Tag Archives: lewisham council

Festival not OnBlackheath this year

Looks like the John Lewis / OnBlackheath music festival on the heath has now been postponed until September 2014, according to this comment from councillor Kevin Bonavia:

Lewisham Council has just been notified by OnBlackheath that they have decided not to go ahead with the event this year. I understand that OnBlackheath are now working on plans for September 2014, which we are likely to hear more about towards the end of this year.

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Lewisham council website playing up again

Lewisham Council's website crapping out again at the weekend
By running a web service, I should be able to access the council’s website out of hours. It’s a great idea, because it means that even when the staff aren’t in the office, I can still pay my council tax, or order some green garden bags.

Except that I can’t. For some reason I always end up attempting this task at the end of a weekend. By which time their web services usually look like the screen grab shown above.

Here’s what’s supposed to happen. You’re running some web apps. You monitor the servers that those apps are hosted on. You monitor their vital signs, (are the hard drives ok, has one of the power supplies gone a bit iffy, is it too hot in the server room), then you monitor the services running on that server. Finally you run some sanity checks on the actual web front end every so often. Can you still access the server, is the SQL database still accepting connections, etc etc. If any one of these things fails, someone in your team should be on call, and receive a text message. Then they proxy in, and fix it (or at least reboot something!).

To do this, you use a wonderful system called Nagios. It’s free and open-source, but a bit of a pain to set up, but it’s also highly configurable. You can get it to only fire messages to your on-call person when two minor faults have occurred. You can set it to wait a specific number of minutes to see if a fault resolves itself. You can even start firing text messages and emails to the on-call person’s boss if it’s still broken after a couple of hours!

If you work for Lewisham council, you should ask your IT people about this. It’s not that hard, and if it’s done well, it means that you’ll know about a fault before any of your users do.

Please, for the sake of my untidy garden.

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Love Waste Hate Food

Lewisham council garden waste collection... Or not

UPDATE: Name removed because Mrs Bugle said the problem was not down to one individual.

I don’t want Lewisham council to teach people how to compost. I want them to teach themselves how to compost. I’ve left several branded lewisham bags of garden waste outside. I’ve requested them to be collected, and they haven’t been. I’ve tried to re-request it, and got the screenshot above.

Greenwich collects garden waste by default. Lewisham’s recycling is pretty pathetic by comparison.

From the council:

I am writing regarding free workshops by Lewisham Council that I’d like to put on your blog. One workshop theme is about Love Food Hate Waste and the other theme is on home composting.
I can provide flyers with all the necessary details to go on the blog, but with so many workshops available I’ve decided to list them below as well in case that’s easier to see in one hit. Could you let me know if it is possible for these to go on your blog as soon as you’re able, as many of the workshops are coming up soon?
Many thanks, ####

Booking is essential. To book, please email ######
Please title email ‘compost workshop’, state which session you will be booking and how many people will attend. Please also include your phone details.
Alternatively call 020 8314 2145 to leave a detailed message. Please state which session you will be booking and how many people will attend, and leave your contact details.

Love Food Hate Waste and Composting workshops

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The Olympic Washerwoman’s Bottom

Olympic live event plans next to the church
Plans are available now to see what is planned on the field next to the church during the Olympics. As spotted by the Blackheath Village Residents Group:

The proper name of this area is Washerwoman’s Bottom, but the Council has chosen the more demure Church Field.

Live showings from 9am until 11pm each day, with booze served from 12noon onwards from 27th July until 12th August 2012, with up to 4,999 people in the venue.

Full details here, and license application here.

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Blackheath Fireworks on eBay, the bids so far


Above is a hastily knocked up chart showing the bidding so far on Lewisham Council’s Blackheath Fireworks eBay page.
The x-axis isn’t correct, as it doesn’t show the dates & times properly. If anyone wants to make a better one, the data so far is here as a google doc. I won’t be updating it this week, as I’m on holiday, but will try and make a better one on my return. Apparently the mayor of Lewisham was on LBC Radio yesterday, complaining to Shouty Nick Ferrari about Greenwich council failing to stump up any cash… I looked for a podcast or recording of it, but couldn’t find it on LBC’s website. See you in a week.

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Lewisham Council puts VIP fireworks tickets on eBay

Classy. From their website:

Lewisham Council is aiming to boost its public appeal for donations towards this year’s Blackheath fireworks on 6 November by offering the chance to bid on eBay for a VIP night out at South London’s largest firework display. The VIP package includes the privilege of starting the firework display itself.

The successful bidder will not only win the chance to launch the firework display but a VIP package that includes:

* access for up to ten people to an exclusive VIP viewing area for the duration of the display
* a private tour of the firing zone by experts from Pains Fireworks where all the fireworks will be laid out ready to fire (the tour will take place at 6pm, two hours before the display itself)
* VIP parking for three cars in the very heart of the event
* 10 meal vouchers from the Fine Food Company
* 10 drink vouchers to be used at any of the mobile bar units supplied by Creative Bars
* 10 hot chocolate vouchers supplied by Jaz and Jules
* Glo sticks for the whole party provided by Limelight Entertainment Ltd.

The eBay auction will start at 7pm on Thursday 21 October with a starting price of just 99p. Bidding will continue until 7pm on Sunday 31 October.

This is not the first time that land on the common has been auctioned on eBay. Although the last one was a lot funnier.

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Building a Better Bin Bag

As mentioned before, we have run out of biodegradable bin liners.  After extensive testing, and careful prototyping at great expense (well, a couple of newspapers worth at least), I have come up with a sure fire plan to show you what to do with the contents of a kitchen caddy.

The plan I eventually went for is this one, but with the addition of some Sellotape (I’m pretty sure Sellotape is biodegradable, and we’re going for saving the planet here, not origami perfection!).

The video above shows how to make one of these boxes.  There’s no sound, and sorry the quality isn’t wonderful, but I only have an ageing apple mac to film the video on!  If you want to make some, use three or four sheets of the largest newspaper you can find.  One box should just about take the quantity of waste in a kitchen caddy (unless it is hopelessly over stuffed, in which case you’ll need two)..

UPDATE:  If you’re feeling of an origami mind, check out this great TED talk.

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When the biodegradable bin liners run out…

Post-It Box

We are lucky enough to live in the part of Blackheath managed by Greenwich council, who seem to have a more sensible policy on recycling than Lewisham. It means that we were given a little green “caddy” to place kitchen scraps into, which can then be transferred to larger white biodegradable sacks, and then disposed of in a special biomass only wheelie bin once a week.

Which is great, except that the white bin liners were a one-off. Like a drug pusher offering the “first one free”, we aren’t going to get any more of these bin liners without paying for them. Fair enough, as it isn’t actually necessary to wrap your kitchen scraps in anything before chucking them into the wheelie bin, but it makes for a much nicer experience for all concerned if you do.

The council alternatively suggest wrapping the scraps in newspaper. So – I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do this. I had an idea that I could make some little origami boxes out of newspaper, and dump the waste into those before putting it into the wheelie bin.

UPDATE: There are loads of examples on the web, but, being origami, they are nearly all based on square sheets of paper, rather than rectangular newspaper sizes. I had a go with this one; but you have to start with a square sheet, and the box that is produced is pretty tiny (see below left).  All the boxes in the photo below were made with single pages of A4, despite the different sizes of box.

Origami bin liner replacements prototypes

This one looks more promising, shape-wise, but is in Japanese, and gets a bit confusing around about the reverse-folding stage.. The box is bigger but flimsier (see photo above right).

This one looks really good, but is meant for creating seed pots, so is quite small (see middle box in the photo above).

But they’re all a bit small. I suppose ideally, you’d want one made from several sheets of newspaper for strength, with no resizing of the paper required.

If anyone finds one, let me know, and I’ll try and add a video of my happless attempts to replace the bin liners soon!

Box made from a Post-It note by Flickr user teamaskins.

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The spider was a red herring

Stag Beetle

Following up on Arachnophobia, I’m sorry to say that the rare spider found on Blackheath story was definitely a bit of a red herring. I contacted GreenScene (part of Lewisham council), and got a very helpful reply from the aptly named Nick Pond:

Dear BB,

I have enquired with a local entomologist who responded regarding your
enquiry saying:

“I think the Blackheath where the spider is found is one near Guildford
in Surrey, not Lewisham. The spider is only known from a handful of
sites in Surrey and maybe neighbouring counties.”

There have been no in-depth entomological studies on Blackheath to my
knowledge and I would be very surprised if this occurrence did refer to
Blackheath, Lewisham. I am sorry I can’t furnish you with more positive
information.

Certain spider-fearing commentators might be delighted at this news. It seems that even if we don’t have any rare spiders, there are plenty of stag beetles, and to this end, Andrew Brown pointed out that the local council has an action plan to ensure that they continue to scare small children.

Making sure that the pupae have a suitable habitat to grow up in seems to be the most important thing – they need dead wood that has been left sitting around – known as a “loggery“, as they gradually eat the wood inside old tree stumps etc.

So if you want to look after your local stag beetle, you now have a perfect excuse for not tidying up the garden…

Photo by flickr user e3000 (Creative Commons licensed)

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