The Anonymous Widower

Victoria Park To The Olympic Park

I took these pictures as I walked yesterday.

It certainly is an easy way to go. I met a family, who had taken the Overground from Kew to Hackney Wick and were going into the Olympics, by the same way.

Again these pictures are dominated by the flowers.

August 10, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

To The Olympics The Back Way

Yesterday, I went to the Olympics to see the morning’s athletics.

I didn’t go the normal way, but took a 30 bus from where I live to the northern side of Victoria Park and then walked. It was about half past seven and the big red taxi wasn’t exactly full.

A Big Red Taxi To The Olympics

The front seats at the top were of course taken. This way I pass C’s bus stop.

C’s Bus Stop

Although she wasn’t Cecelia but Celia, her maiden name was Roads. I wonder how many people have their own bus stop!

I got off at Wick Lane and then it was a walk through Victoria Park to the Greenway Gate of the Olympic Park. The pictures for this are shown in a separate gallery post.

August 10, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Gluten-Free Guide to the London Olympics

For those like me, who must remain gluten-free, the Olympics in London shouldn’t be too difficult, although I do worry about the Olympic Park and some of the venues. The reason for this, is that I’ve been to Wembley a couple of times and the food is your usual burger and chips rubbish. The organisers say they will make it better at the venues, but I have my doubts.  It’s sad really, as East London, where the Games are being staged, has a large variety of ethnic cooking, like Bangladeshi, that is very much gluten-free. Incidentally, if you like curries, all good curry houses, such as in the famous Brick Lane, use gram or chick-pea flour and are never offended if you ask.  A lot of these restaurants, though don’t serve alcohol, but don’t mind if you bring it in and they will then give you glasses and a cork-screw, if one is needed. The best ones always have proper linen tablecloths and napkins.

The big Olympic Park at Stratford is at present very much an unknown as to gluten-free food, as it hasn’t opened yet. But the Westfield Shopping Centre (Eastfield to many) next door is bad, if you want a gluten-free restaurant. However, it does have two big food stores, that are always a good stand-by, if you want to buy a picnic; Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.  Both have a wide selection of picnic food and gluten-free bread and rolls.

In fact, for some picnics will always be a safe way out, when on the move. The main Olympic Park, is next to one of London’s largest parks; Victoria Park and they are going to put a lot of fast-food stalls here with big screens.  But even if nothing is gluten-free, there will be plenty of space to sit on the grass. In fact, there are large green spaces near to most of the venues.

If you want to eat out, there are quite a few mid-range chains with gluten-free offerings. I eat regularly in Carluccio’s and Cote, but others also have a gluten-free menu.

A lot of pubs, like my local, the Northgate Arms in de Beauvoir Town can do reliable gluten-free food. With the Northgate, the chef is coeliac from Sierra Leone, so you can be absolutely sure.

I shall add more to this as I travel round the Games.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

The Olympic Legacy

Everybody seems to be complaining that there won’t be any Olympic Legacy. I’ve just had this e-mail read out on Radio 5.

Just compare Manchester after the Commonwealth Games,  Sheffield after the World Student Games and Liverpool after the City of Culture with Athens after the Olympics and Montreal after the Olympics.

 You can’t say  we don’t do legacy.  We do it very well!

I could have added, where’s the legacy in Atlanta and my physio from Queensland, doesn’t think there was much legacy after Sydney.

London’s biggest legacy will be the Olympic Park.  And no-one who’s ever been over just a few of the UK’s big parks, could not agree that we do parks well. So just as Victoria Park and Hampstead Heath became London’s lungs nearly two centuries ago, the Olympic Park will be London’s park for the 22nd Century.

It’s a pity though London  has got no superlambananas or equivalent. They may be rather trivial, but Liverpudlians love them.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Open House for the Olympics

I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but I’m now declaring a sort of Open House for the Olympics. With the ticket sales, a lot of friends have said they will be buying tickets, but they have nowhere to stay, if they are outside London.

So on a first-come, first-served basis anybody who has a direct link to me is welcome to stay for a night.  By direct link, I mean, relatives, except the black-sheep, Alfred, ex-Metier and others who I’ve worked with and those who are my e-friends outside London. I am convenient for Stratford and will actually be going today, by taking a bus or train a couple of stops to Hackney Wick and then walking along the Greenway.  To walk all the way takes 90 minutes along the Regent’s Canal and Hertford Canal via Victoria Park.  There will also be a good bus service from just up the road at Dalston Junction during the games.

I suspect it will get chaotic, but we’ll only see one Olympics in London in our lifetime, so why not have a two-week party?

The house is fairly small but I do have a spare double-bedroom and a single one, but then I do have a warm living room with a large carpet, so kids could camp indoors on the floor.  It’ll probably be the only Olympics they see, so a bit of roughing it wouldn’t matter.

I also suspect that there will be a big party in Victoria Park for the Olympics, as they are setting up large screens there.  It might be where the real East Enders hold their Olympic celebration!

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Applying For London Olympics Tickets

I have just completed my application for tickets for the London Olympics next year.

It was not a complicated process for someone like me , but I could expect people like C to have lost patience with the system, as there are just so many tickets to apply for in the initial ballot. I’ve tended to go for between two and four tickets for a large range of events, going for slightly higher price tickets in events I really want to see.  I’ve also put in a bid to see some tennis on the centre court at Wimbledon, as there is no other way, I’ll ever get to see anything in that iconic venue.

It will be interesting to see how many tickets I get! In some ways I’m not bothered too much, as I suspect that the best way to see some events will be to go to the Olympic Park or Victoria Park and watch it on the big screens.

Remember too, that modern stadia such as Wembley and The Emirates don’t have many poor seats, so you can probably expect that even a seat in the Gods in the Olympic Stadium will be a lot better than some I’ve paid a lot of money for in various football grounds this year.

April 10, 2011 Posted by | Sport, 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 | , , , | 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 | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walking to Victoria Park

I picked up my paper and then walked through to the Kingsland Road, where I got on the towpath of the Regent’s Canal and headed east.

Unfortunately, my camera was low on power, so I couldn’t take any pictures. I will later in the year and they will be so much better with the sun.

Next time, I must, as it an interesting walk under the bridges with the last stretch smelling of woodsmoke from the heaters in the barges parked for the winter.

I emerged on Roman Road in Tower Hamlets, before taking a 277 bus back to the stop around the corner.

The last bit brought back memories, as my late son and his family used to live just round the corner. But I wouldn’t dwell on what might have been!

January 2, 2011 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment