I'm not going to have much time to update this blog for the next couple of weeks as this is the time of year I go out and sell poppies for the Royal British Legion. You will find me most days standing in my usual patch, outside the Tesco Express in Picardy Street, Lower Belvedere; or, if the weather is bad, sheltering under their entrance. It's not to protect me, the poppies are made of paper, if they get wet, they tend to shrivel up - come to think of it, so do I but it's the poppies I'm thinking about.
This isn't a part of the world I usually visit, so it's interesting to see how it has changed from this time last year. I was keen to find out how much the new ASDA down the road has affected business for the other shops. To be honest, I couldn't really tell; there did seem to be plenty of people still shopping locally and everyone was a generous as ever if the weight of my collection tin is anything to go by. Most of the shops are still there, the cafe is still open, there is a chemist and a dry cleaners which has been there since the time of Moses.
Someone is confident enough to start a new business here as well as there is a new DIY store which opened yesterday (Saturday). They seem to sell all those things you cannot get anywhere else - think Wilkinson's before they decided to become a regular supermarket or Robert Dyas without the expensive price tags. Hope they do well.
One shop I was surprised to see has closed is Davis of Belvedere, the electrical goods store. I imagine its demise is more to do with competition from the internet rather than any local supermarket. I am informed that it will be opening soon as a charity shop for the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice; it will be one big shop if they use it all. They seem to have outlets all over the place so perhaps they will merge some of them into this one.
This is interesting, the unlimited free parking places along the shops parade in Picardy Street have been turned into a 1 hour time limit. Now I know that Bexley Council's parking policies are controversial at best and apparently in some cases downright illegal but in this case, I think they may have got it right. Now that all the parking spaces are not taken up by commuters using Belvedere Station, it means that local shoppers no longer have to risk parking on yellow lines while they do their shopping and that must be great help for the local businesses. Amazingly though, some drivers still park on the yellow line outside Tesco Express rather on the unrestricted kerb opposite in order to save the extra ten foot walk.
I couldn't possibly end this blog without a reference to at least one bird. This is a Little Egret in case you didn't already know and they come and fish regularly down by the Crossness Outfall. If this had turned up just a few years ago, every twitcher in the country would be clamouring for a view but now they are a common sight. Here is one in the air