Thursday, 3 October 2013

Fish-What Fish?

I have been asked to investigate where all the fish have gone out of the canals in Thamesmead. Not being of the 'fishy' persuasion, I'm not sure where to start but I wouldn't be surprised if it was somehow connected with the state the canals are in. I had noticed that there seem to be fewer of the fish eating birds breeding than there used to be; the Great Crested Grebes have more or less disappeared along with the Herons, but if there is nothing for them to eat, that isn't surprising. I have discovered that responsibility for the upkeep of the canals falls to Gallions Housing Association who now seemingly have a "dedicated Canals and Waterways Co-ordinator who is working with Oayback and other groups to deal with the canals, ensuring that litter is regularly removed." Not sure where they are spending the money.

Friend or Foe

This is Thamesbank Place in North Thamsmead. When the site was first developed in the late 1980's the developer thought they would enhance the appearance of the place by planting Sycamore trees along each side of the road. This is a common practice as the trees are extremely hardy and fast growing, reaching a height of nearly 100 feet when mature. Unfortunately, unless you have a very wide road, they rapidly run out of space and the roots are famous for damaging building foundations and underground services like water and sewage pipes. Bexley Council recently had to remove several of them here because of this very problem - but they left several in place. Why? They are going to have to come back in a couple of years and do the whole thing again. The ones that were left behind now sit in large holes in the pavement, ideal for tripping over. Just have a look at this -

Personally, I'm not sorry to see them go as I consider them a pest, the seeds get everywhere and am forever having to remove saplings growing through hedges in the garden. When the work was started, everyone was told that the trees that had been removed would be replaced. Sorry, still waiting.

Death Trap No.3

This is perhaps one of the most dangerous spots in the whole of Thamesmead. For those who don't know the area, it is the main bus stop in Thamesmead Town Centre and the terminus for several bus routes. The buses stop to let off their passengers (or do they have customers?) and the drivers take their break, they then turn left at the end of the road to go round the roundabout and come back to the bus stop on the right. Access from this site to the main shopping centre is a footpath at the left of the three parked buses. Shoppers wishing to catch their bus home have to step out from between the parked buses into the path of traffic driving past them, this includes not only moving buses but lorries delivering goods to the local Morrison's. Some of this traffic moves at a fair speed. Greenwich Council seems to have tried to reduce the risk by installing speed bumps at the entrance to the road and this does help reduce the suicidal speed some of the bus drivers used to come around that corner at. There is also a central island in the road to make it safer to cross. The problem is, to get to it from the shopping centre you would have to make your way along the very narrow and restricted pavement beside the parked buses, see here

Imagine pushing your double buggy plus shopping past the lamp post and litter bin and the overgrown prickly hedge with someone coming the other way doing the same thing, all the way down to the corner of the road then all the way back up the other side. The natural inclination of most people is to take a chance with the traffic.  This whole set-up was a bodge to try and replace the original system where the buses used to come into the Town Centre via the next roundabout then through an access road where Morrison's now sits. As far as I know, there hasn't been any fatality there yet but it must only be a matter of time.

Ginger Pride?

Why are people with red or orange hair called "ginger"? The BBC reports Britain's first 'Ginger Pride' march in August. Ginger is a pale creamy colour, except for the skin which is sometimes brown and is neither red or orange so where did the term come from I wonder? It's rather like food manufacturers who always dye banana flavoured products bright yellow. The only part of a banana that's yellow is the outer layer of skin, which we don't eat. I can't think of any other food that's made to look like the bit we throw away.

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