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Happy New Year, All!

It’s been so long since I wrote anything that this morning I feel as though I’m taking my first-ever, wobbly baby-steps into the world of bloggery rather than coming up to my official 6th birthday (unofficially I’m six and a half…) so please forgive the tentative nature of this post.

There’s no denying it – I’ve had my eye off the ball. Believe me it was not through choice. But if I don’t get back on the horse now, I never will, and what better day than today, the first ‘proper’ day of 2013.

So today I want to talk generally about hopes and fears for the coming year. As I say, I’ve not been paying close (read ‘any’) attention to local stuff (though I have been reading all my mail and I WILL get to all that on days to come) but I have noticed several stores, cafes and restaurants closing – for me the worst was the loss of Kum Luang, a big favourite of mine, but I also note that Zin has gone (re-opening as something else, I understand) Belle, and I have heard rumour of at least two more shops in the market that I use on a regular basis that will be going in the next couple of weeks.

I was intrigued by a sign in Bullfrogs saying it’s closing ‘for demolition.’ I was initially surprised, given that it’s on the outside of the market, but looking up at the building it looks like 1950s infill – perhaps Greenwich Hospital want to pretty it up as part of the upgrade.

I had a minor panic on Sunday night as I crossed Blackheath around 1.00am and noticed the tea hut completely boarded up, but the next day it seemed to be fully open again so at least phew for that one.

Dedicated Traf Road Co-Op customers will be sad to hear Jackie tells me that Mandy’s resigned – I have no idea what went on there, but she will be sorely missed by anyone she ever served. Buying groceries might be quicker in future but never so much fun.

The sprawling monstrocity that used to be two antique shops and a quirky French restaurant before becoming the bloated Bar du Musee is to be a Jamie’s. Heaven knows what what used to be Soteri (admittedly an awful Italian restaurant, which promised so much and delivered so little) will be, but I’m not putting money on it being anything other than yet another bland chain.

But there must be something good to look forward to?

Certainly the other thing I noticed over the last few weeks is that the bit of Blackheath that had the horses over it has reopened. I’ve only gone past at night so I can’t tell what kind of a job they’ve done of it, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Ditto the park – reopening at a rate of knots –  hopefully the Dwarf Orchard will be fully revealed  this year. I’d also like to see those fancy gates we’ve been promised at the Blackheath end. The ones we have at the moment can best be described as ‘functional’.

The market has its new roof coming in February, if memory serves. I don’t hold out much hope for the Durnsford Street buildings, which never looked lovelier than in the run up to Christmas, and when the shops re-open, I will be curious to see just how many of them will be the same as before (I suspect even fewer of them will still be quirky or independent in any way) but that roof is in desperate need of rejuvenation and if it’s just a simple glass version of what there is now, rather than the ridiculous out-of-town-shopping-mall affair in the original plans it could be rather lovely.

2012 was (Royal) Greenwich’s moment in the sun. 2013 was always going to be the morning after. But on the first day of Greenwich’s (and my own) hangover I would love to hear of stuff to look forward to.

So please – cheer me up. Tell me things that you are looking foward to in the coming year. Anything will do – exciting new shops, events, shows, restaurants – I’ll settle for very little…


27 Comments to “Back to Blogging”

  1. Chelsea_girl says:

    Happy New Year!
    I posted this at the end of last year but in case it got lost in amongst the Christmas festivities, I thought it was worth mentioning again.
    I attended the planning meeting regarding the Lovells Wharf redevelopment and was told by the developers that they were going to reopen the Thames Path this month. Fingers crossed!

  2. Yay! Thanks CG – that’s exactly the sort of thing I need to hear.

  3. Sophie says:

    We were peering in the window of Zin the other day when the new owner/manager turned up. It’s going to be some sort of Korean-Japanese fusion apparently – should be interesting.

    That is sad news about Mandy.

  4. Simon Starr says:

    Merry New Year, Phantom, and thanks for continuing to keep me up to date with Greenwich goings on almost four years after I moved away.

  5. Steven says:

    Yes, Happy New Year Phantom…..good to have you back on the horse.

  6. Fatty Fatty BumBum says:

    I am also happy to report that the Council in a rare moment of sensible planning decision making, refused an application to turn the Morden Arms into a flat. Hurrah! Hopefully the clearly disinterested owner now sells it as a pub to someone decent – like antic pubs, so we gain a new watering hole rather than another soul-less plastic menu establishment.

  7. bats says:

    Happy new year, phants don’t feel so blue. Change is a good thing and shouldn’t be feared. History shows that recession sorts the wheat from the chaff. Good businesses thrive in a recession and bad ones disappear, let’s be honest bar du musee was over priced, bland and actually not a nice place to go to for a drink. I could think of worse restaurants to take its place than a Jamies Italian (though they have taken over the pier). We still have lots of lovely indies, from the The Hill on royal hill, to theatre of wine. The only problem is that these aren’t new and maybe we are taking them for granted….there is the mysterious shop in between the creaky shed and drings, which has been closed for eternity but now has workmen in it. Not even Jason in the creaky shed knows what is going in there! The guildford arms is fully open, with its lovely beer garden…and finally we will have our park back ready for a glorious summer, it has to be glorious, as let’s face it, it can’t be any wetter than last years…can it?

  8. Thanks Bats – you’re right. I need to pull myself together.

    Any bets on the mysterious new Royal Hill Lovely shop? A long time ago there was talk it was going to be a fancy glassware showroom, but the cost of renovating the shop give it was a listed building was beyond that particular entrepreneur. Whoever it is has deep pockets.

  9. bats says:

    I can’t see it being a glassware shop, maybe a baker or candlestick maker?

  10. pat says:

    welcome back Phantom your return makes my new year, you have been missed.

    Mandy going!? Shock horror.

    I too peered into Zin’s the other day and they have posted a menu on the door and sadly (for me) it appears to be mainly sushi. I used to love the noodle dishes and Malaysian curry. I have not been brave enough yet to try the Mohammed Nur restuarant on the other side of the road. Has anyone been there recently?

  11. eleanor rigby says:

    Mandy was always saying she was “getting there” so maybe she has finally arrived.

  12. Sheila says:

    I don’t have any good news to add to the above but just wanted to say that it’s great to have you back!

  13. Gwladys Street says:

    Staggered to hear that Mandy has finally flown the Co-Op. She had a good word for everyone and will be sorely missed by many. I often said that if anyone deserved an award it was her. Sad news indeed

  14. Not-hat-eating-Andrew says:

    Mandy: Alright there? Yeah, I’m alright. Alright? Yeah yeah, getting there. Clubcard pleeeeze? Hello Bill, you alright? (and repeat)…

    Me: Um…

    Sorry to hear Mandy has left – she brightened my day every time I popped in to the Co-Op.

    Phantom, great to have you back.

  15. Sophie says:

    Mandy: NexONEpleeze?

    Always made me feel a bit like I was in line at an abattoir or similar. Bless her, she will be missed.

  16. Pelton Pirate says:

    Glad you’re back, Phantom. We missed you down this end.

    Reasons to be cheerful?
    - The Pelton Arms is still one of the best pubs in Greenwich
    - The Cutty Sark’s revamp will eventually come good as staff and customers settle into the new ways – it too will go from a good to a great pub by spring I’m sure
    - les Mis looks awesome, more fab ORNC footage on the silver screen
    - the Park is back and will be in better shape than ever once the grass grows back
    - the pier may no be to everyone’s tassdte but Byron burgers are bloom in good & their craft beer selection ain’t bad either
    - The Guildfords burgers are even better
    - Inside is still a fantastic place to dine at very fair prices
    - Cutty Sark gardens are in fine fettle despite the abject failure of Royal Greenwich to sort the tunnel out
    - we’re not in the Gaza Strip

    Chin up!

  17. David says:

    OOohhh what a bubble we do indeed live in. Lovely bubble at that. Bats, I love your posts but when we can deem the effects of the recession as “sorting out the wheat from the chaff”, I know we’re in a different world to the rest of the country. I have both feet in Greenwich but a toe and an elbow back where my roots are in Brummagem and how I’d love you to see some of the once mighty cornfields of the West Midlands. The recession bites hard on many. I digress. Couple of things of note: Heaps will now do you an egg (or “hegg” as the wonderful Enzo will confirm) on your sausage baps. “Meet Bernard” has its own bottled ale on sale (and what a top beer it is too) and three people were spotted at the same time in the King William pub. Other than that, business as usual as far as I can see.

  18. David says:

    Oh and the old hospital work seems to have driven all the mice into Chevening Road with all that bangin’ and a bumpin’…

  19. David says:

    Pelton Arms is truly top drawer public house….

  20. 16" East says:

    Reasons to be cheerful:

    -improving park.
    -decent food at the revamped Cutty Sark Pub.
    -The Plume is still here and we still like it a lot.
    -New version of Zin, will be more than just sushi we think, dont panic!
    -decline of Greenwich Inc’s dominance.
    -thriving Royal Hill.
    -still free to get into most of the observatory stuff and maritime museum including the wonderful amateur astronomy photograph of the year exhibition.
    -Gurkha’s Inn
    -repainted and more improvements at The Arches
    -Olivier’s Jazz Bar is still the best late night place to be.
    -still have the comedy festival amongst many.
    - The drag race – hoorah!!!!
    Feeling better ???

  21. tom says:

    sad news about Mandy leaving, always brightened up the shop

  22. Valoma says:

    Dear Phantom happy new year.Just read that Robert’s Full English Breakfast Show ( Greenwich based chat show ) has had an offer to move to a prime time TV slot, Kids back to school on Monday sigh of relief !

  23. Carrie says:

    I chatted the to builders digging out the basement last month; they weren’t letting on much, they most i got was that it would take about a year and that they, nor the owner, knew what it would become.
    Whilst a candlestick maker would wrap up the row nicely, my vote is for a deli with with a few home made meals, my husbands is for a cigar & whiskey shop that has an armchair or two in it….

  24. Carrie says:

    Sorry, was referring to the derelict shop between the cheeseboard & Drings on royal hill!

  25. Stella says:

    Welcome back Phantom – gawd we’ve missed ya!
    I’d like to add my sadness at Mandy’s leaving…how extraordinary her memory was…for customer’s names….news of their extended families…her passion for Wimbledon – she always took her annual holiday that fortnight,and just her genuine empathy with all the customers.I’m only sorry that she will probably never read these posts,and know how much she was appreciated.”Getting there” indeed!

  26. Gordon of Greenwich says:

    Beers from the Meantime Brewery shop kept me going this Christmas. I must book myself in for the brewery tour soon.

  27. Oldchina says:

    Welcome back GP. Reading everyone’s comments on why Greenwich is such a great place to live and has an exciting year ahead of it has made my evening. Huzzah!