Sunday 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas to those celebrating - to the religious, to the fun-seekers and the agnostics.

I hope our kids are enjoying things so far. We've been well 'christmassed-out' from before the schools broke up.  This atheist was forced to go to TWO performances in local churches, and two school concerts. While I clearly don't agree with the 'god' bit and would prefer schools to take a secular approach to religion, the visits to church were good occasions for getting people together - it's difficult to think of other local organisations which do that in the same way.

Today we had our usual Christmas eve visit to Greenwich Theatre's pantomime - this year Aladdin. It was another brilliant production by Andrew Pollard (it's on until 8 Jan).

Outside of cute children doing cute stuff (a little of which is always a good thing), and the chance to go to the theatre (even if it is panto), Christmas really is one big stress-inducing, time-sucking, consumer-fest. What a bah humbug.  Then, just when you think you are clear about all this, some generous person goes and gives you a lovely gift, someone who has actually taken time over it and you feel even more guilty for not loving it all.

Or you make a Christmas cake (actually a banana and sunflower seed cake) with your daughter and have to deal with realising how disproportionately excited you are about having made green-icing xmas trees, complete with silver ball decorations.

For now though, the kids (and hubby) are tucked up, their presents arranged and Santa has been left his snacks.  A dip into the xmas issue of the New Statesman beckons, with perhaps a wee baileys. Just think, only a few months before we have to do this all again.

Have a good break, one and all.

Sunday 11 December 2011

Autumn in Eltham (part 1)

It still seemed to be Autumn a couple of weeks ago, and now we've been plunged into the icy chill of Winter, although happily a sunny, blue-skied one. Here's a few photos from a couple of weekends ago:

A dormant rose garden in the Well Hall Pleasaunce, early afternoon.
The new addition to the existing children's play area in the Well Hall Pleasaunce grounds. (There's a News Shopper article about a new £23,000 play area - I'm not sure if this is it, or if there's more to come?)

Earlier that day we had been to Eltham Park and seen the latest addition there to the existing playground. It's meant for toddlers I guess but my two children still had some fun on it.

And finally, I had to capture the very pretty apple crumble served up at the end of our lunch that Sunday at the Tudor Barn. It tasted good too.

Friday 2 December 2011

Eltham and SE London events - December 2011

Some random local happenings in December, some of which I like, and might pop along to:

Saturday 3 December
Christmas Fair
Environmental Curriculum Service
Children’s Christmas Activities FREE 10am - 3pm
77 Bexley Road, Eltham, SE9 2PE Craft Stalls - Santa's Grotto - Festive Treats and Mulled Wine - t: +44 (0) 20 8850 2615

(a lovely local resource much used by my children's, and other local primary schools)

Saturday 3rd December 2011
Christmas FUSS Fair in Hither Green
“Join us on Saturday 3rd December for a day of festive fun and games at the Christmas FUSS Fair in Hither Green. We’ve plenty on offer to suit every taste and invite you, to eat, drink, shop and be merry with us. 12.00 to 17.00hrs.

The arrival of twilight will see our large Christmas tree illuminated by beautiful sparkling lights as carols are performed by Hither Green's local school Christmas Choir. Browse a selection of stalls along Staplehurst Road, for some perfect gift ideas, have a nibble on some of the delicious food on offer & enjoy a hot cup of mulled wine whilst enjoying the live music & festive ambiance.

Live performances / Carol singing / Christmas shopping / Kids activities / Santa's Grotto/ Raffle / Mulled wine & Mince Pies / Local artists & artisans / Handmade Gifts / Exquisite home baked food / Art / Jewellery / Home-wares / Seasonal decorations.”
Staplehurst Road, Hither Green, LONDON SE13
For more details go to blog:

(Hither Green has got such a sense of community!)

Sat 3 Dec 2011
Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet!
Hither Green's fab 70's & 80's night - is back at St Swithun's for a Christmas knees- up on Sat Dec 3rd from 7.30pm - 11.30pm. There's great soul,funk and disco classics from DJ Lord Ant and DJ Da-Lynne & dance-line ups from Ali, plus there's a cash bar and free retro sweets - not to mention a funky festive grotto in the lower vestry. Tickets are £10 in advance from our lovely local cafes, Cafe of Good Hope and You Don't Bring Me Flowers. Buy online via or call 0796 716 3247.

Saturday 3rd December and Sunday 4th December 2011
Greenwich Circus Festival
Charity fundraiser in aid of Circusability
at Hangar Arts Trust, unit 7a, Harrington Way, London SE18 5NR
AirCraft Circus are hosting a three day festival packed with all things circus.
A weekend of entertainment for young and old alike – activities and shows for the whole family during the day, and then party all night once the kids are tucked up in bed!
Various daytime and evening sessions.  Click here to buy tickets

(whoa, never heard of this before, wish I knew earlier)

Sunday 4 December 2011
‘Feeding the Birds’
Practical teach-in on best techniques and materials, followed by bird watch
John Beckham, Greenwich Park Ranger
Organised by Eltham Nature Club
Well Hall Pleasaunce - 2-4pm

Sunday 4 Decemember 2011
The Los Dawsons
The Los Dawsons are performing at the Pelton Arms Pelton Road SE10 9PQ
7pm it's FREE “the best sounding and vibe place in Greenwich tell all!”

Sunday 4 December 2011
Festive Family Fun Trail @ Eltham Palace
Get into the festive spirit with a fun trail for kids this December at Eltham Palace and Gardens.
Spend the day finding hidden clues to solve the puzzle and win a yummy prize!
Location: Eltham Palace, Greenwich, SE9 5QE
Times: 11am – 4pm
Cost: £9.30 (Children are £5.60 and families £24.20)
Ticket price includes entry to event plus entry to the Palace & Grounds.

Sunday 4 December 2011
Xmas Sing-a-long
The Tarn, Court Road, Mottingham, SE9 5AQ
Nearest train station: Mottingham
1.30-3.30pm. Join us in singing Christmas Songs while enjoying fruit punch and Mince Pies. Also Childrens' activities and other stalls. For inquiries please email or call 07729364506.

Friday 9 December 2011
Lewisham Local History Society
The History of New Cross in the 20th C
by Ray Thatcher
“All meetings on a Fri, at 7.45pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, Lewisham. You don’t need to be a member to come to a meeting, but donation appreciated. Tea, coffee, biscuits at interval: 50p (a bargain!). Please pass the prog on to anyone who might be interested, as we’re having problems updating the website.”

(whole programme of interesting local history lectures, run, it seems, by ex-Lewisham councillor Andrew Milton)

Friday 9 Dec 2011
Christmas Concert
Start time: 19.30.  End time: 21.30
Venue: St Margaret's Church
Brandram Road, Lee, London SE13
020 8318 9643
organiser:  Blackheath Choir

Friday 9 December 2011 - Saturday 7 January 2012        
Around the World in Eighty Days
Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Ye Brockley Jack, Brockley Road,
London SE4 2DH.
From rainy 19th century to a technicolour Bollywood vision. Join Phileas Fogg, his faithful servant and various pursuing friends and foes in this Jules Verne classic tale.
(Perfs: Tuesday - Saturday. No shows 23-27 December, & 31 - 2 January.)
Tickets: £13, £10 conc.
Family Ticket £40 (two adults and 2 U18s)
To book online click here 

(sounds intriguing, would love to see what they do with the bollywood bit, wish there was a matinee)

Sat 10 to Sun 11 December 2011
Traffic-free days on Oxford St & Regent St. Pedestrians rule the street for the whole weekend!
(I know, not SE London but wanted to mention this!)

Sat 10 Dec 11
Comedy Night at The Pavilion
‘Comedy on the Common’, The Pavilion on Plumstead Common, London SE18 1QG
Doors open: 7pm. Show time: 8:15pm.
£12 on the door or book online.  Includes a free drink and late licensed bar.
Comedians include:
HL - Frank Sanazi, Hattie Hayridge, Fredrik Andersson. MC - David Whitney
Click here for location details.

Saturday 10 Dec 2011
Christmas Concert
Eltham Choral Society
Holy Trinity Church, Southend Crescent, Eltham SE9
Soloists, carols for choir and audience
£12 (£10 conc)  - 7.30pm

(Would love to go. Question is, would the kids last...? They do surprise sometimes)

Saturday 10th December 2011
Glam party at the Rivoli Ballroom by the Magic Theatre
“The Magic Theatre is a night of un-themed dressing up freedom held in London's most beautiful venue, the Rivoli Ballroom. Dance yourself dizzy to happy retro cheesy tunes, live band and cabaret.
Created for a happy-dancing wildly mixed crowd of all romantic inclinations and gender identities, who come together to make a Grand Entrance, and to flaunt, flirt and pose in the finery of their choosing in the finest venues London has to offer...
The Rivoli Ballroom. 350 Brockley Rd,
London SE4 2BY  [map]
(one for beautiful glamorous people. Another night in then.)

Saturday 10 December 2011
Leegate Christmas Festival
Leegate Shopping Centre, Lee, London SE12
12 noon to 7pm.  Christmas Festival in Leegate shopping centre plus unveiling of a Community Art Project by Heidi Alexander, Lewisham East MP.

(Hmm  - this area needs a little love, and a few fairy lights)
Saturday 10 December 2011
An Audience with Queen Victoria
7pm for a 7.30pm start
at The Baker Trust Hall, Maxim Road, Crayford
Organised by the Crayford Manor House Historical and Archaeological Society. A talk given by Anne Carter. An entertainment in the Queen's own words and in costume, giving an insight into the humour of the whole family.
Admission: Please use contact below
Tel: 01322 551279

Saturday 10 December 2011
at Edward Alderton Theatre, 5 Brampton Road, Bexleyheath,  DA7 4EZ
7.30pm. Shakespeare's Macbeth, inspired by the works of Dennis Potter and dealing heavily with themes of madness, this production has been set by the Director in the claustrophobic confines of a dilapidated Psychiatric Hospital at Christmas. This is the story of 'Macbeth' seen through the eyes of a heavily medicated patient where the patients and staff become characters in Shakespeare's great tragedy. The directors aim is to create a world where order hangs by a thin thread, where nobody is what they seem, and murder, deal and insanity are to norm.
Admission: £10.  Tel: 020 8301 5584.  Email:

Sunday 11 December 2011
Christmas Carol Concert
Horniman Museum
5pm - 6pm. Join us for this fun and festive event. Enjoy performances from the English Baroque Choir and the Crystal Palace Band to celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday 14 December 2011
Christmas Concert
Goldsmiths University of London, Richard Hoggart Building, Lewisham Way, London SE14 7NW
6.30pm. Goldsmiths Chamber Choir and Vocal Group present their annual concert with audience participation a must.

Friday 16 December 2011
The Vanishing Point
We're converting the Victorian Art Studio into Scrooge and Marley’s Counting House, 21 Lee Road, Blackheath, London SE3 9RQ  at 7.30pm
The Vanishing Point's Christmas Carol: an immersive, interactive screening of Brian Desmond Hurst’s Scrooge (1951, starring Alastair Sim).
There will be cheap Christmas drinks, urchins+other Dickensian characters, guaranteed snow, carol singing with choir+festive Super 8 films.
Reservations should be made online - please click here to proceed.

Saturday 17 December 2011
Carol Singing
Eltham Choral Society
Passey Place, Eltham
11am - 12am
Proceeds to Demelza

Saturday 17 December 2011
Carols by Candlelight
Well Hall Pleasaunce, Eltham SE9
Greenwich Youth Band and community choir Craft and gift stalls, hog roast, mulled wine.
Entrance free - 7pm

(last year this took place in deep, festive snow!)

Saturday 17 December 2011
“A Christmas Carol" - Family Pantomime
Time:  15:00 (doors open at 14:30pm)
Venue:  Hall Place & Gardens, Bourne Road, Bexley, DA5 1PQ
“Join us for a family friendly pantomime version of A Christmas Carol, with audience interaction, live music (carols and original songs) as well as puppets. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The show will last approximately one hour.”
•Adults £7, Children £5
•All tickets in advance from the booking line on 01322 621238
•All children must be accompanied by an adult

Tuesday 20 December 2011
Christmas holiday activities at Woodlands Farm
10am to 3pm from Tuesday 20 to Thursday 22 December
at Woodlands Farm Trust, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling DA16 3RP
Tues 20 December: Winter Woodlands. Take a trip into our woodlands to learn how to get by in the cold. Shelter-building, fire-making and cooking are just some of the activities which will be taking place. FREE (donations welcome); no booking necessary, drop in between 10am and 2.30pm. Ages 6+. Will take place whatever the conditions, so do wear appropriate clothes and footwear for the weather.
Wed 21 December: Making cards and gifts. Yet to sort out a card and present for your nearest and dearest? No worries, the farm offers a one-stop shop for both, with a chance to make Christmas cards and photo frames from natural and re-used items. Saves you money and is kind to the environment! FREE (donations welcome); no booking necessary, drop in between 10am and 3pm. All ages.
Thursday 22 December: Toddler Club. It's Christmas at Toddler Club! £2 per adult; children FREE; no booking necessary, drop in between 10am and 12pm.
Admission: Mainly FREE; Toddler Club £2 adults, kids free.
Bookings: 020 8319 8900

December 29 2011 – 28 January 2012
Bob Hope Theatre, annual pantomime in Eltham SE9

(p.s. I've tried my best to make sure things are accurate here - I'm happy to receive any feedback and will gladly correct any inaccuracies/do any updates)

Friday 18 November 2011

Eltham Lights Up 2011 - last night

Eltham Lights Up last night was a great success as usual. The sense of fun, the kids' delight and the artistry on offer always makes this a lovely family event, especially so when the weather was so mild.

Here's my (rather poor - click to enlarge) picture of a giant mechanically-controlled inflatable Henry VIII, the star piece of the lantern-lit procession featuring hundreds of local school children (including my daughter's primary school, and headteacher!).
Here's the Phoenix just about to glide pass St Mary's community Centre. Next to this was a little stage where, amongst others, local Clive Efford MP took to the mic. He tweeted later: "More people than ever tonight in hgh street for Eltham Lights Up' - great night for the whole community"
A glitter-jacketed little brass section.

(better photo available here btw:
'Robot mega Henry'
via Phil Bird)

And finally (for now, until Hubby downloads his super-duper iphone photos....hurry up!) some gorgeous fudge bought in the little market set up in the Passey Place area. They were lovely people from 'Sweet Nostalgia', based on the Isle of Sheppey, who also attend Well Hall Pleasaunce events and will be there for the Christmas Carols next month.

Related previous posts:
Eltham Lights Up 2010
Eltham Lights up 2009

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Eltham and SE London events - November 2011

Some local things happening this month...

to 30 Nov 2011       
Blackheath Art Society Exhibition
at Discover Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College                  
Maritime Greenwich is close to the hearts of the local artists who are members of Blackheath Art Society. Some artists have explored the Old Royal Naval College buildings and the people who inhabited them. Others have been inspired by the river Thames, its foreshore, industry, and maritime heritage. This exhibition celebrates their enthusiasm with a collection of paintings, textiles and ceramics.
Venue: Temporary Exhibition Gallery, Discover Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College
Greenwich SE10 9LW   

Friday 4 November 2011
Opening night of photography exhibition 
by Claire Swindale
at Tudor Barn, Well Hall Road, Eltham
4-6pm. As she says at @cswindale “WINE, FUN, ART SHOW!! Spread the word, bring a friend, it'll be lovely to see ya!”

Saturday 5 November 2011
Blackheath fireworks
8pm.  It’s still on. “Blackheath fireworks is a long standing highlight of Lewisham’s event calendar. An estimated 100,000 people attend South London’s biggest and best free firework display every year. Visitors can enjoy the funfair, food stalls and a fully licensed bar before and after the display.” Being funded this year by Lewisham Council, local businesses and your voluntary contributions. 
Saturday 5 November 2011:
50 years of Bromley on Film: 1930s- 1980s
Bromley Central Library, Bromley
Run by: London Borough of Bromley Archives
View recently re-discovered films together with a demonstration of film conservation from an expert.
An opportunity to view recently digitalised, film from Bromley and the surrounding area from the 1930s to 1980s from within the Bromley Archives collections for the first time in many decades. Viewing will be accompanied by commentary by local history experts. Preceded by a film conservation demonstration and question and answer session with a professional film archivist.
14:00–16:00. Suitable for any age

Sunday 6 November 2011:
Film at Hither Green
Pan's Labyrinth and The Watchers. £3. 7pm 6 Nov. Hither Green Hall, St Swithun's Rd. @HitherGreenFilm

Sunday 6 November 2011:
Pop-Up cinema in Sidcup
The Blues Brothers will be shown at Sidcup and Footscray United Services Club, in Main Road, on November 9. Doors will open at 7pm and the screening will begin at 8pm.
People over 18 are invited to the monthly event, which will screen new and classic movies for £4.50

Thursday 10 Nov 2011:
Reel History Film Show
Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre, Bexleyheath
Run by: Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre
A Century of Bexley on Film - Screening of rarely seen archive films dating from the early 20th Century to more recent times showing the people and places of the London Borough of Bexley. Archive film presentation with talk by Borough Archivist Simon McKeon.
19:15–20:30. Cost: £3.50. Suitable for any age.

Tuesday 8 November 2011:
Tudor Life tour
Time: 2.30pm (approx 1 hour)
Location: Hall Place Visitor Centre, Hall Place and Gardens, Bourne Road, Bexley DA5 1PQ
Description: Join a costumed guide to tour the historic house and lean about life in Tudor times for the rich, such as Sir John Champneys who built Hall Place - and the poor who would have worked on the estate surrounding Hall Place.
Admission: £6 per person
Tel: 01322 621238

11 November 2011
Blackheath Goes Gospel Performance
Blackheath Halls
Performance led by the London Community Gospel Choir with the ‘community chorus’ of workshop participants and pupils from local schools.

11 - 20 November 2011
GREENWICH Jazz Festival 
This festival returns featuring contemporary jazz, afrobeat, blues, funk and gospel performances across the borough. The event, running from November 11 to November 20, is part of The Greenwich Festivals, a series of events supported by Greenwich Council.
Artists like Soweto Kinch, Cleveland Watkiss, Empirical, Ian Shaw, Liane Carroll and Arun Ghosh, will perform at the National Maritime Museum, Blackheath Halls and Charlton House, along with jazz clubs and schools.
For more information visit

Friday 11 November 2011:
Jazz singer Liane Carroll
Part of Greenwich Jazz Festival (see above)
Tudor Barn, Well Hall Road, Eltham SE9
£15 from 0845 459 2351 or on the door
See for more information on Liane Carroll

Saturday 12 November 2011
Blackheath Holistic and Wellness Fayre
Event in support of Eltham Charity Demelza Hospice Care for Children
We are holding an inspiring local community Holistic & Wellness Fayre
at the Quaker House in Blackheath Village, Lawn Terrace, Blackheath, SE3 9LL
For a map click here.

Saturday 12 November 2011:
Christmas grotto and seasonal gifts
Times: These will vary and will be on display at the grotto or available from the fundraising office
Location: Broadway Shopping Centre, Broadway, Bexleyheath.
Admission: £2 per child to visit Santa (includes a gift)
Description: Grotto and Christmas shop with new gifts, cards and a Christmas present wrapping service
Runs until 24 December
Tel: 020 8319 9236.  Email:

Saturday 12 November 2011:
Christmas bazaar, on behalf of H.A.L.O. disabled club
St.Lukes Church Hall, Westmount Road, Eltham SE9
20p entry, children free
10.30am - 12.30pm  20p entry
Children free

Sunday 13 November 2011:
Remembrance Sunday Service, Eltham
Eltham War memorial Parade on high street from Conservative Club (10.30) to Memorial at St John's (11.00) - followed by service at St John's

Sunday 13 November 2011:
Remembrance Sunday Service, Mottingham
Mottingham War memorial starts 10.45am

Tuesday 15 November 2011:
Eltham Nature Club Talk
‘Fox: Friend or Foe?’ Illustrated talk  at 7.30pm by fox ecologist Terry Wood. St Mary’s Community Centre, Eltham High Street. £1.50 members, £3 non-members. Membership £5 p/a.

Thursday 17 November 2011:
Eltham Lights Up
Lantern-lit parade and entertainment. Theme is 'Eltham's heritage'. Streets close 4pm - Entertainment from Crown Woods band and gospel choir 4.15pm - Switch on and Parade 6 – 6.45pm - Eltham Choral Society 7pm
Related previous posts:  Eltham Lights Up 2010;    Eltham Lights up 2009

Sunday 20 November 2011:
Eltham Farmers Market
Passey Place (off the Eltham High Street, Eltham, London SE9)
The market sells a range of fresh produce including locally reared rare breed Saddleback Pig, traditionally made succulent sausages, free range organic eggs, fresh fruit and juices, vegetables, game, jams, sauces, cakes and freshly baked breads and pastries. 10am-3pm

Friday 25th November 2011:
Christmas market from 6-9pm
at the Sunfields Methodist Church. Expect many local crafts people with a variety of stalls selling handmade ceramics, jewellery, cards, childrens and adults clothes, bags, beauty products and homemade preserves and cakes. Entry is £1 and Children go free.
Sunfields Methodist Church Hall, Old Dover Road, Blackheath SE3 8SJ

25 November 2011:
History of Bellingham (Godfrey Smith).
All meetings on a Fri, at 7.45pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, Lewisham. You don’t need to be a member to come to a meeting, but donation appreciated. Tea, coffee, biscuits at interval: 50p (a bargain!). “Please pass the prog on to anyone who might be interested, as we’re having problems updating the website”.

Sat 26 November 2011:
Comedy Night at The Pavilion
‘Comedy on the Common’, The Pavilion on Plumstead Common, London SE18 1QG
Doors open: 7pm. Show time: 8:15pm.
£8 on the door or book online
Licensed bar. Comedians include:
Adam Crow, Kate Lucas, Stephen Carlin. MC - Andy Davies
Click here for location details.

Saturday 26 November 2011:
Christmas Bazaar, 10.30am to 1.30pm
at St Luke's Church, Westmount Road, Eltham, London SE9
Christmas gifts, raffle, tombola, bric-a-brac, books, games, knitted gifts, food stalls
Entrance: 50p for adults; children free

Sunday 27 November 2011:
Christmas Fair, 11am-3pm, Free entry
Woodlands Farm, Shooters Hill
All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Christmas Fair. Sip mulled wine whilst browsing stalls of local produce and crafts for early Christmas present ideas, or relax in our cafĂ© while the kids enjoy crafts and games. A great festive day out for all the family. Entry is free, but donations are welcome – all money raised helps us to care for our animals.
Woodlands Farm Trust, 331 Shooters Hill, DA16 3RP
Nearest train station: Falconwood or Welling