Friday, May 22, 2009

I’ve managed to start running – this time ipod fuelled and believe me that makes a difference… having the right music seems to push you on a lot further and faster. Last year, I ran a course that took me along Peckham Rye park and back. The area of the park I ran through is a big, field over which crows scatter themselves throughout the day. Crows aren’t like other birds – they don’t live alone and the don’t flock. Instead, they spend their days staked out over the fields at 10 metre intervals just standing, watching. It’s as though they’re waiting for a corpse to drop – which is of course exactly what they are doing. Rumours from the highland farms say that when food is scarce, the crows don’t wait – they just get together and pick a victim.

The East Dulwich crows have never got that far, but you just know they could if they saw a weak enough victim.

Another good reason to get in shape.

Anyway, fuelled by the ipod, I pushed on through crow country into the jungle – an area of undergrowth through which a maze of winding paths are carved. The jungle is home to wild terrapins and parrots.

The wild parrots seem to have taken over South London – I now probably see more of them than pigeons. And they’re not secretive – they’re loud and bright green and they fly around in flocks of 10-20…. All of which means I’m rather surprised that so few people have actually noticed them.

I guess people just never look up.

Anyway, I managed, on my second run to get lost in the jungle – only escaping once I’d discovered a strange looking playground – which on closer inspection turned out to be a set of outdoor gym equipment provided for the use of Peckham and East Dulwich residents.

A nice idea, but I was too tired to give it a try….

We spent last weekend in Worthing for Lisa’s Dad’s birthday – no room to stay so we stayed at Ann’s instead.

On Monday, Lisa was out with some work friends – but luckily, Sam had picked up a seabass big enough for four in Worthing and had to find a way to eat it – so I invited her, Jane and Gareth over – great because I hadn’t seen Gareth since Christmas.

Tuesday, Sam came over to babysit so that we could go out… well, partially…. She came over to watch CSI and we snuck off for dinner. When we got back, we rather stupidly decided to watch a late movie, so we ended up being tired for the rest of the week.

With children, things become a little more rigid. Your catch-up times tend to vanish and when you loose just a couple of hours sleep, it’s a week before you get it back… Which is a little worrying since we’re expecting what we’re now affectionately calling “baby 2” in October…

As a result, Wednesday which was supposed to be a quiet night in for Lisa and I, ended up as a barely concealed attempt to go to sleep on the sofa…

My birthday was on Thursday – Russ came over and acted as cheerleader for Geroge’s swimming lesson – but I didn’t actually do much else (apart from an Indian with Lisa’s mum, Lisa and Sam. My birthday celebrations I’m postponing until June 5th because may is frankly too mad to celebrate anything… although I haven’t actually told anyone yet, so my celebrations may be a subdued affair.

East Dulwich
I had a great example of East Dulwich nonsense this week. Popping up to our local fish shop (which is a great fish shop – the owner always recognises us when we go in, and this time I wanted a dressed crab. They didn’t have any, but he offered to do the job for me – which is great because it’s a real pain) anyway – I happened to notice their latest sale item: seagulls eggs at £4 each.

Seagulls eggs? – why? What can they possibly be to justify a £4 price tag? Surely they must be just for showing off at dinner parties…

Also, it turns out that the up-market butchers on Lordship Land has just bought another shop down at the other end of the street to set up as an even more up-market butcher’s…. I’m not sure how that works, but having just heard that the dormouse population has become more healthy recently, perhaps they plan to revive some old Roman delicacies. Roast dormice (as well as starlings, and pretty much anything else) were popular with the Romans in England…

At the weekend, Mum held her first family party for years. Many of the guests I barely recognised, but it was good to see Ian and Brian and Frank and Vera (as well as Mum, Dad and Andrew). At one point I asked Brian whether anything had happened since I last saw him. “not much” he said.

It had been 20 years.

It’s looking as though Andrew is going to loose his job. Hardly surprising – the recession has hit lorry drivers harder than anyone in the real economy. The numbers of lories on the roads have plummeted and those still there are driven by imported staff. The papers are even reporting it – and you know it’s serious when the media describes the lack of traffic jams as bad news.

This week was George’s last swimming lesson. It’s a bit sad, but at least he’s started enjoying them again. I think we may be on the way to getting him to enjoy having his bath again, but that’s a tougher struggle involving us basically forcing him into the bath each time…

His sleep was a bit disrupted too this week – and for the first time in months we had to bring him into our bed to calm him down.

And finally….

I wrote here a few months back about the red vans with “man with a van - £15 per hour” scrawled on the side in badly painted emulsion… I’d noticed them all over South London and seen the 0800 number on the side, so I decided this must mean they were part of a huge corporation whose image consultants had told them to look a bit amateurish so they could project a friendlier image and avoid the need to have any proper systems of customer service.

It turns out it’s not far from the truth.

An article appeared in the papers this week about the vans. It turns out they’re never moved. They’re registered and taxed and then dumped in parking spaces on public roads for years at a time simply to provide cheap advertising.


Peckham Vision said...

Nice to find a local blog from our area. I think your 'field of crows' is probably in fact Peckham Rye Common, while Peckham Rye Park is the 'jungle'. Might sound a bit pedantic, but the Common has significant protection as Common land. So we have to keep this distinction in name alive in local memory because Council officers who move on so quickly have little historical memory.

Christian Darkin said...

ah - ok I didn't know there was a difference - that explains the marked difference in park style...