Thursday, 31 May 2012

Hackney City Farm (25/1000)

(#26 in the book)

So on Sunday 13th May 2012, I awoke to this large amount of blue stuff in the sky accompanied by this yellow thing. As it'd been so long since I'd seen either of these things (remember all the rain we'd had?), I decided to take myself off to Hackney City Farm.

I started off by having a delicious fried breakfast at their cafe run by @Frizzanteltd (who also run the cafes at @surreydocksfarm and @mudchute).

Once I'd polished that off and washed it down with a cuppa, I went off to have a look around the farm. On the way to the main farm area I saw this board saying there would be sheep shearing at 12pm. It was only just gone 11am, so it gave me an hour to have a look at all the animals.

Within the courtyard area there were:

... and their lambs
... and their Chicks
This one was on lookout

Ducks.... and this duck was especially awesome as he just walked around the whole farm chatting to himself 
Guinea Pigs...
and Bunny Rabbits
And there was a more open area behind the courtyard which had;

Sunbathing Piggies...
... and sunbathing Ducks

By the time I had walked around, it was about 11.50am, so I went to get a prime seat to watch the sheep shearing.

Everyone say hello to Dolly... that wasn't her name but Dolly is the only name I know for a sheep! She was the one about to get naked for us all. And below is the shearer (right word?!?! Eek!) used to get her naked...

So here are a few pics (and a video clip) of Dolly getting done; 

This photo is provided by @tsedge

And that was it, a naked Dolly! She was very well behaved - we were advised that she might have wee'd or pooped herself as she would have been scared. But she didn't thankfully!

This is all the wool taken from Dolly... there was loads of it!

Once she was put back in the pen (is pen the right word for where sheep are? I have no idea... but you know what I mean) the shearer went on to do a demonstration about what happens to the wool afterwards. 

The main demonstration was using a spinning wheel. 

It was amazing to see such a small amount of wool made into such a long piece.

Overall the demonstration was very interesting - something I had never seen before - and to see it in the middle of such a busy city is so very cool!!!

I'd noticed that they also had a garden within the farm, so before I went home I went to have a look around. It was a very tranquil garden and they grew lots of veg and herbs which are either used in the @Frizzanteltd cafe or sold in the shop.

So that was my little visit to @hackneycityfarm. It seems a lot smaller than the other farms I've visited, but I kinda found that endearing. I'm also probably a little bit biased as it's in my little borough of Hackney. And I do love my little borough.

You can get to @hackneycityfarm's website here, they are based at 1a Goldsmiths Row, Hackney, London E2 8QA. There are loads of buses that go near, and train wise they are shortish walks from Cambridge Heath and Hoxton rail stations.

Lastly, a massive thanks to @tsedge for providing one of the photo's in this blog. As I do most things on my own, there isn't really much proof that I'm actually there. But thanks to a pic that @tsedge took and posted on @twitter, I have proof! Although you can't actually see my face as I'm taking a pic with my camera. Hey, beggars can't be choosers!!!

Monday, 7 May 2012

London Marathon (24/1000)

(#493 in the book) 

I'm quite surprised that this isn't in the book. Well, I've looked in the Index and haven't found anything about the Marathon in it, but there are often obscure references in it so I may well find it in there somewhere!

** Stop Press!! I found this in the book - knew it'd have to be! (01/06/2012) **

The London Marathon this year was on Sunday, 22nd April. I went to the Isle of Dogs as one of my sister's friends lives there and it's also where I work. I got there at 10.30am (was meant to meet my sister at the same time, but she didn't get there till 12pm) but glad I did as I managed to get there just in time to see the leading pack of the women's elite...

No long after the elite women went through, the leaders of the wheelchair's went past next...

And then the leading pack of the elite men...

So although I was there before everyone I was meant to meet, it was worth it as I got to see all the leading packs of the women's race, wheelchair race and men's race.

Eventually met my sister and we decided to walk further down a little to get a better space and we ended up at the Mile 17 marker.

And opposite these...

Every time the breeze changed direction we got a bit of spray... nice. It was cold too. We heard a lot of the runners screeching at the temperature as they went through to cool down.

Now the professional runners had gone through, it was time for the "fun runners" - my favourite part of the marathon. My niece Kiera had sweets she was holding out for the runners to help their energy etc... but I think she may have eaten more than she handed out.

I took lots of pics (as I always do) but here are some of the best ones.

TIGGER!!! The first of about 4 I think
World Record attempt for this Pantomime Horse
This dude I'd watched on the BBC before I left home and morris danced the way round
This woman hula-hooped her way round 
Sadly the only "Celebrity" I saw was Arg from TOWIE. And that was only because he had a name plaque! 
A runner playing the guitar
A barefoot runner
Now the bunch of runners in the next batch of photo's made me laugh lots. We had Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral and the Gherkin. They happened to stop next to us as Big Ben needed to take a piddle. So he ran up the grass bank behind us and did his business. While he was emptying out "little Ben" a little girl - no more than 5 or 6 - walked past, stopped when she saw him and then shouted out to her parents "BIG BEN IS HAVING A WEE!!!!!". I laughed lots and lots. The second to last pic show's that they took it all in good spirits.

A massive massive congratulations to everyone who took part in the marathon. I think you are all amazing for doing this, but you are also all completely mental!! I got emotional quite a few times watching everyone going past, including some blind runners and I take my imaginary hat off to you all. I clapped and whooped for practically all of the 4 and a bit hours I was there, was completely exhausted by the end. 

And of course my heart goes out to that poor girl who died just a mile from the finish. RIP Claire Squires.

The date for next years London Marathon is 21st April (check out the official website here) and I hope to be watching my sister and best friend @londonfox taking part as they have both entered the ballot. Keep everything crossed for them please!!! And if they fail to make it, I really hope to volunteer somehow along the course. 

If you can next year, please come down and support all the runners doing this mental 26.2 mile run. It's a good day out - weather permitting - and every single runner deserves your support.

Hope to see you all next year!!