Friday Fun (for a Saturday evening)

Apologies for the hiatus. When one has to hand in 8,000+ words of essays, immediately followed by a similar number of words across 3 sermons, the desire to write any other words is minimal! Still, the break means that there’s plenty of fun for this week!

[Also an apology for the fact that I wrote most of it on Friday, but then got distracted and forgot to post it. Rather than extending my hiatus further, I thought I’d better publish it now. Fun is fun regardless of the day…]

So, for starters, some London fun. Firstly, there’s been a lot of excitement on Twitter about the forthcoming opening of the Mail Rail as part of the Postal Museum due to open in a couple of years time at Mount Pleasant. I’ve mentioned the Mail Rail before – it’s a classic piece of hidden London geekery and thus the prospect of actually getting to ride is quite exciting. In case you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, Time Out have a collection of photos that takes you behind the scenes of the currently mothballed postal transport system:

Mail Rail

Moving on to the better known London underground network… Someone this week announced that they’d visited every single tube station and taken a photo of the roundel there. Excellent work Mr Mike Turnball!

Roundels...A screenshot from his Flickr stream.

This then opened the floodgates to others who had completed a similar feat. I loved this photo of a roundel made up of roundel photos:

Roundel, CottonSteve Cotton’s Roundel, via Londonist.

Other people turn their photos of roundels into videos. I liked the animation-style element of this one:

To wrap things up for this week, we return to a Friday Fun theme of old – the dulcet tones of the Swingles. This is one of their latest video offerings, a cover of Mumford & Sons After the Storm. [Warning: if you’re anti-beard, you may want to watch this from a distance as the camera goes rather close up to the epic beard sported by their hirsute tenor.]

Friday Fun with tat and trains

My Post-It Note of possible Friday Fun ideas is overflowing this week, which would usually be a good thing, but today is something of a sober and holy Friday and some of it wouldn’t be suitable for such an occasion. (Even less suitable than that fun family past-time of watching The Life of Brian on Good Friday.) Last year I solved the Friday Fun/Good Friday conundrum by finding some virtuous fun, but I’m pretty sure little on my yellow square today is virtuous. Plus, I’m writing this yesterday as today I’ll be in sunny Hemel Hempsted hanging with my girls [yep, I’m going gangsta on you] and won’t be near a computer to spot appropriate fun that turns up on Facebook and Twitter.

Preamble over, the gist is that I’ve got some fun for you today and, as a special Easter bank holiday bonus, more fun tomorrow…

You know what’s happening this time next week? Two people will be tying the knot in a London church and the people of Britain will be celebrating/enjoying an extra lie-in. I call myself a republican, but secretly I love watching this kind of thing – I just think it’s fascinating from a historical point of view – even if the media manage to get completely hysterical about it. Then there’s the merchandise…

There’s a lot of it and much of it’s complete tat. I won’t be owning any, but I did have to pop into Cath Kidston earlier in the week to buy some of their (rather classier) celebratory merchandise as a present for a friend who just adores this stuff. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to go hunting for the worst of the worst – there are people out there who’ve done it for you. Like Royal Wedding Tat which does exactly what it says on the tin.

Image from here

Wills & Kate Pez dispenser? Fridge? Pizza? Pies? Honestly – utterly ridiculous.

If the thought of the wedding and all the associated shenanigans simply makes you want to burrow underground then have no fear – I have some fun for you too. You know how much I love London Transport and its disused stations, well yesterday I discovered another relic of a former underground system – the Mail Rail.

I say ‘discovered’, it’s not as if I fell down a hole and landed on one of its platforms. All I did was read this post chronicling a journey a group of trespassers had along its tracks. [That link worked fine on Wednesday, but as I write wasn’t – hopefully it’s just a case of too much traffic rather than the Post Office shutting it down.] It’s both fabulous and utterly crazy – they scaled a wall to get in and walked 14 miles overnight documenting their discoveries, running the risk of being caught several times. For years they had wanted to see the retired (as of 2003) Mail Rail system and recently they managed it. It was track that ran from Paddington to Whitechapel and connected the major Post Office sorting depots along the way – as ever, with such nerdy things, there’s a fairly comprehensive Wikipedia page on its history. When it closed it was simply mothballed, thus much of it remains intact – as if someone had just gone out for lunch. Wonderful and unsurprisingly, terribly tempting.

So that’s my ‘clean’ fun for this week – wait till you see tomorrow’s.