Archive for December, 2006

Boxing Day sales

About 5,000 shoppers queued through the night for the 4.30am start of the Next sale at Brent Cross Retail Park in north London.

People, we are talking about Next. That stuff will be in the charity shop within a year anyway. Head over there, get more than 80% off, avoid the queue, and give money to charity.

Link to news story about the Boxing Day sales.

Merry Christmas & A Very Happy New Year

To all those that read and write for Metroblog sites across the world.

Have a great 2007.


I’m not exactly sure how I’d have handled this differently…

But I think I probably would have done without the James Bond design theme.

Montreal finally pays off 1976 Olympics


I am the kind of cheesy Olympics lover that hates to see the idealistic pony show dissed, but here’s a dire story from over the pond:

[The Canadian province of Quebec] has finally paid off its Can$1.5-billion debt from the 1976 Summer Games.

Officials from the Olympic Installations Board, which oversees Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, have confirmed that the last payment was made in mid-November, three decades after the world descended on Montreal for the Games.

The astronomical cost included the stadium, the Olympic village, a post-modern apartment building complex, a sports recreation complex, outdoor facilities, parking and the Vélodrome, which has since been refurbished as the Biodome.

Much of the debt was serviced through a special tax on tobacco.

Officials had estimated the debt would be cleared by September 2006, but the smoking ban introduced in May slowed down tobacco sales in the province, according to the Canadian Press.

Waiting for the 7.16

It’s that time of year. Pitch black when I leave home for work. Pitch black when I leave work for home.

On the bright side, last week my daily wait for the train was perfectly timed with the sunrise. Nice excuse to watch it, and thankfully it didn’t coincide with this week’s fog, otherwise I’d just be violence-against-Santa miserable.

Reindeer games


Has anybody visited The Reindeer, a temporary Christmas-themed restaurant and theatre in the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane? The restaurant is all booked up until its closing on December 23 but I want to know if it’s as good as it looks!

Coolhunting sez:

[The Reindeer is] a kind of grotto for grown-ups from the people behind East London’s Bistrotheque. Amongst pine trees and fake snow, diners can enjoy camp and kitsch cabaret from the likes of Pam Ann and Kiki & Herb or book one of two log cabins for their own Alpine private party.

No more Pie & Mash.

There are times when you suddenly discover something has gone and you feel that life is now just that little bit poorer. I was only a few minutes ago telling a friend that she should go to Greenwich for the famous pies. Not knowing exactly where it was I searched the web and found these words staring out at me ..

We are sorry to say that Goddard’s Pie House in Greenwich has now closed.

116 years of history gone. A sad sad day.

Make a difference in Afghanistan with Afghan Action

carpet1.jpgAfghan Action makes gorgeous, affordable traditional carpets in Afghanistan. In this nation devastated by war and oppression of a kind that I can’t imagine, they create something beautiful that celebrates the traditional culture at the heart of the country.

A joint effort between the UK and Afghanistan, they are a training school as well as an employer with a factory. They offer above-average wages, numeracy and literacy education, medical care, and even midday meals. As mundane as it may sound, jobs are often the most significant way to rebuild independence, confidence, family life, and freedom.

afghanaction.jpgFor an over-stretched Guardian-reading first-time-buyer like me, they offer every possible positive: a way to positively affect Afghanistan while furnishing my yuppie pad with stunning, authentic goodies!

Check out their online store where you can select carpets by price or size, and decide whether you are a dancing frog or a rolling thunder person. Prices are fantastic, ranging from £150 to £350. (They also offer a range of charity gifts in the Oxfam goat style, starting at £3.)

Not only do I feel that I can contribute something rather than sit impotently crying to Radio 4 every morning, I can also avoid my dreaded big art photo of beach rocks from Ikea home décor scenario.

It’s deep, it’s shallow, it absolute perfection!

The Tempest

OK, the planet is seriously pissed off with us. A tornado touched down in London today. What’s up with that? Video anyone?

Music-free Buses and Trains

Thank you TimeOut magazine for calling attention (last week, page 11) to one of my major pet peeves: people playing music on tubes, trains and buses. I’m sure someone out there will accuse me once again of being an old curmudgeon (see earlier post about screaming kids), but let me assure you that I am by no means anti-music (this post is beginning to sound like a scene from Footloose). I am quite pro-music… A musician, in fact. I am so pro-music that it pains me to listen to music coming out of such crap speakers, like those little ones on mobile phones these days.

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