Monday, 22 August 2016

IT'S THE THAMESMEAD GRUMP

WOT DID IT!



After the exposure I gave to the deplorable state of Crossway in Thamesmead in my blog of 28th July, Greenwich Council has finally been shamed into clearing all the obstructive undergrowth along the pavement between North Thamesmead and the Town Centre.


It's now no longer necessary to walk in the road if you want to reach the roundabout.


They still haven't cleared the cycle path though. Still, it's only been like this for 3 years so there is still time.


You can't get up here with a pram or a wheelchair either. You have to cross the road at the top by the mini roundabout and hope that a bus isn't coming round the corner as you step out blindly in the road.


Friday, 19 August 2016

THE RIDGEWAY

Along with what appears to be every other blogger in the area, I received an email from someone called Uy Hoang asking me to publicise his new Facebook page dedicated to a local feature called The Ridgeway. I'm always happy to support anyone who is as passionate about something as Uy obviously is, so, grabbing my trusty camera, I set of to take some pictures to accompany this article.

For anyone who doesn't know, the Ridgeway we are talking about is not the National Trail between Avebury, Wiltshire and Ivinghoe in Bucks. This Ridgeway is the footpath running along the top of the embankment covering the sewer built by Joseph Bazalgette which ends at the Crossness Pumping Station on the Erith marshes.

I was aware of it and even walked along it a couple of times a few years ago. Then it was something of a challenge as it was mostly overgrown; now it seems to have had something of a facelift. Greenwich Council have made a number of improvements to their side of the path and Bexley are promising to so something similar having been promised a large cash donation from Thames Water and Peabody.

The Ridgeway Path itself actually begins on the Thames Path and is entered through a gate between the Pumping Station and the old golf course. For a long time this was overgrown and virtually impassable but some improvement work has been done lately by Tilfen who own the land.


Entrance to the Ridgeway Path. The Crossness Pumping Station is on the left with the golf course on the right.


The narrow path down to the golf course. Up to a few months ago, you would be lucky to get through here as it was completely overgrown.


Further along the path.


Don't play in the water, Blue-Green Algae is highly toxic. Dogs should not be allowed into the water as it can make them very ill or even kill them. This is not just the case on the Ridgeway Path, there are reports of dogs becoming ill after going into the water on the Crossness Nature reserve.


The path finally opens up into the old abandoned golf course.


Looking back North across the golf course. There are provisional plans from Peabody to convert this area into a sports and leisure centre. If this is the case, they need to crack on soon. This is ideal nesting ground for Skylarks (I'm surprised they are not there already), if they do start nesting, Peabody will have a hard time getting permission to develop the site.


Once you are past the golf course, you are approaching the actual Ridgeway itself by passing under the Spine Road flyover.


Another entrance to the Ridgeway is via Crossway Park. This area is not at all inviting; strewn with uncollected litter, covered in graffiti and badly vandalised.


Once you are through the gate, or if you are coming from the golf course, this is not a pleasant place to be. Dark, dingy, covered in fly tipped litter and smelling of wee. An ideal place for some of that redevelopment money to be spent.


Fortunately, once through, you are finally walking up the ramp onto the path.



At the top you have the option of turning left or right. I wouldn't bother with the left hand option as this is what you will meet after about 50 yards. Okay for Limbo dancers I suppose. You could slide down the side of the embankment and up the other side if you feel so inclined but I wouldn't bother. The ridge only goes on for a few hundred yards before stopping at the gates of Crossness Sewage Treatment Works.


View looking West along the Ridgeway and down towards the Southmere Park entrance.


Entrance to the Ridgeway from the Northern end of Southmere Park in Belvedere Road. I'm not sure you would be able to get a wheelchair through that gate in case you were thinking of trying.


West along the Ridgeway Path.


A glimpse of Southmere Lake and beyond through the trees.


Some construction work going on.


Approaching the footbridge over the Spine Road. As we get nearer to areas used more by the public, it gets dirtier and more vandalised. Features here include discarded fast food containers and a soiled nappy.


Looking back East.


There is more room here than first appears. Even a tall person should be able to pass through without ducking.


Leaf sculpture.


Facing the Greenwich side of the path at the Southern end of the footbridge.


I'm not sure you would get a wheelchair through here either. People were struggling with their bikes and it would certainly stop anyone with a double buggy.


Once you are on the Greenwich side of the path, you can see where the improvements have been made. The path itself is much wider and has been given a hard surface. This is the bit which runs alongside Sewell Road in Abbey Wood.




Ramp down to Sewell Road on the left and Nathan Way on the right.


Looking East. The Plumstead transmitter on the right.


Passing under White Hart Avenue.


At this point, you can turn sharp left and use what looks like a little used path out to White Hart Avenue.


Entrance to the Ridgeway via White Hart Avenue. This entrance isn't signposted, you have to guess.


Back on the main path and heading towards Plumstead.


View out across Plumstead towards Shooters Hill.


Crossrail construction outside Plumstead railway Station.


Approaching the end of the path by the one way system at Plumstead Bus garage. As before, as we get closer to "civilisation" the vandalism gets worse.


Looking back East where the path runs down to the end of Nathan Way.


Nathan Way entrance to the Ridgeway. It is signposted but someone planted a tree in front of the sign.

There is some discussion about extending the footpath into Woolwich but I'm not sure how you would cross the main road. We shall see.


JUST THE TICKET

Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, has been arrested in Brazil where it is alleged that he was involved in a scheme to sell tickets for higher than their face value.

Erm..............................


This is the scene in the main stadium during the opening ceremony. Given that the Olympic organisers don't seem to be able to even give them away, you wonder why he would ever think he could sell them at higher than their face value.

I wonder if this is some sort of Irish joke, if it isn't, then it ought to be. "Have you heard the one about the Irishman and the Olympic tickets?"


BONEHEAD STRIKES AGAIN

What would I do without my old mate Joshua Bonehill-Paine? This blog wouldn't have anything like as many posts for a start. He does for me what Bexley Council does for Malcolm Knight although to be fair, not so often; but when he does, it's usually a corker.

The hero of the British people and "Rising star of the Right" is up before the beak again, this time charged with posting abusive articles about Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger

It's claimed that he used his news blog "The Daily Bale" to publish five racially aggravated articles about the MP between October 2014 and January 2015. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 


The trial doesn't start until 5th December so we will have to wait till then to find out if he is either denying that he wrote the articles attributed to him or whether articles such as the one entitled "The Legacy of Operation Filthy Jew Bitch" don't constitute racial harassment. I can't wait.




Sunday, 7 August 2016

WE'RE DOOMED:

ALTERNATIVE 3


Trawling through the web looking for something new to read, I happened upon this. It's the novelisation of a documentary made for April Fools day by the ITV company Anglia Television and broadcast in 1977.

Their documentary series, "Science Report" was in the process of being cancelled and the producers decided that, for their last episode, they would make a spoof programme as an April Fools prank.

The programme starts out as an investigation into the disappearance of a number of prominent scientists but quickly develops into the discovery of a huge conspiracy involving both the American and Soviet Union Governments who have discovered in the early 1960s that the Earth is doomed and are trying to save a small population in order that mankind can escape the impending destruction.

A secret meeting of experts had suggested three alternatives to save the human race. The first, 'Alternative 1' was to drastically reduce the population of the planet. The second, 'Alternative 2' was to build giant underground shelters for a select few while the rest of us died out. 'Alternative 3' was to build a colony on Mars and populate it will specially chosen people.

As the story developed, it became clear the all these disappearing scientists had in fact been co-opted onto the 'Alternative 3' project. Eventually, we are shown what appears to be a stolen video of a joint American/Russian unmanned probe landing on the surface of Mars in 1962. 

Just to add spice to the whole thing, the first thing the probe discovers on landing is something that appears to be scuttling around under the surface of the sand just in front of the camera: Life on Mars.

This was going to be broadcast as if it were a real event, presumably as a homage the the Orson Welles broadcast of "War of the Worlds" on American radio. While it didn't produce quite the state of panic as the Orson Welles broadcast (we are British after all), it still managed to cause much anxiety to those who were too impatient to wait for the end credits which listed the names of the actors playing the characters in the film.

To be fair to those taken in, the programme was presented by Tim Brinton, a respected broadcaster, later to become a Conservative MP, who had been presenting all the earlier episodes of the series. Also, because of a strike by technicians at the studio (this was the 1970s, everyone was on strike then), the programme didn't actually go on air until 20th June so no-one would have got the April Fools connection. 

There were however, a number of well known faces that viewers should have been able to recognise. Richard Marner who played Dr. Gernstein (one of the principal characters in the hoax story) was well know to British TV audiences as the bungling German Colonel Kurt von Strohm in the BBC comedy series "'Allo 'Allo! 

In any case, I remember the episode, even though I had completely forgotten about it till now, as being very cleverly made and for me anyway, completely spoiled at the end when they show the lander on the surface of Mars. 

As soon as the mysterious life form is spotted, the camera immediately zooms in on it and then pans across as it moves. This would be impossible; it takes at least 20 minutes for a radio signal to get to Mars from Earth which is why all Mars landers are controlled by on-board computers and why it is so fiendishly difficult to make a soft landing on the planet.

Anyone trying to control a remote camera on Mars would have to wait 20 minutes for the signal to get the camera to move, then wait another 20 minutes for the image to be returned.

What I did find while researching this piece is that there is a fair bit about 'Alternative 3' on the web, including a number of people claiming that the story is true and that the programme was put out as a hoax in order to fool the public in case the real story ever got out. There is one example here if you care to read it. 

They claim that the programme was banned, it never was; they also claim that all copies of the programme were destroyed, they weren't. You can watch the whole episode below; or you could even buy the DVD these people say doesn't exist.

Some people 'eh!



Friday, 5 August 2016

I couldn't find anything to illustrate this item with
so here is something for you to think about instead

OFF THEY GO!


One of the fundamental safeguards of democracy is that politicians can be held accountable for their actions by the people whose lives are affected by them. What this means is, if you are unhappy about the way your elected representative is doing things, you can replace them with someone else. I mean, it's not like there's a shortage or anything; you can always get more politicians.

This is one of the reasons I am particularly unhappy about the way the British Parliament works now. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs can vote on issues that do not affect any of their own constituents because they are dealt with by their own Parliaments or Assemblies.

A few years ago, this resulted in Scottish Labour MPs voting to treble university tuition fees for English students when the Scottish Parliament had just voted to abolish them for Scottish students. They did a similar thing with prescription charges. They could support these deeply unpopular moves in the certain knowledge that none of their own constituents would be affected. Scottish SNP and Lib Dem MPs were doing the same thing as well.

As far as local politics is concerned, you can not only remove the offending politician, but as they live in the same Borough as you, they will be as affected by what they do as the rest of us. 

In order to stand as a local councillor, you have to be able to show some residential or commercial connection with the borough in which you are standing. There are 4 criteria but the most commonly used is the one in which you have to show that you have lived, either as a homeowner or tenant in the borough and have lived in the borough for at least 1 year prior to your nomination. You can read the whole of the rules about standing for election here.

For some reason, once you have met this requirement, there is nothing in the rules to say you cannot move out again immediately, which some councillors actually do. Some move away to live with their mistress; some, because of a new job;  or to run their pub

One has to ask, why bother establishing a link with the local area to qualify to stand for election when you don't need to have one to represent it?

Don (Cray Meadows) and Sharon (Danson Ward) Massey don't give any reason why they have moved to Rochester. Perhaps it's because they don't like living here any more now that they have sold off all our parks to property developers, there is no-where to park any more and rubbish collects in piles all over the borough now they have cut refuse collection to the bone.

Whatever the reason, I wish them well in their new surroundings and let's hope their next door neighbours don't have any noisy parties.

p.s. I wonder how much they will be claiming in travel expenses from Rochester to attend Bexley council meetings.


SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER.


I've always been a bookworm. TV programmes pass me by unnoticed, often leaving me at a total loss when, on a few occasions when I do watch, I tune in to some celebrity version of something and don't have a clue who any of the "celebrities" are. 

As a child, I was a huge fan of anything scientific and science fiction was my genre of choice. I did a blog entry about just this a while back if I recall. I never lost my enthusiasm for it in adulthood and I readily progressed from the children's authors to the adult ones with ease.

Just recently, I discovered a collection of some of my teenage favourites including the famous "Foundation" series by Isaac Asimov.

They do say you should never go back. I was shocked while re-reading these stories that I haven't looked at for many years just how parochial they are. The characters, locations and situations they find themselves in could come straight out of any American mid-West town of the 1950s when the stories were written; they even have a fat, cigar chomping Mayor. Women, when they do appear are the Wives of politicians, the Wives of scientists, the Wives of whatever. Sometimes they have female secretaries but none of them are married. The idea that any of them might be politicians, scientists or whatever in their own right doesn't enter his head.

Looking for readable sci-fi nowadays presents it's own challenge. I've given up on bookshops; all you seem to find is "The Legends of Kroggor" type novel and although there are 38 volumes in the series, they only stock volumes 3,7,11,17 and 35. If you ask the staff where all the missing volumes are, they look at you as if you are mad.

It's either that or shelves and shelves full of novels by someone called Terry Goodkind, whoever he is.

I recently subscribed to a service called Kindle Unlimited. For a set fee of £7.99 a month, you have unrestricted access to around 700,000 books; more than enough for me and I'm a fast reader. It does give me a problem though when trawling through this huge library, about what to choose to read.

Sci-fi is not too difficult. Eliminate anything that has the word "Vampire" in the title removes around 30% of the list; including the words "Werewolf" and "Zombie" takes care of around another 20%.

I also include in the above list any book cover that features a muscly, bare chested man with his trousers undone; you would be surprised just how many of those there are. There are even some with muscly young men and "Vampire" in the title.

I don't have any idea what the stories are about, I'm too nervous to look.




Monday, 1 August 2016

JOSHUA BONEHILL-PAINE

AN APOLOGY


The Thamesmead Grump has made several references to that great defender of freedom, Yeovil's answer to Nelson Mandella, Joshua Bonehill-Paine. I've suggested in the past that his claim to have an army of supporters was nothing but the product of his fevered imagination and that he was, in fact, a sad self-deluded misfit with a power base of precisely none.

I have been proven wrong. He does have supporters, or at least, a supporter and here he is. Introducing John Nimmo. John has not been idle while poor Joshua is banged up in the nick and has been making sure that the world knows that he will carry on the fight to defend the British Isles by sending obscene messages to female MPs. Especially female MPs whose complaints against Josua resulted in his present incarceration. 

For those of you with short memories, here are some of the heroic things that Joshua Bonehill-Paine has done and which have eventually resulted in the authorities getting him sent to prison.

Without Joshua Bonehill-Paine we would never have known about poor Amy Hamilton, the young child kidnapped from a shopping centre in Croydon. It was only Joshua and the thousands of Facebook users who shared his story that her plight became known when no news media outlet, or even the Police, mentioned it at all.

And who can forget his courageous defence of British military personnel who had been denied access to the Globe pub in Leicester in case it offended immigrants. This resulted in him being sentenced to a 2 year community order plus other penalties by a Judge obviously under orders from MI5 to shut him up. Again, it was only Facebook users who knew the story to be true (otherwise, why would it be on Facebook?) and shared it by their thousands that most of us found out about it.

He was the only person to warn us about the Ebola infected fruit being sold by Tesco. He was the only person to warn us about how bodies were going to be dug up at a Churchyard in Wiltshire so the Church could be used as a Mosque. The list goes on.

Anyway, when Joshua is released from prison, he is going to stand for election in Yeovil, remove the current MP, Marcus Fysh, (he must be a Tory, or his name would be spelt Fish) and turn the town, and eventually the whole country, into a rural utopia. 

"In Yeovil, we shall ignite the fire 
and then watch as it spreads across 
these lands 
in full and awesome glory" 
(J Bonehill-Paine 2016)