Tuesday was the Foyles knitting group secret santa and my last attendance until the new year (photos to come). After which was a trip up Totty Court Rd for a spot of shopping at Heals'.

A few weeks ago we attended Ting's birthday celebration in Fitzrovia, and I realised it was a part of London I had neglected to explore. So searching for a quick(er) route between Heal's and Liberty I had a look around.

The first thing I noticed was Pollock's Toy Museum:

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So beautifully and brightly decorated. The toys on sale are rather uninteresting, it's the great ones on display that I wanted.

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The entrance is through the shop next door, the Theatrical Print Warehouse

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Which is full of Victorian-era toy theatres:

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Behind the counter was a friendly American man, a surly british man and a cute puppy.

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There is actually a 'museum' upstairs which I would have liked to have seen, but I think I might need an out of town visitor to justify it.

And a curious sign next door:

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Anyone know what this is about?

December 15, 2009 in life in london, London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (1)

London Tuesdays

The new Oxford Circus is open!

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I really can't explain how exciting this development is. I hate Oxford Circus with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. It's congested with tourists walking slowly while the rest of us are just trying to get to the tube.

The opening of the new diagonal crossing by Big Boris, Mayor o'London:

All I can think of while watching this is poor people on the buses who had no idea what was going on.

Aerial shot, courtesy of the Guardian:

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The problem, according to me, was that there were railings on all the corners, effectively corralling people into particular lines of direction. Which is of course useless if you want to get to the tube entrance and not the other side of the street.

This video is from the developers, so full of hard sell, but an interesting take:

I wish the circular theme extended to the pavement as suggested by the video.

Finally, a shot of the traffic on Oxford Street: big red buses.

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November 3, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (2)

London Tuesdays

On Sunday we went in search of Trinity Buoy Wharf. I had seen a pic of an authentic-looking American diner on Londonist & needed to check it out. Luckily, it's not that far from our place, right next to Canary Wharf.

Lo, Fatboy's Diner:

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All original fixtures and fittings:

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It lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for 41 years.

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Out the left window you can see a (decommissioned) permanently moored lightship, apparently used as a photographic studio.

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Lightship: like a lighthouse, but on a ship!

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Trinity Buoy Wharf is also renowned for Container City:

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It's a really fascinating project, and worthy of it's own London Tuesday.

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No, I have no idea what Rod is doing in front of the Millennium Dome.

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Sadly, we arrived at Fatboy's too late for food but we managed a super-thick shake, and a promise to return for a weekend brunch.

October 20, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Tuesdays

On Monday we went to watch the cheese rolling.

It's a curious tradition, in the way that various other villages do weird things and everyone accepts as being eccentrically british.

I was up and out of the house at 8am on the bank holiday Monday (a miracle unto itself) in order to pick up next-door-Nancy & entourage in Hampstead en route to Gloucester. We had hit the road on time, aiming to get to the car park before the 12pm shut down. With 30 minutes to go, we hit the turn off queue. And sat there for 40 minutes. This was going to be big.

We passed all the fools parking on verges (fined!) and went for 'gold'. Deidre the Satnav guided us into suburbia:

We could hear the crowds and see the course in the distance:

And then we had to walk uphill. Many people chose to view from a distance:

The odd thing about the course is that there is a line of houses at the bottom of it. So spectators (of the picnic variety) set up camp beneath these houses. The picture here will give you a better idea.

Of course, I would not settle for second-best and managed to squeeze myself into this vantage point.

From here I had a great view of a victim of such a goal. This fellow fell out of a tree on top of the hill as he tried to get a better view. It was hard work for the rescue team to bring him down on the backboard. Like the ski patrol, but without snow. Check out the incline, would that qualify as a black run?

Even better, I had a view of the rugby team at the bottom of the hill. It was their job to stop the tumblers. They were more vigorous at stopping the 'illegal runners' (those who chose to go down the hill outside of a race) for whom they took a run up, the result being more flying bodies and cries of "ooooh!" from the crowds.

There were long waits between the races as victims were carted off to hospital and the course cleared of detritus. But the anticipation was well worth it!

and this is what I saw:

I was well satisfied to watch one race from a distance and one close up. The waiting and the crowds were trying. It was interesting to try to imagine this village on the other 365 days of the year, when they weren't being invaded by 7,000 people (5,000 of whom I swear were Australian).

And for all these people there were no portaloos (but many bushes), one van selling cheese and another selling burgers:

I'm not advocating an American-style branding bonanza, but a few more local cheese vendors (ploughman's lunch, anyone?) and other food options would be a draw. But perhaps the limitations of the venue warrants keeping the event small.

And next-door-Nancy has decided on a name for her little boy: Boris. I suggested she name him after London's mayor. He also goes by: Bor-Bor; Borbury; Boz Scaggs etc. And at 16 weeks old is a well behaved puppy. Gimba is still not impressed (although he loves her dearly).

May 26, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (1)

London Tuesdays

We were insanely lucky the day that Boo and I went to the Chelsea Physic Garden, the weather was gorgeous!

As the name suggests, it's located in the gloriously leafy Chelsea. As an eastender, I often scoff at the residents of SW1. Now I'm beginning to understand its appeal!

The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1673 in order to promote the study of botany in relation to medicine, then known as the "physic" or healing arts.

 

The garden is nearly 4 acres of prime Chelsea real estate, paying rent of £5 per year.

There are a number of 'zones' in the garden, immediately to the left (Thames side) is the systematic order beds. No, I don't know.

The rockery (made of stone from the Tower of London and Icelandic lava that Sir Joseph Banks had used as ballast) and a bust of Sir Hans Sloane.

The cool fern house. I like the idea that this is where all the cool ferns hang out.

What self-respecting English garden would be without a nice cup of tea!

The cafe felt a little like a CWA/WI hall, with nice flowers!

This fellow (below) made me laugh! Obviously a new father with a very fresh little baby. He was enjoying the sunshine so much that he laid the baby out on the grass (on its sheepskin rug) and the two of them had a nap. I sure mummy would not have been happy.

These signs made an appearance at various points around the garden. Out of context, they were quite odd. I assume the obvious: one is to be viewed, the bamboo is to be listened to and the rosemary eaten.

Isn't it such a beautiful vista? The red brick mansion flats make a wonderful backdrop and re-inforce the 'Englishness' of the delightful garden.

I may not have had such a boring London Tuesday for a long time. But your suffering is not over: next time you must endure the gorgeous flowers and plants we encountered.

May 18, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (2)

London Tuesdays

Although my French class is on Wednesdays, I figured the Institut Français and South Kensington tube station interesting enough material for London Tuesdays.

(OK, I'm lazy. But this is all you get.)

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The Museum of Natural History at the end of the road.

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Situated on the top floor of the Institut is the café (deliciously yummy food) and outdoor area.

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With views over connecting buildings (some of which also occupied by the Institut).

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I love looking at the beautiful signage on the tube entrance. "The ironwork is a fine example of the Arts and Crafts style, which was fashionable in public architecture at this time." (South Kensington Underground Development Action Group)

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This station was built by the Metropolitan Railway in 1868. It's one of the first examples of an arcade being built at a station.

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This tunnel was created at the time that the museums were built.

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The District line platform itself is not at all underground-like.

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April 21, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Tuesdays

The joy of London Tuesdays usually lies in what I find en route to other destinations.

Having missed knitting at Foyles, I convinced Fred to come into town with me to buy my French textbook at Cutler and Grant. While there, we decided to see the Kuniyoshi exhibition at the Royal Academy.

Walking this route, (the detour was lunch) I noticed this view of Nelson's Column and um... something behind it (can't be Westminster, can it?)

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More interestingly, just before the Royal Academy I noticed this little street:

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Housing a rather grand building:
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There was no hint to what it might be apart from the brass plaque stating "Albany House".

I've now discovered that it was designed by Sir William Chambers (of Somerset House fame) in 1771–4 for the first Lord Melbourne. The Duke of York bought it, went bankrupt and it was sold off as 69 flats in the early 19th century. The term "Bachelor of the Albany" was used for "man about town". As far as I can work out, it's still residential apartments.

I peeked in the doors and could see through the building toward a long covered walkway. It seems it stretches the entire block, with another entrance on Burlington Gardens.

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And then on to the exhibition.

April 14, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (4)

Fridays

We decided to head out for lunch at the pub, this time going back to Saturday's Britannia aka Gail's local:

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The beer garden is nice than the Royal Inn's, feeling much more like an extension of the park:

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Some construction was taking place out the back, and this little kid watched for ages. Arms crossed, totally engrossed in the action. I can imagine that there are some mums out there who would pay for this sort of babysitting.

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I think Fred and I have a new Friday afternoon outing.

April 3, 2009 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Tuesdays

Someone else's London in pictures.

December 9, 2008 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (0)

London Tuesdays

I love Sketch, hate the website. Looking back over this blog, I have been and blogged a few times.

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Last Friday I was pleased to host the lovely Liuna and her mister at afternoon tea.

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But before you think that I'm cheating (again) with the whole Tuesday theme of London Tuesdays, I popped in today with the lovely Bree and took the opportunity to snap the loos.

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Yes, LT has visited toilets before, and I promise not to make a habit of it (IYKWIM).

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Apparently these 'pods' are made of some sort of resin on the Isle of Wight by a company specialising in yacht hulls.

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The loos are in a huge (double-height) white room. Stairs curve up to the left and right with the middle housing a private members bar.

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A huge skylight/window ceiling floods the room with muted light in daytime.

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I've never been here at night, so can't tell you what the lighting is like then. I imagine the pink and blue floor lights play more of a role.

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The handbasins are delightfully vintage, and I've sometimes seen a lovely young lady in a french maids uniform tending to them.

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A quick google offers no information on the designer of this place. Please comment if you know anything more.

September 9, 2008 in London Tuesdays | Permalink | Comments (4)