Thursday, January 28, 2016

Don't panic! Girl who told lies burns to death! Poetry night at the Old Fire Station

Pop up restaurants, celebrity chefs, beer cafes, pop up car showroom and now this. Here's a poem I should read out at the event which is to be held at the Old Fire Station on March 16th 7-30. Limited to about 50 tickets so hurry this always sells out.

Matilda Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away,     
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Are we all doomed? Don't Panic!

This is the third flood warning that I've seen this winter and I'm going to look pretty foolish if villages are effected like they were two years ago. Surely though this is just the Environment Agency playing safe after they (allegedly) cocked it up at Christmas Eve 2013. So are they right to issue these warnings or is it alarmist, scare mongering even, unless it's a real danger of serious damage to the towns and villages?? Here's the official warning from the EA which came to me via a Tonbridge Civic Society bulletin:

A Flood Alert has been issued by the Environment Agency for the Middle River Medway Area. 

Flooding is possible for the The River Medway from Penshurst to Hampstead Lock at Yalding, including the Leigh Barrier Flood Storage Reservoir, the Ensfield Road, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, the Hop Farm, East Peckham, Branbridges and Hale Street  . 

Low lying land and roads will be affected first.

Be prepared to protect yourself, family, pets and property.

No flood warnings are currently in force

Heavy rain overnight and through the day has led to high levels on the upper Medway. Outflows from the Leigh flood storage area will peak between ten pm and 4am on Thursday morning. We will not need to use the flood storage area as no properties are at risk of flooding and flows are not high enough.

Around East Peckham and Yalding the river levels have been dropped for routine inspections so will have appeared to have been very low recently.

We continue to monitor the situation and will update messages as required. The current forecast is for light showers which will be followed by more persistent rain on Saturday

- Prepare a flood kit including a torch, batteries, mobile phone, warm clothes, water, food and any prescription medicines you may need.

- Avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water.

- Farmers should consider moving livestock and equipment away from areas likely to flood.

- Keep an eye on local water levels and weather conditions.  Visit the Environment Agency website for river level and flooding information.

- Call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 using quickdial 012641 for up-to-date flooding information.


Environment Agency
Kent and South London Flood Resilience Team
Orchard House, Endeavour Park, Addington
Kent, ME19 5SH
Telephone Floodline on: 0345 988 1188

Friday, January 8, 2016


Well, it's that time of year when all the newspapers talk about how few calories we should all be consuming, or how many miles we should be walking, cycling and running. Time to join a step/spin/aqua aerobics class perhaps? The latest thing to hit the headlines is a little old hat but here goes: we shouldn't be drinking any alcohol at all if we know what's good for us. The trouble is I'm not sure that anyone does know what's good for us; so mixed are the recommendations from the various health organisations. Half a pint of Guinness a day used to be good for boosting your iron deficiencies when pregnant so it was claimed (probably by Guinness!) Then it was a well known fact that a glass of red wine was good for the heart and circulation. Until this week that is. Now it's being claimed that this was, after all, an old wives' tale and that it's now true that the only good alcohol is in fact NO ALCOHOL. So what are we to believe. 14 units a week, a day? Save them all up across the year and blow them all on New Years Eve?! It's such a mess all this Nannystatism that no one knows whether to eat a Mars Bar, followed by a bacon sandwich a day or just munch on a raw onion. Nothing a day equals certain death within a few weeks so I'm sticking with good old common sense, whatever that is!
All this brain ache and a bout of this winter virus which has been going around (probably as a result of mild weather, wet weather, cold weather, too many late nights or too much bacon) is enough to make me want to break open that Christmas bottle of malt whiskey which, up to now, I've been too frightened to touch....