Monthly Archives: January 2009

That’s an old gofer…

A video has appeared on Youtube celebrating 400 years of the Blackheath Gofer (Goffer possibly, but Gofer?). I’m guessing, as the video seems to be full of old men hitting little white balls, that it is actually about Blackheath Golf Club. Anyway, it is a trailer for a 42 minute film to be released soon.

Here’s a game for you – watch the video and try to spot one non-white face… Go on, I dare you.

More on the dubious beginnings of the club here.

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The Birds


Lovely, rather sinister photo of the Bleak Heath by Flickr user Lemon Te. Used by permission.


Filed under art, blackheath

The passenger squashing quota…

Train pulling in to Blackheath Station
Coincidentally, Southeastern Trains had a sort of open day today, where a number of their senior managers were standing in Charring Cross station, ready to answer questions.

So I asked them whether there is any quota that they have to meet in terms of “how squashed are the passengers?”. The answer was revealing. They are allowed a squashed passenger ratio of 135%. So if a carriage has 100 seats, they are allowed 35 passengers standing up. This is only for journeys shorter than 20 minutes.

These numbers were off the top of his head, so may not be exact.

I also asked about the number of carriages on during rush hour. He said that they had to reduce the numbers during January, to get ready for a big shift on maintenance rotas, which should allow more carriages to be used in future during the busiest periods. Which is good.

I heard a rumour ages ago that the train companies have to pay National Rail a fee per carriage, which is why it is in their interests to run the shortest possible trains (within the squashing quota). This is true, and also (he pointed out) makes sense, as more carriages use more electricity and wear the track down more.

All in all, I think it is a great idea to have the management standing out there, to at least find out what the passengers leaving the cattle trucks are thinking! I just wish it was a bit less squashed.


Filed under blackheath, transport

Blackheath ready to swallow oysters?

Travel by Bugle

Simon writes:

Southeastern trains will be using Oyster Pay-as-you-go within the year, so I thought that people might like to know about a brilliant discount you can get if you have a Railcard. It is little publicised, but you can get Railcards (Young Persons, Senior, Disabled and Forces) added to your Oyster card. This will lower the off peak daily travelcard cap by 34%.

So travelling from Blackheath (zone 3) off peak will cost a maximum of £3.80!

Further details here.

Thanks Simon, although the Bugle will never understand the TfL pricing structure as long has he lives…

UPDATE: There is some discussion about whether this is accurate – see the comments below.

And ever since losing his £1000 per year railticket and receiving a snotty letter telling him “Don’t do it again”, he’s starting to consider investing in a high quality colour printer and some photoshop skills….

I love this travel tip that I read a while back in the Grauniad, although I’ve no idea whether it really works:

The most stylish and ridiculously brilliant fare-saving tactic, however, is this: do you travel around the country reasonably regularly after 10am but don’t qualify for any discount cards? Wherever you live, march into your nearest station and demand a season ticket for the three-minute journey from Ryde St Johns Road to Ryde Esplanade on the Isle of Wight.

This, the cheapest season ticket in the UK, will set you back £116. Buying a season ticket automatically gives you a “Gold Card” – which entitles you to a third off almost all off-peak UK fares. You can also upgrade to first class for £5 return on most of your journeys if you want to give yourself a treat.


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Bacon Blackheath and Pears

Fatted calf bacon by flickr user SixyBeast

Pear by Flickr user Vanessa Pike Russell

Isn’t Twitter wonderful? You too can discover that former Blue Peter presenters are eating pears and running around Blackheath! At least he didn’t write “Nom nom nom” at the end of the message like some people insist on doing

Photos from flickr user SixyBeast and Vanessa Pike-Russell respectively.


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Blackheath does God – religion as lifestyle

All Saint's Church, Blackheath, in the fog by Flickr user CaptainMcDan
The Times had an article about the local church in Blackheath. Which is fine, I guess, although I couldn’t really understand how this was in any way newsworthy… Lots of people find God when they suffer difficulties. It has a photograph of a luminously backlit attractive young lady standing next to a vicar in front of the picturesque All Saints church, and feels as though it could have been written about a major new boutique that was opening up, or perhaps a new theatre.

It’s not so much the story which is unbearable, as the endless lifestyle/fantasy elements within the article. Why is it that everyone writing within the colour supplements of the broadsheets has children called Wilma and Archie, and edits magazines?! Can’t any of them be systems analysts, dental nurses, life insurance salesmen, or work in telesales? Anyway, it sounds like church is great fun, with lots of candles and incense if you fancy it…

I might stick to confused atheism, but it ain’t half grumpy. God, I wish there was a secular church sometimes. A grown-up’s youth club, for want of a better term. Where people could meet up with their neighbours, and say hello, safe in the knowledge that they probably aren’t axe-murders, because they are “good Christian people”… No, hang on, that needs a bit of work, doesn’t it… Maybe Dawkins should restart his Bright movement as a national youth club for adults.

Still, the comments in the article are ace… I’m surprised nobody wrote the classic “There is no God, and Dawkins is his prophet”…. Where is Margaret Atwood when you need her? Or Bartlett for that matter:

Photo by Flickr user Captainmcdan.


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Recruiting Today… No thanks

Army recruiting leaflet handed out a Blackheath Station
Saw this leaflet being handed out at Blackheath station last week. The only time I’ve ever seen people sitting inside that army recruitment office was once – a mother and what looked like her 17 year old son were sitting on the chairs looking out onto the high street… I couldn’t help wondering whether she was signing him up to go and get shot at in Iraq or Afghanistan.


Filed under blackheath, politics

Unlucky High Street?

Christmas Lights still up in Blackheath High Street 24th January
I could have sworn it was bad luck to leave Christmas Decorations up after Twelfth Night. They were still blazing away yesterday evening. Maybe it doesn’t apply to street decorations?


Filed under blackheath, blackheath village, shops

A teaspoon of Blackheath, and an open mind

A TARDIS police box lands in Blackheath

An interesting coincidence:

Bob (writer of the wonderful reminiscence piece published earlier), asked yesterday:

The Blue Police Box (now called a TARDIS in the Dr. Who series) was once outside the Blackheath Bookshop, Tranquil Vale side.

Is it still there ?

It certainly isn’t there, although I wish it was! Does anyone know when it dematerialised?

Now for the coincidence: – at almost exactly the same moment, this piece of Doctor Who Fan Fiction was published!  A story about The Doctor appearing in Blackheath:

Can I point out the site’s wonderful disclaimer: “Doctor Who and its accoutrements are the property of the BBC, and we obviously don’t have any right to them. Any and all crossover characters belong to their respective creators. Alas no one makes any money from this site, and it’s all done out of love for a cheap-looking sci-fi show.”  Brilliant!

The animation above was by me, except for the TARDIS, which was from Wikipedia.


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Stop! Fixed!

The Bookshop on the Green in Blackheath

UPDATE: They’ve amended the page, so no harm done… Think my headline was a little premature.

Kake wrote to me to point out that this site was using a copy of the photo above that I took on their site.  The problem has quickly been fixed, and they have referenced the photo back to this site.

Actually their site looks good too – in fact it’s well worth a look.

Which reminds me-  I found another London Blog, called full of nice ideas about things to do in London.

There’s a great explanation of what Creative Commons is by Larry Lessig, who came up with the idea. Basically, you can use my work anywhere, for free, but you must link back to it from your site…. And if you choose to modify my work, you have to use the same type of license for your work too – which is doing, which is good!

There’s another brilliant talk about why this is a good idea by Cory Doctorow ( video or transcript ).


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