And the winner is…

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And so this is Christmas and what have you done?  Another year over, and a new one just begun.   Etc. etc.  Yes, festive fever has reached Radical Towers and in celebration of our first year of ‘blogging we bring you the Best of Blackheath Awards – our sherry-fuelled account of the village winners and losers of 2014.  Enjoy!

Best newcomer

OnBlackheath Festival

Gail’s Bakery

Le Bouchon Wine Bar

Winner: Le Bouchon.  It’s fair to say we’re big fans.  The only regret is not being able to spend even more time in LB.  Despite some (inevitable) mis-givings it already feels like an established part of the village.  Read our first review here.

Lifetime achievement

Parés

Shepherds

Boulangerie Jade

The Conservatoire

Winner: Parés.  Parés is just a great Blackheath Village institution.  The service in there is second to none and this combined with having it on the door-step means the chore of buying shoes is rather less tedious than it might.  And, of course, this is the erstwhile host of the annual Christmas light switch-on.

Where Santa buys his boots - Pares of course

Village hero

Councillor Kevin Bonavia

Nick Ferrari

Chap who bought the Bookshop

The pond men

Big Issue chap

Sgt Biddle

Winner: the pond men.  Some debate about this one but in the end we’ve gone with the volunteers who maintain the Hare and Billet pond and who so persuasively put their case at the OnBlackheath public meeting.  Special mention to the chap who bought the Bookstore – well done you.

Village villain

Pavement barriers

Big Issue chap

Greenwich council

Southeastern Railway

Winner: Southeastern.  Much easier one to call, though the presence of the Big Issue Chap in both hero/villain categories is a sign of the mixed opinions on him amongst your Radicals and of several heated discussions about his charm, or otherwise.

Event of the year

OnBlackheath

Blackheath Village Day

Annual fireworks

Conservatoire Beach

Blackheath Halls Christmas Fair

Winner: OnBlackheath.  Controversial but in the end a real success, and – it’s back in 2015!

Pub of the year

The Crown

The Railway

Princes of Wales

Hare and Billet

Zero Degrees

The British Oak

Winner: The Crown.  Frankly each of the village pubs is pretty decent, and any one would be a deserving winner – and we should know, having spent a good part of 2014 in each.  Special mention to the British Oak which has re-opened recently with a great selection of pies and decent local music.  But, for location, village spirit (witness the central it played in the fireworks and Village Day) and decent bar staff The Crown takes it.

Crown
Best local celeb

Lenny Henry

Jude Law

Terry Waite

Radio’s Nick Ferrari

Winner: Lenny Henry wins after being sighted by the Radicals supporting local restaurant Bianco43 and has also been seen patronising the Hare and Billet.

Best Music Festival featuring Grace Jones

OnBlackheath

Erm…

Winner: Grace Jones. Blackheath. A definite winner!

Best Christmas Mulled wine

Cao

Blackheath Halls

Hamptons International

Winner: Hamptons wins for the most generous serving!  And we should know, having done several laps round the block on Village Day.

 

Worst Customer Service

Southeastern Trains (for regular disruption to services)

Southeastern Trains (for customer service during Lewisham emergency engineering works)

Southeastern Trains (for being Southeastern Trains)

Winner: yes, Southeastern – but things are looking up for 2015 with trains till midnight from Victoria.

 

Best Pop Up

Street Feast Model Market

Gallery in India Jane/Gail’s

Pop Up Cinema, Manor House Gardens

Dalston Street Feast
Winner: Street Feast wins – a great addition and some would say brave move to open up in Lewisham. But what a great success.

 

Special Category: Longest Walk to a Loo in a Pub/Restaurant

Zero Degrees

Winner: Zero Degrees – you have to go via Narnia to get there.

Christmas comes to Blackheath village

It really was hard not to feel very proud of the village and fortunate for living in it on Saturday during the first Blackheath Village Day.  Having attended many Christmas lights switch on ceremonies, and always enjoyed them (even last year’s rather improvised effort), your Radicals feel certain that last Saturday was, well, the best Christmas ever.

Thanks are due to lots of people, including: the local businesses who contributed to the new lights and who got in to the spirit of the day (special thanks from us go to all those offering mulled wine and mince pies – yes, we were the ones coming back for seconds and thirds…); the Conservatoire; Blackheath Halls; the Blackheath Society; John Payne estate agents (whose fabric bags are sure to become a collectors’ item); everyone who performed on the day; Lewisham Council; councillor Kevin Bonavia; local MP Heidi Alexander; Parés shoe shop and its superb manager; and, most certainly not least, Mr Nick Ferrari.

Here’s our pictorial account of the day:

Deck the Halls...

Deck the Halls…

 

So this is why we need the railings - to hang the bunting

So this is why we need the railings – to hang the bunting

 

Salvation Army band - wouldn't be the same without them

Salvation Army band – wouldn’t be the same without them

 

Where Santa buys his boots - Pares of course

Where Santa buys his boots – Parés of course

 

Next year's hobby is sorted - Morris Dancing!

Next year’s hobby is sorted – Morris Dancing!

 

Yes, it's a pig on a lead.  What more is there to say?

Yes, it’s a pig on a lead. What more is there to say?

 

Blackheath meets New Orleans - here comes the parade

Blackheath meets New Orleans – here comes the parade

 

10, 9, 8....

10, 9, 8….

 

Let there be lights - the villages brand new lights look great

Let there be lights – the village’s brand new lights look great