Category: London Life

The best city in the world – or possibly the worst

  • Knifage

    Off to hospital again yesterday (the Charing Cross, in Fulham Palace Road) for a check-up following my leg and elbow operations earlier this year.

  • Back in the jug agane

    It’s been quite a while now since we moved out of the flat we rented for nine years and into a house of our own – but for one reason or another we’re only just in the process of giving notice. Today we were back there cleaning carpets and painting window frames – and we…

    Categorised under:

  • Fun all round

    I appear to have spent the evening somewhere trendy.

    Categorised under:

  • Hug + thug = bad idea

    I have some practical advice to anyone who believes the best response to teenage yobbos is to hug them, as David Cameron currently seems to be suggesting – and that advice is, don't.

    Categorised under: ,

  • Summer in the city

    I travelled home from work on Thursday on the Tube and on South West Trains during the second half of the England v Trinidad & Tobago match and it was brilliant – the quietest I can remember the public transport system ever being at any time, let alone at rush hour.

    Categorised under:

  • Sunset last night

    Spectacular. I blame global warming. And the government, of course.

  • DNA of London

    In my household we tend towards the view that Douglas Adams wasn’t, in fact, a novelist but instead a philosopher and a researcher of the infinite who chose to present his theories and conclusions in the form of radio scripts and sci-fi novels.

  • Something going down on Upper Street

    My vague potterings were interrupted last lunchtime by a cat's cradle of blue tape across the road in my path, cordoning off (among other things) the scene of a shooting the night before and the restaurant where I'd been planning on eating.

    Categorised under: ,

  • Fairey story

    Life is full of strange moments: today I was followed in a traffic jam by a Fairey Swordfish. For those whose childhoods did not involve Airfix kits and glue fumes, I should explain that the Swordfish was a prime candidate for wartime aviation's least likely success story. Already hopelessly outdated by the start of World…

    Categorised under:

  • The house of discipline, and other photos

    I can remember when products were built to last and didn't stop working just because they'd been thrown across the room in a cold fury a few times. I say this because my phone finally started malfunctioning beyond a level I was prepared to tolerate, so I had to replace it. Having said I didn't…

  • Yellow

    I long since learned that being beaten up turns you into a coward. I proved it again tonight: it's an unpleasant feeling that leaves you bitter and twisted up inside. It's, what? Six years since I was attacked on a train on the way back from a Susan Kramer for Mayor campaign rally. Something like…

  • Love is…

    Hard to believe, I know, but there used to be a time – only a couple of weeks ago – where I could go whole months without posting about politics, instead filling these pages with reportage, bon mots, raconteurism and other pretentious Gallic words that all basically translate as “the usual stuff you find on…

    Categorised under:

  • Better than badminton

    Finally have time to write up my thoughts about the Any Questions leadership debate, from the perspective of being in the audience. The comically long queue outside the hall, which wound along corridors and through doors and almost to the Surrey / Hampshire border, made it look like the event was going to be packed,…

  • Nightmare

    Ugh. It's 2am and I just woke from a bizarre nightmare in which Beloved Other Half, myself and dozens of others climbed up the wire fence that used to run alongside the access road to our flats in order to escape the floodwater surges from a tsunami that had run up the channel of the…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Alas, poor Mark

    So Mark Oaten has departed from the Lib Dem leadership race, his campaign having been met with a certain amount of derision and rather a lot of underwhelmed silence. While some people clearly have a lot of faith in him and others were out to get him from the start, most gave him a fair…

  • From the passenger seat

    Something you don't see every day: a London Underground District Line train being driven round the M25 this morning on the back of a lorry. If this is the Greater London Authority's latest attempt to get people to commute using public transport, all I can say is they seem to have missed the point somewhat.…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Wednesday whinges

    Ugh. Someone in the next cubicle in the gents' just now was finishing off a crafty cigarette and now I stink of smoke… On another note, why are so many good domain names taken but undeveloped? I've been sniffing around after ones for some business ideas I have and all the best ones have been…

    Categorised under:

  • Changing room buttocks

    It was a bad buttock night tonight at the gym. There's an etiquette to men's changing rooms in England, quite different to the one I found when I was in Iceland. It may, thinking about it, have evolved from what you did at school when you were changing after games lessons and knew you'd get…

    Categorised under:

  • Life lessons

    From observation tonight in the changing rooms at the club, I can give you this piece of advice: If you're a fat, dark-skinned man you really should think twice before wearing bright white y-fronts.

    Categorised under:

  • Pumped out

    This is utterly ridiculous. The car's almost out of petrol and I've now made four attempts to refill it today. Failed every time because of the effects of wombats panic-buying. Twice during the daylight hours I went to petrol stations only to be driven off by queues that stretched into the next county. A third…

    Categorised under:

  • Pizza slash

    Times of stress or empty cupboards in this house (as, I suspect, in most other houses) mean comfort eating and a take-away, or more accurately a delivery. And that, for us, usually means Domino's Pizza. I spent a very odd summer as a pizza chef during my student years, working for Pizzaland. I don't claim…

  • It's nice to be proved right

    Earlier this year I gave up work at the Independent, a newspaper I enjoyed working at and was proud to be a part of, and the main reason I gave it up was because of the speed cameras on the route. Sure, the wildly unsociable hours were a pretty big reason too – but I'd…

  • Sound advice

    From Guido (although it's apparently been doing the rounds before he picked it up) comes this notice at Notting Hill Tube station: Notice to all passengers:Please do not run on the platforms or concourses. Especially if you are carrying a rucksuck, wearing a big coat, or look a bit foreign. This notice is for your…

    Categorised under:

  • Go straight to jail

    Yesterday I went into the Co-Op Bank branch at the Angel to pay a cheque in. It's a rather splendid building that once upon a time used to be a Lyons Corner House, the oh-so-English cafes that were the Starbucks of their times, where stiff-upper-lipped characters in 1940s black and white movies meet up in…

  • Angelic interlude

    So far, so good in my return to office-based work. The transport network seemed pretty quiet to me, although the Standard was claiming that was because it was the first day of the school holidays. Whatever the reason, rail and Tube both seemed to have fewer passengers in general, and in particular fewer older people,…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Out and about

    Have got two days' work in Islington, today and tomorrow, so I'm back on the Tube for the first time since the bombings began. Will be heading into Waterloo, then to Bank via the drain, then up the Northern to Angel. Right now, taking all things into consideration, my greatest fear is the one that…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Another stupid person

    The dial-up connection dropped on our PC for a few minutes, and in that short space of time we got an incoming call – one of a sort that have been coming in for years now (see here). Caller: Hello, is that Brent Council? Me: It's not even slightly Brent Council, it's a private house…

    Categorised under:

  • Here we go again…

    The BBC is reporting three Tube stations evacuated after 'incidents' and one bus has also experienced an 'incident', whatever that means. Edit: Police say they're not treating it as a major incident at the moment, and the Tube hasn't been entirely shut down either. Only one report of an injury, at Warren Street. There actually…

    Categorised under:

  • Midnight at the bookstore

    Busy night, I suppose. Kingston was a madhouse – the pubs emptying boozed-up lads and short-skirted slappers out onto the street outside the bookshop, while inside gleaming-eyed parents tried to pretend they were only there for their face-painted offsprings' benefit. Endless trollies stacked with the two different versions of the book, the brightly-coloured children's cover…

  • Upon mature reflection

    Having plundered other people's thoughts on the bombings and posted them here, I thought I'd see if I could develop mine beyond my initial 'Blitz Spirit, you can't beat a Londoner with bombs' reaction. And right now I'm thinking: “Is that it?” Since September 11th all the doom-laden experts and the politicians have been telling…

    Categorised under:

  • London Pride

    Drink deep, folks Some of the best of the blogs today: Make My Vote Count: Being British is Great We did not panic, we did not crumble. We did not burst into irrational fits of anger and go rushing out looking for a scapegoat, a religious group to lynch or a country to bomb. We…

    Categorised under: ,

  • All fine here

    Thanks to everyone who's texted to check we're okay – in fact, we haven't left the flat today so we were nowhere near anything that might have been going on in central London earlier. To be honest, compared with some of the stuff the IRA got up to when I was a kid, this sounds…

    Categorised under:

  • Electro-pop

    The rain struck at exactly 3am, just as I pulled up at a red traffic light in front of a silent, darkened Buckingham Palace. Circles of water appeared on the windscreen like fast-growing lichen-spots, and a couple who had been walking along, hand-in-hand, squealed and broke into a run.

    Categorised under: ,

  • Sun and shadows

    Very bright sun this morning as I walked to the station, so I paused for a couple of snapshots: When I arrived at work there was single bunch of flowers tied to a post: a reminder of Mary Hansen, who died in the square a year ago. For those not on the scene a year…

    Categorised under:

  • Snapshot

    Yesterday I got one of those miniature digital cameras, a tiny little thing made from brittle plastic that looks like it’ll last for about a fortnight before it disintegrates. It has no proper memory, so if you take the battery out (or if it goes flat) all pictures in it will be wiped. But the…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Fnarr fnarr

    There is no humour to compare with that provided by curiously-shaped vegetables. I took these potatoes from the allotment earlier today along with many more, some onions, a courgette, and a bagful of tomatoes. Don’t get too excited Spike. I seem to remember someone – possibly Yvie or Teresa, I’m not sure – arguing about…

    Categorised under:

  • Gravity strikes

    Something metal fell out of the ceiling a moment ago. Fortunately, no-one was seated below it. We have something not unlike moles in the office today, however instead of leaving small piles of dirt in a line across the carpet they are knocking out ceiling tiles, making electric drill and screwdriver noises, and dropping angle…

    Categorised under:

  • Picture perfect

    Success is pretty sweet when it comes after a run of near misses. For a while, we've been trying to get this live but have been dogged by a few techy glitches: All is well now :o) It's a pretty nifty new product that lets you put your own photo on postage stamps (sort…

    Categorised under: ,

  • All zones please

    I just added this journal to the London Bloggers' Tube Map under my local station. Dunno whether anything will come of it or not, but I thought, why not? No-one else in my area has. The map seems to be the work of the same guy who set up the make-you-own-HotOrNot site stuff. Not sure…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Grrr

    Once more I'm in an office full of people on their first day back after the holiday, all asking each other how it went. I wish I wasn't so grumpy.

    Categorised under:

  • Cheated

    Everyone's back at work now, and the office is buzzing. Well, showing signs of life at least. People are picking up where they left off on December 23rd and asking each other how their break was, and I'm feeling cheated. It was my choice to work the 27th, 30th and 31st – I could have…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Green shoots

    Another Lib Dem AGM last night – this time the Brentford and Isleworth branch. They'd tempted Ed Davey MP down from the House of Commons to be the guest speaker. Brave man – he took the train, which to Isleworth is the sort of adventure that often ends in tears. You expect to find Marlon…

    Categorised under: ,

  • *yawn*

    Ugh. Way too early in the day for me. Have to get into work early. I seemed to spend the weekend driving past firefighters' picket lines and hooting – at least seven times during the weekend as the allotment and the Tube station Lisa travelled from both had fire stations on the route to them.…

    Categorised under:

  • Flare ups

    Some nasty stuff this morning. Bank station, the heart of the City, was closed by a fire alert less than an hour after the start of the latest firefighters strike (and shortly before I was to go through it). When I finally passed by on foot there were a couple of Army Green Goddesses parked…

    Categorised under: ,

  • Chocolate emergency

    Just conducted an experiment down at the vending machine. I had a bag of crisps and a cup of hot chocolate and sat near it to eat and drink… and wait. Because I'd paid for a bar of chocolate too, and deliberately left it in the machine to see what would happen when the next…

    Categorised under:

  • 3638

    After the disaster that was yesterday afternoon and early evening, today is going a lot better. One of those days where lines of HTML practically dance into place on the page and links mysteriously home in on where you want them to link to despite being about three foot in length were you to print…

    Categorised under:

  • Narrow escape

    The gym's shut tonight for refurbishment, just when I brought my kit in for the first time in a fortnight… damn ;o)

    Categorised under:

  • Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Oh yeah – forgot to say. There's no damn heating in this office today and I'm bloody freezing.

    Categorised under:

  • Dig for victory…

    We spent the afternoon on the allotment, clearing brambles and paths, and trying to work out where the hell the edges of it are. At the moment there's a bramble patch big enough to swallow a house on it at one end, and scattered stuff at the other end. Also some kind of mutant grass…

    Categorised under:

  • Untitled

    Well, what do you know? Almost no delay on the train this morning. No seats either, but that's not exactly a surprise.

    Categorised under: ,