Posts Tagged ‘Local’

Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 2, Peckham

January 29, 2012

I only managed to find the Sense and Scope shops–I think there is or was another one somewhere.

The Sense shop is at 43 Rye Lane and had 13 shelves of books (say 450 volumes in all), leaving aside the separate children’s section and a rotating stand of romance novels (not all of which were in fact romances).  There was rather a high concentration of books that looked interesting to me, and in fact I even found two to buy–Bowling Alone (Robert Putnam) and The Red Tent (Anita Diamant).  Each of these cost £ 1-50–note that the price is labelled on the cover rather than written inside.  This shop also had a sign up saying that they urgently needed donations.

The Scope shop is at 93 Peckham High Street and didn’t seem very book-oriented.  There were 3 shelves of books, say 120 volumes in all, and I didn’t see anything that interested me.  The common theme in Peckham seemed to be Andrea Camillieri (as opposed to Ian McEwan and Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda in Forest Hill).


This study can now include the ALD Life shop at 45 Peckham High Street.


It had say 30 shelves of books and 1500 volumes overall.  The nearest I came to anything I might want was The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, but in general the selection looked quite promising.  The opening hours are pictured below:


Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 1, Forest Hill

January 25, 2012

Since people very sensibly decline to lose all their money by opening a bookshop–secondhand or otherwise–in the vicinity of Brockley SE4, I’ve decided to undertake a desultory survey of what the local charity shops have to offer.  My first investigation took me to Forest Hill SE23.

The Red Cross shop at 6 London Road was the only one I could call readily to mind.  It turned out to have say 11 shelves of books, say 450 volumes in all.  I noticed about 6 titles that I would have bought if I hadn’t already read them.  I came nearest to buying The Child that Books Built by Frances Spufford, but at £1-50 it was rather expensive for the condition (heavily tanned pages).

Then completely by chance I came across the Aldlife shop at 81-83 Dartmouth Road.  I didn’t know there was a charity shop there and I didn’t know there was such a thing as adrenoleukodystrophy either.  Anyway, the shop had about 800 books, excluding the separate children’s section.  It also had a nice polished wooden floor to sit on while looking at the books.  There was one copy of Atonement (as against two in the Red Cross and a couple of interesting-looking books in German (surely you should have German books in Forest Hill).  The nearest I came to buying anything was The Richness of Life, a selected Stephen Jay Gould in one volume for £1–but it had too much bulk and too little content that was new to me.

Finally I visited the Sue Ryder shop at 30/32 London Road.  I knew the shop was there, but I’ve never been sure of the difference between Sue Ryder and Ann Summers.  This one had 10 shelves of books, say 400 volumes in all, and the shelves were equipped with speakers relaying music loud enough to stop me concentrating.  There were quite a few books in the might have bought category–it looked like someone from Try Books! must have been taking their discards there.  The nearest I came to came to buying anything was Self Help by Edward Docx at £ 3-95 for a bulky hardback (I think paperbacks were £ 1-45).  On further inspection, I found a shelf of travel guides hidden away beneathe the displаy of DVDs in another part of the shop.  No Ian McEwan this time, but plenty of Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda.  Like the Red Cross, this shop had a sign up saying they wanted more stock.

New Shop in Honor Oak/Crofton Park

November 16, 2011

I’ve just received the note above through the door.  A little strange having a Survey Monkey link in hard copy, but it’s all perfectly straightforward. The idea of deciding to open a shop and then thinking about what kind would make me nervous, but many people are more optimistic than I am…

U Gosi Polish Shop Ewhurst Road

November 28, 2010

The end unit in Ewhurst Road is now being turned into a Polish shop called ‘U Gosi’.  By analogy with Russian, that must mean “Gosia’s” or “chez Gosia”, where Gosia is a female name and it looks`as though it’s short for something.  And a quick Google tells me that it’s short for Malgorzata.  So the name means “Maggie’s”.

And Gosia is a pretty optimistic girl, since for the past few years there’s been a decreasing amount of Polish goods in ‘normal’ shops, Polish adverts and indeed Polish/Eastern European shops to be seen.  I wonder if it’s significant that it’s called a “Polish Shop” rather than a “Polski Sklep”.  There was an English family going past as I stopped to take this picture; the little boy wanted to know what it was all about and his dad said they could go and get their sauerkraut there.  So perhaps a Polish Shop not only for Poles..

January 07 2011

They’ve now put some further information through my door:

I suppose that Saurkaut is a natural response if you are forced to write your national delicacy in a foreign language, and German to boot!  They give an address (2c Ewhurst Road) but no opening hours nor even a phone number to ring and ask if they’re open.

It looks as though they expect more custom from Catford than from Nunhead, which I suppose is sensible enough.  I wonder why they show the 284 bus route and not the P4, which probably goes just a bit nearer…

Update 01 February 2012

It looks like the shop has now closed.  Mid-afternoon today it was shuttered up and there was a ‘To Let’ sign as well:

Griller, 1 Catford Broadway SE6

May 11, 2010

So, on passing this place for the umpteenth time, it occurred to me to wonder what the Arabic lettering in the cartouche signified.  Here it is again:

Clearly, if you think about it, the obvious meaning is ‘halal’,  and indeed it turns out to be حلال meaning ‘halal’;  interesting Wikipedia article here.  And Piri piri, Pili pili or Peri peri is the name used in Mozambique and Angola to describe the African bird’s-eye chili; article here–I thought it was Portuguese…

Lewisham: A land without Tories?

May 8, 2010

Well, it seems that way at the moment, pending a recount in Grove Park ward.  And one of my predictions was proved wrong as Labour supporters turned out in some numbers to avert the horror of a Conservative Government.

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.

Overall, I managed 1/4, about the same level as my Indo-European homework in Leiden.  What about that Lib Dem in Crofton Park then?  Bizarre…Strange that the polls were right, about the Tories and Labour anyway.

Doing all right so far...

More predictions

What will Clegg do now?

When the capital by the Thames
Forgetting her greatness
Like a drunken prostitute
Does not know who will next have her.

His party won’t allow a coalition with the Tories without PR, which Cameron isn’t going to give him.  And anyway it was a coalition with the Tories in the National Government of 1931 that did for the Liberals originally.  The problem with a Lib/Lab or Lib/Lab/PC/SNP/Green coalition is that they were all losers in the election (with the possible exception of the Greens) and so the arrangement wouldn’t have much legitimacy.

As far as I can see, he has two possible options:

i)   convene a meeting of the parties’ economics teams (as he suggested in one of the TV debates) with the stated aim  of agreeing a programme to tackle the deficit, in the hope of gathering some credit and fishing successfully  in muddy waters;

ii) offer guarded  support to a Tory (or Tory/Unionist) Government from a ‘safe’ distance.  The main thing would be to somehow prevent Cameron from calling a General Election when it suited him…

Update 11 May:  in fact, there are now 2 Tories left in Grove Park.

Lewisham Deptford Hustings, Utrophia, 17 April

April 17, 2010

In general

So we ended up with the hall at Utrophia being about as full as it could comfortably be–maybe 100 or so out of an electorate of about 60,000.

All of the candidates seemed perfectly reasonable–and indeed serious people of good will–when you saw them in person.  I was impressed by Joan Ruddock (Labour) as a  master of the English language (not so evident from her campaign literature), and to me the main dynamic of the evening was Gemma Townsend (Conservative) delegating to her the task of explaining that the world is not as the Impossibilist Parties would wish.

In spite of some fairly strenuous efforts, I don’t think anyone managed to land anything on JR, while GT was left in a sticky spot when a questioner suggested David Cameron should disown the racist anti-immigration diatribes of his media partner the Sun.

There are a couple of nice photographs on Deptford calling here.  As she rightly says, neither the audience nor the candidates were exactly representative of the people you would see on the streets outside.  By far the largest contingent (including most of the candidates) were superannuated white lefties, followed by a much smaller group of well-turned-out young (white) women, represented on the platform by Gemma Townsend.

I think the best chance for some community engagement  might be if the local churches organised an event, like the General Election Forum in Lewisham West (to be held at 7.30 pm on Thursday 29 April at Living Springs International Church, Zoe House, 8-10 Devonshire Road, London SE23 3TJ).

And now there’s a further report from Crosswhatfields here.

I wasn’t as bored as either of these commentators–I found the fact that none of the candidates had a good word to say about Lewisham Council (remembering that JR represents the party that runs it, and Darren Johnson and Ian Page serve on it) rather interesting.  I think there was some desire to see Joan Ruddock given a detailed grilling, with an incidental kicking to Gemma Townsend for being a Tory, but that’s not really possible in a 5-person hustings, even if the questioners were to ask focused questions and not try to make speeches.

On the basis of competence then, from the evidence of these hustings I would certainly want Joan Ruddock to represent me in Parliament, and someone other than Labour to run Lewisham Council.

The following is what I have the candidates recorded as saying.

Opening statements

JR started by saying that the Government had been transforming the economy until hit by the world recession.  It was vital to continue the recovery, and also to maintain policing to tackle crime–a local priority.  She was happy to stand on the Government’s record and future promises.  She also asked how many of those present had yet to decide which way to vote and was presently surprised to see about half raising their hands.

GT said the priority was to get the economy moving and cut the deficit.  This meant getting people employed by cutting NI and CT.  A Conservative Government would be family-focused, and would ensure that the NHS worked for patients.

Ian Page (Trade Union & Socialist) said it was the fault of the bankers, but now the parties were contending to see who would cut public spending the most.

Darren Johnson (Green Party) said he was glad to see so many people at the hustings, this showed it was no longer a safe Labour seat.  There needed to be an urgent programme to tackle climate change and create a million new jobs, rather than wasting money on Trident.

Tamora Langley (Lib Dem) said that the Lib Dems supported Power 2010 and No2ID.  There needed to be political reform to restore trust in Government.  Labour had become complacent after 40 years in charge of Lewisham.


In response to a portmanteau question on Youth Offending Teams and youth homelessness:

IP said that homelessness was due to underfunding of social housing and the Probation Service had been destroyed by cuts and marketisation.  GT said that in spite of being qualified and experienced, she had received no response when she volunteered to work with the local YOT.  Homelessness was key in the Conservative manifesto and would have its own ministerial position.  A Conservative Government would incentivise the building of social housing.  JR said that the Tories had forbidden the building of social housing for 18 years, while Labour had funded HAs.  Lewisham had chosen not to build even though funds were available.  She agreed the YO suite could be better.  The Govt had inherited a huge problem of homelessness, but provision had been made.  TL said the Government had clawed back housing money from Lewisham Council because of poor performance.  On youth offending, she felt it was important to provide appropriate support and keep them out of the CJS.  DJ said that there was less social housing than 10 years ago, due to right-to-buy.  RTB was a bad thing.  Youth offending services needed reform, and also, in general, the more unequal a society was the more crime and ill-health there would be.

In response to a question (clearly springing from the expenses scandal) about how the candidates could show that they would represent the community rather than furthering their own interests:

TL spoke in favour of electoral reform, and being able to sack your MP.  MPs should not make money out of the system.  DJ said his expenses as councillor and London Assembly member were transparent and modest.  This scandal should be the catalyst for getting rid of an unrepresentative first-past-the-post Parliament and for getting an elected second chamber as well.  GT said she lived in the area and had stood for the Council.  You needed to be able to sack your MP, and a constituency-based system was necessary for accountability.  There should be transparency about what exactly public money was spent on.  JR said nobody in Parliament should have a second job.  None of her expenses had been questioned, and she and other innocent MPs had been severely disheartened by the revelations.   You couldn’t have only rich people being MPs.  The Government had put an impartial system in place.  Labour was the only party in Parliament that came near to representing the population in terms of gender and ethnicity.  IP felt that MPs should live on an ordinary working wage, so they knew how their decisions affected ordinary people.

In response to a question on immigration:

GT said it was important not to shy away from discussion.  We should allow immigration in cases of urgent need, and where highly-skilled immigrants could contribute to our economy.  David Cameron was right to say there should be a cap, and immigrants must integrate by for example learning English.  She had backed the London Assembly proposal for an amnesty, and felt it was necessary to speed up the asylum process.  IP was in favour of workers moving freely across boundaries, supported by a levelling-up of wages and conditions.  Some of Margaret Hodge’s statements in Barking had been helpful to the BNP.  TL felt that immigration was an important subject–she often met electors who were concerned at for instance council houses going to immigrants, while there was a lack of political will to tackle the subject and ‘asylum seeker’ was used as a term of abuse.  Illegal immigrants should be given the chance to earn citizenship; children should no longer be held in detention centres; there should be a cap on new immigrants.  DJ had supported an amnesty in the London Assembly and felt we couldn’t deport people to places where they were going to be killed.  People weren’t coming here because they wanted to be on the Lewisham housing list [laughter], and migration was often caused by environmental degradation consequent upon climate change.  JR said she had seen thousands and thousands of  ‘illegals’ in her surgeries and there had in effect been two amnesties in the past decade.  There were vast numbers of them in Lewisham.  Britain was one of the best countries in the world for people coming in under duress.  The Government’s policy was to introduce a points system because we couldn’t let everyone come here who wanted to.

There was some discussion here, which resulted in agreement that the word ‘illegals’ shouldn’t be used to refer to human beings, and the Sun’s contribution to the debate was entirely unhelpful.

There was also a  supplementary question about the new tiered system for student visas being inherently racist and representing a double whammy when combined with HE cuts.  JR replied that unfortunately there was widespread abuse of the student visa system in some countries (for instance, Pakistan) and the system needed to be cleaned up.

In response to a question that came down to what to do about peak oil :

DJ agreed it was a good question, and said we needed to invest in a greener way forward.  JR said that the aviation industry could not be dealt with by one country alone, and Britain led the world in dealing with it.  It was senseless to burn oil when it would always be needed for chemical purposes.  Britain was a leader in reducing emissions–down by 21% as against a 1979 baseline.  TL agreed with DJ and disagreed with JR.  The Government had not backed a Lib Dem bill on fuel poverty and there should be a tax per plane not per passenger.  There was no investment in AT.  Nuclear was not the answer to carbon emissions.  IP said that their pamphlet explained how the problem would be tackled by creating one million sustainable jobs; a socialist planned economy was needed.  The closure of the Vesta plant demonstrated the failure of capitalism.  GT quoted David Cameron:  ‘Vote blue, go green’–DJ felt the middle two words were unnecessary–the  Conservatives had put green policies at the head of their priorities: limiting power station emissions; cutting emissions from the Government sector; encouraging people to take action themselves via a ‘Green Deal’; recycling.

And, after an hour-and-a-half of action, this is where proceedings came to an end, following brief presentations from Power 2010 and No2ID.


30 years ago the author was a member of the Labour Party in the then Cleveland and Whitby constituency (where our candidate was Ben Pimlott, who later became Warden of Goldsmiths College).  Goldsmiths appear as a sponsor of  Vote Match, which tells me my best match is the Green Party (Green 70%, Lib Dem 60%, Labour 56%).


As of 2123 on 19 April, Electoral Calculus gives Labour a 92.3% chance of winning Lewisham Deptford (and MIN 0.0%), which doesn’t quite agree with Darren Johnson’s views above.

Unlike Brockley

March 30, 2010

Back of Guardian Guide 27 March - 2 April

I was surprised to see Brockley mentioned in an advert for iPhone apps on the back cover of the Guardian Guide.  Here’s the relevant part:

Kensington ~ Brockley!

The interesting point is that the parallelism between Brockley and Kensington surely means that people are expected to know that Brockley exists, and perhaps even where it is.

Brockley Palace?  Brockley Gore?  Imperialist College of Science and Technology, South Brockley?  A Far Cry from Brockley, by Muriel Spark?

The possibilities are endless…

Sputnick, 88-92 Lee High Road

March 30, 2010


That spelling does suggest a pronunciation of  ‘Spootnitsk’, but never mind–this certainly seems to be one of the more substantial Baltic-Russian shops around the place.  Inside, there is (and has always been) a nice, clean, tidy grocery, together with an ever-diminishing shelf of books in Russian (I’ve never yet been moved to buy one) and some Baltic newspapers.  OK, newspapers in languages belonging to the Baltic family (Latvian and Lithuanian) rather than Estonian (Finno-Ugric family).

The section on the right as you look at the photo used to sell vodka and DVDs, now they’ve turned it into a beauty salon (that apparently does no business at all).  How about a dermatological-venereological-cosmetological clinic?–there are some Chinese versions of that kind of thing further along the road.

Maybe not with that picture window…

Oakam, 92 High Street Lewisham

March 30, 2010

APR 76.9%!

This place caught my eye today–at first I couldn’t believe the APR of 79.6%, then I thought at least they were stating it openly.  In fact, there are some much higher APRs on their website.

'Think again!', depending on how desperate you are

I also couldn’t decide whether the notice announcing the languages spoken was a sweet attempt to be helpful or a sign of determination to exploit new arrivals.

Lietuvių ‘must be’ Lithuanian, since ‘Litva’ is Russian for Lithuania.  Why Slovak and not Czech?  Probably because the Czech Republic is more prosperous, so there are fewer migrants here–Lithuania is supposed to be the poorest state in the EU (in terms of people’s incomes) so that makes sense.

Cosmopolitan or what?