Waiting, walking, looking

Had to go to see the doctor this morning, at St Giles Surgery. It’s two practices in one building, so you have to make sure you go to the right window in order to be seen. The same receptionists work for both practices, so one of them will tell you to go to the other window, then come over and serve you there; a staple of many comedy sketches about bureaucracy.

However, after seeing me, they forgot me. I was sat there like a lemon for two hours, before I went up and asked if I was still being seen. I should have seen the nurse first; they forgot. Still, I saw the doctor two and a half hours after getting there. Patients must have patience.

After I left I dropped in at Tadim to have one of their ‘Turkish pizzas’; every time I go there, I ask what is the correct name, and every time, they tell me. And every time, I forget.

Tadim’s motto is “love all and serve all”. We should extend that to the whole of Camberwell, but I get the feeling we would have to add a number of exceptions and clarifications to it to please everyone.

I walked past the Church Street Hotel, struggling to emerge from its chrysalis. The big Marbella sign is gone. I’m curious to see what the tapas restaurant will look like; in its former incarnation too many tables were hidden from view, so even when half-full it could seem empty. I hope they will rectify this.

I bought a copy of the Camberwell Quarterly (which I will pick apart shortly) and walked up to Denmark Hill station. The Dark Horse was empty, but it was only mid-day so I wouldn’t expect it to be otherwise.

I felt quite positive.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

38 thoughts on “Waiting, walking, looking”

  1. On my walk today I noticed that Seymour Bros. has a sign in the window saying that they will start serving Thai and Lao food in the evenings. I will certainly give it a try.

  2. I thought Oriental/Asian food was well represented in Camberwell:

    Chinese supermarket
    Vietnamese restaurants on Church St and Coldharbour Lane
    Lamoon Chinese rest
    2 more chinese rest/take away on Church st
    Thai restaurants on on Church St and Coldharbour Lane
    Buddha Jazz too.

  3. Why couldn’t it be Japanese? I love Japanese food, but there’s nowhere nearby to eat it; there’s a takeaway on Bellenden Rd which sells all different kinds of Oriental food, but the nearest Japanese restaurant I know is in Brixton; ie, out of walking distance.

  4. That’s funny. I heard that Carstairs had opened a sushi bar in the disused urinal on Camberwell Green, called “Green Fish”. Afterworksalarymen can sleep there overnight in drawer arrangements. He has a postage-stamp sized ad for it in the Camberwell Quarterly.

  5. Carstairs is no stranger to public urinals, I’ll admit. He was in fact the callow fop caught in flagrante delicto with dear old Sir John Gielgud many moons ago. Although I’ll wager it was a nefarious blackmail scheme on his part rather than anything more human. The fiend has no feelings. I pity any of our poor Oriental brethren who fall for his ploys.

  6. Hi all. Great Blog. Good thing that Seymour Bros is going to open in the evenings – seemed like a wasted opportunity. Would be greater still if it turned into a pizza place like the good old days (apparently) or maybe a lively Mexican.

    Is it just me or does the dirty road sign for Camberwell Church Street at the green end say “late” something or other. I wonder if the road was called something else before? Also I think they might have painted one of the new hotel rooms lime green, but I’m hoping it’s all going to be OK.

    Went to the leisure centre the other night and was really shocked to find the exercise studio had carpet on the floor. Really friendly atmosphere in there though not like East Dulwich.

  7. Hi Tola,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I haven’t been in the leisure centre for a few years; I used to work out in the gym there. It was always full of guys who looked like they were in a prison exercise yard; great hairy beasts in loose vests, with woolly hats pulled down low over their eyes, lifting great stacks of free weights.

    I, a delicate boy (back then), looked absurdly out of place. I basically just stuck to the bikes and steps, occasionally venturing on to the weight machines.

  8. Seymours’ pizza was great, the chef was a magician, the atmosphere in there in the evenings was real Camberwell, all higgledy-piggledy and nonconformity. We used to go there first, then rehydrate from the house wine and pizza with some beer at the Hermits Cave, then on to the Father Redcap for lager and drag acts. The whole thing was scruffy but class.

  9. Hi Folks

    Tadim’s motto as quoted here is of course ‘on long term loan’ from Hard Rock Cafe.

    Which just goes to prove that old business adage that if you must nick ideas, make sure they are the best ones.

    Does Camberwell have a motto? Could it do with one? Something fabulous , perhaps from Colorblind James’s ‘Considering a move to Memphis’?

    Drew Mishmash

  10. It’s worth posting the Wikipedia text. It tells of a different Camberwell from the one we know. Perhaps one we could try to emulate now, taking into account societal changes of course.


    The various elements of the arms represent the three constituent parts of the Borough.

    The wells are a ‘canting’ allusion to the name Camberwell, they also represent some of the many wells in the area, of which one was said to have healing properties, and was therefore associated with St. Giles, the patron saint of cripples.

    The lion represents the Liberty of Peckham, it derives from the badge of Robert Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I, who was Lord of the Manor of Peckham.

    The chevron and cinquefoils refer to the Hamlet of Dulwich, and are taken from the arms of Edward Alleyn, Lord of the Manor 1605–26 and founder of the College bearing his name.

    The wounded hart and crosier, are emblems of St. Giles, to whom the Parish Church of Camberwell is dedicated. He is probably associated with Camberwell because of the well with healing powers, the name Camberwell is said to be derived from the ‘well of the crooked or cripples’ (camber being derived from an old word meaning crooked).

    The Borough was also granted a badge and standard (a rare distinction having been granted to only seven other civic authorities) in 1927.

  11. Had a lovely birthday supper for a friend last night in the Dark Horse and as well as a splendid meal, it was very busy indeed. Keep up the good work !

  12. Has anyone been to the Thai House lately? Such a shame it has gone down hill. Last time I ate there, the food was awful and grey looking.

    Yes, the pizzas at Seymour Brothers were wonderful. Why do good places in Camberwell always end up closing.

    I even remember the Mexican place that was sort of opposite the Thai House many years ago. Another good place, I thought. And it closed 🙁

  13. I was in Thai House not long ago and the food was still pretty good. Also, the manager did some kind of massage on my hand that got rid of my hiccoughs (archaic spelling, before you write in, you pedants). He’s a nice man. Maybe you got a bad night, sg?

    The Mexican place was Cube, wasn’t it? It was good at the start, then it got crap, then it went bust.

    Saw one of the best films of the year at the London Film Festival today — THE LIVES OF OTHERS. Set in East Germany in 1985. A Stasi agent is carrying out surveillance on a playwright and gets drawn into the playwright’s life. Tragedy ensues…

    You heard it here first. Nod’s as good as a wink to a blind man.

  14. On another subject — Does anybody remember a Camberwell Band called The House Of Love? I thought they were very good in my teenage years — I’ve heard one or two members are still living in Camberwell…Does anybody know them? They had a Camberwell Beauty on the cover of their album…

  15. I currently live in a flat that my landlord says he bought from a member of House of Love about 6 years ago. No idea where he is now though (the member of House of Love, not the landlord!)

  16. Peter — Try find — Christine,Destroy The Heart,Shine On,Hedonist,I Don’t Know Why I Love You,In a Room

    Camberwell has always had a good musical heritage, Apparently Syd Barrett formed Pink Floyd here — they met at Camberwell College Of Art…

  17. Simon from the House of Love lives locally, can often be seen in the Hermit and other local hostelries… very nice fella he is too.

    Eusebiovic — I’ve got a Shine On earworm now! I’ll have to play it when I get home tonight.

  18. Louie — Such a shame they didn’t get the fame they deserved…Stone Roses were excellent but there were a lot of average bands who rode on their coat-tails that were not a patch on The House Of Love…

  19. Wow House of Love — I too liked them a great deal when I was younger and they played our student union a couple of times in the late 80’s.

    I didn’t think their album of a couple of years ago was so good — I’m not a fan of nostalgia touring either, so didn’t go to see HOL, maybe I should have.

    I saw the stone roses a couple of times before they were well known and have to say I would never have predicted their success — another goth band but with a moderately funky drummer.

    I did however predict the fame of James Blunt after seeing him in the Water Rat as a late booking. We actually went in because his keyboard player was in the Utah Saints and I thought might be worth checking out. Elton John’s talent scout was in the bar and the rest is history. James Blunt shook everyones hand on the way out and thanked us all individually for coming…

    Sorry to have strayed from the subject. Twice


  20. wow this is turning into a cool music thread. I really like the House Of Love, i had no idea that they were from Camberwell tho’. they were great. i didn’t know that Simon was living here either to think i’ve probably split beer over him in the Hermits and not known!

    also DREW MISHMASH. *THANK YOU* for reminding me of that great Colourblind james song. wow, i’d totally forgotten about it.

    Another couple of cool old indie bands that have local collections are The Field Mice (great late 80’s / early 90’s jangly gentle indie pop on Sarah Records)

    and Stereolab, who apparently used to live in Bukowski333’s old flat many moons ago.

    it’s a small indie pop world alright!

  21. The Orb are cool again! You know you’re getting old when you’re witness to a style revival.

    Can I put in a good word for Silver Lake? Awesome food, and really nice people there. And you can read back issues of ‘World of Interiors’ while you wait.

  22. Stereolab used to come to S&D, their manager was embarrassed we played their music often. Alabama 3 also although they don’t live exactly here and Basemenst Jaxx too. Orbital hung out here as well and Vic Reeves and Bob mortimer. And and and… The trouble is we (Camberwell) never managed to keep them.

    There’s a pl;ethora of famous people used and still coming local you know.

    Barry Humphries was often in Camberwell until about six years ago — his art collection was just up the road on Coldharbour Lane. Richard Long has a facility nearby as do Bill Woodrow and Anish Kapoor. Antony Gormley’s moved north from Bellenden Road. Tom Phillips is on the border with Peckham as is Dan Pearson, one of Britain’s finest garden designers, Sarah Raphael lived here, Nicola Hicks had a studio here, Dinos Chapman used to be a regular. I’m petering out because I can’t go on there’s so much more. What Camberwell had, and still has, is incredible.

  23. Mark — A lot of the famous Brit Artists of the 90’s lived and had studios here as well…most of them went to college in Camberwell or up the road at Goldsmiths…Gillian Wearing,Michael Landy,Damien Hurst as well as the others you mentioned…

  24. Hi P

    Went past the New Marbella yesterday.

    Sorry to report those arched windows look like they’re staying.

    And the colour — unless it’s undercoat but I can’t imagine what for — is the most disheartening shade of gun metal grey. Like the hull of HMS Belfast only less welcoming.

    Shouldn’t a restaurant called Marbella be a mix of terracotta, vine leaf, and sunflower?

    And while we are on the topic of colours — can anyone answer my question about camberwells fantastic rainbows? Have a look at SE5 Forum or at my own blog and see.

    Chin Chin


  25. Do we know when Marbella is going to reopen, this refurb seems to be taking forever. I’m giving up waiting for it and am going to Spain for some good food, Hopefully by my return it will be alive.…..

  26. Two friends and I ate at the new Thai at Seymours on Saturday night. It was great. The lady running it was lovely and had a hysterical (maybe scandinavian) waiter who was either extraordinarily tired or it was his first day. Anyway the food was good and it’s byob so it ended up being a pretty cheap night. Sad thing was it was only us there so I promised the nice lady I’d spread the word.

  27. as of yesterday, I noticed that pretty gold-leaf lettering has gone up above the currently-under-refurb ‘church street hotel’ and ‘angels & gypsies’ tapas bar. licking my lips with anticipation for the opening of the latter [obv, I don’t need a hotel room cos I live here…

Comments are closed.