Photographic catch-up

It’s been a long, tiring day. Actually, life in general is pretty knackering at the moment. This evening I got home at 9pm after a loooooong working day and for some reason decided that it was time to catch up on some Flickr uploading (as you do).

This in turn reminded me of some photos I’d forgotten I’d taken, so I thought I’d share…

A rainbow in the fountain at the Royal Festival Hall
This was taken the day of the first tube strike (September 7th) when it was still warm and walking all over London was a pleasure, not a hypothermia inducing chore. 

Remember the grammatical graffiti discovered a while back? 
I didn’t get any photos of Tobacco Dock (its location) at the time, but took these one evening a couple of days later when I happened to be back that way. 
(Didn’t dare go inside on my own though.)

On this week’s tube strike, I decided to walk from Trafalgar Square to Paddington via the Royal Parks, despite the Arctic conditions. 
Along the way I stumbled into Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland 
– not a pleasant experience, but fairly pretty on a quiet Monday afternoon.

Underground Art

There are many mundane aspects of the London Underground. While much of its design is both aesthetic and functional, others are just plain boring.

Take the ‘Service Information’ boards for example. Normally the one at Bermondsey simply has “Jubilee Line – Good Service” scrawled across it (or “Jubilee Line – Severe Delays” depending on the tube’s mood). Occasionally they’re covered up with other informative posters regarding strikes, apologies for poor service, engineering works or the importance of staying hydrated. This example of a spelling fail at Baker Street illustrates their un-excitingness:

Yes, I realise I’ve blogged this before, but it’s the only image I had to illustrate this! 

Yesterday, a couple of intriguing photos showed up on Facebook courtesy of a friend, which in turn hand me hunting the internet for more examples. It seems that some artistic genius at Caledonian Road station has demonstrated that there is much more that can be done with a white board and markers than simply writing informative messages… 

Photo Credit: John Grimsey
Now wouldn’t that make you smile on your way to work? As I never, ever go anywhere near this particular station (not because I’ve got anything against it you understand, I just have no reason to) it’s unlikely I’ll get to see the work in the flesh. [Though it’s very close to another abandoned station I’d like to check out, so perhaps I will pay it a visit soon…] Fortunately, I discovered a whole set of photos on Flickr chronicling the  work of the mysterious ‘Kim’.
I particularly love the ones that combine art, the season and the importance of carrying water with you in hot weather: 
In other artistic/Tube news, there’s a new exhibition at the V&A on Charles’ Holden’s designs for the network – the architect responsible for many stations on the Northern line as well as the particularly distinctive later Piccadilly line stations. 
Posters for this exhibit began appearing last week and I was continually bothered by the fact that the image depicted a station named Highgate, yet was no part of Highgate that I recognised. Having checked out the V&A website, I’m relieved to discover that it’s actually a design for what became known as Archway (a stop before actual Highgate), the solving of this conundrum should help me sleep more easily tonight! 
Anyone care to join me for some artistic, London Transport/architectural nerdiness? We could combine it with at least one abandoned station… 

Inappropriate footwear

I should have known it was mistake to go straight for the radio when I woke up this morning. In doing so I missed the London news bulletin at 7.30 that usually gives me the latest on both London Transport and the weather – key information to have prior to getting dressed and leaving for work. Instead, all I had was Radio 1 weather, which is sketchy to say the least. All I knew was that it would be wet in Scotland (surprising) and that it would be cooler than yesterday (when London hit a balmy 25c).

As a result, I found my feet rather inappropriately dressed when I emerged from Baker Street station into rain that stubbornly persisted all morning. By lunch it was torrential, yet I still ventured out for a jaunt to Oxford Street. Within minutes my legs (clad in purple tights) and feet (nestled in the beautiful red shoes) were soaked.

Then someone in a pair of Hunters passed me and I could have kicked myself (had that not simply made my legs wetter and dirtied my tights). I own the most fantastic wellies and yet didn’t have them with me in perfect wellie conditions. Idiot!

[Additionally, had I known it was going to rain I wouldn’t have bothered spending 40 minutes blow-drying my hair – despite ‘moisture barrier’ hairspray I still bore a more than passing resemblance to Hermione Granger when I got back to the office.]

My resolution for this autumn/winter is therefore to think practically and not to be afraid to get the Hunters out of their (rather awesome) shoe-box when it’s wet outside. They go perfectly with most of my expanding collection of tights and – most importantly – will keep both toes and calves warm and dry.

I may or may not try one of the interesting tights/wellies combos currently on display at Selfridges:

While on the subject of the fabulous wellies, the photo below (taken when a tad bored during a Greenbelt seminar) is now my most popular Flickr picture – want to get lots of photostream views, comments and favourites? Simply take photos of shoes…

Walking with Giants

For some time it’s been a bone of contention with my parents that while they had taken my sister to the Giant’s Causeway on her first trip across the Irish Sea (back in 2004) I’d never been. Apparently, it was all a bit anti-climactic for my mother, so although they’ve taken other visitors there since, it’s not high on her list of ‘things to do’. However, when I planned my latest visit, my Mum promised to take me there (all the while reminding me that it might not be quite what I imagined – always keen to prevent disappointment!).

I wasn’t disappointed – not one bit.
Of course, it helped that Northern Ireland unexpectedly had a heatwave over the first few days of September. [I spent 76 hours there and it only rained in the last two – that’s a record.] For the first time in 6 years of visiting I had bare arms and could have done with some sunscreen.

There is of course a lot of history, myth, legend and geological information about the Causeway, but I can’t really be bothered to write about it. Wikipedia has a decent entry, so if you’re ‘hot for rocks’ (to quote a friend who is quite the geological stalker) head over there. It’s also worth noting that should you be trying to reach the rocks using a Sat Nav, you will need to include the apostrophe in order for it to be found – that pleased me immensely. What did not amuse me was the lack of consistency in road signage – some used the possessive apostrophe, others didn’t. Shame on you sign writers…

Unsurprisingly, I took about a billion photos (that might be a teeny-tiny exaggeration) using two cameras almost simultaneously. I was allowed to play with my parent’s DSLR, but not while rock climbing – which was when my lovely little camera came in very handy. My mother’s vertigo also came in handy as it meant she could take photos of me clambering about the rocks, much in the manner of a mountain goat. [Even as I write I’m singing Lonely Goatherd to myself…] Here’s a bit of a photo-story:

“Oh hello – you want to take photos?”

“Yes, I want to take photos!”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Did you say ‘stand on one leg?’ – ok then!”
[Yell from mum below – “Don’t do that! You’ll fall off!!”]

Photographing very interesting rock formations

Interesting rock formations

“Now, let me just sit here a while and ponder…”

“Maybe I’ll sit here and take some more photos.”

There are a lot of photos on Flickr – mostly of rocks – but here’s a small taste: 

Fun with maps and Storm Troopers

Two things for you this week, both geeky, but at different ends of the geeky spectrum…

Firstly, for the sci-fi geek: Stormtroopers 365 – a year-long set on Flickr detailing the adventures of a pair of Stormtroopers. Clever, amusing and at times beautiful, it’s even been made into a calendar. My two personal favourites are below.

The added bonus is that this project only began in April, so there’s over 100 days still to go – so it’s the Friday Fun that keeps on giving!

Secondly, for the cartographer geek: maps of Manhattan. Ok, these aren’t actually ‘amusing’, per se, but I was intrigued by them, being as I am a lover of maps, Manhattan and art.

I learnt a new thing about maps this week. Apparently, one can establish how far one has walked by tracking the route on a map with a piece of string, then measuring the string against the map’s scale. Clever.

Being the foolish city girl that I am, when I first saw string referenced alongside distance, I decided it must have been something to do with using a huge ball of string to make a trail, then following it home… I’ve not told my Dad about this yet, when I do I’m pretty sure he’ll hold his head in his hands and curse the day he ever agreed to live in London. (He despairs that I’m an out and out urbanite when our family roots are in farming!)