The long overdue, around the world Clipper race finally came to an end at the weekend arriving in London’s Royal Docks.
I’m starting to wonder if my blogging world is broken. Along with my Facebook updates I’m struggling to celebrate, lament and comment on my life. I think I know why and I need to deal with it as I really do enjoy writing my blog.
Facebook however, I’m not missing as much. It seems that its mostly videos of people popping 20 year old spots and less than inspirational memes. It’s certainly a far cry from when Facebook started out and friends shared thoughts, pictures and status updates of their own. I guess Facebook has become lazy.
So, what’s been going on with me? Some of you might be interested even if we don’t speak to each other any more or actually never met in the first place.
This year the defence show was at Excel again and as usual I took some pictures of the arrivals that included,
• Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Iron Duke
• Royal Navy River Class HMS Tyne
• Royal Navy Hunter Class MCMV HMS Hurworth
• Royal Canadian Navy Halifax Class HMCS Winnipeg
• Belgian Navy Costal Patrol Vessel BNS Castor
• German Navy K130 Class Corvette FGS Ludwigshafen
• Indian Navy Talwar Class INS Trikand
• Sea Owl Naval Training Ship VN Partisan
All of these ships have to pass through the lock next to my home and some of them sadly arrived at silly O’clock that meant I wasn’t able or willing to take any pictures. I only ventured out once to catch an arrival at 3am that turned out to be a bit of a farce as the bridge that rises to let them into Victoria dock wouldn’t open. So, not very much happened beyond me being very tired and cold.
Having really got into cycling this year I’ve been slowly getting more and more distance as my strength and fitness improve. I’m not like those nutters that can do 150 miles before breakfast but I have managed to get to around 25 miles and I’m proud of myself as I’m mostly made of lard, unfit and with a broken spine. Don’t get me wrong, my legs afterwards are like jelly but I always feel great.
Recently I did a ride from my home in the Royal Docks to Westminster and back. The route used the Greenway to Stratford, Bow to Whitechapel, Tower Bridge to Southbank. Big Ben to Embankment, Tower Hill to Canary Wharf and then back home. Along the route we did get to see Christopher Werkowicz playing a tuba which shoots out fire!
I went to see a play recently called, ‘The curious case of the dog in the night-time’ at the Gielgud Theatre.
It’s a great story and the staging was very different to anything I’ve ever seen. The set was surrounded on all sides including the floor with LED lights that create movement and spaces that the performers can work within. The ticket I had came with restricted view that was fairly restricted unless I hung over the balcony in a way that didn’t feel very safe. It should have also read restricted leg room that made The Royal Court or Easyjet look like luxury. After the interval I moved to an empty seat which gave me direct views of the stage and this made things much more enjoyable. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you any of the plot but I would certainly recommend going to see this play but you really need to be careful with the seating. I would certainly argue that being higher in the theatre would give a better experience than the stalls.
I recently took this picture while walking to the station during a lovely sunset. Hope you like it?
I would love it if readers of this blog left some comments on the writing, the pictures or asked me questions. At the bottom is a little used comments section. Say something nice!
One good thing. Doctor Who is back on TV.
One bad thing, I keep stepping on snails in the dark.
It’s about time I got blogging again…
I’ve recently been struggling with terrible back pain having done the most extraordinary exercise of opening a blind at home. Ever since my car crash in 2002 my spine has been fairly weak but when it goes ping I normally get better after a few days. However the latest painful episode just doesn’t want to heal. Walking has been difficult and the pain really takes my breath away.
I decided that I needed to do something different this time and paid top dollar for a Canary Wharf based osteopath that has been able to get me walking again but with some limited range of movement. It just seems that since passing 40 my body is taking longer to heal. Sadly the money runs out soon and I can’t afford to continue the plan much longer. I really hope I don’t have a relapse and end up using a walking stick full time. Once my treatment plan is completed I intend to start swimming in the local pool, which everyone tells me will help. Painkillers do nothing for me; so I really hope I can get pain free and maybe one day, go for a run. I’ll take a long walk as a compromise.
As a keen photographer I sometimes get asked to take pictures and a couple of weeks ago I was asked to take shots of some warships in Victoria Dock. The British, Swedish and South Korean Navy’s were visiting for the DSEI event, which is a defence event at Excel London.
The bridge that spans the dock was closed for security reasons as the event has attracted demonstrators. The bridge was opened for my exclusive access and I managed to get some pictures that nobody else could take. A real privilege seeing the state of the art ships up close, including some new missiles for sale.
Living in London you would imagine that I’ve seen most places in the town that I love but I’d never visited the Columbia Road flower market.
It is only a narrow street in London, E2 but it is full of great character and characters from the market stall sellers to the live music. The short strip of road has over priced and in some cases questionable art for sale in the small shops that sit behind the stalls of flowers, trees and plants.
I loved the atmosphere and vibe and could have wandered around for longer but it just isn’t that big. Having arrived early I missed out on having a drink and some food at the Royal Oak pub that sits nicely in the middle of the action. I can’t wait to go back soon…
I think that catches up on the past month,
Being mostly made of lard it has been a long desire of mine to beat the bulge. I know I eat far too much of the wrong stuff and my idea of exercise is opening the fridge door. However, the cost of going to the gym hasn’t really done much to support my change in lifestyle. The Reebok gym at Canary Wharf was so expensive that only the traders that work in the area could only afford the frankly extortionate charges. Certainly the facilities available were world class and luxurious but selling my liver and promising my first child to pay the joining fee alone wasn’t enough to convince me it was a great deal.
In late 2011 I noticed a new building being constructed just 5 minutes from my home that was attached to the University of East London. The university has been expanding fairly rapidly over the years and thought nothing more of it. As the building began to take shape I decided to investigate further to discovered that the very big building was about to become something called, The SportsDock.. Even at this point I was unaware that the public would get access to such a facility. After all, it could have been used solely used for students or as a site for education. I would have to wait until March 2012 to discover that the £21m building was open to the public.
When I arrived on the opening day to investigate the costs, I discovered that there was no joining fee. I’ve never really understood the concept of a joining fee. I’m not sure what real costs are associated in the administration of someone wanting to join a gym but I’m absolutely certain that £40 is quite a lot.
The good news continued with the monthly charge. The unlimited gold package with discounts on classes and free parking was just £40 a month. I’ve spent more than that on lunch. I don’t why it’s so cheap but I’ve got no excuse not to go and get myself fit. The facilities are so good that the US Olympic team will be using them as the their camp during London 2012. The downside of this is that I won’t be allowed to go for a month while they do it. I guess it has something to do with not wanting to show them up or something like that anyway. When it was announced that the US team would be using it as a training camp the sites CCTV was beefed up somewhat at the their request, from 12 cameras to 48. Paranoid or what???
The weights are also supplied by the US team and are in Olympic colors but sadly too big and heavy for a weakling like me. Maybe one day…
So now it’s time for me to attack the lard…
The SS Robin arrived in the dock next to where I live with a very uncertain future. The world’s oldest steam ship built in 1890 used to live and rot at West India Quay.
After a major refit, the ship has now returned to London Docklands and resides near to my home in Victoria Dock. Good news came this week when The Heritage Fund awarded the SS Robin £1,000,000 to turn its new home into a visitor’s centre which will enable it to then join the Cutty Sark and the HMS Belfast as a new destination for tourists.
The area is also getting a new river crossing this summer in the shape of a Cable car.
The Emirates Air Line will cross the Thames at the Royal Docks to the O2 in Greenwich. The only concerns are that its the only cable car system in the world to cut through an airport’s Public Safety Zone or “Crash Zone” because London City Airport is so close.
Transport For London failed to do a safety analysis at the original planning stage. Lets hope things don’t get a little tangled up!!!
With the Olympic stadium and Westfield shopping centre in Newham also, the area is a great addition to London and certainly more interesting than most London Boroughs.