Cookery Nook

Latest on Cookery Nook which closes in just under a week – Thursday or Friday (28th / 29th) according to the current proprietor.

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The sign outside the place suggests it has already been sold, by local favourite John Payne Estate Agents.  And the guy who runs it at the moment, and who has done so since 2000 (though it has been there since 1982), was somewhat cryptic when asked just now what would come in its place.  He did though confirm that it would not be:

– a restaurant;

– a hair dressers; or

– an estate agent.

By way of interest, he’s now preparing himself for an alternative career in property management but was extremely busy when this Radical was in their with the place full of people taking advantage of the closing down sale (20% off on all items).  If you’ve not yet been down there it’s well worth while as the place is a treasure trove of useful kitchen related items, and there are also some really good postcards of the local area to be had.

That it won’t be turning in to any of the above will probably be welcome news to most locals (though, this would probably depend on the exact type of establishment in the case of a new restaurant ).  But what it actually will become is a mystery to the Revolt, who have a proud history of tracking the recent changes in the village.  As at the time of writing there were no planning applications with Lewisham Council which might suggest now change of use class from the current one, or that we have a while to wait for what will replace the Nook.

 

 

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Ringing in the changes

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The Christmas lights being switched on in the village is one of the Revolt’s favourite local events of the year.  The lights themselves, let’s be honest, are not spectacular in anyway (though they are very respectable compared to others around and about) but it is the excitement surrounding their being switched on and the occasion it represents for everyone to gather together that is so great.  And every year there is always something to talk about; three years ago there was some disappointment about the lights which had been put together at short notice by Skanska; and last year saw the first ‘Village Day’ and a new set of lights.

This year’s Village Day was even bigger, with a new ‘Local Stage’ set-up on Montpelier Green and a full day’s worth of entertainment on offer.  There were morris men (the Dacre Morris Men to be precise), some excellent music including the Rock Choir and festive favourites from the Salvation Army, classic cars and mopeds, and a parade by the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery.  Not to mention a winter wonderland at the Conservatoire and lantern making for the nippers plus all manner of music from Blackheath Halls.  Amusingly, the Revolt found itself unwittingly at the head of the lantern procession down from the Halls through the village at one point – before pulling away and watching the climax from the comfort of Zero Degrees…

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IMG_1418There was also an informative exhibition on 200 year’s of entertainment in Blackheath at the Bakehouse (behind Age Exchange).  If it’s still on it’s well worth a visit to read about the rich history of social life in the village.  Who knew, for example, that the Lloyds Bank building used once to be a public baths or that the Post Office building was once the best ice rink in the London?

 

Like last year, the village’s businesses are to be thanked for contributing their time and effort to make the day such as success – including the owner of Raffles who organised the fine display of vintage cars.  It’s only fair to say we missed the mulled wine and mince pies that were on offer last year, but it was also far milder than last year so we just about survived without.

But, finally, to the biggest change this year compared to what has gone before.  That being the location of the light switch on – the day’s highlight.  Once again the actual switch on was ably handled by Nick Ferrari, with passing reference to health and safety concerns that had meant that lights could not be placed on nearby trees.  But, Mr. Ferrari was not stood on the steps of shoe store Parés as he has in previous years but instead on the stage erected near the Clarendon Hotel.  And this, in our view, is a change not for the better.  The beauty of doing it from Parés was its location in the heart of the village meant one could see the full length of lights as they were switched on.  From Montpelier Green (as this patch of grass is apparently known), and without the trees being lit, it all felt rather distant from the action – despite Mr Ferrari’s valiant efforts to get the assembled crowd to spin in unison at the end of the count-down to look at the lights on Montpelier Vale. In case you missed the Revolt captured the dramatic moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4KvS8jO2cw

As regular readers will know, the Revolt’s raison d’être really is to support progress and change in the village.  But in this respect, while absolutely loving Village Day as a whole, we think the switch-on should revet back to the heart of the village.

 

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5…4…3…2…1…

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…turn to see…

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…the lights!

 

 

 

 

 

#blackheathhour

This past Monday saw the first ever #blackheathhour and what a thoroughly fun hour (or so) it was.  This is just the sort of thing that the Revolt supports and would like to see more of in and for the area.

It shows the area and its residents and businesses are dynamic, vibrant, enterprising and, most of all, ruddy hilarious (we particularly enjoyed the tweets of Mummy’s Gin Fund (@GinFund)).

And informative.  For example, we found out that the newly refurbished Blackheath Royal Standard (@RoyalStandardBH) has its pub quiz on a Monday – and putting aside the potential clash with #blackheathhour (oops, #awkward) the Revolt will be down there soon to check it out.  And that locally based @BedNBreakfasttt takes orders via Twitter – something else to check out, perhaps after the pub quiz.

If you didn’t take part last time, and also if you did, check out the next one: MONDAY, 8pm to 9pm.

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And behind #blackheathhour there is a whole lot more locally based enterprise and innovation, specifically We Are SE3.  Local PR expert and all round good egg, Andrea Britton is driving this forward, building on all her excellent previous work on We Are Blackheath.  Check out the website at: www.se3.co.uk and make use of its forums, listings and events facilities.

 

Parking mad

We may be massively late on this one, but when did the parking schedule at the station car park change?  And can anyone explain why the pricing structure seems so crazy on Saturday and Sunday?

Will that be 15 or 1,440 minutes?

Will that be 15 or 1,440 minutes?

What sense is there in offering only two options at a weekend?  15 minutes for 50 pence or 24 hours for £5.50.  Not increments of 15 minutes – you can either pay for a whole day or pay for the time it takes to get a newspaper from the station shop and, if you’re quick, a bag of chips from the chippie!

Seriously – does it make sense to anyone else?  The collective wit and brain-power of your Radicals couldn’t figure it out, whilst standing around the ticket machine for a good 10 minutes (it didn’t help that paying with a card is also far from straight-forward).

No doubt local businesses would also have something to say about the weekday prices (which feel a tad steep) but we were particularly struck by the weekend schedule.  It also occurred, though there are plenty of signs to try to prevent this, that it’d be quite possible to pay for 24 hours on a Saturday afternoon, decided to ruddy well use the whole period, but in a hurry park in a space used for the Farmers’ Market the following day.

GOING… GOING… GONE?

Once again there seems to be a good deal of churn amongst Blackheath’s retail space.  Of course change is inevitable and the village has seen plenty of it recently, as we’ve documented, and coped perfectly well.  But the start of 2015 has heralded some changes that even your deeply unsentimental Radicals regard as being rather sad.

First off, Coquilage – the fishmongers – is no more.  To be replaced by a hairdressers (‘Aiko’).

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Real shame this – it was so nice having Coquilage on the doorstep and really added to the ‘village’ feel of the place.  Clearly not enough people felt so, or perhaps they did but just didn’t buy enough fish, and so it’s gone.  That’s supply and demand for you folks.

Across the road to Fenners, the fruit and veg store.  Now this really was a village stalwart with a big selection of produce and friendly/helpful staff.  But, as of 30th January, it’s closed.

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In the meantime, if you need some scales or a cash register get over there!

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The good news is that apparently the space is to remain a green grocers, just under different ownership.

Finally, a few doors down, and Spirited Wines (previously a Nicholas’s), is already gone and looks as though it’s well on the way to being converted/refurbished.  There’s still Oddbins across the road (phew!) but what will become of this space?

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Perhaps it’s just a refresh an Spirited will be back soon.  Seems to be the time of year for a cheeky facelift.  Right now though it’s time for a sit down.