In case you missed it (and if you live in Greenwich I’m not sure how you could!) here’s a clip of the helicopter landing on HMS illustrious during the festivities for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic festivities.
Not normally a great fan of the One Show, but it was amazing to get home and switch on the telly to see a live broadcast from just down the road. I beat a hasty turnaround and rushed straight out again to watch the festivities unfold on HMS Illustrious from just across the water at Millennium Quay.
We couldn’t hear the band from that distance, but it was great to see the assorted Naval personnel assembled in their uniforms and I still held out hope of catching a glimpse of Eddie Izzard, who the One Show had hauled in for some unknown reason!
Watching a replay later, the tv crew were as surprised as we were when a helicopter buzzed into view and it became apparent it wanted to land. It swooped down and hovered frighteningly close to the large military formation, band and tv paraphernalia and I later learned this was to check that the area was free of debris prior to landing. We didn’t see the landing as our angle wasn’t quite right but it was completely thrilling nonetheless, perhaps even more so as once the helicopter went out of sight we weren’t quite sure what had happened to it.
Never a boring day in Greenwich!
Motorcyclists out in force at Blackheath tea hut!
We’d heard good things about The Hill restaurant in Greenwich (mainly from a prolific local tweeter who we suspect may work there however!). So, after an afternoon on an (unrelated) graffiti cleanup we went for dinner one Saturday. After tottering about in heels for a while (me that is, not the Boy) The Hill was a welcome sight on the corner.
The atmosphere was buzzing and it was good that they had an excellent pianist on hand to sooth the vibe, otherwise the chatter may have been overwhelming.
We hadn’t booked, but managed to squeeze onto the last table left which was already furnished with olives. We waited a little while before anyone came over to take our order but we chose to overlook this - they were pretty busy. After ordering we were given a delicious complimentary basket of warm breads so it didn’t matter too much that my starter took a while to arrive. My Caprese Salad was fresh and tasty and also rather large, which I wasn’t expecting. All good so far.
And then we waited. And waited. And…there was a “smash!” from the kitchen. Hmmm. Hope that wasn’t my dinner. Then the manager came over, incredibly polite and apologetic, and explained there had been a mix-up and our meals would be just a little longer. He offered us a complimentary drink each, which was a lovely gesture and was so nice about it we honestly didn’t mind.
I went for the Medallones al Champignon - Fillet medallions of Argentine beef and mushrooms in a red wine sauce. They were definitely worth the wait, absolutely DELICIOUS. I could have just kept on eating (and the portion wasn’t small!). I can’t remember what my other half had, I think it might have been steak, but I can remember that I stole some of that as well!
The only slight disappointment was the Ladies. Not a big deal - they were perfectly clean - but compared to the lovely decor in the restaurant they were surprisingly outdated and tatty. So, bar the odd mishap in ordering and if you gave the ladies a lick of paint, it truly would be a top-class restaurant. Highly Recommended.
It’s the end of The World!
Or, more accurately, the stern of a pretty large boat with a pretentious name. I hadn’t realised when I saw her, but The World is technically the largest “privately owned yacht” on the planet, at a whopping 644 ft. Each of the cabins are private aparartments, in which the lucky residents sail at a leisurely pace around the world.
It was an incredible sight, and I first caught a glimpse of it through a gap in the New Capital Quay development. I then wandered round on the Milennium Quay promontory and down towards the AHOY centre, to take the shot with the old pier in the foreground and the domes of the naval college just behind the ship.
The scheme is run by Greenwich Council and is open to anyone - you just need an interest in keeping the local environment beautiful. And when living in a place as lovely as Greenwich, it’s difficult not to have an interest in that!
The council are sending me litter picking equipment, so I can organise my own litter pick, but in the meantime I’m going to a graffiti cleanup on Saturday. The council provide cleaning materials and lead the project, we just need to turn up in “clothes we can get dirty” and comfortable shoes. We’ll be walking about outside for a couple of hours so bring a woolly jumper.
I’m hoping it will be a great way to clean up a few of the more unsightly areas, get out in the fresh air and meet some lovely local people.
Fancy joining us?
We’re meeting at 10.30am, Saturday April 20th at Cutty Sark Gardens. And if all that hasn’t persuaded you, I’ll probably be dragging people to the pub for beers afterwards, so get involved!
You can email the organisers on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to RSVP (although I’m sure you’re welcome to just turn up, too!)
Hopefully see you there :)
As with a lot of good things that have happened to me in the last year - it started on Twitter. Yesterday I saw a tweet about an event run by ‘Greenwich Skeptics in The Pub’ (@Greenwich_Sitp). Three things appealed to me about this - Greenwich (obviously), Skeptics (whilst it would be easier to believe things unquestioningly, it’s pretty difficult sometimes) and…Pub. SOLD!
Arriving at the Star and Garter at 7.35 I was late and unsure what to expect. A regular barred the door and seeing my somewhat apprehensive expression, assumed I was here for, in his words, “the…thing”. He gestured to another door. The function area was full to the brim and I stood at the back until eventually settling on the floor at the front a few minutes in.
The talk was on Hypnosis, which amongst a crowd of self-confessed skeptics, was always going to be a tough gig and Martin Taylor rose to the challenge fantastically. I must admit, having read the billing and realised he was a stage hypnotist by profession I thought maybe he was just going to attempt to convince us all and fail miserably (yes, I enjoy a bit of shadenfreude like the rest of you). But the talk was well balanced and actually challenged the idea that hypnotism as it is commonly perceived, exists in any meaningful sense.
Yes, there may be a way to encourage the mind to enter an ‘alternate state’ but attaining that state is a mixture of suggestion, peer pressure and even shame or fear, rather than magic, and the only tangible recorded benefits of this heightened state are an increased ability to withstand pain. Not the physical damage done by whatever is causing the pain, I should add, just the physical sensation of pain. As pain is an important indicator of any harm the body is experiencing perhaps this ‘mind over matter’ state is not all that useful…
Except for entertainment purposes, that is, and entertained we were. Highly engaging, with a Q&A and practical examples throughout, I would recommend Martin’s talk to anyone, even a room full of skeptics like us (if you know any intelligent yet contrary teenagers, he’s your man!).
I later learned that this was the inaugural ‘Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub’ event and I look forward to furrowing my brow critically (while imbibing gently) at many more! Further information can be found on their blog.
After nearly a year living near the bridge over Deptford Creek, I had never seen it open until the other night. Here it is!
When living in Greenwich it’s surprisingly easy to neglect the big tourist destinations in favour of the myraid of fantastic smaller local venues, but every so often a major exhibition or event comes to Greenwich that it’d be a shame to miss.
Having said that, I’m embarassed to say that it’s taken me nearly 4 months to get round to seeing Ansel Adams at the National Maritime Museum - shocking behaviour! The £7 ticket price is certainly reasonable, so I have no excuse (unlike the rather extortionate fee needed to look around the Cutty Sark…).
I’ve not seen any of his work before and it was a really comprehensive collection so I definitely have a better feel for Adams’s work. I think what I really took away from the exhibition though (apart from being inspired to do more with my own under-used camera) was how we forget that photography is such a recent art form.
What makes his work impressive now is not the subject matter (anyone with access to such breathtaking views and modern technology can produce impressive images) but that many of his images were taken on the earliest commonly available camera - a box brownie, that he had learned to use at a really young age.
I weas struck by a couple of huge prints hanging on the wall, produced by Ansel Adams for a bank. This wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary nowadays with modern printing techniques, but Adams pioneered this form, by projecting onto the largest sheets of printing paper available and placing them together.
With the abundance of incredible ways we can now capture the world around us, we forget that in the past this took great skill and determination, rather than simply snapping on a cameraphone and applying a filter. It’s Ansel Adams’ dedication and passion for the art form that really comes through in the exhibition and I would definitely recommend going to experience that yourself.
Vietnam Oriental - 17 King William Walk
On Saturday night I had a really strong craving for Dim Sum, and a quick Google search for ‘Dim Sum Greenwich’ brought up reviews for Vietnam Oriental.
We’d walked past the restaurant a few times on our way up the hill but never been in, so I was keen to try it out. The interior is nicely decorated near the bar area with chinese lanterns and the atmosphere was lively with about 40 people dining.
We waited quite a while to be asked for our orders, (worrying as we were off to Greenwich Picturehouse afterwards) but the service was polite and friendly. I ordered a passion fruit cocktail (above) which was delicious and we both ordered a set menu. Disappointingly there didn’t seem to be Dim Sum on offer (other than a small starter selection), nor did the menu seem overhwelmingly Vietnamese, but the set menu looked filling and not bad value at £20 per person for three courses.
The menu started with satay skewers, prawn toast, ribs and vegetarian spring rolls, with an excellent sweet and sour dip. Next was a very generous portion of duck to fill the pancakes with, but we had to decline the nice offer of more pancakes as time was pushing on!
Finally we were treated to an array of stir fried veg, sizzling beef in black bean sauce (plenty of fried onions!), stir fried chicken, and incredibly tender and gently fried fish in sweet and sour sauce, all accompanied with special fried rice.
The only thing that slightly spoiled the experience was the ‘leisurely’ pace of the service - but in fairness perhaps we shouldn’t have ordered three courses when we needed to be at the cinema, so I’m not going to let it put me off. The staff seemed surprised we didn’t want to take more time over the meal, so we’ll ensure we have a long cear evening ahead next time we visit!
With all the fuss about a Bridge between the New Capital Quay development and the Greenwich Reach area (which I haven’t blogged about as am not really fussed either way!) new developments on a little bridge further down are being overlooked.
In her blog the Deptford Dame claims there’s been a new planning application for the footbridge which would cross Deptford Creek just behind the Laban dance centre. The initial proposals were made way back in 2008, so it’s interesting that this has resurfaced, now the Creekside development is finished but with only a couple of retail units sold.
As far as I am aware this footbridge’s planning permission is linked to that for a much larger structure (rumours have said as large as 20 storeys) to form an Eastern part of the Creekside development. Perhaps it’s a you-want-one, you’ll-have-to-take-the-other bargain, as a footbridge would be beneficial to local residents, shortening the distance to the station, but a 20 storey block may not be.
Foot traffic to the plaza outside Greenwich Creekside might increase (deterring those pesky skaters!) and hopefully helping the independent businesses that are currently there - Meridian Fitness and Lolli-tots nursery.
Another interesting fact uncovered by Deptford Dame is that the bridge appears to have a tilt and twist mechanism. I understand that the Creek needs to be accessed by boats for light industry (although I’ve never seen one as far up as the proposed footbridge) but this does seem to complicate things somewhat.
Maintenance costs for the proposed ‘tilt and twist’ creation are said to be 10-12k per annum, and operation costs a whopping 25k. The total build budget is 2.2 million, exluding an extra 370k to build a pier for the end of it to ‘land’ on! Seems a little extravagant where a more simpler structure might suffice, but I’ve never built a bridge so who am I to judge.
You can read more on the application on the Greenwich Council planning website here.