The Anonymous Widower

A Very Old Scottish Joke

This came from Popbitch.

My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning.

Can you believe that, 2:30am?

Luckily for him I was still up playing my bagpipes.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | World | | 1 Comment

Through the Olympic Park on the Greenway

From the Top of the Morning, I had two choices.  I could either walk to Hackney Wick station on the North London line, or try to find the Greenway that continued through the Olympic Park to Pudding Mill Lane on the Docklands Light Railway

I chose the latter more in hope than expectation, as I felt that building or security considerations on the Olympic Park might mean the Greenway would be closed. 

About a hundred metres south of the pub, I found this welcoming sign. 

Entry to the Greenway

So I’d made the right choice. 

Incidentally, the Greenway is built on top of the eastern end of the Northern Outfall Sewer, which was built in the mid-1800’s by Joseph Bazalgette, to take London’s sewage to the works at Beckton.

The Greenway gives good views of the Olympic stadium of which this is typical.

The London Olympic Stadium

Obviously, landscaping and a few other things need to be done, but it is now virtually complete.

You can also see the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Aquatics Centre.

ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Aquatics Centre

The Orbit structure has aroused controversy, but seeing it close to, I found it rather fascinating. You can also see all of the bits lined up like groups of acrobats ready to climb into position in the tower.

I'm Ready to Ascend!

I suspect that like the Eiffel Tower has for Paris, it might end up as an icon of East London after the Games.

The one think you can’t say about it, is that it is boring! The only things that should be boring are some machine tools and tunnelling machines.

One thing that has been got right is the information for visitors, as this picture shows.

Olympic Park Panorama and Information

Do you think that the far-sighted Joseph Bazalgette had realised that his enormous sewer would one day be used as a grandstand for a construction project, of which I’m sure he would have proud?  Obviously not, but with so many things he did, he got them absolutely right. And right for possibly a thousand years!

No walk is complete without a cup of something and at the south end of the portion of the Greenway that crosses the Olympic Park, there is this cafe and viewing point called ViewTube.

The ViewTube, Olympic Park, London

I had a good cappucino and a rest before walking on to Pudding Mill Lane and the DLR, where I took this final picture.

The Olympic Park from Pudding Mill Lane, DLR Station

All in all, this walk took about two hours including refreshments. On a good day, it should easily be possible to do it in the same time from the Angel at Islington to the ViewTube cafe.

But I suspect it’ll get busy!

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Along the Hertford Union Canal

From Victoria Park, I turned off the Regent’s Canal and followed the Hertford Union Canal towards the Olympic Park.

It had started to rain and by the time I got to the end of Victoria Park, I took refuge in a pub called Top of the Morning, by the locks at Old Ford.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Walking to Victoria Park

Yesterday, I started to walk to Victoria Park to see the site where my son’s ashes were scattered on the anniversary of his death last week.

It is a pleasant walk along the Regent’s Canal.  A first surprise was this cafe.

Cafe on the Regent's Canal

Yesterday, the canal was busy with walkers and cyclists of all ages and type. So the cafe shouldn’t be too short of punters.

Good luck to them!  I think they’ll be the first of many hostelries on the canal.  After all, the canal will be one of the main walking and cycling routes to the Olympics at Stratford.

I also passed the new bridge that takes the East London Line over the canal, just south of Hoxton station.

The East London Line Crossing the Regents Canal

I use the line probably once a week these days and when they finish off Dalston Junction station, I will use it even more. If the line has a problem, it is that it is too successful and has started to get a bit crowded even in the middle of the day. But any good transport project, whether it is a railway, road or a bus route, should attract new customers and it would appear that the East London line has done this.

The Regent’s Canal forms part of the Jubilee Greenway as this sign shows.

Jubilee Greenway Sign on the Regent's Canal

The Greenway runs all the way from Buckingham Palace to the Olympics and then in a circle around London. With due respect to the Queen’s fitness, I can’t see her walking all the way at her age.  But it would make a wonderful celebration of her Jubilee to traverse the canal part of the route in a proper Royal Canal Boat.

The canal was busy with traffic, despite the fact that all boats need to transfer through the various locks. I took this picture as I walked through industrial Bethnall Green.

Sailing Through Industrial Bethnall Green

The picture wasn’t chosen deliberately, but it does show how the canal is a long green oasis cutting a bold path across London. Is that spring blossom on the trees?

But it wasn’t just expensive boats. I took this picture just after Acton’s Lock.

Kids on the Regent's Canal

The inflatable boat contained a group of kids and an instructor and they were having a great time, especially as they worked the locks.  What better way is there to learn the history of East London, than to experience it from the canal?

There are various works going on to make Jubilee Greenway, one of the ways to get to the Olympics. I particularly liked this well designed entrance ramp and steps to the towpath.

A Well-Designed Ramp and Steps

There is never an excuse for not using the best designs for even the most mundane things.

Note in this picture, you can see the slabs and bricks that cover the high-voltage electricity main, that takes the power to the City from East London. The boat moored at the end of the ramp is a workboat being used by the engineers upgrading this vital power line.

The Regent’s Canal follows Victoria Park for some distance and the park too, is being upgraded.  This picture shows the bridge connecting the Park to Bethnall Green.

Entrance to Victoria Park

My kids used to go to the Gatehouse School nearby and used to walk over this bridge into the Park. At the moment due to the works the park isn’t totally accessible.

Works in Victoria Park

It will all be done for next year, when the park will be used as an Olympic viewing venue with big screens, a new cafe and lots of grass to sit on. Perhaps one of the best ways to go to the Olympics, will be to take a picnic to Victoria Park and then walk to the Olympics Park.

In some ways it is one of my favourite parks, and I can remember wheeling our granddaughter through the park with C many times in her pram.  As it was also one of late son’s favourite spots it was entirely fitting that his ashes were scattered there.

I shall certainly use it as a venue to watch the Olympics, especially, as it is only about a hundred minutes walk from my house.  Or if I feel lazy, it’s just one bus ride away from my local stop.

This sign gives the history of the park.

Victoria Park Sign

I’m certain that Queen Victoria would be very happy about the state of the park she supported and allowed to be named in her honour.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is BBC Breakfast in Tatters?

I like BBC Breakfast on the television and generally watch it, as I do my morning chores.

It would appear now, that Sian Williams is to follow others and leave the show, when it goes to Salford.

THe move to Salford is surely one of the most ill-judged moves in British media history, as it will surely mean that many of the best presenters will leave.  After all Manchester is not the place many would choose to live and there are many other jobs in London.

I also fear for the quality of other victims of this move, like Radio 5 and BBC Sport.

I feel fairly badly victimised here, as it appears the quality of what I like to watch and listen is about to suffer.  As you know, I don’t watch ITV and other channels, unless what is on, is really unmissable, as I’m allergic to adverts.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Probably the Worst Film Ever Made

Or that’s what this sign outside the Screen on Islington Green says.

Poster Advertising The Room

Do they claim that The Room is actually worse than some of the crap the Americans have produced lately and especially in 3-D.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Let’s Ban Mother’s Day

Signs like this really get my goat.

Mother's Day Promotion

After all, I haven’t got a mother and C, the mother of my sons died three years ago.

And I bet the free meal on offer doesn’t have a gluten-free option.

How about a widows day?

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Food, World | , | 5 Comments

Welcome to the United Kingdom

If I thought Gatwick was a disgrace going out, it was only because I hadn’t tried it going in.

It was like entering a building site and it was a long walk to passport control, which seemed to have been set up by vaguely clearing an area of the site. I’ve seen better facilities in countries that are very much less wealthy than the UK.

There was no signage to the trains and yet again trains south of the Thames were very badly organised.  It appeared that I needed to go to Platform 1, but after getting to the platform and finding one of the invisible staff, he said I needed Platform 4 for London Bridge.

To be fair the train arrived on time and there was a 141 bus waiting to take me home.

If you compare Gatwick to St. Pancras, it’s like comparing a twenty-year-old Skoda with a modern Jaguar.

It’s the last time, I’ll use that dump.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

A Fast Ferry Home

It may have been run by a company called Fast Ferries, but it still took four hours to get me from Tinos to Rafina on the Greek mainland.

A Fast Ferry

I hadn’t eaten any food since a very good moussaka on the Sunday at lunch time and as I left early for the ferry, I didn’t get any breakfast.  At least a supermarket was open on Tinos, at which I was able to purchase a couple of bananas. Where would coeliacs be without them?

On the ferry it was just coffee and chocolate and there weren’t even any Greek salads.

It didn’t get any better at the airport either, as there wasn’t anything in the cafes which didn’t have a large slug of gluten.  No Greek salads and not even any of those sesame snacks you usually find in Greece.

So I had a choice of either getting the midday easyJet flight or retreating to Athens and getting a flight on the next day.

I chose the flight, as it appeared there were quite a few seats and as it turned out, two of us had three seats for the journey to Gatwick.

So the flight was good value because of the extra room.

I was also back home in good time.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

There are Brass Washers on Tinos

This new seat has been made using the size of washer I need for my stairs.

Brass Washers in a Seat on Tinos

I didn’t have any chance to search for a hardware shop on my trip, so I didn’t buy any.  But at least they exist.

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment