Pre‐Christmas: very quiet

Very quiet here; apologies for that, but work, my birthday (tomorrow) and Christmas parties have left me with little time. I’ll be at home for Christmas, if anyone fancies coming round for roast duck and caipirinhas. I’ll be getting all my vegetables from Cruson, but lack of decent options means I can’t buy my poultry here, as I’d prefer to. The year before last I got a goose from one of the butchers in Peckham, but the quality wasn’t up to scratch, so I’ll be buying from my man in Smithfields this year.

What I wouldn’t give for a decent butcher in Camberwell; I know there’s a decent place in Herne Hill, and I think the good shop in Vauxhall has moved to East Dulwich. Kennedy’s Sausages on Denmark Hill is fine if you want pork sausages or ham (and don’t question it’s origin), but I’d love to have a really nice range of meats and cheeses of better‐than‐supermarket quality.

A midweek birthday means I can’t persuade friends to make the long trip (their words, not mine) to SE5, so I’ll be eating tapas in Clerkenwell. I hope to be eating tapas in Camberwell next year, when Angels & Gypsies opens.

I think I did pretty well to get four paragraphs from nothing. So what’s everyone else up to over Christmas?

Author: Peter

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

47 thoughts on “Pre‐Christmas: very quiet”

  1. I’m off to my mother’s place in Clapham for Christmas lunch. It’s fantastic cycling through London on Christmas day — amazing the difference not having buses on the road makes. Every year I tell myself I’ll wake up early and take photos of deserted London, but I always sleep late. Last year the cafe in St James’ Park was open. Its pricey but a good place for Christmas morning breakfast after walking around the park and stroking the pelicans.

  2. I’m hosting the extended family chez moi.

    I heartily recommend the Contemporary Butcher on Tachbrook Street, Pimlico, a short trip on the monster bus 436 with the opportunity to take in everyone’s favourite bogeyman building afresh: St. George’s, Vauxhall. Or you could cycle, as I do.

    Tony makes his own outstanding sausages and knows the provenance of his wares. The pork brie and grape pie is also recommended — just nuke it for a minute to release the flavour.

  3. If you can beat making the trip to East Dulwich William Rose at 126 Lordship Lane (020 8693 9191) is excellent — is this the one you allude to above?

    Mrs Dotcom and I will be sourcing a Turkey or Goose from here for our parents to eat chez nous — we’ll be in Wandsworth on Christmas Eve and like Eva I was thinking of cycling there and back — depends on size of christmas presents!

  4. Forget Bluewater and similar rivals.

    Step forward Elephant & Castle, your all‐in‐one Christmas shopping destination.

    - Baldwins nearby, for their own natural mix of hand creams, shampoo and non‐talc deodorant
    — Hardware store (Swarfega — for oily handed cyclists)
    — Woolworths (discount Parker Pen)
    — La Bodeguita (salsa subscription)
    — Tradicija, the Ukrainian food store, (Kvass, caviar, chocolate‐coated gingerbread, Russian DVDs and music)
    — WHSmiths (maybe an architecture mag)
    — Leather bag shop on 1st floor
    — Tlon Books (out of print gem)

  5. I think I will be sticking to SE5 — who could want more than the Butterfly Walk shopping centre with its wealth of shopping opportunities all at very reasonable prices?

  6. I’ve got everything but the subscription.

    My theory is that we are so overtaxed and get such poor value public services that our instinct to acquire everything £1 in the — desperate — hope of a bargain is actually some kind of desperate Proudhonesque protestation of social justice.

    You swine! Tax away and be merry, but this Pavlova cost £0.50 pence. Who cares what it’s made of? I WIN.

  7. I’ll be spending Christmas in SE5, with a walk on Peckham Rye on Boxing Day, which I’m hoping will deliver a bit of frosty weather. Then I’ll have an excuse to take refuge from the cold in the Clock House on the Rye. I only ever go there on Boxing Day (when it’s frosty!)
    The people that run Cruson are a really nice couple. You’ve inspired me to do my vegetable shopping there for the Christmas seige.

  8. if anyone fancies some lovely meat you can’t beat the farmers market @ Dulwich College.

    The pork man is fantastic.

    I shall be christmassing in leafy surrey (well Croydon) at the inlaws.

  9. down to deepest devon with the old folk and then chester for the lady’s folks on boxing day, then back to SE5 for the post christmas slump.

    round trip of c.1000 miles.

    now where’s my magic sleigh?

  10. aww Happy Birthday!! that’s the problem with having a birthday so near to Christmas.

    On a slighlty less festive note i left my flat this morning to find our front door covered on blood — which was unpleasant.

    Police informed but haven’t got to the bottom of it yet.

  11. Happy birthday. Talking of which why is it so hard to get birthday cards in the shops this time o year. Well I know why but surely the card people cant think no one is born in December???

  12. Happy birthday Peter and festive greetings.

    In SE5 for the duration apart from parents’ 50th wedding anniversary on 29th December. What a date to get married!

    Northumberland pheasant roast for the day supplemented with Abel and Cole veg and fruit with a fair helping of wine from Co‐op and S&D.

  13. Ah yes.

    Gossip.

    Silver Buckle has just changed hands.

    I told the area manager ‘interesting, new management there could change the face of Camberwell’…

    ‘don’t worry, he knows what he’s doing — he won’t change anything’.

    Don’t think he really got my gist.

  14. Peter — Happy Birthday, don’t complain though it could be a lot worse — My Birthday is in November and I have an aunt who always used to get me a present and card and say this is a combined both for your Birthday and Christmas — Now I would of understood that if I’d been born say 18th December but November? — That what you call tight‐fisted…

  15. Happy birthday peter!

    wonder what will be gracing Lord H’s table this season? I’ve got my money on a Hugh F‐Whittingstall style 10 birds‐in‐a‐bird king’s roast..

  16. Morning — did anyone else get their Cross River Tram consultation documents from TfL this morning?

    Looks like Camberwell is forgotten again!

  17. Tfl delivered just one document – into the communal hallway for three flats. I nabbed it for myself of course! But I’m surprised they had the guts to deliver any at all in SE5. They may just as well have posted a few hundred off to Timbuktu — it’s no less ignored by the scheme than Camberwell. Anyone know why Brixton needs the Tram?

    Still, I guess I’ll be suggesting the route option which goes down Southampton Way, before it veers, inevitably, towards Peckham. Or perhaps Tfl and Southwark CC will surprise us with a Christmas present — the re‐opening of the Camberwell train station?!

    But I’m not counting on it.

  18. Yes, it is very strange that Southwark and Lambeth feel that Peckham and Brixton are the only two areas ripe for regeneration and therefore are worthy of council money.
    On a more festive note, Butterball and I will be heading to Oxford for Christmas for a traditional lunch with all the trimmings, namely sage and onion stuffing, crispy roast potatoes, all the usual veg before slumping on the sofa for a snooze. Then we’ll tuck into a Christmas cake cooked and decorated by me, play Trivial Pursuit or something of the like, and eat some more… a cheese platter, perhaps.
    But before that there are a few Christmas drinks to be had in London. Enjoy my fellow Camberwellians, and happy birthday Peter.

  19. I’ve read some more of the consultation and it seems we are well and truely left out … again! I would be interested to hear from TFL why Camberwell have been left out but the consultation doesn’t seem to allow for that option! However seeing as they have sent us what is essentially shots from google earth with colured lines drawn on maybe we could create our own Camberwell Tram route and sneak it into the consultation packs!

  20. Happy Birthday Peter and Happy Xmas to those on the blog!

    Consultation — Isnt this consultation period so we can actually suggest different routes to them? I know they will probably ignore us anyway, but surely this is our chance to put forward alternative routes? I thought it also cuts down Southampton Way, which is part of Camberwell…

    Havent read the brochure yet though so maybe it will destroy my thoughts on that?

    Interesting brochure I read called ‘Getting London moving‘ which rates the chances of different transport projects succeeding and the CRT (Cross river tram) is rated at only a 30 or 40% chance of success due to logistical problems of laying tram lines.

    In a way, extension of Bakerloo line would be much more beneficial for us than the CRT.

  21. That’s true we may be able to make alternative suggestions — i will have a proper look at all the paper work tommorrow.

  22. Won’t be doing it this year but Greenwich cyclists do a gentle Christmas day ride starting from the Cutty Sark stopping at a pub in Covent Garden and ending up in a middle‐eastern restaurant on the Edgware Road (where it’s business as usual) for a late lunch. One of the daily papers usually carries a piece on it, so you risk having your photo next to one of the nutters who swim in the Serpentine. All welcome. As Eva says, London deserted of traffic is pretty amazing to behold.

  23. It’s the only time I’ve ever REALLY enjoyed being in London.

    And if it snows too! that’s icing on the cake.

    Christmas is the only time it’s possible to imagine how wonderful London could really be given a chance.

  24. I think the continuing apathy from the two local authorities towards Camberwell means that it’s as important as ever for us to try and get the SE5Forum a very strong community asset so that our concerns are not neglected anymore — My new year’s resolution? — To start attending meetings (I may have to give up a few of my Tuesday night trips to watch Dulwich Hamlet!) and see if I can help everyone achieve something constructive for all of us who live,work and study in Camberwell

    Merry Christmas Everyone !!!

    …as the jolly fellow in red with the big white beard that was created for a Coca‐Cola marketing campaign might say…

  25. Many people, including me, would say that supporting Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday nights is the true path of the committed localist. Just living in Camberwell deserves some sort of recognition, like a military stripe, a lapel badge, maybe a postcode discreetly tattooed on the forearm.

    Is Crystal Meth a smoky‐voiced singer, like Julie London?

  26. I love it.

    Like I said elsewhere here: My friend Maria Cascarino once told me:

    “you need a bleedin’ medal just for livin’ in Camberwell mate, they should put everyone here on benefits”

  27. My best Christmases were always spent in Camberwell in a tatty top‐floor flat composed of dust, rotten floorboards and asbestos, opposite the Hermits Cave. A walk all round SE5 on Christmas Day was amazing, like people say on this site, so quiet, like after a neutron bomb that spares the buildings but kills the people. We would have asylum people, so to speak, for Xmas dinner in the afternoon, then go to the Cave in the evening to rehydrate on beer, amongst people you’d never seen before, those with no homes to go to in the traditional bless us all sense. Christmas is for the haves, but those Christmases I had were for the have nots, and they were very good indeed, God bless us every one.

  28. Off topic.…

    Spotted a 3–4 car pile‐up at the top of Denmark Hill this lunch time whilst out running. Plod all over the place. One car had its roof sliced off… whoever was in it would have been very, very lucky to have survived. Anybody have any further info?

  29. hi merrick, yeah i live right near to there and saw the police picking up the pieces and taking the cars away. It looked really, really nasty. i was walking by where it happened later on and amongst various bits of car in the gutter was some medical gloves and some packaging from a resucitation kit that were COVERED in blood. They should have taken them away.

    so close to xmas as well — not good.

  30. Hi,
    Any chance about getting back to me re the Camberwell article for the Evening Standard. Would be good to get a resident’s point of view.
    Best,
    Alex

  31. Don’t bother with William Rose unless you want to queue all down the street for the kind of meat that was freely available in every butchers only 15 years ago. It’s all our fault for shopping in supermarkets. Pleanty of good meat from organic butchers online‐direct at source‐you can even get offal, oxtail and tripe too. Yummie! (With apologies to the vegetarians amongst us‐but I am a hardened farmer’s daughter!)

  32. Yes Alex, with apologies, but this resident’s point of view is stop writing the articles.….it’s changing the area too much and not always for the better‐in my humble opinion. (A resident of 25 years)

  33. Any chance that Kennedy’s closures can be averted? If they went a little upmarket, keeping their best produce and introducing good cheese, hams, and other traditional English stuff, they’d have queues trailing down the road, just like at William Rose in East Dulwich. Kennedy’s were one of the few things that made South London worth living in. This is an absolute disaster.

  34. Dear Merrick,

    Lord Henry is here and has always been here.

    As for crystal meth, I, like Colin Farrell, gave up all that palaver a long time ago.

    I am sending this from a K‐hole.

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