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london archives


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this was in a historic house we visited recently.  it's london during the 1800s.  i miss london.  not enough to want to come back and live there, but i miss the streets, endless adventures and infinite potential.

that's all here too, but less intensively plopped (geographically speaking)

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this is one of my favourite places for taking pictures of big ben in london.  on a clear evening the setting sun makes the palace of westminster glow orange.  And the reflection in this window is always spot on !

i was glad to walk past this location again last night when the conditions were aligned.

apologies for the posting of this photo again, but it is a new fresh one and i love it so !

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spot the little marching soldiers

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i'd never heard of the elfin oak.  but here it is

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a snap shot of modern london

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these look better bigger than smaller, so go on, give them a click !

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the great thing about this time of year is that it gets dark early so i've been able to grab some nice evening sunlight shots like these. 

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complete with pigeon on the head



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i'm not entirely sure what this is, but it's doing something in trafalgar square this weekend (i think)

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we went to london with friends yesterday.  started by train then go the tube to embankment where we caught the thames clipper to greenwich.  it's the only way to travel (if you ignore the other options).  here we are waiting

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at greenwich we got a bit lost and ended up in a painted room which was very good

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kezia enjoyed the mirror which saved her looking up

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it was very rainy so not much sight of docklands

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but we did watch the 1pm ball drop, something a tour guide described as a "non event", but one worth watching nevertheless.  we felt thoroughly calibrated.

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then, after a few hours wandering around the excellent martime museum we avoided a proper soaking (from the rain and the river) by taking the foot tunnel to the north side of the thames

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before getting the driverless DLR to Bank to catch a tube to the train station.  you can see the person driving the driverless train bottom left in this picture

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so all in all, an excellent day out and huge thanks to our friends for suggested we went londonwards.

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can you guess the event to which this refers ?

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here's another clue for yesterday's tourist shot.  sharon guessed it right yesterday, but some may still not have seen her answer ...

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i got up early a couple of weeks ago and arrived a few hours early for a meeting so i could walk further east than i usually do.  here is the proof.

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london is great

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tate modern is getting ready for an exciting weekend of long weekend activities.  looks like a lorra lorra fun.

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we'll not be going unfortunately, but you should.  you know, if you're in the area.

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i first spotted these chaps walking behind some people in the park (who also seemed to be marching)
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this is just an everyday occurance in london
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these have got to be the most impractical hats and clothing ever.  especially in the 27 degree heat of yesterday
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the bloke in the middle looked particularly funny
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as you can see here
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i wondered if they were actually clowns in disguise

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and when they arrive at their destination they'll whip their hats and capes off to reveal comedy clown clothes
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not that they weren't amusing as they were
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and they got a great camera based reception as they arrived at the main road
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so there we are.  a nice photo story for ya.

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yesterday was even more stunning that the day before

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a few other photograghers were out too.  i was glad i'd walked the route the day before else i wouldn't have known where i was going for all the fog.  (not quite) a real pea souper.

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there's a geocache in that there bandstand

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work colleague harry recommended i track down the cross bones graveyard about a year ago.

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i finally got there yesterday

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it's quite a place. in fact it's just a fence.  what lies behind is a building site at the moment.

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read more here
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and the bonus was a geocache where i picked up this delightful travel bug !

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this chap in the parker was acting very randomly by the horse guard near, er, horseguard's parade.  the poor guard was looking a bit freaked out.


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luckily mr parker had brought a selection of old lady shopping trollies with him.  it took me back to my younger days when i would do something like this for hours on end for no apparent reason.  oh happy days.

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i think this is probably quite easy, but can you guess the london landmark ?

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i googled for 'bank holiday activities' and the second suggestion was back to funkypancake. what are the chances of that ?

anyway, jane and i used our home-alone bank holiday saturday to go up to london to visit the photography exhibition at Tate Britain then go on a guided tour of the houses of parliament.

i go in to the houses of parliament for meetings quite regularly but it was excellent to do the tourist thing and understand some of the history of the place. it was also very cool to be able to stand (we weren't allowed to sit) in both the house of lords and house of commons in amongst the famous seats.

probably not one for little kids, but if you're having a grown up day out in london, definitely worth an hour of your time.

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the southbank is so cool at the moment. there's the gormley statues and the national theatre has grass growing up the side, making a nice green on the usual grey wall

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(i wasn't sure which one of these i liked best ! once again, i'm greatful for any advice - i think the one with the bike in feels nicer but i don't know why !

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unberleevably, i wandered through china town for the first time last week. i don't normally do west to east at that latitude. or perhaps i just didn't notice before as it wasn't covered in paper balloons.

so here's a photo with a random posing tourist for your enlightenment just in case you've never been either.

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spring sprung this week. on thursday people were sitting out having their lunch all over london and it was great. here are two people eating noodles with st paul's in the background

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answer:
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i took the girls up to london a few days ago.
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we went on the london eye
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admired (and got drawn on) by street performers
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then we got the tourist boat
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which dropped us off a greenwich
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then we walked under the thames before getting the driverless DLR and tube back to the train station.
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much fun was had by all !

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this little shop is still a little shop. less curious (if you're curious) though. unless you find shoes curious

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things didn't quite go to plan with our family trip to london yesterday. we initially tried to go to kinetica (as recommended here) but it wasn't open when we were there.

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so we regrouped in Spitz for a while (and played snap/tetris) before going over to our main destination

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unfortunately that was shut (although their website didn't mention it when i checked the night before)

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so instead we went to the museum of london which was fun.

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then back to the train for our journey home. i think we had a good day, even though things didn't quite go to plan.

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of course you guessed it right again (although it was America which won the race to win-ness this time).

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you did well at the last one (especially you australians who were awake when the post went live at 4am UK time!).

so, what is this ?

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the first time i went to bethnal green was 8th june 2005. here's a photo of the tube station


i often forget london has a really nice canal running through it. occasionally i stumble upon it when out on manoeuvres, such as this occasion when i'd just been to an art gallery preview


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i was very pleased with this photo which shows several piles of fruit mimicking the city of london in the background.
there two other versions here and here.

that's art that is. probably.

click for a big version and you can see BT Tower, the Gherkin and Canary Wharf on the horizon.

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if you are up in london this weekend you should go and look at some gardens. there's plenty open as it's the open garden weekend
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i walk past this place on the work in the morning and i was delighted to see that they've completely filled the square with a giant marquee. so, even though you'll be allowed in the square, you won't see much except a giant tent.
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some of the places look interesting, but we've got a busy weekend so won't be able to go unfortunately. maybe next year.

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have you ever been to Holland Park ? it's not too far from Olympia and is really lovely. i walked through it as a short cut to get to a meeting and was really pleased i did.

can you believe this is right in the centre of london ?

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after weeks of not seeing the sky, it was finally back this afternoon. london looks so good in the sun.

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i'm sure i remember coming to london when i was young and seeing some city gents in their bowler hats, but since then i've only seen one chap wearing a bowler and he was a nutty chap standing on a street corner, shouting religious words to anyone who would listen, after a hard day in the office. but he did look like a genuine bowler wearer.

perhaps when i get to heaven i'll meet him and tell him i remember him well.

however, yesterday, i spotted this chap with a bowler hat coming out of the Financial Times building. he even put his bowler on for a moment but then whipped it off as he ran for his cab.

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from the quality of this shot you can tell i've been on a photography course can't you !

i discovered an island yesterday. i suspect someone found it before me (and put this sign up) but i thought i'd go exploring and consider if it was the kind of place i'd like to live
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it contained one small mountain and a number of trees
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looking the other way it was clear to see that it was a long thin island separated from the main land by two busy roads. it was nice to see a bollard was already nesting here so i felt quite at home
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the view westwards was a little disappointing. instead of a vast expanse of sea, all i could see was a BMW garage and a bendy bus
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on the way back i spotted this treasure map. the photos above were taken at location 6 - the strangely unmarked island.
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norman is an island apparently.

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can you spot the coffee cup ?

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st george's gardens is a funny little place in the middle of london, full of dead reformers (except for the ones who got body-snatched i guess!)

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despite all the great names buried in this place, there's a number of huge tombs.
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this one had the identification faded away
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it made me think that even if we're fantastically successful in life and get buried in a massive tomb then eventually any memory of the real us is forgotten. if it's just all about living, dying then being forgotten it all seems a bit sad !

(thankfully i belive there's more to life than that so no need to get all depressed !).

here's a picture from outside the gates.
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henrietta mews (because she's a cat?)

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i've taken a shot like this before but the light wasn't as good as yesterday

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i messed the contrast up on this picture so you couldn't see the bins in the foreground. after some random fiddling in Photoshop i ended up with this very strange effect, which i quite like. no idea what i did.

The Monument is one of those funny places which people just forget about. i had a meeitng a few minutes walk from it and i was a bit early so i paid my £2 and went in
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there's 311 steps on the cantilevered stone staircase which seemed to go on forever
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right at the top of the Monument is a drum and a copper urn from which flames emerged, symbolising the Great Fire. The whole thing is 202 feet high - the exact distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the Great fire of London began on 2 Sept 1666. The Monument was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the city.
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thanks to 300+ years of public access the viewing platform is covered in graffiti
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of course the thing that once stood high above the city is now lost amongst the taller building around it, like the new gherkin building
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but there's still a fine view of Tower Bridge and the river
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graffiti, random man with ice-cream and big ben.


st katherine's dock was previously beyond my range of walking from paddington but since i've started getting in to paddington at 7am having already done an hours work i've allowed my morning trecks to extend. meaning i can get to a 9am meeting over there with time to spare.

if ever you visit the Tower of London, or Tower Bridge, you should make time for wander round the very pretty docks




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have you ever been to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London ? you should do, especially when it's free (like it was yesterday for Shakey's birthday):

the inside is quite amazing (unless you stand in the middle in which case you get wet on rainy days):

and there was plenty of entertainment:

esther and i had a daughter/dad day in london yesterday. after the Globe we went for lunch in a restaurant then we went to HMS Belfast.

there was lots of climbing up and down ladders and i got all confused on the kids quiz. it's a bit of a weird thing to be a tourist attraction, especially for little kids, but it's what esther wanted to do.

in the end she decided it was a grown-ups version of 'soft play'.



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there's another giant carpet map of london in the basement of city hall at the moment for the 2012 olympic bid. it's very much like the other one):


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This time i bring you heathrow airport:

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after spending 4 hours walking at speed round Windsor Park and castle on saturday we went as a family to the Tower of London on Sunday.

it's most excellent (though very pushchair unfriendly). i've dozens of photos of both trips to share with you over the coming weeks.

but for now, here's a list of people executed by a sign. if your name was on this sign you'd probably avoid going near it.


click to read the death list

when i took this i also took these (click them for bigness):

st paul's cathedral:

and a bit more zoomy inny:

and this one of general buildings and that:

one of the few things you don't need in london is a map of scotland.

if you are using a map of scotland to get round london you stand quite a high chance of getting lost. that's assuming you are not lost already.

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it was esther's last day of the half term holidays yesterday so jane and her came to london to do some touristy things (and some girly shopping in paperchase).

here they are in the British Museum doing an adventure pack thing which involved making a fancy hat with velcro. jane wore the hat whilst esther stuck all the stuff on.

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another part involved making a small pot:
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it's name the london landmark time (clue in the title)


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wouldn't it be great if we could see london in 3D ? well, now you can.

simply go down Fleet Street, climb up a ladder and look through these fancy dangling glasses. You'll then be able to see all the fancy buildings in glorious visual stereo.

the building just behind on the top photo is the Royal Courts of Justice, so you may even get to see a celebrity leaving a libel trial in glorious 3 dimensions too !

what a brilliant idea.

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i spent nearly all of yesterday in the house of commons. it was quite amazing and there were so many photo opportunities. fantastic architecture, mad signage, crazy traditions, bizarre conversations and lots of famous politicians (lord hutton held the door open for me at one point !)

security is really tight in there now and there are quite a few signs saying 'no photography'.

so in the end i only sneaked this one, which is on the way up to the public gallery of the house of commons.

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it was wet and windy as i speed walked backed to the station last night. i spotted these people trying to take a photo whilst their umbrella was being blown inside out so i lunged for my own photo as i whizzed past.

tourists are such good value.

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i was lucky enough to go to a meeting on the 11th floor of a building on the south side of the thames yesterday. i took a couple of photos.

here's one:

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and pigs might fly


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here's a button you can press next to Buckingham Palace.

tourists can press the button and all the lights in the palace turn on, a twinkly tune is played and the queen and all her family pop out of the upstairs windows like a cookoo clock. perhaps.


click to enjoy an enlargment opportunity

we took the girls to london yesterday to go to the V&A museum, followed by a walk to Oxford Circus (via the Diana Memorial, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus).

The V&A is a funny old place. We didn't get on very well thanks in part to a tired kezia, but depsite quite a few activity things for kids, it's not really 'their' sort of museum - ie lots of boring things in display cases !

But just look at the size of these things on display !

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i met a friend for lunch yesterday in the british museum and we had a look at the exhibition of badges which were there.

it's a very small exhibition, but i enjoyed it.

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in order to find a train which still has spare seats i got the 6.08 train from my local station this morning. this meant my walk across london was slightly less crowded than usual

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do you ever have mental time travel moments ? they happen quite a lot in london. you see something and think "if i'd been standing in this spot hundreds of years ago i probably would have seen this exact same thing'

here is one such vision. i suspect the metal riot railings might be slightly contemporary.

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it was my work's christmas party last night and we decided to drive across london to the venue.

i still find it amazing you can just drive in to the centre of london and look out of your car window at all the sights. it's a bit like a safari trip.

anyway, it took us longer to get across london than it did to reach london to begin with, and when we got nearly there we found a fantastic free street parking place (we'd been expecting a £20 car park).

but how would we remember which street we'd parked the car in ? well, by looking for this handy monument we parked under.

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these spikes and barbed wire keep people out of the queen's back garden in the middle of london.

but what if they are actually to stop the queen escaping ? perhaps she's sick of being the monarch and hankers after a quiet life in a suburban terrace house somewhere ?

these protection measures are there to keep her, and therefore the empire, from disappearing.

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click for a big zoom

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i see a lot of london blue plaques in my daily wanderage but i don't want to overburden you with boring things so i usually don't take their photos.

i was impressed by this one on Denmark Street (aka Tin Pan Alley). I was down there earlier looking at Telecasters. Above 'Rockers' guitar shops (claiming to beat the price on any Fender) was this sign informing us that Augustus Siebe, pioneer of the Diving Helmet lived and worked here.

with the volume of guitar widdling in the music shop i could have done with a diving helmet myself.

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another man who could do with wearing a helmet is telco john who just came back from lunch with a trendy-boy haircut:
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the poppy petals were still around this morning. apparently there was one dropped for every person who died in recent wars (including 1st and 2nd).

some cleaners were busy sweeping the memories up, but there were still lots left.

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i was at a meeting last night which finished just before 6pm so we could go out and watch a couple of old planes fly over and drop pettles on london. so we did.

unfortunately it was dark and although i saw the fly by i didn't get a decent photo so won't show you (this never normally stops me!).

lots of the bridges were lit up in red and the whole town was full of people.

projections on a building and dropped petals:
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and i finally found out what these lights were for:
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the search lights remained searching way after the planes had gone:
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(bottom left bigable by the method of clicking)

it's the Lord Major's show in london at the weekend and strange things are appearing all over the place. i assume these lights in plastic bubbles are somehow related.

they looked like giant bubble wrap. can you imagine the satisfaction in popping one !

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click to inspect

i've often taken pictures of the blue tourist signs on the walls of famous buildings indicating that a famous person once lived there. often people have asked if there's more info about them, but until now i've not found any.

but today i found this (low bandwidth) which is part of the english heritage site (search for blue plaque).

there's a searchable list at blueplaque.com and a complete list on the english heritage site here

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it was a very high tide yesterday. one of those once or twice a year things. boats were squeezing under the bridges and everything.

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you really should go to the london transport museum in covent garden london. it's great. loads for adults and kids to do.

things like colouring and climbing on pretend buses whilst watching thomas the tank engine appeal to very small kids whilst being able to pretend to drive a tube train appealed to the older generation.

anyway, you should go there. we spent a good few hours in what is essentially a funny little warehouse in the centre of london.

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the man said please inform staff of any unattended items. no one was looking after this apple core. i wasn't sure what to do. so i did nothing.

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ok, here's a little lunchtime competition. if you get the right answer i'll post some more pictures of where it was.

so, this bloke spends his day going up and down in a lift. but where is it ?

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here's another clue - he's driving the fastest lifts in europe (7.5m/s) which take you up 158 metres above london:
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phone box, bin (with leaves), hidden bollard, a white taxi, a drain and a london bus. a classic london street scene.

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hyde park



another street entertainer playing on tourists love of all thing british.

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it's very popular to stand in tourist areas painted silver and pretend to be a statue. as a way of making money it seems quite easy. though the actual money involved seems quite small and it might get a bit boring.

here are parts of two such people on the south bank yesterday evening

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they were setting up Carter's Steam Fair as i walked home last night. here are a few pictures.

lorry:
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ice-cream view with various landmarks behind:

click for big

strong man:
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swings:
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horse man:
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No 1 For Fun:
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i've taken a picture of this before, but it looks good, so here is another one.

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london hotels are a funny thing. here's a particularly funny one. probably not the traditional olde london hotel that some of its visitors will be expecting.

it might be quite nice inside, but is lacking some restraint on the outside i felt.

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london's south bank is a bizarre concrete monstrocity. no bad thing of course. and it does mean you get some nice contrasting images.

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here is a nice little building in the middle of Soho Square. here's a panarorama for me to spell and you to enjoy.

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my meetings finished quite late last night so i walked down the South Bank towards a convenient tube station. on the way there were various street entertainments, including this band. London nearly manages to be quite european at time.

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the roof in Smithfield Market is amazing. it's practical beauty is a contrast to the slabs of meat being dragged around beneath it.

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to be honest London wall has seen much better days. since the city stopped being walled-in it's been left to fester and there's only a few places where you can see it around the town.

i was therefore very pleased to see they might be rebuilding it. anti-terrorism and all that i imagine.

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i thought this house looked good. it's built in to the underneath of a bridge. it's now slightly battered but i think that gives it even more character.

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my meeting/reception thing in whitehall finished around 8.30pm. as i came out i noticed the amazing summer evening sun shining on the houses of commons. i spent the next half an hour wandering round taking pictures of this amazing thing. hope you like.

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i walked through trafalgar square last night and saw these chaps cleaning a glass stage. there are some seats underneath the stage so i suspect it's a special underneath performance dance thing.

it looked very good (from my angle) but i had to make haste to reach my destination so couldn't linger.

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it works well for swimming pool attendents, so why shouldn't it work for police men with binoculars in oxford street. he evenhas his own community policemand for company

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there's something about british hotels. especially in london. this one looks particularly run down.

it might be fine inside but outside it look very unappealing. what a strange country this is !

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someone was disillusioned with the Sherlock Holmes museum and smashed their mug on Queen Anne street. i hope they found solace (shoelace ?) in the man hole covers on this street.

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for a while our national flags were hijacked by upleasant nationalists and had a general association with thuggery.

this year things have changed. the english flag is flying from many buildings and cars. maybe we have turned in to a nation of thugs and racists ? the election results will be out soon and we'll know for sure.

it's nice to see a bit of colour though. and it's only right that the BBC building is flying the flag (the english not british one). they have a small flag in the middle of the tarpaulins.

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a shop front mirrored wall by covent garden tube station

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the west end of london is great. you can walk down the street and a door opens and you see in to the back of a theatre stage !

here is one such event. note the back of the moose heads and a load of carbon dioxide.

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london is constantly under construction (insert tacky animated gif here). as a result new walls appear without warning.

here is one such wall. it has a pleasing line to it.

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here's the houses of parliament through the side of a bridge.

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on the other side of the street this morning i spotted this little sign and a tiny hotel which i walk past every morning but have never seen before.

perhaps it doesn't really exist. But it did get an Egon mention back in 1994 (according to the sign on the door).

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i decided to walk my walk to work on the opposite side of the road today. my route is finely honed and the ocasional deliberate disruption can help see things in a different way. the pavement always looks greyer on the other side, but is it ?

i can report that it's more dangerous over there. i know the traffic light timings and zebra crossing etiquette on my normal side, but the other side of the road is a lot less predictable.

environmentally, the other side of the road is very similar to the normal side of the road. same weather conditions for most of the journey, although i did experience a lot more shade on this sunny morning (which was very welcome).

but oh the visual chaos over there. look at this collection of street frontages. black and white squares are popular but there's no uniformity of shape or size and there's random other flooring in there too. this mess carried on right up the street.

i suspect you could get hypnotised if you walked over this bit of street at the right speed.

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here's what i promised earlier

or a bit more zoomediny:


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last time i saw all these flags out was when georgey boy came to visit. remember the commemorative walk ? i did it backwards today.

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i went to a meeting this evening and the best thing was coming out of an adjacent building at 8pm to see big ben all lit up by a nice yellow evening sun.

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i've never been to primrose hill before. i decided to go this lunchtime on another hour long exploring expedition.

if you get the tube from Goodge Street to Chalk Hill you can walk to the viewpoint in primrose hill then along the canal to Camden Market and then back from Camden station in about an hour. but you have to walk fast and get your photos quick !

graffiti on the path to prepare you:

now with enhanced biggernizzzation

read the story from the person who wrote these words here

the view:

click for biggenisation

i took a few photos so may attempt a panarama stitch together thing sometime.

and the canal:
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i shall return to explore in more detail some other sunny day when i don't have meetings ...

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the once common site of london flute shops has sadly dissappeared from many a high street. these poor shops suffered most as a result of fickle londoner's change in taste away from the metalic wind instruments.

today they'd rather have a reed instrument such as a bassoon or core angerlay (why did i choose that word to spell ?).

cousin mike might be able to give us some more musical knowledge to explain the demise of the humble flute shop

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(with space ship)

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some days i think my morning walk from paddington to tottenham court road is a little excessive. particularly when it's raining.

rain is brilliant though. massive drops of water simply falling from the sky. excellent.

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there are lots of crazy people in london. it makes you wonder where all the lost marbles went. i found one. near a hospital (but not a mental hospital)

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wobbly bridge with the globe and tate modern on the other bank

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there was a great thunder storm this afternoon when i was in a meeting. i took this photo a couple of minutes before whilst the clouds were gathering.

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this theatre is proudly advertising nothing. all it's advertising had been painted black. but they still had all the fancy light bulbs illuminating it.

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i've never been to the tower of london. i know others have and have said it's very good. here is a photo of it from when i popped out of Tower Hill tube station earlier.

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i was alarmed to see that the cleaners have sacked a bin. what did it do wrong ? or was it simply putting their own jobs at risk by providing a place for people to put their rubbish ?

i just hope that other bins don't hear about this and start an uprising. where would be without bins ?

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i suspect someone misunderstood when they said they were going to clean up the streets of london. 500 rolls of toilet paper was probably not the solution they were looking for.

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another picture of the london gherkin for your delight.

puddle duck would have been even better:
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and a hill for hugging is a nice idea. unless you get court hugging the wrong person:
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just like the other one, only one week and four hours later

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i was lucky enough to be invited along to a reception at the House of Commons on the Terrace overlooking the river. it was mad weather which made for a good rainbow and a nice sunset.

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"please can you tell me where i can find the dead man who has been taxidermied and put in a box" ?

a simple question which had an incredible effect on the person i asked. she creased up in fits of giggles and ran off to a back room. this was not an unusual response unfortunately.

another receptionist who overheard my question said "is he a student".

eventually i found Jeremy Bentham in the South Cloisters of UCL. to save you the embarrasement of asking for him, here he is with some information:

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more info for those that like to click and read:

a bit of a self portrait here:
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and here is the pub sign and BT tower (again):
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following the covering of st pauls and the BBC headquarters, the Marble Arch at, er, Marble Arch has now also been hidden.

it's a giant game of tourist hide and seek.

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i walked past the box last march (!) and this time it was empty as the actors were having a break. or perhaps they had just given up and gone home.
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and here is a Bible in a glass box outside a church:
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he thinks the sun shines out of his ...

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remember the turf ? it's still looking lovely.

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as seen from the inside (secure side) of the houses of parliament. you'll be pleased to know my bag didn't fly off the security conveyor belt this time.

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it's very popular to put people in glass boxes in london. here are the latest ones.

they are actors in a bullet proof box in Trafalgar Square. they are reading all the year numbers spanning a million years or something. it's very good.

i didn't have time to stop and watch it all (it runs 24 hours until friday i think).

if i find a link i'll post it for you.

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don't go to the building on the right of big ben unless you want your bag to fall off the security conveyorbelt.

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more moody streetlights.

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on a comedy and terrorism related theme, i went to a very high security government building for a meeting this morning. i put all my valuables (camera, pedometer etc) in my bag before i arrived so they could all go throught the x-ray machine.

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reconstruction

the man loaded my bag on to the conveyor belt, turned and looked at me, then turned back, pressed a button and ...

Continue reading "fight against terrorism #2" »

here is a hanky. it's on the floor in the station and no one has picked it up.

it used to be the case that ladies would drop their hanky to attract the attention of male of the opposite sex who would lean over and return said item to the lady of the opposite persuasion. (i suspect i may be over wording this slightly).

but the very fact that this was left on the station proved that this approach to dating no longer works. people would rather go speed dating instead it seems.

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this street cabinet has been resently repainted with anti graffiti blobby paint. it's as black as can be yet seems to be really bright because it was reflecting the sunlight.

it was really quite attractive to look at. i might get our car done in a similar style.

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here is the markings on a more modern postbox (as requested here). i spotted this one as it had its EiiR painted nicely.


from my window i could see the robot wars merchandising shop. but it's shut or moved or something. it's funny how you miss things when they are gone. i never went in it, but it was quite exciting. now it's just a load of flourescent yellow and black lines.

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today was a trip to the natural history museum. it's fantastic value (free) and is most excellent. dinosaurs were the main draw of course. i liked the earthquake/volcano etc bits. even the building itself is fantastic.

lots of fun was had by all.

and it's only a shortish walk from Paddington Station so we even managed to avoid 'tube with pushchair' misery.

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come to london where the street are paved with CDburning software.

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this flag is all worn out. that's probably symbolic.

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i've found a nice pub near St Paul's cathedral (and therefore near where my next meeting is in half an hour) which has free wifi ! And it's a really nice pub which was used in some Gwynth Paltrow movie (changing doors or something i think) and the food's really nice.

lovely.

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here are some tourists standing outside a taxi. they had made the taxi driver get out and take a photo of them. anyone who's ever come in to contact with a london taxi driver will understand the negotiation that probably went in to arranging this.

the funny thing is that behind where i was standing is St Paul's catherdral. If they had taken the photo from the other side of the taxi it would have made a nice photo. oh well.

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so what about the giant cat that is stalking london ? i'm definately on to something here. it's a load of spreaded shredded paper. Exactly the kind of thing that a giant cat would sleep in.

and where is it most apparent ? round man hole covers. the cat is obviously sleeping underground and comes up through these holes to stalk its pray.

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when it lurches and lunges it causes a vortex which spirals the paper pieces in a circle.

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i'm glad this is my last day in london for a week ...

a comedy moment of misery outside the Astoria just now. lots of goths in a row.

sing together now, "100 moody goths sitting in a row ...."

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i tried to produce a boring photo. this isn't bad.

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i can see lots of exciting things from my office window:

Continue reading "pollock's toy museum" »

here is another psychedelic slick in the same place as i saw the other one. This one looks particularly tie-dye.

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there's been a few stories in the paper about prince harry going out drinking and smoking and generally gavorting.

i suspect it might have been him and his chums who threw this bench in the lake just next to buck-house.

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thanks to the new turf (i nearly mispelt that) the environs around buckingham palace looks very green.

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telephone boxes at Embankment. these phone boxes have probably got a BT code name and i'm sure Pete will tell us what it is ...

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come to london. you're not too late to see the christmas lights.

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if you are in london and want to see some fantastic things for free then go to the british library. it's about 2 minutes walk from Kings Cross / St Pancras Station and 5 minutes from Euston.

Original shakespeares, da vinci notebooks, the magna carta, the original handwritten Alice In Wonderland, original Beatle lyrics etc. All to see and enjoy. and there's some impressive bookshelves too.

there is even a section on stamps which got me thinking. you can stick a stamp on nearly anything and it will travel to nearly anywhere in the world. that's why we have the phrase "philately will get you everywhere". i think

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(the blue dog in the foreground is reminding us to be s@fe on the internet)

here are some ladies on the Euston Road making themselves useful

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tottenham court road is the street with a million shops selling all your modern electronical gadgetry. they have so much they have to throw some out in to the street and you often see keyboards and other peripherals 'growing wild' on bin day.

here is an HP scanner and an Epson printer.

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it's quite common in big cities to see protective fences around and about to protect the celebrity classes from the paupers. This is particularly popular around places like leicester square where they have lots of film premiers.

Here is bench and a little tree protected from the public by barriers. this would be ideal for a celebrity if they were shopping in Selfridges and wanted to have a little sit down and watch the world go by.

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it snowed, then it melted a bit and then it froze. the result is very icey.

in fact, walking to work this morning was very much like walking across an ice-rink. by which i mean there was a mighty pipe organ playing 70s disco tunes in the cheesiest of ways. possibly.

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as if it wasn't slippy enough, i spotted a few discarded banana skins too:
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some people were fighting back. here was a curly wurly (still in its wrapper). a curly wurly is an excellent anti-slipping device thanks to its elaborate design:
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i've used the word bonnet a number of times recently. i'm glad about that.

this morning i noticed a number of cars with snow writing on their bonnets. here is one saying London.

the other says Arsenal which must be a satirical comment on the Hutton report making a statement on Sadam's supposed military arsenal.

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there were a number of other cars around which also had writing on them. all of these contained offensive words (some were even spelt correctly) so i didn't take any photos.

i suspect there is a giant (king kong style) cat living somewhere in london. i shall search for evidence, but for starters here is a footprint in the snow on a phone box.

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here are some pictures i took last night of london looking nice at night

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The BBC place in Portland Place (Broadcasting House) has been hidden for a while for security reasons. whilst it's under wraps they've decided to put some big art displays on it.

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Continue reading "noise" »

waterloo station is made of girders (like irn bru). they do look very nice and act as mirror to the minimal pairs of metal lines which the train run on at ground level. i wonder if that's what they meant to do.

more likely they were just concerned with keeping the roof up.

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here is a lovely man selling the Evening Standard outside Cannon Street Tube Station. it was chucking it down with rain and he sat in his little hut with his old fashioned mini candle lamp and he was so cheerful when he told me directions to my destination.

i asked if i could take a photo and he said yes, so here it is. please buy a paper off him and say you saw him here. it'll make his day (possibly)

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there was a great sunrise this morning. real end of the world stuff.

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a tree in hyde park

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i know there is at least one architect who reads this blog fairly regularly.

Perhaps someone can explain how they manage to construct offices entirely of clouds. Here is one such building on Euston Road. Is it all done with mirrors ?

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as you may know, london was, until the 1980s, a small village in a giant pine forest on a mountain. In the 80s they removed the trees, flattened the mountain, and moved various historic buildings from across the UK in to the newly formed city of London.

They even extended this concept to the london underground where the various different lines were brought from different towns and villages. This is why each of the lines has its own individual characteristics, and why so few other towns in the UK have their own underground transport. One engineer on the project said "it's like extracting varicose veins and putting them back in someone else's legs, but much more rewarding"

The idea was that a concentration of ancient and interesting buildings in a small area would encourage tourism as well as providing a nice backdrop for those working in the city.

Unfortunately, with progress, nature was destroyed. The pine forest and mountain seem like a distant dream. People who lived in London village just 25 years ago still resent the destruction of their quiet hamlet.

These people protest silently once a year by placing pine trees in the street outside their houses thus hindering pedestrian access.

here are just a few i spotted this morning:

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we took esther and kezia to london today. we were going to do the george w bush memorial walk, but it was chucking it down with rain, so we went to the Tate Modern instead. After much fun there we walked down the south bank to trafalgar square via westminster (so esther could see big ben).

fun on the bakerloo line:
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I've mentioned the installation before, but here are some new pictures:

sleepy kezia (and blanket) and esther
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kezia looking at the ceiling and jane looking cute:
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esther took this photo of me unhelped (not bad for a 4 year old):
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on the way back we saw Big Ben:
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rather randomly i thought i saw battersea power station across hyde park this morning. it must have been there every day, but i've just never looked down the road at this angle before. you can just see it's four jutting jutters through the trees and beyond the mist.

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here is london's newest landmark - the gherkin. i took this photo as it looked nice, but it also shows a little man in a box dangling off a very thin stick, cleaning the windows.

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my nickname at university for no particular reason was 'spoon chicken'. therefore i was delighted to be able to go to a restaurant called Spoon+. I went along with a VIP type and it came recommended by 'the ladies of the office'. It is simply excellent, and definately worth a trip !

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here is a picture of the table after we'd eaten our meal. i highly recommend the pigeon.

here is a building people like to complain about. i think it's quite good. click the photo to see the whole thing. there's safety in monotony.

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click for big version

there's a whole nother world underneath the streets of london. sometimes you catch a glimpse of it in every day life. the occasional open door at a train station revealing hidden passageways or funny funnel shaped buildings in random parts of the town acting as air vents for underground activities.

this evening i saw an open manhole cover with a little railing round it. i learnt over and took this photo down the hole. i zoomed in 3x and it still looked a long way down !

you can't quite see because of the scale of the photo, but just above the water level is a passeway leading left to right across the picture where the workman had obviously gone down.

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i did think about going down and having a look, but wasn't sure if that was a great idea.

here is one of the government's water-for-street-people-for-christmas street taps.

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our old friend big ben
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london eye (from an angle)
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there are a variety of things you aren't allowed to do in London's royal parks. including your washing it appears. people shouldn't be airing their dirty laundry in public in my opinion.

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walking through london has its hazzards. traffic is the main one of course. people trying to sell you stuff comes a close second. have you joined CUP yet ? you should.

this chap tried to sell me a wet Big Issue. he offered a joke a drier alternative. i said i would give him £1 if i could take his photo to put on the website. so i did.

i had just bumped in to an old colleague so he gave him some cash for the joke. i won't repeat the joke because

1) it's not very good
2) you might want to buy the joke from him yourself despite point 1.
3) i didn't buy the joke, my ex-colleauge did, so it's not right that i pass it on

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he hoped that the photo would bring us all luck. so good luck to you all !

you remember i told you about a hotel which was riddling (wriggling?) with cops and spooks last week cuz George was in town ?

well, it's also the place where the psychelic slick was. and this morning, a load of multicoloured broken glass looking all twinkerly in the pouring rain:

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interestingly they had a load of matresses in a skip outside the side entrance. perhaps George's people asked them to be disposed of ? or maybe they were going to get some new ones anyway and waited until they had gone to get some new ones in. or maybe this was the only way of getting rid of the secret agents' bed-bugs ?

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the british museum is a great dry shortcut when it's raining. it was drizzling today so i walked through. i always try and take a slightly different route through to see what i can see. Best of all it's free and they don't mind you taking photos.

today I saw the Rosetta Stone and some weird head thing.

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there was also a map of London from the 1750s. Where i'm sitting now was just fields back then:
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(click for big version)

The cool thing is that the George Bush Memorial walk was (mostly) possible back then too. perhaps some blogger from the 1750s proposed a similar walk for visiting dignatories making a state visit to the centre of the empire.

here is beauty in pollution. the colours were amazing

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update: here's one i found a few months later in the same spot.

here is a walk around London which might take a couple of hours (or longer if you want). Let's assume George Bush arrives at Heathrow airport. He'll wheel his bags through customs and head straight for the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. It's famous for being the most expensive train journey you can make for the distance in the UK.
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Continue reading "George W Bush memorial walk" »

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i arrived 30 minutes early for a meeting this morning so had a look round the local church. was very nice (and old).

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hoorah for london and oldness amongst fancy new stuff

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look up when you wander round london. it's fantastic (when it's not raining) !

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despite being 30 miles away i am able to tell what is happening on the streets of london thanks to my network of spies. here is an interesting picture sent by telco-john. he spotted some pavement eruption.

maybe it's caused by some prisoners who are digging an escape tunnel ? perhaps the villains are hiding in the bins ?

or maybe it's something to do with Goodge Street station and the trouble on the Northern Line. They'll be a lot of pressure building up underground at the moment, it's only natural it should have to release itself.

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the best bit about this picture is that it shows that a couple of bins have wandered over to the eruption to investigate. bins care about the street - that's why they are happy to accept all our rubbish.

after a meeting today i popped out for lunch with an ex-colleague. rather than fill our faces with unhealthy food (me) we decided to walk over to the Tate Modern and look at the new installation. It's most excellent.

here is me
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here is someone on the balcony
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and here are some other people
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do you see what i did to get this picture ? when i take pictures around london people stare at me more if i'm wearing a shirt and tie (especially my wooden tie) than if i'm wearing my street-casual-down-wid-it clothes. i suspect they think i'm doing something official. which i am. i'm the funkypancake official blogger.

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look what these chaps are doing. they are putting up christmas lights. we've had the decorations up in my local chemist since the beginning of October. But it's serious when they start doing the streets of london.

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(actually, I have a plastic santa on display all year round. did you spot him in this picture - he's on the shelf behind the table)

everyone loves red buses. here are a load going up (down?) Oxford Street. There was no traffic on the other side of the road, so i got a nice unobscured view

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i popped out to get some chocolate a few minutes ago and got captured by students. these ones were canvasing the opinion on the great british public on the controversial issue of the congestion charge.

i am an expert of alternative transport methods and congestion charge avoidance, but i didn't get a chance to explain because, all too quickly the interview was over.

here are the crew

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and here they all together. they were very excited to find out they might be on this website. and so they should be !

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good luck to them in their future media careers.

i had a meeting down ludgate hill today which is the road which approached St Pauls. I used to work on this road so know the area well.

today there was a bit of a 'do' on to remember those who had died in the iraq conflict. 51 british people died (out of how many in total ...). but now isn't the time for politics and discussions on the pointlessness of (this) war.

anyway ... Prince Charles, the Queen, Tony Blair and other senior royals and government people were about, so there was high security.

we don't get armed police in the UK much so when we see them it's quite a shock. here is a picture to shock you (if you are from the UK):
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To increase security further they had hidden St Paul's cathedral. They had replaced it by a giant black and white drawing. that would have confused any terrorists ...
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Obviously the church service was going to be a sombre occasion. so to lighten things up, the police had brought along a bouncy castle:
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(notice my colleague tamara in this photo. she was desperate to have a bounce. but it's good she didn't as all that was in the tent was ... a vicar and a tressle table)

london looks great. some of the time. usually, even if you find a nice new modern block there is some 1970s concrete monstrocity in the background. we must learn to love this diversity.

especially since 1970s monstrocities are now turning 30 and achieving senior management responsibilities, particularly in media companies. i was born in 1972, but i'm not senior or management. and that's monstrous.

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here is a nice arch bit near st paul's cathedral
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here are a couple of photos of london looking pretty by night for your enjoyment

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Sidebar last updated

07 Apr 13