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Archive for January, 2013

2012 in review

This is super cool I just had to share 🙂 the WordPress folks are genius 🙂 I love stats under normal circumstances, so this was good fun to see. Thanks wordpress… 🙂 Looking forward to my 2013 stats!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 27,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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me and the green man

me and the Green Man

yes! You read that right…..I went Wassailing down the Thames on a Sunday afternoon!!  The Twelfth Night of Christmas festivities are held annually on the 6th January, and this year (also the first year) I got to hear about it!
So yesterday (January 6th) was one of the highlights of my London life to date!!  I have lived in this city for 11 years now and it was only 2 weeks ago that I learned about the custom of wassailing.  I received an email from a friend of mine inviting me to join him and his crew on the Trinity Tide as they carried the Holly (Green) Man from St Katherine’s Pier along the Thames to Bankside.    I joined the cutter and crew at the pier at 1.45pm and my excitement knew no bounds; to be a passenger on the Trinity Tide had been a dream of mine since November 2010 when I first saw it in the Lord Mayor’s Show 🙂

the trinity tide

the beautiful Trinity Tide

My daughter who was to be the official photographer and I set off really early and made our way to Tower Hill…thankfully the trains were running just fine and we made it in good time 🙂    We stopped off at Costa Coffee for a last-minute order (by text…gotta love social mobility) of 5 hot coffees; white please!! 🙂     I was guessing the crew were in need of urgent refreshment after rowing on what was a cold and grey day, from Deptford to Tower Bridge.   Then down to the pier it was…I was still stressing big time about ‘am I in the right place?’ & ‘where were we landing?’ and sent a panic stricken text to Joe to make sure I had the right place. Daft!!!

twelfth night festivities

me on my phone 🙂

When we arrived at the pier, there was no Green Man to be seen; my nerves were skittering about and almost overwhelmed my excitement.  Then suddenly I saw the Trinity Tide as she rounded the bend

twelfth night festivities the trinity tide

the Trinity Tide arrives in good time

and a few seconds later I saw the Green Man making his way down the walkway to the pontoon!! Hooray!! I was in the right place at the right time! This does not happen often 🙂  The Green Man looked absolutely splendid decked out in his greenery and the face painting was extraordinary!   The Holly Man ‘brings in the green’ and ‘wassails’ or toasts the people, the River Thames and the Globe – an old tradition encouraging good growth.

the green man arrives

the extraordinary Holly (Green) Man arrives

The cutter pulled up alongside the pontoon and quick as a flash before anyone could change their minds I was on and seated.  Try to pry me off now and see how far you get!!! 🙂

the trinity tide and the twelfth night festivities

safely ensconced and looking as pleased as punch

Within a very short space of time we were off…..the piper in the bow,

the piper in the bow of the trinity tide

settled in for the trip; the piper in the bow of the Trinity Tide

the oarsman ready to row, the jolly green man standing as we go, one of the Mummers to wave and say hello; wassail the boats, then me in the VIP seat ( 🙂 ) and Joe standing at the stern to guide us safely along the river with nautical expressions like: easy as you go, or keep it even lads and even the odd ‘heave’.

trinity tide sailing under tower bridge

looking ever so tiny against the huge structure of Tower Bridge, the Trinity Tide is on her way

Ohmygosh…what fun!!! I was truly in my element, grinning from ear-to-ear like a cheshire cat.  I could scarcely believe my luck.
What an experience…..I can recommend it to anyone….although I am not sure that you would be able to go in the Trinity Tide, but you can sure take a ferry along the river.  The views of the city are marvellous and although the tide was out and the water so low I could probably have walked along the river (kidding!), it was just amazing to sail beneath the bridges and see the buildings along the embankments from that perspective.

london bridge

the underbelly of London Bridge, thankfully not falling down that day.

The Cap’n and his crew hailed and cheered the Green Man and the Trinity Tide and even 3 Days in London got 3 cheers….what fun!!
We made exceptionally good time, those blokes sure know how to row….and before we knew it, and way too soon for me, we arrived at Bankside.

green man welcoming party at bankside

the Green man arrives at Bankside…let the festivities begin!!!

And an extra bonus….because we were so early we (the rowers not me!!) rowed almost to Waterloo Bridge and then back down again, all the while the Mummer and Green Man wassailing along the Thames.
We landed safely on the beach (Churchill would have been proud), where we were met by a group of Mummers and others.

twelfth night festivities mummers at bankside

The Mummers waiting to greet the Green Man

Quick as a flash the Green Man was gone and I didn’t even have time to say goodbye 🙂  I climbed out the boat with huge reluctance!  The embankment was lined with revellers and spectators there to see the arrival of the Green Man from the Thames, watch the Mummers and join in with the celebrations and Twelfth Night festivities.
Their costumes were just brilliant and the characters enchanting!  I said goodbye to the Trinity Tide and crew and all too soon they made their way back along the Thames to Deptford.

the trinity tide leaves for her return voyage to deptford

goodbye Trinity Tide; bon voyage and thank you

The play was in full swing by the time I found myself a good vantage point and although I could not see very well or hear much of what was going on, the bits that I did get to see and hear were uproariously funny.  At the end of the play, cakes are distributed – a bean and a pea hidden in two of them. Those who find them are hailed King and Queen for the day and crowned with ceremony.  The little cakes were duly handed out and King Bean and Queen Pea were identified, they were crowned and the whole jolly group set off with revellers and spectators trailing behind to the George Inn for the next bit of the tradition.  I ran like mad through the back streets (it’s really useful knowing my way around!) to get to the George Inn before the crowd as I really wanted to record them arriving….which they did with great noise, pomp and ceremony!! What a brilliant experience.

mummers at the george inn southwark

the Holly (Green) Man arrives at the George Inn, Southwark amidst much noise and ceremony

I can highly recommend that you put the 6 January 2015 into your diary and head on over to Bankside for next year’s festivities.  Snippets of information in this blog are from this site; do visit it, it’s brilliant.

If you would like to join me on twitter  where I post information about London I would be delighted.  I am also on facebook and if you have any photos you would like to share of your London experiences, why not join the growing community of people who love London.  Thanks for dropping by and reading this blog, I also blog about London at 3 days in London.  So if you are in London for 3 days….or perhaps more, do feel free to visit the website for some ideas on places to visit and things to do and I wish you a wonderful stay.

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According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s probably shouldn’t have survived,

This is because our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent ‘spokey dokey’s’ on our wheels. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags and riding in the passenger seat was a treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the same. We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy juice with sugar in it, but we were …never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded. We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no DVDs, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends – we went outside and found them. We played elastics and rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut, and broke bones but there were no law suits. We had full on fist fights but no prosecution followed from other parents.

We played knock-the-door-run-away and were actually afraid of the owners catching us. We walked to friends’ homes. We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we didn’t rely on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round the corner. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of…they actually sided with the law. This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you’re one of them. Congratulations!

Pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow as real kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.
For those of you who aren’t old enough, thought you might like to read about us. 🙂

The good old days.

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