Just a short walk from our flat and it felt like we were in the middle of the countryside. How refreshing to have trees and water and green space in the middle of London.
Although there was still an industrial estate to our right. This bakery smelled delicious, though, and had wind turbines generating some power.
You can't really see it properly but through these trees is our lovely City Farm which grows vegetables, has lots of farmyard animals and gives riding lessons.
This is Morden Hall Park. I expected it to be immaculately preened, but actually most of it is wetlands which was lovely.
In the wetlands the river splits into several different streams, this being the main one.
You can just about see Morden Hall itself through the trees.
Does anyone know what these arches might be for? They're very pretty but I can't really see what their purpose might be as the stone is far too thin to be a bridge.
Once you pass Morden Hall the park does become much more managed, but it's still very pretty , with lots of white bridges as you can see in the background.
Out of Morden Hall Park and into the next park which might possibly be called Ravenscroft Park, I can't quite remember. It was full of mill streams ...
... and mill stones.
There were little people feeding ducks and swans and geese.
This lovely white wooden house had water on several sides. I'd like to live there.
Further along, the opposite side of the river became increasingly industrial and less beautiful.
But even when we'd left teh river, we could still see trees and fields and grass and other un-London-y things. We'll gradually complete the whole thing, watch this space.
Sunday, February 22, 2009 | | 1 Comments
On my way home now, another bus, another slow crawl through London. I
really liked Lindsey's friends, one of whom works for my department
but is on secondment to BERR. When she comes back I think we'll be
We had a good couple of hours eating and drinking chez Lindsey. Then
we went to Infernos which was less fun. The girls went straight to the
dancefloor but Andy, being the only boy, was less keen to dance. So I
stuck with him but it meant that we sat there for an hour and a half
on our ownio before deciding it wasn't really worth sitting there just
for moral support.
We didn't see anyone vomiting which was a disappointment, but whilst I
waited for Andy to collect our coats who should appear but Cousin Ed
with Zoe and Isobel who were in his year in Newtown! So that was a bit
of a coincidence. They too were leaving in horror.
So now I'm up to 7 people I have bumped into unexpectedly in London:
Matt and Andy, ex-presidents of Bangor SU (I met them separately),
Gary from my class in Bangor, Jim from NUS at an education lecture and
now Ed, Zoe and Isobel. And I also strongly suspect I have passed
several times in Colliers Wood but I thought it was too unlikely it
was actually him to say hello. Turns out he has moved to London so it
might be him after all.
Ah, Infernos may have let me down but the night bus hasn't: the guy
opposite just vomited on the seat and the floor. Yum yum.
Sunday, February 22, 2009 | | 0 Comments
I'm on a Rail Replacement Bus Service crawling through Tooting on my
way to Lindsey's birthday party in Clapham. Normally I'd be delighted
to do anything in Clapham as it's only 15 minutes away by tube but the
Northern Line isn't running between Stockwell and Morden this weekend
so chaos reigns.
It's been beautifully warm and sunny today so Andy and I tackled part
of the Wandle Trail. It's really rather lovely as most of it is
through parks. We discovered a city farm really close to our house and
also visited Morden Hall for the first time. I think we'll take Ian
and Kristin there next weekend as there's a National Trust cafe - they
tend to be very good. I do have photos but I'm blogging from my phone
so will have to upload them tomorrow.
We went to a fancy bar by the Thames yesterday after work for one of
Andy's colleagues' leaving do. It was very nice with some delicious
cocktails but our wallets are considerably lighter today. They were
all really friendly though, which was nice. Shame they all live quite
far away so aren't very easy to socialise with.
Tonight is an 80s party so I'm pretending to be Debbie Harry with
frizzy hair, pink leggings and a Blondie top. I know, I know, it's
unlikely Debbie would wear a top with a picture of herself on it, but
I worried nobody would guess who I was without it. Andy's dressed as
Magnum PI and has a chest wig and stick-on moustache. We look great.
We're off to an infamous nightclub called Infernos which my boss and
other ex-Fast Streamers were exchanging tales
of exciting/awful nights out at when we went out for curry on Tuesday.
I felt so left out at the time but after tonight I too will have tales
of people vomiting on the dancefloor to regale dinner parties with.
Back to staring out the window. I hate this bus.
Saturday, February 21, 2009 | | 0 Comments
Did I ever tell you that The Bill is filmed around here? There's a weird fake police station and fake hospital on a business park we walk through on the way to the tram, and sometimes they film outside our apartment. A couple of months ago they were filming the red-brick flats (they covered over the 'Vista House' sign) and today they've closed the KFC to film in and around there [cue lots of distraught fatties who had driven here especially for their nightly fix].
It was exciting walking past there this morning. There was a big white double-decker bus in the car park for some reason, and a van with a man cooking breakfast with loads of different types of cereal and bread and jam on a table in front. We should have gone there for breakfast instead of eating at home.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | | 0 Comments
A brief midweek bulletin outlining our key achievements thus far and
upcoming milestones in the next period:
• Andy had his John Lewis assessment centre today. We expect to be
able to release results either this week or in March.
• It is cold and my fingers are going to drop off any minute. As Sam
points out, it turns out streets were gritted on Sunday, the snow was
just too heavy, which is fair enough. Business people are such grumpy-
pants: blah blah economic damage blah blah poor planning blah blah.
Snow is FUN and we should all be allowed to have an unscheduled,
exciting day off on a dismal winter Monday, especially when it only
happens on this scale once every 18 years. I don't know about you but
I'd rather my council tax was spent on something a little more useful
than snowploughs. I'm going to miss the snow when it finally leaves.
Not that I had a day off, I should point out. The Northern and
Victoria lines, blast them, were the only two running properly so I
had no excuse.
• I have managed to wangle a reason to go to Leeds on March 12th
which means I can justify working from the Sheffield office on March
13th which is good cos Andy has to be in Sheffield too.
• Someone has set up a stupid facebook group slagging the SU for not
representing their views but so far they don't have any views. I wish
people understood how hard it is to collect the views of 10000
students when they don't notice elections happening etc. I'm glad I've
left student politics.
• The Lib Dems are making a 'significant announcement' on 14-19
education policy this week according to an email from the Open
University lecture series I was going to go to (postponed due to
aforementioned significant announcement). What a funny way for that to
be leaked to the Department; they could have just blamed it on the
• I'm supposed to be going to Yorkshire this weekend but that trip
depends on how heavily it snows tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009 | | 3 Comments
Hats off to Merton council who have actually gritted their roads.
Making much better and safer progress now, nearly home, now we just
have to locate some food as we've only had a sandwich since 8am.
Still trucking through south London. Four scary moments so far even
with chains on: three times when the back wheels skidded sideways
across the road (all been okay so far ...) and just now going up a
steep humpbacked bridge which had an oil tanker stuck halfway up. The
car in front decided to overtake and slipped back towards us, then
pulled out into the opposing traffic and turned right across it,
another car tried to pull in at us from the left and slowly but surely
the oil tanker inched its way up the hill. The driver deserves a
medal, he did a wonderful job in rather difficult circumstances. We've
just skidded a fourth time. Why is nobody gritting the roads? Snow has
been forecast since at least Friday. That's just bloody dangerous.
Sunday, February 01, 2009 | | 3 Comments
Snow chains are now on and I have now been in the car for nearly 12
hours. Can you tell I'm getting fidgety?
This isn't even comparatively heavy snow anymore, this is just
downright heavy. I never thought I'd see a layer of snow several
centimetres deep right across the M25. We may be stopping to put snow
chains on again soon. We're trying to get up a slip road off the M25
right now - we've passed a car attempting to reverse back down,
presumably unable to get up the slope, a motorcyclist who looks like
they've given up and a small car whose wheels are spinning in vain.
Unfortunately stopping on a very icy slope is not a great idea so we
haven't stopped to help anyone. I'm glad we're in a Saab estate well
stocked up with snow gear rather than the Mini. I'm pretty confident
we'll get home safely but I'm worried about all the other people on
the road who set off totally unprepared. We've already passed a van
sitting sideways across the M25 - there wasn't any visible damage and
the driver looked fine fortunately but a bad sign of things to come.
... that 2000m up the Alps it was 3 degrees with a blazing hot sun (I
have rather rosy cheeks) so we took off our snow chains before
descending the mountain but back in England we're driving through
(comparatively) heavy snow causing all sorts of traffic problems? I'm
now regretting not getting around to asking the estate agents to turn
our heating on before we got back.
I'm on my way back from a week skiing in the Alps and I'd just like to
say that once you leave the Alps France is very dull to drive through.
Mile after hundreds of miles of flat, flat fields with the occasional
wind turbine and service station punctuating the flat, boring, flat
The Alps, though, are a different story. I love them. I think that
once I've made my contribution to working life, I'm going to have to
retire there. I'm going to live in a wooden house with a balcony and a
tree swing and a high-speed Internet connection (there's no sense in
cutting oneself off completely). And I'm going to be hale and hearty
with all that delicious clean fresh air and sunshine and yomping, and
because my lifestyle will be so healthy I'll also be able to eat
mountains of cheese and pate and bread without any qualms. And I'll
probably have a vineyard but I won't make wine, I'll just eat the
grapes - wine-making seems like a lot of effort when you can buy good
wine cheaply from people who like doing it. But maybe I'll find I like
it. I may even get a goat so I can drink goats milk and eat goats
cheese. And also because it would make me feel a bit like Heidi. And
I'll have long lunches and speak French but I'm going to retain my
Irish friendliness instead of being surly and unhelpful (although
that's a terrible stereotype).
So skiing itself was quite good but very exhausting, and also quite
emotionally draining. It was difficult and scary hurtling down
mountains, and I found mustering the courage to do that day after day
quite a strain (though it's also very exhilarating). Although I did
feel better when my hilariously uncommunicative ski instructor
revealed on the final day that I had been moved up from the beginners
class into class one after a couple of days, which might explain why
it was difficult ... Anyway, I did manage to keep up, although my
stance is wrong and my skis were too short so my legs hurt an awful
lot. But again my instructor only decided to tell me my stance was
wrong at the top of my first red piste when frankly I had other things
on my mind, and he told me my skis were too short after I come down my
last piste on my last day. I liked him, but that's just bloody
unhelpful. And goodness me ski boots are uncomfortable. Surely for
such a posh-persons sport someone must think it worth inventing a
comfortable pair of ski boots?
Thankfully we're only 20 miles from Calais now, although I've still
got the ferry to contend with. Embarrassingly, I threw up on the way
over right after eating a very fancy meal. In hindsight, foie gras and
steak wasn't the best meal to choose on a rocky crossing. In Calais
Andy's family are going to stock up on wine and I'm going to buy some
of my favorite wine, Pouilly Fumée. It's still not cheap here but far
cheaper than in England. I think I've earned it for being so brave
this week. In fact, when I get back to my flat I think I'll pop the
bottle in the freezer to chill and run a bath. The unpacking will just
have to wait.
Photos [and maybe even videos] will follow soon.