Archive for the ‘Traffic and Travel’ Category

Pavement Archaeology

mystery symbols

mystery symbols

I’ve been working in Soho for many years, and have always wondered about the weird little symbols that one sees carved into kerbstones.

What are they for? How old are they? Are they cut into the stones before or after the kerb is laid? Maybe some of London’s kerbs are cut from ancient Celtic megaliths?

What does a triangle mean? A cross? An X with dots? A little arrow?

I always thought they were only to be found in central London – but I saw some in Twickenham (well St Margarets) the other day.

The thing is – I’m not sure if I want anyone to tell me what they are for. It’s bound to be something really boring. For surveyors? Something to do with quarrying? Highway maintenance schedules? I prefer to think that they are some kind of masonic language. Maybe something to do with ley lines. I’ll ask Julian Cope.

Thank goodness for the boys in blue (not)

Stoke Newington is CRAWLING with police this morning. You’ve never seen so many police. All over the frigging place.

“What are they doing?”, you ask. Busting a major crack ring? On the trail of a terrorist cell?

Nope.

Catching cyclists.

Yep – you heard me right. They have Stokey on lock-down so that they can bust people for riding down alleys without dismounting, running red lights, etc.

OK – bad cycling annoys me as much as the next person. I can’t stand the little toads that ride at speed down the pavement – I just shout at them: “are you too frightened to ride on the road?” And running a red light when there are pedestrians around is a no-no for me too.

But seriously – a police crackdown, utilising this many officers to catch a few mildly anti-social cyclists is just absurd. Is this what I pay them for?

A friend of mine was fined £30 by a copper the other day. The crime: going across the pavement with his bike in order to lock it to a railing. He freewheeled the bike, standing on the pedal, like you do. Result a £30 fine. Frigging ridiculous.

So – the question is: now that cycling has begun to really take off as a form of green, healthy transport for Londoners (post-Olympic effect too), who has ordered the police to crack down on cyclists in this absurd manner?

Hey police cadets – looking forward to a glorious career of hassling cyclists?

Southgate

Always a beautiful station, Southgate has surpassed itself since its recent renovation and restoration. If any tube stop deserved a visit on it’s own credentials its this one.

A Beautiful example of Art-Deco Design, the surrounding shopping arcade and one-way flatter the lovely Island station in the middle!

Drunk and sleepy on the Buses

london night bus

london night bus

So I got invited to a particularly posh awards to do in beautiful London town the other day. The usual free champagne, wine and beer flowed all night long and by 11 o’clock the night is going well (or so I thought) I decide to meet up with some friends around Liverpool street… and the next thing I know I am asleep on a night bus and it is 3am.

How did this happen, well quite obvious really, I got on and fell asleep.

Now most people who live in London will know that a London night can be particularly chilly at the best of times so the comfort and the warmth of a bus came as a huge relief and surprise when I first awoke from my slumber. The emptiness of the bus was also appealing to my inebriated self, so instead of getting off and hailing the nearest black cab and going home as any sober person would have done, I simply went back to my ZZZs.

Now buses do come to the end of their line eventually so when I was turfed off I can recall simply hoping on the next one that came along, oyster card in hand and finding a new corner to snooze in. Where the bus was going or where I picked it up from I do not recall or indeed do I care, but the warmth and cosiness of that seat once more led to me having a good hours snooze or so.

Soon after I was given orders by the driver to leave my seat with a depot fast approaching and once more a new bus was quickly located. Tactics began to be formed, as I headed back towards central London from where I think was the Finchely area.

I managed to time my journey on the final bus of the night as it arrived in Trafalgar Square at 5.30am and as the pigeons looked on in slight confusion and suspicion of this man still wearing a tuxedo from the night before I hopped on my first train back to my non moving home. Just in time for a few more hours sleep before jaunting back in to work as fresh as a daisy (that might be a slight fib).

So the next time you find yourself stranded with the final tube gone and no money for a cab, look for the nearest double-decker and get yourself the comfortable cheap alternative to a dodgy B&B.

This may shine a certain light on my person, as someone who A. enjoys a good hearty drink and B. doesn’t really care about what other people think.
Indeed I may easily offend or disgust you with the above revelations, but I say there are loads more people like me out there in the city and aren’t we the most interesting…I’ll let you decide that!

Mistake?

North side post rain – click for the bigger picture!

Chivalry is not Dead in London

To the man with the face piercings on the No. 134 bus at 6:30 a.m.: thanks for showing me that chivalry is not dead. As the bus pulled up and opened its door, you smiled, did a little bow and waived me to go on first.

First, a definition from Wikipedia (bold is mine):

“Chivalry is a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood. It is usually associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honour and courtly love. Today, the terms chivalry and chivalrous are used to describe courteous behavior, especially that of men towards women.”

I know some guys have a beef with chivalry after the whole feminist movement, but I like that Wikipedia says it’s basically courteous behavior. And, don’t we need more of that in today’s world?

(more…)

How not to sleep on the Tube

london_underground_logo.jpgTo the young partier crashed out on the Northern Line at 9 a.m.:

Dude: While I can respect the amount of partying it takes to sleep sprawled out on the northbound train from London Bridge whilst everyone is stepping over you and scowling, you’re not cool.

While your mouth is hanging open so wide and you’re snoring so loud I could probably drop a ₤1 coin and it would fall all the way to the bottom before you even noticed, you’re not cool.

While you could snore through the coming apocalypse as well as completely ignoring the irritated older businessman who is even now kicking you in the shin trying to wake you so you’re not blocking the aisle and generally effing up everyone else’s attempt to just get to the office – you’re just … so … not cool.

You probably shambled onto the train from some party near South Wimbledon, and promptly fell asleep because you’re also on the nod, and now you’re a total disgrace, and small kids are giggling at you as the old fellow kicks you once more and this blogger steps off the train making a mental note to write about your sorry ass.

Have a little pride. Tuck your feet closer and close your mouth if you need to sleep it off en route home. Just saying.

You can Kiss my Green Ass

city-london-g-wiz.jpg

OK, this one from Going Green: The City of London has announced that they will no longer allow parking concessions for electric vehicles. This is just, well, stupid. Giving people monetary incentives to go green works. Taking money away after they have, in good faith, purchased these funny little cars just pisses people off. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I cannot vote. But, you Londoners can. So please write your representatives, and tell them that they are just being asses.

To quote Going Green:

“The reason cited by the City of London for this dramatic change was that although the programme had proved very successful it had, in their view, encouraged increased vehicle use within the borough. The subsequent air quality improvements through the use of zero emission vehicles were not mentioned in the announcement.”

Photo and heads up from Tree Hugger.

Got Cash? Fly London in an Airship

airship460x276.jpg

Trying to think green for international travel, I can’t wait to fly like this across the ocean. But, until then, you can drop £360 for a one-hour tour of London on an Airship. You can see a beautiful photo gallery over at the Guardian.
Photo by Graeme Robertson taken from the Guardian Website (Is that legal? I will take it down if asked to cease and desist.)

Motorcycle (bus lane) emptiness

Image courtesy of Adelarksl

Besides white van men, motorcyclists easily come top in the prestigious all-London “who can nearly knock Imran off his bike the most” championships.

So, some people might be a bit concerned that Major BoJo is proposing that motorcycles be allowed onto the thus-far hallowed turf of bus lanes.

Personally, I just love the challenge. But for all those of you who would like to see me live a little longer, please sign the petition to remind ‘cycling-friendly’ Boris that there are bigger dangers on the road than sodding bendy buses.

Image courtesy of Adelarks

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