Monday, May 30, 2005

The Knights Templer and the Virgin Queen

The bank holiday started as all bank holidays seem to with rain. Not nice. But after a trip to Morrisons to stock on up my weekly supplies the sun had come out and I decided to head off and explore the Temple Church featured in The Da Vinci Code. Although it's only 10 minutes walk from home I had never visited it before. Even with the aid of a map it was still a little tricky to find, being hidden away in the secret enclaves of the legal area of London. Most of the signposted entryways into this area were closed but one back street leads you into the complex.
WOW, this is yet another hidden village I had until now, known nothing about. A complex of pretty gardens, courtyards and churches, this area is steaming in history and one I will venture back to again, partly because Temple Church itself was closed to the public today. However wandering around, I stumbled across Middle Temple Hall and a film crew, filming, Elizabeth Virgin Queen, a BBC costume drama that will be on screen early 2006. It was obviously their lunchbreak time as the actors were all milling around in the courtyard outside. Very strange to watch people in full Elizabethan dress, checking their mobiles, having a fag (that's cigarette for my American readers) and checking out the latest gossip from the Big Brother house in the papers. Click on the pic for the full slideshow of todays pics.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The £10million house

The Bank Holiday weekend is once again upon us. This brings with it the promise of good weather and the reality of poor weather. The start of yet another series of Big Brother with the promise of good viewing and the reality of more car crash TV, (have you seen this years contestants??).

And as all Bank Holidays it involves driving into the countryside and seeing the marvels of what this country has to offer. So Saturday popped down to see Kay & Paul, having not had a chance to see them since Christmas, so a good chance to catch up again since their Australian journey last month. We decided we would be up an early this morning and take a trip down the A25 to Ightam Mote near Sevenoaks. Ightam, (pronounced Ite-um, although not mentioned in the Doomsday Book is derived from the Saxon "Ehtaham", from Ehta a Jutish name and ham, meaning settlement), is an old manor house, started in 1330 and continually added to over the centuries by the 20 generations that have lived their up until the last owner, the American businessman Charles Henry Robinson, left it to the National Trust in 1985.
When the NT acquired it, it was in a state of almost falling down, being riddled with death watch beetle and the general effects of age. The NT then embarked on one of their most ambitious restoration projects ever, dismantling the entire building and rebuilding it almost from scratch,
conserving as much as they could and restoring where necessary. It was decided that they would restore it to the point they acquired in 1985, but also restoring each layer of previous building. This involved such things as remaking intricate carvings, then promptly covering them up with newer building, so retaining the history for future generations. Probably a bit of overkill here, but no doubt with a building of this importance, an expensive necessity.
Click the pic above to be taken to the slideshow of all the pics taken today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Diet's off

Today marks the final day of the cabbage soup diet. Thanks God for that. Although it's been a couple of days since I stopped soup and switched to something a little tastier instead I am now at 207lbs. So, I've lost 2½lbs in a week. Not good. Guess I'll just have to try and cut back on a lot of the fats and other nasties and try and keep a closer eye on things over the next few weeks. My goal now is to be at 180lbs by 31st August, my 40th birthday. Lets see how it goes. I'll be giving regular updates as and when I notice a decent change.

Monday, May 23, 2005


207½lbs today. Well it is Monday. I can't stick to the soup any more so have switched to normal soup with flavour. I shall just have to be a little more careful what else I eat. Certainly won't make the 10-14lbs loss in a week that I was expecting. Oh well. It was worth a go I guess.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Falling off

Wow, 205lbs, not as fast as I wanted but it's going. Hooray. And Greece won the Eurovision song contest last night. As for us, well' we came 3rd from bottom so that's all right then.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Not so fast

Well the weight is going down, but certainly not as fast as I would have expected. At 6pm this evening I was at 206lbs. Having a quiet weekend not doing much so therefore nothing much to report on. I thought bananas would be ok, but I'm sick of them now. Tomorrow is steak and tomatos so that really is something to look forward to. Made another batch of cabbage soup today, I just can't describe how bad it tastes, but the brownish/greenish sludge is enough to force anyone to lose weight. Yuk!

Friday, May 20, 2005

A bit more less

Down to 208lbs today. Was allowed to have fruit again today as well as veg so things were a little more palatable. Tomorrow I am allowed 8 bananas so that's something to look forward to. Also tomorrow is Eurovision, so even more to look forward to as long as I don't stuff myself silly while watching it like I usually do.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A little bit less

Just a quick post this evening as there's not much to talk about. Todays selection of soup and veg was not very nice. No facilities at work to cook so therefore have just been munching on raw mushrooms, celery and carrots. Not very appetising but it kept me going through the day. Have lost a couple of ounces only.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

At the end of day one

209½lbs still. No change. To be fair though the scales do vary a little through the course of the day and I have yet to have my evening meal. Not sure what I shall have yet, but it's likely to be soup and fruit. Tomorrow I will have a change. It will be soup and veg. Mmmm, I just have to keep reminding myself, it's only for a week...

Midday - Day One of the diet.

I started the day with a couple of slices of toast. I don't think they are part of the diet, but it doesn't actually say that I can't have it, but I decided I would need something just to bulk me up for the start of the day. I'm not one for having breakfast anyway and have been advised that I should have somethig to get me going, so there you go. Had a black coffee with no sugar. Yuck. Will have black coffee with one sugar from now on, it still better than the 3 sugars I would normally have.
The soup isn't so bad so far, although I did over salt it a bit so I am suffering with a cringy look on my face everytime I manage a mouthful. Have got a craving for chocolate, but I guess that's only because I'm thinking about it. Already scoffed half a fruit bowl. Feel better already. Check back at 6 for todays weight reading.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


There was a time when I was often complimented on the size of the bulge in my trousers, however in recent weeks, particularly since I managed to give up smoking 14 weeks ago I have noticed that there is a certain bulge appearing above the waistline which no one has complimented me on. Barnaby took a pic last week and I looked pregnant in it. To be honest I have put on just over 20lbs since 7th February and now is the time to do something about it. So, the Cabbage Soup Diet, which has been recommended to me by a neighbour is now about to become a reality. I’ve thought about it, looked at the recipe and decided against it as it does look pretty awful, but if I can lose the suggested 10lbs in a week then it will be worth it. A trip to Tescos and the ingredients have been sourced and are currently sitting in the slow cooker ready for a flaskful to be taken to work with me tomorrow. I gave up smoking without much problem so I guess I can force myself to do this. At least it's only for a week at a time. Keep checking back for daily updates. Today’s weight at 6pm was 209½lbs.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Flickr is addictive enough as it is without extras being added, not by Flickr though, but by others who are using the API that Flickr have released. This along with the API of Google and the open source facilities of Firefox and Greasemonkey have allowed me to start Geoblogging some of my images. In a nutshell, Geoblogging is a way of linking my photos to a map overlay, so you can see exactly where they were taken. Now I'm not sad enough to Geoblog all my photos, that would take too long, and probably wouldn't actually be that useful due to so many being taken in the same place. However, from now on I will Geoblog the lead image of each Flickr set that I create. Clicking here or on the above image will take you to a Google Map listing all my Geoblogged images.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Viva Las Selfridges

One of the great things about Flickr is that you often find pictures from things that are happening on your own doorstep that you are otherwise unaware of. Such was the case with the current Vegas promotion going on down at Selfridges on Oxford Street. So, feeling skint again and with a free day, I thought I'd pop along and have a look for myself before it ends tomorrow. I don't really recall Liberace from my youth, but seeing his costumes on display and his diamond encrusted car, I can see myself having a good look on eBay or Amazon pretty soon to find some DVDs or videos as I fancy an evening of camp entertainment.
All round the store Vegas style neon signs directed you to the Showgirls, magicians wandered around the departments and a giant fruit machine came alive every hour, on the hour to keep the shoppers and myself amused. Now, I must go, I got a Liberace DVD to find.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Filling time

Dear fellow Bloggers,
I just wanted to keep intouch, it's been a few days since I last posted a decent blog, other than the last couple of bloglets that I have tried my hand at, but to be honest not a lot has happened. Friday was the last day of my official holiday from work, so I made a trip to Croydon and had a wander around to see how much things had changed since I last went shopping there. A lot as it happens, it's almost unrecognisable now, and I can see why Allders went bust, how many other department stores still have a grandfather clock department? The whole of Croydon seemed to be crawling with chavs, some cute but mostly not. A quick trip down to Dad's to give him his brithday pressie then back home.
The rest of the weekend has been very much just hanging around in the flat, doing a bit of tidying up etc. getting ready for back to work. Quick visit to catch up with Griff and Andrew on Sunday afternoon.Now I'm back at work, it's Tuesday afternoon, bit busy, bit bored, now looking forward to the end of June when I get my next few days off work and hopefully can get out of London and go camping.
Until the the next update...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Let's celebrate. I'm normal!

You Are 55% Normal
(Somewhat Normal)

While some of your behavior is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Where are you at on the highway of life?

goldenlad Highway
Confusion Lane17
Study Hall49
County Jail128
Please Drive Carefully

Where are you on the highway of life?


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Getting old

There's that time in life when you start to feel old, and to turn that around you need to surround yourself with older things to make you feel younger in comparison. So that's how I found myself with the dinosaurs. Something that's 65million years old is definitely going to make me feel younger.

So I headed off to South Kensington and made my way to the Natural History Museum. There's currently a really good dinosaur exhibition on with a very lifelike animatronic T-Rex (that's assuming that a T-Rex wasn't bright purple with green spots, but I guess we will never know for sure). This has to be one of the most intriguing buildings I have ever visited, wherever you look there are animals and plant life carved into the very fabric of the buildings itself, apparently, not one creature is duplicated and no one knows for sure how many carvings there are.

Next, I moved on briefly to the Earth Galleries, now part of the same museum, but as I recall from when I was a kid it used to be a separate museum, the British Geological Survey. With the main escalator out of order in the entrance hall, it had the appearance today of being a bit closed down, so after taking a few pics I moved on to the Science Museum. The main entrance hall appeared to be under a rebuilding programme so I managed to work my way around that and eventually down into the childrens gallery, to rekindle childhood memories of button pressing. It's now renamed the Launch Pad, and not suprisingly full of screaming kids with thier groups of teachers. It seemed to be lunchtime so I managed to have a good look around while they were otherwise occipied with packed lunches. I was pleased to see that the floating gold ball was still their. A table that has a ball that you are invited to grab, but as soon as you reach over it disappears into a hole in the table top. After 30+ years it looks like no one has yet managed to catch it.

And so next onto the Victoria & Albert Museum across the road as I wanted to see the Abbas Kiarostami display. This was something that really took your breath away. Entitled "Forest Without Leaves", it was a large room, with mirrored walls, that echoed the large tubes that stood treelike with photographs of tree bark wrapped around them. a very strange feeling altogether and well worth a visit. there is a fuller exhibition of this Iranian filmmaker in the V&A but this part is free for all.

It's about 9 years since I moved out of Knightsbridge, so I had a wander around to reacquaint myself with the area and see how much had changed, naturally gravitating towards Harrods, where 20 years ago I worked for a while as a porter. Al Fayed has certainly continued his luxurification of the store, perhaps too much in my opinion, the Egyptian escalator is testament to that!

And so, at the end of a day surrounding myself with old things, do I feel any younger? Not bloody likely with all that walking and the blisters that have now appeared on my poor feet. Back home and put them in a nice bowl of warm water I think to soak. I can dream about being young while watching the final of The Apprentice tonight. I really hope that Saira doesn't win it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I'm seeing double, triple, quadruple.........

Since Yahoo bought Flickr a month or so ago, the sheer number or pictures that are now archived is huge, and growing at an unheard of rate for an online library. It's not surprising then that pictures of the same thing will appear again and again. Searching on the tags will give you hundreds of pictures of say, the Eiffel Tower or the pyramids in Egypt. Despite all these iconic images having their photos recorded for posterity, they are usually taken from different points. Not so with the Great Court at the British Museum. As you first enter the courtyard, your eyes are drawn, followed by camera wielding hands up to the left hand side, resulting in image after image after image after image after image after image after image after image after image after image after image after image, all taken from exactly the same spot. My effort is shown above but I also got a picture of the window cleaners. I bet no one else has got that one!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Getting out of London

I suggested to Barnaby yesterday that Woburn Abbey would be a good place to go today, for no other reason that I recall seeing the sign on the M1 last summer and thought it would be good to see. The weather was looking like it would be good so we set off early. Good job too, we made it there in just under an hour (it took longer getting back).

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the main building for the usual reasons of the old paintings, and them wanting to sell the guide books. What was fascinating for me especially is that this is the home of the Russell family, the seat of the Dukes of Bedford, the family that once owned the very ground that I live on now, and a lot more in the areas of Covent Garden and Bloomsbury. When you think of Russell Square, Upper Woburn Place, Bedford Square etc. these are all grounds that they once owned.

It saddened me to think that a whole wing of the house had been demolished in the 1940's due to woodworm. No wonder some of the rooms seemed so crammed with wonderful furniture and paintings. Todays set of pics can be found by clicking on the image above.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

There's just soo much waist/waste...

Bank Holiday Sunday, got bored sleeping, so there I was, up and awake at some ungodly hour this morning. Even Barnaby commented when I emailed him that I was up early. I could already tell that today would be a glorious day, perfect for getting out and about. I slapped on a cheerful Aqua album to get me off to a good start, and shortly afterwards had the embarrassment of catching myself dancing in the bathroom mirror. I thought at first that the mirror suffered from time lag as the reflection seemed to continue jiggling after I had stopped. Alas, there was no time lag, it was only too evident that giving up smoking I had put a little bit of weight on, and my waistline is certainly drawing me towards the slightly larger trousers shop yet again.

Well I had decided that I would get out this week, so what better than to get out while its early and before it gets too hot for me to be walking around. Off I went to Tower Hill, taking a tube with the intention of walking back and killing a few pounds in the process. Tower Bridge was closed to traffic, as I recall from being diverted when I tried to drive over it yesterday, but this gave a great opportunity to get some good photos in, you can find those here.

Had a quick wander around Butler's Wharf, some nice little eateries around here, and still being early in the day meant a dearth of tourists and a good chance to have a nose around the area. Continued across to City Hall and had a look what was going on around here. Found the Weeeman, a statue made entirely of the electrical goods that each of us is expected to use in a lifetime. Extraordinary to think that I would be getting through several washing machines, toasters, irons etc etc, but it really makes you think how much you throw away, that after some recycling still has a use. In fact it made be almost embarrassed to admit how much I have already thrown away in the past that still had a use without needing to be recycled.
Behind City Hall, is The Scoop, a sort of concave seating area that appears to have been scooped out of the ground. An exhibition was going on of the most thought provoking photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. This collection, Earth from the Air, is well worth a visit, it's on until the end of September. And when you visit, don't just look at the wonderful photography, take some time to read the attached factsheets. You'll be fascinated, and unfortunately saddened at the facts revealed.

“An average French citizen consumes between 150 and 250 litres of water per day. Only 2 litres is used for drinking. Therefore less than 0.5% of the water treated for drinking is in fact drunk.”