Thursday, 24 July 2014

A hot summer's day

Today was one of those lovely British summer days that is almost too hot.  We had arranged to meet at The Scoop, near Tower Bridge, to hear The Queen's Six, a group formed of Lay Clerks from St George's Chapel, Windsor.
They were excellent, although they were up against a rather uninterested crowd, who just wanted somewhere nice to sit and eat their lunches, and we were sitting at the top of the amphitheatre, so couldn't really hear.  But, you see, they couldn't really compete with this, now, could they:

Although Tower Bridge opens several times a day at this time of year, you still don't often see it happening.  In fact, my daughter said she'd never seen it before.

Once that that happened, though, and the bridge had closed again, The Boy asked if we could go down nearer the singers, so he and I went down and sat where we could hear for the last bits of the set.  They were excellent, and I do recommend them.

When the concert was over, and we had congratulated the performers, we decided to walk over Tower Bridge - the Boy was thrilled: "That's the bridge that just opened!" - and got the DLR at Tower Gateway, pausing to buy a large bottle of water (why did I think 500 ml would be enough on a day like today?) which we all shared.  We ended up in Stratford, and went into Marks to buy an outfit for Boy Too to wear at a wedding this Saturday and possibly also at his baptism in September.

And then there was yet another way home from Stratford!  The quickest way for the family to get home is to get a train to Tottenham Hale and then a 123 bus, but the trains are only every 30 minutes.  And, unfortunately, the National Rail app misled us as to the platform we needed to be on, so it was a mad dash up and down stairs with the pushchair and everything.  I took the Victoria Line home from Tottenham Hale, which was arguably the quickest and least step-ridden way so far!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Walworth bus garage open day

This year, TfL have been having a series of Open Days at various bus garages around London, but for a variety of reasons we haven't been able to get to any of them until today.  I should have liked to have visited Stockwell, as it is supposed to be a fantastic building, but we were otherwise engaged.

Today, it was Walworth Bus Garage's turn to be Open.  It is in Camberwell New Road, but is called Walworth Bus Garage to avoid confusion with Camberwell Bus Garage, belonging to another company, which is just across the road. 

There was a great deal to see - buses old and new, in service and out of it, from B-types to the very newest Borisbus. 

We were allowed to go on a bus going through the bus wash

and we ended our visit by taking a Routemaster along Route 40 to Dulwich Library, and back as far as Goose Green, where we stopped to have some lunch in a restaurant called Le Chardon.  I had steak and chips and the Swan Whisperer had chicken livers, and very good it all was, too.  We watched the heritage buses attracting attention as they went up and down:
Then we decided to go home on a 37, and it all went horribly wrong.  Partly, I think, because of huge demand for the route due to the Lambeth Country Show, but first of all there wasn't one for ages - the apps kept saying 4 minutes, but then when the 4 minutes were up they were still saying 4 minutes!  Anyway, eventually one came and I managed to grab a seat, but half way home it suddenly broke down!  We got off and walked to Herne Hill, which wasn't that far by then, stopping off for an artisanal ice-cream when we saw one, and then the Swan Whisperer decided to walk through the Lambeth Country Show, but I had already decided I had had enough.  However, just as I got to the bus stop, an empty 37 came along - I am not sure if it was the one that had broken down, or another one - and I got on.  It didn't stay empty for long, and was overloaded again by the time we got to  the top of Dulwich Road.  And by the time I got off, there were already two buses immediately behind it, and the one I was on had decided to turn round at Clapham Common.

So a quick dash round Lidl - well, they had women's T-shirts at £1.99 or three for £5, so it would have been rude not to - and then home to a nice cool drink!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Day Trip to Salisbury

On Tuesday of this week I went to Salisbury to meet some friends for lunch. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, involving delicious food from Cranes Wine Café, lots of talk and laughter, some buying of cotton yarn (ahem!) and some buying of books (I only bought ONE, honest, and it was a birthday present for The Boy), a lovely walk through the Close, and a cup of tea at the Museum. This is only a short post, but I wanted to share these pictures of the Cathedral:

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Tour came to the Stow

Today was the long-awaited day when the Tour de France came through Walthamstow on its way to the finish in Central London.  As it went right past my daughter's church, it was a no-brainer to go and watch there.  The Swan Whisperer took the day off to watch it, and we set off, armed with packed lunch, at about 11:30, and got to Wood Street Station at 12:35, where the Daughter and Boy Too met us.  The Boy was at nursery, and the Son-in-Law working.  The Church is only a short walk from there and the "Caravane Publicitaire" was due to come past at about 13:15.
Sadly, the Caravane was very disappointing.  It roared past and didn't really throw anything except trouser-clips.  It was supposed to take 40 minutes to go past, but had finished in about 10, really not worth having to sit for two hours after it to wait for the Tour proper.  So we sat down and had lunch - I was found a chair - and we sat and waited and waited and waited.  I had my Kindle with me, so read for a bit.  The neighbouring club told us when things were finally starting to happen by stopping the loud and rather tuneless music it had been playing. 

And then the two who were in the breakaway, Barta and Bideaux:
 And very soon, along came the main peloton
 And went on coming
 And there were one or two stragglers.....

Finally it was all over, and the "broom vehicle" came past.   You don't appreciate how fast the cyclists are going until the team cars come past - they are going at practically  normal speed! 

We packed up our stuff and made ourselves comfortable, and then walked down the road to Whipps Cross Roundabout where there was a big screen and - it was raining - we stood under a tree and watched until the very end of the race.   Which was, as anybody could tell you, won by Marcel Kittel. 

And also by my friend Jilly and her team, who have been responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the Tour while it was in the UK.  They have done a superb job.  And I'd like to thank the staff of St-Peters-in-the-Forest for opening the church and allowing us to use its facilities.  This was the cycle they had decorated at the church gates: