Archive for June, 2013

Checking In…

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Sorry folks, ‘fraid I’m still in no position to post, but I am thinking of you, do intend to restart as soon as I can and am reading all my mail even if I can’t always reply to it.

Thanks for your patience – it’s appreciated.

In the meanwhile I leave you with a typical June pastime – choir practice under the smoking arcade, taken on Saturday by Mike…

Mary Mills

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

There are two things that make a post like this one unusual.

Firstly my head is full just now. I am taking time out because I have to. I wasn’t going to post at all for a while.

Secondly I rarely – almost never – talk about political issues in Greenwich. There are fine websites that do that already and in general I do other stuff better.

But something happened last night that shocked me to the very core and I just have to say something or burst.

Greenwich’s finest councillor by a country mile, Mary Mills, was deselected in what has to be the biggest own-goal the local Labour Party has scored in some time, and believe me there have been some pearlers. Darryl at 853 Blog has the gen and there’s no point in my reinventing the wheel by repeating it here but I am utterly gobsmacked that they have been so shortsighted in getting rid of the only personality that actual, real humans on the doorstep recognise and like.

Mary’s the one who actually talks to her constituents. She has a Twitter presence (@maryorelse ), a blog and a website, she responds to phone calls and emails, makes time to talk to people at any hour of the day and deals with issues others would sweep under the carpet because they’re politically embarrassing or just don’t bother with because they’re small or only affect people that aren’t trendy.

She has a deep interest in Greenwich historically (there are few who know as much as her about Greenwich’s industrial past) but also in the Greenwich of today. Perhaps that’s why she’s being got rid of – she’s just not towing the party line enough. Instead, she’s addressing issues that local people want to see – and doesn’t always leap to say yes to everything The Party wants.

Mary’s the one with the monthly newsletter that actually tells people what’s going on in the ward, listing what’s on, what planning apps have been submitted, what council things might affect people – that sort of thing. She very generously mentions every month that sundry other individuals ‘would like to be associated with this email.’

You don’t say. ‘Associated with’ but not actually doing any of the graft, of course.

I don’t know why they’ve made this catastrophic-for-the-ward move; it smacks of bullying, control-freakery and even, perhaps, ageism (she herself describes herself as an angry old lady – all power to you, Mary.) But I suspect it’s even simpler than that. Could it possibly be that they’ve got rid of her because she makes the rest of them look bad?

Unlike most of the career politicians in her wake, Mary Mills actually gave a damn – in fact she still does – I note that after deleting her webpage last night in a frankly understandable move – she has reinstated it today, with the words “After all there are lots of interesting things which could do with an airing.” Too right. There are.

And that’s why I think Mary needs to strike out on her own. To stand as an independent, to actually stand up for the things she’s always known were ‘the right thing to do’ but felt compromised about because of being strongarmed into following party dictats. I have no idea who has been wheeled-in in her place – I did see the name, it didn’t register, I didn’t care. I am sure they will be good little party members and be seen occasionally opening a school fete or something.

Mary – if you stand as an indie, I will vote for you.

We Interrupt this Broadcast…

Friday, June 7th, 2013

…Sorry, folks. Once again, Stuff very much beyond my control has come up that I have to deal with.

I will get back to posting as soon as possible, but for the moment enjoy the sunshine, go to some open gardens and, er, talk amongst yourselves…


Stone Roses, Marigolds, Poppies…

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

If you’ve walked along Old Woolwich Road, opposite the garage and auction rooms, you will prabably have ‘zoned out’ the ghastly little strip of nothing that runs along the outside of Stone interiors’ yard. It’s been like it for years (though I do vaguely remember mosaic made from broken stone a few years ago – maybe ten? I could be mistaken…)

In the spirit of Guerilla gardening, though perhaps a tad more official, a few E.Greenwich residents have decided to do something about this dreary little strip of rubbish, dog-poo and fly-tippery, and make it into a micro-garden. Stone Interiors will be donating some stone to make it all nice…

Ian, who told me about the project, has got some local big-hitters to contribute – Greenwich Parks, the garden design course at the University and, of course, our own Mary Mills, and they’ve got to the initial design stage (personally I’d just build a raised bed and stick some flowers and a few veg in – but what do I know…)

If you’d like to be involved, the design workshop will be on the 22nd June, at the stone yard. The room they’ll be in only fits a limited number of people so if you fancy joining, let Ian know – either by emailing him on or calling 077125 86923.

I have been noticing teeny-tiny gardens turning up all over the place in East Greenwich. My favourite is at Westcombe Park Station where, at the moment, there is a profusion of wild strawberry flowers, but later on will turn into what is essentially a herbaceous border. I don’t know who does it, but I tip my tricorn to the Ooompa-Loompas that come out in the dead of night and make little corners of Greenwich a little bit more beautiful.


Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Those amazing gardens – I got the dates wrong. THEY ARE OPEN TODAY, 2nd June, and next Sunday, 9th:

Open Gardens – 2 June
1. Tim and Patricia Barnes, The White House, Crooms Hill, SE10 8HH TEAS
A walled garden laid out when the house belonged to the Astronomer Royal.
Lots of climbers, good-sized lawn and flowers planted in a rather haphazard
but hopefully cottagey way. And a mulberry tree as old as the house.
2. Ian and Susan Pawlby, 22 West Grove Lane, SE10 8QP WINE
Come and explore a hidden garden in a hidden lane.
3. Jane Custance Baker and Peter Gingold, 51 Hyde Vale, SE10 8QQ
Dangerously steep and thorny terraced garden entered at the visitor’s own
risk. Designed to be viewed from the house, the owner and inept gardener will
do house tours to show the exceptionally varied and challenging site from
different (and safe) vantage points.
4. Ann Broadbent, 14 Crooms Hill, SE10 8ER
A very large and peaceful garden, it contains nothing much except wonderful
mature trees including a plane as big as the ones in Berkeley Square. Tours of
the house, which is much more interesting, are also on offer.
5. Susan and Jimmy Gaston, 119 Maze Hill, SE10 8XQ TEAS
North-east facing garden lying under Vanbrugh Castle; raised beds with
shrubs, a pergola covered in Albertine and Brides Veil roses, and a beautiful
dovecote as the centre piece.
6. Alan Bartlett and Simon Gallie, 27 Maidenstone Hill, SE10 8SY TEAS
This narrow hillside garden forms part of Point Hill and features some of Alan’s
RHS medal-winning garden items as well as his chickens. There are many unusual
plants in the garden. Due to the many steps, slopes and limited accessibility of
this garden, it may not be suitable for people requiring walking assistance.

Open Gardens – 9 June
1. Clare and Mark Hatcher, 41 Gloucester Circus, SE10 8RY PIMMS
A walled garden in a late Georgian terrace, the garden comprises formal
elements with herbaceous borders, a beech hedge and a woodland garden
under a horse chestnut tree.
2. Penny and David Matheson, 30 Hyde Vale, SE10 8QH PIMMS
The garden of an 1830s tea-caddy house with a lawn in front and, behind, two
shallow flower-filled terrace beds backed by rose-covered arches through
which one sees a round lawn surrounded by a stone path and banks of
shrubs, ivy and large trees.
3. Teresa and Jonathan Sumption, The Manor House, Crooms Hill, SE10 8HG
A large garden standing on the edge of the hill comprising two small formal
gardens, a flower garden surrounded by trellis and pleached apple trees
divided by a parterre of lavender, and a sunken garden with a geometrical box
parterre planted with herbs.
4. Caroline and Richard Newton Price, 3 Hyde Vale, SE10 8QQ TEAS
New garden, old garden, tea and cake.
5. Geoff and Paula Nuttall, 124 King George Street, SE10 8PX
A small, south-facing walled garden that can be entered by a side gate.
6. John and Helene Mitchell, 4 Orchard Drive, SE3 0QP
Views from the house (wisteria and jasmine) and rear terrace (camellias) lead,
via the croquet lawn and yew hedge, to the orchard (apples, pears, plums and
quince) and a wild area (silver birch, oak and walnut).


Sorry about the mistake – only just found out about it.