Friday, July 25, 2014

London again

I know, I seem to live there at the moment don't I!

Before I tell about my latest adventure I must mention my updated cover photo. That's our beautiful Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' shown against the blue sky yesterday. The colours made me gasp they looked so beautiful with the sun illuminating the leaves.

In the photo below you can see the boomerang-shaped seeds, just like those of the common sycamore but in red. This tree used to live in a pot at our previous house but now he's settled quite happily in ground in the front garden where he's protected from strong winds by the hedge and just gets the morning sun. It's a stunning tree in every season.

Right, back to Londonium.

This time I was heading back into the City to help the corporate sponsorship team from ARUK with a pitch to gain the support of a company named Withers who are based in Old Bailey home to the Central Criminal Court.

My train times were not very helpful and so I arrived in London far to early. However, this is never a problem as there's always lots to see and do so I took myself off to Borough market again. That's the third time I've been there this year after not having visited for over 20 years!

I knew exactly where I wanted to go; Spice Mountain, to get some spicy bits and bobs. They aren't cheap but it saves on postage if you happen to be nearby and it's always nice to have a mooch around their stall.

I should add that it was HOT and the tall buildings really hold the heat in. This is the view looking towards London Bridge Station from the market and I walked under the bridge to get onto London Bridge to cross the river.

There were a couple of routes I could take and for the way there I chose to walk along Cannon Street.

This sculpture entitled  Break the wall of distrust by Zurab Tsertelli caught my eye. It was commissioned to commemorate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

There was so much building work going on that it was hard to get a photo without a crane jib in it! I like the way this modern building echoed the older building next to it.

As I walked alongside the magnificent St Paul's Cathedral I wasn't prepared for the enormous wave of tourists I had to circumnavigate around the front of the building. It was impossible to take photos at the front as there were people streaming onto the roads as well as the pavement. I made a mental note to take an alternate route on my way back!

I nearly walked past Old Bailey as I was too busy looking at the strange construction work that was going on.

The next 2 photos show parts of the Court buildings but the link at the beginning shows much better details. There were lots of people standing around outside together with Police cars and an ambulance.

I phoned Marcus, with whom I'd done a presentation at another venue earlier this year, and Jade, who's Head of Corporate Engagement at ARUK, to see where they were and they were just around the corner having a coffee so I popped along to join them before they went to set up their stand. After about 15 minutes I went to join them.

Here's the magnificent building I was heading for.

As I entered the building and passed through Security I was struck by this model of New York in the foyer. It was created by Alec Graydon, an 83 year old Londoner with a passion for the city of New York. I asked the Security Guard about it and he very helpfully gave me an information sheet about it. Apparently Mr Grayden was a jazz clarinetist whose heroes included Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, two of my own heroes as I used to play the clarinet too! It is not an exact representation of the city but it certainly captures the essence of it.

There were 4 other charities involved and Age UK were sharing a table with ARUK which seemed appropriate. The purpose of this was so that the staff could come and have a look and ask questions during their lunch break before they vote for the charity to support. We only had from 12:30 until 14:00 in which to draw people in so it was an anxious time before people ventured into the area.

ARUK's table was full of leaflets, pens and photos to try and entice people to come and have a look. They'd also brought these gross looking brain sweets with their bright turquoise base.

They look vile and I don't usually try anything like that full of yucky colouring, sugar and gelatine, but I tried one and oh my goodness they were addictive. I had to take some home for Mike to try and he snaffled them down pretty darned quick too!

Marcus had asked me to take one of my marathon scarves along as a talking point which was brilliant because it turned out that they have a staff 'Stitch 'n' Bitch' group which meets once a week in their lunch break so we had visits from all the ladies who are members of the group.

I'd also taken a little handout, outlining why I've been supporting ARUK for the past 9 years (doesn't time fly!) together with my mum's story, which I placed on the tables in the restaurant. I hope some people read it.

We chatted with quite a few people who have experience of dementia in their family and I hope that we helped explain a bit about the disease. Jade's mother suffers from early-onset Alzheimer's so we both had something to contribute but from slightly different angles. 

Lots of people seemed interested in all the recent news stories about a possible cure and of course that leads onto why we need more money for research! 

Now we're just waiting to hear if we were successful. Even if we don't get the vote I feel it was worthwhile as we met and spoke with people who will have learned a little more about the disease and may want to know a bit more as a result.

On my way back I took another route to avoid St Paul's. Everywhere was heaving with people in suits who looked far too hot and when I looked at my watch I realised that if I didn't get a move on I was going to miss my train, the next one being in 1.5 hours. As I really didn't want to hang around the station in the heat the only solution was to run.

Yep, run, in that heat and wearing shoes with wedges! So that's exactly what I did, all the way from Lombard Street to halfway across London Bridge where I stopped to take this photo as it looked so lovely. I probably looked very silly but at least I caught my train so I didn't care.

On the way back I sat next to 2 lovely chatty ladies and when I brought out my yarn for a bit of hookiness they wanted to see how I made the stitches and so I showed them how to hold the hook, do chains, double crochet and trebles which passed the journey nicely until they got off about halfway through my journey. They both declared that they would look for a local crochet group as they enjoyed it so much; I hope they do.

For the rest of my journey I just played around with a couple of colours which reminded me of the sea and sand and so I created a sort of ships-wheel shape.

I've still got a stack of photos I've been taking from my runs over the last few weeks so I really must upload them soon. Tempus fugit doesn't it!

My next marathon isn't until the middle of October but I've got a 1/2 marathon in September and I fancy having a go at cracking the 2 hour barrier (my pb is 2:00:59) - oh look, there goes a flying pig………..

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