Mycenae House’s PARKSfest 2017

I popped into Mycenae House after a visit to Blackheath’s M&S for yesterday’s ParksFest and failed to take any photographs as my phone was charging at home, oops. Fortunately other people brought their cameras and tweeted some stuff (below). Looks like it was a really enjoyable day. I was surprised to discover how large the Mycenae Gardens are and amazed to see a large redwood tree, among some other pretty interesting trees. I signed up to become a ‘friend of’ the gardens and was given a leaflet on the gardens history.

Mycenae House (built in 1776) Gardens were created by someone whose name – Angerstein – I had heard of only in the context of freight trains shuttling between Angerstein Wharf and Bardon Hill quarry in Leicester. He filled the garden with some trees that have been there for over 200 years (a lovely old plane tree is still there) and after his death his collection of paintings also kicked off the National Gallery. Angerstein actually lived in ‘Woodlands’ (now a Steiner School) next door to Mycenae House.

The friends of the Garden had a couple of good tree quizzes – it turns out I’m better at recognising a species from its leaf than from a picture of the tree.

A few years ago I saw Shaun of the Dead in the gardens thanks to Pop Up Screens, it was fab though I got bitten by midges 😉 I don’t think they’re doing any screenings at Mycenae House but they do have films in Greenwich Peninsula in August (also Lee / Hither Green which is nearby).

Mycenae House (What’s On) – http://www.mycenaehouse.co.uk/whatson.html
Friends of Mycenae Gardens – https://mycenaegardens.org.uk/about/
Westcombe (Park) Society – http://www.westcombesociety.org/
Blackheath Society – http://www.blackheath.org/
Charlton Society – https://charltonsociety.org/

I enjoyed the bunting seen in the tweet above.

Watch out for the cute beetles in Blackheath

A few years ago, while walking across Blackheath, I thought someone had started throwing popcorn at me. It turned out to be Summer Chafer (similar to cockchafer beetles but a bit smaller) in flight. These sleep underground and then in the late afternoon / twilight pop out of the ground and buzz around the tops of trees to meet other beetles, make friends, mate, lay eggs, that sort of thing. There are a variety of cockchafer beetles, and other beetles known as ‘June bugs’ (or in some places ‘May bugs’).

I’m pretty sure the ones we get in Blackheath are the summer cockchafers (they go by the name Amphimallon solstitiale (I’ve also seen it spelled solstitiale but this is apparently incorrect terminology)) which look like little mint humbugs and persistently ‘attack’ you if they think you might be a tree. They’re actually utterly harmless but the Daily Mail has singled them out as something to be frightened of1.

Here’s a pic of one from 30 June 2010, sitting on my hat (original Twitpic), three segments (four stitched lines) is about an inch. In flight they remind me of the Golden Snitch in the Harry Potter books/films.

amphimallon chafer.png

Below you can just make out the blurry image of the beetle in flight above the tree.

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And here a beetle obligingly landed on a bit of the same tree.

photo(2)

Here’s me talking (sorry for the windy recording, taken while on the heath), exactly 7 years ago today on 30 June 2010, about my growing fascination for the small beetles.

//embeds.audioboom.com/posts/146975-waiting-for-the-beetles-as-in-june-bugs/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAAmmVVkfPgIA

Yesterday, while walking across the heath I spotted lots of birds (I think they’re either swifts or swallows, I’m not knowledgeable about birds) which are a very good marker at this time of year for the beetles being out and about swarming the trees. The birds were up by Hare and Billet pond so I headed over there and sure enough, it was full of beetles. The pictures above (except the one on the hat) and below were taken there on 29 June 2017.

photo(3)

(Above) Hare and Billet pond at dusk. Isn’t it lovely. The only birds visible in this picture are a duck and his / her duckling on the water. Just out of view of this picture, on the grass to the right is a moorhen (probably).

The video below is a not entirely successful attempt at videoing the birds, in slow motion, to see if I can work out what they are.

Update 30 June – I popped back there this evening and there were loads on the walk over from the heath, persistently buzzing and divebombing me. When I arrived at the pond one of the larger trees was surrounded, a very health crop of Summer Chafers this year, hooray. The tweet right at the top was taken after one landed on my bag while I was trying to take a photo of another one that had ‘attacked’ me. I had to swat them away with a bit of card haha.

1. see [warning: Daily Mail link. Click cautiously as the Mail is surely far more terrifying than beetles] “The chubby insects terrorising Britain’s backyards: The plague of fat, flying beetles found in your garden (and your home)

Lewisham’s Bus Stop A is out of action until November

Note that the 380 bus will be on diversion from 7 September until after the OnBlackheath event has finished – it won’t go through Hare and Billet road.

A tantalus is a wooden cabinet that displays your alcoholic beverages but is locked in such a cunning way that without the key your servants and children can’t quaff any, according to the Wikipedia article. Something similar is going on at Bus Stop A in Lewisham which is now veiled behind a ‘site entrance’ (see pic below) and is inaccessible. This is thanks to the interminable crossrail roadworks resulting in inconsistent travel routes, from week to week, and reminds me of the stairs at Hogwarts which move around when they feel like it.

Even with a wire cutter Bus Stop A will not bring me any buses.

There is no visible information here to tell me where I can get the bus I want. The closest bus stops offer me buses that are going in the wrong direction, and there’s no information there either. I was a bit miffed.

  1. I know Lewisham well and know where the Blackheath-bound 380 buses stop. Clocktower (bus stop P), then Bus Stop A (when it’s in use) then up Lewisham Hill which is hail-and-ride.
  2. I’m fit enough to walk to either of those two stops
  3. I feel pretty safe in Lewisham though I feel a lot safer at a bus stop surrounded by taxis and rail passengers than I do exposed in the middle of the shopping centre surrounded by closed shops and random strangers. There’s hardly anyone on Lewisham Hill at night so I’d pick that one before the ‘city centre’.

I’m not sure what you’d do if you don’t know the area very well or aren’t very mobile – get a taxi I suppose if you can afford it. It’s pretty poor of TfL not to have a map or some info – at the bus stop I mean, who cares if there’s information on a website – on the options available.

Paul (@bitoclass) is my go-to-guy on Lewisham’s changing transport infrastructure and he tells me that Bus Stop A is now out of action until November.

My solution was to speak with the driver of the 380 bus that terminated at Lewisham station (just a few feet back along the route I’d taken from Platform 1 at the railway station). He very kindly let me get on and take the bus around to the standing point (behind the shopping centre) – we had a very nice chat about our favourite bus routes and the changes in Lewisham and how confusing it all seemed – before he began his new journey which included dropping me off in Blackheath.

 

Countdown – bus stops in Blackheath, what bus is coming next?

Every bus stop in London has its own 5 digit code which, when stuck at the end of these addresses (replacing the XXXXX), will tell you what bus is coming next

Here are the 5 digit codes for the bus stops in Blackheath.

Index
Arranged by Area
• Blackheath Village
• Blackheath Royal Standard (not yet done)
Arranged numerically

Arranged by area

Blackheath Village

Blackheath Hospital (just before turning into or out of the village, on Lee Terrace)
A: 73011 (towards Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]
B: 54957 (towards North Greenwich, Shooters Hill or Woolwich) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (same side, Railway Pub)
C: 71099 (towards Charlton or North Greenwich) – 54, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]
D: 73966 (towards Shooters Hill) – 89/N89 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (opposite side, Age Exchange)
E: 57823 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]

Tranquil Vale (The Crown pub)
F: 71750 (towards Lewisham) – 380 [mobile] [web]

Royal Parade (heathside, opposite Taste of Raj and Rockit)
(arrival-only for 386 bus – 48093 [web])
G: 50082 (towards Charlton, North Greenwich or Shooters Hill) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202, 380, 386 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Clarendon Hotel)
H: 71474 (towards Charlton or Greenwich) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]
J: 59288 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Maze Hill, Andrew Gibb Memorial)
P: 47151 (towards Charlton) – 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]
Q: 76438 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Charlton Way (Vanbrugh Park / Beaconsfield Way)
BX: 76535 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) –  53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]
BU: 48799 (towards Charlton) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (Clarendon Hotel)
K: 54570 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) –  89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (next to duck pond, near Princess of Wales pub)
L: 58007 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (St German’s Place)
M: 54136 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]
F: 77673 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Road / Shooters Hill Road)
N: 49487 (towards Greenwich or North Greenwich) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]
W: 72061 (towards Eltham or Lewisham) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath Royal Standard

Not done this bit yet…

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Parade)
BJ (towards ) –  : [mobile] [web]

Arranged numerically

Prince Charles Road (Maze Hill, Andrew Gibb Memorial)
P: 47151 (towards Charlton) – 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Royal Parade (heathside, opposite Taste of Raj and Rockit)
(arrival-only for 386 bus – 48093 [web])

Charlton Way (Vanbrugh Park / Beaconsfield Way)
BU: 48799 (towards Charlton) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Road / Shooters Hill Road)
N: 49487 (towards Greenwich or North Greenwich) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]

Royal Parade (heathside, opposite Taste of Raj and Rockit)
G: 50082 (towards Charlton, North Greenwich or Shooters Hill) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202, 380, 386 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (St German’s Place)
M: 54136 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (Clarendon Hotel)
K: 54570 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) –  89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath Hospital (just before turning into or out of the village, on Lee Terrace)
B: 54957 (towards North Greenwich, Shooters Hill or Woolwich) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (opposite side, Age Exchange)
E: 57823 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (next to duck pond, near Princess of Wales pub)
L: 58007 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Clarendon Hotel)
J: 59288 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (same side, Railway Pub)
C: 71099 (towards Charlton or North Greenwich) – 54, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Clarendon Hotel)
H: 71474 (towards Charlton or Greenwich) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]

Tranquil Vale (The Crown pub)
F: 71750 (towards Lewisham) – 380 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Road / Shooters Hill Road)
W: 72061 (towards Eltham or Lewisham) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath Hospital (just before turning into or out of the village, on Lee Terrace)
A: 73011 (towards Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (same side, Railway Pub)
D: 73966 (towards Shooters Hill) – 89/N89 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Maze Hill, Andrew Gibb Memorial)
Q: 76438 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Charlton Way (Vanbrugh Park / Beaconsfield Way)
BX: 76535 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) –  53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (St German’s Place)
F: 77673 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

 

 

 

53 bus route: Underground Film Club at Waterloo vaults

Underground Film Club shows great films in a vault underneath Waterloo station (you can hear occasional rumbling of trains) and you can enter it via Launcelot Street on Lower Marsh. The screening room’s part of the Rooftop Film Club (which takes place in several locations around London including the Bussey Building in Peckham and Kensington Roof Gardens).

It looks like this! Last night I saw Shakespeare in Love which was great.

Their screenings over the next few weeks are

  • It’s a Wonderful Life – Wed 23 Dec (8pm)
  • The Big Lebowski – Thur 7 Jan (8pm)
  • When Harry Met Sally – Fri 8 Jan (7pm)
  • Pulp Fiction – Fri 8 Jan (9pm)
  • Strangers on a Train – Sat 9 Jan (5pm)
  • True Romance – Sat 9 Jan (8pm)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s Sun 10 Jan (5pm)
  • Amy – Sun 10 Jan (7.30pm)
  • Blade Runner – Thur 14 Jan (8pm)
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl – Fri 15 Jan (7pm)
  • Straight Outta Compton – Fri 15 Jan (9pm)
  • Casablanca – Sat 16 Jan (5pm)
  • Suffragette – Sat 16 Jan (8pm)
  • Worth checking out their programme as they have been adding other films as they go and I don’t know how long the season lasts there.

If you’re in Blackheath you can get the 53 bus all the way to Lower Marsh from several bus stops in the non-villagey bit of Blackheath: in the Royal Standard area, Maze Hill (bus stop Q on Prince Charles Road) or Greenwich Park (bus stop T on Shooter’s Hill Road). Get off at Westminster Bridge Road (bus stop A, Lower Marsh) – I’m pretty sure the bus terminates there, at least all the ones I’ve taken so far have done.

Carry on in the same direction ignoring Carlisle Road on the left and crossing to Lower Marsh on the right. Upper Marsh is on the same side of the road. Keep walking along, past the cool looking cafes and the Little Marshans toy shop and head left into Launcelot Street, and the venue is on your left.

Once inside you can collect a wristband and follow instructions to the screening room, which involves going up some stairs and then down some other ones (not sure what facilities are available for wheelchair users or others with mobility difficulties).

For the return journey to Blackheath it’s bus stop K on Westminster Bridge Road (follow Lower Marsh road back to Westminster Bridge Road and turn right, it’s the first bus stop and is underneath the arches).

Obviously you can take the train to Waterloo East from Blackheath station (any Charing Cross train stops there too) but if the 53 isn’t too much of a walk away from the village for you it’s less of a walk at the other end.

Other adventures on the 53 bus route
The Cinema Museum (Kennington, a short walk from the Elephant & Castle 53 bus stop by the Coronet Cinema)

Blackheath Village Day – horses, history, and terpsichore

On Friday I spotted a sign in a newsagent for a school jumble sale event, then noticed it was for July 2015. This has had me wondering about the fate of old A3/ A4/ A5 flyers advertising such events. Does anyone collect them for future archives, and displays about tombolas and booksales of the yesteryear-yet-to-be?

Recently I’ve been noticing some lovely signs around Blackheath again for the extravaganza to celebrate Blackheath Village Day and I spent much of yesterday wandering around the village enjoying the entertainment.

2015-12-05 12.22.06

First up was the spectacular wind which did this to the grass…

…and then we had the lovely Woolwich ponies parading around near Clarendon Hotel. These are the horses and riders of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery which is based in Woolwich and which has over 100 horses with coats of a beautiful chestnut brown (of varying shades).

Horses from Woolwich parading through Blackheath is a fairly regular sight in fact and happens two or three times a week (around 9am) with a rider on one horse in the middle with another horse on either side, plus a couple of main riders fore and aft handling just the one horse; about 33 horses in total go whizzing past. I’ve never seen them gallop but they can canter along at a good pace, pooing as they go.

Rock Choir were belting out some tunes as I walked down into the village, including one which I’d only ever thought of as music from an M&S advert – they were very good and had an enthusiastic crowd dancing along.

My ponderings about historic flyers were rewarded by a visit to the Bakehouse behind the Age Exchange which had an exhibition on the history of entertainment in Blackheath with copies of adverts for events in the 1800s and early 1900s, including reviews of some of them. I thought this review, from 1840, was a bit harsh…

2015-12-05 12.34.32

I hadn’t realised George Grossmith had entertained on local soil – he and his brother Weedon wrote the excellent The Diary of a Nobodyso it was nice to see his name appear a couple of times, one of a couple of names I immediately recognised (the other was William Webster).

The last time I was in the Bakehouse was years ago for a lunchtime film screening but I don’t think they do those anymore. Mind you there are film screenings on Wednesday evenings in Mycenae House (Blackheath Standard area).

The lantern-making workshop sounded fun but it was for children so I thought better of turning up – I’m now on the search for lantern-making workshops for grown ups though 😉

Then I came across Swing Patrol doing some dancing in the bitterly cold and blowy afternoon, they were fantastic and taught the crowd some Charleston steps too. They have a new course starting in Greenwich in January.

I didn’t stay around for the lantern procession or switch-on of the lights, but the Blackheath Christmas lights are apparently now ON.

 

 

Blackheath recommendation – Richard (carpenter / handyman / electrics) #SE3

I needed some lightbulbs changed in fiddly and inaccessible places in my flat (high ceilings, fear of ladders) and so asked my lightbulb-seller if he could recommend someone. He did and Richard has done a fabulous job of restoring light to the darker bits of my home. I asked him if he had a website where I could leave feedback and say nice things about him but he doesn’t, so I’ll say it here.

Richard got the first bulb done in moments and while up the ladder asked if I had a cloth so he could give it a bit of a dust, then he found out what was wrong with a more complicated light fitting in my kitchen – the 3 amp fuse had gone, fortunately (amazingly!) I had spares. He pottered around the house fixing things that hadn’t worked properly (it turned out that one of my fittings is officially broken so that’s why it hadn’t been working well) and was helpful and amiable.

He even fixed my shower rail which had collapsed (don’t hang wet t-shirts to dry from them folks) and it all came to £40. Seconds later he emailed me my invoice / receipt 🙂

Richard’s number’s 07989 962 483 and I’d happily have him back to fix things in my Blackheath home. Very happy for him to use this as a recommendation on his own site if he creates one too.

Jo Brodie