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)