The Phantom’s Official 5th Birthday

I’ve only just realised this morning – it’s my ‘official’ birthday. This version of the blog is five years old today. Blimey.

I actually started it five and a half years ago, thinking it would last a few months. But a quick check tells me this is my 2,192nd post – I don’t even want to think about what I could have done with all that time – but hey – who does anything useful with before-work time?

In some ways Greenwich has changed hugely in just five years. Restaurants and shops have come and gone (the photo is actually of a cupcake I bought for my first birthday, from Daisy Bakes in Turnpin Lane, long-gone online…)

We’ve lost (or are about to lose) things – historical buildings, markets and some of the town’s real characters. Hell – we nearly lost a tea clipper.

We’ve gained things – a museum, a Picturehouse, a dwarf orchard, a new/old brewery, the O2, Royal status. David Herbert even finally managed to reopen his magic bookshop.

In other ways it’s exactly the same. The massive hole that was to be the Heart of East Greenwich is still a massive hole. The ten-yearly discussion about pedestrianising the town centre crawled out of the woodworks and crawled back again. The Thames Path is still incomplete, and it’s still a lottery as to which bit of it’s closed any given month (though of course the Lovell’s Wharf bit is a given…)

Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been online. When I first started out there were very few people talking about local stuff (salutes to, among others, Darryl, Transpontine, the Brockleys and, of course, IanVisits, who’s about the same blog-age as me if memory serves and who counts even if he is north of the river…) Now South East London has, according to one tweet I read the other day, ‘more blogs than people.’

And I welcome it. There are more opinions, more discussions, more scrutiny. We all have our own little bees in our own little bonnets about things as diverse as local politics, events and history, which means that there’s always someone somewhere talking about things going on. Five years ago there’s no way the National Maritime Museum would be holding a special ‘bloggers’ preview’. Of course I can’t go – the paper bag really gets in the way of viewing the objects – but hey – there are enough of us to make it worth their while – at last we are important enough to ask to the party (and I do like to be asked… so thanks, NMM.)

So today I salute the myriad South East London bloggers out there (I’m not going to name you all as I’m bound to forget someone and get all embarrassed) thank the splendid Phantom Webmaster – tech-specialist, private investigator, and simmering rock star – who has never got (openly) irritated by my technical ineptitude  - and…

…yes – the most important people of all – the people who actually read this thing. I didn’t expect to get any readers five and a half years ago – I started it as an aide-memoire for myself – and was actually rather surprised to find people commenting.

But I doubt I’d still be doing it without you.

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33 Comments to “The Phantom’s Official 5th Birthday”

  1. Michael says:

    Happy Birthday!

  2. John says:

    Happy Birthday To You (cha cha cha)
    Happy Birthday To You (cha cha cha)
    Happy Birthday Dear Phan-tom
    Happy Birthday To You
    … and many more (jazz hands)

  3. miffee says:

    Many Happys, you keep me in touch with my much loved home town. Hope to visit very soon.

  4. Capability Bowes says:

    Phant, we collectively doff our tricorn hats to you.

  5. Congratulations Phantom. Keep up the good work!

  6. Paul says:

    phant, in those five years you haven’t aged one bit!

  7. Ebspig says:

    And Many Happy Returns! Here’s to the next five…ten….twenty….

  8. Franklin says:

    A Very Happy Birthday Phantom! And here’s to the next five years! *pops cork*

  9. Happy Birthday!!!! Rest assured you have many many readers! :D I’m always surprised when I mention something and the other person says “oh yes I saw that on the Greenwich Phantom”. Yay! *sets off confetti cannon*

  10. Old China says:

    Happy Birthday, oh insubstantial one!

  11. scared of chives says:

    Happy birthday TGP!!

    Do do do
    Come on and do the conga
    Do-do-do. It’s conga night for sure

    It’s conga It’s conga night so join the party everyone.
    The night has just begun.
    And we’re all having fun tonight.

    Dance that conga ‘till you drop. We’re never gonna stop. You better hang on tight….(repeat ad infinitum)

  12. Joe F says:

    Dear Phantom
    May I add my congratulations – on the condition that I don’t have to do a conga. Many happy tricorns.

  13. Scott says:

    Happy Birthday Phantom!

    Thanks for making Greenwich more interesting.

  14. valley_girl says:

    Dear Phant,

    Many happy returns! May I thank you for costing me lots of money and wasting my time – in a nice way of course. Your posts often have me delving at length into my newly purchased local history books and the internet to follow up one of your stories. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve spent hours looking for information to answer some of the questions that you and others raise regarding the history of Greenwich, in the course of which I find all sorts of fascinating facts to comment on.

    So keep up the good work and long may you continue to keep me from doing the housework.

  15. WestCliffGB says:

    This is quite a milestone in the life of a phantom! Thank you for your dedication to Greenwich over the past 5 and a bit years.

  16. Thank YOU all – and Valley Girl – I don’t know what I’d do without you…

  17. Valoma says:

    Dear Phantom, Happy Birthday from Valoma, and all the Valoma “ets”. All growing up on a good diet Phantomology.Strict reading before bed.

  18. Not too strict, now. I’m not that kind of Phantom. I’ll get a reputation…

  19. Stephen says:

    Well done Phantom. Can’t remember when I first came across you but I reckon it must be 4 years or more, up to 5 of course.

  20. Valoma says:

    Dear Phantom my little one says “why Mummy can`t I see Mr Phantom” So I`ve told her (and if your reading this Diana “Upstairs” Mr Phantom will one day explain)Some Phantoms are very shy.
    Once again Happy Birthday from Valoma towers W Greenwich .

  21. RobertNumber16 says:

    Dearest Phantom. Belated Very Happy returns of the day.x

  22. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday x

  23. E says:

    Happy birthday!

    I have only joined the reading recently and I am already 100% hooked up.

    Thank you for the good work.

  24. Happy Phantom Birthday! I first came across your esteemed blog when we started Blitzwalkers three years ago (blimey indeed!) and you have been a great help and a massive support to my Greenwich walks ever since. Keep up the good work – hugely entertaining and informative. Steve

  25. Matthew says:

    Happy Birthday, I really enjoy reading your blog

  26. Lara says:

    Happy Birthday lovely Phant! Thank you for being interested in the random bits of info I have sent you from time to time. :-) .

    I look forward to another five years. x.

  27. Gwladys Street says:

    Happy fifth birthday Phantom

  28. Steve says:

    Happy Birthday, Phantom. Many thanks for such an entertaining and informative blog.

    All the best.

  29. oneswallowmakesasummer says:

    Belated birthday greetings dear Phant, looking lovelier every year!

  30. Mazer says:

    There are many Greenwich ghosts, but there is only one Phantom!
    The greatest, quirkiest, most mysterious blog for the best bit of south east London! Thank you.

  31. Dave48 says:

    Bit late (Thanks to a temperamental internet connection) but Happy Birthday and here’s to the next 5 years.

  32. Steve says:

    (yes, one of the other Steve’s!)

    Happy (belated!) birthday. You are, have been, and will always be marvellous!

  33. Harriet says:

    A belated birthday Phantom. So glad I found your site – it is such interesting, informative and enjoyable reading. Here is to your next 5 or more years.