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



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27 June 2013

Have a break

Your author hasn't had a day's break from blogging since January 2009, when this website began posting things to do in London, and ahead of the build up to publication of the new book, 'Mad Dogs & Englishmen: A year of things to see and do in England' on 18th July, the time has come to cut the internet wires for a few days away and head for the musical fields of Somerset.

The blog will be back on Monday, with a brief change in brand and theme, as we take a some summer weeks to explore interesting corners of England, once again temporarily becoming a 'things to do see and do in England' website. But now for some blog-free festivaling.

For more on the new book, see http://www.tiredoflondontiredoflife.com/p/bookshop.html

26 June 2013

Go late at the Science Museum

Your author must apologise for posting about the same place twice in two days, but tonight is a special night at the Science Museum, with the opportunity to visit after dark, without the kids, and explore the Science of Comedy.

It's a museum that can really never fail to amaze and delight, and the Lates are especially good. This one sees a recording of Radio 4's The Infinite Monkey Cage, a pub quiz,comedy shows, speed dating, a Teacher Zone area exclusively for teachers, and lots of talks and demonstrations. You can also see the Apollo 10 command module...

For more, see http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/events/events_for_adults/Lates.aspx

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

25 June 2013

See the Apollo 10 Command Module

Though it didn't actually land on the moon, the Apollo 10 mission took place in 1969 and was vital in the build-up to test the landing of its immediate successor, Apollo 11, on the moon, and the original command module - often known by the nickname Charlie Brown - is found in the Making the Modern World gallery at the Science Museum in South Kensington.

Some 44 years after its mission it is amazing to see this module in place in a museum gallery, and looking at it says little about the amazing things it has achieved, setting a speed record of 24,791 mph and carrying only the second crew to orbit the Moon, before splashing to earth 400 nautical miles east of American Samoa.

For more, see http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects/space_technology/1976-106.aspx

^Picture © InSapphoWeTrust used under a Creative Commons license^

24 June 2013

Walk in Joyden's Wood

A 300 acre wood 13 miles from the centre of London, between Bexley and the M25, Joyden’s Wood is an area of ancient woodland in the care of the Woodland Trust. We are told that the wood contains a number of ponds which are habitats for rare newts.

The woodland is perhaps most notable for the presence of Faesten Dic, an ancient Saxon defensive structure constructed around the fifth and sixth centuries, possibly as a result of tribal conflicts that took place in the area.

For more, see http://diamondgeezer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/joydens-wood.html

^Picture © David Anstiss used under a Creative Commons license^

23 June 2013

Embrace the City of London Festival

Festival season has certainly started, and today the month-long City of London Festival kicks off, a free festival that has run since 1962, with the aim of returning a sense of culture to the City.

Today, alongside a Festival Service to kick things off at St Paul's Cathedral, we also see the opening of an art installation at the Great Eastern Hotel near Liverpool Street and another art installation put together by school kids at St Lawrence Jewry based around a metal foundry. If you don't think today's events are worth the trip in themselves, don't fear, as there are scores of others you could combine with them, continuing until 26th July.

For more, see http://www.colf.org/

^Picture © Maureen Barlin used under a Creative Commons license^

22 June 2013

Enjoy Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

Greenwich a& Docklands International Festival began yesterday, and runs until next Saturday, with performance art, outdoor theatre and other sights and events around the Docklands and parts of South East London.

All this weekend at the Old Royal Naval College & Cutty Sark Gardens, the Festival offers theatre, circus, dance, and other things from the arts for free, as well as a model of a 17m sperm whale, which appears as if it was beached on the banks of the Thames nearby, whilst Audible Forces offers wind-powered arts in Greenwich Park and other events take place across the area.

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

^Picture © drinks machine used under a Creative Commons license^

21 June 2013

Be mindful at the Scoop

As part of a festival of spiritual things at the Scoop on the South Bank, the London College of Spirituality brings a drumming and tribal singing to the shadow of City Hall this evening from 6.30pm until 8.30pm.

Sure, it's not everyone's idea of a good time, but it is part of a series of events at this purpose-built amphitheatre, which is especially good in the summer months.

For more, see http://www.morelondon.com/events.asp

20 June 2013

Catch the Eurostar

That great chronicler of anniversaries Ianvisits reminds us that today marks 20 years since the first train arrived in the UK via the Channel Tunnel, and that seems as good an excuse as any to note that it is a good thing that you can catch a train from London to Paris, and this was not always possible.

It wasn't actually until November 1994 that the first regular Eurostar services began to run between Waterloo and continental stations, and whilst the service moved to St Pancras International in 2007, it is still just as impressive. Your author has caught it twice and has always thoroughly enjoyed it. They even take bikes.

For more, see http://www.eurostar.com

19 June 2013

Take part in the Two Degrees Festival

********Apologies, the Museum of Water thing was yesterday, instead why not consider some of the other events in the Two Degrees Festival: http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/projects/two-degrees ***********

In one of those art things that sounds like it could be thoughtful or could be awful, artist Amy Sharrocks is gathering together different bottles of water today at Toynbee Studios in Commercial Street, E1, to make us think about water.

We're told to expect more than 100 bottles of the stuff as part of an EU-funded festival called Two Degrees, which they've designed to make us think about things. Water will be there from India, Sussex, Maine, Falmouth, Norway and other places, all with its own story.

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

^Picture © Ben Blossom^

18 June 2013

Drink at the Morden Arms

A decent little pub in the backstreets of Greenwich, your author stumbled into the Morden Arms rather late one evening recently, but found the staff and locals very friendly, and made friends with the rather elderly dog.

The pub has been the subject of various planning applications to turn it into flats, the earliest of which dates all the way back to 1994, and though some sources suggest it is doomed, for the moment it seems to be still going strong, as evidenced by its busy facebook page.

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

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

17 June 2013

Find the London Welsh Centre

Opened on 5th November 1937 on Grays Inn Road, to provide a home for the Young Wales Association, an organisation that had been organising social events for Welsh people in London since 1920, the London Welsh Centre is run by a charitable trust that aims to promote and celebrate all things Welsh.

The Centre still maintains a rich programme of Welsh (and even some non-Welsh) focussed events, and alongside promoting the use of the Welsh language, it also tries to foster interest in Welsh literature, music and art and culture. Many interesting Welsh people have passed through, and the website seems particularly proud of visits by hairy-chested Welsh singer and talent show judge Sir Tom Woodward.

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

^Picture from Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license^

16 June 2013

Attend the Anatolian Cultural Fete

As the world's media focuses on Turkey, a more celebratory story of all things Anatolian has been running all week and comes to a close today in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, organised by the Anatolian Community Association.

Today, visitors are told to expect marching band concerts, a Turkish cookery, theatrical plays and a closing ceremony from 6pm featuring Whirling Dervishes.

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

^Picture © ejbaurdo used under a Creative Commons license^

15 June 2013

Have a Walthamstow Weekender

Thanks to the good folks over at Londonist for alerting us to the Walthamstow Big Weekender, a two day event taking place today and tomorrow in Chestnut's Field, behind Walthamstow Town Hall.

Today, visitors are told to expect the specially-commissioned Soul London orchestra, featuring performances from Marc Almond and various award-winners and talent show veterans, and tomorrow a South-Asian Mela hosted by radio DJs Nihal and Neev. Don't worry if you're not sure you'll like it, as it's free, so you can always leave and explore the rich pickings in the rest of the area.

For more, see http://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/pages/campaigns/walthamstow-weekender.aspx

^Picture © jelm6 used under a Creative Commons license^

14 June 2013

Visit artists at home in Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush

Another artists open house event begins today, and continues all weekend in Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush. We are told that 53 artists’ studios will be open, with painters, ceramicists, sculptors, photographers and others all displaying their wares in a relaxed setting.

The studios extend from Holland Lane to South of Hogarth Lane and West of Chiswick Station, so whilst visitors will need strong legs to cover them all, they will also get to see some beautiful parts of town.
For more, see http://www.artistsathome.net/

^Picture © Alan Murray-Rust used under a Creative Commons license^

13 June 2013

Drink at the Betjeman Arms

The world of station pubs has few highlights, and whilst London Victoria has a decent upstairs Wetherspoons there are few contenders that rival the likes of the one at, say, Huddersfield. However, your author had a perfectly pleasant trip to the Betjeman Arms at St Pancras International on Saturday, and felt it was worth sharing.

Run by Geronimo Inns, the pub would be nothing particularly special were it not for its setting within Sir George Gilbert Scott's original Grade I listed red brick Gothic building, with an 'outside area' beneath the grand arches of the Barlow train shed. It makes a fine spot to sit out and admire the architecture. London station pubs have come a long way.

For more, see http://www.geronimo-inns.co.uk/thebetjemanarms/

^Picture © Adam Bruderer used under a Creative Commons license^

12 June 2013

See 'A Storm is Blowing' at the Petrie Museum

Your author enjoys the work of Cathy Haynes, a curator, artist and educator, who is Curator of Public Programmes at the School of Life. As such, it was good to hear at the beginning of the year that Cathy was taking up a Timekeeper in Residence at the Petrie Museum of Archaeology, and last night saw the opening of her temporary commission called 'A Storm is Blowing' at the Petrie, exploring different ways of presenting time through objects from a snakes and ladders board to an ancient water clock.

The exhibit features various pieces of red string which attempt to tie together more than thirty different historical representations, taking over the usually dark gallery of the Petrie in an interesting but not overly intrusive way, with wooden cabinets showing more modern artefacts from a planetarium of the Inner Solar System to a miniature Beast of the Apocalypse and a copy of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy.

The exhibition runs until 2nd August and is free. For more, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie/research/petrie_timekeeper

^Flyer © Cathy Haynes and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology^

11 June 2013

Re-live Artichoke's Peace Camp

One of your author's highlights of London 2012 was not a man running faster than another man - though there were many excellent examples of that - but a number of tents by the sea in the middle of the night. Peace Camp was part of the London 2012 festival and took place at various locations around the UK, with glowing tents, nautically-themed poetry and the distant roar of the sea coming together to create a beautifully peaceful experience.

Yesterday, an exhibition of photography from the various locations opened at the Poetry Cafe in Betterton Street, combining specially-commissioned photographs with those taken by members of the public who visited the Peace Camp and poetry inspired by the experience. The exhibition runs until 13th July.

For more, see http://www.artichoke.uk.com/news/peace_camp_photography_exhibition/

10 June 2013

See George Catlin's American Indian portraits

An exhibition currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery brings together some works by American artist George Catlin, who toured the western United States in the 1830s, making five trips to document the lives of Native Americans.

Catlin's works were originally put together for a touring exhibition to pique the interest of paying customers, so it seems fitting that this exhibition brings fifty portraits to the gallery until 23rd June, but this time it's free.

For more, see http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/george-catlin-american-indian-portraits/exhibition.php

^Picture from Wikimedia Commons^

9 June 2013

Explore London's private squares and gardens

It's Open Squares Weekend, offering a chance to explore gardens around the city which are usually not open to the likes of us proles.

We are told that 214 Gardens are open over a two day event which concludes today, and though the tickets to tour the garden at Number 10 Downing Street have already been allocated by public ballot, there are plenty of others available.

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

^Picture © Number 10 used under a Creative Commons license^

8 June 2013

Join the World Naked Bike Ride

It what your author is sure some participants think is a protest about oil and the planet, the World Naked Bike Ride has its London leg today, in various parts of town between around noon and 3.30pm.

The ride seems to set off from various parts of town, bringing everyone to join up at the Wellington Arch, and rather than seeming rude, seems to actually be good clean fun.

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

^Picture © C. G. P. Grey used under a Creative Commons license^

7 June 2013

Find Muhammed Ali Jinnah's London home

Mounted on the wall of a three-storey house on Russell Road in Kensington, West London, a blue plaque marks the spot where Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan stayed in 1895.

 Jinnah spent three and a half years in England, arriving in 1893 to take up an apprenticeship with Graham's Shipping and Trading Company, studying law, joining Lincoln's Inn, being called to the bar and suffering the deaths of his wife and mother, and finally returning to Karachi in 1896. Though Jinnah witnessed the independence of Pakistan in 1947 and was the first head of state of the new country, he died a little over a year later on 11th September 1948 at Karachi at the age of 71.

For more, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/3312176/Mohammed-the-profit-and-loss.html

^Picture © Christian Lüts used under a Creative Commons license^

6 June 2013

Relax in Jubilee Gardens

Found in the shadow of the London Eye on the South Bank, Jubilee Gardens got a bit of a spruce-up last summer, and it wasn't until your author spent the early evening relaxing in the sunshine here yesterday surrounded by established flowerbeds and lush green grass that he fully appreciated what a difference it has made.

The works were completed on 31st May last year, and have transformed what was until work started a rather plain area of flat grass into a gently rolling green park crossed by granite pathways with - we are told - 69 trees and a contemporary playground, as well as sympathetic and well-tended flower beds. When the sun is out if makes a fine place to lie out on the grass and pass half an hour or so.

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

^Picture © Paul-in-London used under a Creative Commons license^

5 June 2013

Drink at the Cutty Sark

The sunset over the Thames at the Cutty Sark - on Ballast Quay in Greenwich - was so perfect last night that your author could hardly believe he hadn't written about the pub here before. A beautiful place, dating in its current form from around 1795, it once stood among industrial dockyards with ships tied up to the quay outside.

Yesterday, the tables and wall by the quayside in front of the pub were busy with people enjoying the sunshine and at one point a group of folk musicians even showed up unexpectedly to entertain us. Inside, the busy staff delivered good food in a pleasant environment, that has largely stayed true to its pub routes despite the understandable focus on food.

For more, see http://www.cuttysarkse10.co.uk/

4 June 2013

Canoe the Thames with Moo Canoes

Your author spent an interesting evening a week or so ago canoeing the Thames from Limehouse to Greenwich with Ian of Ianvisits, Matt from Londonist. The trip was one of many organised by Moo Canoes, a smashing new company offering ordinary Londoners the chance to get out on the river or canal from their base underneath the DLR arches near Limehouse Station.

The trip was organised by Katy Hogarth and Alfie Hatt, who own Moo Canoes and run it together, and saw a small mixed group of experienced and inexperienced canoeists take to the water and paddle down to the Cutty Sark pub in Greenwich for dinner, before waiting for the waters to turn and returning to base with the upcoming tide. It was a great experience, despite a few heavy showers, and the food at the Cutty Sark was welcome after the exercise.

Your author has been out on the water with Katy before, and she is a great guide, so he was grateful to be offered the chance to try out the trip, which usually costs a fairly reasonable £49 including dinner. Readers can also hire canoes to take your own trip around the canals of East London.

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

3 June 2013

Drink at the Exmouth Arms

A decent - if a bit pricey - pub on Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell, the Exmouth Arms was is a pretty pub from the outside, seemingly rebuilt by Courage around 1915, though able to trace its history back at least 90 years earlier, to 1825 when a man named Richard Balls was the landlord.

Your author dropped in a couple of weeks ago during a trip to the area and was pleasantly surprised, all bare wood, food and ales with the only minor mishap being caused by some slightly confusing toilet/ dressing room signage. It was nicely busy on a weeknight, but not so much that it was impossible to find a seat, and though the bar staff were - predictably - all young fashionable types, they were very friendly.

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

2 June 2013

Celebrate Keats in Hampstead

It's the final day of the third annual Keats Festival in Hampstead today, with events at Keats House celebrating the life and work of the English Romantic poet John Keats through workshops on modern poetry, a mechanical dragon and regency musicians, alongside other things.

It all sounds good fun and for those who are unable to make it today, the museum makes a great place to visit on an ordinary day, particularly when combined with a visit with other small historic houses of Hampstead.

For more, see http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/attractions-around-london/keats-house/the-keats-festival/Pages/default.aspx

1 June 2013

Pop into the A&C Gallery

Your author popped into the A&C Gallery on Trafalgar Road in Greenwich last week, and had a lovely chat with owner and artist Ljubinka Kovacevic-Mimovic, who sells her own work and others here.

We are told that Kovacevic-Mimovic studied art in Britain and Belgrade and she produces interesting works which she is happy to explain.

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