Monday, 28 January 2008

Volunteering In Greenwich

If you have time to spare why not think of volunteering. Here's an option to consider.

Help a Child to Read: Volunteer Reading Help - Confident children, literate for life are looking for adults to volunteer as reading helpers in primary schools within Greenwich. They provide a full training package as well as possibilities to use your experience and training with them to study further. You have to commit to a minimum of 3 hours per week during school hours and stay with them for one complete academic year. To find out more contact: Volunteer Reading Help on 020 7730 2429 and ask for an application pack or email them at:
Their website is:

Friday, 25 January 2008

Where To Eat This WeekEnd? Think Lebanese!

Bored of Pizza Express or Cafe Rouge? Would you like to go to a place that is original and would still have the kids? Then Lebanese Restaurant Momo Franks in Blackheath is the place to be.

The restaurant has only been there for the past six months and they seem to be doing mightily well for someone who has just started. This is a family run business and the food is all home-made. The recipes are a mix of superb authentic Lebanese and Middle Eastern cooking. For someone who has travelled to the Middle East fairly often and has dined in the houses of locals there I can assure you that this is the closest I have yet come across to the original thing in London. Really, it is that good.

We had made reservations in advance, something I do recommend, particularly if you are there on the week-end. The place is not big and the tables were all occupied save for our table. We were there on time and had no problems. The whole place as you walk in is very reminiscent of restaurants or bistros back in Lebanon with its rustic furniture and Hubble bubbles (Sheesha) dotted around the place. A shame with the smoking ban though is that you can't have one brought to your table (I guess you can't have everything).

We placed our order and were told that some of the items we requested were not available as they had been so busy that day and had simply run out. Of course we were disappointed but it also gave the impression that things really were freshly made. So there was some solace in the matter although for their sake I do hope that they will not be making a habit out of it. They said they had run out and it was only 3 in the afternoon and this is a place that opens well into the evening. So how they are going to cope remains questionable.

Anyway, what we did ask for and did receive was just wonderful. I highly recommend the Hommos (chickpea puree with sesame paste, tahine and lemon juice - £2.25). We also asked for the Falafel (chickpeas, parsley, garlic and cumin croquettes - £2.95). But the king of the table had to be the Magdous which was a fantastic dish of whole aubergines stuffed with walnuts and spices served cold - £2.95 (more like a pickle really) and utterly palatable. All this comes with warm pitta bread that we couldn't seem to get enough of.

For the main course we shared the kofta kebab (£6.95). A big portion of grilled kebabs, boiled rice, salad and a cucumber mint yogurt. Yummy. By the time it came to desserts we were too full and skipped that part (will review those at a later time) but the kids did enjoy a moist chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream.

On the whole this was a very pleasant experience and the food was authentic as can be. The owners were very nice and there is a homey feel to the place. Unfortunately the only aspect they need to work on much more thoroughly is the service. There was only one waitress for the whole crowded place and she was having quite a time handling it all. But we do see ourselves going there time and again as the prices were very reasonable as well.

According to their brochure, Momo Franks offers an outside catering service for office meetings and all special events. You can also book the place for special events as it caters for up to 60 people. They do a take-away and free home delivery for orders above £15.

Momo Franks
56 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath,
London, SE3 0BD
Tel: 020 8318 9997

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Greenwich Gazette's WeekEnd Guide

Saturday 26 January, 2007

Greenwich Playhouse: My Sister in This House by Wendy Kesselman. Saturday:7:30pm & Sunday 4pm.
station Forecourt, Greenwich High Road, SE10. 020 8858 9256 or

Greenwich Heritage Centre: Greenwich Heritage Centre, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18 4DX. OR 020 8854 2452
* Road, Rail & River. Transport in Greenwich from the Romans to the present day. 9am - 5pm. Talk by Chris Foord. £3. Call to reserve a place.

* Winter Collage: Get into the seasonal mood and create a winter collage. for 5-12 year olds. 10:30am.

Greenwich Printmakers Gallery (Sat & Sun): Featured Artist is Joanna Irvin. 10:30-5:30. Tel: 020 8858 1569 or

St Alfege Church: The Bliss Ensemble. Andrew Wright (director), Julia Bentham (soprano), Una Birtchnell (cello), John Human (piano). 1:10pm. Free. St. Alfege, Greenwich Church St, SE10

gDA Cabaret: Intriguing line-up of dance and performance artists. 7:30pm. £15 + concs. The Borough Hall, Royal Hill, Greenwich, SE10. Tel: 020 8293 9741

Museum in Docklands: The Legacy of the Slave Trade in Sierra Leone: Lecture by professor Tunde Zach-Williams. 3pm. Museum in Docklands, South India Quay, E14. Booking essential: 0870 444 3855

Lewisham Art House: Get Sketching: youngsters are invited to a free drawing workshop from 10:30am -12:30pm. Call 020 8244 3168 to book a place. You have to book by Friday. Lewisham Art House, Lewisham Way.

Canary Wharf: Night Watch: Take in the artistic light installation currently hanging in and around Canary Wharf. The outdoor exhibit will be taken down next week. Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf.

Blackheath Halls: Find Your Voice: Adult singing workshop. Blackheath Halls, 23 Lee Road, Blackheath. £20 for two sessions. Box Office: 020 8463 0100

Sunday 27 Jan, 2008
National Maritime Museum:
* Israel Hands: The pirate from Treasure Island tells about pirate ships. For 6 year olds. Times: 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.
* Hidden Treasure: Enjoy a special behind-the-scenes look at the beautifully illustrated Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. For 5 year olds+ Times: 2:30pm & 3:30pm.
* Dream Boat: Make a colorful boat and write your hopes and dreams on the sails. Times: 11:30am - 1:30pm & 2-4pm.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

St. Alfege Lunchtime Recitals For January

Thursday, 24 Jan 2008
Ellen le Foll (saxophone): Hanuka Shibuya (piano). 1:10pm. Free.

Saturday 26 Jan, 2008
The Bliss Ensemble: Andrew Wright (director), Julia Bentham (soprano), Una Birtchnell (cello), John Human (piano). 1:10pm. Free.

Thursday 31 Jan, 2008
Yuki Kumagi (piano). 1:10pm. Free

St Alfege Church, Greenwich Church St, SE10

Monday, 21 January 2008

An Evening With The Stars

Tomorrow, Tuesday 22 Jan is Destination Mars: An evening with the stars; a night gazing with Royal Observatory astronomers. 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm. £15. Old Royal Observatory, Greenwich, SE10.

Another Chance to Shed Pounds at Charlton House

You've still got time to banish those extra Christmas pounds. This Thursday, healthy lives for all is being held at Charlton House. Find out about healthy living, complementary and beauty therapies, exercise and new ways to have fun and feel good.

Place: Charlton House, SE7
Date: Thursday, Jan 24, 2007
Time: 6:30- 10pm
Info: 020 8856 3951

Friday, 18 January 2008

gDA: new term Drop-in Classes and Courses‏

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

Greenwich Dance Agency

presents a season of Drop-in Classes and Courses
All tickets are: £6/£4.40 concs/£5.50 Greenwich Card/Wellbeing Network except where indicated
Times: as listed
NB: there are no classes week commencing 18 February.

Drop-in Classes

Yoga (mixed ability) with Ann Ballard Every Monday until 31 March, 6.20pm to 7.50pm. This mixed ability class draws on the principles of the Scaravelli technique, which focuses on proper alignment of the spine, using the principles of gravity and breath to work gently with the body and mind.

Egyptian (beginners) with Juliana Brustik Every Tuesday until 1 April, 6pm to 7.30pm. Egyptian dance, or Raqs Sharqi (sometimes called belly dance) is a female discipline which combines a fluid spine, low centre of gravity carried by strong legwork, intricate and expressive hip and torso movement, framed by flowing relaxed or expressive arms. This class is for those wishing to learn the basics of the dance form. Juliana Brustik has been teaching and performing Egyptian dance in London since 1985 and has been delivering classes for gDA for the past ten years. Her unique teaching style is informed by a variety of body disciplines, including contemporary dance, contact improvisation, Pilates, and theatrical voice and bodywork.

Egyptian (intermediate) with Juliana Brustik Every Tuesday until 1 April, 7.30pm to 9pmThis class is for those familiar with the basics of the dance form and will focus on more advanced movements and combinations.

Contemporary (beginners) with Lyndsey McConville Every Tuesday until 1 April, 6.30pm to 7.45pmContemporary dance is a whole genre and includes many different styles. It is an energetic, sympathetic, exciting dance form that incorporates both dynamic travel and fluid movement sequences, encouraging greater use of the body's natural abilities. This class follows a structured warm up that leads into sequences exploring dynamics such as weight, suspension and rebound.

Contemporary (intermediate) with Lyndsey McConville Every Tuesday until 1 April, 8pm to 9.30pmThis intermediate level class is for those with a good grasps of the basics of contemporary dance technique and will include some more advanced movements and sequences.

Flamenco (beginners) with La Joaquina Every Wednesday until 2 April, 6.30pm to 8pm. This class introduces and develops all elements of flamenco; essentially an enjoyable class structured through rhythm. La Joaquina originally trained as a contemporary dancer and worked in London and New York. She later retrained as a flamenco dancer, and is now director with Cris Mullett, of Flamenco Express, a company of dancers and musicians touring the UK and Europe.

Flamenco (intermediate) with La Joaquina Every Wednesday until 2 April, 8pm to 9.30pm. This class introduces and develops the more advanced elements of flamenco.

Courses Cost per term:
£43.20/£34.20 concs, £40.20 Greenwich Card/Wellbeing Network - 6 weeks
£36/£28.50 concs, £33.50 Greenwich Card/Wellbeing Network - 5 weeks
£30.90/£24 concs, £27 Greenwich Card/Wellbeing Network - 6 weeks
£99/£80.40 concs, £92.60 Greenwich Card/Wellbeing Network - 12 Weeks

NB: All courses should be booked in advance; half term 18 to 22 February; gDA is closed 24 March due to bank holiday

Street Dance (general) with Sunanda Biswas and Paula Vacarey: 1st term: Mondays 7 January to 11 February, 8 to 9.30pm. 2nd term: Mondays 25 February to 31 March, 6.30 to 8pm This funky course combines elements of the main street dance styles such as poppin’, lockin’ and breakin’, and is aimed at all levels of ability.

Caribbean Dance (general) with Chrissie Adesina: Mondays 25 February to 31 March, 8 to 9.30pmThis course will teach a fusion of traditional Afro-Caribbean dance steps with contemporary dance technique, taking inspiration from reggae, raga, dinki mini and kumbala.

Tasters (beginners): Mondays 7 January to 11 February, 8.15 to 9.15pm. A great introduction for those who can't decide which style is for them, the course consists of a series of mini-workshops in different dance styles including tango, street and ballroom.

Pilates (beginners) with Jo Bingham: Wednesdays 9 January to 2 April, 6.30 to 7.45pm.
Pilates (intermediate) with Jo Bingham: Wednesdays 9 January to 2 April, 8 to 9.15pm.
Pilates is a mind-body workout suitable for all ages and abilities. It improves core stability, awareness, flexibility and strength through breathing techniques. The classes are taught in longer courses combining a warm-up with stretching and spinal articulation with postural exercises to get the body moving freely, easily and safely.

Cuban (general) with Roberto Molina: 1st term: Thursdays 10 January to 14 February, 6.30 to 8pm. 2nd term: Thursdays 28 February to 3 April, 6.30 to 8pm. Includes salsa, timba, casino, mambo, cha cha cha, son, rumba and conga. Through the study of Cuban dance you will learn to understand the different dance rhythms, to play with the rhythm, to co-ordinate physically, to improvise and interpret music through dance.

Salsa and Latin (beginners) with Jose Olivares: 1st term: Thursdays 10 January to 14 February, 6.15 to 7.15pm. 2nd term: Thursdays 28 February to 3 April, 6.15 to 7.15pm.
Salsa and Latin (intermediate) with Jose Olivares: 1st term: Thursdays 10 January to 14 February, 7.15 to 8.15pm. 2nd term: Thursdays 28 February to 3 April,7.15 to 8.15pm.
Salsa and Latin classes start with the basic knowledge of steps, partner work, routines, exercises and use of the space. Classes improve self confidence and technique as well as being a fun, sociable way to learn how to dance and create a sense of rhythm.

Tap (general) with Annette Walker: Thursdays 28 February to 3 April, 8 to 9.30pmThis course will teach you the basics of American rhythm tap, with a focus on musicality, swing and expression, with a dash of the teacher's own unique and percussive style.

Tango (general) with Pablo Alonso: Thursdays 10 January to 14 February, 8 to 9.30pm. Experience the passion of Argentine tango! Classes comprise two parts: the opening half concentrates on technique and the basic elements of the dance style; the second focuses on how to combine these elements to create tango - including communication, improvisation, rhythm and interpretation of music.

Ballroom (beginners) with Angela Parkinson: Mondays 25 February to 31 March, 8 to 9.30pm. This course provides an introduction to ballroom, and incorporates the basics of waltz, quickstep and social/rhythm foxtrot. Each class builds upon the last to create a full knowledge and understanding of the dance. Complete beginners and those with some experience are both catered for.

Urban Highs (general): Thursdays 10 January to 14 February, 8.15 to 9.30pm. A dance and development programme, led by Temujin Gill, which aims to challenge and inspire people who are interested in performance. Often fast moving and physically demanding, the course involves learning and exploring some of the key techniques and skills drawn from four different but connected dance forms: Lindy-Hop/jazz, breaking, contemporary and capoeira. Emphasis will be on swing, rhythm, beat and energy derived from the momentum and flow of movement.

Dancing Fit (general) with Edel Quinn and Shantel Ehrenberg: Thursdays 28 February to 3 April, 8.15 to 9.30pm. This fun and energetic class takes its inspiration from various popular dance forms such as street and contemporary. This forms the basis for a high intensity workout, which primarily focuses on improving stamina, flexibility and strength.

drop in classes (no booking required)
NRgDANCE hosts an exciting and varied programme of dance for the young people of Greenwich. Our classes provide participants with a strong grounding in safe dance technique alongside nurturing talent, encouraging self expression and creativity. Please note that there is no class week commencing 18 February due to half term.

0 to 2 years: 3 to 3.45pm
3 to 5 years: 4 to 4.45pm
Fridays 11 January to 5 April
Cost per session: £3.80/£2.80 concs, £3.50 Greenwich Card

6 to 7 years: 10am to 10.45am
8 to 9 years: 10.50 to 11.50am
10 to 12 years: 12noon to 1pm
Saturdays 12 January to 6 April
Cost per half term: £22.80/£16.80 concs, £18 Greenwich Card

13 to 20 years Cost per session: £2.50/£1.50 concs
Mondays 7 January to 31 March: 4 to 5.30pm at Plumstead Manor School
Saturdays 12 January to 6 April: 1.15 to 3pm at Greenwich Dance Agency

Winter Tea Dances
Saturday 26 January, Saturday 23 February, and Saturday 29 March
Tickets: £5/£4 senior citizens;
Time: 2 to 4pm
gDA invites you to enjoy a taste of days gone by with its traditional Tea Dances. The Hugh Ockendon Band will be striking up all the old favourites in the magnificent setting of the Borough Halls whilst dancers take to the floor to revive the waltz, the Cha Cha Cha and the Lambeth walk amongst others. There will be refreshments in the form of tea and cake and a chance to win something fizzy in the raffle.