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

A website about things to do in London

31 October 2014

See Dickens' house by candlelight

To celebrate All Hallows' Eve, Charles Dickens House hosts a special candle lit opening this evening, recreating the atmosphere when the famous writer would write by candlelight long into the night, thankfully, or so it seems, without all the forced wackiness of a 'normal' Halloween.


Timed entries start at 6.40pm, with the last at 8pm, and there is also a bar to be enjoyed afterwards in the small museum cafe, which will be open until 9.30pm for drinks.

For more, see http://www.dickensmuseum.com/events/halloween-by-candlelight/

^Picture © Peter Curbishley used under a Creative Commons license^

30 October 2014

Drink at the King Charles I

In an age when all the good pubs seem to be closing, it's a blessing when you stumble into an unexpectedly brilliant place for a beer, and so it was that yesterday evening your author wandered into the King Charles I, an outwardly unremarkable pub on Northdown Street, off Caledonian Road, and found a lovely place full of smiling Londoners within.


Previously, your author was only aware of the pub from having eaten lunch at the decent Blue River Cafe on the opposite side of the street, and watched it from afar but on yesterdays visit the door opened to reveal a wood-panelled interior, a gas fire flickering in the fireplace and three ales available from the cash-only bar. A return visit is on the cards very soon.

For more, see http://www.fancyapint.com/Pub/london/king-charles-i/2349

^Picture © Ewan Munro used under a Creative Commons license^

29 October 2014

See Turner's 'Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway'

With Mike Leigh's Mr Turner released on Friday, you may be hearing more than usual about Joseph Mallord William Turner this week, so it seemed fitting to examine one of his paintings, and 1844 view of the Great Western Railway viewed from Maidenhead railway bridge and titled 'Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway'.


The work was painted just six years after Isambard Kingdom Brunel completed the bridge from which it was painted, and the age before such technology was still fresh. Whilst the steam engine dominates the scene, the sky above takes up half the canvas, whilst the sleepy river below is also visible, and those who look closely may even notice a hare running in front of the train. It is often suggested that perhaps Turner meant these elements to combine to remind us of the limits of technology.

For more, see http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/joseph-mallord-william-turner-rain-steam-and-speed-the-great-western-railway

^Picture © Sarah Ackerman used under a Creative Commons license^

28 October 2014

Stay at the Fox & Anchor

Your author is always banging on about how to make the most of your surroundings you should allow yourself occasional holidays in them, and last weekend he was lucky enough to be taken on a weekend away to London by someone special, staying at the Fox & Anchor in Smithfield. A beautiful pub outside, with a frontage designed by William Neatby in 1898 and decorated with Royal Doulton Art Nouveau tiles, it is just as beautiful inside.


A beautiful little pub about which positive words have been written here before, the Fox and Anchor is popular with after-work drinkers and those who like good pub food, whilst those who are staying the night are given a key to a secret door at the front through which they make their way upstairs to one of six rooms loosely themed around the local area. Your author stayed in the St Barts room, which had a view from the front windows, plenty of space and a fine bathroom, interspersed with some great food downstairs and a walk to John Betjeman's flat on Cloth Fair.

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

27 October 2014

Tour the Bishopsgate Library

Many thanks to the always-fantastic Londonist, for alerting us to a free tour of the Bishopsgate Library in east London this evening with the Institute’s Library and Archives Manager, Stefan Dickers, The Institute itself has operated since New Year's Day 1895, and continues to offer a fine programme of cultural events and courses, as well as providing a library for the use of all on weekdays.


Though the tour is free, those wishing to take it are encouraged to book so they can be sure of enjoying an interesting journey around the library, which includes collections focusing on the early labour movement, radicalism and co-operation.


For more, see http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/event/509/120-Bishopsgate-Library-Tour?

26 October 2014

Celebrate Apple Day in Borough Market

The apple harvest is upon us, and communities around the country are celebrating Apple Day, an annual festival of cider making. Your author marked the season yesterday deep within apple country with lunch and Morris dancing at excellent Gloucestershire pub the Salutation Inn at Ham, and for those in London a celebration is on offer today at Borough Market.


From noon until 4pm the Market will celebrate Apple Day, with a family festival featuring apple growers, traders and producers and 1,000 varieties of apples on display.

For more, see http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/celebrating-apple-day-with-1000-apples

^Picture © Garry Knight used under a Creative Commons license^

25 October 2014

See the Sherlock Holmes Exhibition at the Museum of London

Back in May, when your author gathered with other interested London types at the Museum of London for the announcement of the new 'Sherlock Holmes:The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die' exhibition, the October start date seemed an impossibly long time away. Surely we would all be living on the Moon by then? Well the exhibition is now upon us, and we are told that it is the largest of its kind for more than 60 years, exploring the fictional detective in depth.


It's London's first major exhibition about Holmes since 1951, and since then interest in Holmes has far from diminished. The exhibition will include a rare oil on canvas portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never before seen in the UK, some original pages from Edgar Allan Poe’s 1841 manuscript of The Murders in the Rue Morgue and the original 1903 manuscript of The Adventure of the Empty House.

For more, see http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/whats-on/exhibitions-displays/sherlock-holmes/

^Picture © shining.darkness used under a Creative Commons license^

24 October 2014

See the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition begins today at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, and continues until 20th August 2015, offering a chance to see some of the world's best nature photography in one of the world's greatest museums.


This year marks fifty years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which as a result will also feature digital displays allowing visitors to explore historical winners and entries to the competition.

For more, see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/wpy/visit/index.html

23 October 2014

See short films at the Imperial War Museum

A festival of free short films starts today at the Imperial War Museum, and runs until 10th November, with the winners announced at an award ceremony at the Museum on 1st December.


We're told to expect thirty five films by both amateur and professional film-makers, covering of conflicts from the Second World War to Vietnam, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine, with a special category for First Worl War Films, and talks by industry professionals.

For more, see http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections-research/iwm-short-film-festival/film-festival-programme

22 October 2014

See the Harmony Project at the Stables Gallery

Coming to an end this week at the Stables Gallery in Twickenham, the Harmony Project is an exhibition that brought together groups of people - many of whom assumed they could not draw - from youth and community groups across six south London boroughs, to create textiles inspired by 19th century designer and local man Christopher Dresser.


The results are quite inspiring, with beautiful things created by interesting people who might not ever otherwise have work exhibited in such a place, and thanks to a small amount of public money have been able to work with professional textile artists Dorothy Tucker and Viv Philpot to create some interesting items. The exhibition continues until Sunday, 26th October.

For more, see http://www.harmonyproject.co.uk/ and http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/services/arts/the_stables_gallery/stables_gallery_exhibitions/the_harmony_project.htm

21 October 2014

Wander in Margravine Cemetery

Whilst undertaking the excellent Treasure Quest around the Hammersmith at the weekend, your author had an opportunity to spend some time in Margravine Cemetery, a Victorian cemetery opened in 1868 on what was then Fulham Fields, an area of semi-urban market gardens and orchards.


The cemetery continued to be used until 1951, when it was closed to new burials and was officially designated a 16½ acre 'Garden of Rest', and today it serves as both a public park and a memorial to those who were buried here over more than eighty years,


For more, see http://margravinecemetery.org.uk/

20 October 2014

Buy books at the Barnes Bookshop

Your author is currently in the middle of a month-long stay in West London, where things are different to the real world. Last week, during a trip to Barnes, discoveries included a charity shop where a pair of shoes cost £99, a church which is closed on a Sunday, a very smart looking cinema and the Barnes Bookshop, a small shop owned by Isla Dawes, who also owns bookshops in Kew and Sheen.


The Barnes Bookshop is on two floors with its bright basement a treasure trove for the browser, and plenty of books and gifts on the ground floor for those who don't like stairs.

For more, see http://www.barnesbookshop.co.uk/

18 September 2014

Go on holiday

Tired of London, Tired of Life is away. Here are some things to do until it returns:

Or buy one of these great books:


For further ideas, try:
See you in October.

17 September 2014

Join the Paraiso School of Samba

Fresh from their win at this year's Notting Hill Carnival, the Paraiso School of Samba are looking for new members to join their band, and are holding beginners classes in drumming and dancing to encourage them. Weekly classes offer the chance to learn Samba  dancing alongside those who performed at the Olympic Stadium during the 2012 Games, and drumming classes are also available from the end of the month.


Your author previously played in two Notting Hill Carnivals with Paraiso, starting out in a series of classes just like these. They can be great fun, and help you to meet an interesting and mixed crowd from all over the world, including those who grew up in Brazil like Paraiso founder, Henrique da Silva.

For more see http://www.paraisosamba.co.uk/

16 September 2014

Walk Keats' Fleet

As part of the 'Totally Thames' Festival, literary walker and Curiocity bod Henry Eliot is leading a guided walk today, Thursday and Friday, themed around John Keats and the River Fleet, beginning at St Paul's Cathedral, and proceeding to the heights of Hampstead Heath.


Henry is an event-creator of strong pedigree, so it promises to be very interesting, tracing Keats' life along the length of the Thames tributary, beginning close to his birthplace in the City and ending at his famous London home, Keats House in Hampstead, reading the man's poetry along the way, with tickets just £8, including entry to Keats House, which is usually £5.50.

For more, see http://totallythames.org/events/info/keats-fleet