Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Here we go again…

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Sorry folks – looks as though I have to go away for six weeks. Bang to rights – ignoring readers. If I get time off for good behaviour, I’ll be back, promise…

The Phantom Returns…not with a bang but with a whisper

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Something I've missed - Greenwich's fine tradition of water features

Folks, I realise it’s been a long, long time since I posted properly. Life has taken its toll, and continues to do so, but I have missed you all, and missed posting about my beloved Greenwich.

It’s odd to think that when I started, back in 2006, I was posting seven days a week – what on earth possessed me? Some kind of demon, I suppose. I managed five days a week for a good six years, but after issues that I won’t go into – this blog isn’t about me, it’s about Greenwich – it dwindled down until I had to stop altogether.

In the meanwhile, some great blogs, newsletters and even video stations have sprung up, and some fine publications – Greenwich Visitor, especially, is a publication after my own heart. But kind people have been telling me to start again and, at the risk of crowding the market, I’m going to attempt a little part-time phantasmagorical haunting.

It’s never going to be five days a week again – my circumstances have changed completely – but I’m figuring once a week is better than none, so let’s start with that. I won’t be updating the Parish News just yet, but do keep me in touch with what’s going on – I’m horribly out of the loop.

I’ve been collecting interesting snippets; I think we can do this. Expect the first post tomorrow…

Oh – and happy new year, all!

Summer Comes…and goes…

Monday, September 1st, 2014


Folks – I must throw myself on your mercy a little longer. Summer has come, bloomed and now begins to ebb towards autumnal hue yet the magical land of Phantomalia remains in turmoil.

I have every intention to returning to the blog just as soon as it is possible, but for now, all I can say is thank you for your patience, thank you for continuing to let me know of interesting things going on, subjects for debate, and some truly interesting, quirky things that I WILL share with you all when I can. I am reading all your email, ‘starring’ what I can for later, and noting what I can around town.

I leave you with two things – an interesting series of walks by Rich Sylvester round the new ‘heart of East Greenwich’:

Would you like to know more about our historical timeline and the development at Greenwich Square?
In conjunction with Richard Sylvester (the man behind the historical timeline) and Mace Construction we would like to offer you an insight about the history of Greenwich Square and the new development.
These hour long talks will explain the history of the site and give you the opportunity to view the site from the top of the marketing suite on Vanbrugh Hill.

Dates and times (maximum 10 people per visit) – if you are interested please email: to book your place.
10th September 4pm and 6pm
11th September 4pm
24th September 4pm
25th September 4pm and 6pm

And a reminder about fireworks for the tall ships festival – this Friday evening at 9.15pm

The magnificent photo is by old Phantom Lag Stevie, who is in the middle of creating a book of photographs of Greenwich that I look forward to almost as much as I look forward to posting properly again. I suspect at this rate Stevie may beat me to it.

Phantom Holding Pattern

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Folks, I’m sorry about this extended ‘holiday’. Sadly there is an awful lot going on in Phantom Land at the moment and I am simply unable to post. I AM reading all your mail – there’s great, fascinating and shocking stuff in there. I’d love to discuss it all with you – and I will – but not now.

One thing I need to clear up. Some people have asked why comments are turned off – this is nothing to do with censorship, personal blocking or any other kind of consipiracy. It’s just to do with spam-management – comments automatically turn off after 14 days to prevent spam-bots posting random posts about mail-order brides, knock-off trainers and fake university degrees.

I will be back as soon as I am physically able to be.

Posting ‘Holiday’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Folks, please accept my sincerest apologies for not posting recently. I’m afraid the situation demands I take a short break from haunting. Please keep an eye out – I WILL be back and as soon as possible – I have important things to discuss with you – but the next couple of weeks, perhaps longer, are not going to see much in the way of Phantom activity.

Sorry :-(

Bad News for Anyone Who Ever Wanted to Just Get Home…

Monday, July 7th, 2014


RE: Sainsbury’s and Former Comet Stores, 55 & 57 Bugsby’s Way, Greenwich, SE10

The request made to the Secretary of State to call in the above proposal was carefully considered against the call in policy as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 26 October 2012. It was decided that it should not be called in and that the application should be left to London Borough of Greenwich Council to determine.

I appreciate that this is not the preferred outcome for you and I understand that there will be great disappointment as a result. It is however, now for London Borough of Greenwich Council to determine this application.

So basically,be prepared to avoid the Blackwall Tunnel area for the next few years until IKEA is finally burned down by some crazed Michael Douglas type. My bet is it will be a Saturday afternoon, though frankly I’m taking odds on Sundays or perhaps a bank holiday.


Friday, June 27th, 2014

Photo:Mike Purdy

Mike spotted these chaps giving the Cutty Sark a spring clean which in this weather must be hot work but better than being stuck in an office…

Photo: Mike Purdy

Perhaps just a teeny bit less glamorous but nevertheless important, our friend Alan Driscoll, Greenwich’s local handyman, has been sprucing up some bollards around town.

Photo: Alan Driscoll

If there’s any little sprucery in the town centre that you think Alan and his team could do to make the place look better drop me a line and I’ll pass it on to him…

Blue Badge Warning…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

As a relatively mobile Phantom I have never known rules and regulations of the Blue Badge parking scheme. I do know that it’s supposed to allow easy access to people with disabilities, which is why I’m always scrupulous about never parking in disabled bays at Sainsbury’s even when it’s 2.00am and I’m the only one there. Likewise it bugs the hell out of me when others aren’t so thoughtful – I confess to a sneaking satisfaction when I was walking through Sainsbury’s car park recently and saw a builder’s pick up truck in a disabled space that had been clamped…

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today I’m letting you know (rather late, the email went astray – folks, do send stuff to me via the address on the page rather than via the Phantom Webmaster as it can slip through the net – about an experience a blue badge holder had in the car park in Greenwich High Road, next to the main post office.

It has recently been taken over by a private parking firm, apparently, VJC Parking management. Mr G has been a blue badge holder for many years and has always been allowed to park there free of charge. VJC have changed the rules and now blue badge holders have to pay, but instead of advertising the fact clearly, they are waiting for the holder to display their badge, then issue a PCN while the holder’s away.

Now, presumably, there is a notice actually on the signs, but if you’ve been parking there for years, it’s easy to miss changes in a sign. Mr G did his usual thing – parked up, nipped into the post office for a couple of minutes, and came out to see a warden in the middle of issuing a fine. The parking attendant told Mr G he had watched Mr G displaying the badge – which sort of goes to show they’re not up for just telling people they can’t park for free, they just want the cash.

I guess the issue here is not the parking charge as such, blue badges are supposed to allow access, not necessarily free access, it’s the way people are informed.

If I was a Phantom Parking Attendant I’d be rubbish at my job – I’d feel the need to tell someone if a rule had changed that they needed to know about. There’s deliberately taking the Michael, like the builder vans in disabled spaces – and there’s genuine mistakes. I like to think I’d know the difference.

So – just be careful if you have a blue badge, eh, folks. READ THE NOTICE!

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.

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…