Springing into Friday Fun

Kicking off these week’s fun are a few more London delights. Firstly, a mental challenge for all those who consider themselves to be London aficionados – can you identify 21 London ‘landmarks’? Now, the definition of ‘landmark’ is rather broad, but it’s a diverting 5 minutes! [I scored 16 out of 21, my incorrect answers largely being the result of mis-identifying glass windows and spurious statues…]

Another challenge (or a sheer delight) are these hand-drawn maps of Westminster by Jojo Oldham, who’s embarking on a project to map each of London’s boroughs, as well as one to map the ‘people’s Britain’. So much detail…

Jojo City of Westminster 5This illustration demonstrates just how close to the Camden-Westminster border I live.

Talking of maps, there is a huge amount of (educational) fun to be had with the fabulous addition of the Ordnance Survey town plan of 1893-6 to Google Maps. Choose your location, and see it transform from 2014 to late 19th century. Utterly fascinating. Here’s a snapshot of my current parish, which on the one hand doesn’t seem to have changed much, yet really has…

Holborn, 1890sHolborn, 1890’s

Obligatory London Transport fun is provided this week by Tubographical Transactions by Yangchen Lin, a photographic exhibition on show at the Subway Gallery 14-22 March. A host of photos that take a slightly different perspective on life on the tube, including tube pants (not a photo I’m sharing here). Londonist features several of the photos, of which these were favourites:



Finally, some Oscars-related fun. Amusingly, I had something in this theme ready to share last week – but when compiling last week’s Fun, I became the second person in my family to succumb to the mistake of thinking that the last weekend in February and first weekend in March were not the same thing. [i.e. this time last week, March 2nd seemed a lot further away than 2 days, what with my brain forgetting how short February is.] So, first off, here are children recreated the key plot points of each of the films nominated for Best Picture:

I particularly loved how they chose to deal with 12 Years a Slave…

As for the night itself, obviously there was the most-retweeted-tweet-ever, but for me, there were two key moments. One was obviously what has now become known as the Cumberbomb, which prompted a brilliant article about how Cumberbatch basically ‘won’ the Oscars – which a classmate showed me during Monday’s lecture, but which I now cannot find, despite scouring the internet. Trust me, it was excellent…

The other was John Travolta incomprehensibly getting Idina Menzel’s name badly, badly wrong when announcing her performance of what ended up winning Best Song (Let It Go, as featured here a couple of weeks ago). Since his gaff, we’ve been able to Travoltafy our names and Idina has soared to the level of fame she ought have had some time ago. (Some argue that this gaff will be the making of her.) She responded to interview questions about it simply by saying “Let it go…” and the Broadway production in which she’s currently starring did this:

Adele Dazeem on Broadway

Adele, sorry, Idina also went on the Jimmy Fallon show and performed the aforementioned song with him and the Roots band – it’s worth watching, it may not be quite what you expect:

Friday Fun for lovers of London

Having taken a break from the joys of London and its transport last week, this week’s Friday Fun is a smorgasboard of such delights. This morning we’ll begin in time honoured fashion with something involving the tube map…

What if the tube map told the truth?

True Tube MapI’d say some of these are pretty accurate. I particularly liked Great Portland Street’s ‘Neither Here Nor There’. So true. 

Also in the world of London themed maps are two fascinating pieces of work by Ollie O’Brien. ‘Electric Tube’ is a new take on the classic map:

Electric TubeWhile London North/South only showing properties – north of the river in blue, south in red. The parks are useful geographical pointers, meaning that I can spot my old Bermondsey flat as well as my current location.


For fans of the history of London, this week has been a bumper one in terms of photographic fun. First up, a simply lovely collection of photos of the underground in the 1950’s and 60’s. Courtesy of Buzzfeed and my friend Becki, we have discovered that people called “fluffers” used to be employed to remove dust from the tunnels – causing Dave Walker to muse as to whether the same effect could be achieved by a vacuuming train. Dave, I repeat Becki’s request to see that in a cartoon one day!

Fluffers on the tube

the Museum of London has an app that uses its archives of images of the capital and superimposes them upon the view in your camera. [Takes a moment to download app…] If you can’t get you and your camera phone to London, here’s a taste of what it looks like:

Palace Theatre; 1958 + 2014The Palace Theatre, 1958 and 2014.

Gloucester Road Station 1868 + 2014My Monday morning destination of Gloucester Road station, 1860’s and 2014.

As if old photography wasn’t enough, some clever person have added famous paintings to the appropriate location as captured by Google Street View. The Guardian has a whole gallery of them – here’s a couple to whet your appetite:

Trafalgar Sq LogsdailSt. Martin in the Fields by William Logsdail (1888)

Westminster Abbey CanalettoWestminster Abbey with a Procession of Knights of the Bath by Canaletto (1749)

Finally, going full-circle and returning to the world of maps and charts, here are 12 helpful charts for everyone Londoner to live their life by. Their chart for the DLR is particularly helpful and, quite frankly, a rule to live by:

Where Should I sit on the DLR

While others are, quite frankly, suitable for anywhere in Britain:

Should I Take An UmbrellaThis is a rule that’s particularly worth living by in Belfast…

Making Friday Fun of me

This is self-indulgent, but it is Christmas, and I am tired. In lieu of genuine Friday Fun, I will instead be making fun of myself (and perhaps poking a little fun at my family too). Trips to Belfast and time with the family often involve a little digging through the archives and prompt some introspection – boxes of old school stuff resides there, as do a lot of photo albums.

It was the re-shelving of my baby photo album that began a last minute retrospection on Wednesday evening. I discovered a couple of albums of photos that I hadn’t seen in years, both containing photographic evidence of at least two memorable holidays and assorted other curious photos. (Each album ended with a random assortment of pictures that bore no relation to each other – much time was spent trying to date them, with my father frequently insisting my sister must have been 7 in photos where I knew she was at least 10.)

I ended up having to get copies (poor quality photos of photos, sadly) of some of the classics, which at least amused us briefly. Knowing that other people’s photos are rarely that interesting, this post may only interest three people, but never mind. At the very least it should make all of us very grateful not to be living in the early 1990’s…

Flicking through these albums, I made a few discoveries. Firstly – and this wasn’t so much a discovery as a resurrection of a memory I’d tried to suppress – fashion in the 90’s was very, very bad.
Exhibit A: Matching mother-daughter floral all in ones. And I thought jumpsuits were a recent phenomenon?!

We were in Boston, eating Deli sandwiches. The caption said we were eating pastrami & rye, but there’s no way my ten year old self would’ve chosen that as a sandwich filling.

Exhibit B: Dungarees (and paint splattered jeans) were never a good look. [I was also disturbed at how often that neon bumbag featured in photos…]
Another Boston photo. We were there for a couple of months – my outfit is entirely American.

Exhibit C: Mismatched clothing. Oh dear…
Secondly, a discovery that my sister – without fail – did amusing poses in all photos. Or, would try to get into photos that had nothing to do with her. Look closely at the three above and you’ll spot comedy faces or arm gestures, typical of the family clown. However, this is my favourite:

Me and my parents studied this picture for a long time and none of us could work out why we stopped in front of a branch of C&A for a photo. It’s possible the feature is actually the canal and it’s also possible that it’s from a trip to the Netherlands in 1994 (this deduction made solely from the fact that I’m wearing a green coat, thus meaning I was definitely at secondary school). Anyway, note the ridiculous facial expression in the foreground. [Edit: a Facebook friend recognised it as Lincoln. Not quite as exotic, but perfectly plausible.]

Thirdly, it seems that I was actually known as ‘Lizzy’ in public and with people other than my immediate family. I have something of a multiple personality when it comes to versions of my name, which I think I’ve mentioned before, but I’d been fairly sure that only a very small group of people called me Lizzy. However, two photos from the summer I turned 10 would seem to dispute this:

My 10th birthday cake, clearly iced with ‘Lizzy’.

Peculiar, possibly Native American in aim, face-painting with ‘Lizzy’ across my forehead. 
[It was a Vacation Bible School with a pioneer theme. I couldn’t possibly explain…]

Fourthly, one word: beard…

I have a friend who’s come close to emulating this feat in recent months, but I think even they are beaten by my Dad’s 1982 effort. Really quite impressive. [Sobering thought. My Dad was the age I am now in that photo.] 
Fifthly, I had always been under the impression that I’d been excited about visiting Mozart’s birthplace when we went to Salzburg. It seems I was wrong:
Not a great advert for Mozart, but a potentially great one for Clothkits – that’s a matching outfit, right there! 

Because I’m a generous individual, if you do find this stuff vaguely interesting, there’s a whole album of it.

The challenges of friendship – a photostory

I have loved getting to know the group of friends I spent last weekend with. It’s great to have people with whom you can completely be yourself and who understand the eccentric ways in which you tick. It pleases me that my introvertedness is understood to the extent that I was offered a car ride in France just to have some time-out from the masses and that when conflict looked set to dampen my mood on Sunday morning, I was whisked off for a tour of Chichester.

All such groups have their own dynamics and quirks. A common theme with this particular gathering is never knowing where everyone is at any one time. A cursory glance at my texts reveals four or five messages along the lines of ‘where are you’, ‘do you know where X is?’, ‘I’ve been left behind’, and ‘Don’t forget X – she’s in the pub’. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle we ever get anything done!

On Sunday, we took a walk along the beach at West Wittering. It was beautiful and just what was needed for blowing away cobwebs and having a bit of meditation time. However, in typical fashion, we arrived in two separate groups and it took a while for us to be reunited – despite clear directions to the missing pair that all they needed to do was walk to the beach and turn left…

 Looking out for our missing companions
Note the holding of phone to ear.
“We’re waving at you…there’s three of us…we’re waving…we can see you, can you really not see us? We’re right in front of you…”

“We’re still waving…”

Finally, they spot us.

Hugs aplenty. 
(Who’d have thought they’d only been missing for half an hour?)

“How did you manage to lose us?”

Honestly, I’ve no idea how we’d function without mobiles…

A game to play in parks…

…but not in cemeteries.

I am fortunate to have a sister who doesn’t mind making a bit of a fool of herself. [She does, however, mind me making a fool of her – hence her banning me from singing appropriate songs at appropriate Parisian landmarks. No Disney at Notre Dame, no rendition of Come What May at the Moulin Rouge… Sad.]

Somehow, an idea struck me while wandering through the Jardin du Luxembourg that we should emulate the poses of the many statues stood along its paths. I say ‘we’, my sister took on the brunt of the challenge – though my mother and I did one each, just to show willing. The game wasn’t restricted just to the park, but carried on throughout the streets of Paris, even including the Arc de Triomphe.

However, there were some limits. Certain statues were judged by Mim to be inappropriate, as were certain locations. The Montmartre cemetery was full of interestingly posed statues, but we decided that it would be crass to play the game in such a sombre location – a shame, because I had great plans for Nijinksy’s grave…

 Nijinksky (dancer) and Bauchet’s (one time director at the Moulin Rouge) graves.

These two locations – Montmartre Cemetery and the Jardin du Luxembourg – also highlight the supreme awesomeness of the Pocket Rough Guide to Paris. Looking up our first stop in our most recent guidebook (my pre-trip purchase) I discovered that the Rough Guide’s writers felt that we ought to be ‘beguiled’ by the Jardin du Luxembourg and they were right – beguiled we were. (However, disappointingly the toy boats we were promised on the lake did not appear…) It became a running joke to check the Rough Guide to see how we ought to be feeling in any given location – in the cemetery, we were meant to be sombre, yet not oppressed. As a result, I now have a burning ambition to write for the Rough Guide.