Archive for January, 2014

The Phantom Gets Out of Bed the Wrong Side

Friday, January 31st, 2014

I know, I know, I’ve been dreadful about updating the Parish News. I have no idea how the amazing IanVisits does it, but my news always looks a mess and is almost never up to date. It’s like being the scruffy kid at school that no matter what they do their shirt’s always untucked, a button’s missing off the blazer, their hair looks like a pile of old hay and their tie’s on the squonk.

One of these days I’ll create some kind of calendar or algorhythm to make it all easy but for now, the best I can do is aim to update it once a month and since tomorrow is the 1st Feb, I’m just squeaking in here updating it today.

There are many reasons why I hate updating Parish News. Of course part of it is that no one likes inputting data, even for hard cash, and believe me, there’s no bloomin’ cash involved in Parish News.

But the main reason I hate it is the many and varied formats I get listings in. If only people could be clear and concise, like the good burghers or St Alfege and the National Maritime Museum, who send stuff in clear format:

  • What’s on
  • A TINY bit about the event
  • When it’s on
  • How much
  • How to book
  • A website for more info

That’s all you need. Ideally Third Person and without jolly ‘call to action’ bits that I’m only going to cut out anyway.  If it was all like that it would be a dream. Instead I get all manner of ‘press releases’, perky emails and chancers. I know that the real culprits – the professional ‘PR agencies’ who spam every blog on the planet with the same old junk – won’t read this but even the locals – please look and see if you are guilty of any of the following:

1) long, waffly emails with press releases at least three pages long

2) ‘Chummy’ emails that I have to sift through for the information and reformat – however much I like you I just don’t have the hours in the day

3)’Art-Speak’ where even after the long waffle and the three-page press release I still  have absolutely no idea what the event actually is.

4) Stuff with no relevance at all to Greenwich. I regularly get emails about events in Wales, Australia and Brimingham. To be honest anything that’s not within a 5-mile radious of Greenwich is probably not relevant enough for this blog, sorry. Some things that REALLY captivate me might sneak in. I usually discover these for myself though

5) Non-cut-and-pasteable PDFs. These usually contain minute detail that I’m going to have to painstakingly copy out longhand. Not only will it put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, but I am bound to make mistakes.

6) Chunks of important information in the title of the email. Again this means I have to manually type out all the details and I’ll probably get it wrong in the transfer

7) Emails with nothing but the instruction to go to some stranger’s website. I’m not going to do it. Full stop.

8 ) Out and out adverts. It doesn’t help when PRs try to sweeten the pill by being all faux-coy – ‘I’m being cheeky here but I know you won’t mind me telling you all about this amazing new headlice cream.’ I will.

9) Press releases where winkling out what is actually going from all the superlatives, namechecks and quotes takes all day. Knowing that Gordon Prong has done the lighting and Joe Blogs is responsible for the choreography should go in the ‘any other business’, not the nuts and bolts.

10) Too many bells, whistles, funky scripts, images, ‘cool’ styling and other gizmos that a) it takes ages to upload  and b) I can’t work out what the hell is the most important stuff.

There are two establishments which shall remain anonymous who send me stuff on a very regular basis that I have NEVER put into Parish News because their newsletters are so complicated I lose the will to live before I can find the actual information. I am convinced  these places are so busy making their newsletters into works of art they have forgotten the bottom line – they are letters of NEWS. I will come and see the art if I can work out when and where it’s on. If you’re worried that that I might be describing you, I probably am.

11) Listings in video format. No really, I get them. I’m expected to sit and watch a promo video and then write some scintillating copy from that, sifting out the details and writing it all down. It isn’t going to happen. I might, if I am very ‘kind’ upload the video, but the chances of anyone else watching it without knowing what it is are slim.

12) Listings where the only info is to be found on Facebook. I don’t do FB and I am not going to sign up just so I can find your event.

If I just got one or two of these a day, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I get dozens of the bloomin’ things and just sifting through them takes time, and means that the good guys (GDA is another ‘good’ listings supplier…) have to wait in line with the annoying people. In the end I just get frustrated, everything gets a ‘star’ for me to deal with later, things happen in the day and they  end up languishing in my inbox for months.

So please – I know your event is the best thing ever, but even for something incredible there is such a thing as too much information. Keep it brief. If I get so excited about it I want to actually add it to the main blog, believe me I’ll be all over you like a particularly nasty rash.

This might sound conceited, and I really don’t mean it to be. But it’s just taken me an entire morning when I should actually have been doing proper work just to sift through my starred items and you don’t know the guilt when I haven’t replied to things or dealt with them in time so that the event’s already been and gone by the time I get round to it. If only I could get the basic listings more uniform, I’d have more time to deal with the really curious one-off questions, which can get lost among the listings.

Don’t get me wrong – I DO want to hear about things. It’s just much more helpful if it’s in a form I can easily deal with.

Several people today have had red-faced emails from me apologising for not replying to their ‘any other business’ emails as they’d got lost among the listings. There are more to come. Soz.

Grouch over. I won’t come back to this subject for at least a week, I promise.

Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Love…

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Okay, as anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know, I’m a pushover for a love story and, given the time of year, I have a little poser for you to help a young romantic swain. Let’s call him Romeo, to preserve his anonymity in case Juliet just happens to be reading…

Romeo says:

I’m thinking about proposing (only thinking of it, R? Might want to make sure, eh…) and would like it to involve a couple of deck chairs (long story relating to an in-joke) Now, although I’m an Engineer, I don’t exactly have the best ‘hands on’ skills. I would however, ideally like to make the deck chairs myself, with a custom design etc.

Do you know of any small furniture or other artisan workshops in the area? The dream being that I could make friends and perhaps in return for weekend work or indeed a small fee, I’d have storage space and access to tools and perhaps some friendly advice on making the deckchairs. The other option I have considered would be buying some existing ones and customising them. I believe the Greenwich Adult Community college runs a Furniture restoration course which might be appropriate.

I like this idea, and it’s probably a good idea to be as vague as possible to give yourself the most options here, Romeo.

It’s possible there’s a friendly carpenter reads this blog, who might be up for taking a romantic rookie under their wing. I don’t know of any specifically.

You might try Stewart John, who restore antique furniture and make pieces to order. They used to have a store in the market place which always had a fabulous display of vintage chandeliers hanging from every inch of the shop – before they were driven out by the ridiculous rent hikes, yet another example of the quirky old places being given the boot by Greenwich Hospital, but I do remember once visiting their extensive workshops in one of those old buildings in Charlton/Woolwich. You could try giving them a call.

You’ve just missed the start of the Furniture restoriation course for beginners at Greenwich Community College but you might be able to join it late if you call them now.

You could see if there’s anyone at Cockpit Arts in Deptford who might be prepared to work with you – try the designer directory on the website.

Or there may be a Phantophile with a better suggestion. I’m always impressed with what people come up with here.

If you’re going to customise one, I wish there were some proper indie hardware stores round here that would sell basic deckchairs for you to customise, but the only sort you’ll get round here are of the designer-variety, which isn’t what you need if you’re going to rip it to pieces and gussy it up. There’s Gumtree or Ebay, of course but you might not want to look too cheap…

There’s one at Argos for £29.99 or, even better in Homebase for the same price – I say ‘even better’ because the Homebase in Kidbrooke has the friendliest, most helpful staff I’ve come across in any of the big sheds in the area, whereas everyone always seems depressed in Argos. Having said that I don’t know if they have any in-store – but at least they’ll be nice to you if you call them. The chairs are nice, plain ones that you could even just paint a message on if you’re not into all the woodwork stuff?

If all else fails and you just want a Greenwich-related one, there are some (frankly rather expensive) special editions for sale on the Royal Parks website, designed by Greenwich and Bromley pensioners, inspired by Greenwich Park last year.

Ah, young love…

Ask and Ye Shall Receive…

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Yesterday Conal asked about a skating tragedy from the 1840s where two small boys’ fall through the ice was ascribed to their committing the heinous crime of playing on the Sabbath. The gravestone in St Mary’s Church, Woolwich has gone and it was feared that no one had recorded its hard-hitting inscription.

And indeed they haven’t. Well, not entirely.

I am delighted to say, however, that the extraordinary Julian Watson (is there anything that guy doesn’t know about Greenwich?) has yet again come up with the goods. He tells me:

This is p.776 of ‘Records of the Woolwich District’ by William Thomas Vincent. WTV was the founder of the Woolwich Antiquarian Society and Editor of the Kentish Independent. This standard work on Woolwich history was published in parts in 1890 (if I remember right). As well as a great historical source it is rich in journalistic anecdotes like this one. Mulgrave Pond is still there tucked away behind Artillery Place. Vincent’s work was unsurpassed until the publication of Peter Guillery’s recent magnificent book on Woolwich published as part of the Survey of London.

So – here’s the gen. We were looking a good ten years too late for the article, it appears there were five casulaties not two and that the pond was not on Blackheath, which makes it all the more impressive that Julian knew where to look…

As always, click on the image to enlarge it.

Wow, on so many levels. Wow that Julian knew exactly where to find this extraordinary anecdote. Wow that those 19th Century patricians were so hard-hearted. Wow that Bell and Moseley’s big idea to check whether it was okay for them to skate was by getting a bunch of small children scrabbling around on the ice for a ha’penny. Wow that the jurors from the inquest put their hands in their pockets to pay for such a headstone, which can’t have been cheap given the amount of carving on it, but which needed to be done to warn other youngsters of the dangers of playing on the Lord’s Day. And Wowww that someone actually removed – presumably destroyed – this extraordinary memorial without even recording it properly.

Tell you what, though. I ‘ve got to see this book. The next article about the ill-winged bullet sounds just as fascinating as this one. Race you to the Heritage Centre…

Historic Wrath of God

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Conal from Australia asks an odd question:

In St. Mary’s Churchyard (Woolwich) used to be a headstone telling of the death by drowning of 2 (?) young boys who had taken their new skates to a frozen pond on Blackheath (I don’t know which one). It draws the moral that this was divine retribution for skating on a holy day. I was taken to St Mary’s on occasion by my father, I remember it well, not least for his appalled reaction to such a homily. It has been removed, cleared, and unlike the earlier clearance in the 19th century, the headstones were not recorded.

Do you know anything of this, or where I might check it out further?

I confess I’ve never heard of this incident. Normally I’d suggest Conal check out Greenwich Heritage Centre, but they, apparently, have no record of either the accident or the headstone.

My next thought was, of course, Neil Rhind’s history of the Heath, which is pretty much definitive. But apart from my nicking this rather wonderful picture of skating on Prince of Wales pond in 1904 (which is from Greenwich Heritage centre – sorry chaps…) – from a good sixty-odd years after Conal’s two little boys killed by the wrath of God – there is little about skating in my version of The Heath other than noting that skating rarely happens these days as the winters aren’t so severe.

Of course I only have the first edition, something I always mean to rectify then forget about until the next time someone asks something like this, so apologies to Neil if the incident is mentioned in there.

I can’t imagine that the newly-renamed Kentish Mercury (The Greenwich, Woolwich and Deptford Gazette, and West Kent Advertiser were turned into the Kentish Mercury in 1838) would have missed a juicy story like this though. If there isn’t a copy in the Heritage Centre it will probably be in the National Newspaper Archive. I confess a cursory online search of the millions of pages they’ve scanned for online search so far didn’t bring much up for me and I don’t have the hours in the day for a trudge up to Boston Spa (though actually, the Phantom Webmaster points out that the current transfer of all the Newspaper archives from Colindale to Yorkshire has a five-month embargo on research via their services anyway).

Has anyone else anything on this? Do you remember the headstone? Anything more on it?

The Crown

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

After yesterday’s rather gloomy post about the state of Greenwich’s watering holes I thought I’d mention something that, at least at the moment, looks quite positive.

Chris and I have been discussing The Crown in Traf Road. Now I’ve always liked the Crown as a building. It’s a neat, ‘proper’ pub, very traditional in design and with huge amounts of potential.

I have to say, though, that for me, ‘potential’ was always the word. On the few occasions I went inside for a drink the locals looked at me as though I had grown a second tricorn and I was made to feel – well – frankly rather unwelcome.

But I liked the place – not least for the images conjured in my mind by Iris Bryce in Remember Greenwich who, being brought up a stone’s throw from the pub found a job there as a very young, impressionable girl and was taken under the glamorous landlady’s wing – a woman who conjures images of a 1940s Bet Lynch, in satins and silks, and who had done out her own quarters in the upstairs of the pub as what she probably imagined as a Hollywood stage, but which sounds more like a particularly splendid tart’s parlour. Iris was goggle-eyed at this room, all swags and tassels; it appears to have been quite instrumental in Iris’s beginning to yearn for something ‘more’.

So- it’s been taken over by Inn Public, the people who run the Duke in Deptford, the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill and the Dolphin in Sydenham, thus ending their South East London takeover of pubs beginning with the letter D.

Okay – it’s a chain. A local chain, which isn’t always good (witness the previous post about Greenwich Inc.) but better than some massive behemoth like Wetherspoons or, heaven forbid, Punch. They apparently like original features, so hopefully any kit-out will be sympathetic, and hey – it’s better than being turned into flats like so many down Traf Road/ Woolwich Road – only a year or so ago we lost The Old Friends – admittedly the worst pub in the area, but one that would have definitely benefitted from a decent chain takeover rather than demolition.

I’m told they’re opening on the 1st Feb. I shall visit with interest. I’m hoping that it will continue the gradual rebirth of this little stretch of Traf Road – the Greengrocer’s next door, which was always a little tentative, is now run by the guys who run Apple and Pear at the Standard, La Salumeria has had a revamp and I just love Fay’s, the tiny caff opposite run by the sweet French guy whose name I haven’t caught yet, but who turns a simple sandwich into a work of art.

It’s small stuff, of course. But everything needs to start somewhere. Looking at old photos of Traf Road, it’s been a vibrant, local hub – and within living memory too. I was talking to a guy in Romford Market the other day whose dad used to have a fabric shop in the road – which did good business until the 70s/80s.

Perhaps it can happen again. I hope so.

I just realised I don’t have any photos of the Crown – so for the Nth day succession, no images. Soz…

Greenwich Inc

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

I have lost count of the number of people who have asked me why I have made no comment on the ongoing and frankly messy demise of Greenwich Inc and this morning I got yet another request to discuss it, so hey, here we go.

The reason I’ve not mentioned it is not sinister, I promise. Basically I heard rumours a long while ago, but couldn’t talk about it for legal reasons until it became official. Then Rob over at started a thread and I don’t like to tread on toes if there’s a good old ding-dong going on elsewhere as it tends to water down discussion. You can read that discussion here.

Greenwich Visitor (the only local paper actually worth bothering with these days, IMHO) also covered it well and I’m not particularly into reinventing the wheel, however splendid a wheel it might be.

But hey – I’ve been asked once too often now, so yes – let’s look at it.

For anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past few months, Greenwich Inc. has gone into administration, Frank Dowling, its main man, is being investigated for fraud and it’s all looking rather grim.

Sounds to me like the classic expansion too far, and however serious the schadenfreude might be, for many Greenwich people the main questions will linger around what this means for the town.

Few people liked what Greenwich Inc. did to – well, Greenwich. Interesting, cute restaurants turned into bloated monsters, historic interiors ripped out and replaced with plush fakes, quirky menus switched for generic pap.

It was often quite a downer visiting the places too – I remember asking a waiter about the tips and him saying ‘I don’t care how you pay it – I don’t see it whatever form it comes in.’ After that I always slipped them cash.

Of course Greenwich Inc wasn’t just in the town centre – it expanded to the O2, the Isle of Dogs and ever the City. For me, I care little about what happened elsewhere, even over at the O2 – it was a new venue and he could do what he liked with it, though that Indian restaurant that was there when it first opened was marvellous, and his takeover of that was a real pity.

But what we’re left with in the town itself is a worry:

The Trafalgar Tavern – in a dreadful state and under threat of a godawful hotel thrown up next to it. There’s buddlia growing out of the roof, cracks in the stucco small creatures could set up mansion in and a general air of melancholy. I’m told this is still controlled under a different management, but it’s one of Greenwich’s brightest jewels and it’s not glittering as it might. Having said that, it’s not all bad – that ghastly statue of Nelson has disappeared, some say mysteriously. I was sent some photos of it being loaded onto a van…

(c) Townly Cooke

The Bar du Musee – a delightful, quirky French restaurant by an antiques shop, expanded and bloated until it became a ghastly monster with zero character and dreadful food. Still not sure how that kind of over-expansion was allowed, but it was sort of hollowed out over the years, like the chalk mines under the heath. Jamie Oliver has it now and it’s okay for a chain, but I’d have the old Bar du Musee back any day.

The Spread Eagle – oh, the Spread Eagle – a charming old coaching inn, next to a couple of funky little Dick Moy junk emporia. Again, ripped out, hollowed out and blandified – how was this even allowed? But at least it had one hell of an art collection, bought by Dowling from Dick Moy, as I understand. Now, it’s part of that fraud investigation as The Greenwich Visitor will tell you at length, all of that art has disappeared. It was a wonderful collection, and I know it was private – but I’d love to see it saved for the people of Greenwich – if they can find it, of course.

The Cricketers – a nice old codgers’ pub on the south east of the Market. First the appalling Powder Monkey – a taste-free, purpose-built ‘gay bar’ created as some kind of ‘replacement’ for the Gloucester Arms. The local gay population took one look at the hideous urinals and voted with their feet. Then it was the least exotic Tiki bar you’ll ever come across, followed by the dreary W Lounge, then the smelliest fish and chip shop in town. It’s now Goddards Pies. Don’t get me started on why Goddards should never have moved from their original place (where Gourmet Burger Kitchen is now) but I guess it’s the best of the bunch.

The Admiral Hardy – a pub turned into student bar. I don’t know much about it as it wasn’t one I knew well enough to comment on. I believe it’s still owned by an independent company.

The Clarence Music Hall – This was a music hall above the entrance to the market. To be honest, I have no idea what this was like before Greenwich Inc moved in, but I do remember the ‘erotic’ wallpaper and being laughed at when I got the proverbial fly in my (v. expensive) cocktail. I never returned. Wouldn’t it be a cool replacement for Greenwich Playhouse? Of course that will never happen…

The Gloucester Arms – a nice, quiet gay pub, replaced with a generic modern bar in many forms, most recently the Greenwich Tavern. I don’t hate it, there’s nothing specific to hate – but it is all part of the blandification of Greenwich.

The Coach and Horses – the pub in the south west corner of the market, completing Greenwich Inc’s total ownership of all four corners. I heard terrible stories of how it went downhill ‘backstage’ getting, I am told, into a terrible condition. I don’t know if it still is.

I don’t know what will happen with Frank Dowling and Greenwich Inc, but I am concerned about the state the debacle has left Greenwich in. These buildings, without exception, are historic, and need attention from, ideally, lots of different people so that this wholesale degradation cannot happen again should an ‘empire’ go bust.

Wanted: Quirky, passionate individuals (with bottomless pockets and/or energy) to create something cool out of Greenwich Inc’s ashes…

Greenwich Swing Bridge…

Monday, January 20th, 2014

…is finally going to happen. I was delighted to hear the news from IanVisits (if you haven’t signed up for his weekly newsletter, DO IT NOW) who keeps his eye on all sorts of interesting places, not least the PLA. And when the PLA tell ships that work is going to begin on something, you know it’s true.

There’s been all sorts of muttering over the years about whether this would actually ever happen. It was originally a Section 106 agreement which would be just brilliant for anyone who wants to use the Thames Path. No slogging it round Norway street and trudging through Creek Road, just a straight walk across the bridge.

Then a new developer took over and it was feared that the bridge might accidentally get lost along the way. And for a while there was a plan for a fixed, rather ugly and very high bridge instead. But a swing bridge has won the day (maybe Waitrose, seeing more potential business from across the water, used a bit of pressure there, who knows) and work begins on the 11th Feb and will go on for 9 months. A long while, but that area’s been a building site for yonks anyway and this is something the whole community will benefit from.

Okay – I know that’s alright for me to go on about in the East – but believe me we have our own disruption from development and it’s rarely on anything like so positive a project.

Something I did learn this morning that I didn’t know, was that that wharf is called Granophast Wharf. What a wild name – I’ve never heard it before. Must look that one up…

Mad Road Signage at the Odeon

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Alex asks:
I was traveling to the Odean cinema this evening and by mistake I drove into a “bus lane only”.I would like to find out if there is any cameras there and do I have to worry about being giving a ticket ??? 

There’s certainly a very odd piece of road management for car drivers coming from the direction of the O2 and wanting to turn right to go to B&Q /Sainsburys/Comet/ Odeon, where the ‘obvious’ place to turn is actually a bus-only lane; drivers are required to take the one immediately left of that. It is marked with No Entry signs, but isn’t clear if you’re seeing the junction for the first time. 

The Phantom replies:

I don’t think there are any cameras on the road itself, but if you were in front of a bus, or there was one coming towards you, they may have snapped you with an on-board camera – it happened to me once in Croydon while they were doing the tram network and the road was a dog’s dinner of signage. Croydon council must have made a fortune out of confused Phantoms. They certainly didn’t spend it on signs…

But yes, that junction is a total mess. It’s dangerous, too – there have been a number of accidents with buses recently, but  it ISN’T clear where cars have to go if they are turning right into the Odeon/ B&Q / Sainsburys (and soon to be Matalan) estate.

The ‘main’ road is a bus lane, and there are two ‘no entry’ signs, one either side, that seem to imply there is no entry allowed whatsoever. Even if you know where you’re going you really have to think twice. The driver is forced to go to the extreme left, which just feels wrong, especially if you know that when you get round the corner you’re not going to be allowed into the little service road that runs along the shops. Then the little entrance into the car park is surrounded by hedges (very nice but…) that again, look like they’re not the main entrance.

I’ve not actually committed this particular sin, but my brain has been tempted to – it takes serious concentration every time to get it right. From the other end it’s much clearer -people who go up the service road from that end generally know exactly what they’re doing (and always seem to be the arrogant, swanky-vehicle brigade who don’t give a damn about bus cameras anyway…) but  from the north, Alex, yes, it’s a real issue. You are not alone.

This junction really needs to be looked at – and not just for motorists. The bus accidents a year or so ago created a little frisson of tutting, but I’m not convinced that if anything at all was done about it, it’s made any difference. I can’t see that if IKEA come to the peninsula it’s going to get anything other than a lot worse.

Sorry there are no pics – I meant to go out and snap some but haven’t had a moment.

Out with the Old, In with the New (annoying jobs around the house…)

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Around this time of year, people’s minds turn to practicalities after all the frivolity of the festive season

I always get a load of asks re. cleaners, repairers and stuff to do with going away in January and today is no different – this morning I got one about cleaners (see FAQs), three related to house repairs and one to do with going away – a pretty typical postbag for the first ‘real’ day back (though I’ve been ‘back’ for some time, chiz…)

Firstly Debra asks about burglar alarm engineers. A guess a burglar alarm going wrong is one of those pesky things that unless it’s actually causing a nuisance gets put off. I have no idea of any specialist electricians, so I’m asking here for recommendations.

In fact I don’t have any suggestions for any of these today – they’re all quite specific.

Like Jerry’s TV aerial, which, being the wrong side of the hill for Crystal Palace is very tall indeed. It’s swivelled round so it can’t get half the channels any more, but understandably IMHO he doesn’t fancy clambering onto the roof to try to fix it. He needs an engineer who can turn it to the right angle as he’s apparently missing the Channel Four News.

The felt on Maria’s shed roof blew off in the last storm. Once again, she doesn’t fancy climbing up to fix it but thinks it might be a bit too small a job to bother companies with. I disagree – it’s a job that needs doing, someone will do it – but how do you find someone good? Suggestions, please.

Finally, Dave needs to go into hospital for an operation but is worrying about his furry Best Friend while he’s in there. He doesn’t just want any kennels – he wants a Phantophile Recommended kennels. I have never had a dog, so I can’t help but I know a bunch of you will have ideas of a classy establishment Fido can visit…


Happy 2014

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year Folks!

It’s going to be an interesting year – there are several developments we need to keep an eye on – but also some very exciting innovations I’m beginning to hear about, projects that could be very interesting and – well, there’s always so much to discover in Greenwich. Let’s do it together…

Here’s hoping I’ll be able to keep on top of things better in 2014 than I did in 2013. My resolutions for this year include updating the Parish News more often, dealing with the postbag more efficiently (sorry if you’re still in that enormous queue,  if it helps I feel VERY guilty about it…) and posting more regularly.

Do feel free to kick me up the cloak on these, but in the meanwhile, Happy New Year…