Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Via BobFromBrockley. The typealyzer website analyses your personality based on the writing style of your blog. This was mine:

ISFP (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving) - The Artists

The gentle and compassionate type. They are especially attuned to their inner values and what other people need. They are not friends of many words and tend to take the worries of the world on their shoulders. They tend to follow the path of least resistance and have to look out not to be taken advantage of.

They often prefer working quietly, behind the scene as a part of a team. They tend to value their friends and family above what they do for a living.

The sensing (order, habit, details) and feeling (spirituality, rhythm, harmony) parts of my brain are most active when writing my blog.

This is interesting. When I've done this type of personality test through work before I have come out as INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging) (quite a while back) and ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) (more recently). I suppose this could be because at work I'm doing quite different things, or it could be a load of old cobblers. See this page for more on the different types.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In praise of Lewisham Council's free stuff!

When you become a mum, it seems that everyone is out to sell you something. There are so many activities you could be doing with your baby - sing and sign, massage, music group, gym class, salsa, yoga, you name it there's a class for it. And most of the time, you sign up for a term, shell out your £60+ fee and off you go. There is so much pressure to be doing something every day with your little one, and it can get seriously expensive!

So this post is really in praise of the people out there who give you the chance to do some activities with your baby that don't cost the earth, or are indeed free, because let's face it, we aren't all loaded yummy Bugaboo mummies who can afford all these fees.

Lewisham council run some fantastic free activities - every library has a storytime for under 5s and most have a baby bounce session for under 2s as well. These are completely free and offer you the chance to do some reading and singing with your baby/toddler. And let's face it, they don't care whether you spent £60+ for the sessions or not.

The other council-run activity that I have come across and make active use of is the Forster Park Playclub for under 5s. This is run from a portacabin in Forster Park and is free to use as well (with only a small fee for a cuppa or a snack). There are activities laid on at tables, you can eat a healthy snack with your little one, teaching them to sit at the table and eat with others. There is a fantastic wooden "kitchen/home" section and a chill-out area and a special fenced off area for under 2s to protect them from marauding toddlers (though at 21 months James does his fair share of marauding). The lady who runs it (at least on Tuesdays when I go) is lovely too and is always friendly and chatty.

There really is no need to spend a fortune on activities to do with your baby/toddler, but somehow when you become a mum there is so much pressure to do it. And everyone else seems to be doing all sorts when you struggle to get the kids washed and dressed every day, let alone yourself as well!

In these days of the "global financial crisis" we see so much about, I would highly recommend seeking out what free activities your local council has laid on for you. They are so underused, and that really is a crying shame.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm famous (sort of)

afc wimbledon flag
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
This photo is number 4 on the google image search for "AFC Wimbledon" images. How mad is that? It's not even a particularly good photo, it's pretty blurred for a start.

And my posts on Lewisham hospital maternity services on this blog are number 2 on a google search for "Lewisham hospital maternity".

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Formula milk baby clubs

I had a leaflet through the post today from a well known manufacturer of baby milk formula, advising me to carry on breastfeeding. Strange you may think. Yes indeed, until you read between the lines. The whole leaflet is about the problems you may have experienced in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, with a helpful note about how breastfed babies may go less time between feeds because breast milk is more easily digested and how things you eat might go into your milk and affect your baby.

The undercurrent through the whole leaflet, though it is never made specific, is, "don't worry you can always switch to our brand of formula, then you won't have these problems". (It's rubbish of course - there's no real evidence that formula fed babies sleep better than breastfed ones, only anecdotes from helpful people). The companies do this because they aren't allowed to advertise "first milk" - the breastmilk substitute formula. It's why all the adverts on the telly are for follow on milk.

In reality of course the companies know that by 6 months only 2% of women are still breastfeeding, so they will have made the choice to switch to formula milk and who better to switch to than the brand that sent you a helpful note about continuing breast feeding 6 weeks into your new baby's life...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The RSPCA wastes your money

I am getting so fed up of receiving these. We moved into our house nearly two years ago and the first one we received we sent back with a return to sender message. We have done this for every single one sent since, but still they keep coming.

What a total waste of donated money.

Monday, September 29, 2008

CCTV in Greenwich Park

Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
Been meaning to blog this for a while. What on earth is going on in the car park at the top of Greenwich park? They have what appears to be CCTV attached to all the bins. I was almost worried to take the photo in case I got arrested!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Andrew Wakefield has a lot to answer for

This story makes me so cross! How many children are being put at risk because of the fears generated by bad science? I really do worry for when Claudia goes to nursery at 6 months old. It will be 7 months before she can have her MMR and all that time she will be at risk of catching measles because of other parents' negligence, largely brought about by the media response to Wakefield's study.

MMR is safe! Tell your friends.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lewisham country fayre

cornmill gardens
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
Well we made it to Cornmill Gardens for the country fayre. We had a great time and the kids enjoyed their first Chas and Dave gig! Cornmill Gardens is great - a really good job done there I think. C&D were awesome as ever, as was the sausage man's Lewisham hotdog. James wolfed his down with glee!

We walked back, not fancying a packed bus with a boy in pushchair and girl in sling. I was pleasantly surprised to not be too shattered by the walk too, which is good.

Oh, and we bought a couple of delicious pork pies from one of the stalls on the way home too! More photos here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lewisham hospital maternity - second time around

Well, I think things have improved since February 2007. Or perhaps I was just more prepared this time? Or perhaps a bit of both.

Again no gripes at all with the delivery side of things. And still very grateful to the midwife and student midwife who picked up that Claudia was breech, thus saving me a lot of pain and hassle. The elective c-section went really well and recovery seems much better than from an emergency section.

What I would say is don't go for an elective section on a Friday. None of the things that run during the week happen on the weekend, so the on site breastfeeding support isn't there when you need it, which could really be an issue when the first few days matter so much to success. Really unimpressed with the paediatrician wanting to top her up with formula on day 3. And thanks to the midwives who all supported me in not doing that.

I don't think 2 nights/3 days is long enough to be in after a section and I'm glad I stayed the extra night to sort out feeding etc. The midwives can still be a bit brusque but I handled it better this time I think. It would be nice to have a bit more empathy on night 1 when you can't get out of bed and baby is crying, rather than saying, leave her crying in the cot! Apart from that no real complaints all things considered.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mountsfield Park


Visited the new wooden play area at Mountsfield Park yesterday (at least I think it is what's new!). It's ace. J really enjoyed toddling around and there are plenty of places for 38 weeks pregnant ladies to perch and watch (unlike Forster park where there is one bench too far away from the equipment to be any use). This is a pic of him playing the xylophone with Daddy - they both loved it! J also loved the slide, though he preferred it when he was being helped down by Daddy rather than just let go (ahem!)

All we need there now is a cafe and a toilet and we will be sorted. Is it in this area where the cafe is planned for or has it been built in another part of the park and we just didn't find it (very possible)?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A bit of fun

Read this on Blog my Wiki. It looked interesting, so I thought I'd have a go.

“Someone” [she doesn’t say who] reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. It’s not the Big Read though — they don’t publish books, and they’ve only featured these books so far. In any event . . .

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 or less and force books upon them.

1. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
3. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
4. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
5. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
8. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
13. His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
18. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
21. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
22. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
23. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
24. Animal Farm - George Orwell
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
26. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
28. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
29. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
30. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
31. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
32. Complete Works of Shakespeare
33. Ulysses - James Joyce
34. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
35. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
36. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
37. The Bible
38. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
40. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
41. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
46. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
47. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
48. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
49. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
50. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
51. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
52. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
53. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
54. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
55. Middlemarch - George Eliot
56. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
57. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
58. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
59. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
60. Emma - Jane Austen
61. Persuasion - Jane Austen
62. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
63. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
64. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
65. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
66. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
67. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
68. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
69. Atonement - Ian McEwan
70. Dune - Frank Herbert
71. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
72. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
73. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
74. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
75. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
78. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
79. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
80. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
81. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
82. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
83. Dracula - Bram Stoker
84. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
85. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
86. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
87. Germinal - Emile Zola
88. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
89. Possession - A.S. Byatt
90. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
91. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
92. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
93. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
94. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
95. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
96. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
97. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
98. Watership Down – Richard Adams
99. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
100. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

So- how did I do? I have read 43 out of 100. Not too bad really. Of those I loved 10, which seems quite a high proportion, so maybe I am too generous. I've started but not finished 6 of them. Some of those I have no intention of ever finishing - every book of the Bible? Unlikely. The Complete Works of Shakespeare - nope. And the Hobbit, forget it. The others I might try to battle through....

There's a few on there I own but haven't read yet too, plus some I'd like to get. I need to get my books out of boxes!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lewisham People's Day

We made it along to Lewisham People's Day this year for the first time. Seeing as we now only live about 15 minutes walk from the park we really should! (Although closing off our nearest gates meant it took us a bit longer to get there than that...)

Once we'd made it past the security gates we enjoyed ourselves, anyway! Lots of stalls to browse (including one giving useful info about home composting!) and James enjoyed the different musical stages. I just wish we'd had some reins or similar with us so he could have walked around a bit more without running off. He was not happy at being put back in the buggy after having had the chance to wander!

Of course the highlight of the day was seeing Richard the Canadian guy from BB7 sitting on the grass with his mates. He was being accosted by loads of people going, "Are you Richard from BB7?" At least that's what I assume they were asking anyway!

I also picked up an "I love Hither Green" badge. They'd run out of Catford and Lewisham already by the time we got to the stall....

We didn't stay long as it was the boy's tea time soon enough, but we'll be back next year and we'll make sure we take our picnic rug too!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

You don't bring me flowers

I was fortunate enough to make my first visit to the lovely ladies of You don't bring me flowers in Hither Green today, thanks to Anne offering to buy my lunch to cheer me up as I was suffering on my sick bed (hayfever).

It's a quirky little place - part-florist, part coffee-shop. The food was delicious, I had a cheddar cheese and onion marmalade sandwich followed by raspberry and chocolate cake and Anne had a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich followed by apple and walnut cake. The cake selection looked fabulous and it was difficult to make my decision.

We sat upstairs where there are a couple of tables and some comfy chairs, as well as a roof terrace, although it was raining so we stayed inside. It would be really easy to lose yourself for an afternoon drinking coffee and eating lovely cakes and you certainly don't feel rushed away!

The decor is fab - shabby chic I suppose you might call it - and has obviously been put together with someone with a real flair for design and an eye for detail. It's meant to look thrown together I think, but it's obviously been carefully planned, right down to the mirror on the wall which is exactly like the one everyone's grandma had and has now thrown out! Even the plates and glasses/mugs we were served our meal on form part of the design.

It's fabulous to see Hither Green sustaining such a lovely little shop as this, and shows it can be done!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Goodbye brown bins

Not the world's best photo (nice one Mike!) But this picture shows all our brown bins from the garden waste trial being collected. Does this mean the council have decided to give up on the idea of a garden waste collection despite the trial being a success (or did they decide it wasn't a success)?

I am gutted! We thought it was a great idea and really made use of the bin.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lewisham Bloggers Knitting Sub-group Meet

The knit nurse and I met up for a nice lunch at the Tate Gallery today and I took the opportunity to get some help with my knitting. I think it would be fair to say it's not going all that well. My tension is all wrong (maybe I am too tense) and I'm struggling for motivation. I've decided to invest in a different pattern and some yarn (and perhaps borrow some needles from mum :D) and try something that will help me learn rather than just confuse and frustrate me! I haven't decided exactly what to make as yet, but it will be very simple and something where I can see my progress and be motivated by it.

I still want to try and finish the scarf so we'll see. There's a few of us at work that knit and/or crochet so maybe we'll have some lunchtime meets too - you never know it might even raise our morale a notch or two (let's face it, it couldn't be much worse!)

Thanks for a great lunch - we'll have to do it again before I leave Pimlico for good.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Third post of the day.

James had his MMR today. Unlike Tony Blair, I am proud to say this in public!

A Picture of Health

Next week is the deadline for responses to the consultation on A Picture of Health, which is proposing to drastically change the way health services are delivered in South East London. So, true to form I have left it until the last minute to respond.

I responded online, and reproduce my written-in comments below:

They asked: Do you agree that specialist care should be brought together in a smaller number of hospitals? (Particularly looking at A&E, maternity services and children's services).

I said: Emergency services need to be located in an accessible place, within travelling distance of the population served. Yes, people with serious injuries survive better if they go to a specialist centre, but this can still happen whilst keeping an A&E in a nearby hospital. After all, the majority of visits to A&E are not actually life-threatening.

Maternity services need to be located close to people's homes. They need to be within easy travelling distance. When our baby was born prematurely, it was some comfort to us that we could easily travel to see him in SCBU. Under the proposals in this consultation, our stress would have been significantly compounded. In addition, maternity services are already overstretched, with people unable to have appropriate ante-natal scans and checks due to lack of resources. It is difficult to see how closing a maternity unit would help this situation.

They asked: Do you agree that emergency and planned services should be separated? This would reduce the spread of hospital-acquired infections.

I said: I think you overstate the importance of healthcare associated infections in order to play on their fears and lead them to the view that you want, without proper hard evidence.

They asked: Do you agree that more care should be based in the community?

I said: I disagree if these are to be provided at the expense of A&E and maternity services being provided close to people.

They asked which of their outlined options I preferred.

I said: Option 2 is the least-bad option. It is simply not sensible to suggest that closing A&E and maternity/children's services at Lewisham would be good for the local community. Either option 1 or 3 would mean Lewisham residents having to travel completely unacceptable distances to access these services, at a time that is already stressful for them. Many Lewisham residents do not have access to a car and need to be able to travel by public transport to hospital. By getting rid of these services at Lewisham, you remove these people's ability to access these services.

Option 2 is the option that closes the least number of services at Lewisham.

Obviously these are just my own personal opinions and you will have yours. Make sure you respond to the consultation document so your voice is heard. You can respond online and it is really easy to do.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lewisham bloggers meet and knitting progress

knitting progress
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
Last night was the 5th Lewisham bloggers meet, at the Royal Albert on New Cross Road. I was tempted to bail, after a long day and a nightmare journey home, but the temptation to finally get started on my knitting (and catch up with fellow bloggers of course) was too much. I got there at about 9 o'clock, so a bit later than most and things were in full swing when I arrived. I won't list all the attendees, as I'm sure Andrew will do a better job of remembering exactly who was there than I will.

Anyway, back to the knitting - the lovely Knit-Nurse cast on for me (in a Northern stylee) and did the first couple of rows. She commented that the yarn wasn't the easiest to start off with for a beginner, but I gave it a go and I managed a few rows myself. I hope to be able to report great progress by the time of the next meet.

Thanks for organising it guys and looking forward to the next one (in Forest Hill??)

Lewisham on telly

Did anyone see Ashes to Ashes on Thursday night? If so, you'll have spotted the car park of the Lewisham Centre and Citibank tower featuring as Hunt and Drake attempted to stop a gun runner in his tracks.

Fame at last eh?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Picture of Health

I received the consultation form for A Picture of Health the other day. I haven't had the chance to read it fully but on the face of it, what is being proposed is worrying.

What is more worrying is understanding how public consultations really work. In my experience, those making the consultation already have in their minds their preferred option and are looking for responses that back that up.

A Picture of Health tends to lead us down that route - the options for 3 of the 4 hospitals having already been decided, leaving us with a consultation on what to do with Lewisham hospital. Quite what people on the outskirts of Bexley, Bromley and West Kent care about that I'm not sure, but they too are consulted.

If what appears to be the preferred option for Lewisham is chosen, then surely the new Riverside building will have been the biggest waste of money ever. It already has a completely empty floor which can't be used because of some nonsense in the PFI contract (as I understand it, don't quote me on that!), at this rate the rest of the hospital will be empty too. Pitiful.

I do hope to respond to the consultation once I've had chance to properly digest the proposals, and may well post my response here for all to see (should they be interested...)