Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The B I G Eurostar move to St Pancras

So today is the day that Eurostar waves farewell to Waterloo and moves to the other side of London town to St Pancras station. There has certainly been lots of work going on down at the station and lots of people singing the praises. I certainly hope that now the journey to France and beyond is going to be faster more people will think about lowering their carbon footprint and use the train instead of flying there instead!

I was really interested to hear about the original clock from the old St Pancras station. It was sold years ago and was promptly dropped and broken as it was being removed! An engine driver called Roland Hoggard bagged all the bits together and took it home, mended it as well as he could and put it in his back garden. Dent, who originally made the clock, tracked Roland down so they could copy the clock exactly for the new one now in St Pancras.

It seems that the new station will indeed be a very busy place. There is to be a farmers market, there is the worlds longest champagne bar, Marks and Spencers and numerous other famous name brands all having shops there. 67 retail shops are there in total. That's a lot of shopping!

I really want to get down to the station and have a good old nose about and take some photos so watch this space!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good ol' pie and mash!!

Good ol' pie and mash!

Most Londoners were bought up knowing all about pie, mash and liquor. In fact we all looked forward to it as children. We would always have to queue up outside to get served and a seat as it was always so busy. We would stand for what seemed like hours peering in at everyone eating their dinners. In one side of the window would always be the live eels waiting to meet their fate and get cooked. I could never, ever face a jellied eel after seeing them in the window wriggling about. Our nans would sit and eat jellied eels with mash and liquor while telling us to sit nicely and eat properly. Our mums would always get us a nice bottle of R Whites lemonade or cherryade to drink with our pies. Then if we were really lucky we would get some fruit pie and custard but the pie and mash filled us up so much we rarely got the fruit pie.

Look at that!!! 2 pies, mash and liquor....yummy! We would use the chilli flavoured vinegar and lots of salt and pepper and eat every last morsel up.

There were quite a few pie and mash shops in and around London but sadly not many now survive. They were mostly what my nan called "spit and sawdust" kind of places with tiled walls and big dark wooden tables and bench seats. Sometimes it felt like we were in church with the seating arrangements!

We always went to the Manzes in Chapel Street market (top photo) in Islington. There was another shop in Kentish Town called Castles that we only went to if Manzes was shut. Castles is still there to this day and has a very busy turnover but in my mind they don't sell proper pies....well, not like we used to have at Manzes. Armetts just off Walworth road is still open and very much thriving. They sell wonderful pies just like Manzes and I will often ask my mother in law to get us some if she is down that way. We really don't have pie and mash now as we dont' have any sops near to us. It's such a shame as we just love it!
If you are ever in London you must go try the pie and mash and even the jellied eels if you are feeling brave!

Friday, August 10, 2007

The London Orbital road otherwise known as the M25

I'm back! I have been absent for some time I know but am back again now with more tales of London and surrounding areas!

Today I was inspired, or would that be depressed after a trip round the M25 motorway. Now anyone who travels on it often will know that when it's running well then it is fabulous but boy, when there are problems then there are BIG problems! Today was no exception for trouble. Just for a change there were roadworks.....there are always roadworks!

The M25 is a very unpredictable place to be, you just never know what will be waiting around the next corner or at the next junction. If you listen to the radio in London all you ever hear is about the tailbacks on the M25. I thankfully have never been unlucky enough to get caught in a seriously bad hold up. My friend did though! She went to visit her brother who lived at the next junction and it took her 3 hours to travel the one junction....isn't that terrible!! She was pulling her hair out by time she arrived.

This the the M25 on a good journey....until that is I drove a little further! The 50mph sign should have given me a clue as to what was waiting round the corner......


So here is the oh so familiar "get in lane" sign that is the thing you just don't want to see on any motorway!

Todays tailback was caused by a couple or workmen having a chat on the hard shoulder! It caused about 5 miles of very slow traffic and probably lots of stress too. It wasn't too bad to be honest as at least the traffic was moving....ok it was only able to move at about 30mph but at least it wasn't at a standstill. I have started to tell my TomTom sat nav to take me on routes that avoid motorways. For some odd reason these routes are rather fun and take some very interesting routes. You should all try it sometime!
Some may say that the M25 has been a great idea and bless the day it was built. Others mutter that it is awful and they avoid it like the plague. What do you think?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Blackfriar....yet another pub!

The very famous Blackfriar pub is oddly enough at Blackfriars and more or less at the start of the bridge too! This is one very busy pub. I can guarantee if the weather is dry there will be a gigantic crowd of City office workers stood outside drinking lovely looking beer and wine. Friday nights are even busier and the place is just heaving! It is a very odd shaped building and is triangular in shape. It was built in 1875 very near to the site of a priory. Inside there are some spectacular sights to be seen ranging from mosaic tiles to stained glass. There are even Art Nouveau additions. These were added in around 1905.

Back in the late 1960's Sir John Betjeman, who later became the Poet Laureate fought hard to stop the pub from being demolished. Could you imagine this wonderful place being knocked down just to simply build an office block!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Cutty Sark.....what a disaster!

London had some terrible news this week. It would seem that arsonists (still to be confirmed) have started a gigantic fire aboard this wonderful tea clipper. The Cutty Sark was in the middle of restorations to restore it back to how it would have been when built back in 1869.

I have visited the Cutty Sark many times and have to admit to being rather sad about the fire. London is so rich in all it's treasures and the reason why approximately 15 million tourists have been aboard to visit it. Thankfully all our treasures survived the Blitz and then someone comes along and sets fire to the Cutty Sark. It just does not make sense. I had an email from a friend, saying she was really sad as she she remembers visiting London and visiting the Cutty Sark as a child. The vessel is at the gateway to the World Heritage Site at Greenwich. The ship was launched from Dumbarton on the river Leven on 22nd November 1869 before sailing to collect the tea from China.

The sight in the early hours of the flames must have been horrendous!

Here you can see the chared remains. I am really hoping something will be done to rebuild the Cutty Sark but I dread to think how much that will cost! I am sure someone somewhere will have a few spare pennies to put in the collection box to help pay for the restoration.