Honestly, who throws a shoe?

As we've mentioned before, BCHQ suffers from squally winds which blow quite a lot of rubbish off the street and in to our front garden. So it was that this weekend, under darkening skies, we were enjoying our usual Sunday morning clean-up, when we discovered an old pair of women's shoes. The shoes can only have been lobbed over our wall, at the cost of some effort from their former owner.

At moments like that, we try to remember the good things about life in Brockley. Like the fact that the other day we were given free baguettes by the baker who was shutting up shop while she went on holiday or when our neighbour gave us a present following the birth of our child.

On balance, do you find the people of Brockley to be altruistic bread-sharers or shoe-throwing nobheads?

80 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Someone kindly stuck a half drunk can of White Lightening in my hedge.

Also my ex-neighbours used to wake me up with their athletic love making, so much so that I may as well have been sharing the experience.

Other than that it's been fairly neutral.

patrick1971 said...

A vote for altruistic bread sharers from me. Got back to Crofton Park last night at about 2245 after a weekend in Paris. Nipped in to the chip shop by the station. The chap was clearly just shutting up but he happily made me a burger and chips with no complaints at all, and even made some pleasant conversation.

And my new neighbours couldn't be nicer people; I've met five households in my street so far and all of them have been fantastic.

Hooray Brockley!

Headhunter said...

My neighbours all seem lovely, apart from the new person diagonally opposite who delights in playing bassy music on weekend mornings. I think I feel an objection coming on.

I had a weird experience the other weekend though, was in the middle of some spring cleaning and stepped out front to empty the Dyson into the wheely bin and some woman came rushing over shouting "don't throw it away, don't throw it away" and muttering something about a disposable society/recycling... Clearly bonkers but a woman after my own heart...

fabhat said...

the shoes might have been brought to you by a Brockley fox...
Over the hill in Telegraph Hill land, they are fairly well known for moving shoes, gloves and so forth between households, probably as part of redistribution of wealth plan. However for you to get two, matching shoes the foxes must have been working as a team, and thought you deserved extra gifts as you'd just had a baby.
Or some woman walking home really, really had enough of her shoes.

Anonymous said...

I find the use of vacuum cleaners an insult to the environment. Couldn't you use the old manual sort your granny used to have?

Headhunter said...

Good point. Henceforth I will use a dustpan and brush.

Anonymous said...

Better not be a plastic dustpan and brush... *waves fist*

Tamsin said...

I think she might have been wanting you to put it on the compost heap.

Re-cycling dust in this way is not something I do, but I have heard of it. (Although I do have a compost heap at the bottom of my garde - and I don't garden, does anyone want some really lovely compost?)

And forget bread-sharing. A good few years back in Telegraph Hill someone left on our doorstep three nicely framed ordnance survey maps of the area at ten year intervals from about 1867. (We are presumably under a moral obligation to pass them on in a similar way if and when we leave...)

Mara said...

Dislike:People who don't clean up their dog mess.

Like: People who freestyle freecycle by leaving reusable items on their front walls for the picking.

Like: Genuine friendly local business owners. Rachel from Shop on the Hill, Degustation crew, Richard from Jam Circus and Jo from Open Gym.

Dislike: Wish I knew my neighbours better, but that's my own fault.

Anonymous said...

Dog mess is 100% biodegradable - let it sink back into the ground from whence it came!

drakefell debaser said...

Yes, you can compost dust, carpet fibres and hair as well as the usual vegetable scraps and paper. Tea bags are brilliant.

Not met any altruistic shop owners yet although the ones I use are very pleasant which makes a huge difference, I tend to walk out of shops where you feel you have disturbed the owner by giving them trade.

Anon: Dog mess may be biodegradable but it can carry serious diseases as well and it is difficult for it to return to the ground when it is smeared all over the pavement.

Headhunter said...

I've got a compost bin at the end of the garden! Have never thought about putting dust in it though...

Re non-plastic dustpan and brush... Interesting idea, but I wouldn't want it to biodegrade in the middle of a spring clean

tyrwhitt michael said...

shoe throwing nobheads at my end of tyrwhitt road.....

Tamsin said...

I used to put tea-bags in the compost but found the bag bit didn't de-grade. Maybe things have changed in the past ten years and I should try again.

I did not feel quite so devoted to the cause as to cut the bags open to empty the contents into the compost. (However, since I often use them more than once and re-fill if I have a pot of tea on the go there probably would not be much nutrition left in them.)

It occurs to me that if I did compost my dust it would give me a chance to find again the occasional things that go ke-plingg! clunkk! pling!! as they get sucked up into my hoover.

Tamsinj said...

Sorry - back on topic.

Dislikes: dog-mess, rubbish blowing around the streets, monkey-biles, the neighbours with all-night parties or heavy bass.

Likes: the heron in the park, being able to ask the guys next door to finish baking a batch of bread when the oven conks out part-way through, borrowing an egg from them, being recognised by children from the pre-school, a neighbour who very occasionally plays traditional Irish music at half past one in the morning.

Headhunter said...

I don't think it's a question of goodness left in the teabag after you've used it a couple of times, you can still stick it in the compost bin! One thing I'd say, if you use the compost for window boxes or tubs, put a layer of commercial compost on top as the home made stuff often has a lot of weed seeds in it which constantly sprout through your prize geraniums, putting a 10-ish centimetre layer of "sterile" commercial stuff on top, helps prevent this. God I feel middle aged.

jon s said...

Worm farms are better than compost bins! Less space, no smell, continual supply of liquid fertiliser and breaks down anything organic, from dogs mess to tea bags.

For the ultimate greenie, I'm sure it would work on human waste too :-o

jon s said...

Come to think of it, maybe we need a community worm farm somewhere for all the fox droppings and other biomass. How about an odourless organic recycling point with free fertiliser instead of the proposed park at the end of Geoffrey Rd? It would certainly add character to the area.

Richard Elliot said...

The best bits of Brockley for me are the friendly shop keepers and restaurant owners. Also the Brockley Central drinks!

I was none to impressed after someone dented my car and drove off. I don't know my neighbours as well as I would like.

Speaking of the BC drinks are we due some soon?
Nick - let me know if you need help arranging now that BC HQ has a new addition I am guessing you have less time!

Monkeyboy said...

...apart from the noisy sex the neighbours are OK. Often look after deliveries (parcels, not babies) and have even been known to share a hedge trimmer.

Locallife Sian said...

Like: people on the street - particularly the lovely man on crutches on Tyrwhitt Road who is always up for a chat, and children who find life at bottom-of-the-gate level so intriguing.

Dislike: People on the street who are filling up my skip so I can't get anything into it and whoever nicked my bath when I had just sold to a friend (despite the sign making it clear it wasn't a freecylce offering).

Like: My neighbour, Mark, who helps me whenever I need help.

Dislike: Not much else really. I love living on Tyrwhitt Road!

mintness said...

Speaking of dog mess, I'd never noticed it being a particular problem along Manor Avenue, but we've recently been graced with those spray-on "Bag it - Bin it!" pavement signs you get on the way to Hilly Fields. So now every time I leave the house I'm presented with the image of a bright yellow dog squatting over a steaming turd. Marvellous.

A further thumbs-up for local shop owners and other proprietors and entrepreneurs here. Thumbs-down for the neighbours in the garden flat who could be perfectly pleasant - and are clearly v. Brockley - if only it weren't for their curious aversion to us making noise intrusions such as walking around our flat and flushing the toilet. Boo hiss.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Speaking about dog mess - I was taking my cat for a walk and a rather angry man opened his window and started yelling abuse at me:

'stop f*cking letting your dog sh*ite in front of my house'

I had to point out to him that actually, this was a kitten and the dog poo was possiblly larger than its entire intestine.

Having said that, my immediate neighbours are really very nice. One side I have a Dr and the other a couple in there 30's, one of whom is a spanish dancer/ballet.

All in all, my road has improved quite considerably over the last two years. A couple of teachers have recently moved into the house opposite.

We also get christmas cards from a vicar who lives opposite.

Anonymous said...

BT, I wonder if it was the Dr who was playing the rather loud R&B that riled you so much.

Transpontine said...

I wonder if there is a link between the athletic sex of Monkeyboy's neighbours and shoes flying into your garden? Perhaps they fancied some Brockley al fresco action.

@fabhat - Yes I have seen a fox nick a child's trainer from a garden.

Lewisham Wayward said...

Likes friendly people in LV supermarket, neighbours in flats and bonkers family who keep the horses nearby.

Dislikes catering oil, booze etc being poured into one small outside patch of land making it a blasted heath

Headhunter said...

Green freak as I am, I just can't quite get my head around taking a dump over a worm farm....

Headhunter said...

If we're doing the likes/dislikes thing....

Likes - The general green-ness, spaciousness and peace along Manor Ave (usually), nice neighbours, bbq in the garden, local shops like SOTH, Degustation and DB

Dislikes - People who arrive home at night in cars, let people out and honk their horns or shout their goodbyes across the street at circa 3am. Equally, pissed people walking back along Manor Ave from the station at 3am shouting and screaming as they go. It's summer, I've got my bedroom window open - kindly shut up. Also dislike 100+watt spotlights attached to the front/rear of houses which light up half of Brockley as soon as you go near them - what's the effing point?

jon s said...

HH, only you could ever entertain and dismiss such a notion. I was talking about fox and pet effluent, not human!

However, if exposure bothers you, I know someone who has a worm farm linked to a composting toilet ;-) I'm sure you can add it to your rainwater collection tank, solar panels and veggie patch!

jon s said...

OK, likes and dislikes

Likes: leafy greenery, zone 2, (mostly) friendly people, the ELL is a coming. Generally that eclectic mix of an area with an arty soul that has just started gentrifying. It reminds me of Paddington in Sydney 20 years ago.

Dislikes: fried chicken, yobs I must restrain myself from responding to, filthy streets, loud music from neighbours.

Headhunter said...

But Jon S, you mentioned that it might be possible to use the worm farm for human waste.... that's what got me thinking.

BTW are you from Sydney?

jon s said...

Yup, from Sydney. Grew up in Paddington and Bondi before they were cool, we even had a chippie on Oxford St! Brockley really reminds me of both just before gentrification kicked off.

The wormfarm for human effluent is an indirect thing via a composting toilet, quite civilised, doable and odourless. There is the added bonus that all organic waste goes down the toilet instead of from a trip outside!

Monkeyboy said...

I was in Sydney a few years ago for a year's work placement. Paddington was great, if a bit trendy. Had some good bars around Kings Cross, why is it the best bars are next to sleezy areas? Maybe the two are not so different?

Tj said...

Likes: the quick journey home after an evening out in the West End; a windy hilly fields; the dogwalkers who stop for a chat; admiring the buildings as I walk to the park and back.

Dislikes: loud music from neighbours, dirty streets (what happened? just 4 years ago there was a guy sweeping the streets every morning), the sight of houses being run down

MB said...

See a street cleaner every morning on Malpas road/brockley cross end. Fighting a loosing battle perhaps?

Headhunter said...

I went to Sydney for the 1st time a few years back. Love the way everywhere is named after a street or area in London/the UK. We stayed in a dodgy area - Kings Cross. Walked through Paddington and along Oxford St (all the gay bars are there now). A friend of mines sister lived in Birkenhead next to Liverpool in the 'burbs. I wonder if there is a Brockley somewhere in Oz?

Had a great time but I remember being heckled by some local p*ssheads 1 morning very early (I was jet lagged, it was about 5.30/6 am local time and I decided to go for a run down to the botanical gardens) for being too white! I almost turned round and said if you lived in London, you'd look the same.... Australians and their bloody perma-tans...!

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Likes: The 20 min cycle to work door to door.

Dislikes: The hilly part of Pepys Rd.

drakefell debaser said...

Likes: The view from Upper Telegraph Hill Park, watching the heron catch fish in Lower THP, Nunhead & Brockley cemeteries, local deli indulgences, hangover fry up in the TM2 garden, pre hangover munchies from Long Time Café, pint in the back room at JC, buying rude greeting cards from Maggie’s for those that are likely to be offended by them. Broca smoothie, slab of Comte from Dandelion Blue, exploring the wares of Mr Laurence, marvelling the size of the Cornish sea bass from FC Soper, cooking said Cornish sea bass on the BBQ.

Dislikes: posers in cars with the stereo ludicrously loud, police sirens, fried chicken shops, scaffolders in Martins Yard fighting each other at 7 in the morning, family from next door playing in blow up paddling pool (they are massively overweight)

Tressilliana said...

Like: trees, trees and more trees. The hilliness - wouldn't want to live somewhere flat. How easy and relatively quick it is to get into Central London but also out of London. Chelwood Nursery School. The fish and chip shop on Harefield Road. The occasional visits of a heron to the pond in our back garden. Our immediate neighbours, who are lovely.

Dislikes: noise, graffiti, bad manners, litter. The toerag who stole our front gate, presumably for the scrap metal content.

Headhunter said...

Somebody actually unbolted your front gate and carted it away? That's on a par with leaving your car on a stack of bricks to nick all the wheels!

Tressilliana said...

It was a very old gate (but not old enough to be an antique, which is why I think they took it for scrap) and it was just resting on the brackets, not properly secured to the garden wall, so they were just able to lift it off as they passed. It was a bit of a stunner, to have a gate there first thing in the morning and no gate there at lunchtime.

Headhunter said...

That's taking the whole freecycle/leave things in your front garden a bit far! Everything needs to be tied down. You'd think we lived in Liverpool....

patrick1971 said...

Brockley, Australia:

http://www.multimap.com/world/AU/New_South_Wales/Brockley

Maybe we should set up a twin town programme with them!

Apparently during the Second World War, the residents of Camberwell in Melbourne (a very posh but literary suburb - think Hampstead) sent regular food parcels to the residents of Camberwell in London. The two places couldn't be more different... Similarly, Richmond in Melbourne is quite a scruffy inner-city suburb, worlds away from its UK namesake.

patrick1971 said...

That link should be:

http://www.multimap.com/world/AU
/New_South_Wales/Brockley

Headhunter said...

Brockley, New South Wales seems to be a cattle station or something in the middle of nowhere, however they do have a Brockley Road! I wonder if they have the same issues with the council not upholding conservation area rules there?

The Brockley Telegraph said...

HH, have you done any work today? The frequency of your posts suggest you should be coming to help me audit!

Monkeyboy said...

A suburb of Sydney is called Liverpool, honestly can't they think up their own names? Mind you they're not the most imaginative people, they have some snow capped peeks near Canbera called...wait for it... 'The Snowy Mountains'

The Brockley Telegraph said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Headhunter said...

It's slow in the City over summer. Everyone's off on holidays and the last think banks are thinking about now is hiring, not least because they're all posting huge losses at the moment. I'll probably get made redundant soon, then I'll definitely have nothing to do except post here!

Wasn't there a suggestion to name Shoreditch High Street station on the E London Line Bangla Town to try to tempt tourists across?

drakefell debaser said...

Yeah Australians did not spend too much time with place names or naming the territories. There was effort with the East such as Victoria and Queensland but maybe the beers came out when it came to the Western side and someone just went sod it mate, lets call it Western and Northern territories and South Australia.

jon s said...

Sorry to debunk the populist zeitgeist building here but Australia has names from all over the place, describing the area (The Rocks), local flaura (Acacia Gardens), after people (Leichardt), events (Manly), other places (Lakemba) and the local lingo (Coogee).

Monkeyboy said...

oooohhh.... Coogee. I stayed their for 3 months or so, it's like a little England. My ozzie work colleagues used to joke that they ought to build a fence around it to keep us in....at least I think they were joking?

Coogee bay hotel was the place to go to watch England getting pasted by the Australians at everything from cricket to tiddlywinks.

jon s said...

Btw, Coogee means stinky seaweed and the CBH is one of the live venues for gigs in Sydney! Come to think of it, it would be nice to have an equivalent in Brockley. That's another thing I like about Brockley, all the new places that will open post ELL!

Headhunter said...

May be we could come up with a new name for Brockley - badger wood or brook (meaning for Brockley depending on who you speak to), is not relevant any more.

We need something which evokes the whiff of fried chicken, the bass sound emanating from a chavs car, dogs on Hilly Fields etc

Monkeyboy said...

Yes, Coogee=stinky. I guess that links into the Australian swimming coach suggesting that are a nation of soap dodgers. I, of course, bathe once a month whether I need it or not.

tj said...

I hope the whole family uses the water

Brockley Jon said...

Looks like we need an Australian channel on BC! Roll on the forum...

Paddyom said...

I like the lovely architecture; beautiful parks; quick trains to London; ELL on its way; new cafes/restaurants; Jam Circus; occasional friendly people; BMAX and other local festivities; proximity to Greenwich & Blackheath; easy to get to Ket

I HATE the kerb crawling cars blaring their music; constant police sirens; litter; chicken bones; noisy buses which sound like they are going to explode (come on Boris, sort it?!); lack of decent high street; no boozer near my house.

Paddyom said...

That should say Kent...

Anonymous said...

The good: the clientele at the amersham arms and royal albert, the guy who runs cinnamon restaurant/take-away and whoever cooks the food, the staff at TM2, ex/current goldsmiths students (I'm not one), the people who do care about making brockley better

The bad: the various dodgy types on lewisham way side of brockley (although a bit better post CCTV), the occasional screaming drunks late at night, self-centered neighbours playing music at party volume at 3am on weeknights, a lot of people with no respect for their homes/street(really noticed this when moving to brockley), the people hanging around in their cars looking shifty and throwing take away left overs in the streets around upper brockley rd parade.

Hmm seems the bad wins...

patrick1971 said...

"a lot of people with no respect for their homes"

It's weird, this one, isn't it? One house on my street has a sign next to its front door bell which says, "Welcome, Now F*** Off". Why on earth would you (a) make a sign like that and (b) put it up on your front door?

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Ignorance, anti-social behaviour. Loss of community.

Its not surprising. There is a tremendous loss of commonly held values embedded within our communities (if you can still call them that). But thats apparently fine now, we are all encouraged to be different.

They havn't committed any crimes, you have to let them do what they want.

MB said...

ARRGGHHH!!! the whole country is going to the dogs.

No it isn't. Cheer up old boy, go walk your cats. (Bengal cats? whats wrong with English cats? Another example of the incideous dilution of our moggy's - we'll be feeding them curry next)

Headhunter said...

Manor Ave in general seems mercifully free of anti social B@stards. I expect things like that will get better as Brockley's star rises, rents and property prices increase and the oiks are forced to move where it's cheaper. Obviously the flip side is that we will also lose some of the vibrant characters in the area, artists etc and see an increase in London office worker/commuter types (like me). Double edged sword.

lb said...

It's perfectly honourable having an office job. After all, who keeps the money flowing around the economy so the artists (other than those with what used to be called 'private incomes') can continue their daubing, eh?

Likes: It's quiet, clean and very leafy without being too much of a preposterous upper-middle-class bubble (cf. Highgate); Meze Mangal; running (or sitting, or eating ice cream) in Hilly Fields

Dislikes: I'm sure you can guess

Anonymous said...

Natasha Kempinski? The way some underpants loose their elastic and come down whilst walking? A wet Wednesday in July?

lb said...

All pretty good guesses (assuming you mean Natasha Kaplinsky)

Anonymous said...

Does she live in the area?

What's all this about English cats? What's wrong with British cats?

Anonymous said...

Likes: Meze mangal; Cinnamon, being close to New Cross and Deptford; interesting looking people breaking up the banality of the gentrified bits; Hilly fields in the rain etc.

Dislikes: the gangstas hanging around the Honeypot; the bourgeois hordes who crave 'edginess' but not TOO much; missing cat signs.

lb said...

An anonymous after my own heart, there.

Anon@12.00 - surprised TBT didn't go for the British Shorthair, the feline du jour for the jingoistic cat-fancier. Great big pudgy things, they are.

fred west said...

"the bourgeois hordes who crave 'edginess' but not TOO much"

bang on, riddled with more contradictions than a hegelian geist that lot

lb said...

I have several acquaintances who'll happily babble on about what a wonderfully 'vibrant' area they live in, and then lock themselves in their houses after 8pm, just in case they run into any excessive vibrancy.

13:24 said...

Fred W - Hegelian Geist! Blimey - sounds like a philosophical gedankenexperiment. Care to elaborate (in elementary terms if possible)?

I love wisdom, me.

Headhunter said...

I think he's talking about Georg Hegel, German philospher and his discussions on "geist" German for soul, spirit or mind combined with intentional force. He said that contradictions as between freedom and authority or knowledge and faith or mind and nature could be interpreted as part of an evolving rational unity. This unity continues to evolve and manifest itself through contradiction and negation until a state of high unity is reached (Aufhebung).

Personally, I think it's a load of cr@p. There's no contradiction for me, my geist prefers zero "edginess"

fred west's wife beater said...

13:24, being the idealist knob that he was (idealist in the sense that material things are manifestations of ideas - or in his terms the absolute mind - rather than the other way around), a gedankenexperiment was always as far as he was ever going to get, although at least his existence allowed marx to turn him on his head

as for expanding i think this place is more geared up for deli-antics than dialectics, so i'm afraid discussion about the negation of the negation will need to step aside to leave room for discussion about negative equity and the like

lb's bang on the money as usual though

Anonymous said...

Like: getting to London Bridge in 10 mins, Long Time Noodles, leafy parks, views from Telegraph Hill, pro-active locals, seeing the area develop and change, knowing that Brockley is still our clever little secret.

Dislike: Habitual dumping on the streets (mattresses, broken appliances et al), Lewisham council's flippancy and knowing that our little secret is coming out, slowly but oh so surely!

13:24 said...

Seems that there are mystical undertones and interpretations to be had from Hegel's system, but discussions about negative equity and the rest of it are probably more my level!

lb said...

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen, as some bloke from Vienna once put it.

13:24 said...

He should have stuck to gardening.

Anonymous said...

I dislike those commuters who habitually throw their newspapers onto the ground at Brockley station. The bin there is large enough and has a large enough slot for them to go in.

Throwing papers onto the ground is still littering - not recycling.

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