As mentioned in an earlier post about Wild Swimming, my wife is a member of the South London Swimming Club at Tooting Bec Lido. whose wintertime activities appear – to the casual observer – to be plain barking mad. Namely open air swimming in water just below 5C.
However in this gorgeous new video shot by a ridiculously fit SLSC member called Jonathan Cowie, his own dolphin-like grace and the beauty of the setting makes the whole ritual look truly graceful and enticing. It seems almost tempting to have a go. Almost.
But then you remember thay on some days SLSC members have to break the ice before they can even get into the water for goodness sake… Fit and graceful or not, these people are crazy.
To be continued…
Strolling down Garratt Lane the other day, Child A spotted these curious structures outside Garratt Park primary school. My son was born forty years after me, yet we still have similar basic expectations of what you might find in a children’s playground: swings, slides, roundabouts, climbing frames – that sort of thing….
But WTF were these bizarre structures? [More]
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.
Taken with Instagram
Property prices are continuing to edge upwards here in South London despite the looming recession. We couldn’t possibly afford to live here now if we hadn’t bought our own house twenty years ago for £90k. These days properties in our street are chanaging hands for seven or eight times that amount.
Only people on comfortable incomes can make that kind of investment in a modest three bedroom semi. Which is why incoming residents these days are extending upwards, downwards and sideways to add maximum living space and resale value to their new homes.
And that’s why there is nonstop building work in the leafy suburban streets around where we live. These builders a few doors up currently seem to be having Jenga fun with their breeze blocks.
I love this snapshot by Child K of her brother a couple of years ago, swigging an early morning cuppa from his favourite mug. He bought it from the merch stall after a memorable Ross Noble gig we went to at Croydon Fairfield Halls. Just one man on a stage keeping 1600 people convulsed with laughter for two hours – armed with nothing but a microphone and sheer comic genius.
African masks on display at South London’s Horniman Museum
Child K’s first Art assignment of the school term was to go and draw an African mask of her choice from one of two famous London collections – one of them at the British Museum and this lot in the African Worlds exhibition at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, South London.
You have to draw it from life while you’re there” screeched Ms Harpie the art teacher “If you take a photograph and draw it back at home, that will be cheationg and I WILL BE ABLE TO TELL!!!”
We decided to risk it anyway – take quick snaps, look at some fish and then get the bejasus out of there so K could work on her drawing in peace at home. The biggest problem with getting decent images was all the reflectiions in the glass of of the display cases. Flash of course was a complete no-no, as it just produced a blinding glare on the glass.
We managed some reasonable pictures in the end – in most cases the reflections just made the images look even weirder than the original sculptors had intended. Click thumbnails below to see the photo set on Flickr
Parade of Figaro cars at local dealership in Haydens Wood, South London
“The Nissan Figaro is a small retro car manufactured by Nissan. The car was originally sold only in Japan. Despite this, the Nissan Figaro has become popular with owners in the UK and Ireland, where there are specialist dealers who supply parts and servicing. In appearance it resembles the 1960s Datsun Fairlady models…”
“The Figaro also has a number of high profile owners, including footballer Robin Van Persie, guitarist Eric Clapton, TV presenter Vanessa Feltz, and Princess Eugenie of York.”
Better not buy one then after all…
Another chapter in A Short History Of Speed.
One weekend recently Child A and I went for a cycle ride a few miles along the riverbank and stopped off at Merton Abbey Mills – a kind of poor man’s Camden Market for South Londoners. The only place open that late in the afternoon was a small Brazilian cafe called Katavento where the only soft drinks on sale were Coke, Sprite and Guaraná Antarctica.
Having established that the latter was a delicacy unique to South America, it seemed churlish not to order a can and give it a try. It tasted sweet, fruity and slightly sickly but boy, does it get your heartrate pumping: the rest of the bike ride passed in a blur. After Child A had consulted his swanky HTC Android phone we learned that Guaraná Antarctica is seriously caffeinated, has its own Wikipedia page and is actually distributed in parts of the UK – though we’d never seen it before.
Other fascinating Wikipedia factoids about Guaraná:
* Brazil is the third-largest consumer of soft drinks in the world
* Brazilian sales of guaraná beverages exceed those of cola drinks.
* In rats, guaraná increased memory retention and physical endurance.
* In humans, memory, alertness and mood were increased by low doses
* Guaraná may affect how quickly the body perceives itself to be full
Last Monday evening we drove through South London streets lined with youth waiting for something to happen. Luckily nothing did. The car has suffered no worse vandalism than this whimsical graffiti by Child K over the driver’s door. So far at least…