Saturday, 13 December 2008


Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a good riddance to 2008. It's been a terrible year, so let's hope 2009 brings us all some joy, well it can't suck any more than this one! Can it?

May all your mince pies not be subject to product recalls due to 'foreign matter' being discovered within causing a massive public health scare.
Merry Christmas, God Jul, Frohe Weinachten, Feliz Navidad, Joyeaux Noel, Buon Natale!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Walworth Road Launderette sign REPAIR SHOCKA!

As promised prior to my sojourn to the Dordogne, I had a list of items I needed to bring to your attention. The first one is to do with the Launderette sign across from the Castlemead Estate on the Walworth Road towards Camberwell Green.
Well you may remember how I've recorded and enjoyed it's steady deterioration over the last 6 years. Nearly entirely bereft of vowels I wanted to see just how long the managment within would accept it as a valid means of communication.
Anyway, it was with abject horror and not all small amount of amazment that the sign has been repaired. I KNOW! The overriding vernacular of this part of Southwark is undoutedly 'post apocalyptic' and anything that strays from the pattern of a downward slide into anarchy should be met with suspicion!
So, the sign has been repaired, its lost vowels re-instated. But the most amazing thing is that, not only have the letters been replaced (they are profiled red acrylic on spacers), but the letters are the same typeface and size. UNBELIEVABLE in an area where painting the missing letters back on to the brickwork behind would have been seen as more than adequate.
Thankfully, there is one aspect of this disturbing development which re-assures me that the Walworth Road is still millenia away from gentrification and being renamed 'Camberwell Quarter' and that is that the red acrylic's hue doesn't match.
Hoorah, mediocrity is alive and well in Camberwell (that would make a nice slogan for the local council).


Well after my trouble with You Tube and all that unpleasantness, I discovered how my account had been 'hijacked' and it was I'm afraid down to a momentary lapse on concentration on my part. This has annoyed me intensely as I am normally so suspicious and rigourous about security. I wont go into details, but suffice to say, 'I' had commented on stuff that really I wouldn't want to comment on.
Thankfully that account has been recently shut down now.
Anyway, now a little bit wiser and not without a bit of trepidation, I have opened a Flickr account. I thought this would be a good way of doing a bit of self promotion. I've posted a few pics of my Alton Towers work on it. However for some reason when you search for them, they can't be found. So still not really sure how it all works. You can however search for me and see my pics that way, just look for 'laird 'o' the heights when you search for 'people'.
I have also re-opened a new and more secure You Tube account as I wanted to comment of videos of my trains. It's nice to see what people think of your work.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Entent Cordial, bit like Ribena, but with more garlic.

Bonjour, Je ma'appelle le Laird du les heights du Dulwich Grande.
Mais oui, j'aime bien les Poisson Rouge, je deteste la musique folklorique.
Ou est la Marie du Creteil? Sous la fenetre.
Le gateaux mademoiselle, c'est combien?
Hmm Danone!

Ah, you've just caughtme in the middle of a French lesson. I think you'll agree I have a pretty good grasp of the basics and the phrases above will pretty much get you through most tricky gallic situations.
The reason for me brushing up on the old 'Franglais' is that I will once again be temporarilly leaving Greater Dulwich Heights and heading to the French conterpart, 'La vue du St Severin D'Estissac in the beautiful Dordogne region of SW France.
I know this will come as a disappointment to my fan, but have no fear I shall 'retour' (I'm good aren't I? Did you see what I did there, I cleverly replaced the word 'return' with it's French equivalent to continue the now flagging French theme).
Anywho, I will be back on Monday, so when I've got some time I can update you on some exciting stories and developements including:

Walworth Road Launderette sign REPAIR SHOCKA!
Cheesy Nik Naks
and a new up and coming feature 'ARGOS CATALOGUE ON TOP OF A BUS SHELTER WATCH 2008'. This is a replacement for the hugely popular 'BANANA ON TOP OF A BUS SHELTER 2006'
Ken Livingston and my part in his downfall.

For now Salut Maintenant and all that crazy French nonsence.

Monday, 14 April 2008


I make no apologies (for as you know, I am always right), for the whorey 'Sizzling, Soaraway, SUN' style title to this post. I just felt that after all the bad press about Heathrow's new Terminal 5 that it was up to me to start its swing back to favour. So it's with that thought in mind, I leave 'The Heights' and deviate from my usual Sunday constitutional and get on the Piccadilly line. Well I have a 6 zone Oystercard and I'm not afraid to use it!

What seems like hours later, because it was, I am thrilled to find myself hurling down an hitherto unriden part of the tube system. Those familiar with with the old Heathrow loop will remember riding the never ending curve that appears as a tear drop on the tube map. No longer do you have to endure the whiplash as shortly after leaving Terminal 123 station you head straight for T5. I get up to the door long before the train enters the new station and decide to stand next to the 'Starboard' side doors, after all, I know the Nigerian cleaning lady dribbling onto her royal Blue tabard will be particularly impressed that I know which side to alight from. After all I've used T5 so many times, well that's what I want her to think!
Anywho, I swagger onto the sterile platform (just the way I like it), natural daylight is evident which is the motivation for all new tube station designs, Natural light, must have natural light.

I swan through new oversided ticket barriers, presumably installed to cater for the influx of fat yanks and increasingly 'circumferencially challenged' Brits.

Like a set from Metropolis you are greated by mighty escalators and banks of swanky glass elevators held in place by lovely blue stantions. I choose the escalators, I struggle with the whole elevator/ tube thing. I did get trapped at Goodge Street once. I had to decide whom of my fellow 'trappees' I would have to eat first!
It is however at the top of said escalator that I encounter my hopefully only T5 related terror. GLASS FLOORS! The glass is WAY to clear and you can clearly see 30 feet below where you are likely to end up a sticky mess should the glass give way. You have to walk across it, as it's immediately beyond the escalator stair return sump. The effect however is to make you stop at the top of the escaltor, just where you don't want to stop. We've all seen the piles ups when some doddery idiot decides to stop at the top or bottom of one of the big escalators. Oh how we've laughed as finger are 'snicked' off betwix stair combs and trousers ripped as they snag the machinery!
Thankfully no one saw me panic, nearly lost my cool there! I enter a dissapointingly T2 style arrivals hall, Travelex to the left, Krispy Kreme to the right. Nice banks of escalators and elevators painted different sherbet colours, 'To aid orientation' no doubt and white giant 'communion wafer' style sound baffles overhead. They've got there escalators in a pickle though, I'm sure I went up one to a landing who's only point of exit was an escalator coming down towards you.
I'm asked, "are you OK sir?", "You look a bit lost". Me, lost, proposterous, I know my way around T5, ask that Nigerian Cleaning lady with the wet patch on her tabard. She knows.

I pretend to know what I'd doing and look at my watch and walk away purposefully.

20 escalators and various rides up and down glass lifts later and I arrive in the departures hall.

Where were the people sleeping in cardboard boxes? The chaos, the mountains of luggage? Hysterical Hindus? Bewildered staff?

It was a beautiful scene of sweeping white steel and serenity, arty images float across huge LED screens and mean bugger all but look pretty. It really is lovely, you can see from end to end and from front to back, one of the things I liked about Stansted. You can see Windsor Castle to the West, Thorpe Park rollercoasters to the South and the Wembley Arch, well somewhere over there beyond Southall. The views are sensational and being so elevated you are looking down at planes as if in the control tower which incidentally you can see to the East over on airside.

I stopped at Caffe Nero, one of only a couple of eateries, the interesting stuff is airside, such as Gordon Ramsey's much slated 'Plane Food' (stupid name).

I spend a few happy hours drawing a beautifully designed 'structural node' and enjoying the airport environment happy in the knowledge I don't have to fly anywhere. I sup on my Frappe skinny Latte mochaccino thingy.

I ask one of the many 'Can I help you' bods if it's always this quiet? It is obviously running a low capacity, particulary now BA has moved Long haul back to the other Ts. But aparently it is, as it's just so vast. They've clearly been too busy trying to reunite 50,000 pieces of lost luggage with their owners to come up with superlatives, but I'm sure you could fit the Empire State Building in there (sideways obviously). But thankfully they haven't tried, so we can enjoy the luscious space that reminds me of Shanghai's Pudong airport (hark at me). Though the only problem with vast glazed terminii is that they can't be airconditioned quickly enough to counteract solar gain. So as Pudong smells of sweat, rotten Eggs and noodles, let's pray T5 doesn't suffer the same fate, or at very worst, let's hope us poor 'landsiders' at least get a whaft of Ramsey's over priced fare.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The 'Twiglet' Zone

I had my 2nd session today of 'Hypnotism' to help me deal with, well, I suppose it's what's called 'life' really. Most people just get on with things and accept 'Horrors' as part of the Human condition. I read once that 'the human' was pre-programmed to 'struggle', that's our default setting, apparently.
That said I look at some people's existence and think, Damn, their life is horrendous, even the dearest of friends of mine who are going through really rough times (and it breaks my heart), just 'get on with it'!
I however am clearly programmed differently, I've always been a sensitive petal though as you'll probably gather. I live alone with a ghost cocker spaniel (I'd have it no other way, spare me your sympathy), just indulge me.
Anywho, without going into too much detail, (cos it's a blog for the future), I'm seeing a lovely Lady (no, not in that way) who's giving me a bit of support and guidance on how to meet the daily challenges of living in this wonderful, extraordinary, yet exasperating city.
I'm a control freak by nature, I like order, reason, logic, definition, and polished Terrazzo, so to find myself in an obscure part of South East London, alone with a New Yorker talking existentialism leaves me, at one and the same time baffled, but enjoying a rare 'frisson' of the unknown. The unknown is alien to the 'Laird of Greater Dulwich Heights', hitherto it's a World full of wickedness, contortion and the perverse.
Yet for once in my life I give in to the 'unfathomable', because for the first time in my adult life I realise I can't solve everything on my own, don't get me wrong, Cara, my spaniel friend is a font of knowledge, but to listen to her exclusively would be wrong, she's a dog and more so, she's no longer living.
So it's to Brockley I go. The anticipation I feel is a bit like as if I'm going to the dentist. We talk about my week, I rant as you'd expect, she nods reassuringly as if to say, "I think you're a froot loop, but I'll have fun sorting you out". The formalities out of the way and the process of 'so called' hypnotism beings. I'm not going to tell you what happens, all I can say is, something happens. I'm a sceptic, but open to new ideas, let's just leave it at that.
Anyway, the title of this blog entry is 'The Twiglet zone', for tis today I feel like I came close. The session I had today was all about relaxation, putting yourself, outside or perhaps inside yourself. I was very relaxed, but at one point, and I only realised once I'd come out of it, that I had completely switched off. It was remarkable. It was if I had seen what it was like to be in the deepest sleep, but observing from outside. I know that makes no sense, this is my blog, so deal with it! All I can say is that the place I visited today, the supposed 'Twiglet zone', was a perfect 50% grey and vertically rectangular!????? GO FIGURE! The 'thick' will no doubt 'plotten' over the next few weeks as I've been given 'homework'. Homework that I will enjoy as it places me back as an 8 year old. It's a time in my life when I worried terribly about the Amityville Horror, Nuclear armageddon, and building the prefect Lego city but was probably one of my happiest years.

Friday, 11 April 2008

The Camberwell Triangle

It's been a funny old week, Sunday saw 'The Heights' cloaked in a 4 inch blanket of snow. My Sunday morning constitutional to the Horniman Gardens was transformed temporarily into a trip to Narnia. I headed to 'the wharf' and had fun dodging the enormous chunks of slush that were sloughing off the skyscrapers and hurtling earthwards, splooshing like Pteradactyl guano on the pavement. By 3pm I found myself in the Woodman pub in 'Lower Dulwich Heights' with Sam & Ben with the snow all but gone. The sweet potato bake 'wot' I had, delivered on a surprising 5 levels, it had actually only promised 3, so full marks to the chef at the Woodman.
Anyway, the rest of the week wasn't so relaxing, I've not left work before 9pm most nights due to these bloody Alton Towers trains. But they're going to look great, you must all go, all two of you who look at my blog. The late evenings saw me stranded on Waterloo Road with an emergency pasty (the fumes from the pasty shop whaft up the escalators onto the Waterloo concourse, as you know I dissapprove of fast food and was certainly brought up not to eat on the street, however when you've done a 14 hour day and not eaten since 12, I defy anyone not to pass the pasty shop). They glow like little crispy golden Cresent Moons lined up and I wish I could just curl up inside one and have a sleep. The heat brought on by the pasty related guilty pleasure soon subsided as 30 mins later no 176 had materialised.
10:30pm Then two, COUNT THEM, two 176's sauntered up, as they do. BOTH TERMINATING AT CAMBERWELL GREEN! I asked the driver of the 2nd one if any buses would be going to 'the Heights' this evening. "In ten mins, he said. "the buses are running late", he said, What does that mean? They're not running late, they're just not running, or at best they're running so late they've actually caught up with the time table and I've lost ten mins of my life in a timewarp/ wormhole on Waterloo Road. I reluctantly got on the bus, replete as I would expect with a good sprinkling of nutters, Africans reeking of mothballs, tortured chicken bones strewn across the floor and various beverage bottles rolling 'Japanese Torture' style up and down the deck. The tisk tisk tisk of 'Jiggy Batty' R& B garbage finished the charming scene beautifully. The soporific effect of the Elephant & Castle roundabouts and traffic calming measures of is the 'infected colon' of South London, aka the Walworth Road had me nodding off. To my horror the bus decided to terminate at the nadir of the bus route, not even Camberwell Green where at least I'd have crack heads and rapists for company. It's the bit where the buses change drivers next the the LAUN__RETT_, who's profile acrylic lettering I've enjoyed watching deteriorate slowly over the last 6 years, only when it reads __UN__RE_T_ will I feel my job is done. 11:15 and a Penge (Pawleyne Arms) bus eventually turns up and I am 'Heights' bound. I endure the bus being stopped, lights put out and the soul crushing sound of the engine shuddering to a stop as yet again, arrogant, swaggering 'bluds' waddle onto the bus with their trousers round their knees and refuse to pay. They shoot upstairs no doubt to quietly read poetry or discuss world affairs. Evetually they are shamed into getting off. We swap death stares. I know they were frightened by me. From then on we swoop up Denmark Hill, glower at the beer swillers at the George Canning, wave to Jenny Eclair, watch the scumbags alight at Dog Kennel Hill in a hail of chicken bones, Supermalt bottles. I tut. 10 mins later I arrive at The Horniman. It's 11.35 I can barely walk up the hill and contemplate spending a night with the foxes of Sydenham Rise. I endure and so to bed.