We recently received a London Borough of Lewisham Business award for most sustainable business practice . We are grateful to Sir Steve Bullock and panel for recognising Hand Made Food’s efforts. Fourteen of us, chefs, shop staff, baristas, events staff, washers up raised a glass of Sussex’s best sparkling Breaky Bottom in a toast to our patrons and supporters. We recently lost a great Blackheath independent Sisters and Daughters to a stinging rent increase and ever increasing costs. We got Cook ( national chain of 60) a shop full of factory produced ready meals , a cashier and a freezer filler – at least they put gingham round the freezers.
Congratulations to them. I’m sure it’s not easy trying to run an independent business on the high street at the moment, and I have to agree about Cook, which I shall continue to refer to as Posh Iceland. The wicker baskets and picnic cloths aren’t fooling me… Handmade Food on the other hand is a lovely place, which I’ve spent a lot of time in, but for some reason never mentioned much on here. It serves Monmouth Coffee, which is delicious, and Neal’s Yard Cheese, not to mention all the food which is solid and tasty. It’s not cheap, but if you’ve looked at the rents on that high street, it’s not hard to see why (£100k a year for Venice Restaurant?)
After the testing a couple of weeks back, and two countdowns, the Blackheath Christmas Lights are finally on. Not Nick Ferrari this time – someone called Kevin who I didn’t recognise (although apparently he’s famous?)Kevin Bridges, and a fairly gloomy theological analysis from Father Nick, the Christmas Lights finally switched on.
It’s amazing how many people show up in the village to watch some bulbs (LEDs) switch on. In this age of high definition 3D entertainment, you’d think it would get overlooked (Mrs Bugle says it’s a very European phenomenon).
Anyway, they look lovely. The lights over the chipshop parade seemed to be forgotten about, but came on shortly afterwards. The (rather blurry) photos show before and after, but aren’t taken from exactly the same perspective, unfortunately. The Salvation Army were also parping away in a jolly fashion – audio is below.
So, it’s finally happened. Those mysterious looking black VW Beetles have finally dumped all their data into the Google Hive Mind, – lo and behold – we have Blackheath in glorious pseudo-3D almost QuickTime VR Panoramatastic streetview!
The screenshot (from Google) doesn’t do it justice. Click on the link, and have a look for yourself- you can move all around Blackheath, step by step, as though you were walking down the streets. I can see my house! But the real magic is that you can turn your head. The 360 degree panoramic stitching is really quite amazing.
He was joined by local councillors from Greenwich and Lewisham, and a local vicar. Earlier there had been a brass band playing Christmas Carols (provided by the Salvation Army), followed by a procession of church goers, who actually sang beautifully, despite looking rather scary in their black robes…
And if the animated snow and flickering images are driving you nuts, let me know and I’ll change them!
Merry Christmas (almost). Now, where’s that mulled wine?
Lots of changes afoot upon the high street, and I’m not diligent enough to keep up with them. First of all, the tapas (I think?) restaurant up near the bookshop has turned into “Pizzada”. I’m hoping this is some sort of Russian Pizza-house, to keep up with their cold-war fanatic neighbours, but actually looks to be a “Mediterranean all day dining experience”… Or a pizza joint. Never went to the Tapas place, but the sight of wipe-clean place mats scared me off (unless I’m thinking of the Mexican place two doors down?). Anyway, hope the food is better than the website.
Next up, Threshers is packing it in. I guess if you want cheap plonk, you go to Booze Busters, and if you want nice wine you go to Nicolas – they were always somewhere in between.
The mountain is moving to the Buddha. Without stretching my tortuous GCSE religious studies analogies any further, I think we’ll wait and see how this one pans out…
Thanks to Matt for the slightly confusing, but thoroughly good email… He also pointed out that a Christmas tree has appeared on the traffic island opposite the bookshop, but I didn’t manage to grab a photo of that…
Now, here is a treat… The beautiful and picturesque Greggs of Blackheath has been captured for posterity here, and is part of a strangely mesmorising set of photos – watch the slideshow here.
Watching the slide show really paints a strange view of the UK. Many of the shops are almost empty… Lots of them have people wandering past, staring in, contemplating whether to have a pasty or not. Some of them are modern, and look like a branch of Dollond & Aitchison, whilst others look like they are falling to pieces, next to shops that look like squats. They also show just how alike many of the UK’s high streets have become. Not like the old days….
Many thanks to Flickr user blueme for permission to use the photo.
Just saw a colourful sight on the High Street. I’m not sure if they were Hare Krishna? (I might ask them if I’m feeling brave). Anyway, they seemed to be pleasant enough, and at least they actually believe in what they are selling, unlike the awful Chuggers that were in Blackheath in force the other week allegedly for Amnesty International. Middle class begging for a cynical generation…
Actually the one at the bottom looks like he’s chatting her up….
I found these amazing photos of Blackheath and Lewisham. One in particular stood out, so I tried to take the same photo from the same position on the high street today. It just about works. The photo from 1900 looks much better than mine (although he probably wasn’t using the camera on the back of his mobile phone, I suppose)…