Park life

As well as voting for Camberwell Green to gain a grant of up to £400,000, you can also join a Facebook group aimed at winning a £2m grant for Burgess Park — and, to their credit, Southwark Council have announced they will put a further £4m into the park should it win (will they still invest that if it doesn’t?).

I’m not sure how the Facebook group aids in winning the award, but it doesn’t cost anything to join and the extra £2m would be very welcome (at the very least it could give us a safe haven away from the awful traffic around the moribund high street). I would like to see the money spent on a zoo.

Author: Peter

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

44 thoughts on “Park life”

  1. a zoo??
    I hear even regents park zoo is sturggling to draw in the visitors.

    On a random note — does anyone know where I can rent an industrial food mixer from in/near camberwell. I have been given the challenge of making a wedding cake and my £29.99 jobbie from Argos just won’t do.

  2. No knowledge of industrial food mixer hire locally but you could try Harveys Catering speak to Mike he might be able to help you…

    Meantime, having voted for Camberwell parks get into the swing of 2009 and come to The Sun and Doves’ quiz on Wednesday nights.

    Films on Tuesdays and, from 17 January there will be a marvellous civilised and fun filled night running on Saturdays with cabaret, perfomance, spoken word and, well just good things… More to follow.

    Any one not got a copy of Conor Masterson’s Fun Factory photograph yet?

  3. A zoo. What a stunning, incredible waste of cash that’d be. Just what we need to do right now with public funds!

    Anyway, Camberwell is a zoo.

  4. Change of topic a bit here but stuck this on the SE5 forum as well and thought I should stick it here too.

    Before Christmas, I took in some letters to be sent abroad. The “lovely” chap behind the counter tried to (at best) mis-sell me stamps by saying that I needed 2 first class stamps to send letters to Europe, which is rubbish as it doesn’t cost that. He then gave the the stamps used for large 1st class letters which is still 4p more than I needed to pay. It’s not a lot I know even though I was sending lots of letters abroad.

    My main gripe is his attitude and general, how do you say.…seediness? I have got some information on customer service, from another post office because of course there are no leaflets of any type there, let alone ones that explain how to complain about the (lack of) service.

    So if anyone feels so inclined, the details to send your complaints to are:

    Post Office Customer Care,
    PO Box 740,
    S73 0ZJ

    Tel: 0845 7223344


    (How ironic that there is an email address for the post office).

    Maybe if we all go griping, there could be some improvement.

  5. I’m sticking to my guns; I want a zoo. Gorillas, elephants, giraffes, and monkeys at the very least. Probably a couple of tigers too.

  6. Peter, you mention guns.

    Now that is a fantastic idea. Live game shoot at a managed zoo.

    Can’t afford the trip to Kenya? Bag an antelope near Elephant. You’re a genius!

  7. I’ve written to that post office e‑mail address before. Would advise you not to expect a response…

    On another note, quirky wedding venues in the area: any thoughts?

  8. southmark:

    This might not be much help but I used one of the three names which come up when you search on Yell for a plasterer in SE5 – I seem to recall it was A C Plastering but I could be wrong. If it’s a young-ish, quite middle class man who answers it’s liable to be the same one and he was very good.

    A plea from me: anyone recommend a heating engineer to tweak my misfiring boiler? I’ve been very impressed with Maurice Yoeman as a plumber but I seem to remember him saying he doesn’t do boilers.

  9. Is EVERYONE very depressed? I’ve never been nearer the edge but I’m not down at all. Must be the happy pills. Just off the the Canning for a drink with my fo Fair Pint Campaigners — Simon Clarke from The Eagle Ale House in Battersea is among us now.

    On 26 January (Monday) we’re hiring a coach to go up to Solihull and have a few pints outside Enterprise Inns headquarters at the Tenants Alms. Anyone fancy a day jaunt up the M6?

    Leading Ladies film season continues tomorrow night at S&D. With very good value food too.

    On 17 January cabaret and fun on Saturday night.

    On 20 January we’re showing Barack Obama’s inauguration live at 5pm and Evita afterwards.

  10. Also on the subject of free film screenings in Camberwell, Gay Camberwell, in association with The Castle, will be launching Pink Screen Sundays this weekend. Gay films screening every Sunday at 4pm, upstairs at the Castle. Free entry. This Sunday we have D.E.B.S. which is a lovely Charlie’s Angels spoof with a very sweet romance. Next Sunday (25th) is Shortbus, which is a much acclaimed film about sex and relationships. Info and trailers etc here:

    Do come along!

  11. Yeah, Mark, I’m in a trough at the moment but I’m hoping it’s because I’ve finished my run with the Lost and Found Orchestra and so it’s just a post-artistic crash… What a prima donna eh?

    It’s January so plans are starting to firm up for Camberwell Arts Festival, which this year runs from 19 — 28th June, with the big opening event in Myatts Field Park on Saturday 20th. I’ll keep you informally posted; might ask to do a thematic post shortly beforehand, Peter?

    BTW did any of you go to see the Lost and Found Orchestra? What’d you think?


  12. it just me, or has Camberwell lost it’s mojo? When I first moved here, it was pretty ‘hip’. There was the snug bar, Redstar (before it got bad), the S&D’s obviously (the only one left) and it had a nice arty vibe. It was rough round the edges, but it was a pretty cool place, on the up (people actually travelled here for an evening). Now all the hip young things have moved, either to Peckham or New Cross — or the slightly older, more affluent, to East Dulwich. SE5 feels as though it’s more dangerous and… well, just less fun to live in. Maybe it’s just that I’ve got older, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just ’cause it’s January and I’m generally a bit depressed.
    Is Camberwell on the up, the down, or just where it’s always been??

  13. Agree with you big time Stuart, but let’s reconvene when the daffs are out just in case it’s a seasonal disorder.

    Smiley face 🙂

  14. Camberwell’s long running downward slope sharpened round about the time the bookshop closed, and then when those kids got machinegunned outside that club.

    Soon after things picked up with the conversion of Jack Beard’s and for some time it seemed like we had a good run which included Caravaggio, rising property prices, the reopening of Red Star, fewer kids getting killed etc.

    But then came several closures (Rhino sports, Fus etc, not to mention Woolies), and the arrival of Christine’s Meat.

    I sense what you’re saying Stuart, and I would agree that Camberwell is going down at the moment.

    And it’ll always be a dump round a busy traffic crossroads.

    Also on the Phil G dogshit index — a useful measure of street cleanliness — I stepped in two turds the other week after many many months free of incident.

    To end on a positive note, there do seem to be fewer tramps about. Or maybe that’s the cold weather.

  15. And another thing.

    I had curried goat at Refill the other day and it was brilliant!

    Superb portion, lots of succulent meat. Bit salty but great. Friendly service too.

    I shall work my way round the menu…

  16. Vote for Camberwell Green getting the 400K Park money by sending a text to 62967 “Parks — your postcode here — ”

    That’s it. Sit back and wait for Camebrwell Green to be gilded.

  17. Glad to see you lend your support. And while I know we’re not allowed to question the SE5 Forum here, might I suggest that one person take about 5 minutes (see little cost in time and no cost in money) to say update your website to encourage this? And maybe send a quick email to your entire member group?

    It’s late in the day but this is big money. And it would be a shame not to use all weapons. I’m personally further dis-enfranchised you haven’t already, but again I know speaking badly of the Forum here is unwelcome.

  18. “while I know we’re not allowed to question the SE5 Forum here” — an unfair misrepresentation. You may have your viewpoint challenged, but you are allowed to discuss anything here. For what it’s worth, I have been a constant critic of the Forum’s inability to communicate on their website.

  19. Indeed Peter, as have I. But the chance was there for others to be elected to the Board and change direction back in January ’08. No-one new stood, as I exhorted them to, and hence the exact same Board is still in place — one where IT phobia is a serious issue and there is no marketing strategy for the site — the greatest mistake of all.

    Meanwhile, those who have taken some form of local community action in the past can now luxuriate in pontificating from afar, self-appointed to a community sinecure, a position where one has earned the right to preach and lambast, yet do nothing and suggest nothing by way of remedy.

  20. @ StuartPlanet (#92581)

    Love the description of ‘Nollywood (Phase 1)’

    “first of its kind in the UK. It features two floors of pure afro centric beauty. There’s the main lounge area downstairs that holds 400 and is decked out in the plushest interior décor imaginable with a dedicated VIP area and 30 foot long bar. Leather is the most common feature of the interior with suitable lighting to match.”

    30 foot long bar! Leather with suitable lighting to match! Man, I’m there!

    What I find depressing in Camberwell is that anyone who sticks their neck out to try and open something new and more aspirational than a 24 hour booze store seems to have it summarily lopped off when it fails within about a year.

    Having said that there has been a weird inverse snobbery round ‘ere in the past where people have scoffed at the idea of having more ‘upmarket’ shops in Camberwell (as that might make it more like those toffs over in Dulwich) so maybe it’s simple prophecy fulfillment.

    Sadly even the mirage of Camberwell as some kind of working-class oasis seems to become ever more faint – and at least in parts, resemble something a bit more like the lyrics from Ghost Town by the Specials (which is pretty cool in its way, I suppose).

    It is January of course, and I don’t currently have my rose tinted specs on…

  21. @parklife, I’ve voted several times now. It’s a bit of a black box – you vote, and then… nothing!

    Who gets to determine the winner?

  22. @Eyechild: “there has been a weird inverse snobbery round ‘ere in the past where people have scoffed at the idea of having more ‘upmarket’ shops in Camberwell (as that might make it more like those toffs over in Dulwich)” — again, a bit of an unfair representation.

    I recall that the position some people — myself included — took was that there was a lot to love in Camberwell and we wouldn’t like to see some of the better shops, bars & restaurants closed down to make way for some of the more frou-frou elements of the Dulwich environs; we would always, however, welcome good new businesses.

    That said, that was a couple of years ago and, depressingly, things are headed in the opposite direction. Lots of closures and potential closures, with crap like Christine’s Meat & Fish springing up instead. I’d love to be able to spend my money on shopping around the Green, but there is almost literally nowhere for me to buy food that isn’t processed crap.

    My position all along is that the centre needs shops to meet the needs of all the residents, not just the lower-income ones; my absolute dream would be to see Butterfly Walk have a parade of old high-street staples; butcher, baker, grocer, fishmonger, delicatessen — just like the row of shops outside Herne Hill station. But it’s a pipe dream, I know.

    I’ve lived and worked in Camberwell for about 10 years, on and off, and the shopping is the worst I’ve ever known it (although, to be fair, it was never great).

    But it’s not all bad; we have some excellent pubs and good food & some nice parks.

  23. Yeah, a decent butcher would be nice. We’re doing OK on restaurants and gastropubs though. Better than Brixton as I said here recently.

    I lived in East Dul for a year and those nick nack gift shops really boiled my pi55. I think I’d rather have a pound shop.

  24. Peter,what do you mean “I’d love to be able to spend my money on shopping around the Green, but there is almost literally nowhere for me to buy food that isn’t processed crap.”

    Try the Metro next to the phone shop. As well as having very good feta cheese and pretty decent prices on rice and pulses etc, they are also very very friendly. The meat isn’t the organic, but it ain’t bad.
    The Chinese supermarket does very good oriental veg and fruit.
    Sophocles for bread, but not for cakes,
    Crussons for fruit and veg, not to mention Pauls deli and the guy next to the silver buckle if you want a bargain.

    None of this is processed, and it isn’t crap either. Damn sight cheaper than when I got the organic veg boxes delivered too. And funnily enough on average means that it’s fresher too. I only buy what I need for the day to cook. So less waste.

    Have to say that I would like a decent fish place though. The Chinese fish just doesn’t cut it freshness wise.

    I think you have to take off your doom tinted spectacles and start looking at the good bits. Yes there is processed crap but you don’t have to buy it and they is a choice.

  25. That’s a great record and film, Monkeycat. I agree with you a lot about Camberwell. One of the wonders of Camberwell and also the world is Sophocles bakery and its bread. They hand it over like an ancient sacred ceremony, it’s wonderful, literally, as though they were handing over life itself to you. They are really beautiful and graceful there, even the ugly old Cypriot blokes with their knobbledy eastern-Med noses. The girls, the older women, are like mythical beauties, Helen of Trpy, but here they are here, right here, right now.

    Maybe it is the January crunch bust slump blues that makes me so lyrical about Sophocles.

    Processed crap sounds nasty. It is such a pity restaurant and takeaway menus don’t have mistakes in like they used to. “Giant fresh crap,” that kind of thing.

  26. on a positive note, we’re having our january event at funky monkey in yes, camberwell, saturday 31st jan, 12–4 pm

    The event is organised together with the Sunday Swap Shop and Art’s Bar people and will include:

    Free Shop: if you have something you don’t need and are happy to give it away for free to someone who does, bring it along. You might find something you need too. Please bring only things which are easy to carry (no bulky stuff and no electrical goods, please)

    Seed Swap: get your gardens, balconies and allotments ready for spring.

    Invisible Food: learn everything about the wild food growing in our parks/gardens and urban spaces.

    Take part in an art project: the theme is home, so please bring something which means home to you. This could be anything from a photo to a sound recording — check People Mapping article on the site to give you some ideas.

    Hope to see some/all of you in a couple of weeks

  27. @ Pete

    Fair enough, maybe a bit of a unfair representation. I guess I just think it’s naive to think that things in Camberwell can necessarily carry on as they are, and people should be a bit more pragmatic. Yes Dulwich might be all strollers and weimeranas, but it probably induces more people from outside the area to go and spend there – something I think the somewhat forbidding environs of Denmark Hill would struggle to do, which is something which by the looks of it, it probably needs. And I’m as much an advocate of local businesses (Crusons or Sophocles etc) as anyone, but just because they’re old/local/inexpensive institutions, that alone might not necessarily make them immune to closing for whatever reason (see Kennedy’s). We can bang on about how wonderful they are, but I do wonder if say, the current owners were to retire – would there necessarily be another generation willing to take up the reins? who knows. Change or die I reckon.

    @ Phil G

    Good Call.

    @ Dagmar

    I thought all the girls who worked in Sophocles were Eastern European?

  28. @ MonkeyCat: OK, maybe I should give Metro another try; I last went in there a couple of years ago and they had a few unremarkable cuts of meat, of unknown origin. I would prefer a butcher such as those at Herne Hill or East Dulwich, or even the stalls at the Peckham & Oval farmers markets, which supply traditional cuts of seasonal meats from local / British farms; don’t care if its organic, but must be well-reared. If Metro can supply it, I’ll happily visit them.

    As for Sophocles, they are OK but have a very limited and unchanging range of breads. Cruson & Wing Tai sell veg, admittedly, but no idea on origin and thus how far it’s had to travel to get here; I don’t want 6‑month-old, dry-frozen, tasteless New Zealand apples.

    And then there’s cheeses, cold meats, and other dietary staples.

  29. Woolies used to do staples. Eyechild, yes, some of the Sophocleans are Eastern European, which also just fantastic. There are so many blessings to count in Camberwell. Our 99p shop is the best and most imaginative in the country. We are within reach of two Wetherspoons selling Greene King IPA at 99p — now, instead of just being drunk for a tenner, we can seek oblivion like proper Camberwell branch Baudelaireans.

  30. Metro is definitely worth a look. And the lamb at the back is convenient sometimes.

    Sophocles is OK but yet to really try al the breads.

    Cruson I want to like cos of the old gadge and it being local etc, but some of the produce is just stale.

    Wing Tai is handy but is quite pricey as Chinese supers go. I’ve never tried the fish but am surprised if it’s not that fresh. I’ll have a looksee next time. Don’t overlook the roasted meats they have in sometimes which you can buy in a tin. V convenient for slicing and adding to noodles, rice etc.

    Your friend,
    Phil G

  31. typo, sorry:

    roasted meats they have in sometimes which you can buy in a tin tray (not a tin cos that’d be less impressive)

  32. For fruit and veg, I tend to stroll up to East Street Market. The produce probably has about the same amount of airmiles / pesticides used as in most supermarkets, but it’s definitely cheaper and has a nice unpretentious buzz about the place. To balance out the airmiles / pesticides, I’m also trying my hand at growing fruit and veg spurred on by the experience of tasting my own home grown toms last year. So Liliana, I will definitely be at the Funky Monkey some seeds and other things to swap:-)

    There is also a very good bakers on Southampton Way (white crusty bread only — but so good it’s normally sold out by Saturday lunchtime). If, like me, you are totally fed up with the Post Office on Denmark Hill, the sub Post Office hidden at the back of the convenience shop next door is a great find.

    Otherwise, I’d tend to agree with the posters above that Camberwell is lacking in decent places to buy good cheese, meat and fish. Maybe the new co-op supermarket will improve things?

  33. Everyone’s so sad! But why? I don’t think Camberwell’s the worst it’s ever been. lthough I admit it is very sad that we’ve lost Mozzarella Pomodora (and the Wishing Well). I certainly don’t think we’ve lost our arty vibe. I may be biased, but I don’t think there’s ever been a time when there’s more arty stuff going on in Camberwell.

    Btw, it’s really worth going in to Cowling and Wilcox. They’d hate to be described as a Woolworths substitute (and there is no pick and mix) but I’ve got a number of things (of the stationary / means of affixing tiles to walls in a non-permanent fashion variety) there that I would normally have looked for in Woolworths.

    Stop press news: looks like there’s to be regular comedy at the Joiner’s Arms on the first Thursday of the month. At long last, comedy in Camberwell. So no more misery, please.

  34. @newroad, the local schools have been sending letters home with info on how to vote in those little green bags all the kids get issued with

    Still, the internet seems a strange way to sort somehting like this out. You just know other areas have sharper elbows and more Internet users

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