Tuesday, 31 January 2012

RV1 Bus Route (10/1000)

(#557 in the Book)

All aboard!!

The RV1 bus is a great bus route alternative to sightseeing tours taking in many great touristy sights. As you can see, I took a ride on this bus at night, so I wasn't able to take any photo's of the view outside. But there is a fabulous(ly awful) one of me on the bus below... sorry about that!

After celebrating Chinese New Year in the West End (see my previous entry), I took the bus with @londonfox and @chrisnotwell from Covent Garden (one of the starting points) to Tower Bridge. This is the majority of the route, but it actually finishes a little further up at Tower Gateway. 

Here is a list of the main sights this cool little bus route takes in and is close to; @CoventGarden@SomersetHouse@IMAX@TheLondonEye@southbanklondon@TateSouthwark Cathedral@boroughmarketLondon Dungeon, Hays Galleria, Britain at War Experience@TowerBridgeSt Katherine's Dock and Tower of London (@HRP_palaces). For a map of the full bus route, please click on here.

I would suggest getting on this bus at one end and staying on there until the end. A single journey is £2.30 cash, or £1.35 if you have an Oyster Card. If you're paying your fare by cash, getting on and off the bus can be quite expensive at £2.30 a time. But, the Oyster Card will cap at £4.20 a day if you are only using buses - so you after your 4th journey (which you'll get charged 15p for), any further bus journeys will be free.

I am sure that I will be taking this little route again, and hopefully during the day, so I will be a real loser on the bus and take pictures of the views.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Celebrate Chinese New Year (9/1000)

(#929 in the book)

Kung Hei Fat Choi!!

On 29th January 2012, London came together to celebrate Chinese New Year - the Year of the Dragon. Most of the roads around Trafalgar Square, Shaftesbury Avenue and Chinatown were closed to traffic so the 50,000+ people could descend to celebrate. There were two stages, the main one at Trafalgar Square and then another smaller one on Shaftesbury Avenue. A parade started at 10am, but the official ceremony started at 12pm which is the time that we aimed to get to the square for.

I met up with @londonfox and @chrisnotwell at Trafalgar Square to have a look at the festivities.   We went down into the main Square, and the first port of call was to buy a dragon. Ok, it was only a paper one, but it was very very cool. 

Many thanks to @chrisnotwell for taking this pic and allowing me to use it
The square was ridiculously busy (and gladly so) but the vast amount of people meant my view was... well... restricted to say the least! It's at times like this I wish I was 6'2!

My Amazing View.. of erm, heads.
At Trafalgar Square, to start the proceedings off, there was 5 minutes of firecrackers... and boy were they loud!!

3... 2... 1... oh...

Once the noise had stopped... the picture above shows what was left... eery looking poles and lots and lots of smoke. I feel sorry for those people nearby who had no idea what was happening - I bet they thought there was some police/firearms incident!

After the firecrackers were the speeches. We heard from the likes of the Chinese Ambassador, the Mayor of Westminister and my personal favourite, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. I say my favourite only as I got to "boo" him - along with half the other people there. Kinda made my day!

We listened to a few of the speeches, but to be honest it was freeeeeezing cold (and they were due to go on for another 15 minutes), so we headed to the fantastic coffee shop that is Notes. This is an awesome little coffee shop that sells coffee (duh!), home-made cakes and food, wine, music and dvd's! We met friends @Annnushka and @mattlucht to have a catch-up. After our drinks, @Annnushka and @mattlucht went off their way and @londonfox @chrisnotwell and I decided to go into Chinatown to have a look at the various stalls and soak up some more atmosphere. Another friend of mine @paktographer was in the area, so he had a wonder about with us in Chinatown.

A Random Dude Sucking His Thumb... And Wearing A Very Cool Hat!

The Entrance to Gerrard Street
A Very Cool Addition To The Side Of A Building On Whitcomb Street
Dragon Dance #1 on Gerrard Street
Dragon Dance #2 on Little Newport Street

After having a good look around, we decided to have a wonder back to Trafalgar Square to see what they had going on. We went and stood on the steps of St.Martin in the Fields to get a better view of the stage - we decided trying to get back in the square would be a nightmare. Turns out we made a very good choice as;

a) There were loads of people


b) we saw a group of people celebrating the Year of the Dragon in their own special and cool way.

By this time it was getting onto 4pm, it was still very cold, so us 4 ventured off into Covent Garden to warm up and have a beer in the The Porterhouse (@Porterhousebars). Of course it couldn't just be any beer, I had to have a...

Tsingtao Chinese Beer!
@paktographer went on his own merry little way, leaving @londonfox @chrisnotwell and I to go and get some Chinese food - I mean, what else could we possible have to end the day?!?

As you can imagine, Chinatown was still very much heaving with people, so we got the bus to Tower Bridge to possibly the best Chinese Restaurant in London - Hing Lee- to end the day. 

Yummy Yummy...
The food is amazing, the staff are nice and we were even treated to a free Fortune Cookie... 

Well... Thank Goodness For That!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Borough Market (8/1000)

(#838 in the book)

So my book recommends going to Borough Market, SE1 on a Saturday morning, so that's what I did! Well... it was more like midday if I'm being totally honest, but ssssssssh don't tell anyone!

After having a delicious breakfast at the branch of Joe's Kitchen in Borough this morning, I had a wonder to Borough Market with the motley crew of @londonfox@chrisnotwell and @tin_fish.

@tin_fish, @chrisnotwell and @londonfox
Borough Market is very probably London's oldest market, going back to the 13th century. It was closed for a while in the 18th century, but a group of residents living in the area raised a lot of money and brought the plot of land it now stands on. And the rest as they say is history.

There are all types of stalls/shops in the market, selling all kinds of food - fresh fruit/veg, meat (fresh, cured etc...), bakery goods, cheese, olives, granola, fish, garlic - and even one selling beer

But be warned, there is lots and lots of amazing food within the market to get a taste of and if you're not careful, you'll be stuipdly full up in no time! I remember cutting through the market once on the way to get some lunch, and I tried a few bits and then by the time I'd walked through the route I needed I was so full up - lunch was off the menu completely! However, if you are after a bite to eat (samples not included) there are a number of places you can get food and drink in and around the market.

This is one of my favourite Market's in London with a lovely friendly atmosphere, but sadly I had to be gone at 1pm, so this time was only a fleeting visit. But as I do seem to spend a lot of my time in that part of London, I'm sure it won't be long until I'm back again. And  next time I'll take some photo's of individual stalls to put up on this blog entry. I did however take a couple of quick pics while I was there of a couple of bits that amused me...

A quite rude looking Squid... 
An awesome name :¬)
The market appears in my book a total of 6 times under various guises, but today I just did this one. The other entries includes having a cup of the best coffee in town at one of the coffee shops - slight problem being I don't drink coffee, so need to think a way around this (possibly taking a coffee drinker with me and I'll have a hot choc!); buy a particular type of cake from one of the bakery stalls; taking a certain bus route alongside the market; have breakfast at one of the restaurants (but at £15 for a full English, I may need a sponsor!); and finally having an early morning beer at one of the pubs. These will all be done in one way or another... just not sure when or how yet.

Borough Market has stalls Thursday - Saturday and is based a few short minutes from either London Bridge station (trains, underground and buses) or Borough Underground station. Check out their website www.boroughmarket.org.uk for further information, and of course they are on Twitter too @boroughmarket- so you know the score, go follow!

Friday, 27 January 2012

What to do next? You decide...

Seeing as I only have another 993 (eek!!) things to try and do from this book, I thought I'd be pretty lazy and let you guys decide what I should do next.

My next free full day is Sunday, 12th February 2012, so that will be the day I do whatever you gorgeous readers say. Depending on the area of the chosen entry, I may very well try and do some other bits in my book in a similar area. I'll try and do the other suggestions in the order of the final rankings (no promises though!).

It will involve one of the following: watching sport; visiting planes; visiting where people were cut open; drinking a pint; watching a movie in a language I won't understand; or swimming outside in cold Feb! Brrrrrgh.

So please, go have a look at the poll to the left of this post and get voting! Unfortunately, you can't see the vote if you are on the mobile version - desktop only I'm afraid

The poll will end on the 8th February 2012 giving me a couple of days to figure out what I'm doing... I'm actually a little excited. Please vote!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Watch Pro Darts (7/1000)

(#523 in the book)

So while having a look in my book, I came across "Watch Pro Darts" as one of the entries.

Part of the Crowd
My first entry of the blog was Alexandra Palace where I went to watch the Semi-Final of the World PDC Darts Championships. Little did I know at the time that it was actually an entry in the book! Result!

Ally Pally is only mentioned a little in this entry of the book, the main part of it mentions the old venue - the Circus Tavern in Purfleet, Essex. And although that is where it was held for a while, it outgrew the premises and Ally Pally is the new home, and I'm surprised it is not mentioned more. 

Ash, Me & Paul
But none the less, I did go to Ally Pally and I did watch darts. The picture above is me wearing the standard Ladbrokes hat (of which I have 5 now, one from every year I've been) with my fellow darts enthusiasts @ashthecat31 and @Guesty18).  

So I'm very glad to say that this is another tick in the book!

If you are at all interested in darts, I highly recommend this championship and venue to anyone. Everyone is friendly, drinking a beer or two and there to cheer on (and occasionally boo!) the players. Have a check out on their website www.pdc.tv or follow them on Twitter @OfficialPDC.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Surrey Docks Farm (6/1000)

(#32 in the book)

On a beautifully sunny and bitterly cold winters day (15th January 2012 for any of you that are interested), along with fellow tweeters @londonfox@chrisnotwell and @tin_fish, I went to visit Surrey Docks Farm. A lovely city farm right on the banks of the Thames.

The morning started off with a delicious fried breakfast at the Frizzante Cafe within the farm. I can't recommend the Big Farm breakfast enough - but be careful, it's quite large so don't expect to eat for the rest of the day! The staff were extremely friendly, and it was lovely to sit there and watch the families come in and out.

After we'd finished breakfast and had another cuppa (well it was freezing outside), we went and had a look around the farm.

There is a large pen which you are able to enter which has goats (which my friend above has helped me show), sheep, chickens and some rather impressive roosters.

The goats are very friendly... mainly because they think you have food... but as soon as they realise you don't... off they go. If you are really lucky, like me, you may even get your fingers bitten! You can buy food from the shop to feed the animals, but you can only feed them from outside the pen. 

After you've spent some time with the goats et al: you can work your way around to farm where they have pigs, cow's, donkeys, bees and geese. Passing by the home grown herbs and veg on your way through.

Mamma pig making sure baby piggies are ok...

The farm has much more to offer than just the animals - and yummy food. There are yoga classes (which I plan on getting involved in), music lessons and pottery classes. You can also take a course in learning how to be a blacksmith - this is actually #127 in my book, but sadly it cost's £80 for 4 sessions which at the moment I can't do. But should anyone want to donate to this cause do feel free to let me know!

To find out more, please visit the farms website at www.surreydocksfarm.org.uk where they obviously go into a lot more details on the fabulous things you can do there. They are also on Twitter @surreydocksfarm - who of course you must follow! The farm is located at South Wharf, Rotherhithe Street, London SE16 5ET. The nearest stations are Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays or Canada Water and buses 381 and C10 both stop within very short walking distance of the farm. 

I spent a lovely few hours here, a fantastic working farm in a beautifully scenic setting right by the Thames. It is  somewhere I will definitely be coming back to and will bring my niece and nephew next time. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Peacock Theatre (5/1000)

(#106 in the book)

The Peacock Theatre
As a Christmas present for my niece, I took her to watch a production at the Peacock Theatre. Granted, not the prettiest building from the outside, but a nice little theatre inside.

We went to watch a production of the classic Christmas story of The Snowman by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company.

Our Tickets
My niece Kiera
It was such a beautiful ballet - or mime as my niece called it - that I would recommend to anyone. The music gave me goosebumps and I'll admit that when the Snowman and boy first flew on the stage I even got a little tearful. The dancers were great and portrayed the animals amazingly. I was transported back to being a small child again watching the now classic Channel 4 animation on TV.

The Peacock Theatre is part of the Sadler's Well's group of theatres - the other two are the Sadler's Wells main theatre and the Lilian Baylis Studio. The website to book a show at the Peacock Theatre is http://www.sadlerswells.com/. The theatre is located at Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HT and is a short walk from either Holborn or Covent Garden Underground stations. Sadler's Wells is also on Twitter, so as usual, go follow them @Sadlers_Wells. Now, what show are you going to watch?

Friday, 13 January 2012

British Museum (2/1000, 3/1000 & 4/1000)

On 6th January 2012 I took myself off to the British Museum, which I'm still amazed I'd never been to before this visit.

The British Museum appears in my book 5 times in total, and out of those entries I did 3. 

Those 3 things were...

"Do the British Museum in your lunchbreak" (2/1000)
(#553 in the book)

My start time...
I got to the museum at lunchtime so though this would be a good way to start. The book guides you through the main area's of the museum and points out their specific points of interest. It takes you through the Great Court and through to Ancient Civilisations taking in the famous Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian Granodiorite inscribed with a decree written in 3 texts - Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script and Ancient Greek (top to bottom on the stone). It is widely thought as a major key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Once you've seen the stone, the guide takes you to see the Elgin Marbles.

Elgin Marbles
These marbles (the above picture show's just one, they go around all the walls in this gallery) are classical Greek structure's, inscriptions and architectural that were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. They were brought by the British government in 1816 and placed at the British Museum. These marbles have been in much discussion between the British and Greek government since then as the Greek want them back in Athens, and well, we brought them so we want them to stay here! That argument is still going on today...

Next the guide takes you up the West Stairs taking in some beautiful Turkish and North African mosaics on the way up.

Now we're in the Egyptian Galleries. The guide tells you to take in all the lavish Egyptian coffins - of which there are many! The picture below gives you an idea...

After you've made your way through the vast amount of coffins, a "how to guide" to mummification and then the Queen of the Night relief of a Mesopotamian goddess (possibly of sexual love and war) it takes you down the East Stairs and into the Enlightenment Room. Possibly my favourite room in the museum.

The Enlightenment Room
This room is an 18th Century room of Reason, Discovery and Learning, full to the rafters of books and specimens from between 1680 and 1820. The type of information here completely changed the way people viewed how the world was. What an amazing time to have lived.

The Enlightenment Room is the last stop on the guide. And although you don't realise it, you've been around the whole of the museum pretty much. You end up on the other side of the museum from where you started.

... and my finish time
So... I did all that in 36 minutes. So that leaves you plenty of time to eat a sandwich afterwards before heading back to work!

"Sit in the Great Court at the British Museum" (3/1000)
 (#284 in the Book)
the Great Court
The Great Court is the largest enclosed courtyard in Europe and it is a truly wonderful space. The roof is made up of 3,300 glass triangles. So the book tells you to sit in this magnificent space... which is exactly what I did (with a a scone and butter! Nom).

"Get eye to eye with four London corpses" (4/1000)
(#584 in the book)

Well, as you can see from this next entry, the book gives you 4 well preserved  dead people to see. Two of them are in the British Museum. So let's meet them;

This is Ginger and he's over 5000 years old (3400 BC approx.). He is a Predynastic mummy who was burried with goods including the pottery vessels in the picture, which were filled with food to go with him in the afterlife. He's named Ginger for his red hair which from the photo below you can see quite clearly.

And our next corpse is...

Lindow Man
Everyone, this is Lindow Man. He's 2000 years old, 25 years old when he died and was found in a peat bog in Manchester in 1984. He died of a violent death with a big hole in his skull and broken ribs as an example of some of his injuries. 

I'll hopefully come back and update this entry in the future when I go and visit the other two corpses. 

So... they were the entries I did for the British Museum. The two I didn't/couldn't do were 1) "Stay Late in a Museum" where the museum is open until 8.30pm on a Friday, but I was there in the afternoon. There are two other museums with late openings which I will try and do instead. And 2) "Sleep Somewhere Extraordinary" where you get to spend the night in a museum - but you need accompany an 8-15 year old. Luckily I have a 8 year old niece so I'm going to try my best to persuade her to do that!

Once I'd done the bit's from the book, I took the guide map that I brought from the museum, and went to all of their top attractions. There was a lot to see, but it was a useful way to see the other bits of the museum that you didn't get a chance to see properly in the "do the museum in your lunchtime" entry.

Although the British Museum was very interesting, the majority of the museum is to do with Ancient History, and I gotta admit, I am much more of a Modern History girl. It is still somewhere that you should go, if only to sit and take in the splendour of the Great Court and have a look in the Enlightenment Room. Please don't forget to leave a donation when you are there, they won't be able to continue to let us see all these amazing items without donations.

The British Museum's website is http://www.britishmuseum.org/ and it is located at Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. The nearest London Underground station will be Tottenham Court Road which is a 5 minute walk to the museum. Holborn and Russell Square stations are also close by. There are a number of buses that stop near the museum too. They're also on twitter too... @britishmuseum so go follow! 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Alexandra Palace (1/1000)

(#227 in the book)

1 down... 999 to go!                                                                        


On 1st January 2012 I went to Alexandra Palace. Now although in the book it has Ally Pally down for its Ice Rink, I actually went there for the Semi-Finals of the 2011/2012 PDC Darts World Championship.

This year it was Andy Hamilton vs. Simon Whitlock in the first semi-final, and that match was followed by Adrian Lewis vs. James Wade in the second semi-final.
Hamilton & Whitlock
Wade & Lewis
These were two very epic games. Hamilton won the first semi-final after being 3-1 up, then going 5-3 down, finally beating Whitlock 6-5. Lewis won the second semi-final after being 5-1 down and then coming back to win 6-5 also. So us fans got treated to a two games with the maximum number of sets - meaning it didn't finish until just before 1am!

Ally Pally has got a lot to offer including - the Ice Rink as mentioned above; amazing views across London (sadly I went at night so I wasn't able to take good enough photo's) where you can see from Canary Wharf, to the city buildings including the Gherkin and Shard, to the BT Tower; a lovely 80 acre park to walk around; a boating lake; you can even play golf! It obviously is also a great gig venue.

I do hope to go back there again, but during the day to take advantage of some of the things mentioned above. So I'll hope to do an update to this entry. I also really want to go there on Fireworks Night to watch all the fireworks across the city - I say this every year but maybe 2012 is the year I finally do that!

Alexandra Palace is located at Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY and their website is www.alexandrapalace.com. It has a number of free car parks, but is also on the W3 bus route which stop outside both Finsbury Park and Wood Green Underground Stations (both on the Piccadilly Line). Ally Pally is also on Twitter, so go follow @yourallypally.