Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Now we're back into the working week I must admit I've almost had enough of the snow now, but the weekend was brilliant and I managed to get out and about. Below are a few pictures I took walking around the Hollington Loop when the snow was still fresh and thick.






This last picture is of icicles on what I think is possibly a Wisteria. It looked better in real life but hopefully the photo captures some of its beauty.

In other news, I have just ordered a book called Edgelands that I mean to order months ago when it was first brought to my attention. During this buying process I came across the term Psychogeography against which Edgelands seems loosely associated, so have also just ordered a book called Psychogeography: Pocket Essentials. Pyschogeography seems to be a massive and complex subject from what little I've read so far, but what inspired me most to delve deeper into this subject was the fact that the subject seems to include the relationship between a city and its inhabitants as observed on foot through walking the city. Given that I do a lot of urban wandering myself at every opportunity, this seemed like a good reading companion. The books have not arrived yet but I will comment on them in a later post once I had a chance to read through them.

    

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sunrise over Hyde Park

A strange week just gone by. I found some space that was not what I thought it would be, and also found some space that I'd been to before that was better than I'd expected. So turning first to my disappointment if I can call it that, which was a brief surfacing at Canada Water when changing trains to get out to Canary Wharf. But first of all, why was I at Canada Water anyway? Well, on this particular occasion it was easier for me to travel on the Waterloo line rather than the Paddington line, but rather than going into Waterloo and taking the obvious Jubilee line tune across to Canary Wharf, I decided instead to change at Clapham Junction and take the newly joined-up outer-circle line, or the London Overground as it's really called. I'd not been on this part of the London Overground so it made a pleasant diversion from my normal route, passing through some places I'm pretty sure I've never been to before, so as usual a mental note was made to return at ground level.
To get to Canary Wharf involved a change at Canada Water, and I originally thought I could walk between the two, but alas this was not possible as there was too much of the River Thames in the way. Having not looked around that part of the docklands before I decided to surface above the underground and see what was there. Perhaps I did not explore enough but as far as I could see it was just a retail park, and quite a cold and sterile one at that. It was freezing cold so maybe I caught it on a bad day and it's normally more inspiring, but on that particular day it wasn't for me. Needless to say I took no pictures and was glad to get back underground to continue to my destination.

Later in the week I had an opportunity to walk across Hyde Park to the office. I must have done this walk tens of times before, if not more, but this particular day was special as it was just as the sun was rising on a very cold and crispy winter's morning.



Sunrise over Hyde Park, January 2013
So, it looks like we are going to get some snow after all. I know this is bad news for many people, but I for one absolutely love the snow. I did leave work on time today and headed straight back to West Berkshire on the train as I'd much rather be snowed in at home than at work. Hopefully there will be good opportunities to get some good pictures to share.

    

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Paddington Railway Station ... and a bit of Brian Eno

My search for space this week has been somewhat thwarted by it being my first full week back at work, the weather, and also by feeling a bit under the weather. I had intended to go walkabout after work on the Friday but ended up leaving early not feeling too good. However, as a small pick-up, I managed to get a reasonable picture of the restored canopy at Paddington station just before my train took me home. There's something about station architecture that always impresses and inspires me, and Paddington station is no exception, especially after such a wonder restoration.

Restored canopy at Paddington railway station, London

Feeling a bit better today, I ventured out to continue my exploration of places near where I live that I've either not been to before, or haven't been to for a while, and today's choice was Wallingford, in Oxfordshire. The grey weather meant that I did not take any pictures, but had an enjoyable stroll around the town, and a good lookaround the antiques centre. I didn't buy anything as I'm still processing a lot of the vintage postcards I picked up before Christmas.

On checking the 6music schedule when I returned home, I was delighted to discover that there was a 2 hour Brian Eno special, hosted by Tom Robinson. I was initially disappointed when I realised that it was about his more recent career, but found myself captivated by the music played, the conversation and his outlook on life. Of his recent material, I think the latest I have is Small Craft on a Milk Sea and had not even realised that there were more recent releases, such as Lux.

    

I'm hoping next week will bring more better opportunities for exploration. I have a trip out to docklands during the week so hopefully will get a bit of an opportunity to see someof the areas I've not yet been to.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Year resolution still going strong

Well, tomorrow is the beginning of my first full week back at work this year. If I'm honest I can't say that I'm looking forward to it very much as it's been great having time at home, being able to chill a bit, and getting outdoors for some much needed post-Christmas exercise.

I've now managed 2 bike rides in 2013, but despite having a mountain bike I have kept to the roads, which in places are muddy enough to be mistaken for off-road cycling. I've also managed to keep to my New Year's Resolution of doing something new every week ... in fact in this week alone I have been to several new places. The most recent of which was a brief visit to Wilton, in Wiltshire this afternoon. I only had time for a quick walk around the town, but it did seem to have a few antique shops worth returning for, on a day when hopefully they are open.

Yesterday we were up in London to see a couple of exhibits at the Tate Britain as we were fortunate enough to get some free tickets. We went to the Turner Prize exhibits first which, apart from Noble, did not float my boat at all ... glad we didn't pay. The pre-Raphaelite exhibition was all together a lot more impressive, but unfortunately very crowded. Probably the best part of my day was a short walk between Sloane Square and Pimlico, which was a first for me and has opened up a whole other area of London that I need to find time to explore ... and hopefully I'll get some better weather in which to do it. As you can see from the picture below, the weather was pretty dismal, and even the towers of Battersea Power Station, which looked much better in real life, is somewhat lost against the greyness of the sky.

Battersea Power Station across the train lines from Victoria, on a very grey day

    

Thursday, 3 January 2013

A New Year's Resolution ... of sorts

First of all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to the handful of readers who regularly look at this blog. As usual, this blog is for things that don't really fit on to my vintage postcards blog or my vintage magazines blog. You'll fund all sorts of things here, from my (slight) obsession with London mews, to mountain biking, books, music, the great outdoors, and all sorts of other things.

Apart from the dream of turning my vintage and music hobbies into multi-million pound businesses, I only made one New Year's resolution this year which was originally to try and do something new or different every day, but already I have downgraded that to weekly. Hopefully I'm not being too ambitious here as this covers everything from visiting new places, eating in different restaurants, trying a new beer, reading a new book, etc. Three days into the New Year and I have met my first week's target on New Year's Day when we took a walk with friends up on to the Wayfarer's Walk and did a 6 mile loop coming back across Coombe Gibbet. The pictures below are a few I took along the way, and whilst the sun was shining for the most part, the ground underfoot was incredibly soggy.





Musically I've been quite active over the Christmas and New Year period, mainly thanks to my Christmas present of a Sonos Bridge and Sonos Speaker. It was a genuine surprise for which I was very gtareful, and the sound quality is amazing. I've really had a hugely varied playlist but a few standout albums this week have been The Orb - The Dream, Small Faces - The Autumn Stone and Public Service Broadcasting - The War Room.
      

Unusually I did not get any books for Christmas this year, so will have to scout around some of my favourite secondhand bookshops in the next couple of weeks. I'm also planning to continue my visits to new places in London when I get the opportunity during lunch breaks and after work. Hopefully more posts to follow with more London mews, alleys and side streets.
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