Great to see the village lights working again – much better than last year! Mysterious sightings of pigs notwithstanding, the whole day was full of music, events, food and drink. Really good effort. My range of fabric bags will be available any day now…
Just like last year, Greenwich council will collect your tree if you leave it out with your rubbish. Lewisham council want you to trudge over to your nearest park with your tree.
If you would like us to collect your real Christmas tree you must remember to remove all decorations then leave it next to your green-top bin on your normal collection day. Make sure you leave your tree where it can be easily seen by the collection team.
Take it to one of these designated places, or pay £15 to have the council collect it from your door. Note that the pins on the map are VERY approximate – please correct them if they’re in the wrong places.
As I said last year, I cannot understand why two councils differ so much over such a simple thing. We need a randomised controlled trial to work out the optimum way to dispose of Christmas trees. Hope Greenwich wins…
Photo: Close Enough by flickr user Greenzowie.
UPDATE: As James points out, anywhere to the right of this line is Greenwich, so perhaps we will see more Christmas trees next to the bins on the right hand side of this line…
These lights could be from any town anywhere in the UK. I really hope the lovely strings of Christmas bulbs are back up and running next year. I wonder what would have happened if Skanska had not won the contract to update all the street lamps. Would we have no Christmas lights, or would someone have found a way to repair the existing ones?
Councillor Kevin Bonavia responded to my enquiry about whether Blackheath’s traditional festoons will be lit up this year (they won’t):
The Guide is correct in saying that Skanska will be putting up white lights on lamp posts for this year’s Christmas season. This is meant as a temporary alternative to the traditional suspended lights across the Village, because there are a number of maintenance concerns relating to the existing lights, which frustratingly are unlikely to be resolved in good time for this year’s season.
To give you some background, unlike the Christmas lights in other parts of Lewisham Borough, the existing lights in Blackheath are not operated by the Council, but were acquired some years ago by a consortium of local businesses and had been paid for by local businesses, public donations and financial assistance from Lewisham Council.
Throughout the past year, we have been working to assist the operator of the existing lights to try to ensure that all of the existing lights could be switched on this year (including those across the roads). Unfortunately it looks as if the lights might be beyond economic repair.
Until recently, we were faced with the real risk that there would be no lights at all, but on examining the terms of Lewisham Council’s new long-term agreement with Skanska (who as you may know are currently replacing all street lamps across the Borough), it became clear that Skanska would be responsible for putting up and maintaining any temporary lighting as provided by the Council. In the short term, the Council’s own lighting budget has allowed for the lamp-post lights for this year.
As for the long term, we hope to make a funding proposal to the next Blackheath Assembly on 14 January (along with proposals for other community projects) so that the future of Blackheath’s Christmas lights can be put on a permanently viable footing.
As for this year, I hope the weather is kind for the switch-on: 4.30 pm on Saturday 7th December. Whilst on Christmas related events, Age Exchange are doing an open day on Thursday 5th December(10 am – 4 pm) which I understand involves switching on some Christmas lights as well, and there’s the traditional Christmas Eve nativity procession from St Mary’s Church to All Saints Church with carols on the heath, kicking off at 4 pm.
Don’t forget, it’s the Blackheath Christmas Fair today 10.30am-4pm. It’s in Blackheath Halls, and costs £1 to enter. All proceeds go to Age Exchange. Alan Williams, author of The Blackheath Seance Parlour will be selling signed copies of his book too.
On sale will be a wide range of beautiful hand-crafted presents, most of which are not readily found on the high street. From cashmeres to award-winning ceramics, Bolivian knits to finger puppets, limited edition prints to jewellery, organic babywear and recycled bags, to enamel bowls and gorgeous Christmas decorations, spectacular Indian silks and kitchen linens. There will also be plenty to tempt the taste buds with gourmet delicacies including flavoured vodkas, hand crafted chocolates, plum rum, homemade saucy sauces and chutneys. Something for everyone to suit all pockets and with most items £10 and under.
The Blackheath Christmas Fair has been organised by The Friends of Age Exchange, and local Blackheath based artist Fiona Bell-Currie. In an effort to keep it local, most of the selected independent traders and designers exhibiting are based in South East London and Kent.
There’ll also be live music, face painting, a tombola and the opportunity to buy charity Raffle tickets at the Fair, with fantastic prizes, from a week’s self-catering accommodation for six on the Isle of Wight, to an original framed pastel by artist Fiona Bell-Currie.
All proceeds from the door ticket sales (£1 entrance), and the Raffle go towards supporting the work of Age Exchange, a registered charity whose work using reminiscence based projects transforms the quality of life for older people. Proceeds will also support the volunteer-run lending library which shares its building with Age Exchange in the heart of Blackheath Village.
Entrance to The Blackheath Christmas Fair is £1 adults, free to Friends of Age Exchange and under 16s. More details at http://www.friends-of-age-exchange.org.uk. Twitter @blackheathfair. Blackheath Halls 020 8463 0100.
At 4.30pm today the Blackheath Lights will be switched on. Nick Ferrari, the quietly-spoken socialist will be doing the honours. Shops are staying open later, The Samaritans are carol singing, and the Salvation Army will be playing from 3pm.
Before and after image from the lights switch-on back in 2008, when I had more time to write this blog (apologies for the lack of updates lately- work is busy).