Sunday, 26 December 2010

A festive Boxing Day ditty....

As I have never ever seen such a spectacular night's day of cricket, I thought a  mightily contrived Christmas song might be appropriately catchy....

On the first day at Melbourne my true love sent to me

12 balls for Watson

11 Aussies cussing

10 runs for Ponting with...

9 working fingers

8 for 77!

7 for 77!?

6 for 77!!!

5 no balls....

4 each for the swingers

3 stumps still standing

2 batting sessions

And they still couldn't knock up a ton...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Union Cycle Works

I noticed this sign back in September but the workshop, behind the Deptford Project Café, under the arches of the old horse ramp up to Deptford railway station, was closed.  Then, about a month later, Deptford Dame did this post with a link to an article about it on the East London Lines blog. 

Having recently spotted that Union Cycle Works were holding 'Open Tool' sessions on the 1st Saturday of the month, I eventually got down there to have a look around this morning.  Union Cycle Works is run as a community project that gives work skills training to disadvantaged people and, as a bonus, have started their 'Open Tool' sessions for people who don't have the room or the necessary tools at home.

I walked in as a complete stranger and got a warm welcome from Joe (though East London Lines names him as Jo Harrington) who was very happy to take the time and explain to me what they were doing and when they were doing it. 

So, if you need to get any fettling done and you don't have the room or tools at home, this might be just the place to bring your bike and, for a voluntary contribution, get a bit of advice and the use of their tools.  This place could prove to be a very useful little resource that not many people seem to know about yet.  So shush, don't tell everybody!. 

And you can also get a good meal and coffee in the railway carriage while you're at it.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Bike Buddies and Shop fronts

A short while ago somebody wrote in to the Bike Radar forum about a commuting journey into town from south east London.  They were having some doubts about doing the journey.   A handful of locals responded, offering  to accompany the person in.  We thought it would be a good idea to put up a list of people who would be able to help new or returning commuters make that mental leap from thinking wistfully about riding in while watching cyclists filter past their bus to actually doing it.

And so an online Google docs spreadsheet was born.  It's a list of experienced riders, what time and which way their route takes them, with contact details.  Nobody's pretending to be a qualified cycling instructor - it's just people who are already out and about who are happy to encourage a few more out onto the road.  Because it was first set up in south east London, a lot of the routes so far run from there into town - but there are also names from further afield and it's not restricted to any given area.  It should work the same for any regular commuting destination.

So, if you are a regular cyclist willing to give a bit of encouragement or if you are thinking about taking the plunge, have a look at the ''Cycling Buddies'' page up above.  It might be possible to rendez-vous.


It was high time I took my camera with me on the bike to take few photos.  I was up around Spitalfields and then back via Borough.

Opposite the church in Fournier Street, E1, just over Commercial Street from the market is the remains of the Market Café's frontage over the windows.

Then, just south of the market, in Crispin Street, E1, is this shop front for all those looking for notable paper bag merchants.

And, two doors away - for nut nostalgics - there's Percy Daltons (I assume they're no longer trading but maybe they're still around.)
And around the corner in Brushfield Street, E1, there are a couple of well-preserved shop fronts.  First there's A Gold's.
Which, once upon a time, was a French Milliners.  More recently they've been trading in foodstuffs though.  Once again, I'm assuming that  Little Lemon Ladies is something you eat and not what type of clientèle they serve.

Just to the left is a boundary marker which caught my eye because I've only just discovered that the old parish I live in was also called Christchurch

And immediately to the right of Gold's is another picturesque shop front, Verde's.

This is the view from around the corner - the woman behind the shop window has just realised she's being framed.  (And I've just realised my bike and red jacket are visible in the reflection - still, it's good to be visible when you're on a bike....)

From there, with my toes getting numb from the cold, I went over Southwark Bridge - on the Cycle Superhighway number 7 - to Borough.

This Monster one in Borough High Street is pretty well known - I'm just adding it to my collection.

And another one I'd never spotted before further south on the SC7.  But I can't for the life of me remember what street this wardrobe dealer - ''Wardrobes Built to any size'' - was in, nor had my toes recovered enough circulation for me to stop and try to figure out what the previous name was - just a few letters are legible in the picture.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Music pub, Kennington

I came across the Sir Robert Peel in Langdale Close, SE17 on my travels.  Not only does it do music in that after-work hiatus on a Friday night (Juanita will be performing right now, until 7:30) but above each door it has a tune, complete with music.  I've never seen that before.


 Here are the lyrics for the 2 songs.  The connections between the two seem to be a) Jimmy Roselli has recorded them both and b) they both reprise the changing of hair colour from gold to silver. 

Recorded by: Rose Marie; Ann Breen; Jimmy Rosselli;

What a friend, what a pal, only now I can see,
How you dreamed and you planned all for me,
I never knew what a mother goes through,
There's nothing that you didn't do.

Pal of my cradle days, I've needed you always.
Since I was a baby upon your knee,
You sacrificed everything for me.
I stole the gold from your hair.
I put the silver threads there,
I don't know any way I could ever repay,
Pal of my cradle days.

Greatest friend, dearest pal,
It was me who caused you
Every sorrow and heartache you knew,
Your face so fair Is wrinkled with care,
I placed every line that is there,

Repeat Chorus: End

(Douglas / McCarthy / Solieri)

Jimmy Dean - 1964
Jimmy Roselli - 1967
Sonny Knowles - 1990
Also recorded by: Joe Longthorne; Rose Marie;
Sydney Devine; David Alexander; Schmitt Bros;
Ray Anthony; Nighthawks Barbershop Quartet;
George Wallington Trio; Majella; Pat Roper;
Tony Kenny; Don Cornell.

Shades of night are falling
Bringing memories
Memories of a bygone day
Though it may be December
Though we're old and gray
To me you're still my blushing bride of May

When your old wedding ring was new
And each dream that we dreamed came true
I remember with pride how we stood side by side
What a beautiful picture you made as my bride
Even though silver crowns your hair
I can still see those gold ringlets there
Love's old flame is the same
As the day I changed your name
When your old wedding ring was new

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bicycle Quoits, Onions and various fadeds.

Bicycle quoits looks like a fun game.  Does anybody know the rules?


In the middle of this extensive cyclepath, by College Road, Dulwich, the council have thoughtfully provided a bin with a place to stub your cigarettes out.  I admit to liking the occasional roll up but I can usually cover that kind of distance without having to light up.

(On the positive side, though, it will protect you from colliding with the lamp post.)


There was even a man in a beret selling onions and garlic outside this rather busy shop in Lordship Lane today.  Wow, I thought, a genuine French Onion seller!  Well, the writing and the prices are French so he may well have come over from Brittany but that bike hasn't gone anywhere for a long time to judge by the flat tyres...shame, really, I preferred the illusion.


I spotted a few faded signs around the west end of Lordship Lane a while ago and remembered to bring my camera with me went I passed by today.  This one is on the corner with Blackwater Road.

And not far away on Pellatt Road, just off the north side of Lordship Lane, there's this one
Below, a pretty well-known one from Stepney Green on an earlier day's ride.  I've uploaded it simply because it's the best-preserved sign I know of around here.

You get to spot some strange things when you're exploring the  [snigger, snigger] back routes.  This is something I saw while I was behind [ahem!] Daren...

Friday, 1 October 2010

Where are these?

Instead of saying where these are, I wondered if anyone could pinpoint these, or work out roughly where I'd been cycling on yesterday's lovely autumn afternoon.

 Location 1: Cycle and Motor Works

 Location 2: Plumber, ''...& Hot Water Engineer, Carpenter, Decorating...'' and ''The House Shop and ...''
(all three taken from the same spot)
 Location 3:  ''Sharon''
Location 4: ''John Campion, Merchant Tailor, Hosiery and Boys Outfitter''
                    ''Broadway House, for Clothing Hosiery Hats, Boys Outfitting''

Monday, 27 September 2010

Serving red herrings since 1770

This seems to be a local Greenwich speciality - backdating heritage.

The new fish and chip shop on the one-way system in Greenwich has only been open for months at most.  And yet they claim to have been serving fish since 1770.

No they haven't!  ''Established 2010'' has less of a ring about it though.  I wonder where they got the idea....

Established 2009, I believe.  They do do a beer that might taste like a beer would have done when there actually was a brewery nearby but I might as well claim to have be living in an Anglo-Saxon house because there might have been Anglo-Saxons around on the same site as where I live.


Anyhow, here's a house martin's nest under the eaves of a Greenwich South Street house

This nest was established shortly after the last ice age.  Fact!


And here's a photo of the film props in the Old Naval College.  I'm only posting it because security tried to stop me taking photos.  I'm not sure how you can privatise sight in a tourist centre.  Perhaps it's been like that since 1717.  Or was it 1770?

But I suppose if you're not allowed to take photos, it makes this a pirated image, which seems perfectly appropriate under the circumstances.

This Creek Road tree's determination not to give up has long been a sort of encouragement for me.  But I noticed today that despite its regrowth, it might not be long for this world as the bark has dropped and the wood underneath is rotten.  Because it's been like a personal symbol for me, I found this saddening.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Partially Entire.

So it was off for a ride around Walworth for the last day of summer - which, given the band of rain descending on us from the north-west, could well turn out to truly feel like the last day of summer.  Trawling around the side roads, I came across this in John Ruskin Street, SE17.
As I was taking the photo, a chap on one of those electric wheelchairs came gliding past and said ''That used to be a good pub.''  ''Did it have its own courtyard?'' I asked and he said, ''Yes, but it's all 'Mews' now.''   Its sign has been well-preserved but looks strangely incongruous in what is longish continuously-terraced street.  But it may have been the length of the terrace that explains the courtyard - apparently it also served as a passageway to the next street, Grosvenor Terrace.  One of those short cuts that may have taken longer than planned on a hot day perhaps. 

And it strikes me as a strange name for a pub, The Entire. 

Here's the sign in more detail, showing the mosaic:

Around the corner, in Iliffe Street, I came across this attractive shop front.
And back on the Walworth Road, at the  junction with Fielding Street, here's a genuinely faded sign.  I can make out ''BANKS'' at the top and ''AND FANCY GOODS'' at the bottom.  I'll leave the rest for you to work out...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

While we're remembering the Blitz...

It seemed very timely to come across an air-raid shelter sign on the 70th anniversary of the Blitz.

This is a Home and Colonial faded sign with a darker Shelter sign below it, on Dartmouth Road, just a few yards up the hill from Forest Hill train station.

Above the H & C, ...NIAL is all that's still clearly visible.  Below the H & C are the words ''VALUE, ECONOMY, and QUALITY.  As usual, I was on my bike, I was pleased to find a bicycle reference on the Home and Colonial Wikipedia entry.  John Betjeman's poem Myfanwy contains these lines

Smooth down the Avenue glitters the bicycle,
Black-stockinged legs under navy blue serge,
Home and Colonial, StarInternational,
Balancing bicycle leant on the verge.

I missed the black stockings though.

There are a few more faded signs around that part of Dartmouth Road.

The middle one is pretty well faded, but by tweaking the image in Paint.NET (I love free software!) I came up with something a bit more legible.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The good and the bad.

Yesterday at 8:36am I realised an ambition that has quietly been growing for a number of months...I am now a cycling grandfather!  A quick ride up to Sidcup and voilà! (Mother, father and granddaughter are all exhausted but fine.)


And at pretty much the same time this morning, a cyclist ended up under the wheels of a rush-hour construction HGV at the junction of Deptford Bridge and Deptford Church Street.

Mercifully, it was not a fatality.  The woman was admitted to hospital with ''leg injuries'' - I couldn't get any more information out of the WPC I spoke to.  There's a lethal combination that repeats itself: London, drag-sweeps, construction lorries in rush-hour traffic and a disproportionate number of women cyclists. 

No one is ever in such a rush to get there - stay behind.  Always.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Bike piranhas

I noticed this bike a couple of days ago.  Almost new, it had been securely locked up outside the A4E offices on the corner of Greenwich High Road and Norman Road.  You occasionally see a missing front wheel on a locked-up bike, especially when it's got a quick-release front wheel.  But this is an entirely different kettle of fish - they didn't come tooled up to break the lock and steal the bike, instead they must have come tooled up for bicycle dismantling.

Front wheel, check.  Forks, check.  Handlebars, check....crank, pedals, saddle and stem, entire brake system (bar the disk on the remaining rear wheel) , entire chainset (bar the remaining cassette)

There are a few scratches on the frame but I suspect the bike was virtually new - it's still got a 54cm frame-size sticker on it - and the thieves damaged it while they were speed-stripping it.  They didn't touch the lock though - it must be indigestible to bike piranhas. 

The saddest part of this - well, apart from how the owner must have felt when he first saw what they'd done to it  - is that the thief, once upon a time, must have been a cyclist to be carrying and using the necessary tools.  So it's treason.  A hybrid and a low-bred.

Anyhow, even if you have a decent lock, be very careful about leaving your bike overnight in Greenwich.