Oxleas Woods Cafe

I had my first proper cupaccino in months this afternoon, possibly my first since the halcyon days as a regular at Charlton Park Cafe. I was just out for my usual trundle: today I chose to stay a bit closer to home and explore a part of the local area I hadn’t really seen, over by Shooters Hill Road. That area is quite hilly and dense with forrest, so I had avoided it until now, but today I thought I’d give it an explore. Eltham Park was split into two in the 1920s by the building of Rochester way: I had seen Eltham Park South before, but had never explored it’s northern counterpart.

The truth is I was beginning to head back to Eltham along Rochester Way, when to my right and above me, I caught sight of a bright building in the park. Naturally this automatically pricked my interest, so I changed course to investigate. The paths were fairly steep and not as well maintained as they might be, but soon enough I was approaching an interesting looking building at the top of a tall hill, set in a park. It instantly reminded me of the cafe in Charlton Park, only, due to its altitude, you must have been able to see for at least fifteen kilometres across south London and beyond.

Automatically taken with the place, and fancying a coffee anyway, I decided to go in. While there were tables and chairs outside, from what I glimpsed through the door, the inside of the place looked interesting. Mind you, the problem was the front entrance to the place had a large step up to it and the side entrance was too narrow for my powerchair, so I had to stand up and walk in. It was worth it though, as on the walls of the place were all sorts of posters about the park’s history: it had been an airfield during World War Two, and is a monthly meeting place for bikers. My kind of place, then.

I only stayed for one cuppaccino before starting to head home. I resolved to go back there before long though. Access issues aside, I was quite taken with it. It isn’t that far away, and the view it enjoys really is incredible. While it might not become my regular haunt like the Cafe in Charlton Park once was, I can certainly see myself going there quite frequently.

Rats Deserting a Sinking Ship

Just for the record, I’ve never watched GB News, nor do I ever intend to. I may be ever so slightly curious about it, but being curious about the taste of shit is no reason to put it in your mouth. I want nothing to do with a channel which gives the scumbag Farage a platform. I was, however, pretty amused to read that it is already collapsing. “Andrew Neil has resigned as chairman and lead presenter of GB News, just three months after helping to launch the channel. Neil, 72, was on air for less than two weeks before announcing he was taking a break.” After so much fanfare and hype, this self-proclaimed champion of right-wing speech and challenger to the liberal mainstream has already lost it’s main anchor. Well, that didn’t last long, did it? As Owen Jones points out here, it’s hard not to feel a certain amount of schadenfreude, but frankly, given how much channels like this stand to pollute our political discourse, I say good riddance to Neil, and let’s hope the whole channel goes down with him.

Cap Shopping

For quite some time I have worn a baseball cap on a daily basis. Putting it on has become a bit of a habit, so my cap is almost as much as my daily costume as my shoes or glasses. A couple of days ago, though, I noticed my cap was getting a bit tatty: it was time to buy a new one.

This morning, then, I looked in Eltham, but couldn’t find anything. I didn’t just want any old cap, but preferably something fun and ironic which I could clip my anti-Brexit badges onto. This afternoon I set upon the idea of getting the bus to lewisham and looking in the fairly large shopping centre there. At first I didn’t have much luck, but then, in TK Max, I found what I needed. Among their adequate range of hats and caps, I noticed a blue one: it had a distorted yellow emoticon on the front, ink appearing to dribble down; under that there were a pair of crossed bones, and under that the words ‘Don’t Even Trip’. It instantly struck me as very appropriate for wobbly old me to wear as I roll around town in my powerchair.

Twenty Years

I had intended to write a sequel to this entry yesterday. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, back in Charlton, I wrote a pretty long entry about how that tragic date had become a marker in time for me, and about how dramatically my life had changed since then. I thought it would be a good idea to do the same yesterday, summarising the last decade. The problem was, though, when I began to think about it, I couldn’t even decide where to begin. If anything, the last decade was even more awesome than the one before it: a decade which saw me do so many incredible things after moving to London it blows my mind. The bigger problem, though, was how to sum up my relationship with Lyn. I spent most of the decade living with her, so I wouldn’t have been able to avoid reopening wounds which still feel quite fresh.

In the end, then, I obviously dropped the idea. It was still an incredible decade filled with so much joy yet now tinged with so much sorrow; begun after a moment in time, now two decades ago, embedded with so much horror.

Screening Crip Camp

I’m thrilled to report that last night’s screening was a great, great success. Ever since I first watched it last year, I knew I had to have Crip Camp screened at the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival. It is the type of important film everyone should watch, as it traces the history of the Disability Rights Movement in America. While it is freely available to watch on Netflix though, I felt it important to get it screened properly in front of a live audience in a darkened room: political films like this should be social, communal events. Watching it with other people, discussing it both before and afterwards adds something to the event.

With that said, I’m happy to say that we got an audience of fifteen to twenty people last night, which was pretty sizeable given the venue and circumstances. I had prepared a short introduction to give before the screening started just to contextualise it and give a bit of background. It was in five paragraphs on my Ipad, which we plugged into the room’s speakers. I was quite nervous that I’d hit the wrong button at the wrong time and screw up the order of my speech, but thankfully it went well and seemed to be well received.

The screening itself went well too: at almost two hours long, Crip Camp isn’t a short film, but it’s the kind of film which draws you in. You become fascinated by the history and the people involved; by the fact that an entire civil rights movement could have started at a small summer camp for disabled people in upstate New York. You want to keep watching to see what will happen. This, after all, is the story of the largest, arguably most oppressed minority in America fighting for their rights. And, as I said in my introduction last night, there are lessons we can learn from this film, things we can take from it and apply them to our own time.

Institutions are still Abusing Vulnerable Patients

I think I need to flag this shocking news up today. “The deaths of three adults with learning disabilities at a failed hospital should prompt a review to prevent further “lethal outcomes” at similar facilities, a report said. There were significant failures in the care of the patients at Jeesal Cawston Park, Norfolk, it found.” The details of the stories are horrific enough, but the fact that this sort of thing is still going on makes it even worse. One hears nightmarish stories about disabled people being abused in institutions from the sixties, seventies and eighties, but you would hope that that sort of thing would have been stamped out long ago. It just goes to show that, when it comes to disabled people who can’t speak out for themselves, the people supposedly caring for them think they can do what they want and get away with it. And the most sickening thing is, more often than not, they do.

My Position on Scotland Hasn’t Changed

Having just seen the news that the SNP have restarted their independence campaign and now plan to hold a second Scottish independence referendum next year, I automatically decided that that would be the subject of todays entry. Before starting to write, though, I thought I’d check what I’ve written previously about it. To be honest, I don’t think I can do better than to direct everyone to this entry, written last year. My views haven’t changed since then: I still think that, were Scotland to break away from the union, it would be an act of utter selfishness and betrayal. The scots would be selling the rest of the uk out for their own petty self-interest: They might be ok, but they would have completely abandoned us, especially at a time when we need to work together to solve problems such as Brexit.