New Cross/Deptford – not spooky

So, a guided walking tour around the spooky sights (and building sites) of New Cross and Deptford.  How was it, you’re all asking?

Well, not so spooky, but not half bad.

Things got off to a bad start because New Cross Road is a MAJOR thoroughfare so all attempts to tell us about the V2 bomb that landed there in the war or the more recent evangelical Christian church ‘miracle baby’ scandal was continually foiled by buses, police cars, ambulances and motorbikes.  It was crowded, too – about 30 people turned up for the walk – which also made hearing more difficult.

Still, once we headed away from New Cross and into Deptford things got more interesting (not least because of the major police/ambulance incident at the Deptford branch of Iceland – obviously the cause of all the emergency traffic earlier!)  We saw where Christopher Marlowe was killed, the churchyard where he’s buried (although, not the grave – no one knows where that is) and we heard about the usual thing that seems to happen in stories of everyday folk from 100+ years ago: that there seemed to be a riot pretty much every day, for the smallest reason.  They loved a good riot back then – I bet your granny never told you about that, eh?  The good old days, when we used to riot at the drop of a hat.  Ahh, great days…

Oh, and the bizarre story of the boozing ghost in a Deptford churchyard (not the Marlowe one), of whom the chronicler says, ‘it so scared a small dog that the poor creature STOOD STILL!

That’s right: the main thing still remembered about this unearthly apparition was that it caused a dog to stop moving.  Not exactly Night Of The Living Dead, is it?

For those of you who enjoy a bit of local colour you’ll be pleased to hear that one of the blokes on the walk sounded EXACTLY like Boycie from Only Fools And Horses, and even resembled him a little.  Every time I heard him speak I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Marlene!

Thanks once again to the lovely South East London Folklore Society for an enjoyably eccentric evening out.


Millie’s going to her first Halloween party on Saturday afternoon, in Hatfield at the house of some friends.  She’ll probably enjoy that a lot, but there’s a genuine danger of the girl wetting herself when she sees the witches’ costume the Lovely Melanie has secretly bought her to wear!

She already knows we’re going to the party, and knows about the costume but has yet to actually see it, this modern miracle of plastic hat and cape bought from the local shop – nothing too fancy.  Still, casting my rusty memory back to when I was small, I would have loved it.

And if I think I’d have loved it then it’s a safe bet Millie might need to wear a nappy!

She’s already promised not to scare Granddad too much as it’s only (pre)‘tending.

Let’s hope I don’t get scared too much tonight, either, when I go on a ‘ghost walk’ around New Cross – free, courtesy of the barmy – but likeable and enthusiastic – South East London Folklore Society.

And Bubbah A?  She’s started making some new noises now as a prelude to doing some actual talking.  The Lovely Melanie also says they were playing peek-a-boo yesterday, and that the Bubbah was doing it, too – that it wasn’t the one-sided game it so often is with the Bubbah.  This morning she’d learnt how to throw her ‘puter off her high chair.  It’s not really a (com)’puter, it’s a sort of activity centre with rubber stickers on the bottom so we can stick it to the table on her high chair – where she’ll happily spend entire minutes playing with it.  Anyway, she’s learned how to peel it off the table and throw it to the floor, which she finds hilarious.  As does her big sister, of course!

Everyone’s favourite Bubbah!

It’s a new pic of everyone’s favourite bubbah – the Bubbah A!

I’m not sure why we’ve started calling her Bubbah A rather than Baby A, or even just Amber.  In my defence, the Lovely Melanie started it, and even Millie does it now, so she’s kind of stuck with it.

This picture was taken with my normally useless phone camera on, um, probably Saturday.

Now, I’m going to get interactive on your ass because we’re thinking of taking Millie to BUGS! 3D at the IMAX – it’s only 40 minutes long, it’s educational, it’ll be a nice day out for us…but it is about bugs.

So we have our first poll here –

Physics on the 9.12 from Sidcup

Silly me, I had forgotten that books on quantum physics and the morning train to work really don’t go very well together.

Not even when said book about quantum physics (or, more specifically, how and where mass comes from) is both written for non-mathematicians and written well, not to mention being quite funny.

I’m only about 50 pages in, and my understanding of the underlying physics that the author has been carefully layering up so that people like me might be able to understand what he says later when it gets really hard is already a bit patchy.

It took me about 40 minutes to read just six pages this morning.

Intimations of mortality

Another nice weekend (we don’t seem to to do bad weekends lately), which saw me meet up with some old workmates Friday night, and my parents come up to see us later on Saturday, after Millie and I had been for a slightly disappointing storytime at the local library in the morning.

Millie loves reading more than any child I’ve ever known (with the possible exception of myself, but I can’t remember what I was like when I was three).  It’s not proper reading yet, what she does is have me or the Lovely Melanie read new books to her a couple of times each so that she can pick up the general idea of the story.  That interpretation gets locked into her memory and she can then ‘read’ the book.  So it’s not proper reading, but still looks quite impressive, not least because of the huge number of books she’s so far committed to memory.

She also loves being read to, however, and she, Baby A and the Lovely Melanie regularly visit the local library for storytime – it just so happened that there happened to be a storytime event on a Saturday, so I could take her along.

I was a bit nervous – not being good around crowds of people I don’t know, especially if they already know each other.  Millie seemed to be just as nervous as me, though.  And she was also morbidly fascinated by a book called Little Lumpty, which we’ve borrowed from the library before, a few months back, and which she thoroughly enjoyed then.  Except that this time there was one particular page which caught her attention: the one depicting Humpty Dumpty having fallen off the wall with a huge crack in his shell, yolk spilling out beneath him and some similarly egg-like people around him crying.

Millie looked at this picture for a good five minutes (which is the equivalent of you or I meditating upon something for about an hour) and wanted that picture left open in front of her for the duration of library storytime.

Very strange.  I could only think she was having some intimations of mortality: realising that people can and do get badly hurt.  She was obviously deep in thought about the whole thing, anyway.  Hopefully she’s not overly worried about what it all means…

It was lovely to see my parents, too; it’s always nice to see them, but it was nice to see my dad so unbelievably well this weekend.  He was chasing Millie around, carrying her on his shoulders, racing her through the woods, and he still had energy left over to play with Baby A in-between!

You might think he’d be scared of pushing his luck too far with his new heart, and I think the Lovely Melanie a couple of times did say to him, ‘Are you sure about this, Ron?‘  However, there was absolutely no stopping him.

And as a bonus, the Lovely Melanie and I got to go out for a meal together, which was a real treat for us both, since we seldom never get to do it normally.  And even though we only went round the corner to a homely little Italian restaurant in Sidcup the food was lovely, the conversation sparkled and the company was delightful.  All in all, it reminded me why we got married in the first place – before we had kids.

The Lovely Melanie even had the morning to herself today, when my parents and I took the girls swimming, and I cooked a delicious (if I do say so myself) dinner for us tonight – liver and bacon with a mix of mashes, sweet and normal potato.

For my part, I finally got to sit down and watch the DVD of La Antena which I bought a few weeks back – surprised by how much I enjoyed such a stylised and peculiar movie; disappointed by the quality of the English subtitles (the film is Argentinean).

It’s a shame I didn’t get any decent photographs of the weekend, but the rechargeable batteries in my camera – supposedly fully recharged just a couple of weeks ago – were as dead as dead can be.  So I’ve bought a new ‘turbo’ battery recharger from eBay as I’m fed up of this happening.

Our old charger takes 12 hours, the ‘turbo’ model is supposed to take between 55 and 90 minutes, so even if the batteries are crap we can still recharge them in an hour and then take some nice pictures.

I’ve also just bought a new DAB radio for the bathroom (also from eBay) as the cheapie FM one we bought before is exactly that: a cheapie FM radio whose buttons are tempermental and which loses all the presets every time the batteries have to be changed.

Our household (but especially me) is looking forward to enjoying BBC 6Music in the mornings, as well as Radio Four or Smooth FM.

Yahoo! or boo-hoo?

A dramatic week at work as Yahoo! has announced some major redundancies (you may have seen on the news).  Still no idea whether I and/or others in my team might be in line for the chop, but everyone’s surprisingly upbeat about it, albeit there is a lot of black humour abroad in the office at the moment.

I’m reasonably impressed with the way Yahoo! are handling this though.  They are, for the most part, being upfront and honest about things, and making a great show of consulting everyone and casting around for opinions and ideas about the ‘best’ way to do this.  Certainly, I seem to have spent most of the last couple of days in consultative meetings; at least, when I wasn’t working from home on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I like working at Yahoo! and would be sad to have to leave, not only because I have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed.

Still, we shall see how things go.

I’m going to forget about it for now and enjoy the weekend.  Millie and I are going to an arts and craft morning at the local library tomorrow, and then my parents are coming to visit so the Lovely Melanie and I can go out together at the same time simultaneously Saturday night.

Sunday, we’re swimming, as usual, possibly even with grandparents; if not then at least with Baby Amber, who hasn’t been in the pool for ages.  It might force her to close her mouth for a bit, as she’s been rather too vocal this past week, demanding to be amused or picked up or paid god damn attention to every 30 seconds.  It’s been like being in a nest with one of those baby birds you see on documentaries, the ones with their mouths open and squawking for something or other.  You’ll wave a toy at her or pick her up, she’ll smile for 30 seconds (40 seconds if you lift her right up to the ceiling), then it’s back to business as usual: yelling, bad-temperedly.

I’m even supposed to be playing football on Clapham Common in the afternoon, but I’ll believe that when I see it.