Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Thamesmead Golf Course

A few days ago, I received an email from one of my readers asking me to follow up on the story I wrote about the closure of Thamesmead Golf Course back in December 2013.

I regularly walk past the site and have noticed it becoming completely derelict. There seems to have been some effort to patch up the holes in the fences which seem ineffective in keeping out vandals. A often as not, there are horses grazing on the old driving range and increasing amounts of rubbish is being dumped there.

As far as I am aware, it was originally owned by Thamesmead Town when it was called Riverside Golf Course. The change of name to Thamesview Golf Course brought a change of ownership to I don't know who. 

I am assuming it is now the responsibility of Peabody Trust. They are talking about creating a substantial leisure facility in Thamesmead and this would make an ideal location.

There is supposed to be a public footpath running through the site, part of the Ridgeway, but I am told that this has been blocked by a very large trench across the southern end making it impossible to navigate.

I will do some investigation and report back if I find out anything interesting.

time to quit?

New research has suggested a link between smoking and schizophrenia. At present this is only a statistical link but it shouldn't be ignored. It was a similar statistical link between smoking and lung cancer that lead scientist to look for a clinical cause which they eventually found.

Nevertheless, It is still unwise to jump to any conclusions yet with research at such an early stage.

According to the charity Mental Health Rethink "42% of all cigarettes smoked in England are by people with mental health problems". I don't know where they get that figure but true or not, it leaves us with the chicken and egg problem.

The World Health Organisation describes tobacco use as the largest cause of preventable death in the developed world with as many as 50% of all smokers dying prematurely from illnesses directly caused by their habit. This leads to the question, if this is the case and it is widely known, then why would anyone take up the habit in the first place? In other words, does smoking cause the mental illness or does having the mental illness make you more likely to take up smoking?

Generally, I'm always suspicious of statistics for their own sake; it's too easy to draw conclusions that turn out to be misleading or entirely false. The pseudo-scientific community will often produce spurious statistics to promote their woo and this is countered by scientists fighting back with equally dubious results to demonstrate the old adage that there are lies, damm lies, and statistics. The example shown here gives an indication of what you can do if you are intent on scaremongering.

Even if you do establish a causal link, you still have to be careful about how you interpret it. I remember a few years ago, reading a report which suggested that smoking reduced the risk of developing dementia. It was found that there was a higher proportion of non smokers with dementia and this lead researchers to suspect there might be something in tobacco that blocked it's development. They eventually realised that it was the fact that smokers tend to have a much lower life expectancy which caused the statistical effect. The smokers were dying before they got old enough to develop dementia. 

This has since been retracted and I can't find a copy of it anywhere. The latest evidence of course is that smoking dramatically increases the chances of developing dementia rather than reducing it.

In any case, it will be interesting to follow the debate. I will be particularly interested to see what the tobacco industry does to try and prove that smoking is still safe.

london - where's that? (ad nauseum)

As I'm revisiting old stories today, here's one of my favourites. The BBC Red Button news service seems to think London covers half the planet, hence the following stories on it's London news page.

A UK family of 12 who went missing on holiday have apparently joined Islamic State. Most of you will have read about this, but the family comes from Luton. Luton is a town in Bedfordshire, about 30 miles from London. i.e. not in London.

A driver died from injuries sustained in an accident on the A4 at a place called Halfway, near Newbury in Berkshire. According to Wikipedia, it is called Halfway as it is halfway between London and Bristol. That is to say, it isn't in, or even anywhere near London. A later story states that the deceased driver became an organ donor but the place is still no nearer London.

An inspector for OFSTED from Saffron Walden has been jailed for 2 years for child grooming. Saffron Walden is in Essex and 43 miles from London.

A Berkshire fancy dress retailer has been made to give up his web address. Very interesting but nothing to do with London.

A Mother and her former partner have accused each other over the death of a toddler in Bedford in 2013. The Police are to begin a fresh review review of the case. A tragic incident to be sure but Bedford is a town roughly between Northampton and Cambridge. Why is on the London news page?

Up to 50 jobs could be lost as Reading Borough council looks to make savings. Bad news for the people of Reading ( a town in Berkshire, 50 miles from London) but unlikely to affect anyone in London.

In Reading once again. A man has been jailed for 10 years at Reading Crown Court for firing a shotgun twice during an argument.

Welsh actor Roger Reese has died aged 71. He lived in America.

Vintage advertisments will remain on display after being discovered in Clacton. Clacton is a seaside town in Essex.

hms st albans

I happened to be out and about when the Royal Navy, Type 23 Frigate, HMS St Albans was making it's way down the river after a short stay at Canary Wharf.

Here are a few of the pictures I took of it as it went past.

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