Archive for the ‘Things to do Events’ Category

Severndroog Castle Open Again at Last

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Photo: The Phantom Webmaster

After a catastrophic loss of photos from my computer (I don’t want to talk about it, it’s too depressing…), sadly this is the best shot I currently have of Severndroog Castle but I’m rather proud of it. It’s a screenshot of the displays at the top of the Shard which I named – there was a competition to nab free tickets to the opening day by coming up with the best thing you can see from the Shard that isn’t a big-hitter tourist attraction and I won.

But there’s a chance now that Severndroog is just about to become a big-hitter tourist attraction itself. Well, okay, maybe not as big as the Shard (in any capacity, save soul), but it is going to reopen and you will be able to go up it, there will be stunning views from it and (and this is the best bit) it costs just £2.50 as opposed to the £30+ you’re looking at for the Shard.

The Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust was formed some years ago to try to save the crumbling tower up in Oxleas Wood from death-by-grafitti. They received a bit of a blow at first when they failed to win that ghastly X-Factor style competition to ‘win’ the money to restore historic buildings but local voluteers decided it was worth doing anyway and they’ve been quietly beavering away at it ever since. I ‘bought a brick’ and it seems a lot of other people did too, as they’re re-opening on 20th July.

That day there will be guided tours and tea between 10.30am and 4.30pm. I am very excited to see it, but to be honest, I am prepared to wait just a tiny bit longer as I have a horrid feeling that that day is going to be horrendously crowded. In future throughout the summer they will be open Thursday, Friday and Sundays 12.30pm – 4.30pm for tours and every day except Monday the tearooms will be open between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

I did actually see up there a few years ago when it opened for one day only on Open House day. The queues were dreadful and you were allowed 5 short minutes view-time once you’d climbed all the way up there but it was enough to know I really, really wanted to go back. This one is going to be special, folks – and it will be open all summer between those times.

Create Your Own Secret Sundial

Friday, March 28th, 2014

I know – this should really be in the Parish News section, but hey – my blog, my rules. Besides, I feel like a little bit of a midwife on this one as I helped play Cupid between the collaborators on this project…

Remember the fabulous Secret Sundial? Here it is again:

Well, after Cathy from Stereochron got in touch with me about said Secret Sundial, I put her together with the very splendid and generally-up-for-interesting-stuff Marek Kukula at the Royal Observatory, suggesting that they created a festival of sundials so people could learn to make their own and spread sunshine and time around Greenwich.

And they’re doing it! At Summer Solstice, no less!

Cathy is actually artisit in residence at Chisenhale Gallery in Victoria Park over in trendy Hackney which makes it all the cooler that ‘our’ happening is the grand culmination of the events for  her wider project. You can see all the events on the website, but this is the Greenwich one I’m puffing out my Phantom chest about…

Making Midsummer Solar Clocks
Saturday 21 June, 11am-4pm. The Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park, London SE10 8XJ
Sunday 22 June, 11am-4pm. The Hub Building, Victoria Park, London E9 5DU 

Immerse yourself in the vital link between sunlight and time by spending Midsummer learning how to make clocks from the shadows of ordinary objects. For Stereochron Island, Chisenhale Gallery and Victoria Park are collaborating with The Royal Observatory to run two day-long workshops over the Summer Solstice weekend led by Public Astronomer Marek Kukula. Both workshops explore how to tell time by the Sun, how the movements in the solar system affect shifts on Earth and how time in Greenwich Park is different from Victoria Park time.

These two day-long events are for ages 16 and up. They include moving about on uneven parkland. You may attend one or both days. 

I’ll be updating the regular Parish News this weekend, so listings in by then please…

Running Gags

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Okay – I’ve had two emails this week, both looking for local groups. They are not connected in any way other than this post…

Firstly, Anne asks:

Do you know of a comedy writing group in the East Greenwich area? My mid-life crisis (okay, it’s a little later than “mid”) is taking me in that direction but I can’t find anything nearby. If I can’t find one I think I will start one.

Then Solange asks:

Do you know of a friendly running group (free) in Greenwich please?

So – suggestions, please. I do like the idea of a new comedy writing group if Anne starts one (think there was a course at the Tramshed, but it doesn’t appear to be on now). If we don’t come up with any existing groups, but you’d like to join Anne, do email me and I’ll pass you on. You never know we might end up with a Phantom Comedy Group as successful as the Phantom Book Group!

Brassed On

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Gosh was it really two years ago that Stephen was so fed up at the cuts which stopped paying for (mainly brass) bands’ expenses that he wrote to Royal Parks to protest? At the time RP called it a ‘non-core’expense and the glorious Colebrookedale Bandstand lay fallow throughout the summers of 2011 and 2012.

But now thanks to sponsorship from The Friends of Greenwich Park I’ll be able to once more don the Phantom Boater, sit in a stripy deckchair, lick a 99 and listen to live music of a Sunday afternoon – perfect for this weather.

I am delighted to see this gentle pursuit return. I always thought it a very petty saving on the part of Royal Parks – it wasn’t as though the bands were being paid – they just got exes, and the money saved, in the grand scheme of things, can’t have been enough to do much else. I guess they’ll never cough up now the Friends have dug their hands in their pockets but hey – a Phantom round of applause to the Friends for actually doing so.

The next one is a Jazz band on the 28th July at 2.00pm and Greenwich Concert band will be performing on the 25th of August.

The Merry Month of May

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Julie's Photo

A lazy post from me today, thanks to Mike and Julie who sent me some fantastic shots of yesterday’s May celebrations. It’s always quite an eyeful to see a tree walking through the streets of Greenwich:

Julie's Photo

and I really love that it is still done on May Day itself, rather than the nearest weekend, even if it means I can’t always see it for myself – somehow it seems ‘right’ rather than ‘convenient.’

Mike's photo

So who are these brave souls who paint themselves green, wear rams’ horns or dress up as trees?

Mike's Photo

Well – they are the good folks of Fowler’s Troop and the splendid ‘tree’ is the Deptford Jack in the Green.

Mike's Photo

The tradition, from around 1906, was revived in the early 1980s by the Blackheath Morris Men (who, I assume, were out there on Blackheath yesterday morning at the sort of hour Phantoms are still tucked up in bed after a hard night’s haunting. One of these May Day’s I WILL get up early enough to see them…)

Julie's Photo

Some of the Jacks around the country have swollen into giant celebrations, with hundreds of people pitching up to see the fun. I rather like that although it’s not a secret (I always put it in the Parish News) it’s quite a ‘hidden’ affair, for people in the know and those who are surprised and delighted by it when it suddenly arrives.

Julie's Photo

If you ever feel like getting involved with Fowler’s Troop, do look at the website and send an email to regular Phantophile Sarah, who can tell you all about it…

Open Day at Ballast Quay

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Moving on from the dreariness of yesterday’s post about what’s happening to Lovell’s Wharf now, something a little cheerier. This fabulous photograph was sent to me my Hilary Peters, who long-term Phantophiles will know was the one-woman driving force behind saving the stunning buildings along Ballast Quay (where the Harbourmaster’s Office is, next to the Cutty Sark) and the creation of the cutest garden in Greenwich.

She has been writing a history of Ballast Quay, which I am dying to read, and I won’t have long to wait, as she’ll be selling copies on a special open garden day in June.

Put the 8th and 9th June in your diaries, folks – and get the chance to walk through that usually-locked gate (and meet the wonderful Hilary…)

Why I Love the #Dangleway

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Okay, it’s not the quickest way to get to anywhere other than Victoria Dock itself, and yes, the cash could have been spent on other things – but I hold up my hands – I love the new cable car with a passion.

I wasn’t convinced I was going to – as a sickly Phantom who suffers from both vertigo and motion sickness I had my doubts. About a week before it opened I took a trip on the Roosevelt Island ‘Tram’ in New York, which isn’t nearly as high, but at least similar (it, too, goes to somewhere that is already served by other transport, and only has a bunch of flats, an old tram shelter and a hospital once you get there) just to see if I was going to freak out.

I didn’t. Still, the first time I used our own local cable car for local people, I used my Oyster, just in case. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought a season ticket. Then I bought a bunch of other season tickets so I could persuade my friends to come.

Why do I love it?

I love the views. I love the way it stops and steadies itself in high winds. I love the cheery chaps that arrange who’s going to sit where like something out of a stop-motion kid’s TV programme like Bob the Builder or Postman Pat. I love looking down on Anthony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and realising that you can still see a human figure in it even from above. I love looking across at the boiler-suited climbers huffing and puffing their way up and over the Dome, desperately pretending that they’re on Sydney Harbour Bridge, and smugly thinking ‘ha, ha, cheaper, easier, higher, sitty-downier than you…’  I love the screens with the creepy films of ‘locals’ waving for just that little bit too long as you’re waiting to have a podule allocated to you. I love that the season tickets are so lo-tech that you actually have to have them punched with a proper puncher like back in the 1950s and the guy on barrier duty has to stop everything to let you out.  I love the air-con blowing round my bare ankles (or is that just a draft?) I love the way it speeds up as you’re going down so you get that little rush of adrenalin (I know, I know, I haven’t been out much recently.) I love that the quickest way through to North Greenwich station is through a busy car park and nobody seems to think that that’s going to be a problem.

I’m such a kid that I find myself scrambling about over the seats to make sure I don’t miss anything, then I realise I’ve missed loads and the first thing I want to do is get back on again. I even used it to actually get from A to B a couple of times, albeit in a slightly roundabout and more expensive fashion than it would have been if I’d just gone from North Greenwich to Stratford on the Jubilee Line.

I know. I’ve heard all the white elephant/ should have spent it on other things/ Mayor’s vanity project/ in the pocket of a certain airline/ frivolous waste/ already served by plenty of transport/ will be unused after the ‘Lympics arguments and in my head I hear them. Trouble is, in cases such as this my heart always, always wins. I just love the cable car.

My one regret is that I haven’t actually had a podule to myself yet. Never mind – shouldn’t have to wait long for that…

Phantom Tote

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The Phantom Bookie is his waving arms around in a scary fashion – it’s the Annual Greenwich Pantomime Horse Race again…

It all starts at 1.00pm.

Full Line up:

Kings Arms
Lord Hood
Pelton Arms
Rose & Crown
Coach & Horses
Morden Arms
Greenwich Union


Dolphin Man

The cast of Aladdin will rocking up before the race along with St Alfege’s Christmas Carol Singers – what’s not to like?

The Today Show’s racing tipster apparently lost anyone who followed him £60 this year, which just goes to show you can’t trust the BBC on form but a quiet word with the trainers reveals that the Hippo is odds-on favourite…

More info here and a groovy video that just refused to embed on the site here

Red Bull Lucky Dip

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

The Phantom Vicar has an announcement:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do hope you’re all holding your tickets for the tombola, as Mrs Bracegirdle will be drawing the winning numbers this Sunday.

As you know, the prizes consist of tickets for local residents and up to five of their friends to visit the entertaining popular event “The Red Bull Air Race,” which I am sure you will remember was most enjoyable last year.

If you haven’t got your raffle tickets yet, Young Simon tells me there’s still time to register ‘on line.’ Visit on your interwebs. It’s open to anyone who lives in Greenwich, Newham or Tower Hamlets.