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Okay this is now my new blog format – a much shortened version & hopefully monthly as it went down well in April and certainly more manageable for me! With a bit of research beforehand I can get it written & posted in a day rather than over a week with my previous dissertations so much less stressful.

As always I will do a brief introduction which will largely be self indulgent as mainly about me and my family/life. The Snippets of News will be the main focus of local information with key dates for events/festivals and will often repeat itself over the months with reminders of things coming up. Any local Business news-openings or closings etc will be mentioned plus general happenings in the area. I will finish with a conclusion which I’m sure will always include a reiteration of shopping and using LOCAL which with the current economic situation is even more important if we want our amazing community businesses to survive.

So April seems to have whizzed by with school holidays & Easter in the middle of the month and we were treated to some pretty good weather-there certainly wasn’t the often cited April showers with very few rainy days.

We went up to Norfolk for our first stay in my sisters luxury mobile home this year and had a lovely break, seeing both my mum and brother/sister in law. It was also our first long trip in the VW electric car we part share with friends in Telegraph Hill and range anxiety really did become an important part of our journey/trip. All I can say that if you thought electric chargers were lacking in London believe me they are seriously lacking in rural North Norfolk!

We continue to see our lovely granddaughter Jaya regularly and in a weeks time she will have reached the milestone of six months old-it’s amazing how I really can’t remember time without her in our lives. Speaking of family the other big thing that is happening, in fact tomorrow, is that we are all going up to Cambridge to celebrate my twin sisters civil partnership. Finally, after 20 years together, the two Helen’s are confirming their commitment to each other! I’m really looking forward to this very special occasion and seeing all our two families together.

In a few weeks time we are off for a midweek two city break to Manchester and Liverpool-two parts of the country that I know little about, only having visited them very briefly over the years so it should be a fun short holiday. I’m determined to see more areas of the UK and appreciate the fantastic diversity of this country over the coming months.

I’m generally excited for the month ahead as May is one of my favourite times of the year and signifies for me the start of Summer with longer days and lighter evenings. It is often consistently warm weather and everywhere is generally blooming with lots of bright colour in our gardens and open spaces/parks. It also marks our local festivals starting in earnest with Brockley Max kicking off the season at the end of May.

I think that is enough of an introduction and I will get into the serious business of the blog-with this new format the snippets may be longer than normal so bear with me. I should also add here that my blogs largely only cover Brockley/Crofton Park/Ladywell/Honor Oak and Catford which are the areas that I’m the most familiar with as these are the postcodes where I live and mainly use! To note it is in a totally random order


Whisky & Wax is back at Brickfields Bar-Thursday 5th May & then every 1st Thursday of the month bring your own vinyl night & help make the music! from 6pm until late/Very sadly two large business double units finally shut last month-Hattush Mediterranean restaurant & DONDE tapas plus grocers-both in Honor Oak and so this is a great loss to the parade-watch this space for what they each become/Meanwhile some good news as Honor Oak Vintner opened last weekend on the parade, in the empty unit where the florists had been-an extensive range of wines for sale-not sure yet of days-hours of opening but check it out/Jumping Bean on the same SE23 parade is looking gorgeous with lots of new spring-summer stock/Havelock Walk Open Studios in Forest Hill have confirmed they are happening again this year over 2 weekends-14th plus 15th & 21st plus 22nd May-always a great occasion showcasing talented local artists/Phoenix Community Housing are hosting their free festival again at Forster Park on Saturday 14th May 12-5pm with stalls, fun activities, food & live music/Remember TOMORROW it is local elections in Lewisham & across the country-please exercise your right to VOTE/Marvellous Greens & Beans celebrated 2 years on the block last week! this popular local Brockley Rise business sells fresh fruit & vegetables plus take-away coffee, bread and more-such a fab addition to the area/Two Spoons are always great Brockley Max supporters and during the festival are hosting two live jazz nights-watch this space for dates/The next vintage fair for So Last Century is at Goldsmiths University, New Cross on Saturday 14th May 11-4pm-always a great event/Jones of Brockley are installing an upright freezer very soon so will be able to sell even more delicious ice cream/ The Next Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet (HSDY) disco ball is at Beckenham Place Mansion on Friday 10th June from 7.30pm-see here for tickets to this fab 70s & 80s event/Meanwhile the next Jive Party night at the Rivoli Ballroom is on Saturday 21st May-guaranteed a fun evening-see here for details/Have you tried Nordic Walking yet with the fabulous Laura? Great for fitness & well-being plus you will meet lovely local people and have a fun time-check out the next beginners courses here/The new exhibition ‘Migrant Entrepreneurs and the Making of Britain’ is now open at the inspiring Migration Museum in Lewisham Shopping Centre and is FREE/Family run Shannon’s Garden Centre in SE23 has LOTS of plants in stock for all your gardening needs-pop in and SUPPORT/Hillyfield’s Midsummer’s Fayre, organised by the Brockley Society, is on Saturday 25th June 12-5pm and applications are now open for stalls -see here for details and costs/The collaboration between two fab local businesses is taking place again on Tuesday 10th May and there are still a few spaces left so get booking for Sonia at the Blue Room popping up at Jerome’s Wine Bar with delicious food & wine pairings-guaranteed a great evening/The popular Chandos pub is now open 7 days a week from 12pm with midweek toasties at lunchtime/Catford Wanderers Tennis club welcomes new members and is very friendly (me & Eamon have been members for 38 years!!) there are 3 hard courts with 6 grass courts now open for the summer-for details of membership see here/The popular Brockley Rise grocers Sans Store are now doing refillables-shampoo, conditioner,washing up liquid plus more & hoping to expand-check out/Only a few doors along this SE23 parade is the fabulous Mmea, plant and homeware store, that is open 7 days a week-pop along & say hello to the very friendly staff/Next door to Mmea at number 23 is Art Dog Gallery, a contemporary gallery owned by Pippa Graber which showcases a diverse range of artists from the UK and globally/The fab Bottle Bar and Shop are holding their next wine tasting on Tuesday 7th June -it is a sparkling wine evening in conjunction with Theatre of Wine-sounds lovely & bubbly-see here for details & tickets/St.Augustine church on One Tree Hill are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year with a variety of special events and services-check out the website for details/The next Catford Food Market is on Sunday 29th May from 10-4pm along the Broadway-always lots of great stalls & live music/Also along Catford Broadway is the pop up House of Catford shop that is open at weekends and sells lots of local goodies plus great clothing-can also shop online here & they do free delivery (by bike)/Have you visited Ed Baker yet at 38-40 Campshill Rd,SE13? His artisan bakery & pastry shop is well worth a trip & is open 5 days a week from Tuesday to Saturday 11-7pm (10am on Saturday)/Blythe Hill festival is very definitely happening this year on Sunday 3rd July 12-5pm-save the date-a great local community event/We are very lucky to have Campervantastic on our doorstep & I have got my luxury campervan booked for Glastonbury this year-always great community supporters & have donated a £100 voucher towards the Blythe Hill raffle/Good as Gold in Westside Brockley are now open on Thursday & Friday evenings for delicious small plates from 530 to 1030pm-you won’t be disappointed/Besides selling beer Waterintobeer, next door to Good as Gold, host lots of great events in the shop-check out their website for comedy-live music-games nights and more/Brockley’s Rock are once again supporting the Brockley Max festival big Art in the Park family event-not only do they provide us with award winning fish & chips but are also a great community minded local Biz/The informative printed hyper-local newspaper Lewisham Ledger is out at the end of May with its 4th birthday edition-keep a look out for your copy-always a great read/Date for the diary-the Catford Arts Trail is happening over weekends of 8th-9th and 15th-16th of October-applications are now open for artists & creatives to be part of this great local event-see here for details/Did you know that the snooker cues both Ronnie O Sullivan & Judd Trump played with at the World Championship were made in Forest Hill? Parris Cues are based in Church Vale, SE23 and have been supplying many champions over the years with their hand made cues/At our popular local Rise Cafe they do burgers Wednesday to Saturday evenings until 9pm with Weds deal being 1/2 price adult burger with every kids meal bought & 25% off on Thursdays-who can’t resist a bargain?/The cash machines on the old Barclays bank building in Crofton Park have finally gone after an exterior refurbishment to the outside-can’t wait to see what business comes inside but think it won’t be until the end of the year/Plenty SE13 in Ladywell Village have wine on tap, from 100ml upwards-there are always 2 reds and 2 whites & I understand a chilled red is coming very soon-my favourite/The Talbot in Tyrwhitt Rd is undergoing extensive refurbishment and is hoping to open very soon-certainly aiming for the end of May if not before-there will be an upstairs dining room seating 40 with downstairs seating for 60 and over 100 can fit into the outside garden area-the new owners have invested a lot of time and money so we need to SUPPORT/The cafe by Catford Station, Dolce/Cafe Bonnane is now open 7 days a week and every evening with pizzas from 12pm-it is certainly a suntrap in the pleasant seating outside so pop down and treat yourself to cake, waffles, ice-cream, breakfast, lunch and more/The popular Nunhead Open Day is back on this year on Saturday 21st May from 11-5pm-great family day out/The Larder support many local food & drink suppliers but also have some beautiful ceramics for sale and are currently showcasing handmade pottery from Jonquil Cook-see her website/My new local cafe Cool Beans on Ewhurst Rd now have a grab and go range with fresh juices, granola pots and sandwiches in their upright fridge-pop down and say hello/The weather is good to now sit outside lots of our local businesses-Joyce in Brockley is great to watch the world go by on the benches whilst also being able to order pizzas from Yard Sale Pizza in Crofton Park and get them delivered to you direct/Across the road another fab Biz L’Oculto Cocina has seating out on the pavement and also at the back patio whilst being able to appreciate delicious Spanish food & wine/Only a few doors down in Midtown Brockley Deja Brew are still cheerfully providing excellent value quality food and have lots of extra seating in the back area with a few tables on the pavement at the front/Crofton Books (new name yet to be decided) owned by Jason on the same parade are proving very popular and drawing people to the area as everyone so loves a bookshop/Date for the diary-the Brockley Open Studios are taking place this year on the 2nd and 3rd July-great opportunity to nosy round peoples houses & studios whilst appreciating the art/Another date to keep free is the Hither Green Jubilee Food Fair over in SE13-Saturday 28th May 11-6pm-always a good event/The fundraising campaign started in March by Fourth Reserve is doing well with over 20% of their target already raised but they still need lots more to enable them to restore the ancient woodland to public ownership-see here for details and how to donate/During May our fab local Brockley Jack theatre is putting on a couple of dynamic shows with Jarman from the 10th to 14th May and then Flightpath running for a couple of weeks 17th to 28th May-both look great-for details and tickets see here/The first Northern Soul night at the Rivoli Ballroom has proved very popular and has sold out for this Friday so new dates for June, July & September have been added-see here/Catford Mews have lots of events coming up over the next few months plus exciting new film releases-they have very generously donated an annual family membership to the Blythe Hill raffle-if not yet been pop down and SUPPORT-seats very comfortable and reasonably priced-you won’t be disappointed/Kate Emblem, a lovely local creative, has informed me of lots of local craft markets over the next few months with the next craft fair at Catford Mews on the 29th May, an upcycling market in the vacant shop opposite Greggs in Lewisham Shopping Centre on 11th June and Big Gay Pride market at Nineth Life on the 25th June-watch this space for more details/Meanwhile talented local artist Emily Brand is exhibiting her art, entitled ‘Great Losses’ from the 7th to 15th May at the Nineth Life pub in Catford with both originals and prints-pop down and check out/Talking of art the Beckenham Park Art Exhibition is back this year on Sunday 31st July at the Mansion House as part of the Flower Show-they are still accepting entries-this is certainly a date for the diary/It’s getting to that time of the year when I would consider going swimming again in the beautiful Beckenham Lake-for details of times of opening & how to book check out PTP Coaching/Parlez in Brockley is planning to have live music back on Friday nights-if nice weather couldn’t think of anywhere better to hang out!/Bryan & Keegan estate agents are once again supporting Brockley Max and if you are able to have a board outside your house please let the festival organisers know/The wonderful Crofton Park Railway Garden are having a 3rd year anniversary party on Saturday 11th June with live music, lots of family activities, food plus more. We are also hoping that Marnock Rd will be closed for the day allowing for lots more stalls plus the street to get together-more details of the event to follow but keep the date free as it promises to be a good fun community day!/Meanwhile just down the road the fab Crofton Park Community Library has lots of different events planned over the next few months, however they do need more volunteers to keep the library running and open-for details of events and how to get involved see here/The taproom at Brockley Brewery in Harcourt Rd, SE4 has so much going on from quiz nights to live music to pop up street food plus happy hours-pop down and say hello and grab a pint or two/The Perry Hill over on the Catford-Sydenham-Forest Hill borders is now serving brunch on Saturdays from 10am-menu looks great plus now if you are lucky with the weather can eat out in their large fab garden/Van Dough are often doing their sourdough pizzas on a Thursday & Friday on the forecourt of the legendary Blythe Hill Tavern and the garden at the back is largely covered over now if the weather is inclement/Jerk Off BBQ are open from Thursday to Saturday down in Creekside, Deptford so pop down to SE8 for delicious Caribbean food/Magi Gifts in Brockley is packed with amazing gifts and goodies-father’s day is coming up in June & you can’t beat this shop for a good selection of pressies to buy/Lewisham People’s Day is back this year in Mountsfield Park, Catford and is planning to be bigger and better than ever-Saturday 16th July is the date so save it in your diary-it is also incorporated into the Borough of Culture celebrations which are happening throughout the year and lots of our events/festivals have had funding from this source-keep checking out the website for what is coming up over the next few months-see here/Cooper’s Bakehouse have taken out major sponsorship with Brockley Max this year which is great news and have also donated a fab raffle prize of £100 worth of a bread delivery voucher to use over the year-for details of their bread & suppliers see here/The campaigning group Cinderella Line have recently updated us with news from the railways and it’s all positive with through trains to St. Pancras International at peak times, the gap reduced on the platform at Crofton Park and the lift works proceeding on schedule at Catford Station-for more details see here/Save the date-Ladywell World Folk Music Festival taking place on Saturday 18th June 1-6pm-more details to follow/My final snippet of news is regarding the fantastic Brockley Max festival which starts on Friday 27th May with the opening music night once again live at Foxberry Rd, SE4 and finishes 9 days later with the amazing family day up by the Stone Circle on Hillyfields, Art in the Park, on Saturday 4th June-there are over 70 events happening in this 21st celebratory year of the festival and the programme will be out very soon detailing everything-I for one can’t wait and always clear the diary so I can whizz about and attend lots of the events-check out the website here for updates.

Phew even the Snippets of News took longer than I anticipated & so far this blog length is over 3,000 words when I hoped it would be half that! Just shows how much there is to talk about in the area and once again SO much happening! 

I certainly plan on getting out and about over the next few months to lots of the events/festivals and I think after what we have all been through over the past two years many people feel the same so I expect there to be record attendances. As I’ve said before if you recognise me when I’m out and about please say come up and say hello as I love meeting new people in the area. 

I will just write a final paragraph on our LOCAL BUSINESSES. As I’ve said many times now I think lots of our BIZ have generally done well and most have survived these last few years under lockdown etc. However I fear that some may really struggle over this next year with the increasing pressures/challenges/costs on all fronts. As I’ve  gone round asking for raffle prizes for both Brockley Max and Blythe Hill festivals over the last fortnight I’ve had conversations with owners on how they are doing and it really is a mixed picture. Despite this I must add that the businesses have still been amazingly supportive with their raffle donations and always so community minded.

I don’t think they have begun to pass on yet the true extra costs that they are facing but if they don’t they may well go out of business themselves and so expect to pay extra for your coffee/piece of cake/glass of wine-believe me it really won’t be the businesses being greedy & wanting to make more profit! They are rightly mindful of the pressures that we as customers are facing but if we want them to survive they have to put up prices. As I continually say SHOP/USE/EAT/DRINK LOCAL and USE or LOSE has never been more important.

I plan over the next few months to do some case studios with individual local businesses to show the different factors and challenges they are facing and intend to write them up as blog posts-watch this space.

Okay this really is the end of this shortened May snippets-I hope you have a good month ahead-remember we are VERY LUCKY to live in such a brilliant, diverse part of South East London with so much going on and such fabulous COMMUNITY BIZ.

See you soon 

Jane x

Please follow me on twitter for local updates and info @JaneCanDoSE4