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SUMMER NEWS FOR JUNE/JULY

This will be my last blog for a while as I plan on taking a summer writing break-hoping to be back in September & as I’ve indicated before besides my now shortened blog posts I also want to do more focused articles on some of our local businesses. Watch this space!

If people haven’t read my blogs before I start with an introduction which is largely personal, reflecting on what I’ve been doing since I last put pen to paper. Snippets of News will follow which is where I try and update you with dates/events/festivals/business news in brief form from around the local area. I will try and be shorter than my May news which even in snippet form was just too long and I simply haven’t got much time to devote to this in the next few days. I will finish with a brief conclusion.

So May was quite a busy month for me and we went off in the middle for a city break to Manchester and Liverpool-two places that we have rarely visited over the years. Whilst it was only 48 hours in each city we had a great whirlwind tour of each and really liked them both in equal measure. What struck me in particular is that the hospitality industry in Manchester & Liverpool have grown in numbers and reputation with many new exciting cafes, bars and restaurants having emerged on the scene.

I loved the trams in Manchester and our trip out to Media City was really interesting around the main media area with the Imperial War museum and the Lowry only 10 minutes walk away around the canals. Meanwhile the highlight during our visit to Liverpool was seeing Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ 100 cast iron life size figures on Crosby Beach.

I think most people will now be aware that I have a beautiful grand-daughter Jaya, who is nearly 7 months old. Whilst we see her on a regular basis we suddenly got to know her much more as Alex and Jaya came to stay for 3 weeks during May whilst they were having their kitchen gutted and then refitted.

It was a great opportunity to see lots of her, from when she woke in the morning to when she went to bed in the evening. Development at this stage is rapid & they are changing/learning new things daily and it was lovely to witness it first hand.

They have now returned to South Norwood and I would conclude that whilst it was absolutely delightful to have them to stay it also reminded me just how much hard work it is having a baby-relentless is the word I would use and I’ve always said that the first year of having Alex and Joe was the hardest job I had ever done and by having Jaya stay only re-enforced this. Hats off to all new parents out there.

May really did kick start the festival season in the local area with the Brockley Max live music opening night on Friday the 27th on the corner of Coulgate and Foxberry Rd. Lots of people turned out to support and it was great to see everyone again enjoying the music, weather and meeting up with friends for a drink, chat and a bop.

This wonderful 9 day festival came to a close last weekend with the family Art in the Park event up at Hillyfields. Again many turned up to enjoy the afternoon relaxing on the grass in the sunshine whilst listening to the live music, eating & drinking, keeping their children occupied in the wonderful creative marquee area or shopping at the craft stalls. I had a brilliant Brockley Max and it once again proved to me what a wonderful area we live in with COMMUNITY being at the heart of it.

There are many other events/festivals happening over the next few months and I have detailed as many of them as possible in the Snippets below-as I always re-iterate I largely confine my blog to the postcodes covering Crofton Park (where I live) Brockley, Ladywell, Honor Oak and Catford. These are the areas I know the most & so unapologetically don’t include other places as it would simply go on for ever!

I personally am off on the 22nd June to Glastonbury and I am really beginning to get VERY excited. This will be my 7th time of going to this amazing festival when I first went on my own in 2007 with my 2 children-at the time 10 year old son & 16 year old daughter-it was the 2nd year of torrential rain & serious MUD but I absolutely fell in love with it and have never looked back.

Eamon & friends came the following year as my daily Glasto posts from the mud were so surprisingly enthusiastic they couldn’t resist joining me. We now have a luxury camper-van as being in my 60’s my camping days are very definitely over! As a ten year old my son Joe also fell in love with this huge festival and has gone every year since and so is there this year with lots of his mates-I’m sure we will see him when he wants a free pint of cider!

Anyway enough of me-let’s get onto the real purpose of this blog which is hopefully an informative look at dates/events and news in the area over the summer. Quite a few of the entries will be repeating my May snippets as a reminder of the events/dates if they haven’t already happened

Here goes….

SNIPPETS OF NEWS 

Have you picked up a copy of the latest Lewisham Ledger yet? Our hyperlocal informative newspaper was out a few weeks ago and should be available in lots of local businesses-always a great read-and this edition features the beautiful Crofton Park Railway Garden/New business opening alert-Thursday 16th June (date delayed by a week if thought was 9th) the Fairytop Garden Zoo will be opening at a rooftop in Catford! This new bar I believe is located in the old Argos building on Rushey Green. The business strapline is Cocktails, pizzas and sunsets-sounds great-see you there/Another new business that has recently opened is in Lewisham-Gennys Emporium is a new fabric trimmings & haberdashery shop in Lewis Grove following the closure of  the popular Rolls & Rems in February-Genni, the manager has opened her own shop-pop in, say hello & SUPPORT/Our wonderful very own local theatre, the Brockley Jack Studio, is putting on a number of interesting productions over the next few months with Seven and a Half Years, starting tonight until Saturday 11th and then from the 14th June to the 2nd July Ten Days in a Madhouse For further details of what to expect in June & July including a video workshop and to book tickets to SUPPORT our fab local venue see here/ The Talbot in Tyrwitt Rd has now re-opened to mixed reviews-mainly about its high prices-I’ve not personally been yet but can see they are already responding & have introduced a lower house wine price-Certainly a large investment in the pub is evident & the garden looks amazing with an outside kitchen area that is to feature regular changing food traders-check it out-I will be doing very soon/The next big local festival event is this Saturday (11th June) from 11-4pm at the Crofton Park Community Railway Garden with a celebration also spilling out onto Marnock Rd, which is closed for the day to cars. Three years ago this beautiful outdoor space was created & so we are having a party with food, live music, Pimm’s, children’s activities, craft stalls, a big raffle & more-for details see here-come on down & join in the fun-special mentions to Bryan & Keegan & Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward-2 local estate agents who have financially supported this event/Father’s day is coming up-Magi Gifts, Jumping Bean & Gently have lots of ideas so check out & support our amazing gift shops in the area/Art in the Park is sadly over-this brilliant Brockley Max family day was once again sponsored by our fab award winning fish & chip shop Brockley’s Rock who really are great community supporters/Did you know Le Delice in Ladywell sells iced coffee, milkshakes & smoothies along with the most delicious cakes!/Meanwhile Oscars cafe 4 doors along has a beautiful back garden to sit in when the weather is suitable/Talking of cafes I understand Crofton Park is due to have a new one opening sometime this month on the main road, opposite the Tavern. I find this rather baffling as we are not short of good places for a coffee in this part of SE4-anyway we wait to see if this offers something different-will report back/Have you been to the Fox & Firkin recently? Their garden is amazing & HUGE plus an addition in the last month is an old railway carriage-I kid you not-certainly worth popping in to see/Nineth Life in Catford are hosting a number of exciting events as part of Pride in June including on the 10th a drag night & the Big Gay Market on the 25th 12-6pm-for further details see here/The fabulous Jive Party are back at the fabulous Rivoli Ballroom on Saturday 18th June-the evening is fronted by Miss Annie of the Midnight Shift, a 1950’s style 7 piece band-guaranteed a fun evening of live music, jive & dancing-to book see here/The next 70’s & 80’s disco at the Rivoli Ballroom is on Saturday 25th June with DJ Kobayashi & Tarquin as Bowie-tickets are flying out the door so don’t delay on booking here/The beautiful plant & homeware shop, Mmea, along Brockley Rise celebrated one year on this SE23 parade at the end of May-pop along and say hello if not already done so/Next door is Art Dog gallery and the new show is an exhibition of Errol Linton’s paintings from June 8th to 19th June-did you also know that Pippa, the gallery owner, does picture framing? Certainly worth visiting & checking out/Meanwhile the Honor Oak pub, opposite these 2 local businesses, is now hosting lots of different weekly events with comedy upstairs by Laugh, Train, Home on a Thursday-also check out the mural on the back garden wall created last weekend by Martin Rowson, political cartoonist, as part of Brockley Max/The Ladywell World Folk Music Festival is taking place on Saturday 18th June from 1-6pm in Dressington Ave, SE4-they are wanting volunteers to help out on the day-email gfmasponsorship@yahoo.com/Volunteers are also wanted to help out with the wonderful Hillyfield’s Midsummer Fayre the following week, Saturday 25th June 12-5pm-this community event is organised by the Brockley Society & they can always do with more volunteers-if can spare an hour of more email volunteer@brockleysociety.org.uk/Meanwhile over in Catford the following day-Sunday 26th June 10-4pm-the popular monthly Catford Food Market is happening along the Broadway-expect lots of great street food stalls-it’s going to be a big one as celebrating one year of trading again after returning from lockdown/On the 2nd to 3rd July from 1-6pm the 30th Brockley Open Studios is taking place across SE4 with 45 participating artists-see here for details/The Blue Room is serving up delicious Mexican food at the Crofton Park garden event this Saturday plus Sonia is doing a Father’s Day Sunday roast the following week-I can confirm the food is amazing & can highly recommend-for details see here/The popular Two Spoons in Honor Oak are now popping up in Peckham! On a Sunday & Monday their Little Big Easy menu is being served at The Copper Tap in SE15/The next wine tasting event at the Bottle Bar and shop in Catford is on Tuesday 5th July-Aromatic whites is the theme so to find that perfect summer wine see here for details-get booking if interested as always popular evenings organised by the Theatre of Wine/Over in SE23 there is also a ‘wines of summer’ tasting evening at the new Honor Oak Vintner on the 16th June-this is following on from their first successful sold out event at the end of May so pop along and check out this newly opened business along the parade/Parlez had 2 relaxing music evenings in the outside area of this fab bar-restaurant last week during the Jubilee festivities-expect more live music on Friday nights/Brickfields Bar in Midtown Brockley has a new backyard area open to drink your fantastic cocktails plus a few stools outside at the front if you require outdoor space-pop along and support/Their stalwart sister business The Orchard, along Harefield Rd in Brockley, is hosting the popular Sunday quiz again-the first Sunday of the month-check it out-I really need to go as have heard it is VERY good/L’oculto Cocina,the excellent Spanish bar-restaurant in Midtown Brockley are taking a well deserved holiday so will be closed after service on Sunday 12th June & re-open on Wednesday 22nd June/Also in Midtown the popular Crofton Books shop held a very successful inaugural literacy festival in conjunction with the Brockley Society as part of Brockley Max and I’m sure/hope it will be the start of many more as it was very well attended & everyone enjoyed the discussions-readings-debates/Have you been to the award winning Babur Restaurant in Brockley Rise? The marquee in the garden is still there looking very splendid and and allows them to accept more bookings as an overspill from their restaurant-my tip-the Sunday Indian buffet is great value/Just opposite is the Chandos pub with their lovely sun terrace overlooking the road & pavement below-also expect a summer of fantastic sport to be shown/Along Brockley Rise going down from the Chandos there are lots of fabulous indie Biz and one of the newest on the block is Marvellous Greens & Beans who have been established just over 2 years-besides fresh fruit and veg they also do take-away coffee with Matcha Latte being a new addition-why not give it a try!/A few minutes further down the parade The Rise cafe in SE23 is a popular destination for many locals-they now do burgers on a Sunday lunchtime-great choice for all the family/Dolce cafe besides Catford station is proving very popular-it is certainly in a good location to catch commuters & remains open until approx 10pm each evening/The family run friendly Shannon’s garden centre in SE23 is your go to local business for all things in the garden & indoors-from plants to pots to equipment to lighting plus LOTS more-pop down and SUPPORT/The Blythe Hill festival this year is taking place on Sunday 3rd July from 12-5pm and lots of work is happening behind the scenes to make this one of the best yet-however we need more volunteers on the day-if you can help out for just one hour (or more) please get in touch by emailing festival@blythehillfields.org.uk/The raffle is a big fundraiser for any event and the Blythe Hill festival has many good prizes-one of the star prizes is from the fabulous & much loved Blythe Hill Tavern who are donating £100 bar tab-not a bad one to win!-thank you Conor for your generosity to the community as always/The new kid on the block Perry Hill Pub have also very generously donated 2 x £50 vouchers towards the raffle-have you popped in yet and enjoyed the sun in their amazing garden that must be one of the largest in South East London/Hunter’s, estate agents in Catford, are very kindly the main sponsors of the Blythe Hill festival again this year-expect to see the very attractive festival artwork on the sponsorship boards around the area in the next few weeks-big thanks for their continuing support/Jerome’s Wine Bar now serves their delicious pinsa’s from Tuesday to Saturday during opening hours and if you aren’t able to come in and eat they are now on Uber Eats for delivery/Next door the London Beer Dispensary hosts different events-from karaoke to quizzes to disco nights & more-pop in and say hello/My local cafe Cool Beans is now one of my favourite places to grab a cup of coffee since it opened in January-I just love sitting on the high window seat watching the world go by-the staff are all very friendly/Our fab local community hub the Crofton Park library is now open 4 days a week and hosts both popular weekly events such as storytime and baby bounce plus many one-off workshops/talks & activities-see here for updates on what is happening. They always need more volunteers to help out so if you can give a few hours of your time a week get in touch/Since I reported 5 weeks ago the fundraising campaign started in March by Fourth Reserve has increased by nearly another 5% so is currently standing at approx 25% of its £100k target which is great-however they definitely still need lots more support to enable them to restore the ancient woodland to public ownership-see here for details and how to donate-every £ helps/The fabulous Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet (HSDY) have sold out for their next event at Beckenham but tickets have gone on sale for another 70’s & 80’s disco night at Brockley Brewery in Hither Green on Friday 15th July-guaranteed a fun evening!see here for details/Besides showing the latest blockbuster & indie movies Catford Mews is always looking at different ways to entertain audiences with exciting events-the newest arrival is Good Times Gals quiz show starting on the 15th June-see here for details-if haven’t already been pop down to this fab 3 screen cinema venue & SUPPORT/Did you know there is a very pleasant meeting room to hire by Ladywell station? The Rivoli Meeting Room offers a comfortable, light space with wi-fi, projector & screen-for rates & further details see here/People’s Day is returning to Mountsfield Park this year & being a significant part of the Borough of Culture it is going to be BIG-put the date of Saturday 16th July in the diary-see you there/Meanwhile the following weekend the Liberty Festival is taking place from the 22nd to 24th July-a free 3 day festival of ground breaking creative experiences and works by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists, presented by the Mayor of London-for further details & participating venues see here/The beautiful Beckenham Place Park is host to lots of different exciting events throughout the year-one of the biggest days in the calendar is the much loved BPP show which is returning on the 31st July 12-7pm-this free fun community event includes a flower & produce competition, an art exhibition and a dog show plus much MORE-see you there/So Last Century is a regular to Beckenham in the Mansion House and its next vintage market is popping up in the park on Sunday 24th July 10-5pm-always a great occasion/To finish my snippets with a date for August I can see that Pop up Screens are coming to Hillyfields for 3 nights on the 5th to 7th August with cult films Back to the Future, Grease and The Greatest Showman-sounds like a few good nights out-see here for tickets.

Okay this wasn’t as short as I wanted but hey ho far less work than my usual dissertations! The trouble is I think I’ve finished and then remember something else I want to add-I try and mention lots of businesses under snippets of news but just can’t begin to write about everyone-it really isn’t personal if you aren’t included this time.

As you can see there is once again LOTS happening in our locality-the Summer festival season really has truly begun and so I hope to bump into you at some of the various exciting events around the area.

As I always write in my conclusion we need to SUPPORT our local businesses and this couldn’t be more important at the moment. Whilst I think/hope many will have hopefully had a boost from the long Jubilee holiday at the weekend I fear they are generally finding things quite difficult with the escalating costs hitting them from all angles. I know business owners find it really hard to put up prices as they are very aware of the impact that may have on us, the customer, & the struggles/financial hardship many are currently facing.

If however you are able to Shop/Eat/Drink/Use LOCAL then please do so. As the saying goes-Use or Lose. I really hope that I’m not reporting in September that some of our local businesses have had to close but I’m not that hopeful as there really are challenging times ahead.

I trust everyone has a great few months ahead and that the weather behaves itself as there is nothing better for our mood than a bright sunny day. I personally am looking forward to my various trips away which also includes a few sporting highlights with a day out to Wimbledon and a few days up in Birmingham to the Commonwealth Games at the beginning of August.

Bye for now

Jane x

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