HURRAH - Severndroog Castle has been saved! What droog castle, I hear you ask? And what has a Midlands river got to do with Greenwich? Don't worry, I haven't gone all provincial on you: this Severndroog Castle is on Shooters Hill.
You go up the main road until you have to get off your bike and push. The turnoff is almost opposite one of my favourite local pubs, the Red Lion - that rarity among its now themed, gastro'd, tarted up, or plain closed-down brethren, a pub which is still what we once used to call normal.
The castle is a triangular tower, built by a Lady James in what was then her back garden as a memorial to her husband. The original Severndroog was a pirate fort on the west coast of India which Sir William James captured for the British East India Company, thus preventing the company's ships from suffering the same inconveniences as, shall we say, modern-day oil tankers off the Somali coast.
When Sir William dropped dead at his daughter's wedding, his wife decided to make sure that he lived forever on the skyline. Sixty-three feet above what is already a pretty steep hill, the tower is one of London's tallest places. Pretty hard to miss, you might think - but Lady James reckoned without Greenwich Council.
After passing into public ownership, the tower eventually ended up with the GLC - and in 1986, after that was abolished, with the London Borough of Greenwich. There'd been a public tearoom there - but the council closed it, along with the rest of the building, leaving decades of obscurity and easy pickings for vandals.
In a full-circle kind of touch which Sir William James might have appreciated, the tower was occupied for a while by the transmitting equipment of a pirate radio station. Later, in a further sign of its well-known commitment to the borough's heritage, Greenwich tried to turn the whole place over to a property developer and convert it into offices.
This week, however, the Heritage Lottery Fund has come across with more than £250,000 to reopen the tower four days a week, and once again allow Londoners to gaze over eight counties from the top-floor viewing platform.
Last week I told you about the obvious local places that everybody has been to except me - the observatory, Rangers House and so on. This week, in the second part of Confessions Of A Columnist, I will admit that I much prefer going to un-obvious places that not all that many people seem to know about. Our area is stuffed with them, and Severndroog is one.
Some of them you can even get inside. Have you ever been to Eltham Palace? It is the most extraordinary place, a suave masterpiece of Thirties ocean-liner style in the shell of a medieval building. The work of the Courtauld textile millionaires, the Russian oligarchs of their day, it exudes a smoking-jacketed opulence that makes the Candy brothers look like MFI.
Virginia Courtauld's vaulted en-suite bathroom is lined with onyx and gold mosaic, with a statue of the goddess Psyche. All the furniture is hand-made to fit precisely the proportions of the rooms. In one of those wonderfully complicated "futuristic" touches, all the rooms have connections to a central suction pipe to which the servants attached an early version of the vacuum cleaner.
Even the Courtaulds' pet lemur, Mah-Jongg, had his own heated cage, from where he would descend a special ladder to bite the chauffeurs. But perhaps the key to all the extravagance lies in a small cupboard off the pantry, which contains a pay phone for the Courtaulds' house guests. You don't get this loaded without watching the pennies.
Eltham Palace is open four days a week until December 20th - and the day I went, I had the place to myself. So although I will get round to the Maritime Museum, and the observatory, I strongly recommend everyone else gets round to some of those lesser-known favourites of mine.