Saturday. Camberwell. In the rain.

Had to go to the Green today to buy myself a new phone. I’m on a super-cheap tariff from a previous employer, so getting upgraded phones is not an option for me. Wanted to buy second-hand, but ended up buying a good (maybe; time will tell) new phone at a good price.

On the way back the downpour began so I entered the nearest pub: The Grove. Not somewhere I tend to go, for some reason, but it was very nice; they’ve covered the little open area at the back and introduced lots of cushions and Mediterranean colours; my mum would doubtless describe it as ‘looking like a tart’s boudoir’. There’s a picture here. I liked sitting there, listening to the rain, playing with my new phone, and drinking Wells’ Banana Bread Bear.

Banana. Bread. Beer. What a revelation! Why has nobody told me about this beer before? A break in the weather meant I could have gone home after the first bottle, but I had to stay for another. Now I’m a little drunk.

On the subject of the Grove, I see the new development has a website now: Ruskin Park, The Dark Horse, Pesh Flowers and Sophocles are chosen to represent our area, reflecting the gamut of middle-class aspiration. No word on prices yet, but a date of March 2008 is given for launch.

I also bought a copy of the Camberwell Quarterly, which I found to be probably the most interesting issue I’d yet read. News nuggets included:

  • The Stationmaster’s House (by the side of The Phoenix, outside Denmark Hill station) is to be restored and to open as an information centre for King’s College Hospital. On a related note, I see that the row of houses on Windsor Walk are still for sale.
  • The new War Memorial on the Green sits above the entrance to a WWII air raid shelter. So we have an air raid shelter, a nuclear shelter, and sidings for the Bakerloo line; what else sits beneath Camberwell?
  • The Saturation Policy which has been proposed here didn’t work over in Dulwich; nobody ever complained about noise or nuisance there.
  • The Camberwell Society are against the proposed redevelopment of the snooker hall, as they believe the developers are cramming too many units in there, the exterior is too plain, and it doesn’t improve the street aspect.

I see that work is underway to convert the former Rhino sports into a shop that will fill a gaping void in the Camberwell shopping landscape: it will be a convenience store, off-licence, and mobile phone spares shop. Because god knows, we need that.

Another name to add the list of Camberwell’s celebrity residents: actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, perhaps best known for his role in Dirty Pretty Things, now the latest Othello at the Donmar.

That’s given you plenty to talk about, hasn’t it?

Author: Peter

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

98 thoughts on “Saturday. Camberwell. In the rain.”

  1. Peter

    Rhino Sports an off license,cheap fags and convinience store?

    Lovely, the height of imagination there then, again…and approved by Southwark Licensing Department, again…

  2. Must keep up. I know I have to hate St George and all the lame middle class aspiration. And I must hate the shops kept busy by the poorer classes. And I must hate the rich on the Grove.

    I give up and will join the socialists classes who must want Gov’t funded, organic but quirky, affordable but not fried type places. Shame you all can’t get yourselves organised or funded and can only throw rocks at those middle and lower classes who are getting on with it.

  3. anyone noticed outside Rhino Sports (bus stop L) there is a hole dug by someone that has been there for weeks now. I count 4 full weeks that I have seen no one working on it and just filling with rubbish, and adding to traffic congestion. Anyone fancy a sweepstake on how long it will take to fill it in?

  4. @ShirleyJones: Yep, that’s me; at the same time blindly optimistic and mercilessly negative, I’m also the epitomy of the white middle class and a socialist hater of the middle class. I don’t understand what Camberwell is like because I leave it to go to work, while I’m also the diametric opposite of the honest hard workers.

    One thing’s for sure; if somebody infers something from what I write, I’m quick to be pilloried.

  5. “..the shops kept busy by the poorer classes”.

    Mr Pickwick, do you not agree that this vision of habit division chimes with the very latest of perspicacious and pioneering social analyses? Who shall naysay me that it is only the peasant workers who drink to excess, whereas the comfortable classes do all in moderation?

  6. Mr Regeneguru! In truth, it is absolutely tipping down with saturation in Cranfordwell on all fronts, whether ’tis the relentless rain, the single malts for the gentry, the claret for the middling folks or the 6 cans for 5 quid for the other.

  7. To go back to your first paragraph, Peter, we bought a second-hand phone on eBay, very cheap, works perfectly.

  8. @Carol: the reason I bought new was that my last phone came second-hand from ebay and I had to spend an extra £25 sending it off for repair after it developed a problem shortly afterwards. This time I wanted to check what I was buying first; turns out they don’t do second-hand, but I got a good bargain on a new.

  9. @ShirleyJones
    Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Weren’t you once in The Partridge Family? David Cassidy’s mum, as I remember? How did you end up in Camberwell, luv? Was California too hot?
    I’d like to introduce you to two of my friends on this blog — Margret Thatcher and Johnny M. I think you’d get on like a house on fire.

  10. Oh my. Shirley don’t ever, EVER doubt the celeb that is Peter. He has quite the temper when challenged.

    Do have a whack back at comrade Mushy. He’s one of Camberwell’s finest leftists with all the right on answers but no way to fund them.

  11. Am I alone in haveing, at some points, a drawer full of old good quality phones that I no longer need? I give then to my rellies who are too lazy to upgrade! can’t se why someone would buy a 2h one!

  12. There are several charities that take second-hand mobile phones. I think Scope on Denmark Hill is one.

    We bought second-hand, identical model to previous (which had stopped working), because we are so conservative (small c) that we wanted to stick with what we knew and understood. But Peter’s experience suggests we were lucky!

    I do agree with markb about the hole in Church Street. One of the most congested parts of Camberwell, and they make it even worse.

  13. Like an Icelandic geezer. That Chiwe is the talk of the town for his Othello. John Carey, the scary book geezer, said on Saturday Review on Radio 4 last night that Chiwe was a great Othello (not just a good one) apart from the one line “put up your swords for the bright dew will rust them.” That’s a line to get right when you’re facing a street criminal or any critic for that matter.

    Carey also said that the new Dulwich Picture Gallery show of the prints of Algernon Beardsley, etc., was exquisite.

    So, Camberwell is such that one minute you can be in the 99p shop in Butterfly Walk, and in that time save enough to visit, maybe 20 minutes later, Dulwich Picture Gallery to peruse Beardsley’s fairies.

  14. Off topic afraid but someone was asking what we’ll be doing at Sun and Doves for New Year’s eve and it goes something like this:

    It’s like previous years but more so. Late licence (3am likely)

    We do not charge to get in, we provide great music (DJ) ambience, unbeatable friendly environment, and now there will be visuals and moving lights and a Big Ben count down on the large screen. We’ll be trying to replicate this in the garden on our outdoor 42″ lcd thingy under the heated awning (if it’s a howling gale this might be too much to achieve). Then there’s the new heated outdoor terrace with wicker armchairs and sofas, with blankets, table service and ASHTRAYS.

    There will be gifts (a goody bag probably) for the first thirty or so people who are there to celebrate the new year before maybe 9pm. Including a specially commissioned limited edition signed print worth quite a lot of money and other stuff we’re putting together now. This can be left at S&D for safekeeping with your name on it for collection in 2008.

    There will be (we’re trying to get this sorted but, believe me, it’s not straightforward on such an auspicious HOGmanay occasion) a hog roast and if not a delicious chilli con carne-chicken-veggie feast for people who need to eat at around a fiver a head.

    And there will be a complimentary glass of lovely bubbly at midnight for everyone, absolutely NO bottle spraying of same over the artwork mind, we do have standards of decorum.

    And dancing until the wee small hours.

    This we do because we love Camberwell and want Light and Peace to reign over humanity.

    Spread a little goodness. Happy New Year!

  15. Off piste again.

    My next door neighbour needs some garden tidying doing for winter. Anyone know of a maintenance person worth recommending?

    The last one who did something for me I just couldn’t reccommend to anyone.

  16. Talking of the snooker hall — as we were a little while back — does anyone know who did the very cool crocodile painting on the outside?

  17. Anyone coming to the carol singing next Sat 15th in Myatt’s fields park? Mulled wine, mince pies, hot chocolate and christingle making for the kiddies, starts at 6pm and is over by the band stand should be grand!

  18. Dulwich Hamlet v AFC Wimbledon Tuesday 19.45. Anyone else going? Anyone want an Xmas drink at the same time? Or will it be an undercover operation?

  19. That is one hell of a fixture. Thank you copeywolf. I think all us Camberwell should go, whether incognito or not. It’d be very interesting to see the Wimbledon localists, whom we should applaud as we would Ricky Hatton fans.

  20. Mr Ejiofor was also mentioned in the Sunday Times this week — see . in both features he mentions his love of pubs — so I shall keep my eyes peeled when out and about especially in pubs.

    Maybe this is the start of new feature — Camberwell celeb spotting!

  21. I was riding my scooter through the gap in the Camberwell grove road block (a bit naughty prehaps) and a cyclist, doing exactly the same thing called me something unrepeatable. The suggestion clearly being that it’s OK for push bikes to go through the gap, but not for careful motorcylists. If the cyclist in quesiton is reading this, maybe you should actually think the double standard you are applying.

  22. Mumu — Chiwetel Ejiofor use to drink in the Funky Munkey on a regular basis, I remember speaking to him about ohh 3–4 years ago complimenting him on his turn as Romeo at the National Theatre. — The production was a bit below average, as were some of the other actors but as usual Mr.Ejiofor’s performance was absolutely brilliant — a real tour de force…He was quite chuffed at my praise…er I think…

  23. I think Chiwe should play for the Hamlet tomorrow in the big game against Real Wimbledon.

    Is anyone watching Ross Kemp with the Peckham Boys and Murder Zone on Sky One? What’s happening?

    We had to watch Donal MacIntyre on Glasgow gangs on 5 instead because I will not subscribe to Conrad Black’s Sky One. Our baby chucked things at the screen anyway, which shows it doesn’t really matter whose crew you watch.

    I thought Matthew Collings was good on Ruskin last night, who was so mad he left Cranberwell to live in the Lake District!

  24. Good Lord! First Maxwell, then Black. That leaves Murdoch. I wonder if the Hamlet versus AFC Wimbledon will be on Sky tonight. Murdoch has embezzled football. Pay per view, pah!

  25. Kenz’ounds an’t please your worships, but pow’r in Camberford is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, public aye and private too.

    These fewer hands are larger, more copious, watertight and abler containers of gravy.

    Lord L has dismissed newfangled ideas of extending the iron road to Crumberford, and will instead push more horses and carts and satellite installers through the ol’ red road.

  26. Ooh! Mr Regeneguru! Even more horses in our midst? Think of their weighty boluses falling on our streets in this cold weather, breaking open and steaming like newly sliced Christmas puddings!

  27. Maybe horses would be the solution to Camberwell’s transport problems?

    They used to work well for Young’s Brewery in Wandsworth and as Nigel in the Archers is discovering they are very environmentally friendly.

    Oh dear there goes my street cred — Ive just admitted to liking the Archers! (Its a daily drama series NOT a soap dont you know!)

  28. Gordonz’blood, the ideas are flowing. Trouble is, some libertarian of the “there’s a hole in your sackcloth” school of thought is bound to chip in with observations on methane and climate change.

    Which is where I introduce FoalART HorsePower, methane capture strap-on, patent-pending. Every 200 yards the rider dismounts and connects the portable compressed gas cylinder to the local gaseous exchange, which powers up to 5% of local homes’ energy needs.

    Failing that, human-powered rickshaws with cameras to capture goods vehicle misdemeanours, and those of cabbies.

  29. to Mark@20

    Sounds really good — we may well drop in if its not too cold.

    New Years eve in a smoke free pub will be wonderful!

  30. Eusebiovic — what did you think of the game tonight? I thought Dulwich Hamlet was a great place, the football was quick and interesting — the second Wimbledon goal from a corner was as good as anything you’ll see on the telly.

  31. YO! Sparty’s back —

    You remember the Spart – I spent the summer analysing whether to buy a 2‑bed chain-free in Cambo, Vauxhall or the Golden Triangle. Was given universally positive feedback from a number of Vauxhall residents; enjoyed the ambiance of Camberwell – but wasn’t convinced about the buy-to-let-to-flip-to-buy potential. Plumped for the Golden Triangle.

    It was the perfect choice, but I don’t need to tell you that – my memory is of a generally pretty real-estate-literate postership.

    You’d better believe I’ve made considerable rate of return on my GT place. I won’t talk absolutes, but let’s just say approx 33% gross, before the recent market gyps. Oh yes — Sparty’s done it again!

    Of course, I’m in for both the long AND short term, and regularly play them off against each other. The Spart saw the ef el eye pee potential in the GT – demonstrated by the TWO (count ‘em – one, two) St George developments along Stockwell Road, not to mention the three Marks and Spencers within walking distance. But Sparty doesn’t discount the longer term buyer, not with the new Stockwell/Brixton tram line in the final stages of planning, to complement the access to the Victoria and Northern lines.

    Anyway, I’m a hands-off landlord now. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m in the self-proclaimed capital of Europe – Belgium. You’d be thrilled by the housing market here. I’ve got approximately 3.4 times the usable floor space as in London, duplex, front and rear balconies, a patio and a cave (a “carve”, not “cave” as in bats), for the market rent of my <60 m² place in the GT.

    Of course, you’ll say that I don’t have access to the British Library, the terracotta army, the Brixton Academy, or my friends. And you’re right – and I miss all those things (not the Library). On the other hand, I like new experiences. And I drink better beer. And I so rarely get intimidated by teenagers that the only time some kids got on the tram and played music from their phones at an uncomfortable volume I got nostalgic about the number 333 bus and winked at them. They got off at the next stop.

    So I’ve decided to come back to London for a long weekend this weekend.

    And here’s the thing:

    Alan Dale has generously offered to show me round Camberwell on Monday evening. He knows of course that I intend to augment my property portfolio, and where Sparty goes, above average property price increases follow. YEP!

    So here’s your chance residents! What do YOU recommend I do in my approx 8 hours in Camberwell? Which pub do we go to before dinner? Where do we eat? Which pub do we go to after dinner? Where do we end up? I’m almost – but not quite – willing to make it one of those reality vote type things, and go where the majority recommend.

    What I will promise is to give you my honest verdict next week.


  32. Sparty — glad you’re back. Did we say Monday 17th? Bad news I’m afraid.

    I’m in the US next week. Strictly for work — I don’t fly for leeesure but I don’t off-set work flights. Sue me!

    I guess that means you’ll be stuck with Foxy Al. If you are in Crystal Palace then I recommend Edo for Sushi!

    Sorry sport.

    I am going out in Camberwell with Foxy Al on Sunday 23rd and possibly Saturday 22nd. Any chance we can rearrange?

    Admin aside it would still be nice if other posters could make recommendations for the three of us. Although you’ll struggle to better The Bear for lunch, Doves and Hermits in the afternoon, Dinner at Caravaggio and then late drinks in the Silver Buckle…

  33. Do keep us apprised of your verdict. Amateur property speculators offer this mucky corner of london one of its very last hopes. Incidentally, have you considered an area known locally as the golden shower? Nestling just north of burgess park, the properties in Aylesbury [think a heritage version of Battersea Reach] offer spectacular vistas over london and are merely a panicky sprint away from the City of London.

  34. Funny if a little harsh.

    I walk through the Golden Shower every morning and the babymother takes the kids there for Surestart stuff.

    It’s just called Elephant now.

    Good potential for compulsory repurchase.

  35. It’s an immutable law of life never to trust someone who habitually refers to themselves in the third person.

    While I’m aware ‘the Spart’ is most likely a fictional construct, nothing in his/her post makes me think any different. The use of ‘Yo’ as an opening salutation didn’t help things for me either.

  36. Dagmar @39

    Dissapointed to see the mighty Hamlet lose 1–3 but AFC Wimbledon are quite a strong side and a division above (and it was the Surrey Cup which Dulwich have won 16 times! (a record which still stands)

    I would love to see Dulwich reach the 3rd Round of the F.A Cup one day…that would be fantastic…There is a team called Chasetown from the West Midlands who are in a much lower category than Dulwich and they have made it to the 3rd round this year! — So there is always hope!

    Still 6th in the league despite losing the manager and half the squad to Fisher Athletic in the summer…Not bad going at all really…

    Then there is the really homely bar with the lovely barstaff of course…More places like that should still exist, I’m fed up with all the chrome and laminate in this modern life!

  37. Yes, the bar staff I thought were really lovely at the Hamlet. It’s funny you should mention them, Eusebio. It was a really good place to hang out — it’s a good bar anyway hanging over the pitch there.

    I’ve seen a lot of lower division games — well, probably 7 or 8 over the past 10 years — and that was a lively game — well, it was good the Hamlet kept going after being beaten. I have taken notes on the game and will put them up here when I can find them at the bottom of me bag.

    They are so fit those boys who play — they hammer over the hard, cold ground like hell — they all to a man have the bandy legs of the true footballer, even at the age of 20.

    Seb, he was good. So was Fergie from AFC, though — what a goal!

    I am tired — I took one of me girls to Grain today, brilliant hours on the beach in the December sun — like it’s sunset all day.

    You can keep your Algarve in the summer — give me north Kent on December.

    I notice Ebbsfleet has its own International Train Station. Well invested, Pete! Please buy Northern Rock. Don’t let that bugger Branston get it, or Murdoch, or Black using his plastic mobile phone from prison.

  38. A bit hostile Mark! Scratch the Doves from our list then Sparty. Shame I think you’d have liked it. Lots of interesting art.

    I know you’re very arty Sparty. Some of it’s even got investment potential..

  39. @44 — It’s difficult to tell whether estate agents are posing as interested potential buyers on blogs in specific instances, because they share the same language, terms, and fervour as many amateur property speculators, or even individual houseowners.

    But anyone that thought it never happened would be naive. The only thing we can be certain of is that it’s credit crunch time across the board, except for many parts of Scotland. And that’s a place for people really in the know.

  40. What gives in Scotland Reg?

    I think it’s too politically unstable with a separatist nationalist government. Not sure I want to end up with Euro exposure on my balance sheet.

    Furthermore the whole sealed bids thing is very unnerving. Hard to know you”ve got a good price.

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