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



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30 November 2013

Attend the Christmas Fair at Christ Church, East Greenwich

Your author is usually an awful grump when it comes to the early celebration of the Christmas season, and wouldn't normally recommend a Christmas Fair that takes place in November, but the fair at Christ Church on Trafalgar Road in Greenwich has been very enjoyable in previous years, and he is still wearing a scarf bought there for 50p two years ago.

Like many similar fairs taking place around London, we are told to expect toys, games, jams, bric-a-brac and a raffle and there should also be piano music from a very talented pianist at some point, but this is a pleasantly low key community affair and if you think Greenwich seems a bit far to travel today do look at the website of your local church and see when their fair is.

For more on the fair at Christ Church, see http://www.christchurcheastgreenwich.org.uk/

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

29 November 2013

Attend the Silicon Drinkabout

For those who haven't been paying attention, an area of East London that was once famous for warehouses and strip clubs, then for poser art types is now a centre for technology poser types. For the area around Old Street in Shoreditch has become 'Silicon Roundabout' or 'Tech City' or something.

If you want to learn more about those working within what this area - usually fairly meaninglessly described as a 'startup ecosystem' - there is good news. For each Friday these startup-wallahs meet for a drink to celebrate the end of the week and for networking and that.

For more, see http://silicondrinkabout.com/london

^Picture © Duncan Hull used under a Creative Commons license^

28 November 2013

Get lost at sea at the National Maritime Museum

Particularly observant readers might have noted that, in an error almost as bad as the time this website declared St Patrick's Day in February, this time last week your author incorrectly announced a late opening at the National Maritime Museum, 'Lost at Sea', which actually takes place tonight. Any frustration felt by readers surely pales in comparison to the embarrassment felt when your author showed up at the museum door having decided to drag along someone he hardly knows, only to be told 'sorry that's next week'.

Having said that the staff at the museum were, as always, very friendly and helpful, and tonight the event (almost certainly) actually takes place. As noted last week it's hard not to be impressed by what's on offer. Not only is Lost at Sea free, but they're is cabaret with Shore Leave, ceilidh music with the Ceilidh Liberation Front, a mini literature festival with Shorelines and plenty of rum.

As if that weren't already more than you could fit into a Thursday evening Matt Brown from Londonist is doing a pub quiz - enough on its own to show up and pay a few quid for - there's music from the Fishwives Ensemble and Cecil Sharp House Choir, there's music and art inspired by the sea, and even more. It's basically unmissable.

For full details, and to book your ticket, see http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/events/calendar/lost-at-sea

27 November 2013

See the Turkish Gun on Horseguards Parade

A Turkish Gun stands on Horseguards Parade, captured in 1801 by British forces after the siege of Alexandria during the Napoleonic Wars and installed on Horse Guards Parade in 1802.

We are told that the barrel is the only original part - made in the 16th century by Murad, son of Abdullah, chief gunner - whilst the carriage was made by J and E Hall at Dartford in Kent.

For more, see http://theromantictraveller.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/turkish-gun-in-horse-guards-parade/

^Picture © Ian Dick used under a Creative Commons license^

26 November 2013

Take a boat through Tottenham Lock

Your author spent a very pleasant Saturday afternoon on the Lee Navigation, moving a friend's boat a short from Tottenham Hale to beside what was once the Olympic Park. The experience was every bit as good as anticipated with sunshine and a couple of stops on the way, and a chance to have a go at operating the mechanics of Tottenham Lock.

Unfortunately, securing a boat ride through the lock is not as easy as it should be, but if you do know anyone with a boat, particularly a big one, and a key to operate the control panel, you might be able to have a go. Otherwise there are boats for hire further up the river.

For more, on the Lock, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tottenham_Lock

25 November 2013

Come to a talk at Rich Mix

Thanks to a kind invitation from the people at excellent independent booksellers Brick Lane Book Shop your author is giving a talk at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green this evening about the Tired of London, Tired of Life and Mad Dogs and Englishmen books, as well as some thoughts about how to make the most of the place where you live.

The talk is free and begins at 7pm, and is part of a series of 'Last Mondays' talks run by a bookshop with a strong record of organising events for a loyal and interested selection of local customers.

For more, see http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/last-mondays-author-events-tom-jones-mad-dogs-and-englishmen-how-to-make-the-most-of-the-place-where-you-live/

24 November 2013

Save seeds at OrganicLea

There's a seed saving workshop at OrganicLea's co-operative growing site Hawkwood in Chingford today, one of a series of monthly open days, featuring a tour, lunch and drop in between noon and 4pm

The project has been running since 2001, when the group took over an acre of once-derelict allotment land on the edge of Epping Forest, and saw expansion in 2007 following Waltham Forest Council's decision to close its plant nursery, leading to OrganicLea taking on the Hawkwood Plant Nursery

For more, see http://www.organiclea.org.uk/whats-on/

^Picture © London Permaculture used under a Creative Commons license^

23 November 2013

Attend the Blackheath and Greenwich Amnesty booksale

Up in Blackheath today Blackheath and Greenwich Group of Amnesty International are holding their annual booksale at the beautiful Church of the Ascension in Dartmouth Row.

We are told that the group’s book sales are something of an institution. Now in their 39th year, they are Amnesty International’s most successful local fundraising event in the UK, featuring thousands of books and raising thousands of pounds.

For more, see http://amnestybg.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/press-release-amnesty-blackheath-and-greenwich-big-book-sale-returns/

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

22 November 2013

See Turner and the Sea at The National Maritime Museum

This autumn seems to be particularly rich in arts and culture in London and one exhibition that has particularly captured your author's attention is Turner and the Sea, which opens today at the National Maritime Museum. The exhibition presents the paintings of Turner and others over a number of themed rooms, including celebrated works such as The Fighting Temeraire, displayed alongside works more regularly seen in Greenwich like The Battle of Trafalgar  from the Greenwich Hospital Collection.

It's particularly welcome that the exhibition also includes some Turner sketches and studies, which for the amateur help to understand how such a great artist might might go about creating these huge and celebrated works. The exhibition is superbly curated so that it culminates with a number of particularly evocative and characteristic Turner seascapes in a room called 'Making Waves', before visitors are thrust out into the bright lights of the inevitable gift shop. And unlike yesterday's suggestion, this suggestion is actually open today...

For more, see http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/events/turner-and-the-sea

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

21 November 2013

Go late at the National Maritime Museum (next week)

Your author is always a fan of late museum openings, particularly if they take place in south east London, but even so it's hard not to be impressed by the offering tonight next week at the National Maritime Museum. Not only is the late opening free, but they're also offering so much more besides, including cabaret with Shore Leave, ceilidh music with the Ceilidh Liberation Front, a mini literature festival with Shorelines and plenty of rum.

As if that weren't already more than you could fit into a Thursday evening Matt Brown from Londonist is doing a pub quiz - enough on its own to show up and pay a few quid for - there's music from the Fishwives Ensemble and Cecil Sharp House Choir, there's music and art inspired by the sea, and even more. It's basically unmissable.

For full details, and to book your ticket, see http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/events/calendar/lost-at-sea

20 November 2013

Find Baden Powell House

Completed in 1961 to a design by Ralph Tubbs, and named after the movement's father Lord Baden-Powell, Baden Powell House in Kensington was the home of the Scouts until 2001, and still remains home to a hostel and conference and a small exhibition on Scouting.

A granite statue of Baden Powell, sculpted by Don Potter, still stands beside the entrance to the centre, which now provides conference and meeting spaces for all users, and puts the funds generated back into use funding parts of the Scout movement.

For more, see http://www.towntocountry.co.uk/bpHouse/default.asp

10 November 2013

Go on holiday

Your author is on holiday for a week or so at two or more places in Northern Europe. This blog is unlikely to be updated until he returns.

Opportunist thieves should please note that the house remains occupied and the flatmates are trained killers.

For more, see http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/ and http://www.elenydd-hostels.co.uk/hostels/tyncornel/index.html

^Picture © Michael Button used under a Creative Commons license^

9 November 2013

Forage on the foreshore

Your author is a great fan of Jane Parker, who blogs at Jane's London and as Amelia Parker is the creator of beautiful jewellery made from clay pipes found on the Thames foreshore. The results are both interesting and a great gift and if you want to learn more about Jane's work, she is leading a free pipe-finding walk on the Thames foreshore at Wapping this morning.

Jane will be pipe-hunting from 10.15am this morning, and will be doing so for three hours when she will be heading to a nearby pub. If you've never done such things before it's a great chance to discover the secret world of the foreshore where all sorts of remnants of past London can be seen, and if you've just woken up and it's too late her next forage will be in Rotherhithe on Sunday 5th January.

For more, see http://www.janeslondon.com/2013/10/you-are-invited-to-forage-on-foreshore.html

8 November 2013

Cycle Rainham Marshes Cycle Route

One of the best stretches of the Thames your author has ever cycled connects Rainham and Purfleet along the Northern edge of the outer part of the Thames Estuary just before the Dartford Crossing. It takes a bit of getting to, especially when if the c2c line happens to be closed for engineering works, but when you do

Opened just a few years ago, the route is part of National Cycle Route 13 and leaves the road at Purfleet, where it passes through the RSPB reserve of Rainham Marshes, which was once an MOD firing range and seems to include parts of which include and Aveley and Wennington Marshes. It then skirts between the Thames and the poetically-named Rainham Integrated Waste Management Facility, before arriving eventually at Rainham Barge Graveyard and then providing an off-road route to Rainham, including a special bridge over the HS1 railway line. It's flat, almost exclusively traffic-free and well worth making the journey for, especially on a nice day.

For more, see http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/rainham-marshes

7 November 2013

Visit Purfleet Heritage and Military Centre

Whilst out on a bike ride a few weeks ago, your author was delighted to stumble upon Purfleet Heritage and Military Centre, close to the Thames at Purfleet, just inside the M25, and housed inside a Grade I Listed gunpowder magazine, built in the 18th century to supply the army and navy during Napoleonic wars, and used right up until 1962 for storage by the Ministry of Defence. Since the 1990s - when it was saved by local volunteers - the building has been home to the Purfleet Heritage and Military Centre, which explores the history of the area and its relationship with the military history of the nation.

The museum appeared to be a bit of a hub for the local community, with volunteers delighted to explain the history of the building and how it operated as a magazine, as well as giving more detail on the already ample displays on offer. Anyone with a strong interest in history could easily spend half a day or so at the Centre, which has a fantastically diverse range of exhibits covering everything from Purfleet during the Blitz to Count Dracula's fictional home in the area.

For more, see http://www.purfleet-heritage.com/

6 November 2013

See the Alcatel Jetty, North Greenwich

Named after the former Alcatel factory - found on a site where the world’s first transatlantic cable was manufactured in 1858 - The Alcatel Jetty is a disused industrial jetty on Greenwich Peninsula which has been planted with mosses and sedum in order to provide a habitat for local birds and wildlife.

We are told that wagtails, black redstarts and cormorants might use the jetty and -whilst it is deemed unsafe for people to go onto it - it is thought to be a pleasant and interesting alternative to demolition.

For more, click here or read Ian's tour of the area.

5 November 2013

Go to the fireworks in Brockwell Park

Regular readers will by now have cottoned on that your author likes bonfire night, not because of the Catholic persecution, but because there is something altogether more primal about a tradition that makes people go out into the dark together to watch fire as autumn draws in. This year's Guy Fawkes Night celebrations in London largely draw to a close tonight, with displays in Wimbledon Park, Southwark Park, Crystal Palace Park and Brockwell Park.

Brockwell Park features a spectacularly odd mix of Fireman Sam and Vivaldi's "Four Seasons” with, rather oddly, the four seasons mirrored in the areas of the park with Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter, and Morris men, stilt walkers, fire dancers and live music.

For more, see http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/Environment/ParksGreenSpaces/EventsInParks/Fireworks.htm

^Picture © A bloke called Jerm used under a Creative Commons license^

4 November 2013

See Grimm City in the Design Museum Tank

Though building work is ongoing in Kensington ahead of its move out of what civilised people consider central London to there next year, for now the Design Museum remains at Shad Thames, and one thing your author hopes they remember to take with them when they go is the Design Museum Tank, the interesting miniature exhibition glass box on the bank of the Thames in front of the Museum.

The current exhibition here lasts only until the end of the week, and is entitled Grimm City, is is a tiny fairy tale world created in Germany in 2012 by FleaFollyArchitects to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. It's been in London since October.

For more, see http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/2013/grimm-city

3 November 2013

Watch the fireworks on Wanstead Flats

There are still two days until the 5th of November, but many places in London and beyond have chosen this weekend for their displays. Tonight, it's the turn of Newham Borough Council, who are holding their annual firework display on Wanstead Flats this evening.

We are told to expect fireworks, pyrotechnics and lasers, as well as a pop music soundtrack and food of many different types. The display is free, but attendees are advised to bring cash for food and other stalls.

For full details, see http://www.newham.com/page/whatson/guy_fawkes_night_fireworks/825,10,0,0,0.html

^Picture © Faheem Patel used under a Creative Commons license^

2 November 2013

Attend Blackheath Fireworks

As your author cycled across Blackheath late last night, Lewisham Council were already setting up for Blackheath Fireworks, one of London's biggest, attracting up to 100,000 people. A funfair was being slowly unfolded and the last pieces of metal fencing slotted into place, underlining quite what goes into putting together this free event.

For those not based in South East London, the good folks at Londonist remind us there are scores of firework displays on offer over the next week, and whilst bonfires tend to be a bit more scarce it should be possible to find something.

For full details of Blackheath, see http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/events/whats-on/fireworks/Pages/default.aspx

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

1 November 2013

See a whale at the N1 Centre

Try as it might, there's nothing particularly interesting about the N1 Centre. It has a cinema where your author once saw Miquita Oliver, and that's about as interesting as it gets. In other words, pretty dull. However, today they're trying to make it worth visiting and thanks must go to Ianvisits for pointing out theyre installing a whale for the day today, for some reason.

We are told that children will be able to go inside the whale, see a seascape, and meet both a shipwrecked pirate and a treasure hoarding mermaid. It all sounds awful, but then again it is half term. It'll be there from 11am - 3pm, and apparently it's designed to be 'fun'.

For more, see http://n1islington.com/news/giant-whale-comes-to-n1-this-half-term/

^Picture © Loz Pycock used under a Creative Commons license^