Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Laugh out loud at Spamalot!

A busy bank holiday weekend was capped off with a visit to the world of Monty Python last night. In deference to my partner's love (read wittering on) of Monty Python's The Holy Grail, I thought this would be a winner of a birthday present for him (despite the fact my only association with anything MP-esque is John Cleese in Fawlty Towers).

Well I grinned from ear to ear the whole way through - that is when I wasn't laughing out loud. Loved loved loved the twisted end to the quest and thought that the understudy last night did a fab-tastic job as King Arthur. Def. a must see partic. if you are a Monty Python fan...

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

London's Congestion Charge

For those of you who don't live in the UK, driving into London between certain hours of the day attracts an £8 per day congestion charge.

This was introduced 5 years ago by the then mayor, Ken Livingston in a effort to reduce traffic congestion (and no doubt add some funding to the mayoral purse). Recently there has been much debate on the potential expansion of the Congestion Zone and an increase in the day rate for higher emission vehicles.

I find the public transport system here (with all its foibles) 1000 times better than in my home town of Melbourne (and the parking in London, if you do drive in, is ridiculously expensive) so this has not been an issue that I've held any particularly strong views about. However I recently read that since the introduction of the congestion charge, traffic has been cut by 21 percent, cycling has risen by 43 percent and the scheme has been copied by cities such as Singapore and Stockholm - not a bad result.

I also wonder what the congestion charge revenue has been used for....food for thought eh?

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The City of London...

I had a couple of appointments in London today which took me from leafy Kingston Upon Thames into the City of London and in between appointments I walked through The Temple and across the 'boundary' of City of London/City of Westminster. Have you ever seen the boundary marker for the western-most point of the City of London? It's a silver dragon with arrow tongue and tail standing on a plinth. The dragon symbolises the City of London and bears the red cross of St George featured in the City's coat-of-arms. Apparently, these are dotted around the boundary of the City of London.

The City's boundaries have remained almost constant since the
Middle Ages. In the medieval period the City was the full extent of London, and distinct from the nearby, but then separate, settlement of Westminster, which became the City of Westminster. The City is not one of the 32 London boroughs. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_London)

Interesting huh?!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A great day out...

I went along to the annual Innocent Fete in Regent's Park on Saturday - what a great day out! Aside from a 20min absolute downpour mid afternoon (what else can be expected in London!), the weather was great and the atmosphere really chilled. Lots of great music to listen to (loved the Jive Aces), amazing food stalls and lots for families to do as well...so def. put it in your diary for next year (first weekend in August)...

The weekend before saw us take my partner's parents to Polesden Lacey, a National Trust property near Dorking. Great to see lots of kids playing on the lawns (and there were a lot of those) and the most amazing piece of carrot cake I've ever had! Walking through the house was quite fascinating as things weren't 'roped off' and you could wander through the rooms and see things up close. Gardens were gorgeous and the locals (cows) were on hand to say hooray when we left. Def. loads to see and do over this side of the world!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The first one....

This is my first blog and I'm not sure about it...whether I'll stick to it or get bored...how people will respond and what others will post. But I decided to have a go and thought a good way to start was just to type.

I was in Tobago recently - an amazing place to visit if you love a chilled life - and one of the thrills was seeing the giant leatherback turtles coming up onto the beach to lay their eggs. Local volunteers patrol the beaches to protect the turtles from all sorts of hazards (mainly tourists!) and takes about 2 hrs for the turtles to dig the 'nest', lay the eggs (about 100 at a time - the size of golf balls) and then camoflage the sand surface before heading back out to sea. The sight of the turtle's silhouette emerging from the sea (they are about 5-6ft long) was completely awe-inspiring - bit like being back in the time of dinosaurs.

What disappointed me most was the disrespect that a proportion of the tourists showed - asked to stand back to give the laying turtle room, some people would stand back only to have others rush in front, pushing and shoving and not bothering about anyone else. It was such a shame that people couldn't just stand there and wonder at how we are able to be that close to such an awesome display of nature..