Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Brixton Windmill

The Brixton windmill was built in 1816 for the milling of flour and wheat meal. It relied totally on wind power until 1862, as technology changed so did the operating of the mill. Water to steam engine to gas engine. After WWII as it lay abandoned plans to demolish it and build a block of flats were proposed and finally rejected. It has since undergone several restorations, the last one in 2011. Check their website to see what days it is open to visitors.

To help visitors to find the Olympic Venues see my new Olympic Venue map in the sidebar (just below the weather widget).

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Women's Cycling

The women's cycling on Sunday was a thrilling race. Here are the three medalists in the order they crossed the finishing line. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the gold, Lizzie Armistead the silver, and winning Great Britain's first medal of the game. The bronze went to Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia. The weather was not great with heavy rain, and many riders just had bad luck with so many punctures and several tumbles. It was a hard race, a well deserved win for these three.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Volunteers

A large part of making the Olympics successful is due to the work of the volunteers. Thousands of them all over the city are doing little things to help visitors find their way around, answering their queries, and generaly making them feel welcome. Shirley and Harry are a husband and wife team who work for Network Rail. They and their colleagues will work 19 days as volunteers during the period of the games. Yesterday, volunteers were handing out bottles of water and ice-creams. They took care of your rubbish (all the rubbish bins are gone for security purposes) helped visitors find the right train or onward connection. All this with a cheery smile. A big cheer to all the volunteers.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Singing Wall

No its not a new religion the wall does sing, just not on every button. It is addictive.
Next time you are at Kings Cross station give it a whirl.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Party Begins

As the torch made its way through London yesterday so did accompanying entertainment. This morning at 08:12 bells will ring throughout the country. Olympic fever is high. The party begins.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Olympic Torch Arrives in London

The Olympic torch has arrived in London. It began its tour this morning leaving Camden at 6:48am weaving its way towards Kings Cross where it arrived by barge along Regents Canal stopping at the steps to Granary Square. For this section the torch bearer was Paris Walker. As she stepped off the barge she was welcomed by a choir of young singers and showered with sparkling ticker tape. The torch was passed on to the next runner at the top of the stairs and left for St Pancras Station. It will continue on around the city arriving at Hyde Park around 4:30pm this afternoon.

Although the majority were delighted others aren't so enamoured with the Olympics.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Quiet Spot

Olympic fever is in full swing, there is no way you can be in London and not be aware of the games, even if its only because your daily journey is disrupted. Summer arrived over night and temperatures have doubled. A moment in a quiet shady spot is the perfect way to keep your sense of humour.
Bunhill Fields Cemetery in Islington, not far from the City of London is a wonderful place to sit with your newspaper or book.
Originally the land was part of the manor of Finsbury forming the moor between the City of London and the village of Hoxton. In the 15th Century is was used by the military for archery practice. Although a few bones had been buried in the fields during this period, it was during the plague of the following century that it became a major burial ground as the church cemeteries ran out of space. The grounds were never consecrated and so became popular with the non-conformists ie dissenters of the Church of England. The last burial here was in 1854 and became a public park in 1869.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Summer's Arrived

It looks like summer has found these isles at long last. The weather man is promising a whole week of sun. Pouring into the parks are English bodies of all shapes and sizes soaking up their vitamin D.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Whitecross St Party

In its third year the Whitecross St party is like no other, the street becomes a giant canvas and theatre featuring the works of both established and emerging artists. This year the theme was the "rise of the non-conformists". Dancing, music and food stalls line the street. Paka and his fire horse one of the many artists that kept the crowds enthralled.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Spend a Penny or Two

Finally there are loo's at Southbank. Rather smart they are too. You'll need more than a penny though. 50p is the going rate here.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cyclists During the Olympics

Walk or cycle, don't take public transport during the Olympics, is what Transport for London (TFL) officials are urging us, as part of the plans to ease congestion during the Olympics.

New Olympic lanes are now in use and hundreds of traffic light phase changes have created even more congestion in the remaining lanes. In central London 30 miles of road have been reserved for athletes, families and sponsors. Cyclists are banned from using these lanes and will incur a £130 fine if caught using them.
In London nine cyclists have lost their lives this year. Injuries have increased by 13%. Cyclists are understandably upset at both being encouraged to cycle more and yet put themselves in more danger.
TFL how about more dedicated cycle lanes with fines for vehicles for using them.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Meet your Tour Guide

Wenlock and Madeville are the Olympic Mascots turned tour guides. Six discovery trails are lined with 83 mascots. Smart phone users can scan a QR code at the bottom of each mascot to discover more about London or you can download the London Official City Guide App here.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Made in Britian

There are some wonderful foods produced in Britain, despite what the French would have you believe. When I was living in France the cheese makers I spoke to told me of the problems them had trying to get a new generation interested in making the artisan cheeses. Most are now industrially made by large companies. Here in the UK the reverse is happening and there is a growing artisan market, not just in cheese but in a variety of foods.
The growers are fighting back against the supermarkets who dictate how food will be produced. Just the other day I read that one of the supermarkets wouldn't buy local carrots because the shape wasn't perfect. They would rather have perfect flown from the other side of the world.
As a result we are seeing more and more local markets where the growers and independent producers are selling direct to us.
Made in Britain is one such market. You'll find them in Central St Giles in Holborn every Saturday and Sunday.
I bought a couple of those cheeses last week. Delicious!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Mascara running down her cheeks, beer cans bouncing along the pavement the bride runs.........

Fill in the rest of the story.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Unseen Tours

Brixton has now been added to the list of "Unseen Tours" you can take in London. These unique walks are led by guides who are or have been homeless.
Each Unseen Tour has its own personality, uncovering a city’s hidden history and present-day reality from their perspectives. These are tours with a social conscience, appealing to city-dwellers and visitors alike, and anyone who wants to connect with people from different walks of life.

Hazel knows a lot about Brixton and its history that you wont find in the guide books. The squats, the history of the prison, the famous women's march against the drug culture, the Caribbean culture and history are just a few of the things you will be introduced to.

The tours run every Friday at 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 3pm.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Woolwich Arsenal

Woolwich Arsenal is an odd name for a place so how did that come about? Back in the 1600's an ammunition laboratory was established. Given a royal warrant in 1695 it quickly expanded to include a gun foundry. Convict labour was used to build an eight foot wall around its boundary. At its peak during WWI 80,000 people were employed in the manufacture of weapons. It finally closed in 1940.

The sculpture "Assembly" by Peter Burke is made up of sixteen men that are formed in four pieces. However each figure has one quarter missing so you can see inside.

Perhaps seeking the sanity of weapons manufacture?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

St Swithun's Day

It is very English to obsess about the weather and even more so this summer. It has been the wettest ever recorded. Today however we have fingers and toes crossed that it will be sunny.
For today is St Swithun's Day:
St. Swithun's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithun's day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain na mair.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Our Guests are Arriving

With less than two weeks before the games begin, London is decorated and ready to receive her thousands of guests.
Regent St and surrounding streets are flying national flags from the 206 countries that will be competing. It looks rather grand don't you think. Your Olympic challenge is to see how many countries you can identify.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Celebrating Bob Hope

Leslie Townes Hope grew up in Eltham near London. We all know him as Bob Hope, the much loved entertainer, who had a lifelong love of golf.

An exhibition about his life times and humour has been put together by the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum with the support of the Bob & Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation and was launched by his daughter Linda. It was a really fun night with lots of laughter, which seemed really appropriate for such a great entertainer.

The free exhibition in the Berkeley Gallery at the
Greenwich Heritage Center at Artillery Square in Woolwich from Friday July 13 through October 28, 2012. Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4.45pm

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Olympic Countdown

London has been on Olympic countdown for weeks but with just fifteen days to go we are seeing major changes around the city. Big pink banners in the tubes to point you to an Olympic venue, new traffic lanes and thousands of visitors are pouring into the city.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Grace at Jamboree

I'm always looking for the best places in London to show you. My latest discovery in a real gem. Jamboree live music bar, at Limehouse, will transport you to another era when music is mellow and the environment intimate. I haven't seen anything like this since I left Paris. The place is jammed full of interesting objets d'art. One corner a painters studio where paints and brushes lie next to a partly finished portrait.
Expect jazz, Celtic or world music. The night I was there Grace Banks seduced us with her honeyed dulcet vocals. I'll be back.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Pips Dish

Friends and I had a superb lunch on the weekend at a wonderful pop-up restaurant in Islington. Cook Philip Dundas's concept of PipsDish is to offer food cooked with love. Imagine you are eating at your grandmothers and the family is all gathered around the table. No arguments and no-one stuck out in the kitchen.
He and partner Mary Doherty decided to set up PipsDish after becoming weary of the experience of expensive soulless restaurants with bad service. The restaurant is set in what was the garage where Philip used to take his car for servicing. Many of the old fittings form part of the decor of the new dining area.

The food is fresh and mostly locally grown. Fresh fish caught in Cornwall. Rare-breed pigs and beef. They have visited the fields the animals are raised in. If it is not local it will be the best from Europe like their top olive oils from Italy.
A long table laden with delicious food, superbly cooked. I can still smell the divine roast lamb stuffed with garlic and rosemary. mmmmm.

The dining experience took me back to a lovely lunch I'd had with friends in the countryside in Italy.

There is no menu no decisions to make it really is just like being at Grandma's. Booking is essential as the food is bought and cooked just for those who have made a reservation. It's also BYO.
As a pop-up the future is uncertain, the space is earmarked for a Tesco's. Don't miss out on this experience.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Singing For Fun

Getting into the spirit of the day at the Queens Square Fair in Holborn.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Tart or Two

.No bread for my breakfast, off to the bakery to get one of my favourite Portuguese tarts and imagine I am somewhere sunny and warm as I devour a tart or two over a coffee

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Bermondsey Market

Bermondsey Street is changing. New apartments are being built and this new food market has arrived. Smaller and more intimate than Borough Market. Great food, music, friendly and perfect to just chill out on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre

One of the joys of London is finding the most wonderful and quirky events.
Cabaret Mechanical Theatre is one of my best finds. See a man who eats his own weight in spaghetti in the bath, a monkey rowing a banana, a performing circus and dozens of others.

Fun from another era, beautifully preserved. The best bit is that you can play with them. Push the buttons and watch them perform. I loved the drinking woman above. Sums up just how I felt by the time I finished the accounts yesterday.

Best news is that you can see them and push the buttons yourselves. Showing at Space Station 65 in East Dulwich until 7 September.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Get Paid to go Shopping

Quidco launched their new shopping app at this pop-up Boutique last Thursday. The crowds enthusiasm was understandable given that they were in with a chance to win £100 just for downloading the app and 500 walked away with the cash.

The pop-up store is gone but you can still win cash when you go shopping. How? Download Quidco's app, it's free. It pays 'cashback' when you make a purchase at any of the 3,300 retailers listed on their website. Get paid for shopping sounds good to me. What have you got to lose?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

July Theme - Chimneys

City Daily Photo (CDP) monthly theme for July is chimneys.

It appears we have problems with our portal so for this month use the
Alternative Theme Day linkage
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