Why isn’t my comment showing?

Due mainly to the anti-spam system on WordPress, I have to okay every new user. Once your first comment has been allowed you SHOULD be able to continue to post unmoderated.

However, if you change your email address, or if you say something racist, sexist, homophobic or libellous, make an ad hominem attack, write something crazily off-topic or anything else that I deem to be offensive (my blog, my whim…) which leads me to disallow your comment, your next comment will have to go through the approval process again before you can continue to comment unmoderated. I do not ‘punish’ people who have said something I’ve disallowed by deliberately taking ages to re-allow your comments, but being a one-Phantom-band, if I’m away from my desk, this process can be for as long as it takes for me to return to the office. Weekends especially, can take some time.

The rule is – play nice. I don’t censor opinions. I do disallow personal attacks.

Yeek! Something On the Blog’s Not Working!

I am the world’s least technical Phantom, but the Phantom Webmaster will know what to do. Please email


and let TPW know:

  • what the issue is
  • whether you are running Windows, a Mac or some species of Linux
  • what browser you are using (including the version, which you’ll usually find under Help -> About)
  • whether this is happening on the front page, a category page, an article page or some combination of the above

Ta ever-so…

Can You Suggest Somewhere For My Wedding?

This is my most frequently-asked of all frequently-asked questions. I get asked this so often in fact that I’ve spent some time brainstorming and coming up with ideas. It’s no way exhaustive but it’s a start. Find it here.

There’s stuff about weddings, parties, anniversaries and kiddies’ birthday parties – a work in progress but something to get you thinking…

Would You Like To See My Photos?

Of course – I always love to see pictures of Greenwich-related stuff. And to use them on the blog too, from time to time. My own photography is mediocre at best. I will assume that anything you send me is for use on the blog unless you state otherwise – and that the copyright is yours to grant permission on for use on my site. Sadly I can’t pay any fees, but I will always credit you.

Do I Have To Register To Comment?

No – but we do ask for a name (which can be an alias) and an email address. The email address won’t be published.

I Have A Question For You…

Great! Contact me at thegreenwichphantom@gmail.com and I will try my best to answer it. It will usually be on the website, unless it’s one I’ve answered before (in which case I’ll probably just direct you to the answer), one that isn’t really suitable – for instance if it’s something that affects just one person – or one that doesn’t suit the blog. Everything’s at my discretion – I may just not like the cut of your jib… (it hasn’t happened yet…)

A couple of points:

I will usually refer to you by the first name of whatever you call yourself to me – unless you specifically ask to be anonymous.

I will assume that any photos or other material you send me is for use on the blog unless you specifically say it’s for my eyes only.

Can I Use Your Photos On My Website?

Yes – providing:

  • I actually took them. Occasionally pictures I use are sent to me by local photographers – and obviously I don’t hold the copyright to them. I will always say (usually in the body of the post) if the pictures are not by me.
  • Your site is non-commercial.
  • You say where they came from. Ideally, I’d love a link back to the site – but even if you don’t, just letting people know where the picture’s from will make me a very happy Phantom.

Will You Help Me With My Family Tree?

Being a Grumpy Old Phantom, I have no interest in my own family tree and I find it totally baffling that anyone would think I’d have any interest in theirs. Catch me on a good day and I may try to help. Catch me on a bad day and I’ll send you off to the Heritage Centre with a flea in your ear…

I’m A Local Tradesperson. How Can I Get Into The Phantom’s Little Black Book?

By being fantastic – and by being recommended by someone I trust. You need to have done exceptional work for me, my personal friends, or someone who comments regularly on the blog. All entries are included at my whim – but we always need good tradepeople – if you’re good, you’ll get in there…

Can I Subscribe To You Via LiveJournal?

We’ll hopefully be amending the Livejournal syndication to pull the new feed rather than the old feed fairly shortly.

How Can I Find Old Posts?

There are three basic ways (until I manage to find a better way of indexing everything)

1. The best method. Use the Google Search box on the side of the home page, or on the search page. Its default is “search within this blog” so if you’re looking for a specific thing – say a particular restaurant, you can type it in and hit ‘search.’ And yes. The Phantom Webmaster has apologised for the bad pun at the top of the results page.

2. A so-so method. Look at the list of categories at the side of the page and try to second-guess which one (or ones) I will have listed your subject under, click on that label and scroll down. I’m often a bit arbitrary about labels though and it can be a bit of a slog, especially if there are a few dozen posts about, say, restaurants.

3. The least useful way – if you know which month it was posted, look down the side bar for that particular month. A pain in the backside, but sometimes yields results.

Will You Advertise My Greenwich Goods For Sale On Ebay?

Er, no.

Will You Give Me a Valuation on the Greenwich Item Granny Left Me in her Will and I Want to Flog Because I Don’t Care About Greenwich or Granny, I Just Want the Cash?


I Have Some Interesting Information For You…

Ooooh – lovely. Contact me at
in the first instance. If you have some interesting item you’d like me to see we can arrange a clandestine drop-off at a secret dead letterbox.

I only do it for the cloak-and-dagger glamour…

Do You Ever Do Talks?

Believe it or not, I actually get asked this one. Of course I don’t – my voice would get very muffled through the paper bag. But it’s no great loss. I’m a dreadful speaker. In my humble opinion, the best speaker in the area on local history is Neil Rhind, president of The Blackheath Society. Eloquent, humorous and more knowledgable than I could ever be, even if I don’t always agree with him. Book him for your talk – you will not be disappointed.

I Am a Researcher for TV/ Radio/ Newspapers. Will You Do My Work For Me and Find Out Obvious Stuff I Could Easily Google Myself?

I think you can probably guess the answer to that one.

Can I Quote You In My School Essay?

Well – you can – I don’t mind – but I wouldn’t recommend it. I do my best to be accurate, but this site is principally to entertain and if I have the choice between complete historical accuracy and a cheap gag, the gag will win out every time.

Take my stuff as a starting point. Read up about the things you find interesting, go to the library, read books, go to lectures and join local groups. Don’t leave me to do all the legwork – I may let you down. It’s always worth reading the comments after a post – there are quite often clarifications of the “I think you’ll find…” variety from people who know more than me.

Why Do You Stay Anonymous?

Greenwich is a small town. And I live here. What I ultimately want is good service for me – but that’s no good if the rest of the time, for everyone else, the service is crap. If I want to get a real idea of how people are treated, it’s important for service-providers to have no idea who The Phantom is. That way they will have to treat every potential cusomer as a potential reviewer. Simple as that.

By the way. Perhaps I should warn that I have lied through my teeth on the two occasions I have been challenged, and will cheerfully do it again…


Can I Advertise On Your Site?

Sure. You need to go to Google AdWords and sign up with them. Every time someone clicks through to your website from mine, you pay google a small fee, of which I see a much smaller bit.

Be warned. Neither of us gets any choice about what goes up and I may well have trashed your restaurant in my copy, next to a nice advert for it.

I don’t take any other form of advertising – I cannot see how any newspaper/magazine/website can be truly independent if they are reliant on advertising from the very people they are writing about. There are local magazines (who will remain nameless) who claim to “review anonymously and pay for meals” – with a big, fat ad for the joint on the page opposite. I have never seen anything but glowing reviews in these publications. Unless you have the clout of Time Out, or you just do it for fun, you will always be reliant on the revenue from the very people you’re supposed to be being objective about.

Tip: If you do AdWords, use lots of Greenwich-y type metatags in your copy. Then it will be more likely to come to me…

Where can I find a good cleaner?

It’s a sign of how this place is changing that this is one of the questions I get asked most.

The Phantom Household still does its own cleaning, so personal recommendation is out, I’m afraid.

Most people think of old-fashioned cocker-ney chars, complete with flowery turban and frilly apron, mop and bucket in hand, ready to make your house sparkle, always happy to sit down with a cup of tea for a good old gossip.

I believe they’re still around (you only have to see that ghastly “How Clean is Your House” for that – why do people choose to show off on telly the pigsties they live in through their own laziness?) but the very fact that they are treasures makes people rather jealous of theirs.

I get all sorts of hand-printed leaflets through the door from individuals wanting to clean my place (not so sure they’d still want to if they actually saw it) which could unearth someone fantastic – though the chances of references are presumably lower and it’s a very personal thing, letting someone you don’t really know into your house.

That leaves cleaning companies. They at least come with things like insurance and guarantees, but they do have drawbacks. You never know who you’re going to get – and since turnover is high it’s possible you’ll never get the same person twice – and, of course, you’ll pay more.

I confess I’ve not even considered a cleaning company since I read Nickel & Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, where she goes undercover (albeit in The States) as a minimum-wage worker in various menial jobs and gets treated appallingly. Ok, ok, this was America, but I’ve become a bit suspicious anyway. Not only do some American companies treat their workers terribly but they essentially rip-off consumers too (one trick that sticks in the mind was spraying heavily-scented furniture polish into the air so that a consumer will think a room has been cleaned.)

If you check out the “services” section of the Phantom site, and look at the comments under my post about cleaners, you may get some more tips, but for now, it’s just a case of trial, error and asking your neighbours…