbannature for more information. Kerry has been building the 'allotment' this week, and on Friday 23rd she will be joined by 15 pupils from John Roan School to plant the first 50 cauliflowers. This will take place between 1pm and 3pm.

On Saturday 24th, you are invited to come along between 12noon and 3pm to help plant the remaining 50 cauliflowers. The caulis will over winter and be harvested in the spring, possibly towards some kind of community feast. So if you are around at all on Friday 23 on Saturday 24th please do pop by, either to plant or just see it happening.

Many thanks

Andy Independent Photography

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Greenwich In The News

The Mayor of London announced £3.6m of funding for Greenwich to spend on local transport improvements to make the borough safer, greener and more accessible.

The £3.6m funding includes £500,000 to improve bus services and journey times through Woolwich Town Centre, £500,000 for more cycle lanes and better facilities for cyclists in Greenwich as part of the London Cycle Network+, £250,000 for 20mph zones and £288,000 to reconstruct the carriageway on the Lewisham Road (A2211). The funding is part of the record-breaking five-year £792m programme for local transport schemes included in the Transport for London (TfL) £10bn Investment Programme.

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said:"This new £3.6m investment in local transport schemes will make the daily journeys of people in Greenwich, safer, greener and more accessible, whether they are travelling by public transport, by car, on foot or by bike.

"Thanks to extra investment in local transport schemes, cycling has increased by 83 per cent since 2000 and more than 1600 school travel plans have been approved which encourage and enable more children and their parents to walk to school."

Improving local transport
London's Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy said: "This £3.6m investment will go towards directly improving transport for people in Greenwich. Local people feel strongly about transport in their area and this funding will make a real difference to their experience each day.
"The investment will fund both large and small projects that will improve bus journeys and access to public transport, reduce congestion, improve the environment and promote a healthier lifestyle. This funding is an important part of our wider programme of spending in the boroughs to make improvements to local transport."

Projects funded in Greenwich for 2008/09 include:
£500,000 for the London Cycle Network + in Greenwich
£500,000 for measures to improve bus services and journey times through Woolwich Town Centre. Buses that currently travel in one direction along Thomas Street and Woolwich New Road will be able to travel in both directions. This is connected to the Mayor's 100 Public Spaces programme with the General Gordon's Square development
£288,000 to reconstruct the carriageway on the A2211 Lewisham Road. This project is part of a larger scheme to resurface the whole of the A2211 between Blackheath Road and Morden Hill
£250,000 for 20mph zones in Greenwich to improve safety in local streets
£100,000 to support the borough's design and development work for a town centre scheme by General Gordon Square in Woolwich, which will complement the ongoing regeneration of the area
Notes for editors:
Each year the borough prepares a Local Implementation Plan to demonstrate how they propose to implement the Mayor's Transport Strategy locally. While TfL awards funding for individual schemes, project delivery is the responsibility of the borough.
Priorities for the Local Implementation Plans include:
Improving road safety
Improving bus journey times and reliability
Relieving traffic congestion and improving journey time reliability
Improving the working of parking and loading arrangements
Improving accessibility for all on the transport network
Encouraging walking and cycling
Bringing transport infrastructure into a good state of repair
Below is a table with an allocation breakdown of Local Implementation Plan funding for Greenwich:
Principal road renewals - £639,000
Local safety schemes - £470,00020
mph zones - £250,000
Education, training and publicity - £28,000
Walking - £110,000
Cycling - £145,000
London Cycle Network+ - £500,000
Bus stop accessibility - £150,000
Bus priority - £825,000
Town Centres - £100,000
School Travel Plans - £251,000
Travel awareness - £25,000
Freight - £15,000Environment - £70,000
Local area accessibility - £40,000
Total £3,618,000

Friday, 16 November 2007

WeekEnd Shopping: The Red Gecko!

I've been out and about this week looking at all the shops and sneaking a peak at what they're selling in terms of Christmas decorations and Christmas goodies. Here is one of the shops that you must check out this week-end:

The Red Gecko: This shop always gets our listing at Christmas. They are carrying the same handmade Christmas angels that are just darling and are collectibles. So fantastic. But they've got wonderful metal Santa trains, great for serving up all those yummy candies for when the kids gather round. For those who enjoy a bit of sparkle, check out their amazing sequined leaves for £8.99. Fabulous!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Making Memories Matter

I am forever fretting about the value of my memories. What will I end up with and have I got enough of them to fill my old age days and nights? Will I look back and smile at some, maybe even cry at all of them? Will they be worth digging up maybe even sharing and can some life be changed by them?

It seems that I'm not the only one worrying about such matters. However, unlike yours truly who is merely a worrier without a solution to the crisis (well, not solutions worth printing anyway) others have come up with a fantastic idea. The memory box.

In the Autumn of 2004, over one hundred elders in seven European countries began to create from their individual memories and experiences, life portrait boxes. With the help of local artists, they arranged significant objects, photos and documents in redundant ammunition cases. They transformed their personal stories into small artworks which would communicate with others in far away countries. That is the solution that Pam Schweitzer and Angelika Trilling came up with and with these words they open the catalogue of the Europe wide project.

I took a trip down to see the exhibit at Greenwich University. And what a trip down memory lane that was. You see, memories are strange things really. They connect not only people together but can create a sort of shared identity, common ground and an unspoken understanding, maybe even apathy, to other people's lives. Throughout the gallery you get a sense of what it means to be born in one place yet manage to create roots elsewhere. You get a feeling of what it was like in all countries post wars and how everyone managed to get through the hardship by clinging on to happy childhood memories.

With their memories we are offered a glimpse to a time forgotten, to joys long lost on our youth of today, and to pains many of today's immigrants go through, the pain of uprooting or forcefully being uprooted. They are memories that although often mixed with pain and loss have become even more meaningful in their context, more precious and surely more inspiring.

The boxes at the gallery entitled "Making Memories Matter: A European Reminiscence Network Project" particularly indicate the journeys made by many from former British colonies to London in the late 1940s and 1950s. Throughout the exhibit although you do feel the link between the boxes that I indicated to before however you also realise how personal and individual memories are. We all assign different values to things and so we do to our experiences. We hold some in the highest regard and chew on them day in and day out whereas some just seem to slip away into insignificance never to return. This diversity of experiences is what makes this gallery so wonderful and inspiring.

We seldom reflect on memories as legacies. Yet they are. We keep diaries, we make idle notes on calendars, we mark the back of photos and keep shoe boxes with bits and doodles like our son's first lock of hair, his first picture. We keep photo after photo and album after album to try to preserve who we are because what we end up with defines who we are and where we've been. I read once that you can never be truly whole until you know where you've come from and where you're going. Wherever we go, we leave a memory footprint if you will and it's making those footprints matter that mostly irk someone like myself. So, how will I make my memories matter? I don't know but I could start with an empty shoe box!

Making Memories Matter runs until December 7, 2007 at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, London SE 10 9LS. Copies of the catalogue Making Memories Matter is available at the gallery throughout the exhibition (£10). The gallery provides access for those with disabilities.

Greenwich Dance Agency and Laban present The Big Chill

Greenwich Dance Agency, The Borough Hall, Royal Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8RE, Box Office: 020 8293 9741

Now in its 11th year, The Big Chill is an intensive week of creative dance and choreography workshops – running Wednesday 12 to Wednesday 19 December 2007 (not Saturday and Sunday) - culminating in two live public performances on Wednesday 19 December at 2.30pm and 6.30pm Bonnie Bird Theatre, Laban, Creekside, London SE8. FREE admission (advance booking only) Laban Box Office: 020 8469 9500

The Christmas Youth Dance Project is an annual joint initiative from Laban and Greenwich Dance Agency (gDA). Bringing together 50 young people from secondary schools in Lewisham and Greenwich, the project has grown from strength to strength and is now in its 11th year.

The key aim of the Project is to get young people involved in dance, and to identify children who have a unseen talent for dance; they need not necessarily be experienced in dance, but should be interested in working in a creative and imaginative way. The Christmas Youth Dance Project, aimed at students aged 14 to 18 years, is held as a model of what youth dance should be about, and is proud to have produced a great number of students who have gone on to train as dancers.

Following INSET training sessions for teachers, interested pupils enjoyed one-off taster workshops led by established choreographer and dancer Aletta Collins and her dance team. Each school then nominated two or three pupils to take part in an intensive week of creative dance and choreography workshops which run Wednesday 12 to Wednesday 19 December at gDA and Laban. The culmination of this work will be showcased in a matinee and evening performance at the Bonnie Bird Theatre, Laban on Wednesday 19 December 2007.

A range of diverse professional dance companies have delivered The Christmas Youth Dance Project over the years. This year’s facilitator, Aletta Collins, has created works for Phoenix Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company and her own dancers, Aletta Collins Dance Company. She has also produced works for opera, film and theatre including the National Theatre’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Creating engaging and witty dance theatre, often full of larger than life characters, Aletta aims to bring out the individual in each of this year’s young dancers. gDA Since its inception in 1993, Greenwich Dance Agency (gDA) has built an international reputation for quality and innovation.

email: helen@greendesk.demon.co.uk

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Greenwich Quickies!

***The Fan Museum has won yet another award, the Visit London Gold Award 2006 for the Best Small Visitor Attraction. It also won the Silver Award in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2007. (www.fan-museum.org)

***The O2 Disco Dance on Ice is officially open. It promises 900 square metres of ice, 40 mirror balls, disco lights and themed nights. The temporary ice rink runs until March 2008. For tickets: www.theo2.co.uk

***Got a favorite Greenwich spot? Make your choice known by voting for your favorite spot in a new poll designed to find the best place in town. The new 'Pride of Place' poll is an initiative which highlights locations and attractions in England that people are most proud of. The poll opened last month and you have until November 30 to cast your vote. Here are Greenwich's ten attractions nominated and eligible for votes:
1. Charlton House
2. Eltham Palace
3. Firepower Museum
4. Greenwich Heritage Centre.
5. Greenwich Market
6. The National Maritime Museum
7. The Old Royal Naval College
8. The Royal Observatory
9. The Thames Barrier
10. The Wernher Collection at Ranger's House

Monday, 12 November 2007

Shopping at Greenwich Just Got Easier!

If, like yours truly, you are a shopaholic and have always found a place in your heart for Greenwich, then shopping just got easier for you.

Traders at Greenwich Town Centre have just launched a new appropriately named website called (www.lovegreenwich.co.uk). I must tell you that it seems that it's going to be a hit. This site has been a long time coming. It offers a comprehensive shopping directory along with a listing of news, events and promotions taking place in the town center.

For those of you who don't live close to that area fret not, as December 1 witnesses the launch of another website called www.livegreenwich.gov.uk which will be launched by the East Greenwich Traders. Even Trafalagar Road and Woolwich Road shops have jumped on the wagon.

Christmas Greenwich!

Greenwich will be hosting a wide range of events in the run-up to Christmas. It starts with the switch on of Greenwich Market's Christmas lights on Friday 30, November. The event includes a variety show of family entertainment from 3-7pm. It starts with a visit by Father Christmas at 3pm and ends with the lights switch on by the cast of Greenwich Theatre's panto, Dick Whittington at 5pm.

The indoor market will host a special Christmas market trading everyday until 7pm up to Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Events That Start Today!

Greenwich Theatre
Much Ado About Nothing: Presented by Red Shift, returning to Greenwich following acclaimed productions of The Third Man, Get Carter and Vertigo, Much Ado About Nothing promises an evening of inventive and challenging theatre, unexpected shocks and laughter, respect for the text and outrageous liberties in equal measure.
Tuesday 6 - Saturday 10 November
Evenings, 8pm - £16, £18, £20 (£14, £16, £18). Matinees: Wednesday 1:30pm, Saturday 2:30pm
Post show talk: Wed 7 Nov with members of the company.

Imperial War Museum
My Boy Jack: New exhibition tells the full story of Rudyard Kipling's only son John who was killed in the battle of Loos in 1915.
Until 24 February 2008. Free. Imperial War Museum. Lambeth Rd, SE1. 020 7416 5320

Monday, 5 November 2007

Motherhood & Food Choices!

I didn't watch the fireworks at Blackheath on Saturday. I wasn't there. I was wonderfully tucked away somewhere divine in the Cotswolds enjoying a heavenly break away from all the hustle and bustle of daily city living. You'd think that having secured a great family suite, booked nannies for the whole day to entertain my little one, and indulged in a lineup of spa treatments for myself and hubby that I'd have nothing to complain about. Of course not, that is not how things go with me.

What I am about to rant about is purely and solely my own personal opinion, not affected by anyone in particular and any resemblance to anyone (including the present reader) should be considered totally coincidental. I don't know you but if you fit the description then tough luck!

The little piece of Heaven I visited over the weekend is a very family oriented place. They provide a creche with the most updated toys and every technical gadget out there, from PlayStation to x-boxes to a fully functioning cinema theatre, you name it and the kids could get it. The menus on the other hand were not so accommodating and flexible so, here is where my rambling - if you would like to give my grievances a name - starts.

Of course I want my child to have a healthy meal. Of course I would want him to choose organic foods and of course I want him to be the perfect child who heads for carrot sticks instead of salty sticks and chooses strawberries over fudge cake any day. Of course I'd like him to turn away in disgust when faced with the option of fried fish and chips and go instead for a vegetable bake of cauliflower, broccoli and aubergine. Sure, I'd like that! I would applaud you if your kids were like that. Good on you! However, my son doesn't always fall into that category but I love him just the same, I am a great mother. Live with it!

I am so sick and tired of being judged and labelled by what my son puts into his mouth. We do make great food choices most of the time only he at time chooses not display them when we're out in public. And this weekend was just the case. All he wanted to eat the entire two days were fish and chips for dinner. Was that too much to ask? Obviously it was.

As soon as we tookk a look at that menu and our heart sank. We had promised him that if he was a good little boy all day and ate a good breakfast and lunch he got to choose whatever he wanted for dinner. We thought it was a fair deal and so did he. Sadly, the restaurant thought otherwise. When we placed our order here's the same conversation we had over two nights in a row with two different waitresses after they had sat us down and given us the menu:

Waitress: Good evening, So what have you decided for the little one tonight?
Me: Well, I'm afraid he doesn't want anything that is on the menu. Could he have the fish and chips?
Waitress (with a look of total disbelief): Really? nothing from the menu? But it is such a diverse menu. How come he doesn't want anything? (As if I were supposed to force feed him and give him no say in the matter).
Me: Well, they all seem like really yummy choices but all he fancies is fish and chips and this is a pub so you could get some for him?
Waitress (same look but with a condescending smile): Sure we have that, but wouldn't you have him choose a more healthy option like the organic varieties on the menu? All the other kids are having choices from the menu (and she looks at my son as if he were an alien with two heads)
Me (getting really annoyed now) and by now most of the eyes of the wholier than thou mothers had turned to this dialogue: That's very nice of you to suggest and usually he really likes vegetables very much, don't you mummy? (a big fat lie), but could I have the fish and chips tonight and if not then maybe I could have a word with the chef?
Waitress (not smiling anymore): Very well, I will make it fish and chips. And for dessert, the fruit salad or the chocolate fudge cake?
Me (smiling icily): The chocolate cake would be just fine thank you as he had fruit for lunch today (another big lie - but I had an audience that I couldn't let down).

So, that's how it went with minor changes the next evening. So my question is this: Why should I be put on the defensive and belittled by what my son chooses to eat on a specific day of the week? They don't live with us and see how or what we eat most of the week. They know nothing about us and if they want to sit back and convince me that their children don't put up a fuss at meal times, then all I have to say is rubbish!

Do you know that the worst Judges of women are other women? and the worst kind of women Judges are mothers. What is it about a woman that as soon as she falls into the 'mummy' category she becomes whollier than thou? This weekend I was literally told off to my face about giving bread and butter to my son. I was told off by a mother of three wild brats who mistakenly felt that she was better off than me because she had three kids (not one) who were all running wild in the restaurant but who ate their vegetables obviously. She had the audacity to make me feel uncomfortable and guilty about my son's dinner and I had the better behaved one. Give me a well rounded, well mannered kid any day and he can eat whatever.

Don't preach me what to feed my kid and I will leave you alone to do your own thing. Do we have to belittle other mothers to feel better at our own motherhood? Do we feel so dissatisfied with our roles as mothers that we try to find every possible situation to reassure ourselves that this is what we've always wanted to be and not only are we satisfied but are perfect at it? Wake up ladies, it's not a race! It's not perfect and motherhood is damn hard. You get no trophies either love, so stop trying too hard!


Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Greenwich Gazette WeekEnd Guide

Saturday 3 November, 2007

Men of Letters: Meet the writers and poets of Greenwich, with Frances Ward. £3 including light refreshments. Greenwich Heritage Centre, Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18. Call 020 8854 2452 to reserve a place.

Blackheath Fireworks Display: Come to Blackheath and enjoy the fireworks show. 0870 608 2008

The Hamsters: Follows Blackheath Fireworks. Watch London's most spectacular free firework display, then enjoy one of the UK's premier blues-rock outfits. £13 (£11.50 concs). Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road, SE3 9RQ, 020 8463 0100. www.blackheathhalls.com

Picasso & Me: The relationship between fathers and sons explored in a story about art and memory. 7:30pm. All tickets £14 + concs. Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, SE10. 020 8858 7755. www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk.

A Walk on The Dark Side: A special Halloween ghost walk. 7:30pm. £5. Pre-booking is essential. Contact Gill: 020 8244 3013. Meet at Greenwich Tourist Information Centre, Cutty Sark Gardens, SE10.

Rocket Frog: In a world filled with tap dancing rats and snoring Mexican hats, five musicians strive to play their music but the shadowy figure of the Rocket Frog is determined to cause chaos. Rocket Frog is a hilarious musical show performed by musicians from Argentina, China and UK which features authentic Argentinian dance and music, classic vaudeville gags, saxophones, flutes, accordion, euphonium and a dazzling display of percussion instruments from all over the world. Adults £7, Children £6, Greenwich Theatre, Box office: 020 8858 7755.
Aged 7-11? Fancy joining the Flying Gorillas on Stage? There are 30 places available for young aspiring Flying Gorillas to take part in a performance workshop with the company before joining them on stage for the finale of the afternoon show. Workshop begins at 1pm. Workshop & Performance ticket £12. Early booking essential.

Sunday 4 November, 2007

Turandot by Puccini: The chorus and orchestra of Midsummer Opera. 3pm. £18/£15 . Broadway Theatre, Catford Broadway, SE6. 020 8690 1000

London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally: Leaving Hyde Park from 7:01am - 8:15am and arriving in Brighton from 10:10am - 4:30pm. Cars leave in pairs for the slow drive (20mph) to Brighton.

Story Lights: National Maritime Museum, SE10. From 11am. Hear Diwali stories under the giant lighthouse 'optic', and choose a character to make into a lantern to take home in this hands-on workshop with storytelling. Suitable for all ages. 020 8858 4422