Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Transport Museum

For those of you familiar with Covent Garden you will recognise this building, The London Transport Museum
 The Museum is housed in the old Flower Market Building.  Markets selling flowers, fruit and veg were established in Covent Garden from 1670 by the Earl of Bedford who owned a lot of the land in this area. From that time on it became London's main market for fruit, veg and flowers. In the 1800s buildings replaced the stalls in the central square and then more buildings were built around the square.  This building specialised in flower trading and dates back to 1871. It traded for one hundred years opening everyday of the year except for Christmas day.

Due to traffic problems in and around Covent Garden, the market moved to Nine Elms in Vauxhall, South London in 1974. This building was restored and opened its doors as the London Transport Museum in 1980.

As part of the year of the bus (2014) these new Routemaster bus sculptures have been painted by well known and aspiring artists and can be found in various locations around London. The one above is 'Busby' by Oliver Dean.

This one is the accessibus and brings together ideas from the Accessibility Research Group. There are lots of ideas and key phrases printed on the bus. The  windows have been paintedwith blackboard paint so you can share ideas about accessibility and the buses.

 I cannot leave the square without showing you the Covent Garden Christmas Tree. This was taken early on a Saturday morning before the crowds gathered. I will try and get a night time photo as this one doesn't really do it justice.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Santa's coming

Look who I saw in Covent Garden this week:


 Santa and his reindeer.
 The LEGO sleigh and reindeer contains 700,000 bricks and took Duncan Titmarsh, a LEGO professional, 32 days to build.

Has anyone got LEGO on their Christmas wish list this year?

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 12 December 2014

Reflections in Trafalgar Square

 Each year since 1947, a Christmas tree has been given to the people of London from the people of Oslo in gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during WW2. Here is the tree for 2014 reflected in the fountains in Trafalgar Square.
Sharing with James at Weekend Reflection

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The BT Tower

Built in the early 60s the British Telecom Tower was the tallest building in London until 1981 when the National Westminster tower was built, The BT Tower now ranks as the 10th tallest building in London.

The original purpose of the tower was to transmit high frequency radio waves to allow for the expansion of the telephone system without having to dig up London to lay more cables. This open section of the tower above the 16th floor is full of antennae, aerials and dishes and still provides telecommunication for TV and internet via microwave radio.

 Near the top of the tower on the 34th floor was the revolving restaurant but this closed to the public in 1980 after a  terrorist bomb exploded in 1971.  Although it caused a lot of damage no one was injured in the blast but it was decided that the restaurant should close to the general public for security reasons.

An interesting fact about the tower is that it was covered by the Official Secrets Act and so technically until the mid nineties you weren't supposed to take photos of it, nor did it appear on Ordnance Survey maps of the area. However as one of the tallest buildings in London at that time it was difficult to miss it!


Monday, 8 December 2014

Phoenix Garden

During the last weekend of November I visited this tiny garden in the West End of London called the Phoenix Garden. Created in 1984 by volunteers on the site of a former car park, it is often referred to as the Secret Garden.

It has won many awards as a community garden.

There are two pons and it is said this is the only place you will find a frog in the West End.



Just a stone's throw from theatreland, on the last day of November, this garden was a hidden gem of colour. So many plants were still flowering.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bug on the wall

As many of you know I love exploring the back streets of London and finding unusual buildings or places that I have never seen before. I never use a map as it is impossible to get lost in Central London with a tube station or bus stop only never far away.Last week I was wandering around  the area known as Fitzrovia which is just a few minutes walk from the busy shops of Oxford Street. I was looking at the BT tower trying to find the best angle for a photograph when I saw
this structure on the side of a building. I assumed it was something to do with the air conditioning. It took me quite a bit of research and a second visit to find out some information about the building and  its usage. I needed to return as I had not made a note of the address of the building which made research difficult!
So this is 13 Fitzroy Street and is listed as the London branch of  Arup (don't know what this stands for), a company of innovative engineers which has been responsible for a number of projects in the UK and around the world. The building needed to be a showcase for sustainability. However it wasn't a new build but a refurbishment of an existing 1960s building with the brief 'to link disparate buildings and provide both a striking modern modern image for Arup and flexible and efficient working space ' According to information on their website this design has lowered annual energy consumption by a significant amount (from 425KWhr to 250KWhr).
What do you think? It certainly stood out amongst the other office blocks in the area.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Night Reflections

Night reflections taken at Salford Quays, Manchester.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections