Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Keeping cool

I'd love to sleep outside in this weather but I'm afraid the slugs would try to eat me.
We have done the expected such as dressing minimally, having fans on but still the heat eats away at our sleep.

So has anyone got any good tips for keeping cool indoors.

Some tips for drivers would be good too as I've seen a few examples of blow ups which I've decided to attribute to the heat rather than general narkiness. Maybe all those England flags could some how be recycled into fans (by fans)?

Eerie sounds in the night

Last night, our sleep was disturbed by foxes making the eeriest sounds, very loudly. I don't know if they were fighting or being amorous but it meant we had to shut our windows to sleep - not so great when it's so hot at night.
I'm also starting to wonder if the poo in my garden is cat poo. Some neighbours have suggested it's fox poo. Last year I planted loads of curry plants in the gar
den to deter cats but we still find the poo which is buried under the surface. The smell is horrendous when it's this hot. This year curry plants have grown really big and give the whole garden a very spicy smell - it's an odd combination spice and poo!
I did read in the local council propaganda rag that white pepper deters foxes so I'm going off to Co-op to get some.

P.S. Another neighbour feeds the foxes. Does this stop them messing about with our bins or make them less concerned about being around humans?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Indian Timing and the Mela

It's kind of an in-joke...if you invite Indian people somewhere say at 2pm, they will turn up at 3pm or later. I don't know why - maybe it's cool to be late, maybe Indians are laid back about timed activities. In other words, they aren't well known for punctuality.
I should have remembered this before venturing out to the Woolwich Mela this morning. I wanted to go for the "Childrens and Women's activities" listed as being from 10.30 to 12.00pm in the programme on the unofficial Mela site (I call it unofficial as it's not the Mela site listed in the Greenwich days out mag but another site).
Like a demented loon, I ignored the heat and chose to walk up Plumstead Common Road and Nightingale Place.
For some reason I thought the Mela was going to be in front of the historical building but walking there showed an empty ground. There was absolutely no mess from the previous day's Armed Forces day (did anyone go??? How was it?)

Of course, the Mela was on Ha-ha road. So there I trudged, alongside the ha - ha wishing it was full of a nice cooling stream of water that I could dangle my heat swollen feet into.
And this is the site that greeted me. It was EMPTY. There were hardly any people, no food stalls, and definitely no "Children's activities" assuming you don't count the fair which was very similar to the one at the recent Make Merry. From what I could make out, they were still testing the sound system on the stage.
The ice-cream van man (yes yes, I broke my rule and bought some lollies for me and was 27 degrees by then) said it would get busy from 2pm onwards. No chance I was going to sit around until then. I walked around the rather lame stalls, bought a indian suit for tot and a children's story book then jumped on the 291 back to the Plumstead Common Road.
I'm sure the Mela will be full later, and I did spot a caterers van so food will be available but alas I'm not going to see that as I'd rather sit in the cool of our house in nothing but t-shirts ready to watch the big game later on today.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Mad retail policy

I had a bit of a stressful morning trying to get myself and tot ready to pop over to Bluewater to buy some yarn. Now this stress is nothing out of the ordinary...any trip with her involves stress on my part as I cannot believe how long it takes to get ready when you have a tot who does very little to help in the dressing /brushing/grooming process. I might as well have a limp cabbage patch doll.
ANYHOO, after an hour we were on our merry way to a fave dept store John Lewis, to buy some yarn for a blanket I'm making for tot.
We arrive and park really close to the entrance. I walk in a happy daze to the knitting dept and try to find wool. It's not on the shelves, it's been put away for the sale tomorrow and no, I can't have any now even though I am willing to buy it at full price. That's a bit mad if you ask me, surely the shop should be trying to make as much money from their stock as possible.
Soooo, I have to go back tomorrow, on a bleeding saturday, with a bleary eyed tot (we are going to leave early and she may well be in her pjs), waste more fuel (carbon footprint be damned) just so I can buy the stuff in a sale. Assuming it hasn't all be sold before I get there.
Utter madness.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Woodman

Just noticed the For Sale sign has come off the Woodman. Has someone bought it or has the sign been nicked. Hope it's the former as this is a great site for so many things.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Anti-snoring programme - the next stage

Last year I wrote about the issue of living with a snorer.
In Aug '09, I posted about the surgery Mr Plummy Mummy had to correct a deviated septum. That was the first stage of his surgical anti-snoring programme. On Monday this week, he had stage 2: tonsillectomy and uvulopalatoplasty (no, not a vuvezela).
It was a day surgery - in at Noon, home by 9pm. The drugs did work for a bit but now the pain has set in and he is sitting limpid on the sofa trying to not to shout too much during the footie matches. Watching him trying to swallow is hard as he's in such pain. Even jelly going down hurts.
The purpose of this stage is to remove some mass from the back of his neck so that he can breathe easier when lying down and therefore, snore less. That's the theory. I haven't been in the main bedroom this week, having taking to sleeping elsewhere so I don't have to see the poor man suffer.
I daresay I will be sleeping elsewhere for some time if I don't do my part and lose some weight which I believe makes me snore like a querulous walrus.

P.S. in that august post I also wrote about losing a baby. We are no closer to another but now that our's has hit the terrible 2s, I'm a tiny bit pleased only to deal with one.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Most Improved Borough?

It's wonderful to see all the lovely front gardens around here which certainly give my amateur gardener eye things to feast on and ideas to nick.
Quite a few houses in the streets around Plumstead Common have been going under refurbs of different sorts. There is lots of scaffolding and men on roofs which tot finds hilarious.
I did try to look up which is London's most improved Borough but had no success. I'm sure that due to the recession and people needing to stay put that this home beautification is going on all over the City.
Now all we need is a swanky cafe, a deli, some boho artists and a posh sports club and we'll be all set to be Royal Borough inhabitants.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day

Seeing my husband with our tot has made me realise what a great dad he is. I wish mine was half the man though in many ways mine is awesome.
I never met hubby's Dad as he passed away before we were dating however, seeing the man he produced, I would have loved to have met him.
Happy Father's Day to Mr Plummy Mummy and his Dad and to my Dad and to awesome Dads everywhere.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

White Swan and the Royal Standard

Mr Plummy Mummy and I got a rare night out last night courtesy of my Mother in Law who watched the tot for us.
We decided to go for a drink and the plan was to take the bus to Greenwich. Of course, this means changing. The route options from Plumstead Common Road being:
Bus to Woolwich, change to another bus.
Stay on 53 to Deptford and take the DLR to Greenwich (2 mins)
Stay on 53 and walk through the park or down South Street.
In the end, we didn't make it to Greenwich. We did a mini pub crawl assuming 2 pubs counts as a crawl.
The first stop was the White Swan in Charlton. I've been meaning to go here since reading about it on the 853 blog. The barlady was friendly and the locals seemed fine. However, the place was more run down than I expected. However, this is a pub trying hard in modern times where pubs are closing on a daily basis. There is a sandpit in the garden for kids perfect for the Monday morning parents club, there is food and teas/coffees. They put on a lot of different nights to attract customers. We had inadvertently turned up on Quiz Night which wasn't really our thing so made a hasty exit after a half. If this was in Plumstead, I'd probably frequent it regularly but for myself, it is not somewhere I'd take a bus to. Having said that, well done them for all they do and good luck for the future.
The next stop on our Route 53 ride was the Royal Standard. My goodness what a difference. A larger pub well laid out with distinct zones, comfy couches to sit on, a garden and food/teas/coffee. The barman was again very friendly and introduced me to the THIRD. Yes, not a half, not a pint but a third. Fabulous for me as I often buy a half or pint of something then halfway through it's gone flat, or tasteless. The first third I went for was Columb-o ABV 4.0% from the Otley Brewery in Pontypridd which was a very fruity pale ale. It was nice, not at all fizzy and just went down well. The second third was Blond Witch from the Moorhouses brewery which didn't taste of much ... a problem as I could see myself easily drinking pint after pint of this without any effort and would fall down drunk before I knew it. Like the White Swan, the Royal wasn't full. Must be due to the footy, which was on TV in both pubs but luckily with the sound turned down so we could have a conversation without the background swarm of bees buzz of vuvuzelas.
Out of the two we preferred the Royal Standard
, it is a great place to go mid-week and only a bus ride away. We might even venture one Sunday for a roast.

Beer in the evening reviews:
White Swan
Blackheath Royal Standard

Facebook pages:
White Swan
Blackheath Royal Standard

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Hall Place

We went along to Hall Place today for the first time. The place is well laid out and we had a nice walk around some model gardens, the greenhouses and some other garden areas. It was interesting to see some of the plants there such as the ginger plant.
For lunch we went into the Jacobean Barn restaurant which is on site. Luckily, even though we didn't have reservations, we were seated easily. Although my vegetarian lunch was very average, my meat eating companions enjoyed their meals. The desserts were again a bit disappointing - my Eton Mess didn't have enough fruit so give those a miss.
The plan had been to walk around the 65 acres and the medieval house but wine with lunch laid me out (I'm such a cheap date!) and we drove back home. Luckily, it only takes about half an hour to drive from Plumstead so I will be returning to finish my visit, preferably on a day with a lower pollen count....achoooooo!

There is plenty of free parking but note that the Hall & gardens are not open on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Hall Place:
Hall Place and Gardens, Bourne Road, Bexley Kent. DA5 1PQ.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Horniman Museum

Taking advantage of the relatively reduced levels of traffic, we drove to the Horniman Museum today. We couldn't find parking at the museum but a few streets away, there is unrestricted parking. Alternatively, you can use the pay carpark behind Sainsbury.
I was impressed with the Museum even though some exhibits were hard to see as the lighting had gone. There are hands on areas that enable kids to play...the best one was in the amazing Musical Instruments gallery. This gallery had hundreds of interesting instruments and was worth the visit alone. The lower ground floor also houses a small aquarium with some beautiful jellyfish and tropical fish.
The natural history section included an enormous walrus. It was a real one that was stuffed! Puts into perspective our relative small size. In addition, there was a case showing extinct animals including a dodo - I must be getting soppy in my old age as I nearly cried on reading that this animal was neither good for food or clothing but was hunted anyway. B*****d hunters.
We started our visit with lunch in the cafe. My dish was fresh though my families sandwiches weren't quite so. However, it wasn't an expensive lunch and the staff were very friendly.
After walking around the Museum we strolled around the surrounding park area which has quite a panoramic view of London. The flower garden was cordoned off but we could see it was very pretty. A great park to take along a picnic to. It's very parent friendly with ramps down to floor, or lifts. Plenty of space to park buggies including a dedicated buggy room with lockers for storing bags etc and a baby changing room. The cafe had a huge supply of child chairs and a special kids menu.
This is also a great place to get married. While we were there a civil partnership ceremony was taking place in the pretty Conservatory so there were plenty of well dressed folks milling about. :)

Horniman Museum 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ
Tel: 020 8699 1872

Souless shoe shopping

Picture the scene: mum, tot and granny visit mass chain shoe shop to get tot measured and provisioned with new shoes. Along comes a "trained shoe fitter".
TSF: "You need to take both shoes off as the sizes will be different". Turns out they are both the same.
Mum: "We want to try on y, x, and x"
TSF: "Y came in yesterday, they are the latest" (Mum thinks good but why in the heck are they white, so impractical). Tot tries on a few pairs as souless surly humourless TSF takes off shoes and commands tot to walk which she duly does. Turns out the training wasn't complete as the size is wrong and tot is made to wear a slightly wider pair. Mum brings along a pair off the sale rack. Considering the rate of foot growth, mum feels saving dosh is worthwhile
TSF: "Those are boys shoes you know"
Grrrrrrrrrrrrr, just cos they are blue. Why can't girls wear blue...Mum is in fact clad in blue from head to toe and is now determined to buy the blue shoes regardless of the other choices. Any QI viewer knows that blue was the traditional colours for girls, and pink for boys. Admittedly, the TSF did relent and admit blue was a good choice for nursery. Off trot mum, tot and granny with blue shoes in hand and go to another chain where you can pick up shoes from shelves.
Sparkly shoes cheer up mum and tot is delighted. 4 days on tot will not wear anything else. Blue shoes will be seen at nursery where mum doesn't give a fig if they get dirty unlike all the previous carefully selected, impractical girlies colours she bought before.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bookstart at the National Maritime Museum

I think the whole Bookstart initiative is brilliant as it manages to introduces books to toddlers in a fun way.
Today we went along to the Bookstart session at the National Maritime Museum. Greenwich was completely empty so there was none of the aggro of white van man trying to run us down or tourists standing like lemons (lemmings?) at inconvenient spots.
The session had a seaside theme. With the heavy rain, tot was more dressed as a Perfect Storm fisherman than a beach babe. The event included craft tables to make pictures of boats, ice creams and lollipops (with sharp scissors, tut tut), books strewn about a make believe sea, a stall selling seaside related stuff and a stall run by Lewisham and Greenwich librarians. I did give the latter a hard time about the lack of toddler things to do in Plumstead in the afternoons and suggested it would be jolly nice if they thought of opening some sessions in the children centres for us. I totally ignore the Slade Tuesday afternoons ;)
The librarian leading the singing was trying very hard, had lots of energy and did manage to get some parents to join in but lost out in terms of popularity, esp with our tot, when there was a special appearance from the giant blue Bookstart bear. I think tot wanted to bring the bear home and I felt very sorry for him as he was mobbed by the tiny tots.
The only down side were the photographers who were really intent on herding the tots into a good photo and that was a bit annoying when all the little ones wanted to do was be with the bear.
The museum runs craft sessions every Tuesday during term time if you are interested. They are free and I think it's marvellous to go along to such a wonderful museum. If it's not your thing, you could consider plonking your tot down and going to buy a nice pastry from Pauls :)

P.s. took more pictures but not sure what the etiquette is for putting up photos of children without parental permissions. So selected photos where kids' faces are not that clear. There were lots of kids I promise.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Fun Factory - for dads/males carers and their kids

Ooooh a fun factory and it's something specifically for dads/male carers and their kids who are aged 0-8 years.

A wee late notice for tonight but it happens on the 1st Thursday of each month during term times, 6-8pm.

The venue:
Charlton School, Charlton Park Road, London, SE7 8HX

Tonight's session was meant to include a puppet maker but unfortunately, that has been cancelled, however there will be story telling by the Early Year's Librarian and those attending will receive a bookstart start pack.

For more information contact Marc James,
Tel: 020 8921 2768, email:

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hair raising stuff

I had a bit of a treat today courtesy of Mr Plummy Mummy. Spa treatments at the O Spa within Austin Reed on Regent's Street. Out of a choice of treatments I went for back massage, express facial, express nail varnish on fingers and eyebrow shaping.
The back massage was painful. My back is full of knots. I used to go to the excellent osteopath on the Slade and it looks like I will need to return to be straightened out again.
The facial was heaven on earth. So relaxing and lovely smells of tea tree oil based products.
The nail varnish was pretty for about 10 minutes before I ruined it by being too impatient and leaving before it had fully dried.
Now like a lot of Asian ladies, I appear more hirsute than our fairer cousins as my dark hair shows more prominently. Blonder ladies can get away with having masses of facial hair without looking yeti like - but the darker haired among us have to be careful to avoid looking She-Devil like. I was also told by an unkind parent (mine, not someone else's) that I had eyebrows like ex-Chancelor Denis Healey.
There are range of ways of removing hair:

  • Shaving - generally frowned upon for facial as the hair comes back thicker and stronger
  • Sugaring it - pour thick treacle-like substance on offending hair and yank it out
  • Depilatory creams - lather on, wait 10 mins (perfect for sipping on the G&T in between) then wash off. Wait too long and you end up with chemical burns and a weird smell that follows you around. Not sure I'd want this near my eyes
  • Tweezer it out - my preferred method for eyebrows but definitely not for other bodily regions. It hurts.
  • Wax - spread thick goop on then rip out offending hairs by attaching strips to goop and pulling quickly like hellfire. The brave part of me will venture down this route once in a while but not on my face!
  • Laser treatments - star wars. I always wondered why Chewbacca or the Ewoks didn't opt for this.
  • Threading - this is an amazing thing that I have never had done. It's an Eastern practice where loops of thread are wound around the eyebrow hair and then yanked in one go. My Asian cousins do it on themselves. I should get one of them to teach me. This also includes removing hair from top of the eyebrows which is again, something I don't do.
Anyway, today I learnt that eyebrow shaping involves wax and teeny bits of cloth. After the first one was done, I wanted to leave the building as it was so painful but having just had a massage, I was semi-dressed. Luckily apart from a slight residual throb, I now have very clean shaped eyebrows. Definitely not Denis Healey anymore. Well at least not for the next four weeks. :)
I'm going to have to find somewhere near here to have the eyebrows done again as I don't want to return to town. Too much walking to get from Bank Central Line to the DLR platform and much muttering under my breath meant the good work of the massage and facial quickly evaporated.

One rule for all

From the beeb today: The Home Secretary
"I believe being able to speak English should be a pre-requisite for anyone who wants to settle here. The new English requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services."
I wholeheartedly agree with this. However, it makes me angry that it is only applied to those coming from countries outside the EU since it is discriminatory. The rule should apply to anyone who wants to live here. Equally, if you want to go live in another country - EU or not- then learn their language (wonder how many Brits would be stopped from migrating abroad by that rule?)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Old Mill

If you fancy a pint that's not fancy, then saunter along to the Old Mill.
I went for the first time on friday with tot to meet a mate. The exterior and grubby men smoking outside always put me off and I always thought that it was a bit dodgy having a pub so close to schools but of course, now I realise the pub was probably there first.
I'd love a fancy pub around here but I daresay that would also change the nature of the Common. The Old Mill is not a pub for a girls night out and as far as I could see, did not serve food. It's a local which seems well liked, and the staff were laid back and friendly. Don't be put off by the fact that the inside looks like it hasn't been updated for a few decades or that the wine is served from boxes.
It's an ale house and the light ale I tried was delicious - so much so that I had another half soon after. I think the name was McEllan or summat (real ale drinkers gasp in horror at my lack of knowledge).
We drank in the beer garden outside which again is very basic but I liked the large space for tot to run around chasing her bubbles and the aviary in the corner is bizarre but kept her occupied.
I got a bit annoyed at the man nearby who decided to have a mass swearing match with someone he was on the phone to but luckily it was short lived and he was pretty quiet after that.
The pub has live jazz on the first sunday of each month and I think I'd be happy to meet Mr Plummy Mummy in here for a quick one after he climbs up Griffin Road on his way home from work.

1 Old Mill Road, Plumstead, London, SE18 1QG

For more reviews see Beer in The Evening

Plumstead make merry

I went along with tot to the Plumstead Make Merry on Saturday. It was a hot day so we didn't stay long.
The place was full but I have to confess that apart from a few stalls, there wasn't much to interest me. I feel guilty as I'd asked a friend to come up and see it.
I thought the Nappy Cakes stand provided a fun way of gift giving.
There was a stand selling plants which I steered well clear of (see previous posts about my growing gardening addiction!).
There was also the small tent advertising the new website Best of Plumstead. However, geek though I am, I didn't venture over preferring to check it out when I got home. It's good.
The demonstration by the greenwich dance agency was cute.
And the live music provided a pleasant background to the walk around to.
Tot was not interested in the stalls. She tot kept asking for ice cream and rides which I didn't want to give her as frankly, I thought they cost too much and I couldn't be arsed to queue. Now please don't think I'm a grumpy mum....if I had the dosh I probably would have treated her though I don't think £1.50 is justified for a train ride and most of the other fair attractions were pants. Plus I could give her ice cream at home. In the end, I relented by buying her a small helium balloon which has such a thin rubbish string that I thought the thing would fly off as soon as I handed it to her.

The Make Merry is well attended and is long running so I accept that while it's not for me, there are many people who enjoy it. And I think this kind of sums up Plumstead at the moment. There are things and ways of being in Plumstead that appeal to many who live here. However, there are some people, like me, who are not catered for. My personal wish list to add (add not change) the Make Merry are simple
1. Have a food market like you get at Eltham Farmers market or the Charlton House Fair we went to last Christmas
2. Have a puppet show for kids. Punch and Judy anyone?
3. Don't rip off parents ;)

The Make Merry is well attended. I didn't enjoy it on Saturday but that's more about me than the event which is organised entirely by volunteers. I will be sure to go along next year and have a cuppa in their tea tent (even if it's 27 degrees) to help them in a very small way with their fundraising effort.

7pm: Since writing this post this morning, the chair of the organiser committee has got back to me. I didn't enjoy it but perhaps should have stayed longer. And in fairness, I'm striking out some of my posting which was inaccurate and amending a bit more. 

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Is there a mela?

Each year I end up missing this event as it's so poorly advertised but from the mass of people that go, the word somehow gets out.

I can't seem to connect to the site link given by the council for the Asian mela this year:
The other link I had for the event never seems to be updated.
The following is from the greenwich gov events page:

SUMMARY: A medley of attractions including music and food

DESCRIPTION: A medley of attractions including bhangra music, games, fashion shows, Kabbadi, fun fair and delicious Asian food stalls

Asian Mela website

DATE: 27/06/2010

TIMING DETAILS: All day from 10am to 8pm

VENUE: Woolwich Barracks


This event is free of charge

Venue information

Woolwich Barracks
Ha Ha Road

AREA: Woolwich

Does anyone have any updated information on who is going to be playing at the mela and the stalls etc? Have you been in previous years...what's it like?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Garden centre sucker?

I know clothes and food shops place items near the entrances to encourage consumers into buying them. Does the same apply to garden centres like Thomsons? Every time I go there I end up buying a plant. This weekend I went to buy some horse manure to put around the poor plants in my garden and -SLURP- sucker me bought another plant. It's very pretty and it's called a c something Lena. I know nowt about gardening so I hope it grows out there.
I swear, next time I go to Thomsons, I'm taking a limited amount of dosh and no credit cards. I have no sodding willpower. Thank goodness they aren't open late in the evenings (except Friday which is Pizza Night at chez Plummy Mummy so no time for green fingerstuff).