Posts Tagged ‘London’

London Walks

In London, walking on February 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

According to my London MoonWalk training pack, this is now officially Week 1 of the training schedule. I’ve got until 12 May to get fit enough to walk 26.2 miles across London, at night, in a bra*, to raise money for breast cancer charities.

It is also clear that a few brisk walks round Crystal Palace park aren’t going to cut it. At some point before 12 May we have to fit in around six 6 mile walks, three 7 mile walks, a 10, a 12, a 14, two 16s and, the big one, a 20-mile-er.

Ignoring the immediate question of ‘When am I going to find time…?’, and moving on to the slightly more fun question of ‘Where am I going to go?’ I’ve dug out my Time Out London Walks books, my collection of leaflets on things like the Green Chain and Thames Path (I am a compulsive leaflet gatherer) and hit Google, but could do with some extra suggestions. Read the rest of this entry »

Something for the weekend – Crystal Palace

In South London on January 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

Like most of my so-called ‘training walks (did I mention I’m doing the Moonwalk in May?), this one involved a 50 minute all-out brisk walk, followed by a less-brisk browse around an interesting area I hadn’t visited for a while (in this case Crystal Palace), culminating in an impromptu spot of lunch somewhere new I’d spotted (in this case dim sum at Urban Orient). OK, so it’s unlikely I’ll lose any weight through this training regime, but I can tell that my team mates (several of whom seem to view exercise as an end in itself – weird!) are secretly jealous of my laissez-faire workouts.

Even though Crystal Palace is only just far enough from where I live to work up a sweat, and that’s mainly because it’s uphill, I don’t go there nearly as often as I might. So I was pleasantly surprised to find it full of even more interesting junk shops and nice cafes/restaurants than last time and, of course,  amazing views. On that Sunday, the ambiance was humming with a relaxed local vibe – busy, but not the sort of oppressive busy you get in East Dulwich on a Saturday. Just about the perfect amount for a sunny Sunday.

Here’s some of the bits that caught my eye: Read the rest of this entry »

City life – love it or leave!

In London on November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I know I should know better, but I accidentally read some threads on our local internet forum in an idle moment. And nothing is guaranteed to raise the bile quicker than threads on a local internet forum. Particularly a local internet forum in an up-and-coming/up-and-come postcode.

The main irritant was the thread ‘When are the fireworks going to end?????‘ Posted at 10pm ON A SATURDAY NIGHT! apparently this is way too late for anyone to be making a noise or having fun ON A SATURDAY NIGHT. Especially as there were Diwali fireworks ONLY A WEEK AGO! Read the rest of this entry »

Things I’d never noticed about Piccadilly Circus Tube station

In London on June 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

Following on from the last post about commuting, I’d like to pay particular homage to Piccadilly Circus Tube station, which I’ve found myself passing through several times this week.

I cannot believe I have lived in London 21 years, and that I worked on Time Out for more than seven of those, but never noticed this before:

Read the rest of this entry »

The amateur commuter

In London on June 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm

So this week I’ve been doing a bit of commuting. Believe it or not commuting can be fun! For us homeworkers its an adventure, a chance to get out into the big wide world, a break in our routine (once we’ve tied up all the loose ends that hold our routine together, such as finding random people to look after the children at the last-minute, and having clean, socially acceptable clothes). It’s a chance for some amateur anthropology, a bit of gawping at crowd behaviour, regarding ourselves not as one of the crowd but as the wry observer, slightly removed from the scene. More importantly, we won’t have to see these people again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next… Read the rest of this entry »

#74 Tweet sensations (twensations?)

In Social Networking on February 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Or ‘how I learned to stop worrying and love Twitter’.

Although I’ve had an account for about a year, solely to alert more people when I have a new blog post, it’s only in the past three weeks that I’ve actually started using it properly.

On previous visits I’d felt like I was at a party where I didn’t really know anyone. I was hovering on the edge of a circle of cool people, hoping they’d notice me, eavesdropping on female national newspaper columnists and comedy panel show regulars exchanging witticisms (ie slagging off common people) about #MBFGW and XFactor, or discussing the exact Pantone card code of Claudia Winkleman’s face. Read the rest of this entry »

#65 Most used words

In miscellaneous on December 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I’ve just taken that Facebook diversion that everyone seems to be distracted by today – Your Most Used Words in 2010. Perfect for those of us who are supposed to be doing pre-Christmas cleaning, pre-Christmas emails, or pre-Christmas Christmas card writing. (Obviously post-Christmas-Christmas card writing would be a waste of time, though the more pedantic among us might argue that at any point you are always post one Christmas and pre the next. Unless it’s Christmas Day.) Read the rest of this entry »

#52 The best things in life are free, or courtesy of the French tax payer

In Free, Kids, Travel on August 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm

This week we have been holidaying sur les Plages of Paris at the expense of the French tax payer.

The Paris Plages , now in their 9th year, have been much envied by London, though just to correct a misconception – they aren’t actually a whole stretch of fake beach (though there are a couple of areas set aside for sand and sun loungers), but a series of activities, kiosks, and entertainments along what would usually be a busy road along the Seine’s right bank, and around the Bassin de la Villette. All laid on by the Mairie de Paris.

We enjoyed badminton, pedaloing, outdoor swimming, pétanque, trampolining, rolling around on the Bassin inside inflatable floating spheres, and – my personal favourite – the forests of very fine spray that is just enough to cool you down without actually getting you wet, while surrounding you with rainbows. But we could also have done table football, kayaking, waterbikes, bmx-ing, fencing… And all for free. Read the rest of this entry »

#50 Why buildings matter, especially school buildings

In schools on July 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm

So no more Building Schools for the Future, then. We all knew it was coming, but my first reaction last week was: ‘Phew! Thank goodness the 1950s comp my daughter starts at in September has already been rebuilt,’ closely followed by: ‘There goes that gig I had doing architecture workshops with schoolkids in Ealing getting them to design their dream school.’

But for once it isn’t all me, me, me.  A quick look through the revised, revised, (revised?) list shows that just about every school in Ealing that was scheduled for a rebuild has been scrapped. Some with the pens poised over the contract and the wrecking balls ready to swing after the end of term in a fortnight. In a borough that already has to find several thousand more  school places from somewhere. All those kids who’ve been promised something better, just dumped. And the ones I met were really great kids too. Not to mention all those building firms that thought they had work this year and who will now probably just go bust.

Read the rest of this entry »

#36 Bring me sunshine

In Homeworking on March 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm

It could be the weather teasing me, but it looks like we made it through another winter, and a pretty miserable one, unless you are a penguin. (Apologies to readers in Berlin who still have another month to go from the sound of things. And to penguins.)

This week temperatures reached double figures for more than two days running. The sun has shone, bulbs have flowered, washing has dried on the line, hats have been shed, light jackets have been worn instead of big coats, and some people have even been seen in sunglasses. Passing a local private school I saw one groundsman mowing grass and another painting the white lines of a rounders pitch  – two of the textbook Signs of Spring.

After long dark months of hibernation and stodgy food, the first Signs of Spring traditionally fill me with unaccountable energy, and I can’t resist the urge to just get out and walk. Everywhere. All the time. While this can be inconvenient when there are pressing things to be done around the home or at a desk, this compulsive walking is saving money on bus fares, petrol and gym fees.

A 30 minute brisk walk (approx 5mph) burns off nearly 200 calories. I calculate that this week I have clocked up at least 3 hours on foot in trips to the South London Gallery to see Michael Landy’s Art Bin,  Herne Hill for a meeting and home made hot cross buns, and Dulwich Pots for, er, pots – plus roughly half an hour a day on weekdays to and from and to and from school. That’s 2,200 calories by my reckoning. Or nearly 13 Creme Eggs.

Looked at another way, I’ve also saved £4.80 on bus fares and about £2 on petrol. That’s still 13 Creme Eggs – proving the reliability of the Creme Egg as an SI unit of measurement, hereby officially abbreviated to  ‘Ce’.

To walk ‘correctly’ you should apparently hit the ground with your heel and roll through your foot and push off from your toes, hold your arms at a 90 deg angle, keep your pelvis in ‘neutral’, your spine and neck long, your chin up and your eyes forward. Not stomp along hunched up, handbag pulling on one shoulder, neck disappearing into coat, forehead pushing against the wind. You should start each walking session with some simple stretches and, here’s the bonus, make sure you keep up the carbs (but not after 5pm).

On my travels this week I have happened upon:

a derelict building filled with balloons;

a fight outside Primark;

South London’s smallest and newest independent bookshop, Herne Hill Books;

an eclectic junk shop, The Good Companion, selling sideboards, carrot cake, and taxidermied stoats;

Nemo Converse (with fin) for kids;

plus all the crocuses, birdsong and grass cutting.

That’s quite a lot of pleasing diversion. Or, in SI units, 13Ce.