Greenwich’s Crowdfunding Community

The way in which we come together as a community is changing with the emergence of new technology. Budget cuts and stresses on our most essential services mean that councils are having little time to look at funding many projects – regardless of the odd ship festival.

spacehiveSpaceHive is a new platform for community projects to be funded by those who are living in it, and I wanted to bring spotlight on its ability to affect change and focus on two projects specifically in Greenwich.

Already we have seen the power of crowdsourcing with KickStarter, which helps to fund great new business ideas from new board games to artists. Yet SpaceHive is designed specifically for funding civic projects in our local area. It’s successes include a giant waterslide in Bristol (https://spacehive.com/parkandslide) and a soon to be built urban park space on a disued Liverpool flyover (https://spacehive.com/theflyoverliverpool).

Bristol water slide

These projects show there is a willingness by the community to help fund civic projects directly, especially if it involves change to their immediate area. It is hard to not be excited by the prospect of such a platform in a decades time, and by the idea of easily enabling people to contribute further to their area.

The Autumn Statement is this week and, with falling oil revenues and a lower than expected income tax receipt, there looks to be a long continuation of the UK deficit. While creating taxes in law for the richer in our society is a contentious issues, or for Conservatives at least, many from all sections of society wouldn’t be adverse to contributing more.

Why couldn’t local councils use crowd-sourcing?

Or even the Government? (Crowd-fund the deficit!  Just £22k each….)

With services like the community centres, libraries and fire stations of our boroughs closing down, could we not enable people using these platforms? People are far more likely to contribute to their society with a quick entry of debit card details on a webpage than seeking out ‘Save the X’ campaigns. Not to mention these are far easier to disseminate on social media (Save Lewisham Hospital anyone?)

Localism as a movement continues to grow, empowering people in Greenwich to take back control of services and promote interest in what our Councillors are doing for us. I think crowd-sourcing is another part of this, offering a fantastic opportunity for people to invest in their local area directly.

Here’s just two examples in Greenwich right now

Stoneyard Garden Project

https://spacehive.com/stoneyardgardenproject

Garden project

“A community project to transform an unloved and unused strip of industrial land into a vibrant garden”

Maryon Park Food Growing Garden

https://spacehive.com/maryonparkfoodgrowinggarden

mayron park

“The Friends of Maryon Park are transforming a derelict council plant nursery into a community food growing garden!”

 

Pistachios @ East Greenwich Pleasaunce

Pistachios in the Park, East Greenwich Pleasuance, Chevening Rd, London SE10. Lunch for two, with drinks, £13.

Walking through East Greenwich Pleasuance was a pleasant trip of nostalgia. Containing old gravestones for 3,000 sailors who died at the Royal Naval College, it always was a strange place to run around as a child. My biggest memory was actually having sports day here, my first sporting failures, running around with an obligatory egg on a spoon. It hasn’t changed much, bare the few new fences, climbing frames, ping pong table and a fancy new cafe – Pistachos.

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It was pouring down with rain, partly a reason to stay indoors more recently, but Pistachios was a welcome sight at the far back of the park. Working in partnership with Glendale and Lewisham Local Authority, Pistachios are popping up in many of the local parks with an aim ‘to revive community interest and use of parks and open green spaces within a safe, family-oriented environment.’ Well that sounds nice if a bit, forgive the term, yummy mummy – but this was Greenwich after all.

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The cafe itself is a nice, cosy and warm little place. Sprawling with signs, notes, boards and colour, it does feel like a hub of activity. Brightly decorated with golden love signs, jars of no doubt artisan honey and an ice cream counter that I can only imagine impresses on a summer day. There’s books to read for kids, or me if there’s Where’s Wally, and a host of plastic and wooden things for them to fiddle with. Even when I went in with a friend, there were two Mums with their kids who were happily drawing on the big table. It added a nice buzz to the place, especially after the quiet rain of the graveyard outside, but I quite like children.

2014-11-03 13.36.32The food describes itself as ‘provides non-greasy food that is “Jamie Oliver friendly” – chips, burgers and other similar unhealthy food are not served.’ The poor woman behind the desk seemed rushed and worried, apologising that there wasn’t the usual double team in there today, just her. The menu is quite full of different options, and the cakes in the front cabinet look the most appetising. They don’t actually do a full English Breakfast, in keeping with their statement, however their menu does contain all the elements of one which my friend just requested on one plate anyway. Take that Jamie Oliver, that’s for Kidbrooke.

2014-11-03 14.06.00Considering her worries, the food was nice enough though, though nothing particularly amazing. Despite my crepe being well made, the fillings of cheese, mushroom and ham were a bit lacklustre if abundant. That sort of horrible quality cheese that I should be only used in baked potatoes at roadside cafes. Meanwhile my friend’s strange ensemble of beans, bacon, brown bread and scrambled eggs was somewhat low quality.

I’m sure there’s very strict 2014-11-03 13.56.08people out there in regards to their all day breakfast, for example scrambled eggs in a microwave are a no no. At least there’s every condiment you could ask for, except dijon (woe is me), which is good. The price of the food wasn’t overly cheap though, with the two meals and two drinks coming to £13. I sense though, being overly rude about the food is missing the point.

This place does, on quick impressions, seem here for the community. You’re here to come with the kids, have a coffee (with the loyalty card system) and get involved with the various things going on.

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There also seems to be a lovely supper club going on, very much in vein of the new trend of pop-up restaurants that are happening across London. While it’s out of my poor price range, the menu does look quite lovely and thoughtful, with game terrine and thyme desserts.2014-11-03 13.37.19

Ultimately, pistachios in the park is a nice addition to my childhood local and one that should continue to do well. The food isn’t great, the drinks are alright and it isn’t overly cheap. Yet I hesitate to say anything other than general nice things, as it feels like any downfall or successes are as a result of us.

It’s whether we ask them to have a pop-up restaurant night (which I might do, as the content of my blog posts show myself that food is my priority), or attend the events that they have going. It has a real potential to create something tangible in an area that I know already has a great community.

East Greenwich isn’t doing badly.

 

Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice Charity Shop

2014-08-23 13.03.28I once found myself walking up a quiet road in Bostall Hill, through what seemed to a forest, complete with signs indicating to wildlife to be seen and walking trails. However, amongst this peaceful wildlife lay a fairly unremarkable path which in turn lead to unremarkable building. Yet for many in our community, it will be a place that most people will never forget. The Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.

Founded by Pat Jeavons and Don Sturrock, the Hospice has been operating since 1994, being a vital service to people in the area in the worst of circumstances. Its experienced and professional staff have been there for countless thousands of people, often giving families a break from the overwhelming demands of caring for their loved ones. A result of overwhelming support by the community, it has continued to expand ever since, meeting the growing demands of good palliative care across the two boroughs.

The Hospice largely relies on the support of the community, from volunteers to charitable donations. In recent years it is expanding again, to create more space for additional wards. Most people donate to charities that they’ve previously had personal experience or contact with, but I had actually been donating to the Hospice for years. I just didn’t know it yet.

The Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice has three charity shops across the borough of Greenwich. One in Blackheath, one in West Greenwich and the last down Trafalgar Road. The last one of these is right round the corner of my house. I felt a sense of guilt over the fact that I had never really taken notice what the charity shop was funding, perhaps being too busy buying my discounted copies of Jeremy Clarkson books and double breasted blazers.

2014-10-16 10.27.18Charity shops are welcome parts of the community to me, serving more good than simply the money they raise. As a child I would be left to rummage through a big box of mismatched action figures, all the while my Mum would talk to the volunteers running the local Mencap shop. She would visit for the conversation with the ladies inside running it, rather than spending more money on whatever new figure I had found. They would be places where local people would repeatedly meet and talk. I did feel a sense of community there, an increasing rarity in modern London.

I get this sense at the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice Charity shop, as well as a good bargain. It stands apart, good or bad, from the new Save the Children charity shop down the Trafalgar Road. Unlike that boutique of a shop, this a more traditional odd bin mix of clothes, books and things you’d find in your attic. Because the shop is so local, it’s meant to be visited often, with a quickly changing collection of things – there’s nothing more satisfying than finding a real gem. That’s the real charm to places like this, never knowing what is going to around and browsing new items every week. 2014-10-16 10.31.59

Where this shop does stand out, is the sheer amount of space that it has compared to other shops, being over two floors.

2014-10-16 10.26.57This gives them the advantage of having space to place a whole range of furniture. With a fairly quick turnover, there’s always a new assortment of cheap cupboards and tables. They’ll help deliver it to your house too, for a small charge of £10 to local postcodes. I can imagine it being the perfect place for students moving into Greenwich University to get some extra furniture.

I actually ended up buying a new sofa for my living room, and carrying it home down the road. It was pretty heavy, but I lived fairly close, so we tried to take it ourselves. It was pretty tiring work, but out of all things to heave down a road, a sofa has unique advantages.

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You can have a little sit down for example.

However the best thing about all these bargains, is that it serves so many important purposes within our community. The money helps keep the Hospice doing good work and creates an environment where local people can volunteer or meet. I would recommend visiting if you can, but they’re always in need of volunteers.

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If you have a few hours to spare a week, why not give it a go?

 

Breaking British Badness

My WordPress-issued ankle collar has been shocking me continually this week. Late by half a week for another blog entry, the shocks has been more regular. Despite this sadistic method of self administered sadomasochism I have no regrets, as I have spent the past week in a room watching all seasons of Breaking Bad.

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I have no intention about being the 100th person in your life to mention how fantastic Breaking Bad is, (although honestly do watch it), because it will simply join the metal pile of things you have to do but don’t have time to (see; The Wire, The Act of Killing and that BBC Four drama from Denmark). Luckily for me I have the pleasure to be unemployed, which seemed the opportune time to stop shaving and fulfill the wishes of enthusiastic others. However as I finally clocked up the episodes, I begun to wonder about Britain’s output of television over the past half decade.

louie-season-4-louie-season-4-still-pretty-shitLooking across the Atlantic we are seeing a so called ‘golden generation’ of television programming. HBO leading the charge in the early days, dramas with depth and strength in writing are popping up across all genres. Louis C.K.’s ‘Louie’ brilliantly dark dramatic comedy is achieving shades of deadpan greatness that The Office began to hint at, before Gervais drowned in jokes about dwarfs and sad piano music in Derek. Meanwhile Breaking Bad achieves excellent story telling, with shades of Shakespearean tragedy. Perhaps this elevates it pretentiously, but importantly American storytelling has grown up and surpassed.

Firstly, it no longer seeks to continue a story for commercial reasons; avoiding jumping any sort of sharks. Narratives now have a start point, a finish point. Take Gervais’ original The Office for example. Comedy that was inventive and fresh within the genre, it had humanity, sad moments and only lasted two seasons plus a special. It knew what it wanted to say, and how it long it needed to say it. Once it had crossed the Atlantic, good or bad, it became a different show altogether. Running for 9 seasons, it was a never ending commercial cash cow for Gervais and Merchant.

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Secondly and most importantly, American television has learned to take risks and trust in its writers and not necessarily in ratings. The Wire famously had bad ratings, and was incredibly slow moving. Breaking Bad was severely under watched and presented a commissioning risk in its vision of broken America. It is also leading the way in future commissioning with Netflix and other internet based shows using the ability to talk to it’s audience through instant feedback to decide on the success of pilots.

18297Meanwhile British television in comparison seems to be playing it safe. Comedy especially, more than drama, has been something to which I’ve enthusiastically introduced anyone I know to. The 90s had Alan Partridge, The Armando Iannuci Show, Brass Eye, The Day Today, and the almost worryingly left field Jam. These were controversial, surrealist shows that would trust in the creator to do something great, however commissioning editors recently seem more keen to create another panel show. BBCThree being cut is no great loss, not being a fan of tax funded Family Guy for 4 hours a night. But even sadder still perhaps was the argument put forth in its defense that BBCThree served as the home as new, experimental British comedy. That is worrying.

'I'm sorry, did you mean Family Guy?'
‘I’m sorry, did you mean Family Guy?’

Currently the main exports of the BBC are Top Gear, Doctor Who, Sherlock and formats for Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice. I’m not sure I want our identity abroad to be an amalgamation of Jeremy Clarkson and Downton Abbey.  While it’s not as bad as I make out, with attempts like Peaky Blinders (a HBO style, stylish drama with big name star Cillian Murphy) falling below the mark, there is no clear way in which I can see Britain rivalling American television. Channel 4 should not be the only show trying to create something different, Black Mirror springs to mind, and the BBC should try and spend taxpayer’s money on more adventurous gambles. We have the creative and writing talent to meet it, so we should trust on newer generations.

After all, nobody wants another Top Gear India special…

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Five Favourite Things @ The National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum established in 1937 has been the pride of Greenwich for as long as I remember. To this day they still have the crane game in the Children’s Gallery that I would queue patiently for. Ah imagination, to find such long haul amusement from being a dockworker. Regardless, I have always brought visitors and friends to this place and witnessed its changes over the years.

Recently the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square has announced a £50 annual membership system, much like the Tate had already. While they are playing catch up, it is a clear show of yet another beloved public institution trying to adapt in an age of austerity. The ability of anybody being able to enter the museums and galleries of London is a source of immense pride and pleasure, and I would be rioting on the streets for if threatened. Even the birthplace of socialism still sees a €12 ticket price to enter the Louvre.

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2014-09-27 14.00.53The National Maritime Museum is no different and has new  ticketed exhibitions to bring in funding, a beautifully thought out gift shop renovation and event hire capabilities. A quick word about the gift shop, which is very well considered. I have yet to meet anybody who doesn’t really find museum and gallery gift shops at least interesting. Perhaps it’s that fine balancing act of being respectful to the original cultural or historical element and being commercially quite tacky. Next to the face masks of Horatio Nelson and his own branded beer, were quite nice pieces of jewellery and maritime equipment (rather here than Nauticalia anyway). Clawing myself away from the pirate costume, child size only, and Nelson’s finest was a mammoth task.

The museum is huge, brilliant and well thought out – I cannot do it justice in writing without boring you to death. However,
here’s just five of my favourite things in the collection:

1 – Miss Britain III


2This shiny metal racing boat had always caught my attention, with a glimmering and imperfect metal coat, this ship stood in contrast to the wooden galleons of old. Being the first ship to go over 100mph on salt water in 1933, it is beautifully displayed facing upwards into the ceiling. Its design is reminiscent of a rocket ship, something that is more at home rushing around space than an English river.

Its inventor and builder, Hubert Scott-Paine lived an amazingly interesting life too. It’s an older nod to the sort of British innovation in engineering like the Concord.

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2 – Figureheads 


11These fascinating figureheads display a fantastic insight into the theatre of wood-working in Maritime Britain. Reflecting cultural influences, they range from the Orientalist subjects of the Empire to the pantomime figure of the Harlequin. There is a slight comic fashion to these figureheads, with royal figures and national heroes such as Nelson caricatured in giant wooden form. These were hardly meant to strike fear, but are a colourful and vivid ornamental reflection of the name of the ship.

These eye catching sculptures are accompanied by handy computer screens which can tell you more about any particular figurehead that intrigues you. Mounted all together in a big collection on the museum wall, these figures tower over all who come to meet them, and never fail to delight.

1For a bonus figurehead, have a look upstairs for that which belonged to the HMS Seringapatam of the Sultan Tipu.

The supposed tiger of Mysore, he 3was killed by British forces (which included a young Duke of Wellington) in 1799. The umbrella a suggestion perhaps of a sheltered life, while he rides a mystical beast of strength.

The smiling expression of his face and colourful large umbrella turn this former ferocious enemy of the British into a figure of light relief. 

 

3 – The Negro Woman’s Lamentation 


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A print dating around 1805, 2 years before the abolition of slavery in Britain. This well worded poem appeals to a British audience, particularly to sentiments of Christian belief. Small and somewhat hidden amongst the more shocking pieces of Britain’s maritime slave trade, it is a small but interesting piece about the development of the anti-slavery movement at that time.

4 – Nelson’s first left handed letter


2014-09-27 14.34.17The recently renovated Nelson exhibition at the National Gallery proudly displays all things Horatio. Growing up with a print of this maritime hero in my house, I never quite knew who this big nosed man was. Nelson’s Navy Nation is filled to the brim, living up to its alliterative name, chronologically taking you through his life and impact on Britain’s maritime history.

Though among the fine art treasures of his legacy is an interesting letter which Nelson wrote soon after losing his arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797.

44An interesting read, his scrawled writing offers an insight into Nelson. He describes himself as ‘a burden to my friends and useless to my Country.’

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He ends the letter; ‘You will excuse my scrawl considering it is my first attempt.’ I think he did just fine considering.

Honourable mentions go to Nelson’s fork + knife combination. 

2014-09-27 14.41.19After losing his arm, this utensil is one that he owned to help him eat. A combination of a fork and a knife, it is testimony to Nelson being ahead of the spork in combined cutlery innovation. 

5 – Nelson’s coat at the Battle of Trafalgar


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As close to a bit of British Maritime history you can get, this coat remains a favourite of mine in the collection since I was a child. What strikes you is the small stature of the man (like many during his time) and the bullet hole in the right shoulder. The coat is stained with his blood on the inside, and the blood of his crew on his sleeves. The embroidery and badges are detailed and interesting, and it really does take pride and place in the exhibition. If the post apocalyptic Mad Max/zombie future of my classroom daydreams does occur, you can be sure this is the coat I’m stealing.

Honourable mention to Denis Dighton’s painting of Nelson at Trafalgar:

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Among all the depictions of Nelson’s death, from heroic deaths to Nelson literally being pulled up to heaven by angels, this painting to me stands out. It shows the collective effort of the crew, and actually resists the temptation to make Nelson the dramatic focus of the painting. 

2014-09-27 14.38.38His death is largely unnoticed by the majority of the crew who are all too busy. Nelson in this picture actually looks quite pathetic, down on his stomach and without his hat. 


 

That’s my run through of just five things that I particularly like about the National Maritime Museum. As with the nature of these museums and galleries, the things on display have been chosen from a back room collection of thousands, so every piece has something interesting about it.

If you’ve never been, it’s a better time than ever to go.

Cafe East Pho

Cafe East Pho, 100 Redriff Road Surrey Quays Leisure Park, London SE16 7LH22 Dinner for two, with drinks, £18.

I remember the hype that was made about Surrey Quays when I was younger, this new canal filled land of shopping opportunity. Admittedly my only experiences with it are the sheer excitement of visiting Decathlon (one which has yet to leave me) or a rather grim children’s birthday party at the bowling alley. As such I will forgive the cynicism and complaints by my friend that day as I dragged her through a car park. Past the Frankie and Benny’s, then Pizza Hut, past the Gala Bingo hall and the hut of ribs. Finally we arrived at Cafe East, ready to prove that I hadn’t quite lost it yet.

2014-09-08 14.27.07Cafe East is a lovely gem of a place, which mainly deals in good and authentic bowls of Pho. Now Pho is a little bit popular, (it’s so hot right now), but mainly in central London. While the best bowls I’ve had remain in the ‘little Vietnam’ of North East London, Cafe Pho is a little taste of those restaurants only a quick 188 bus ride away. Situated opposite the bowling alley, I only wish Greenwich could scrap one or two sub-par noodle bars, Tai Won Mein and it’s sisters in Woolwich and Catford come to mind, and have something as homely as this. That said the interior is stark and feels like a canteen, and feels quite recently put together. The amount of covers they can accommodate is impressive, and it’s a shame that the location isn’t better because the building itself has a lot of potential. Outside sat a few sad looking unused benches which on a sunnier day would make this place a gorgeous place to stop for lunch.

2014-09-08 14.52.25The menu itself is fairly varied considering it does mainly noodles. There’s a small rice menu, with chicken rice and a particularly lovely smelling Belly Pork, but otherwise Pho is what this place is about. Considering that though, the noodle dish options cover 3 out of 4 pages in the menu. They’ve created an impressive variety considering the essence of each dish is the same. I don’t have any problem with this though – with only two soup bases on option, you can guarantee each one is sweet, seasoned beautifully and richly meaty. If your ability to handle chilli is ‘well ‘ard‘ and above, you can try your hand at the spicy soup, which is a regular base imbued with the power to make you cry like you’ve just watched The Notebook. 

2014-09-08 14.32.28The food when it comes it delicious, fresh and vast in quantity. The bowls of hot Pho come with a side plate of greens (different the past two times, mint, bean sprouts and chilli. It’s the best part of the dish, bringing a very welcome freshness and crunch to the murky meaty sea of soup. I would be very happy with a bigger plate of this though. The meat itself is lovely, if I had one complaint is that I’ve had thinner and redder beef. That said, I would of been happy with just an empty of that soup base.

2014-09-08 14.51.48Those on my table who opted not to go for Pho had a good lunch too, both from the look of it and the cheeky tastes I stole. The dry vermicelli dishes were more vegetables than anything, it resembled a fresh Vietnamese salad complete with side dish of fish sauce dressing/dip. The pork was amazingly marinated and juicy though. Another one of my friends opted for the crispy chicken served on rice. It was fine, but it was visible it was a plain dish and crowd pleaser which they weren’t overly comfortable or passionate with, with it being a tad dry.

2014-09-08 14.52.32Passion isn’t reserved for just Pho thankfully. The starters bring a bit of authentic taste into the meal, as long as you like spring rolls, usually I’m quite bored by the things but they really do them well. The drinks as well bring back memories from the country, with gorgeous herbal teas, overly sweet Vietnamese iced coffee and home made soy milk. The only person I could see not enjoying these drinks with child like glee are diabetics.

Ultimately I understand that not everyone will want to catch a bus to Canada Water car parks to get a simple Vietnamese meal. The restaurant itself was filled with people, so I thankfully do not fret for Cafe Pho’s future. If you’re in Canada Water though, perhaps in Decathalon, it’s worth visiting. The bill was very reasonable at under £10 a head and this considering my belly was so full that I struggled to walk back to the bus stop. Suddenly the cars around me were a bit taunting, and I wouldn’t of objected to being taken home in a wheel barrow. Something to think about next time I visit maybe.
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Sail away, sail away, sail away

You may of noticed the Greenwich Tall Ships Festival last weekend which ended on Tuesday. A grand affair, it was one of the more memorably ambitious project by the royal borough – reportedly costing £500,000 to the council. I managed to catch a few days, wondering confusingly around a blocked up Thames path and creating a new and surprising insecurities around my inadequate maritime knowledge. I’m still not sure if the festival was a great success, boosting tourism in the area, or a vanity project, not worth the cost. I think only time will tell, but as it stands people seem split down the middle. 20140908_135304

Those who managed to make their way to the Cutty Sark would come across a vast array of entertainment, activities and crowds. Resting in the Old Royal Naval College were a vast array of activities for kids as well as different options for lunch. I’m not sure the food vans and were completely necessary, I’d rather of had Greenwich Market food stall traders or local restaurants present. I wasn’t very familiar with any of the food vans on offer and felt somewhat in fear of being ripped off for a generic burger as if I had decided to go to Bestival after all. Where was the beautiful hog roast? That said, outside of food, many traders and shops (such as the Nauticalia) did have representation slightly further afield round the other side of the Cutty Sark.

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It wasn’t just Greenwich Market goods on offer either, with an amazing showing by the Tall Ship’s very own merchandising trucks. However I wasn’t quite tempted by any of the Tall Ship Fest 2k14 shirts, especially at those prices. Actually, I don’t think many people were, with very worrying 50% off sign rendered a few days into the festival. Even the captain hats had been reduced from £5 to £4, though I saw far more people sporting those.

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I hope they were displaying all their stock, because I don’t think I’ve seen so many hats on display. I also hope the council weren’t relying too heavily on merchandising sales to bring back revenue.

20140908_135531If I stop being a naysayer for a second; the activities for the kids would of been great, had I kids. I particularly liked the nostalgic sounds of Punch & Judy (I’m a simple man to please really), and the character actors teaching us about dyes and rope in full ye olde garb. I had a very odd conversation with a very smiley woman about the very horrible conditions she and others faced at sea.  It was unnerving.

20140908_135550That said, amongst the sound, activity and buzz, it was a little hard not to be somewhat caught up in the excitement of what was happening in the borough I live in. Even if most of my excitement had come from ship based fun, rather than actual ships. For the actual ships, I’m not sure I was as excited. I heard the price to go on one was nearing £50 for a start. Not sure about that.

Ultimately the vast amount of ships, the difference between them, the country of origin and purpose was something that didn’t massively grab me. It’s my fault really, many of the people around me were fascinated by all these facts.

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Come the parade on Monday I managed thankfully to get a small place by the river in Morden Wharf for the final parade of ships on the Monday. The Thames Path has always been this abandoned playground for my teenage years to play, cycle and hang out. Going from Cutty Sark, we’d walk along the rivers, horrible smells, building sites and end up at North Greenwich. That day the Thames Path was never busier than today though, with several dozen people all perched on the river side. Admittedly we were the only people under 35 there, with the average age seeming about 50.

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I’ll leave the pictures of pretty boats up to the more professional. We left early, because my friend believed that ‘Once you’ve seen one tall ship, you’ve seen them all.’ We’re probably wrong there, but needless to say, it wasn’t our cup of tea. Like cruises.

I wonder what people of Greenwich made of it though? The 853 blog has beat me to the punch in asking this, and the comments seem more encouraging than not. I’m very pleased that people did have a positive reaction to it, but it will be great to see the economic benefits of it in the coming year. Though measuring that is a difficulty.

20140908_135315I think for me it’s interesting when a Conservative, Councillor Spencer Drury is saying: “at this time we should be focusing the council’s spending on improving council homes, repairing roads or maintaining vital services.”

“I can completely understand why poorly paid council workers and residents on low incomes are furious about Labour’s choice to spend millions on the Tall Ships Regatta.”

The festival, like the ships, have come and go. But it still feels weird that the Conservative councillor is worrying about council homes, while the Labour council are spending money on a festival of maritime tradition.

Regardless, I still can’t get Enya out of my head.