Katie Superstar

Katie's having a sensational week. Yesterday she was awarded her Bronze level certificate in ice skating. That's her ELEVENTH skating certificate in nine months. We are staggered.

Also this week the head teacher invited her to join the orchestra on the strength of her recorder playing abilities and she came in first in chess club. First out of about fifteen kids. First out of fifteen Year 4-6 children. She's in Year 3. And she's got the trophy!

We are falling-on-the-floor, weak-in-the-knees staggered. Mostly we are just so proud of how she's choosing to live her life.

Not a good day for fabric

Earlier this week in a pique of motherly love, I bought my girls some treats from Noa Noa: some tights for Buffy, and a top for Katie. Katie has worn it every opportunity since. She even wore it today when she was colouring... and thinking... and itching... and scratching. She scratched that indelible black pen right on her brand-new, sky-blue, lace-edged top. I was livid. Absolutely through-the-roof angry. I was so angry, in fact, I had to walk around the block to cool down. I came back in to reassure her I really did love her more than the top. Then I ate some food to stabilise my blood sugar and everything was happy again.

This evening I was nit-combing my way through Buffy's now-luxurious locks (no nits, hooray!) when Katie stomped downstairs, "Buffy drew on my bed!" She could well have added, "Again!" Naughty Buffy, always drawing on things. I wish I could be like the Casson family and give her a wall to decorate, but I'm not. I prefer she colour on paper. So does Katie.

I half suspected something was up when she came down with both hands and one cheek tattooed in swirls and squiggles. She explained she had just found the pen and had done it just before coming downstairs. I confiscated the pen and told her to wash up. She'd only done it to herself, so that was that. I guess I was wrong. (Again!) I know realise she had been in bed covering herself in ink and had inadvertently made a mark on Katie's sheets. How do I know? It's all in what she wrote on Katie's bed:

"Sorry"

Casino Avenue

A tweet from darryl1974, our resident Green candidate for Peninsula Ward councillor, and 853 blogger:

On the P4 to Lewisham, passing Casino Avenue... it always comes back to here.

Although it had already dawned on me a couple of weeks ago, it's sad that it's taken me until now to realise what must be south-east London blogging's worst-kept "secret".

Nick Raynsford's missing bio

If you see a slightly confused man who doesn't seem to know where he's going bumbling about on the streets of Greenwich, it's probably Nick Raynsford. Nick has been MP for Greenwich and Woolwich for some time now, but his most recent term has been marked by its combination of disinterest in local issues and blatant lobbying on behalf of the construction industry.

His website has a potted bio, but it omits some facts which need to be included for completeness's sake. Thanks to Wikipedia which isn't so selective.

How could they not include the fact that Nick Raynsford was in fact born with a silver spoon in his mouth as Wyvill Richard Nicolls Raynsford? Why fail to mention that he grew up in Milton Manor? And that he was educated at the uber-posh private Repton School?

I'm sure the Labour Party will wish to correct these blaring omissions at the earliest opportunity. I mean, I'd hate for Raynsford to attempt to campaign on the basis of Labour's working class roots without making his own background totally transparent.

Your handy, deeply biased guide to Greenwich Peninsula Ward elections 2010

So Greenwich Council has announced the candidates for the upcoming Peninsula Ward elections on May 6.

Voting is a laborious, but important task. Deciding whom to vote for is not to be determined lightly. However, all too often we end up voting for a party slate.

Does it honestly make sense to vote for three Conservative councillors because you like the look of David Cameron on tv? Should you really be voting for three Green councillors because you hate all the main parties? Can you honestly justify selecting three Lib Dems as a protest vote? And, er, will anyone be voting for all three Labour candidates?

No! You will be on the hunt for alternative means for selecting your candidates. And here are my thoughts:

Proximity

We want candidates who really understand our ward and our particular issues. East Greenwich has suffered in recent years, thanks to a useless MP who's been permanently in hock to the building trade and a council who doesn't give a stuff about us, all that guff about "The heart of East Greenwich" notwithstanding.

Presumably people who actually live nearby should have a better understanding of our issues than those who don't. So here's a handy dandy map of our ward and where the respective candidates live:


View Greenwich Peninsula Ward elections 2010 in a larger map

So full marks to the Lib Dems who have managed to choose three candidates who live in the ward. The Conservatives have two, but their third - Toks Bailey - is so far east she's almost outside the borough. Labour have, strictly speaking, only one. But Mary Mills is only just on the "wrong" side of the tracks and we won't count it against her. And the Greens have no-one in the ward. That's hardly surprising given how bad our air quality is.

Experience

A tough one, I realise. How ready are each of the candidates to be a councillor? Well, Mary Mills and Dick Quibell have little to prove here, having been councillors already (and in Mary's case, for ages). Miranda Williams is Labour stand-in for Chris Roberts who chickened out of standing for re-election because he knows, deep down, that this country hates Labour's guts and he'd probably lose his seat. Miranda looks like a Labour patsy, which absolutely Will Not Do.

I can't say I know much about the Conservatives, but you can find a bio of each of them here. They all seem to have good Greenwichy roots.

Alex Cunliffe is a lawyer. However, unless the Lib Dems have a positive glut of people named Alex Cunliffe, he's also their PPC for Erith and Thamesmead. He really ought to commit to one job or another, don't you think? I'm sorry, I couldn't find anything else about the other Lib Dems either on Google or on the Lib Dems website - doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

The Green party slate is here. Again, good on the Greens for (like the Conservatives) putting up a special page just for us Peninsulans.

Online presence

I like the Internet. Candidates who can demonstrate a strong online presence will impress me more than those who don't.

The hands down winner here is the Green Party's Darryl Chamberlain who writes a simply excellent blog called 853. It's a fantastic insight into what it's like to live here in Greenwich. He's also very active on Twitter. Next in line is, er, not-so-youthful Mary Mills (shame on you young'uns!). Mary is brilliant at responding to e-mails on anything at any hour of the day or night. She also has her own blog and is active on Twitter.

Charlie Easton has a pretty nice looking, if partisan, blog called Gypsy Moth. It would have been nice for it to have been a bit more local and less Conservative though. But his heart's clearly in East Greenwich.

I'm not aware that the others have much Internet presence to shout about.

Conclusion

Well that's your lot. I think I know whom I'm voting for, but could easily change my mind if the candidates stop by the house for a chat.

Please feel free to feed back your thoughts to me at andrew@gambier.cc.