I would just like to assure everyone about what an amazing City London is to live in. Looking back on what I have done this year, I am fully aware that 90% of this would not have occurred if I didn’t live in this amazing, dirty and rude City. I would not swap it for all the clean air and manners in the world. I finally feel like I have found the place for me.
I have been a bad blogger. The worst kind of blogger there is. A blogger who does not blog. I have no excuses. I’ve just been rubbish. I won’t make any promises about how good or bad I will be in the future either. I just don’t know. I’m that kind of flakey person. What I can do though, is write a little something about some things I have done, the music I have discovered and the friends I have made in the past year. I am going to need to split them because the draft of the blog is running at 4500 words. I will do a section on being ‘Out and About’ and a section on Music. That should even it up. Let’s begin with being ‘Out and About’.
The prudent place to start is how I brought in the year of 2010. I trekked off to Southbank to enjoy the amazing fireworks that go on every year. They were a spectacle. I captured a few images of the eye before the fireworks. Unfortunately, I planned very badly and had a flat camera battery so I didn’t get any of the actual fireworks. Here’s one I particularly like of the London Eye beforehand. It is blurred but I think it adds to the overall effect.
Next, I will entertain you with a picture of one of the best busking mascots I have ever seen. It was a Monster who really drummed as the guy played. Genius!!
Moving swiftly along, I’ll put in my little jaunts to places that happened at some point but I can’t really remember when. Firstly, The Royal Observatory at Greenwich Park. There is a little background to this day so I’ll elaborate. I had set off with no real intentions for the day other than to wander around after seeing a Rolf Harris art exhibition near Green Park. I enjoyed Rolf’s art immensely and would have relieved him of a few pieces had I any money whatsoever to spend on art. It was still early by the time I had viewed the exhibition so I decided to saunter around Green Park. It really is a lovely Royal Park. The leaves were still on the trees and the sun was shining so the light on the paths was dappled and beautiful to walk through. As I was so close to Buckingham Palace, I decided to go take some tourist photos. I actually happened upon a parade with lots of guards, Scouts and Girl Guides. I’m still not sure what was going on but I took a photo or two.
After Green Park, I wasin the mood for more green space. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and head to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. I’d never been round the Observatory before and am fond of Greenwich so could not go wrong. I headed off. Words to the wise, just because ‘North Greenwich’ says ‘Greenwich’ in the station name does NOT mean it is anywhere near Greenwich itself. It’s a good 15 minute bus ride form North Greenwich to main Greenwich. The stop you need for the interesting part of Greenwich is the Cutty Sark stop on the DLR. Don’t be fooled. A lot of people are. Anyway, Greenwich Park is my second favourite in London (my top being Victoria Park) so I enjoyed sitting beneath a tree and watching the people go by for quite some time before deciding it was time to haul myself up the hill to the Observatory. The hill is not for the faint hearted. The view form the top is worth it.
The Royal Observatory marks the place that Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is calculated from. It’s an awesomely cool thing to behold. It is the single point on all the planet from which time is calculated. Stunning! The buildings are also lovely to look at and around.
All the exhibits are free except for the Planetarium. I didn’t go in but I did take a picture from the outside.
I really do enjoy just pottering around the City by myself. You get to just stand and look at things without worrying about anyone else being bored or needing more entertainment than you. Most people would have been agitated with my 5 hours spent in Greenwich Park just looking and walking. Sometimes solitude is everything you need in life.
I’ll chip in with a generic tourist photo of Tower Bridge. I cannot remember where I was, who I was with or when I took it, but it’s a nice shot.
Next, gosh what did I do next…….. Oh! We went ice skating with my nephew at Alexandra Palace. You weren’t allowed to take photographs at the ice rink so I do not have images to share with you other than the view from just outside the entrance to Alexandra Palace.
I am much better at Ice skating than I remembered being! I will probably try to get to another rink in London over the remainder of the festive season. It was good fun. We all had an enjoyable time. With a little encouragement, my nephew even managed a little skate all by himself.
Let’s move out of London for a little while. My job this year has taken me to Budapest. It was pouring with rain on the one night I spent in Budapest but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see a little of the City. It is vastly different to London in every way. The streets are open and wide with few shops present on them. The air smells vaguely clear and the people are polite.
The hotel I was staying in was close to ‘Heroes Square’ so I took a walk around. I got some great shots of the square.
The flash on my camera caused a gorgeous effect on the rain drops in the photographs. I captured as much of the square as I could. It looked truly magnificent in the dark.
As it was pouring with rain and I don’t speak any Hungarian, I thought it was wise to simply eat and go to bed. I didn’t fancy getting lost in Budapest at 10 in the evening.
Returning to London again, let’s do some more museums! I have been back to the Science Museum since my last post and wanted to share just a few things which made me smile. One is a dress made of carpet
Another is a dress made of cans
Then there’s the chandelier made from biro pens
The final is my dearest friend, Maggie with whom I did all the fun learning.
The Science Museum is fun for everyone. Maggie and I paid a small fee of £5 each and had a go in a brilliant 360° flight simulator. I have to say, I was a bit of an adventurous pilot and chased the enemy bogies around whilst barrel rolling and loop the lopping. Maggie opted for a much gentler approach. When we were being shot at by an enemy from behind, I suggested she do a loop the loop whilst rolling and we’d come out facing the opposite direction and the right way up. Maggie however decided this was flamboyant and instead declared “I’m banking gently to the right”. It’s a good job she’ll never be in a dog fight isn’t it?!
That moves me nicely along to the other museum I have visited, the Imperial War Museum. I’ve actually been twice this year. I had not been to the Imperial War Museum since I was in the very early years of Secondary School so it felt like I was going for the first time. What a museum it is! It has become my favourite to visit in London. I do find myself saturated by the time I have spent four hours or so wandering around it. I need to do at least two more visits in order to take in the exhibits properly. For now I’ll share my two favourite pictures. The first is of my Nephew getting far too excited about the tanks
The second is of my house mate looking forlornly at toys he could not play with.
As the hub of England, London really does have some of the best parades and events to attend. This year, I attended Gay Pride and the Notting Hill Carnival. Of the two my favourite, by far, was Gay Pride. The only feeling amongst the thousands of people there was a mutual love of shiny things and each other. The floats were colourful, happy to a fault and friendly. I was particularly fond of the Drag’Queen’ on the top deck of a London bus.
The Notting Hill Carnival however, scared me. Straight out terror. I have never felt so intimidated and petrified by other people in my life. I don’t scare easy but the sheer volume of people shouting, yelling and getting angry with each other for the unavoidable pushing/shoving that happens in a crowd was awful. The crowd felt ready to bubble over into a fight at any point which made me very fearful. I will not be going again. I did take a photo of a steel band float though.
I have been fortunate enough to make a great set of new friends this year and I spent fireworks night with them in Victoria Park. The fireworks display was brilliant and themed on the World Wars. There were plenty of war tunes floating out of the speakers that I knew. I did take some good pictures but unfortunately, they were deleted in an editing accident. My friends did try to reenact the display but with varying level of success. This is probably my favourite shot of the reenactment. It’s nothing if not amusing.
I got my first tattoo this year. I have wanted this tattoo, in this location and in these colours since I was 16 years old. I think 9 years waiting is plenty. I know it’s not sensible but I did it anyway.
Being my first ‘ink’, I took moral support and he was kind enough to take a few photos of the work in progress. Here’s my favourite shot.
This year has been one for firsts. I had never really dressed up and gone all out for Halloween before but this year, I decided, what the hell! I modified some fairy wings so that had little light up ghosts stitched around them and went crazy with the make up. Dead fairy was my theme. How do you think it turned out?
Finally, I will recount my trip on the London Eye. My sister was kind enough to use some vouchers for us all to ride the Eye on their last visit. I will admit, had we paid the full fee per person, well, I wouldn’t have paid the full fee per person. it’s hideously expensive and I don’t think the view is worth the money but, if you can get vouchers that dip you under the £15 ish mark, I think it’s acceptable for 1 trip. Here’s a shot of the Houses of Parliament I took. I wondered if I could really squash it with my thumb……I tried but to no avail.
That about concludes the mischief I have been getting up to in the City these past 12 months. The next entry I will post is going to be dedicated entirely to the music I have heard this year. I’ll post it as soon as I can.