Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

19 April 2015

Mark the centenary of Christ Church Erith Tower

Thanks to Ian, who informs us or a special tower open day at Christ Church Erith, to celebrate 100 years of the tower and a Heritage Lottery Funded Sharing Heritage project which sees volunteers and local bellringers explore the history of the tower, clock and bells.

The tower itself is an important local landmark, and was added in 1915 to a church consecrated 40 years earlier in 1874, thanks to the vicar at the time, Canon AW Boulden.

For more, see http://www.christchurcherith.org.uk/clerkofworks

^Picture © Stephen Craven used under a Creative Commons license^

18 April 2015

Sing Verdi's Requiem

Ever fancied being in a choir but don't have time to put in months of rehearsals to see if you like it? Well there's good news, as today the Dulwich Choral Society are inviting you to go through the whole process from first rehearsal to concert in just one day.

From 10.15am, Director Aidan Oliver will take you through all the necessary steps to prepare you for an early evening concert beginning at 5pm, in front of members of the public. You'll be joined by a pianist and professional soloists, with breaks for tea and coffee and enough time to seek out your own lunch when the time comes.

For more, see http://dulwichchoralsociety.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/DCS-Come-and-Sing-Verdi-Requiem.pdf

^Picture © Stephen Richards used under a Creative Commons license^

17 April 2015

Hear the Southbank Sinfonia at the London Handel Festival

The London Handel Festival is well under way, and last night your author attended an excellent Baroque concert with the Southbank Sinfonia at St John's Waterloo, warming up for tonight's performance at St George's, Hanover Square, as part of the Festival.

Attendees will hear Handel's Overture ‘Giustino’ Rebel's Les Caractères de la Dance Telemann's Concerto in G major for two flutes and bassoon, Rebel's Orchestral Suite No.3 and Pergolesi's Missa Romana within the very church that Handel attended.

For more, see http://www.london-handel-festival.com/

^Picture © Leon Benjamin used under a Creative Commons license^

16 April 2015

Learn about Thames swimming at the Prospect of Whitby

This evening, as part of the Footprints of London River Walks Festival author Caitlin Davies will talk about the history of Thames swimming to promote her new book "Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames".

The river stretches more than 100 miles from your author's homeland in Gloucestershire to London, and out into the North Sea beyond, and upstream it is even still safe for a dip in places, whilst down in London it may seem unlikely today, but in days of less health and safety, there were beaches beside the Tower of London, and at Greenwich and Grays. Tickets are £12 inluding a glass of wine.

For more, see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/downstream-a-history-and-celebration-of-swimming-the-river-thames-tickets-15641852201

^Picture © Paul Hudson used under a Creative Commons license^

28 March 2015

Buy 'London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two Weekends of Things to See and Do'

Your author is off on holiday for a little while, to experience first hand the Severe Weather Warnings of Scotland, but there's good news for those looking for inspiration in the meantime. There's a new book out...

Your author spent a considerable amount of time and effort putting together this new book, and the words are bolstered by illustrations from the very talented David Doran.

The blurb reads:

"During the week, London is the bustlingly centre of big business, with millions of people working all around the capital, but it’s at the weekend that the city really comes alive. 

With London, The Weekends Start Here, explore the unrivalled range of cultural, artistic, historical and outdoor experiences this dynamic capital has to offer, with plenty of time to achieve the unexpected before another Monday morning rolls round. 

Perfect for Londoners and visitors alike, discover 52 themed weekends, organised by season, with over 250 interesting and quirky entries for unusual and surprising attractions. Including all you need to know about location, transport and the best places to eat and drink. 

From Wild London in the spring to Nordic London in the winter and Tea Drinker’s London, Quiet London, Japanese London and more in between. Multicultural and historical, urban and wild, peaceful and vibrant – there’s plenty to do in London to suit your mood and interests, as well as the time of year."

For more, see http://www.amazon.co.uk/London-The-Weekends-Start-Here/dp/075355626X

Back soon...

27 March 2015

Go late at the V&A

This month's free V&A late event is inspired by their Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, with music, a digital download trail, an Edible Bubble Experience - whatever that means - and a chance to go into a library that Alexander McQueen also went into at some point, and look at all the stuff in there. Books, presumably...

We are also told to expect kestrels, a life-drawing class where you can draw a tortoise, workshops, crystals and food and drink. Drop in any time from 6.30pm until 10pm.

For more, see http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/f/friday-late/

^Picture © Matt Brown used under a Creative Commons license^

26 March 2015

Listen to jazz on the Golden Hinde II

Your author has experienced great folk music on the Golden Hinde II, the replica of Sir Francis Drake's boat in Bankside, before. For those with an interest in experimental jazz, the venue is opening up tonight to jazz types from 7.30pm, with live acts from 8pm.

We're told to expect Feenß Quintet, which features Fini Bearman, Nicholas Costley-White, Matt Robinson, Tom Farmer & Dave Hamblett, as well as Double Bassist Ryan Trebilcock who is supported by guitarist Hannes Riepler, multi-instrumentalist Lewis Wright, saxophonist George Crowley & Time Giles.

For more, see http://www.jazznursery.com/

25 March 2015

Visit King's College London Chapel

Hidden deep within the Strand Campus of King's College London is a spectacular chapel designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1864, to reflect the "character of an ancient basilica". Despite considerable damage during the Second World War which resulted in the lowering of the main ceiling to accommodate lecture theatres above, the Chapel still retains the grace and charm of Gilbert Scott's original design.

When your author dropped in yesterday, light was streaming through Joseph Nuttgens stained glass windows, candles remained on the benches from the previous evening's candle-lit service and a student had just dropped in to begin his organ practice, which drifted down the stairs on departure. The chapel hosts regular services every weekday and the public are welcome to drop in at other times when the Strand Campus is open.

For more, see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/aboutkings/principal/dean/chaplaincy/prayeratkings/strand/college-chapel.aspx

^Picture © John Salmon used under a Creative Commons license^

24 March 2015

Drink at the Old Red Lion, Kennington

Built in 1929 in mock Tudor style on the site of an earlier pub which traces its history back to the mid-18th century, the Old Red Lion in Kennington is a decent local pub with Grade II listing an interesting architectural style inside and out. Its inter-war quirks continue throughout, and whilst much of the interior is now given over to a modern idea of style, it retains its two bars separated by low doors, and its adzed oak ceiling and interesting beams.

It's even worth a visit apart from its architecture, with decent beers, friendly staff and plenty of board games, dolls houses and that sort of thing. They claim  like many London boozers to "pride themselves on their relaxed and friendly atmosphere that emanates the feel of a village local", but to be honest, when your author visited last week, that wasn't far off the mark.

For more, see http://www.theoldredlion.com/

^Picture © Tom Bastin used under a Creative Commons license^

23 March 2015

See the Hitchcock Mosaics at Leytonstone Station

Probably Leytonstone's most famous resident, Alfred Hitchcock was born at 517 Leytonstone High Road on 13 August 1899, the son of a greengrocer and poulterer. In 2001, a series of mosaics were unveiled at Leytonstone Underground Station to mark the great man's centenary, each depicting a scene from one of his great works, including North by Northwest, The Birds, Vertigo & Strangers on a Train.

We are told that the mosaics were produced by Greenwich Mural Workshop at the Macbean Centre in Woolwich, using around 80,000 vitreous glass tesserae, Scenes were chosen by local people, and artists included Steve and Nathan Lobb, Carol Kenna, Claire Notley and Julie Noburn.

For more, see http://www.thejoyofshards.co.uk/london/hitch/

22 March 2015

Celebrate Norouz at the V&A

A special event at the V&A today marks Norouz, or Persian New Year, with Persian classical music, folk dance, stories, poetry and sound sculpture.

The day also offers the chance to make a paper carpet, design a tile, see a calligraphy demonstration and take part in other activities, to mark a festival celebrated each year around the spring equinox by Iranians, Kurds, Afghans other western Asian groups.

For more, see http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/media/uploads/files/Norouz_Daysheet_Final.pdf

^Picture © Andy Aldridge used under a Creative Commons license^

21 March 2015

Come and see me at Watermark Books

Your author will be signing copies of his new book, 'London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two weekends of things to see and do' at Watermark Books in King's Cross Station today from 3pm. It's a smashing little bookshop, well worth a visit.

The shop was opened in the new Kings Cross after its refurbishment, and was the first Watermark in Europe, part of a chain of travel-focused shops in Australia and North America. The shop has a great selection of books and very knowledgeable staff, which set it apart from usual station bookshops.

For more, see https://twitter.com/Watermark_Books/

20 March 2015

Watch the eclipse at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

There's a partial solar eclipse this morning, which, we are told, will reach it's peak at about 9.30am, when 84 % of the sun will be gone. We're not supposed to look at it with the naked eye, but thanks to Londonist's Where To Watch The Partial Solar Eclipse In London article, it's easy to find some people with telescopes and the like to help us look.

The eclipse continues from  8.25am to about 10.40am and Londonist's M@ tells us that the Royal Observatory in Greenwich will be opening at 8am to allow us to see the eclipse, whilst the Flamsteed Astronomy Society will have their big telescopes out in front of the General Wolfe statue in Greenwich Park.

For more, see http://flamsteed.info/event/solar-eclipse-viewing-event/

19 March 2015

Drink at the Colton Arms

A lovely little pub in the backstreets south of Queen's Club and Baron's Court tube station, the Colton Arms dates from mid-19th century, and is noted for its two storey stuccoed front with sash windows an authentic interior fitted out in what we are told is a 1950s 'publican's rustic' style.

The pub seemingly takes its name from George Colton Moore of North End Lane, who built it along with the adjoining terrace. Inside, it is a welcoming affair, far enough from the main roads, offices and parades of shops to retain a true 'backstreet boozer' air, and with not really enough space to get rowdy. Still, it's always been happily ticking over with customers when your author has popped in, and long may it remain so.

For more, see http://coltonarms.com/

^Picture © Phillip Perry used under a Creative Commons license^

18 March 2015

Do life drawing at the Zabludowicz Collection

Housed in a 19th-century former Methodist chapel in Chalk Farm, the Zabludowicz Collection has been an art project and exhibition space since 2007, displaying works from the permanent collection of Chaim "Poju" Zabludowicz - one of Britain's richest men - as well as special exhibitions and new commissions.

Tonight, the Collection hosts its weekly life drawing class with artist John Close exploring the current exhibition - Testing Ground by the Still House Group - through the human figure.

For more, see http://www.zabludowiczcollection.com/london/events/life-drawing-18-march-2015

^Picture from Wikimedia Commons^