Sitting on the upper deck of a No. 73 bus from Oxford Street to Victoria, the traffic ground to a standstill outside Selfridges. It was the first day of the heatwave and – listening to my iPhone – I idly snapped a shot of the bus stop opposite ready to have a good moan on Instagram. Zooming in afterwards, I discovered this lovely couple caught embracing in the lower right corner of the frame… Their obvious tenderness was very very sweet…
Snapped at Victoria Station earlier today: a map of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway in its pre-nationalisation glory days. Also (below) the grand war memorial entrance to Waterloo station – taken earlier this year.
From our recent Ikea visit… Instagram photos of track, tram and platform on South London’s Tramlink service that connects Wimbledon with Croydon and eastwards on to Beckenham Junction. The network is part of Transport For London, whose invaluable Oystercards are valid for its whole length.
It’s converted from an old railway line and a huge asset to the local transport infrastructure: a kind of South Circular rail link, if you will.
Child K snapped this sportily dressed man standing astride his shopping cart in the checkout queue at Ikea in Croydon. Note the iPad lying on top of his intended purchases. I asked on Twitter if anyone could suggest what he was up to.
Walking out with Child A for a pizza we saw a bright light beside the moon in the evening sky. It looked like a plane on its way over to Heathrow, except that it was stationary – a satellite perhaps. Learned later from Wife that the upper bright light was in fact Venus, while the normal star-sized thing further down in the sky is Jupiter – a fact confirmed by The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.
A team of chuggers with collecting boxes emerging from the tube onto Oxford Street ready to take up their stations for yesterday evening’s rush hour.
Urban Dictionary‘s top definition of “chugger” is scathing: Paid “charity” street worker (read: student) who has been trained to believe they are improving peoples’ lives by conning Joe Public out of their money for this week’s Good Cause. Usually an agency worker – where the agency takes a hefty cut of the hourly rate the charity in question has paid for – while at the same time selling on details of those foolish enough to actually stop and sign up to said Good Cause. If you really want to support a charity, do it through their website, not a chugger.
Wikipedia is more balanced:
Paid street fundraisers are sometimes known as chuggers because usually fundraising is viewed as aggressive or invasive – a portmanteau of “charity” and “mugger”. It became popular after negative articles appeared in several British newspapers*. However, those in the charity sector see street fundraising as an invaluable method of raising brand awareness, and recruiting younger donors under the age of 35 who are “like gold-dust for a charity because they will give over a longer lifetime.”
*the term first appeared in print in the free London newspaper Metro in its SAY WHAT [New Words Around Town] column by Keith Barker-Main on 26 June 2002.
Centre Point is another iconic London landmark and was the subject of a long-running property scandal in the the mid-1960s.
According to Wikipedia London County Council bent its own rules to allow a developer called Harry Hyams to build this unusually tall office block (32 floors) in the heart of the West End. In return Hyams agreed to provide a new road junction underneath it, which the council itself couldn’t afford to build.
With property prices rising Hyams made so much profit from it simply standing empty that he had no need to let it out as office space – and for many years the vacant building towered over the skyline as a symbol of capitalist greed. Perhaps it’s appropriate that when he did finally allow the building to be used in 1980, it became the headquarters of the Confederation Of British Industry.
For almost 20 years the building formerly known as The Post Office Tower was the tallest building not only in London but in the entire UK. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1965 and symbolised an era when our country briefly believed its future really would be forged in “the white heat of the technological revolution”. It was also famous for its revolving restaurant, and I was surprised to learn from Wikipedia this was run by the holiday camp tycoon Billy Butlin:
“The Post Office Tower was opened to the public on 16 May 1966 by Tony Benn and Billy Butlin. As well as the communications equipment there was a rotating restaurant on the 34th floor: the “Top of the Tower” operated by Butlins. It made one revolution every 22 minutes. A Provisional IRA bomb exploded in the roof of the men’s toilets on 31 October 1971. The restaurant was closed to the public for security reasons in 1980 and public access to the building ceased in 1981.”
There are only 3 buses an hour from our immediate neighbourhood to the local tube station. Sometimes they come early, sometimes they don’t come at all and travelling in to work all these years has been a matter of guesswork, dumb luck or sheer weeping frustration. The experience has been 100% transformed by The NextBus app – which does exactly what it says on the tin. We now know, actually KNOW, when the next G1 will arrive outside our house. #itjustworks #reasonstolovetheiphone