Archive for July, 1904

Been Caught Blogging . . .

I make a start on writing The London Loo Papers (tttttttttttt). Suvi and Emily seem to be getting on well with their internship work. Brilliant. And it means I am freed up to piss about as it were, as above.
As advance prep for reading The London Loo Papers, published exclusively here on London’s very own metblog, I suggest the following:
London women read this about the women’s peeing device.
London men read this about the upright walking monkey.
Pip, pip,
My lunch.

My jam doughnut.

* The word loo allegedly comes from the Ancient Auld Alliance practice in Scotland of throwing intimate slops out of upper floor windows with the cry ‘Gardez-vous’ or similar, depending possibly on the quantity of whisky imbibed. Polite synonyms for loo include: lavatory, bathroom, toilet, rest room, bog.
I am indebted to the following site for further enlightenment: click here.

Suddenly, it’s Tuesday

Today, Tuesday 27 July, will see me pay a visit to a hypnotherapist at London’s No 1 Harley street, since I’m quitting smoking.

Inevitably over the course of the past week or so the topic over a few beers with my mates have been smoking. Or rather, smoking. I posted a while ago that it’s really difficult in London since so many people still smoke, and you can smoke almost anywhere. (I wonder if you’re allowed to smoke on a parked motorbike? Sorry, silly joke.)
I recall about a year or so ago the announcement of a completely smoke-free pub in the heart of London. At the time, it sounded really weird. No smoking in a pub? Then along came the Irish ban and it was talked about on the TV etc etc but must admit, I’ve not heard much about that since.
A friend told me last night that there are more non-smoking pubs coming to London. Just for the record, even as a smoker, I welcome that. I hate the fact that all my clothes smell of smoke at the end of the evening and I am also very concious of my smoke going into the faces of non-smokers whilst I’m at a bar. (So why smoke then, you might ask…I know.)
I read on the thisislondon website that in January of this year, “seven out of ten people are bothered by other people’s smoke, while about four out of ten have left or avoided a bar or restaurant as a result.”
I notice on the same page a link to an article entitled “Takings double at smoke-free pub”. This article’s link does not work, so I wonder what that is all about. Either people drink more since they can’t smoke, or (hopefully) they’ve just attracted more customers.
If the website of fresh air online is to be believed, there are “no smoke-free pub chains at present” – whether that’s in London or not I’m not sure. They do list JD Wetherspoons as a chain of bars who are non-smoking. Nice website, by the way.
There are rumours about that the Greene King (yes, there’s an extra “e” in there”) chain of pubs are considering making all of their 500+ pubs smoke-free. Perhaps I’ll become a regular then.
Tomorrow I’ll be blogging as a non-smoker, but don’t worry, I vow not to become one of those “I hate smoking” people. I liked it while I smoked and I’m sure I’ll miss it. Just don’t tempt me for a ciggie down at the pub.
– Riaan

Covent Garden Hotel: Cocktails? Yes. Lunch? No.

Today I met a pair of friends for lunch in Covent Garden. We decided to meet just outside the tube stop, because none of us had any great ideas for places to eat in the area. We ended up in the Covent Garden Hotel, which is very nice indeed. They’ve got a great bar and do wonderful martinis, though it was a bit early for those at the time. It’s just off of the seven dials, next to the Radisson Edwardian (where the equally nice Dial bar is). We ended up getting some pasta, a caesar salad and a club sandwich, a bottle of pinot grigio, three coffees and a shared desert and it all added up to £95. NINETY-FIVE POUNDS!
Although I guess it serves us right for going out to a nice lunch in Covent Garden. That the restaurant was in that area probably added 30% to the bill alone. It is a nice, place, though, as I said, especially for cocktails. Just… maybe not for lunch.
Now I feel grimy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who comes home from a day around town and has to wash her hands two or three times before she’s satisfied. It’s really pretty nasty.

Summer London . . .

Summer London, kids,
and it’s nearly lunchtime . . ..

City Sundays . . .

One of those slow, writerly weekends so I practise my blogging and picture uploading, wash the kitchen floor (it is so surprised) and email best mate Bilber with whom I am planning a fun weekday out (yes, and which will be duly recorded for the London blog).
Now, as you all know, blogging is the greatest physical experiment in human communications de nos jours.
I could therefore fictionalize the entire day: I could pretend that I have had George Steiner staying down the road: that we have spent the entire day at a literary conference followed by a sumptious late lunch at Carluccio’s eating and drinking Antonio Carluccio’s lovely food and wine while we talked poetry (mine); that The Guardian have rung twice. . . . etc.
But, no, you want the truth, don’t you . . . so here it is.

The poet blogging and eating chocolate

Detail of washed kitchen floor

Bilber’s email about to enter cyberspace
Pip, pip,

The Compulsory First Post

As this is my first post as the newest of the London bloggers, I figure I should probably start out by saying a few words about myself…. But that’s boring. You can always look at my bio or my blog if you care.
I’m not living in London right now – I’m actually just north, in Hertfordshire. We sold our house last week, though, and found an flat right near Old Street just yesterday, so I’m just as good as in London. Give me a month. Note that when I say “sold” I suppose I mean “sold unless it’s not,” as in England, at least, selling a house is anything but clear cut. As a native Chicagoan, I’ve found this whole experience rather harrowing and more than a little stressful, though I think that’s due to the lack of structure in the market and not my American expectations. From what I understand, at least.
Finding an unfurnished flat in London is not easy. All of the different letting agents have maybe two unfurnished amongst all of their offerings so regardless of whether these fit your criteria, they try to pass them off on you. This is annoying. We met with an agent at Stirling Ackroyd this last week looking for a two bedroom unfurnished in walking distance to Liverpool Street. We did see one of these, but then were shown an unfurnished studio (because if you can’t get two bedrooms you might as well get no bedrooms) and a furnished one bedroom. What?? What’s wrong with these people?

London Sculpture Note

Hi, Bloggers,
Before anyone asks me what the London sculpture is in my earlier blog, it is ‘View’ (1977) by Naomi Blake.

Plus, before anyone corrects me in my earlier blog, Virginia Woolf’s family name was Stephen (not Stephens as I wrote).
Pip, pip (iv)

Virtual London to Virtual Vienna . . .

I will also have to practise making links! Horst Prillinger’s description of Vienna’s urban rail system is here.
More info is here.
Pip, pip (iii)

Greetings Vienna from London

Greetings Vienna (and greetings London, of course),
Here is the pic of the River Thames, looking east.

The Upper Pool of London with the Cruise Ship M.S. Deutschland at anchor earlier this year.
Pip, pip 2,

The London week in pictures (if I can upload the ******* things)

In response to Karin Harrasser’s Austria = Not Urban I am posting (if it will agree to upload) a picture of the Pool of London. (It will not agree to upload so I will have to publish it in solitary splendour later.)
London’s Mightiest Geographical Feature is of course her river. But we also have a remnant of a primeval forest (Epping) to the north east. And of course the famous parks, many of which have a biological diversity richer than many stretches of the English countryside (especially perhaps the poor neglected landscapes which have to carry the motorway elevated sections).
The poet’s week was a desk-bound one so the next pic is of her desk.

This is desk in a state of utopia of course, it doesn’t actually exist for more than a few seconds. And perhaps that’s OK.
Then comes a pic of a famous London Square, complete with railings and with gates which are locked except at specified times during lunch on sunny days. Virginia Woolf lived in a house in the square with her brothers before she swopped the name Stephens for Woolf. You will see that a lunchtime meeting is taking place – with, note, pigeons in the foreground.

The garden in the square is also famous for being round and was once the scene of an attempt to install rus in urbe (if I remember my Latin) – so it is landscaped and at some time in the past some sheep were brought in to graze it and help Londoners to deal with rampant urbanisation.
I might mention too that by the end of the week I had been out of the house so few times that I began to dream about food and while trying to find the address of, arguably, London’s best butcher, Lidgate’s, to show Intern Em, we found this. All the yummy food shops together by district!
And back to Vienna. Cities have so much to learn from each other. I was struck by Horst Prillinger’s description of Vienna’s urban rail system. It seems also to be a passenger rail system that is equally happy above or underground, with even a rolling stock that can be converted from train to tram use or vice versa. The same teams of constructors and engineers . . . oh, can you think of anything more functional. More on
And finally to London (see London blog of 20 July), the pigeon deterrent in position.

(Thank you, Johannes by the way, for the picture of the Vienna pigeon: a must see.)
Welcome Beth Ballingall to the London blog and welcome Washington, DC to the family of city blogs.
Pip, pip,

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