Posted by Alan on April 25, 2011
My Nokia N96 may have the most awful user experience and a pretty poor user interface but it can take a good photo.
This is Padstow bay in the setting sun. (Cornwall is lovely isn’t it?)
Maybe it’s worth keeping when the contract runs out, as an ‘internet enabled camera’!
It’s been a hectic bank holiday weekend – with visiting family and riding the Camel Trail at the heart of it, more on the cycling to come soon! Very glad I went home on Easter Sunday, I bet the trains and motorways today were mental…
Posted in Photography | Tagged: Cornwall, n96, nokia, Padstow, Phone, Polzeath, Sea, sunset | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on August 11, 2010
Yesterday my cycle hire key fob arrived. So today I was very eager to give it a go and see what it was like. My first journey saw me pick up on Cheapside and dock again at Abbey Orchard St as part of a journey between two meetings. A total distance of 2.5 miles completed in 23 mins so around 6mph. Not incredibly fast but in my defence as this my first ride al fresco (sans tin lid) and I was in my work suit!
So what of the bikes? Well, after my initial fear of breaking it in undocking (you do have to tug properly) it’s easy enough to get going. The basket/clip thing on the front isn’t bad – I got a bit worried my bag might be working loose but it held up fine. The bike was comfortable, quite easy to handle – yes they are heavy but this does make it feel sturdy/chunky. Along the Victoria embankment I felt like I could have really done with a 4th or even 5th gear – I reckon once I’ve settled into using the bikes I’ll basically use them as a ‘fixie’ in 3rd! Docking at the other end was easy enough and my journey appeared in on the website within minutes, so I was reassured that I hadn’t spent another £1 crossing town.
When it came time to clock off and go home, I decided it would be a great idea to cycle back east before picking up either the tube or National Rail at Liverpool St. On arrival at my closest docking station – disaster: no bikes!
The terminal listed a few other sites locally with a few bikes – all westwards so I decided to walk east and use my paper map to see what I could find. It’s hardly surprising that at 1730 a docking station in Victoria (aka Mandarin Central) is empty but still a bit disappointing. Next time I will check on departure!
The next terminal eastwards should be at Storey’s Gate – but it isn’t there. Continuing eastwards, Horse Guards Avenue – this time there was some Herras fencing and a portaloo where the red dot on my map is. Never mind… they did announce not all of the bikes and docking stations would be ready on day one so I knew to expect some missing. Finally, on Whitehall Place opposite Charing Cross/Embankment tube a huge swarm of bikes could be found and I was back on my way eastwards with vigour, basically the reverse of the earlier route but continuing up Queen Victoria St and on past Bank eventually landing near Liverpool St having gone past the front door not knowing where the docking station was!
This journey hasn’t appeared on my account yet which is a little worrying – I was docked by 6pm though so assuming I left the office around 1720 then walked to Charing Cross I don’t think I would have passed the 30 min mark (phew!)
All in all – a good experience. I don’t think I have any cross building meetings tomorrow but on Friday I think I have to go from Southwark to Westminster and then onto a house party in Bermonsey. I think I might have to go by bike.
Posted in Cycling, Travelling around | Tagged: Cycle hire, London, maps, n96 | 4 Comments »
Posted by Alan on July 19, 2010
Austerity in the canteen
Recently the caterers changed at work. Those of you who know me in real life will know that I do not appreciated salad*. So as you can imagine I was ‘well happy’ when the canteen decided to cut down on the potato fillings (the only real hot food on offer) by filling the pots with an inch of wilted greens.
I understand we’re ‘all in this recession together’. There’s a perfectly good salad bar out of shot – put the greens in there and make them opt in. If less cheese really will save the world, make the cheese pots smaller or just have an inch of air!
Posted in Food and Drink, Rant | Tagged: canteen, fail, n96, work | 2 Comments »
Posted by Alan on July 16, 2010
London, being a big city seems to attract lots of tagging and graffiti of all sorts. However one place I didn’t expect to see graffiti was on the rails of tube!
I’ve forgotten where I saw this. Probably the central line as that’s where I spend my time shuttling backwards and forwards each day between home and the office.
Posted in Photography, Travelling around | Tagged: graffiti, London, n96, rail, track, Tube | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on July 15, 2010
Some good cycling for a change – this is the double deck cycle racks at Waterloo station that have been put in, presumably, because of severe overcrowding on the bicycle front.
I like this idea – more please!
Posted in Cycling, Uncategorized | Tagged: 2010, London, n96, waterloo | 2 Comments »
Posted by Alan on July 14, 2010
Countdown pedestrian signal (Southwark)
This is one of the latest ideas to hit London and something I now use roughly twice a week. There’s been a bit of negative press about these lights – “we are giving into the motorists” and lots of comment about the benefits in £-sterling. Well, maybe.
But personally it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Being a slightly observant chap, I’ve learned the sequence of the lights of the junction outside Southwark tube. Which means that I know that provided I’ve got 5 or 6 seconds to get to the island in the middle of the road walking towards the office pictured, I can get all the way across. The sequence means that the first lot of traffic to move is from The Cut/Union St – my basic ‘risk assessment’ (ugh! Health & Safety gone mad!) says unless I can hear blues and twos it’s pretty certain I’ll be OK.
I don’t think I’m alone in ignoring the red man either… oh well another storm in a London teacup!
Posted in Transport Rant | Tagged: countdown signal, London, n96, traffic, transport | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on April 30, 2010
Got your hopes up there? Nope not a real lock in… I still haven’t made a pub my proper local enough to be invited to a lock in (and I certainly wouldn’t be writing about it online if I did!!)
Thursday night this week I took a bunch of work mates and some CAMRA crew down to Pure Groove near Smithfield Market, for Fordy’s lock in (as well as the beer festival that has been going on all week).
Matt Forde & Romesh
Somehow we ended up on the front row. Normally a bad idea for a comedy gig – but this time we didn’t come in for any flack! (Win!!). The basic premise of the night was that of a lock in – people talking over a few beers about their most embarrassing stories etc.
This worked well for the first half…then the beer started to show a bit…
Romesh and Jon Richardson
…at which point were weren’t really sure if Matt and John Robbins had got into an arguement…
Romesh, Robbins and Fordy
…still seemed to work out OK in the end 😉
Beer wise the event was a bit of a let down. Pure Groove seemed to have gone for the quantity over quality approach – given the place can probably at best hold 120 people, 8 ales as well as the bottles/wines/spirits seemed a bit optimised. I would have much preferred 4 good ales instead of the 8 flat ones that seemed to be on offer…still I hope they carry on an try again. I’m sure I’ll pop in from time to time and if I ever get a turntable again look at the music they sell – the prime reason the place exists!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: beer, camra, comedy, john robbins, jon richardson, London, matt forde, n96, romesh, Smithfield | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on April 18, 2010
Yesterday was pretty good day. The sun was shining (and still is). There were no vapour trails in the sky (Thanks volcano – I wonder if our air quality has got better?!).
We started the day here with the arrival of a new TV. This is about 4 months late but a failing on my part to actually pick one to buy! Never mind… it’s here now and last night we could finally tune into HD via freeview.
Come lunchtime it was time for some Saturday afternoon football. I’m not really a football person but when it was suggested at work I thought why not. We started with a pre-match pint in the William IV, Bakers Arms and then headed for the game.
Leyton Orient Football Ground
Pie at half time and we watch Leyton beat Stockport 2-0. Not a huge surprise since Stockport are going to be relegated anyway… a post match pint in the lovely beer garden at The Birkbeck, Leyton gave us time to enjoy the sun and the sky. (Sadly the Supporters Association at the Orient who have an awesome bar wouldn’t let us in…)
Lastly… I went down to the pond in the fading sunset light to see if I could get any decent shots of the birds on the pond and practice a bit more with the D-SLR. I think perhaps an hour earlier would make a lot of difference but here’s the best few.
Do not feed the birds!
Snaresbrook Crown Court & Eagle Pond
Passing the pond by W12 bus
Sometimes I do have the remind myself I live in Z4 and not in the vast countryside of Essex…
Posted in Culture, Photography | Tagged: beer, camra, eagle pond, EOS 500D, football, Leyton Orient, n96 | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on February 24, 2010
Almost another month goes by without me spilling diatribe onto here. Just what is wrong with me? Well, as per usual I just got busy and forgot. Lame eh?
So heading backwards… last Friday saw me at Manchester Academy 1 to see Hot Chip. Not a bad gig, the band took a bit of warming up but after a couple of old numbers mid-set got into their groove. Loved the fact that I bumped into ‘old’ uni-mates, nice to have a home 🙂
Hot Chip - Manchester Academy I
Hot Chip in pink
Academy I has changed a bit since uni…but not loads. I really should do more gigs…
Spotify nerds click:
* * *
Saturday week ago, Henry and Alice were in town so we figured we should check out some of the bars in the Shoreditch triangle. Not quite enough to consititute a real pub crawl, but:
The Reliance - Old St
Nice little pub, selection of ales and ciders. Not too expensive for the trendy part of town!
Bricklayers Arms - Charlotte Road
Without a hat, scarf or haircut we looked a bit out of place. OK ale though and decent jukebox at least!
Spread Eagle - Kingsland Road
No ale but interesting enough inside…
Then we took in some food at The Diner, back towards Old St again.
Finally we finished up in the Pembury Tavern, Hackney for a game of bar billiards.
Bar Billiards - Pembury Tavern
The Pembury is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Quite an unusual pub – huge, has a young clientele but sells only real ale, real cider and real lager (I think the closest lager was from Germany!).
Much of the rest of the time has been taken up working or thinking about BCS stuff.
It’ll be Easter before I know it.
Posted in Culture | Tagged: C913, camra, Hackney, hot chip, London, manchester, music, n96, Old St, photos, Shoreditch | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on January 8, 2010
Yes, it’s been awfully silly weather the last few weeks, so here are some photos!
- What the bloody hell are you waiting for? It’s cold!
- The stop might have been frozen, but the buses kept on working this time…
- Eagle Pond is frozen. It usually has an ‘oasis’ of water – around which the birds congregate. Since the water is in a different place each day I don’t know why it forms where it does!
With thanks to Billy (@cowfish) for the title of this post!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: eagle pond, n96, snaresbrook, Snow, transport, views, Wanstead | 1 Comment »