Saturday, April 29, 2006

Event: Croydon Bike Week

Looks like Bike Week this year (17-25 June) will be a cracker. Interesting mix of rides for everyone, and combining them with other activities too. The history ride with John Gent of the Croydon Society looks particularly interesting.

Croydon Bike Week

Friday, April 28, 2006

Politics: Croydon elections

So it's less than a week to go until Croydon's crucial local elections. Not sure if there's much buzz or excitement, perhaps people think they know the result already, which will make election night all the better.

It's completely unpredictable in my opinion, the wide range of predictions over at indicate that at least. I wouldn't be surprised if Labour, with its famously disciplined and targeted machine, keeps its votes up in Norbury, Waddon and New Addington, where most predict the battleground to be, and leak votes elsewhere. Whether that's enough to win the Council for a fourth term, I don't know, but the Tories haven't created any buzz or momentum and there's no discussion on the streets about them. Certainly I don't believe in a Labour meltdown, whatever the polls say.

In fact, where the Conservatives are challenged strongly by a third party, I think we'll see them hemorrhage votes. Coulsdon East of course; apparently Pat Knight is seen everywhere. But also the Greens may do well from all parties.

The person that interests me most is Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya, standing as an independent in Shirley. She is the energetic secretary of a local residents association, Spring Park RA, and has revolutionised the magazine and profile, even setting up a blog. She is campaigning on a platform of the councillors (Tories) never being around, and that she'd give a strong voice to the area. I think that Janet Marshall and probably Richard Chatterjee will be ok, but I'd say that Mike Fisher is at risk. As Leader of the Conservative Group and with a distant-sounding address, he doesn't come across as being high-profile in his own backyard. Neighbours and friends have said they are voting for her but her profile may not be so high in Shrublands, Shirley Oaks and the Lawdon Estate which are not in the Spring Park RA area. So again a surprise may be in store. I haven't noticed much of a Tory campaign in the area though, so they obviously don't agree.

Croydon Labour
Croydon Conservatives
Croydon Co-operative Party
Croydon Lib Dems
Croydon Greens
Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya

Restaurant: Chennai Dosa

Chennai Dosa is a relatively new place on London Road, West Croydon, near the end of St James's Road. It always seemed packed, a good sign, and it certainly was when we visited on a Friday night. The restaurant is part of a chain serving South Indian dosas and other specialities and is definitely popular with the south Indian community, again a good sign. Indeed, the menu makes no allowance for those of us unfamiliar with the details of the cuisine, so be prepared to ask.

Eventually we got a table, after quite a period queuing, feeling exposed in the middle of the brightly lit room. Food came fast and was cheap and good, but not spectacular. Mixed thalis looked excellent, with fresh chutneys and a bright orange(!) inflated flat bread like a balloon sitting on top. I'd stick to the vegetarian dosas and 'curries' - the starters were distinctly odd; we ate a lamb spring roll thinking it was a (not very nice) vegetable dish until that came along, it didn't taste or feel like lamb. But vegetarian is definitely a speciality. There's even a six foot family dosa on offer, sounds horrific especially if you don't like the dry crispy bits at the end, like me.

Given the speed and atmosphere of the place, it's the kind of restaurant I'd like to find next to the cinema or restaurant. Sadly neither exists round here and I'm not sure I'd make a special journey to spend a Friday evening there again, but a late night feast? Well maybe.

239-241 London Road, Croydon, CR0 2RL
Tel: 020 8665 9192