Thursday, 29 July 2010

Thames Clipper

We took the Thames Clipper from Woolwich to Canary Wharf at the weekend. On a sunny day, it's a great way to travel. I have a PAYG card so my ticket cost a bit more and I couldn't imagine this would be an economical way to travel though it's very relaxing.
The clipper from Woolwich to Greenwich is very small and cute, with areas to park strollers which is wonderful. The conductor very kindly gave our tot a pretend ticket so she felt very grown up.
At Greenwich, we had to change to a much larger, posher Clipper which wasn't so stroller friendly. It's definitely a tourist attraction by the number we saw getting on board and I had a laugh at the two girls who settled down with some crisps and small bottles of wine.
The whole trip shows you such different sides of London...the seediness of Woolwich morphs into the hyper modern Greenwich Peninsula with the Millennium Dome (or whatever it's called now) and the brand spanking new funky Ravensbourne College of Design and Innovation building. And then you sedately travel past historic Naval College buildings in Greenwich. Finally, the heart of financial London where there is no soul, Canary Wharf.
Hubby hates shopping here as he worked for a while in Canary Wharf and it's the ONLY place to go for lunch. Tot however, was a big hit with some friendly South Korean tourists who took her picture...she then went into "Professional Model" state and started posing as if she'd been in front of the camera for her whole life.
The ride home was via the DLR which, while nice, is no-where near as pleasant.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Primary Times South East

You know there is a magazine out there that lists all the things that go on around your area??? The kind of thing that all parents in the know about whilst the rest of us would just resort to Time Out etc.
Well that describes the Primary Times for me. At the Thames Barrier cafe, we picked up the East London version and it was full of things to do. I have no idea where to get the SE London version but luckily there is a website and it has a filter for SE London.
Here it is:
Primary Times South East London

Parents in the know will just go "OH we know ALLLL about that"
Clueless like me will go "OOOOOOOh that's useful"

Enjoy :)

Holiday juggling

I've been thinking about returning to work part-time but one thing that worries me enormously is holidays. One of the big advantages of being a SAHM is that I don't have to worry about the holidays as any non-tot commitments are not regular and I can do them anytime. Of course, looking after tot full time often involves lots of screaming as I am cooped up...thank god for good weather and the lovely parks close by.
So what do you do if you are a working parent? Do you take turns having holidays off to look after the kids. How hard that must be especially as it means you can't take holidays as a family.
Do you rely on your extended families? That's fine but in London extended families can be too far away (or even non-existent).
Do you rely on friends?
Holiday clubs? Are they any good?
I'd love to hear from other parents about how they cope (or don't) and what hours it would be best to return to work. By that I mean, is it better to work in the mornings as there is cover for mornings, or should I aim for later in the day?

Thursday, 22 July 2010


The diet is NOT going well. I hate that word "Diet". It conjures up horrid images of that gillian mckeith fraud and poo and smelly funny green shakes. It immediately makes my brain go into starvation mode and all I can think about is food. I swear in the middle of the night I hear it calling me - eat me, eat me - EAT ME. Luckily the prospect of stepping on a slug in the kitchen keeps me firmly rooted to my bed.
I haven't had butter for a week. Yayyyyyyyyyy me. However, my old friends Cheese, Chocolate, Crisps and Ice cream have all over-extended their welcome in my life and really should be hitting the road rather than the tonsils at the back of my gob (if I could cram them all in at once, I would).
As for exercise...well I got that by walking around Bluewater. What a ridiculously huge place, they could have an indoor marathon there. I like that there are a lot of stairs there as you can get more exercise going up and down rather than using lifts and escalators.
In all this misery, there is one bright spot of good news. I believe I have found the cause of my good levels of good wine. Yummy red wine. So at least while my heart gives out, I can happily drown my sorrows with the knowledge that for once, alcohol is not that awful.

P.S. I must stop eating the tot's left overs. I'm sure that's a big culprit in my ever expanding waistline.
P.P.S. If a swanky cafe ever opens in Plumstead, I promise to run there and back just so I can have cupcakes.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Have your cake...

I seem to be falling apart. I guess it's to be expected as I have had this body for well over 40 years now and in all honesty have done little to look after it.
A few months ago I was told I have periodontisis. That was very annoying as I am a brush and floss kinda girl. But I shouldn't have ignored the obvious signs for so long (bleeding gums, toothy hurty etc). So now to stop the rot, I have to have expensive treatment. Still not decided if I'll do that. So in a few years time, I'll be a toothless wonder.
Probably a good thing since this week I was told I have very high cholesterol. Again, the signs were there in the form of the tyre I carry around my middle. I'm an apple shape. Apples are healthy, apple shapes are portentous...if you have one, expect to die a horrible death as your internal organs are squeezed by all those layers of fat.
My good cholesterol is good, but my bad cholesterol - the type that clogs your arteries and causes strokes etc - is very, very bad. Means fewer cupcakes for me especially those that are laden with butter cream frosting for in the war against bad chol. butter is on the axis of evil. Means watching what I put in my gob and as restrictions of being a vegetarian already apply, I fear food is going to become boring (though rest assured that the ChiliPaperChains site will not become one of lo-cal food).
According to the literature the nurse gave me, it's not enough to change diet I must exercise. Shamefully, I realise that I should use my Wii board rather than let it collect dust. I should find my skipping rope and become as adept as Muhammed Ali at floating like a butterfly. Releasing the tot to go wild so I can chase her is one option. Running the cats out of my front garden another. Gardening, weeding, that will help. And, if you happen to see a little Asian woman who looks as if she is having a heart attack around the Common, just walk on by. It will be me trying to jog. I've been given 3 months before they decide to put me on drugs so I better get on with it.
It may seem I'm not taking this at all seriously but I am. I don't want to leave tot or hubby before I'm a doddery old woman, so now I'm going to have to get on with looking after myself. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

18th July: Plumstead Live!

Just a reminder that this Sunday is the Plumstead Live! event. I'm a bit wary as the last two local events I went to didn't turn out so well for me. But if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again so I hope third time is the charm. We will be there with blanket, food and probably some plonk.

Plumstead Live!

UPDATE: We went along to the event around 5pm. At first we couldn't find it as there were no posters or signs to it and from a distance, cannot be seen on Winns Common from the road! But eventually found it tucked away behind the playground. It was a pleasant evening and well attended by families with small kids. It was lovely to see them all playing in the sun. The music is not really to our taste but
we enjoyed our little picnic and then just relaxed in the sun.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Tea for two...

We took the 53 bus to Charlton Park today. I wanted to take pictures of the outdoors gym but even in the wet weather this morning there were people using the equipment. It's very bright and inviting but I would be too embarrassed to use the equipment when there are healthy young men also doing so (much as I would be in an indoors gym) which is a shame. Tot and I then sauntered along for a quick play in the playground and to see the very pretty horses that are housed next to it. The cafe house next to the playground is a bit basic so we headed towards Charlton House and the Mulberry Tea Rooms. What a nice treat - they have baby chairs (though not clean....I wish parents that used them would clean them afterwards) and a baby changing table in the roomy loos. The tea room itself is lovely and with the doors open we had a very good view of the sun shining on the park. Tot is clock obsessed so was happy to see two clocks in the tearoom and also the large diamond shaped black and gold clock that's on top of the house. For lunch I opted for a samosa and ordered a cheese sarnie for the tot. The former was a bit over spiced for my liking but sandwich was appreciated. They don't do decaf brewed coffee so I just had to have caffeine in the afternoon .... leading to a bouncing, nervy Plummy Mummy!
Afterwards we strolled through the Amnesty peace garden and chased butterflies around the flower gardens which have suffered from the recent heatwave but are still pretty. A lot of the park has dog free zones so quite safe to let a tot run around and tumble without fear of falling in poop. All in all, a lovely way to spend a morning. I just wish I had taken a better camera which focuses on the object of desire rather than the background!!!

P.S. I wanted to have a look at the dressmakers shop but she's now retired. Also the library but that doesn't open until 2pm on Mondays so will have to make another trip back.


There have been some gorgeous skies over London for the past few days. Bright blue with wispy white clouds. Ahhh bliss.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Friday, 2 July 2010

Keeping an eye on the ball

I happened to watch the last England and Mexico games earlier this week and must say that I was amazed at the balls of steel that referees and their teams had to ignore what 40,000+ fans in the stadiums and billions of fans around the world could see. Now not every fan would have seen the ball go in but when you see it replayed on video, it seems pretty conclusive (I mean there was no time to tamper with the photographic evidence). But teacher like, if the referees had changed their minds there and then, they would have lost their authority and then had to submit to crowd pressure for the remainder of the game.
I'm not that interested in footie but I am interested in the use of technology to help us in our lives.
So why the resistance to having technology used at the footie games? I mean this is a multi-billion business where the hopes of fans rest on the skills of highly paid (over-hyped) players. The game is faster than it was before. As with Wimbledon, I would enjoy seeing how fast the ball is travelling towards the goal, the curvature at which that strikers send the ball travelling, and where exactly it lands. And there is the photo finish we see at Wimbledon or the Grand National.
In other industries, would we now rely solely on human judgement? However, there are issues in introducing technology here:
1) it would cost money and many clubs are having a hard time making ends meet
2) it's a global business - is it realistic to assume each country hosting the games would be able to install a globally approved system. I mean the state of the pitches in Africa were questionable...would their technology be acceptable?
3) Should FIFA in fact supply technology to the host countries out of the profits they make. According to the Independent FIFA made 1.7bn this year. That's an sickeningly outrageous amount of profit in today's recession.
4) Even if technology is not introduced should FIFA allow the appeal of questionable goals based on video evidence produced by the myriad of TV companies that cover the games?
5) Even if the evidence is clear, there would be fans who for years would say that the results were different (hand of God anyone?)
6) How much beer would be consumed if NFL like every play had to be analysed using the technology rather than relying on the skills of the referees. How long would the games be!

I'll be watching the games today with interest as I do enjoy watching "World Class" performances but woe betide the referees if there are any more questionable judgements.

P.S. I certainly hope that the performances won't be theatrical as even I recognise that this makes the game ugly and incites a lot of resentment.