Friday, 30 July 2010

End Of An Era

It is not unusual nowadays to hear about pub closures - one a day on average, somewhere in the UK.

It is a bit different though when "one of your own" goes.

"The Doctor Johnson" , known as "The DJ" or just "The Johnson" has "finally" shut up shop in Longwood Gardens, Barkingside.

We are lucky for local pubs and "The DJ" seemed to do good business but the problem always was that the site was worth more as a building plot than as a business. The various property booms since the 80s have exacerbated this. Users of "The Bald Hind" are probably thinking the same.

During the 80s it was arguably the best pub in the district - it had the atmosphere of a village pub. Like many suburban pubs, it suffered from all day opening, as there was always a "5.30 club" of city suits returning home and they then came back at weekends and later on midweek evenings. These customers then found their space at the bar occupied by people who finished work when it got dark, plus the over-staying lunch-timers of course. Then Wetherspoons turned up at the end of the 80s and almost emptied a lot of local "boozers".

"The DJ" was opened in 1934, with the local houses then being built, as a Simonds pub - built on the plot of Hedgemans Farmhouse, which was at what is now the corner of Evesham Way, where the shops are. Unusually for a pub, it was a freehold site. It was built as a commercial hotel and "roadhouse" in typical 30s style. It was to have been on a main road to Romford - at a roundabout, hence the curved frontage - but the alignment of the "main road" was changed when Woodford Ave. and Clayhall Ave. were built, leaving it somewhat isolated.

Simonds merged with Barclay & Perkins and that all became part of Courage which is how most people remember it.

The pub was popular during World War II with aircrew from local bases at Fairlop and North Weald. The Yanks used to throw a baseball down Rushden Gdns. for the local kids to chase. Whoever caught the ball could keep it. The Yanks, of course, also had chocolate bars and chewing gum.

With the Olympics coming, one would have thought that there was a demand for "travel lodge" style accommodation in the area and maybe that will be its future but what would apartments on that corner be worth to a developer? It has a conservation area status so there are limits to what can be done with the frontage but there are building techniques to get round that. There is currently a "To Let" sign up but no buyer came forward before the closing date.

So, goodbye, and happy memories. If those walls could speak, what tales they would tell.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Yet Another "Call Centre" Scam

If you receive a phone call from this number:



It seems that British Gas may have given information on customers' names and addresses to Marketing Companies (as they do if you tick the appropriate box or not), one of which may have then inadvertently allowed unauthorised use of the data. This may have been neither the fault of British Gas nor the authorised user.

These are being used fraudulently to 'chase' British Gas Customers for money that they do not owe. The fraudsters will know your initials, surname and address but will have no details of your account. They may, therefore, ask you to pay an electricity bill when you do not get electricity from B.G.! Bit of a give-away that!

If you have any doubt about your bill and/or receive one of these phone calls, use the Customer Service phone number on your bill

(usually a '0845' number in the top right corner)

NEVER give out personal info and credit card details on the phone, no matter who they say they are

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Club Watch Launch

The following article appeared in the Ilford Recorder of 22nd. July, click on graphic to enlarge. This managed to annoy just about everyone concerned, though Old Parkonians, who hosted the preliminary meeting and did a lot of work to get the scheme off the ground, did get their name mentioned. Chris Chandler, Sergeant i/c Fairlop Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) pointed out to the Recorder :

"The Ilford Recorder (July 22nd) ran the story about Club Watch on page 5, which was at least a prominent position.

Unfortunately despite a comprehensive and carefully prepared press release the article was deficient in a number of respects.

The report gives the impression Club Watch is a Borough wide initiative, which it is not.
It fails to give credit to all the organisations involved, only mentioning three of the six, despite accurate details of all involved having been provided.
It make no reference to the special circumstances of so many clubs co-located in one area.
It makes no mention of Fairlop Ward or Fairlop SNT.
It makes no reference to Neighbourhood Watch or the aims of the Club Watch.
It fails to use any of the quote provided, particularly parts thanking and acknowledging the hard work of those involved."

We did at least get access to a (unpublished) photo, courtesy of the Ilford Recorder:
photo left to right

PCSO Emma Andrews (Fairlop SNT); Steve Wills (Met Police Crime Prevention - att. Redbridge Council); Inspector Dan Carlton (Met Police Redbridge North SNT Cluster); Nicholas Hurst (Chairman Governors, Frenford Clubs); Jason Meads (Area Manager, Powerleague); Mick Foster (Bar Manager, London Marathon site); Sgt. Chris Chandler (Fairlop SNT); some old geezer from Old Parks; PC Adam Taylor (Fairlop SNT); Lisa Cherry (Met Police Redbridge Borough Watch Manager); Will Savill (one of the Duty Managers at Redbridge Sports Centre); Steve Stuckey (Hon Sec. Ilford Wanderers RFC)

This is the first such scheme in the Met Police area and could be a template for others in the Borough and throughout London. A look through a colour version of the A-Z will show how many green spaces there are, each one possibly a cricket, rugby, bowls club. They all share the same problems of thefts from parked cars, vandalism, graffiti, dog fouling, and many more aspects of "anti-social behaviour".

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Big Green Bag Mystery

Is there an undiscovered "black market" in recycling bags?
Are they appearing in large numbers on ebay?
Who would want to nick them?

Last year my father and I were each presented with a Big Green Bag. Now, my collection day is Tuesday and his is Thursday so it was very convenient for us to 'borrow' each other's bags so that we could use both at the same time.

Last year I had my bag taken (stolen?) from outside my front door but, no bother, we could share his. Then, while I was borrowing his, that went missing! but, no bother because ....

This year we were each given a new Big Green Bag. One of those then went missing and, last week, the remaining one went missing from outside my Dad's house!

So, any ideas as to where they are all going?

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Gravy Train

From the menu at the local Wetherspoons.

A) sausages, chips and beans £2-99
With three award-winning lincolnshire pork sausages.

B) Portion of Chips £1

C) Portion of Baked Beans £1

D = A – B – C = 99p for three award winning lincolnshire pork sausages.

E) sausages and mash £4-99
Three award-winning lincolnshire pork sausages, in a caramelised onion & ale gravy, with peas.

F) Portion of Mash £1

G) Portion of Peas £1

H = E – F – G – D = £2 for Caramelised onion & ale gravy