The spirit of London 2012 lives on

As a visitor to the London Paralympics in 2012 one of the things I appreciated most were the temporary bright pink signs to the events seen around the capital. Even though I’m a relatively frequent visitor to London, they reassured me that I really was heading in the right direction. So today it was nice to see that a couple still remain. I saw this one at Canning Town. Not quite a ghost sign, but not far off I suppose.

Buses for ExCeL ghost sign

 

10,000 steps a day – days 21, 22 & 23 – miscellany

I’ve been ticking along on the challenge quite nicely for the last three days. No big dramas, although I did need a short walk in the dark on the 21st to reach my target. The last three days have been busy, so this post is a bit of a miscellany.

21st – ARIS User Group, London

A really well attended and informative event, held at the Glaziers Hall. This was the view from the lunch room.

London Bridge22nd – Derby

My Fitbit tells me that mowing our lawn is worth 1,325 steps. Target achieved!

Mowing the lawn23rd – Derby again

The preparations for Derby Festé are in full swing. A number of fire-breathing dragons are currently being assembled next to Riverlights.

DragonsCancer Research have also reminded me that there’s only 7 days of this challenge left to go …

7 days to go… and finally, I was given my first new fiver today in change for a coffee. Many people are donating their first plastic fivers to charity, so that’s where mine is going, bringing my total raised so far to £305.

First plastic fiver

There’s still time to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September. My donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – days 19 & 20 – work

Sometimes reaching 10,000 steps a day is a significant challenge if work means I’m writing a document or presentation. Monday was like that – by mid afternoon I was still below 2,000 steps for the day. I eventually reached the target by some judicious gardening and taking the long route to the shops. Other days, like yesterday, work makes reaching the target very easy. Well, easy, apart from lugging around the case that I had with me for my overnight stay. Wrestling it on and off the underground at peak times is never easy for anyone …

After yesterday’s exertions, I spent the evening in a hotel in Hammersmith. I was on the 13th floor – so great for clocking up extra steps up and down the stairwell. And the view was, well, of Hammersmith.

HammersmithThis morning, I’ve been ranting at the Independent’s headline writers on twitter. They’re misreporting an initiative by Microsoft by suggesting that software will ‘solve’ cancer in the next decade. If they read their own article, they’d see that’s not what’s being claimed. For rare cancers, like MCL, the issue isn’t sifting through lots of research of course, it’s getting the research funded in the first place.

 

If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

Thank you Veronica

I famously don’t care all that much for London. Too noisy, smelly and generally uncivilised for my provincial tastes. I’ve spent most of this week working out of our offices in Tower 42 (the former home of NatWest) and while my colleagues and clients have been great, I’m glad to be home.

However, the person who made me smile most this week was Veronica, who works in the Pret A Manger opposite the tower. Her enthusiasm for her job and the way she interacted with her colleagues and customers – even awkward ones like me – was terrific. I’ve no idea if Pret run an ‘Employee of the month’ award but if they did she ought to win hands down.

Thank you Veronica, for making my extended trip to the big city that little bit more bearable and fun this week.

London is a miserable place

Why on earth would anyone choose to live or work there? Today it’s been hot, smelly, noisy, bad-tempered and overcrowded everywhere I’ve been. Breaking with my normal habit, I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard to read on the train back home to Derby, hoping it might shed some light on why anyone with a desire to have a decent quality of life might want to live there. I’m even more confused than ever after reading it. A selection of articles from tonight’s edition:

  • House prices set to soar by 6% – the value of a family home will soon be £500,000 in the capital. You’d probably get two very nice four bedroom detached houses for that amount of money in Derby – and the glorious Peak District is on your doorstep.
  • Tube passengers sweat it out as temperatures top 34C to beat Bali. If I were from Bali I’d be hugely annoyed by that comparison. Bali is nothing like a dirty, smelly, hot, overcrowded tube carriage.
  • Three cyclists have been killed on London’s roads in the past three weeks. That’s shocking. Anywhere else in the country it would be on the front page of the local newspaper, be the top item on the regional TV news and radio and politicians would be resigning. In London it appears that all people do is shrug and blame cyclists for breaking the rules of the road. In tonight’s Standard, this is a story hidden away at the bottom of page 15.
  • In the richest city in the country where some of the most highly paid individuals are employed, London doesn’t appear to be able to afford to pay a living wage to the cleaners who look after our Whitehall mandarins.

… and most Londoners still think that Boris Johnson is a good choice as a mayor.

I rest my case.

Photographs

Someone sent me an email recently and asked about the photographs that you see in the blog header now that I’ve fiddled with the template I use. They’re all photographs I’ve taken myself during the last two or three years (with perhaps one exception – my wife may have taken the photograph of Xlendi Bay in Gozo). Here are all 12 of the current blog headers, which are selected at random when you visit here.

Revelation, Chatsworth House - May 2008

Revelation, Chatsworth House - May 2008

Revelation is quite hypnotic when you see it in action. Water fills the central sphere which causes the leaves to close over it, hiding it from view. Then, when the sphere is full, the water is let out, causing the leaves to fall away and the sphere is revealed. And so on. It keeps me entertained for hours …

Xlendi Bay, Gozo - August 2006

Xlendi Bay, Gozo - August 2006

I’m not sure whether it was me or Jane that took this ‘photo, but it was probably Jane. Taken from a restaurant overlooking Xlendi Bay in Gozo at sunset.

My Alfa Mito (Huffty) - September 2009

My Alfa Mito (Huffty) - September 2009

Well, she had to be included.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin - October 2006

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin - October 2006

I’ve never seen a real horse be able to hold anything like that.

Paphos, Cyprus - August 2010

Paphos, Cyprus - August 2010

Paphos at sunset – again, taken from a restaurant. It’s a bit blurry – I’ll have to do better next summer when we go back again!

Moonlight by Igor Mitoraj, Poznan, Poland - October 2006

Moonlight by Igor Mitoraj, Poznan, Poland - October 2006

This sculpture is in the Stary Browar shopping centre in Poznan. I’ve also seen examples of his work exhibited in the gardens at Chatsworth House and in Venice. If you stand behind the sculpture in the right place, you can just about see the “hollow face” illusion.

Wind turbine, Nazare, Portugal - August 2009

Wind turbine, Nazare, Portugal - August 2009

One of the wind turbines visible from our holiday villa in Nazare. Again, I find these strangely hypnotic to look at.

Aphrodite's rock, Cyprus - August 2010

Aphrodite's rock, Cyprus - August 2010

Taken early one morning (around 8am) as we were driving along the coast road to get to the Kourion amphitheatre.

Mirror against mirror, Chatsworth House - October 2009

Mirror against mirror, Chatsworth House - October 2009

Taken at the “beyond limits” art exhibition in the grounds of Chatsworth House during October 2009. The artist is Guy Zagursky.

The Koan at Warwick University - September 2010

The Koan at Warwick University - September 2010

The White Koan outside the Arts Centre at Warwick University – now restored to working order and its rightful place.

Derby Station - April 2009

Derby Station - April 2009

Taken by accident in April 2009 when I was playing with a new camera. I posted the complete image on this blog shortly after I’d taken it. This is now a piece of history – the customer service counter on the left hand side of the (complete) photograph is now gone, replaced by a nasty little metal desk in the middle of temperamental ticket barriers in front of these stairs. And the nice, colourful 1970’s tiles that you can see by the side of the staircase are currently being replaced by battleship grey ones. The sense of the station entrance is now one of cramped frustration because of these changes. Definitely not an improvement.

London Eye - August 2006

London Eye - August 2006

Taken on a long weekend to London – I’m pretty sure the main reason for being there was to see “A Comedy of Errors” at the Globe Theatre.

It makes a change from posting about OU courses, I guess!