Archive for January, 2012

If there was one thing in life I wish I could do, it would be to convert my passion for London into fairy dust so that I could sprinkle it onto everyone 🙂  I really, really love this city.  There are so many layers to this city that it would take several lifetimes to uncover them all.  Fortunately we are able to uncover many of them…by joining tours.  Of course there is no guarantee that the guide will be any good, but every now and then you join a tour that turns out to be a real treat.  I have been on a great number of tours in the city, some guides are great and some are just plain boring.  But last night I had the good fortune to join a Pub Tour with Vic Norman of Dragon and Flagon Pub Tours.

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I connected with Vic last year already through my page 3 Days in London.  Although Pub Tours are not generally my kinda tour, for some reason Vic’s tours appealed to me.  His tours take in some of the most historical pubs in London in some of the most intruiging areas of London.

Last night I joined his Jar & Marbles tour from Holborn station.  The first pub we visited was an ancient, tiny pub down a winding alleyway.  From there we went to an 18oo’s Gin Palace, then a pub that started life as a pub called ‘The Dog and Duck’ in 1783 just over the road from one of the most famous museums in the world.  We visited a pub where a Queen of England stored her husband’s favourite foods when he was in hospital and after one more stop a pub that I can only call ‘drop dead gorgeous’.  I never thought I would call a pub drop dead gorgeous but OMWord… I was almost drooling!  It is just so beautiful; lofty ceilings that look like the inside of a cathedral, a three-cornered stove and in the cellar the remains of a 15th century pub.

The group were lovely and I feel like I made a few new friends; Vic Norman the tour guide, entertaining and friendly, took a real interest in his group and mingled well with everyone…some of the people on the tour had already done 3 of his other tours 🙂  A good recommendation I would say.  Mike, a lovely guy with whom I had some great, albeit short conversations about records (of the vinyl kind) and movies (of the Bedknobs and Broomsticks kind). Amy and Steve, a delightful couple who joined the tour with a friend of theirs Catherine who is a Blue Badge Guide in Tunbridge Wells.   Chris, a Swedish, Irish, Englishman! An expert on the secrets of a good brew!  I had a taste of his; Norman Conquest and although I am not a beer drinker (normally) I found it quite palatable.  There were a couple of other folks in the group and what was really lovely is that we mixed and mingled, the dynamics of the group changed as we walked and conversations ebbed and flowed as we walked the streets of this marvellous city.

I was amazed to discover that despite my many 8hour walks around London, there are still streets that I have not yet walked along! Can’t imagine that now could you! 🙂  One of the streets we meandered along was Lamb’s Conduit Passage.  I bet your’e thinking of little white lambs, bounding about….well, no you’de be wrong!   In 1577 William Lamb, a clothworker by trade but musician by profession, repaired at his own expense of £1500 the old conduit, or water duct, which fed water to Smithfield, from a spring at Holborn.  Neat huh!  “The street was named after William Lambe in recognition of the £1,500 he gave for the rebuilding of the Holborn Conduit in 1564”.

In all a fab evening (Friday) and I am now booked onto the next pub tour for 24th Feb, where we will be visiting some even older and in some cases notorious pubs.

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In the past I have from time to time copied and posted an email that my sister sends to me.  I just got this one, and thought I would share it.

“Look how simple this is….. What a great idea, no more twist ties or rubber bands. This method is WATER PROOF AND AIR TIGHT. Great!

Who ever thought of this should get a Green Medal
The guy who first thought of the idea should be given an award for originality!!!

Cut up a disposable water bottle and keep the neck and top.


Insert the plastic bag through the neck and screw the top to seal. 


The bag is made to be air-tight, such that water will not leak, the
secret lies with the top and screw cap!  
This is a great idea to share.
Good for us and the environment too.

Zip-top bags are great, but sometimes you buy something in bulk and you’re stuck with an unsealable bag. Home-centric blog Re-Nest shows us an easy way to give these bags an airtight seal with an old water bottle.
All you need to do is cut off the top of the bottle and take off the cap. Push the bag through the bottle neck, fold it over the edges, and twist the cap back on. Now, your bag has an air and water tight seal, and you didn’t have to waste the bag.”

It certainly does seem to be an ingenious idea. How green it is I am doubtful, except that it does ‘recycle’ an old bottle top.  What I would like to see is a complete replacement for ANYTHING plastic.  It was my intention last year to refrain from buying anything that comes in plastic, only to have my good intentions dashed at the first turn.  There is practically nothing that doesn’t either come in plastic or is not made of plastic or doesn’t contain plastic as one of the components, whether it be hard or soft. I would not be able to buy a massive range of household items or ride on the tube or a bus, use my phone or computer as well as a whole list of other items we need to live in the ‘civilised’ world; even my travel card is plastic….not to mention my money! 🙂

For my contribution, I never buy bottled water and endeavour to avoid using plastic or buying stuff with plastic wrapping wherever I can and  recycle whatever plastic I am encumbered with.

If someone could show us a way to not use plastic at all – now that would be worth a ‘Green Award’.

p.s. the pics I got with the email did not convert….sorry! You will have to use your imagination 🙂

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