Brockley Bites

A bubble burst

Last night’s Dispatches on Channel 4 [“The Housing Trap”] was essentially the tragic story of a young man’s thwarted dream of buying a flat in Brockley. It was heartbreaking to watch a fate that no one could deserve unfold. The programme featured all the usual debate about the housing market. Conclusions? None. And its credibility was shot to pieces early on, when the narrator described Brockley as “an unfashionable part of South London”.

Brockley Nappuccino

We were going to write a longer piece questioning the value of Lewisham's efforts to use tax payers' money to bribe and cajole less-well-off families to use 'real' nappies (aka old technology that has rightly gone the way of the mangle or the carpet beater as a symbol of the drudgery of the domestic family life that we have mercifully left behind), but work is getting in the way today, so suffice to repeat the press release from Cllr Sue Luxton, for those who disagree with us:

"Come along to Lewisham's First 'Nappuccino'! It is taking place from 10am-midday on Friday 9 November 2007 at the Toads Mouth Too Cafe, 188 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2RL. If you would like to attend please contact Vivienne Thomson, Real Nappy Officer (details below). Real nappies save money and waste and are easier than you think. Come to a friendly chat over coffee and find out more."

Vivienne Thomson
Real Nappy Officer
London Borough of Lewisham
Wearside Service Centre
Wearside Road
Lewisham SE13 7EZ
T: 07904 164496 F: 020 8314 2128 W:

Brockley TownTalk now live

A new website has been launched by Lewisham Council to provide people with information about the Brockley area. Its best feature is the local business directory, which is pretty comprehensive. Visit it, enjoy it, but obviously please come back to Brockley Central!


Headhunter said...

From what I've heard, the real nappy idea is good. Anything "disposable" including nappies has no place in a world in which we know we are slowly destroying the environment. Currently all these disposable nappies, with their chemicals and bleaches are dumped in landfill. Surely it's about time that we all learned to move away from disposability? Not to mention the potential damage to babies' skin caused by chemical irritants in disposable nappies.

ElijahBailey said...

I have heard nothing but good on the real nappy sceme, and it is not just the 'less-well-off families' that use it.

Disposable nappies are dreadful for the enviroment and very wasteful.

Brockley Nick said...

Out of interest, do either of you two have kids?

I totally understand how much waste is generated (although I am not sure about the chemicals, you mention) although I also know that they have made massive reductions in the amount of materials that go in to disposable nappies. I also know that the data is mixed about which is more environmentally damaging, given the amount of energy, water and chemicals required to clean nappy materials.

Anyway, I agree there is a valid debate to be had about the pros and cons of these nappies, but I don't think council money should be spent on this kind of scheme, which, at best, will have a minute impact on the number of people using them.

If they were really any good and saved money, people would be using them of their own free will.

Brockley Jon said...

I have an "I heart Brockley" badge, like the one in your picture Nick, but mine is WAY better :) I got it at the Hilly Fields Summer Fayre.

Pete said...

I would just like to back Nick up on the "real" nappy front.

A report entitled:
"Life cycle assessment of disposable and renewable nappies in the uk" concluded that "no system clearly had a better or worse environmental performance"

So why the green party feel the need to foist them on people is beyond me.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Where do I get a 'I Love Brockley' badge from??? I really need one!!!

Headhunter said...

You're probably right that there are bigger fish to fry on the environmental front. Certainly not a nappy expert and don't have kids myself. I was under the impression though, that it wasn't only the fact that disposable nappies go to landfill but also that their manufacture uses some quite toxic chemicals an bleaches but I could be wrong

Andrew Brown said...

I'm not a fan of real nappies, and luckily those of us living in Lewisham don't need to worry about landfill either!

But mentioning that our waste is incinerated tends to get some knickers in a twist too. But before passing judgement readers of this blog may want to take a look at the Health Impact Assessment of SELCHP.

Dan said...

It is possible to get organic and biodegradable nappies now. So no need for heavy duty chemical washes and less of a problem with landfill.
I am surprised that Lewisham are spending money on this when they are withdrawing funding from the Sure Start program. Surely the two could be combined to ensure that a very helpful service (sure start) is maintained.

Bea said...

As a mother of a young child still using Pampers at night and an Aunt of six nieces and nephews - I have seen my fair share of nappies.

My main reason for not using the renewable nappies is the cleaning! Scraping poo out of terry towels and then having them hang around until the next washing load is a loathsome idea - and something my parents had to do but hated! They had endless buckets of detergent all around the kitchen with renewable nappies being soaked before they went into the white wash. Then there was endless drying – or not drying when it was raining.

Believe me when I say I would much rather put the toxic smelling offering my much-loved child has created straight into the nearest outside bin!

Besides – as has been mentioned – some reports state that the impact of all the washing loads, tumble-drying, and use of detergents has an equally significant impact on the environment.

leenewham said...

We should make "I heart BC" badges.

Good job there isn't a Brockley John...

..."I heart BJ" might be miss-interpreted.

veggiegirl said...

For a discussion of the failings of the Environment Agency's report on washable vs disposable nappies, see the Women's Environmental Network

My own personal view - I have a two year old and would have used real nappies if I'd been looking after her full-time but in reality she spends more time with other carers (family and nursery) who definitely expressed a preference for disposable - so we use what we judged to be the least "bad" we could identify.

Brockley Nick said...

Checked the link out - it recommends we should be switching to bamboo nappies to maximise the environmental benefits.

Anyway, the Environment Agency reiterated its position that there is no evidence of an environmental benefit from switching to washable nappies.

WEN disputes this (obviously) but I am not sure how credible they or their claims are.

So, the point remains that the benefits are disputed while the disadvantages are obvious to anyone with kids. It's fine if people want to make that choice, but I don't think our money is best spent encouraging people to switch. The campaigners already claim huge cost savings from using real nappies and yet they are still offering additional financial incentives to switch.

ElijahBailey said...

Fair enough all.

I don't have kids I was just going on what i heard people saying. From what they told me they didn't hae to do the cleaning, just hand the used ones back for cleaning.

Dan said...

elijahbailey you are correct that, if you use a company, you can now just hand them back to the company and they will sort them out. you are still left with a bubbling vat of poo in your house each week until they do though.

Monkeyboy said...

As childless bloke you guys are NOT selling the whole baby owning scenario to me.

Bea said...

Monkeyboy – you are quite right – “owning” or rather having a kid is not always a bundle of laughs. And we haven’t even covered here the sleepless nights; cleaning up of vomit all over you (invariably in your hair and down your back – and I don’t mean that sweet little white stuff new-borns puck up but the horrible virus infested thing toddlers have); the biting / hitting / kicking phase; the tantrums in front of friends and their uptight parents; the reminders not to climb all over the furniture – and no they aren’t Peter Pan / Spiderman / Superman and can can’t fly so “Please don’t jump from those great heights AGAIN”; the uneaten food; the endless round of buying new clothes (they keep on growing) and the extra cost of these little people when going on holiday (a flight cost the same price as an adult after 2 years old!).

But despite all that there are many, many redeeming and loveable things about kids – otherwise the vast majority wouldn’t make it to adulthood!

Anonymous said...

Please no more posts on the joys of having children. Now you're making me want to vomit.

Bea said...


Anonymous said...

I wasn't wanting to vomit because of the details in the post, but because you feel the need to write about what little darlings children really even though life with them is hard. You chose to have them so just spare us the yummy mummy outpourings.

Monkeyboy said...

Think I'll just buy a cat thanks.

Brockley Nick said...

If a thread about the relative merits of nappies isn't a legitimate space for people to talk about parental life then I don't know what is.

I don't see anyone special pleading on here, but moaning about the tribulations of parenthood is just as legitimate as grumbling about the train service or the lack of decent pubs.

I love having kids and the joy they bring outweighs the practical challenges. I doubt many parents would feel otherwise.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I love my kittens like they were kids. My snowy spotty bengal (which i've named 'winky') has a horrible habit of we'ing on my bed, but I love her to bits anyways! :o)

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I love my kittens like they were kids. My snowy spotty bengal (which i've named 'winky') has a horrible habit of we'ing on my bed, but I love her to bits anyways! :o)

Monkeyboy said... I'm not getting a cat either. Do goldfish have a downside?

Bea said...

The habits of a troll are equally nauseating and I spot one above.

The Troll said...

Sense of humour not a strong point I take it?

Bea said...

Monekyboy – well apart from the filter blocking up and having to fish out (excuse the pun) dead “Goldies” from the murky green water – no I don’t think so.

Get a new gadget instead – as it’s not a living organism you don’t have to deal with any agro. Well that’s apart from when the new piece of equipment breaks down of course.

Bea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monkeyboy said...

Gadgets - now your talking! Although my PC needs lots of love and attention otherwise it spits it's CD out.

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