Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



For more regular updates, visit Tom's Britain, a new website about things to do in Britain.


31 May 2010

Go shopping at Taj Stores

Your author loves unusual community supermarkets and Taj Stores, situated on Brick Lane is an absolute diamond. Founded in 1936, it is one of the one of the oldest international grocers in the UK, serving the local community with seasonal produce, flown daily from Bangladesh.

Those worried about food miles should probably avoid it, but some of the unusual offerings in the store make it a real experience, with a wide selection of fresh exotic Fruits and Vegetables, Halal Meats including Lamb, Mutton, Beef, Deer and Poultry, and fresh fish from throughout the world, including from Bengal.

The produce in the store isn't exclusively Bengali, however, and they pride themselves on stocking produce from all four continents, as well as specialist items from India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Greece, Lebanon and Jamaica.

Best of all, however, the website even has recipes for exotic dishes so you can draw up a shopping list before you enter the store. For more, see http://www.tajstores.co.uk/

30 May 2010

See the art at The Rangers House

The Georgian Ranger’s House, on Blackheath, is a grand villa which has, since 2002, housed the art collection amassed by diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The collection amounts to around 700 works of art, including religious paintings Dutch Masters and medieval silverwork. The House dates from 1723, backs onto Greenwich Park, and has, since then, variously been home to the 18th-century politician Philip Dormer Stanhope, a council sports and social club, and a space for exhibitions of musical instruments and Jacobean portraits.

It is now opened to the public by English Heritage on summer Sundays from 11am until 5pm and entry is £6. For more, see http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/.

^Picture by Jodiepedia^

29 May 2010

Walk the Dulwich Park boardwalk

The 84 metre boardwalk over a corner of the lake in Dulwich Park was completed in February 2006, and uses wood decking over joists and posts to allow people to wander over the lake and get close to the lake's new reed beds and wetlands.

The walkway has eleven turns and falls and rises along the route. From it, in the right seasons, you can apparently see dragonflies and damselflies and other pondlife below. The boardwalk was the centrepiece of a £4m park facelift.

For more on the park, see http://www.dulwichparkfriends.org.uk

28 May 2010

Search out the London Stock Exchange

We hear a great deal about the London Stock Exchange. It goes up and down and this is supposed to make us feel happy or sad, but who actually knows where the Stock Exchange is?

Well your author can confirm it is a real place, just around the corner from St Paul's Cathedral, at 10 Paternoster Square, EC4M 7LS. Whilst the Exchange itself is over 300 years old, having begun in the coffee houses of 17th century London, it only moved to its present location as recently as 2004, so its history there is rather limited.

The building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 27 July 2004, and contains a specially commissioned dynamic sculpture called "The Source", by the Greyworld collective. It was originally designed to display words randomly extracted from the internet, but after a few rude words came up that bit was abandoned.

For more on the Stock Exchange, see here.

^Picture by jam_90s^

27 May 2010

Shop for nautical novels at Maritime Books

Maritime Books, on Royal Hill in Greenwich, is a bookshop specialising in all aspects of naval and maritime history.

Originally established in North London in the 1970s, selling by catalogue, they first moved, rather more fittingly, to Greenwich in 1984, setting up shop in the historic surroundings of Greenwich Market. Two moves of premises later, they have settled at 66 Royal Hill, Greenwich in 2005, and have now expanded their offerings to include related material such prints.

The shop is open from 10am until 6pm, Tuesday-Saturday, and also deals on the internet at through catalogues. So, if you're seeking hard to find, out of print, used, or rare naval and maritime books, you know where to go.

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

26 May 2010

Appreciate Broadcasting House

Broadcasting House, on a corner where Portland Place meets Langham Place, is an Art Deco masterpiece designed by architect George Val Myer and completed between 1930 and 1932.

Fronted with Eric Gill's statues of Prospero and Ariel, from Shakespeare's The Tempest, the building was built for the BBC, and was the UK's first purpose-built broadcasting facility, including 22 sound-proofed studios.

Broadcasting House is home to Radios 3, 4 and 7 and also houses the BBC Radio Theatre, which your author featured back in January last year. Whilst the building is currently undertaking a major redevelopment, expected to be finished in 2011, it remains largely intact, and operational, with some building to the rear to accomodate the anticipated arrival of BBC News from the News Centre at Television Centre.

The building is not constantly open to the public, but there are occasional tours, which are available for about a tenner, and you can get in by listening to a radio recording (see link above). For more on the tours, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/tours/bh_london.shtml

^Picture by ➨ Redvers^

25 May 2010

See some art at the White Cube, Hoxton Square

Whilst the original White Cube was set up by art dealer Jay Jopling in 1993 in Duke Street,a second gallery open on Hoxton Square in April 2000, and remains open today. Like Shoreditch and Hoxton as a whole, this gallery is synonymous with the Young British Artists movement. It has hosted shows by the likes of local residents Gilbert and George, and also Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Antony Gormley.

Housed in a 1920s light industrial building at the Southern end of the square, the gallery was designed by MRJ Rundell and Associates, and has a large uninterrupted exhibition space downstairs, and a smaller upstairs area.

Your author used to live right behind the White Cube, and as such it was his 'local' when it came to art galleries. In his, uneducated, opinion the exhibitions were patchy. Sometimes excellent, sometimes rubbish, but always free. Readers should consider, however, that art is subjective, so they may love or hate it all.

Nowadays, the gallery is one of two White Cubes, with a newer sister gallery in West London, but your author will save that one for another post. For more, see http://www.whitecube.com/


24 May 2010

Eat fish and chips at Fish House

Your author is sometimes sceptical about posh chippies, but Fish House, on Lauriston Road in Hackney, passes the test. It is a family run, independent fish and chip restaurant and takeaway which doesn't fall into the trap of making things too fussy. They just have good, honest, seasonal, fresh fish, all of which adheres to the Marine Conservation Society good fish guide, and is, we are told, eco friendly.

Opened by Gabriel Early and Johanna Nylander in June 2007, the shop focusses on being a good, family friendly, eatery, for people who use or live near Victoria Park. In your author's experience this manages not to mean loads of shouty children, but he should mention he has only ever had takeaway. It's good value, with a bag of chips to take away a budget-friendly £1.50, and it's tasty.

Early and Nylander have been working together running various businesses in and around Victoria Park for 10 years, and in 2006 they appeared in the Egon Ronays guide for their work at The Approach Tavern. Fish House is certainly a good addition to an already solid CV.

It's open daily until 10pm and fish and chips to take away is about £6.50. For more, see http://www.fishouse.co.uk/

23 May 2010

Drink by the Thames at the Dove

Weather like we've had in the last few days calls for being by the river, so why not consider trying to get a table on the tiny terrace overlooking the Thames at the Dove, Hammersmith, a pub which is rumoured to have the smallest bar in London.

Built in the 17th century, the Observer tells us that customers have included Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas and Alec Guinness. Indeed, we are told that James Thomson wrote the words to Rule Britannia while living here, and it is well documented that William Morris lived nearby.

It's a popular spot for the boatrace, but its draw is universal and lasts all year round so arrive early if you want to stand any chance of getting a seat for lunch. For more on the Dove, see here.

^Picture by markhillary^

22 May 2010

Relax in the sun in the Glade

It's an absolutely lovely day out there, so hopefully no one will be reading this. If you are, what's wrong with you? Get out and enjoy the sunshine! If you're looking for somewhere peaceful to enjoy it and ensure your body is producing regulation amounts of Vitamin D, then why not head to the Glade, in Victoria Park.

It's a lovely spot, at the Western end of the park, almost completely surrounded by trees and shrubbery, and home to all sorts of wildlife, including squirrels, and many types of bird life including woodpeckers and jays. It's also a nice distance from any roads, so you can pretend you're somewhere peaceful.

But on a day like today, your options are limitless. Get out there and enjoy it. Click here to see the Glade on a satellite map.

21 May 2010

Find Ernő Goldfinger's other tower

It's over a year now since we looked at Ernő Goldfinger's Trellick Tower, a brutalist masterpiece in West London which your author finds useful for navigating the Notting Hill Carnival, and telling he's nearly at Paddington, but it is easy to forget that Goldfinger created a very similar tower before Trellick in Poplar, in the East End.

Balfron Tower, a Grade II listed building, is 27 storeys tall and stands tall beside the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel. Designed by Ernő Goldfinger in 1963, it was built between 1965 and 1967 and contains 146 homes. Carradale House, built shortly afterwards beside the tower, complements it well in the same style.

Shady Old Lady tells us that Goldfinger was so proud of the tower so much that he stayed for months on the 26th floor to show his faith in the design, throwing lavish parties for his friends and family, and other residents.

For more on Balfron Tower, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfron_Tower

20 May 2010

Drink at the Jamaica Wine House

Standing on the site of London's first coffee house, in St Michael’s Alley off Cornhill, the Jamaica Wine House is a City stalwart. Your author popped in last night and, though a pint was well over the £3.50 mark, and it was full of City boys, it was nice enough.

The original coffee house apparently opened in 1652 and, from his diaries it looks like Samuel Pepys was a visitor, noting on Monday 10th December 1660, 'in the evening to the Coffee House in Cornhill, the first time that ever I was there, and I found much pleasure in it, through the diversity of company and discourse'.

A sign on the outside wall reads 'Here stood the first London's coffee house at the sign of Pasqua Rosee's Head', which is suitably cryptic, but we are told that Rosee was a manservant who was brought to England from Turkey by his former employer, Daniel Edwards. When the two fell out, Rosee decided to go into business with another former servant, and they opened the coffee house. Having been through many incarnations, it's now a fairly reasonable Shepherd Neame pub.

For more, see here

19 May 2010

Eat a Medieval Banquet in St Katherine's Dock

This one sounds so terrible, it could just be worth having a look. Medieval Banquet have been organising nightly banquets by flickering torchlight in the cellars beneath Ivory House, near Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, for 35 years.

A reasonably high fee gets you a four course meal with unlimited beer and wine, and a show featuring the 'real' King Henry VIII, and his knights, players, dancers and wenches. There is also after-show music and dancing until late.

It's not cheap, at £49 per person on Fridays and Saturdays, and £45 at all other times, and it has the potential to be excruciating, but maybe that's why the unlimited drink is on offer.

However, it will appeal to some people, and if not the American tourists are sure to lap it up. If it sounds like your sort of thing, see http://www.medievalbanquet.com/

18 May 2010

Watch fish on a Fijian reef at London's free aquarium

The aquarium in the basement of the Horniman Museum, on Forest Hill, is completely free and offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the underwater worlds of tropical Fijian Coral Reefs, British Pond Life, tidal rockpools, a mangrove swamp based on the Caroni swamp in Trinidad, and the South American rainforest area, a recreation of Guyana's Iwokrama rainforest.

The aquarium collection was founded in 1903, and was one of the first public aquariums in Britain. It remained relatively unchanged until 1991, when the modern aquarium first opened, but it wasn't until July 2006 that it emerged in its current form, with a new modernised aquarium opening in the basement of the Museum, developed with the assistance of the Marine Aquarium Council, the Marine Biological Association and the Iwokrama project in Guyana.

Your author passed through the other day and it was very pleasant, despite a few shouting children and the punishing bike ride to the top of Forest Hill. For more on the aquarium, see http://www.horniman.ac.uk/collections/aquarium.php

17 May 2010

Eat and Drink at the Palmerston, Lordship Lane

Your author is often criticised by his friends for his East London bias, so he took a research bike ride to South London on Saturday, visiting many fantastic places, including a return trip to the Palmerston, on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich.

It's a lovely little pub, with two wood panelled rooms, and a good selection of food and drink. Over at fancyapint, they bemoan its conversion into another gastropub, but your author has never known it as anything else, so he's reasonably at ease about it. Having said that, it is a bit annoying that during some periods they wont let drinkers sit by the window, even when no one is eating.

The Palmerston began its new life as a gastropub and, we are told, dropped the 'Lord' from its name, in February 2004. Since then, the pub and Head Chef Jamie Younger, have won a range of accolades, and is really proud to have been named the ‘Best Gastro Pub in London, Gold award’ at the LBC, Independent Newspaper - ‘Living London’ 2006 awards, have been listed by Restaurant Magazine as 59th Best place to eat in the UK, and having been given a rosette by the AA. Presumably these are all good awards so he has every reason to be happy with his efforts.

For more information, http://www.thepalmerston.net/

16 May 2010

See photos at the Viewfinder Photography Gallery

Opened in November 2005, the Viewfinder Photography Gallery is a gallery exhibiting work from new and established photographers. The gallery is in Greenwich, in Linear House, a former receiving station for the poor of the Borough.

Alongside what you would normally expect from a photography gallery, the Viewfinder also runs regular events and workshops. A short walk from the centre of Greenwich, the gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm and weekends and bank holidays, noon - 4pm. It is a registered charity, staffed by volunteers, and is free to visit.

For more, see http://www.viewfinder.org.uk/

15 May 2010

Visit the Wimbledon Windmill

Built in 1817, the Windmill on Wimbledon Common was once a fully operational windmill. However, it only operated until 1864, when Earl Spencer, who owned the land, announced his intention to enclose Wimbledon Common and build himself a new manor house. The machinery was removed and it was converted to a home for six families.

Whilst the mill underwent restoration as early as 1893, it wasn't until 1976 that it was opened to the public and now contains a museum about windmills and milling, and local history. Expanded in 1999, with the help of a Heritage Lottery Grant, it is open in the summer months on Saturdays from 2pm until 5pm, and on Sundays from 11am until 5pm. Entry is £2.

For more information, see http://wimbledonwindmill.org.uk/

^Picture by Phillie Casablanca^

14 May 2010

Take a tour of Toynbee Hall

Toynbee Hall, in Whitechapel, is a settlement house founded in 1884 by a Church of England curate, Samuel Barnett, and his wife, Henrietta. The aim of the house, and many like it, was to arrange for rich and poor in society to live more closely together, and it was established in one of London's poorest urban areas, so volunteer middle-class "settlement workers" could come and give time and service to local people.

The idea was that they would then take the lessons they had learned into normal life, to make an impact in their chosen field. It worked, in some cases spectacularly, with celebrated residents Clement Attlee and William Beveridge, becoming the most famous social reformers of their generation and maintaining a life long connection with Toynbee Hall.

The hall takes its name from Arnold Toynbee, a young academic and friend of the Barnetts, who died serving the poor. Toynbee Hall, which itself was Grade II listed in 1973 has had an amazing impact on the East End, and still provides a series of social programmes for the disadvantaged. Side projects over the years have included annual free art exhibitions organised by Henrietta Barnett, which eventually grew into the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and Toynbee Studios, which opened in 2007 and offer dance and media studios, and even a theatre, to local people.

Toynbee Hall no longer offers organised tours, but they're happy to let you do your own audio tour, with a map and mp3 tour downloadable from their website. They suggest that, should you be interested, you aim for office hours, Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, when you are most likely to gain access, and make sure you have downloaded the tour first.

For more information, see here

^Picture from wikipedia^

13 May 2010

Take tea at Fortnum and Mason

Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, the department store established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason at 181 Piccadilly, is an institution. Afternoon tea is served from 12noon to 6.30pm, Monday - Saturday, or until 4.30pm on Sundays.

St James' Restaurant, on the fourth floor is one of London's most famous spots for Afternoon and High Tea, with teas specially selected from teas from around the world, and even a regular pianist.

It's not cheap, however, with prices ranging from £32 to £38 per person. Still, it's ok, and they were doing fine in your author's eyes until he read that they request that 'both sexes lean more towards elegance' in dress. That doesn't really mean anything at all.

For more, see http://www.fortnumandmason.com/stjames-restaurant.aspx

^Picture by Rich B-S^

12 May 2010

Relax in the St Dunstan-in-the-East public garden

St Dunstan-in-the-East was never a very lucky church. Originally built around 1100, it was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London. After being rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, it then fell into disrepair by the early 19th Century, and had to be rebuilt in 1817. After that, it was badly damaged by enemy action in 1941, and by the 1960s it still stood in the same state it had done after the Blitz.

In 1967, it was decided that the church would never be rebuilt and would instead be opened as a public garden. Whilst the tower and the north and south walls are the only bits left, occasional church services, under the parish of All Hallows by the Tower, are still held in the open air.

The ruins had already been designated Grade I listed, so the walls and Wren's tower and steeple are protected, and must remain. The result is an atmospheric garden with plenty of greenery, climbers and creepers and space to sit and have a nice think. When your author popped by on Monday an old chap was sat beside the small fountain happily puffing away on his pipe, as the pipe smoke drifted up towards a clear blue sky. It was easy to see why it is referred to as one of the most beautiful public gardens in the City of London.

For more on St Dunstan-in-the-East, see http://www.ahbtt.org.uk/history/st-dunstan-in-the-east/

11 May 2010

Grab a cup of tea at the Lido Café

Newly refurbished, and housed in the old changing block of Lansbury's Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, Company of Cooks' Lido Café is a pleasant enough spot if the sun is shining and you can manage to avoid the crowds.

Light and airy, with seating beside the Serpentine itself, it's a good spot for a cup of tea, a leisurely breakfast, or if you're in the mood a range of wines and beers.

The Lido Café opens at 8am and closes at 7.30pm in May, 8pm in June and 9pm in July and August. For more, see here.

10 May 2010

Get on the water at Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre

Started in 1976, the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre is a community project which has transformed a derelict site by the Thames into a nationally recognised facility for watersports and outdoor activities.

On water activities take place either on the seven acres of Shadwell Basin, or on the Thames itself. Local people remain actively involved, and they offer a range of beginner and other courses in sailing, powerboating and canoeing and kayaking, as well as a climbing wall and high ropes.

For more information, see http://www.shadwell-basin.org.uk/

9 May 2010

Attend church in Chinese at St Martins-in-the-Fields

St Martin-in-the-Fields has been home to an active Chinese-speaking congregation for more than forty years, and they still hold two regular Sunday services. Whilst your author doesn't speak Chinese and isn't a believer, it is certainly an interesting demonstration of the rich diversity of our city.

The area began its association with the Chinese community in the 1950s, when a significant number of people emigrated from Hong Kong to Britain. Many people settled in London, especially in the area of Gerrard Street and Wardour Street.

We are told that Bishop Hall of Hong Kong, on a visit to London, passed through Chinatown, and saw that many Chinese people in London had nowhere to worship, so he sent a representative to London to take care of overseas Chinese in Chinatown, and a pastor was eventually ordained at St Martins-in-the-Fields. On 18th September 1964 the services began in Cantonese.

On Sundays, a Mandarin service is held at 1.15pm and a Cantonese service at 2.15pm, and the Associate Vicar for the Chinese congregation is Revd Paul Lau. For more, see here or get a good translator and have a look at http://www.smitfcc.org.uk/

8 May 2010

Attend the Westminster Morris Men's Day of Dance

Today is the Westminster Morris Day of Dance, with 160 morris dancers taking over central London for a festival of traditional dance.

The Westminster Morris Men have been dancing and keeping English tradition alive in Central London since 1953, and today they bring together five different 'tours', featuring sides from as far away as Exeter and Mendip to dance at various London tourist spots (and more importantly for the morris dancers your author knows, pubs) throughout today, ending up with a mass dance in Trafalgar Square at 5pm.

For more, see http://www.westminstermorris.org/

^Picture with kind permission of jasonbstanding^

7 May 2010

Hang around outside Downing Street

Apologies for two politics posts in a row, but your author wrote this on Wednesday, and he knew then that whatever happened on Thursday night and today, there will probably be some goings on in Downing Street today. Whether that is the triumphant return of a man who lived there last week, or someone new arriving, and possibly going to see the Queen, you can certainly be assured that it will be an interesting time, though the chances of the situation pictured below occurring are very slim.

Number 10 Downing Street has been the official residence of the Prime Minister for over 200 years, and is just off Whitehall. Though you can no longer walk down the street, you can still peer in from the Whitehall end and also just about see it through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It was built in the 1680s by Sir George Downing on the site of a former mansion called Hampden House.

Today, it will be a media scrum and will be the centre of a British political scene which has spent the last month knocking on doors. If you're walking by, just take a glance down the street as you might see something interesting. For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downing_Street

6 May 2010

Visit your local polling station

Today it's time for us all to vote on who we want to be our MP, and who should form the Government, but it's also time for us all to rediscover our local polling station. Your author has moved since last year, so no longer votes in the grand surroundings of Shoreditch Town Hall and has to make do with a local school.

Polling stations tend to stick to the same local-school-or-community-centre format, but there are a few gems around Greater London. Did you know, for example, that if you are lucky enough to live in the right area, you can vote in an Urban Farm in Feltham, in Westminster Cathedral School, in the Grosvenor Chapel, at Barnet Lawn Tennis Club, at Chiselhurt Sports and Country Club, at the London Irish Centre, or, if you in the slightly less upmarket surroundings of the Portakabin opposite 167a Queen Elizabeth walk in Stoke Newington.

It can be a great opportunity to reconnect with your community, as sometimes in London we can all become a little disconnected. Polls are open from 7am to 10pm and if you're interested in seeing a full list of polling stations, see http://data.london.gov.uk/datastore/package/polling-stations-london-2010-local-general-elections

^Picture by Matt from London^

5 May 2010

Watch a band at Cargo

Your author has long been a fan of Cargo as a venue, and it earns a place here even though they do sell a can of San Miguel for £4 because he had another great night there last week.

Situated off Rivington Street underneath two arches of the East London Line, the bar and club attracts an eclectic range of bands and DJs and a perfectly pleasant bar, garden and restaurant as well.

It's not even all try-hard Shoreditch rubbish and they occasionally have proper bands playing, or even special nights of reasonable quality stuff. The main performance space, beneath the second arch, has a great atmosphere, but is easy to escape if you need a breather.

All in, it's a good place, and probably has an interesting history or something, or maybe it's brand new, not sure really. For more, see http://www.cargo-london.com/

^Picture from Cargo press page^

4 May 2010

Wander beside London's Oldest Canal

Limehouse Cut links the Lee Navigation and Bow Creek to the Thames at Limehouse and, as a result of changes made in 1968, also to Limehouse Basin (formerly known as Regent's Canal Dock) and the Regents Canal. It is only one and a half miles long, but was completed as early as 1770, as a way to offer river traffic seeking access to the River Lee an easier route than the difficult one via Bow Creek.

Back then, the cut had to be built for sailing barges, and it can accommodate vessels up to 19 feet wide and 88 feet long, though this would no longer be possible as the original lock to the Thames has now been replaced.

Access for cyclists and pedestrians was improved in 2003 with the addition of an award winning floating towpath which is made up of 240 metres of pontoons at the Bow Locks end, and is a bit like new one on the Regents Canal near Kings Cross.

It's a pretty boring stretch of canal in places, and has been a prime site for development of new build flats for docklands workers in recent years, but it's nice enough, and it has an interesting history.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limehouse_Cut

3 May 2010

Search for elephants

It's a bank holiday, so your author will rely on a press release to give him a slight holiday, and what better gimmick than the Elephant Parade, a conservation campaign which is installing over 250 brightly painted life-size fibreglass elephants over central London to highlight the plight of the Asian elephant.

Each decorated by a different artist or famous person (the press release said 'celebrity', but that word is banned here), the plan is for the elephants to brighten up town and enhance our parks, street corners and buildings. The aim is to raise £2 million, including by selling them at auction on 3rd July.

Your author understands that the elephants were installed overnight last night and so today should be present in locations around London, and will remain in place until 4th July. It was Londonist and the Sumatran Orangutan Society wot told your author about it, but for more information see http://elephantparadelondon.org/

2 May 2010

Enjoy the Canalway Cavalcade

The Canalway Cavalcade is Little Venice's annual canal festival, organised by the Inland Waterways Association and held every year since 1983.

The Cavalcade takes place all this May Bank Holiday weekend, and, we are told, combines a boat rally with a trade show and a wide range of activities and entertainments. Expect to see bands, punch and judy shows, competitions, parades, a teddy bear's picnic, kayaking and more.

It claims to be London's premier canal festival, but as your author hasn't been able to make it along, and probably won't this weekend, he will let you judge for yourself whether it beats the likes of the Angel Canal Festival.

Today you can expect to see a real ale bar from 11am until 5.30pm, organised walks and music from the Fat Arthur Band and the Rhythm and Blues Brothers.

Your author thanks his friend Jon for the recommendation, even though it was by sarcastic text message. For more, see here

^Picture by daveograve@^

1 May 2010

Eat at the Viet Noodle Bar

Viet Noodle Bar, in Greek Street, Soho, is a great little place for a quick bite to eat if you find yourself in the area hungry and looking for good food, but short on time and cash.

Your author visited earlier in the week, and was suitably impressed. A great range of dishes for around £6, or sometimes less, and served hot to your table quickly and with a smile.

Tables are limited and your author understands that at peak times you may have to wait, but its good food and wont make you feel like you've just eaten a bowl of salt like some of the places down in Chinatown.

It is, apparently, bring your own, with a small corkage charge but your author was happy with jasmine tea. For more, see http://londonist.com/2008/09/shoot_eat_viet.php