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  • hilly 11:27 am on April 27, 2017
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    Woolwich Opera Works’ Incanto: The Magic of Naples 

    Woolwich Opera Works Incanto: the magic of Naples poster

    Following their very popular Spanish Siesta concert in February, Woolwich Opera Works (WOW) are holding another free concert at All Saints Church in Herbert Road this Sunday, 30th April. Their website provides more detail:

    WOW presents three exciting singers and multi-faceted artist Peter Knapp accompanied at the piano by Jeremy Silver. Together they will transport you to Naples in Italy with their operatic gems from Donizetti’s most famous opera The Elixir of Love, sung in Italian with the story line narrated in English. After the interval the concert continues with popular Neapolitan songs including O sole mio and Funiculì Funiculà. Donizetti lived in Naples for 22 years and 51 of his 70 operas were staged there during that time

    The soloists on Sunday are bass-baritone Tony Baker, soprano Chiara Vinci and tenor Tristan Stocks with Peter Knapp narrating L’elisir d’amore in English.

    Tickets are not required for Sunday’s concert, but it is possible to reserve seats (until 3.50pm) through this website. Tea, coffee and cakes will be sold in the interval by All Saints and there will be a retiring collection for WOW Opera.

     

    Sally Silver, Donna Bateman, Ricardo Panela and Dominic Natoli at Woolwich Opera Works’ Spanish Siesta

    Sally Silver, Donna Bateman, Ricardo Panela and Dominic Natoli at Woolwich Opera Works’ Spanish Siesta

     
  • hilly 3:18 pm on March 29, 2017
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    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day, Easter activities and ecological surveys 

    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day 2017

    It’s a busy time at Woodlands Farm, with the lambing season in full swing and the lambing trained volunteers on a rota to support the ewes. This leads up to the Lambing Day fair on 9th April, Easter Holiday children’s activities and the start of the surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna.

    Some 38 of the farm’s 70 pregnant ewes have given birth so far, and there seem to be more triplets this year. The first to lamb were the recently arrived, rare breed Manx Loaghtan which have striking black lambs, now old enough to be gambolling in the fields. The newly born lambs will be on display at the farm’s annual Lambing Day fair on Sunday 9th April from 11am to 4pm, entrance price £2 for adults £1 for children.  The fair will also have the usual stalls, country crafts, children’s activities and café and barbecue.

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    The week after Lambing Day the farm will host its Easter Holiday events for children. Hannah, the Education Officer, wrote with details:

    Easter Holiday Events
    Tuesday 11th April  Mad Hatters Tea Party  10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm
    The second in our series of events to celebrate 20 years of the Woodlands Farm Trust.  Come along to our Mad Hatters Tea Party, dress up and join our celebrations as we make fun hats and prepare some food to start the party!  £4 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 0208 319 8900.  Don’t be late for a very important date!
    Wednesday 12th April    Marvellous Minibeasts 10am-12noon or 1pm-3pm
    Do you love creepy crawlies and bugs?  Join us as we find out all about minibeasts.  We will be doing a craft as well as using magnifying glasses to see what we can find in the woods.   £4 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.  This walk is not suitable for buggies.
    Thursday 13th April   Egg-cellent Easter Trail    Any time between 10am and 2pm
    Join us for our annual Easter Trail.  Can you find all the different Easter Eggs and Spring Animals hidden around the farmyard? Find them all and you will get your own Chocolate Easter egg to take home.  Drop in any time between 10am and 2pm.  £2 per child
    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    Hannah is also the person to contact if you are interested in helping with the comprehensive set of surveys of the wildlife and plants at the farm. They start with the monthly bee walks to record the numbers and types of bumble bees, the next one of which is on Wednesday 19th April, then there is the first of the pond surveys, mainly looking for amphibians, on Thursday 27th April. Later surveys will include wild flowers, hedgerows, butterflies, moths, mammals and bats.

    With luck, there’ll be some corky fruited water dropworts again.

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lambs at Woodlands Farm

    New lambs at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 6:59 pm on March 12, 2017
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    Severndroog Castle film night at the Shooters Hill Local History Group 

    Severndroog Castle

    Severndroog Castle

    Severndroog Castle is the topic of the Shooters Hill Local History Group‘s next meeting, to be held on Thursday, 16th March at Shrewsbury House starting at 8.00pm. Steve wrote to me with the details:

    There is a Severndroog Castle film night on Thursday 16th March at Shrewsbury House at 8pm arranged by the Shooters Hill Local History Group.
    Films of the campaign to save Severndroog will be shown by the Shooters Hill Camcorder Club and will include the TV Restoration programme; the visit by the mayors of Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark: the opening of the building and an open day event.
    A visitor fee applies, everyone welcome.

    The story of Severndroog Castle is one of successful community activism, which started when the castle was under threat of being sold off to a private company for use as offices in 2002. The Severndroog Castle Alliance (later the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust) was formed by residents living in the area with the aim of saving the building for community use. The castle was included in the BBC Restoration series in which viewers voted on which listed building should be given a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for remedial work in 2004. Although the castle only managed second place in the south-east section of the programme, ultimately it was Heritage Lottery funding that allowed its restoration, as well as funds from charities such as the Country Houses Foundation; The Pilgrim Trust and The Architectural Heritage Fund. Now the castle is run by volunteers who organise regular events and open the castle to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 12:30-4:30pm. It’s worth a visit for the views alone.

    Should be an interesting evening.

     

    Severndroog Castle under wraps for its restoration

    Severndroog Castle under wraps for its restoration

    Severndroog Castle and rainbow from Westmount Road

    Severndroog Castle and rainbow from Westmount Road

     
  • hilly 9:53 pm on February 22, 2017
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    Woolwich Opera Works’ Spanish Siesta 

    Woolwich Opera Works Spanish Siesta leaflet

     

    Woolwich Opera Works (WOW) are holding a free concert of Spanish-themed music at All Saints Church in Herbert Road on Sunday, 26th February. Their website provides more detail:

    Sunday, February 26, 2017, 4:00pm 5:30pm
    WOW are excited to present 4 world class singers to celebrate our one year anniversary. The theme of the concert is Spain and it includes operatic highlights from well known operas in the first half featuring Carmen, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Fidelio, Don Giovanni and Il Trovatore. After a short interval the programme continues with a lighter selection of gorgeous Spanish Songs and culminates in a beautiful arrangement of Rodrigo’s En Aranjuez con mi amor.
    Sopranos Donna Bateman and Sally Silver are joined by tenor Dominic Natoli and baritone Ricardo Panela who are accompanied on the piano by Jeremy Silver.
    Tea, coffee and cakes will be sold in the interval and there will be a retiring collection.

    Tickets are not required for Sunday’s concert, but it is possible to reserve seats (until 3.50pm) through this website.

    This is WOW’s second free concert at All Saints. Founders Sally and Jeremy Silver along with soprano Namrata Shah, bass-baritone Tony Baker and tenor Tony Stocks performed a programme of opera favourites before the church’s Candlelight Carols service in December. This highly enjoyable evening, even for those like me who usually avoid opera, included operatic greatest hits such as Puccini’s O mio babbino caro, Verdi’s Libiamo ne’ lieti calici and Bernstein’s Maria, and was very well received by the audience. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s concert.

     

    Woolwich Opera Works Spanish Siesta leaflet

    All Saints Church, Herbert Road

    All Saints Church, Herbert Road

     
  • hilly 4:46 pm on February 14, 2017
    Tags: catcuddles   

    Council to close CatCuddles HQ? 

    Some of CatCuddles fostered kittens

    Some of Catcuddles fostered kittens

    Local cat-care charity Catcuddles has been ordered to cease fostering operations at its Greenwich hub in Howarth Road SE2 within 7 days by planning enforcement officers at the Royal Borough of Greenwich council.  This follows the unexpected rejection of their application to continue the mixed use of the property as both a dwelling and for fostering cats.

    Catcuddles volunteers have started a campaign to reverse the decision, including a petition to Greenwich Council to “Allow the Continued Fostering of Abandoned and Unwanted Cats In SE2” and a crowd funder to raise the money needed to appeal to the planning inspectorate to reverse the decision. The campaign has started well, with over 3500 signatures on the petition and over £3000 raised in just a couple of days.

    The large team of volunteers at Catcuddles have helped many cats and people in the local area. They take in and foster cats that need a home. For example: when their owners are being evicted or are emigrating and facing the prospect of euthanizing their cats; families whose children have developed allergies and asthma from their cats; people whose parents have died and left cats behind; those who have found stray cats or have even had them give birth in their gardens; and local vets who’ve had cats dumped on their premises. They also neuter hundreds of stray cats in the area to help to keep their explosive numbers down. The cats they take in are not all housed at Howarth Road; they have a network of fosterers around the area.

    And of course they are best known for pairing hundreds of formerly unwanted cats with loving adoptive families.

    The dedication of the volunteers in rescuing cats is quite inspirational. One recent rescue here on Shooters Hill was of a mother cat and her 5 kittens: the Shooters Hill Six. This was a five day rescue operation which saw volunteers staked out in freezing temperatures tending traps to capture the cat and kittens. Catching them was only half the story. The tiny kittens were riddled with  ticks which volunteers had to remove by hand. Also the kittens were feral because they had had no human contact, so, as with other feral cats, volunteers had to handle them every day to prepare them for adoption. Happily all but two of the six have now been adopted or reserved for adoption.

    CatCuddles' Greenwich Hub in Howarth Road

    Catcuddles’ Greenwich Hub in Howarth Road

    The council planners’ reasons for refusing Catcuddles application are difficult to understand. They say that “retention of the property as a cat sanctuary creates excessive noise and odour”, but this just isn’t true. I’ve visited the Catcuddles’ Greenwich Hub myself and noticed no noise or odour. The council’s own environmental health officer has said that there was no problem with odour, and the daily care volunteers are meticulous in their hygiene. There have never been any complaints about noise, and captured cats are known to be quiet to make themselves less conspicuous. The planners also say that it “would result in the loss of the property as a dwelling house”, which is simply untrue as Catcuddles founder, Evina Koroni, lives in the house. The final reason is that it “has involved the creation of numerous structures in the rear garden which have a detrimental impact in terms of design, appearance and scale.” But the cat pens in the back garden are low key and unobtrusive, as the photographs on the charity’s web site show. From the outside the house is indistinguishable from all the other houses in the street.

    There are some positive signs for Catcuddles. A group of volunteers had a very constructive meeting with one of their local counsellors, Council Leader Denise Hyland, who told them she would look into the application. The strong support on the petition and crowd funding initiatives are also encouraging. If you would like to help you can sign their petition, contribute to the appeal costs or send them your stories about adopting from or working with Catcuddles.

     

    Some of CatCuddles fostered kittens

    Some of Catcuddles fostered kittens

     
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