Archive for November, 2004

The tube ain’t that bad

I was in Rome this weekend and stayed close the main railway station (Rome Termini). From there I could use the Rome Metro to go about town. As I was using it, I started thinking how it compared to the London Underground, or Tube, and quickly realised that the Tube is rather good.
For starters, it’s big; you can go almost anywhere in London using the Tube. In Rome, I wanted to go to the older part of town and to my dismay discovered that there is no Metro that covers that section; rather, you had to catch a bus. Needless to say with the rather chaotic Italian directions and Rome city layout, that was quite difficult.
The second thing which caught my attention about the Rome Metro was the graffiti on the trains. Whilst you notice it a bit on the Tube (and typically it gets removed quite quickly), the Rome Metro is plastered with graffiti. In some instances, so much so that you can hardly see the actual train.


It was also interesting to see that in Rome, you buy a ticket valid for 75 mins (at

Vive the froth

Time for an original piece. Earlier this month whilst watching the excellent Layer Cake there was a key scene in a wonderful old caff called the Regency, I think thats what it’s name was. Anyway, it got me thinking about the precious few that remain. We all have our favourite places don’t we. Mine is the charming Cafe St.Germain, which though it passes it self off as French has a Greek/Italian (?) chef and a portugese waitress to name but a few. Anyway, its as near as to a local cafe that I have, hence the plug.

Does anyone else have a favorite london cafe that pulls them out of bed on a cold and wet Sunday morning with the promise of creamy cappucino’s and buttered up croissants? If so, let me know. Cheers Sean.

A great place to learn about the fading glory that are London’s caff’s can be found here at Classic Cafes. Enjoy.


On my way back from town, I noticed that Tower Bridge road was once again cordoned off.

Living in London, especially in the Tower Hill area, I have gotten used to random road closures and publicity stunts, whether it be Fathers 4 Justice, David Blaine, London Marathon or Nike London Run. Despite the inconvenience these activities sometime entail, for the most part, I think it’s a small price to pay for one of the most charming aspects of London – the fact that it’s a quirky, offbeat city that is Living.

What intrigued me tonight were the two huge round lamps, one of which had “7km” bolded printed across. I went over and spoke to one of the police officers in neon yellow vests, and he told me it was the Nike London Run.

Not being the kind of girl to actually participate in these kind of strenuous activities (although I had all intentions of eventually running the London Marathon within the next two years until someone told me I had to raise funds in order to torture myself), I am nonetheless an avid photographer of London events. So I went home, grabbed my camera and took a couple of pictures:

I am just going outside…

In the words of the selfless Captain Oates “I am just going outside, and I may be some time.”

I must be nuts. It is Sunday evening. The rest of family are just finishing their Sunday meal. After that, they’ll be settling down for a warm cosy Sunday night at home whilst the rain lashes down outside and wind howls round the garden. And me? Well, I’m starting to getting myself ready so that, in just over two hours time, I can join 30,000 others on the Nike Run London race through South London.

If you are at home reading this, might I ask if you could come and stand in the rain and the wind cheer us on?

Seen on the tube

Saturday, 27 November 2004, 2006 GMT, on the eastbound District line: an old man in a faded blonde wig, with red lipstick smeared across his lips. Black winter coat, grey pin-striped skirt, pointy-heeled black pumps, and a pair of slim, beautiful black-stockinged legs that put mine to shame.

Me and Paula…and 29,998 others

After the traumas of the Olympics, I thought that Paula Radcliffe would appreciate some company and support when she competes in tomorrow evening’s Nike Run London 10 kilometre race, so I signed up for a place.

However, there must have been a mix up at Nike HQ because Paula’s start number is 1 and mine is 22,080. Undaunted, I read through my race day instructions and found to my horror that Paula is starting in wave 1 at 1930hrs but I can only start at 2030hrs with the rest of wave 4. I’ve been training hard but I doubt I’ll be able to catch her if she’s on form.

That said, if you’re at a loose end, pop down to Rotherhithe/Surrey Quays, Butler’s Wharf or Tower Bridge tomorrow evening and cheer me on – I’ll be the one in a DayGlo yellow top.

London charm …

So, I am sitting comfortably on the no7 bus to Oxford Circus this morning, and from the corner of my wee eye, I see slight movement in what can only be described as a blonde haired honey monster sitting next to me. Now believe me, I

The empty Gerkin

Well… not empty, but half empty. There’s an interesting little video clip on BBC England about the iconic Swiss Re Tower. Swiss Re only occupies about half of the building, so the rest of it is office space for other companies. Apparently when it was being designed, they misjudged requirements and configured units of 6-floors and about 100,000m2 of space. Because the market had changed by the time it was completed, they’re having to reconfigure it, now, as it’s costing them £100 per working minute for those units to sit empty.

Sort of strange, isn’t it? It’s such an imposing and instantly recognisable building, such an intrinsic part of our landscape… it’s weird to think of it as half empty.

Chop Chop for Chinatown?

Thought it best for my first piece to highlight this article posted yesterday on the Beeb. Its quite shocking how relentless the march of redevelopment has become. The new Apple store used to be… ? Can anyone remember what was there before? I can’t, yet here it seems a part of Chinatown is under threat. Here is something worth keeping because its worth remembering these stores serve a living community. Sure, this isn’t New York’s Chinatown we’re talking about here, but thats for a whole host of reasons. Is this a creeping destruction of what has made London such a pleasure to live in? You don’t agree? Then take a walk to Spittalfields and you’ll see how the heart of the place has been torn out. Next is Smithfields.

Lets hope that this works out for the best.

I promise my next piece is a bit of better news.

The Seven wonders of London

I spotted an ad for a program the BBC is going to show on Sunday eve at 10:55 (BBC1) entitled “The Seven wonders of London“.

Should be interesting!

– Riaan

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