30 October, 2005

At the still point there the dance is: A productive Sunday

Today was a good day! I had a walk from home to the Thames Barrier taking some photos on the way- in all I got through two rolls of film which is a tribute to the interesting, although not conventionally beautiful riverside path.
There is a sculpture at greenwich penninsula called Slice of Reality which is a slice taken from a ship and mounted in the water. Worth a look - in fact here is a picture.
slice of reality Posted by Picasa
The Milennium Dome, which still looks rather sad and forlorn (demolish it now or do something useful with it) still has some of its attributes and I am pleased that the reed beds planted 5 yrears ago still appear to be flourishing, although they have not spread as was envisaged, and the abandoned wharves do not seem to have been colonised by wildlife as was also planned.

After the Milennium Dome, I met one of the members of South London coöp committee who was out for a walk with her husband.

The Greenwich Yacht Club is an unusual building which stands in the river.

The Thames Barrier is quite a sight to see and there is a diagram of the Thames from source to sea engraved on the concrete wall of a tunnel there.

Late in the afternoon I went to the culmination of Reap, a year long project by Cafe Gallery Projects that had been taking place in Southwark Park. A clock had been counting down the seconds over the year and it was about to end. As the clock reached zero it blew up with a puff of red smoke and set off fireworks with some very loud bangs! Eventually the smoke set off the gallery's fire alarm but there were no major problems. Afterwards there was a tour of 'the secret garden' in Southwark Park, where someone had lived, unbeknownst to the park staff, run a shebeen and bred animals. As part of Reap this secret garden had been hung with 365 dresses from Jason Perry style to ordinary day dresses. This gave the garden a spooky feel as did the workshop, aviaries and other built spaces. Other installations had been done there.

At the end of the day there was an end of Reap event in the Dilston Grove church (a derelict church at the corner of the park) where artist z'ev played music on some pieces of found metal while a lighting installation went on outside. The quote above was made in glow sticks attatched to baloons. People at the event released these into the night. I had the second 'the'!

Bramble wine and really participative arts events.

A very good day

23 October, 2005

Manchester and Salford: Coöperative Society

Been to Manchester to the Coöperative Group HQ for their half yearly meeting and Regional Board Conference. Stayed in Salford which is just across a small river in the premier travel lodge a good enough hotel.

The social aspects were very good as always with very nice lunches provided, and a formal dinner on the Saturday Evening.

Manchester clubbing not so good unfortunately with Canal Street not what it used to be- When the council takes something over it always goes downhill I'm sorry to say.

Plenty of opportunities for drinks and discussions of mutual interest with fellow coöperators though!

I even took a picture of three regional board members dressed up for halloween in the staff shop. Now there's something I couldn't be persuaded to post for love or money!

15 October, 2005

Mystery tour

Time for a few photos so went on a mystery tour round South London sorry 'sarf london'

Began at Blackheath and walked near Morden college for merchants who had lost their livelyhood (see picture) then through Woodlands Farm at Shooters Hill (the former Co-op farm) to Bostall. Then through Plumstead to Charlton House (see picture) Good but tiring day out.

10 October, 2005

Watford and Bushey- not the heart of Herts


Sometimes I think my travels are the triumph of hope over experience.


Went here to visit a pub called the Load of Hay, and walked from Watford to do it. The pub is listed as Watford but it is actually in Bushey. It is a long walk. This would not have been too bad if there had been refreshment at the end. Unfortunately the pub was closed. Looks nice from the outside though. Bushey Village is pretty

On the bus home saw some pretty villages, including Bushey Heath (complete with Welcome store) but really just went home

02 October, 2005

Eltham and Erith

I went out on Sunday to enjoy a walk along part of the South East London Green Chain with a few other bits thrown in.
Starting at Shooters Hill I walked through various parks in the heartlands of the former Royal Arsenal Coöperative Society, beginning at the former Coöperative pig farm at Woodlands farm. I walked through Oxleas and Shepherdleas woods, through Eltham Park North and South and to Eltham Palace, former home of the Courtauld family who restored the great hall into an Elstree version of a Tudor great hall.

After Eltham Palace there were some spectacular views over towards London, in particular Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome. I took some pictures as the towers looked like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz but perhaps they will not be as spectacular as that on the photo!

After a brief excursion into the tarn at Mottingham (a stretch of water that may date from the 15th Century) I walked through a small park by the railway called Fairy Hill. The Royal Blackheath Golf Club House is mentioned in my Country Houses of Kent Book as a fine example of a 17th Century mansion but alas it is ‘members only’ so I could not see it. Eventually I called in at the Coöp supermarket at New Eltham which is an old RACS branch with the date of founding the Society (1868) and the date of the branch (1931) set out in green and white tiles in the fascia. If there ever was an opening plaque I couldn’t see it but there is a sense of history where people have been trading coöperatively for over 70 years!

Back across Avery Hill Park and into a country lane near the (architectural) award winning Crown Woods School and into Riefield Road.

I must have walked down Riefield Road from Falconwood Station when as a student I came for an interview at Avery Hill College (now part of Greenwich University). I remember being impressed by the numbers of coöps in that area of South London, which must have been right at the end of the RACS, and by the front view of Crown Woods School. Earlier this year I also walked from Falconwood Station to attend a cremation. Happy days and sad days seem to attend this area.

I intended to end my journey at Falconwood Station and catch a train home but there was engineering work on the line so caught a bus into Eltham then a further one to Plumstead then another to Lewisham via Bostall woods where the RACS had their Education Centre and hotel, Shornells, and a camping site. This is now the Greenwich and Bexley Cottage Hospice.

While still having RACS thoughts and being a lot later home than I intended, I decided to go and visit the Alldays shop at Northumberland Heath on the outskirts of Erith. This is a former RACS shop that has the typical architecture of 1925, the white faience and the coöp hall above. I took a few photos on film and walked back to Erith Station. The shop hasn’t changed much in 80 years.