Monthly Archives: November 2013

A walk in the city

I walked to work on Monday. I know, I’m as shocked as you that I actually did it.

Here’s my route:

Google says 3 hours and 9 minutes to complete. I say 2 hours and 40 minutes.

I was planning to set off at 6, but as it was I woke up at 4:15. Very very awake. So I took at as I sign that I should get out of bed. And I did. As usual I listened to a bit of the old iTunes while getting ready. It’s always on random but it was as if iTunes knew what I was about to do. First song up: Jesus Walks by Kanye West. I thought that was cool. 2nd song was Rambling through the Avenues of Time by Flight of the Conchords. I was ready to go. It was 5:40.

And dang, I haven’t been out that early and in the dark for a while. It was really quiet. Yes, very quiet the whole 4 minutes until I hit the high street.

Early, still dark.

Early, still dark.

The roads were fairly quiet. My high road is one of the main roads, if not THE main road to London from the south (sussex and Brighton), so to see it quiet is not normal. North I headed and hit the next train station Streatham at 6:01. This is a walk I do pretty regularly as my local is very close to the station. Did I say walk? More of a crawl from here to my house. The next station Streatham Hill I hit at 6:17. At this point I way trying to decide whether Streatham is worse in the dark as it’s all deserted or if it’s worse in the day when you can see how crap it is. I just mean the high street. It needs some help. Probably some more nice big trees would help it stop looking so unfriendly.

Streatham!

Streatham!

Oh and at 6:05 I started sweating. I thought it was going to be much colder out, so I was well bundled. It was at this point I had to undo my scarf and open my jacket.

It took a while to get to Brixton from here, crossing over the South Circular and heading down Brixton Hill. I was trying to remember if I ever walked to Brixton before. The answer is no. I’ve cycled quite a few times, but never walk. It is about 3 miles away so not without reason. In fact, I normally take the bus there. It was here in Brixton where I had to look at a map to remember which way to go. Luckily I didn’t need to pack a map as there are helpful map signs across London.

Now, which way do I go again?

Now, which way do I go again?

It was the only place I needed a map along the journey. I knew where I was going, but I was not sure which road I needed to turn down to get me there the quickest. Very helpful these signs are. My arrival in Brixton was at 6:48. I thought I may be making pretty good time, but it was hard to judge. Brixton was also the first place along my journey where the London underground came.

From here it was a short 13 minute walk to Stockwell. By this time the sun began to light up the sky a bit. I checked sunrise before I left the house and le Google said it was at 7:35 or so. It was nice to see the sun’s rays beginning to show.

The sun begins to light a Monday morning.

The sun begins to light a Monday morning in Stockwell.

I was trying to make it to the river by sunrise as I thought that might be nice. As I only had a half hour I thought I better kick it into gear. My next stop was Vauxhall at 7:18. Vauxhall is always busy as it’s a tube station, a train station and a major bus hub. And it’s right next to the river. It took another 6 minutes to maneuver all the crossing, all the while dodging bikes, scooters and cars which seemed to all be doing illegal movements on the highway. Luckily I made it unscathed.

Hey kids there's the London Eye!

Hey kids there’s the London Eye!

Arriving at the river, just to the East of Vauxhall allowed me the lovely view of the Houses of Parliament. On a side note, it was Vauxhall where 2 of my co-workers and myself met this summer on the “Walk to Work Day.” I remember meeting there at 7:30 and arriving just after 9, so I knew I was making alright time to get to work on time. This time I was also going a more direct route.

The tide is high as the morning arrives in London

The tide is high as the morning arrives in London

From here I was really enjoying the walk. If you have to walk to work, the South Bank of the Thames in Central London is not a bad place to be. And by this time, 7:24, the city was well awake. Lots of cyclists, people running, shops opening and many others scurrying around trying to get where they needed to be. 

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

It was somewhere around the London Eye when my feet started hurting. I was 2 hours into my walk and I had shoes which were well worn and not the best choice in foot ware for walking this far. My main concern was blisters. I didn’t want to get blisters right before going on a holiday where I’d be walking extensively. Luckily I stayed blister free. So 2 hours in I got to the London Eye.

Eye

Eye

It’s a nice area to walk through when it’s not jammed with tourists. The street cleaner was rocking through cleaning everything up before the throngs of foreigners arrive. I thought I’d be a tourist and take a picture of myself at the eye. I look old and ridiculous. That’s what happens when you get up at 4:15 I suppose.

And retouched on iPhoto as the photo was very dark!

Retouched on iPhoto for your enjoyment as the photo was very dark.

The sun was well on it’s way up as I headed East along the river towards Waterloo Bridge. And walking along this stretch of the river is one of my favorite things about this city. Waterloo Bridge is also the bridge I cycle over everyday. So from there I was roughly tracing my normal commute. Really I couldn’t have planned it better because the sun finally made it’s way over the buildings when I was nearly over Waterloo Bridge.

Nearly up!

Nearly up!

First glimmer.

First glimmer of the ball of fire.

One thing walking does is make you soak in all that’s around you. It was a great sunrise. But had it been any other day I would have seen a couple seconds of it on my commute in and thought “yeah that’s nice,” and gone back to focusing on not being run over. But having walked I had time to appreciate the view. And I’ll always remember this as the day I walked to work. It will stand out in my memory.

I arrived on the north side of the river at 7:52, which is about 15-20 minutes earlier than I normally am at this point. I headed up Aldwych and Kingsway. At 7:59 I arrived in the LBC.

That bit of brick across the road separates the boroughs of Camden and Westminster.

That bit of brick across the road separates the boroughs of Camden and Westminster.

I headed up Kingsway and into Holborn and Bloomsbury. I kind of forgot to mark down times of arrival as most of my brain thought I was already where I needed to be. Fail.

The sun's rays reach the Brunswick Plane.

The sun’s rays reach the Brunswick Plane.

And finally at 7:20, well ahead of schedule I arrived at St. Pancras. I was so chuffed that the weather was so nice for the walk into work. A bit chilly, but not much. By the time I got north of the river my gloves were off, my scarf was off and all my jackets were unzipped. I was sweating.

You have arrived at your destination.

You have arrived at your destination.

In total it took 2 hours and 4 minutes. That’s nearly a half hour ahead of schedule. Not too shabby. I was a bit sleepy and hungry when I got into work, but overall I felt great. I was very relaxed. Much more relaxed than when I arrive by bike. An hour or two later though I started stiffening up. My cycle ride home was fine, but today I was very sore and felt tight in my gluts all day. Who knew walking was such a good work out!?

The walk was great and I hope to do it again sometime soon as well as the reverse walk. Some company would be good as well. I think the biggest thing I got out of the walk was to keep things weird. Do something out of your normal routine sometimes. Make a memory or an event. You never know what you’ll glean from the experience. Me: I got sore butt muscles and strange looks from people at work when I told them what I did. Plus I got to see London wake up, which was something I’ll never forget. The walk also set me on the right mental path for the week. I have felt great so far and I think that will last into the weekend when I go away.

Any ways, my bed is calling. I hope you all give walking to work a shot sometime. Let me know how it is. Take care everyone and have a nice Thanksgiving (for you Americans out there).

Advertisements
Categories: London, London Walks, Walking | Leave a comment

Yellow

It was a nice week this week until Friday happened. Then things went wrong. I got sick. I turned yellow. Everything was yellow. Just like the Coldplay song. But now I’m better. And extremely sober. Sober is nice for sure. Water is delicious! Yum. And I need to stop looking on the internet convincing myself I have alcohol induced liver damage. Cause if some of my friends don’t have massive, life disrupting liver damage (based on their drinking habits), I certainly don’t.

Yesterday I had an excellent day with friends Laura and Kerry at the football. I dragged them along to Craven Cottage for the football. Despite Fulham’s dismal performance, we had a really good time. The over all feeling of the three of us was that the footballers needed to try harder. They really weren’t trying hard at all. I could have made some of the goals the boys missed.

Craven Cottage

Craven Cottage

After a long walk post match, we took the train back to Streatham to settle in for a night at the pub. It was a very nice evening solving our own personal problems and the world’s problems. Unfortunately though it ended with me bolting out the door. The people next us started messing with (i.e. popping, touching) the balloons they brought for their party. And if you know anything about me, it’s that I have a fear of balloons. So I waved good bye to my friends as I ran to the door. Probably a good move any ways as it was late and I was the only one still sober in the bar.

Any ways, Piccadilly and I have spent our day quietly puttering around the house. Laundry, eating, washing dishes sweeping, and drinking lots and lots of tea. Generally making my life less of a disaster area. It makes thinking easier when everything is in it’s place. I’m easily distracted by the need to suddenly clean up something. I realize this. But trying to stave off the overwhelming feeling to go and clean up the dishes in the sink suddenly is beyond my mental strength most times. Now that everything is in it’s place and my faffing is done I can write on my blog. It’s only taken 10 hours.

This morning I read this article in the NY Times from a guy walking around the world. It’s worth a read. Yesterday I probably walked about 6 miles in total. It was a nice day and got me feeling better after Friday. Yesterday’s walking and thinking about walking has me thinking tomorrow I will give walking into work a try. I’ve left my bike at work, so I need some alternative to getting there any ways. And well, I have been meaning to do it all year. It’s just under 10 miles to walk there. Google tells me it will take 3 hours to get there, so I’ll need to leave before 6 AM. It’ll be a good way to further clear the muck and mire from my brain. As it’s going to be just around the freezing point, I’ll likely lose a toe or two. I think it’s worth the sacrifice.

So I will try to take some photos and post my route tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it. Anyone else done a walk to work?

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

And then some other stuff happened.

First off: I stayed on budget last month. Well….basically. I had the same amount of money sitting in my UK bank account at the end of the month as I did at the beginning of the month. So in my mind I succeeded. I had money stashed for USA, so I kind of had a get out of jail free card the last week. Thank goodness.

So, hey. Hi. Welcome back to a new installment of Life by Colleen.

I’ve stalled on this update because everything has been so scattered, fragmented and weird in my brain and in my world, I couldn’t pin down anything to specifically write about. But now I realize I can write about the weirdness. Basically everything is the same in London as when I left for the states. Same places, same cast of characters. But there’s been drama, break ups, storms, sickness, new beginnings and revelations. Like there’s a whole new set of rules and there’s no going back.

And with all the traveling I’ve got in the next 8 weeks, it’s probably not even worth trying to figure out what the hell is going on. And definitely not worth explaining it all on here. I think I’ll just keep living in the moment and see how it all shakes out.

So this happened:

branches fall down go boom

branches fall down go boom

The St. Jude storm hit 2 weeks ago now. We’re still dealing with the clean up. It wasn’t even that large of a storm. . A few people’s cars were damaged in the storm here. Some trees fell over. Luckily, where I work, no one was hurt or injured. I’m very grateful for that. I did get to use my hand saw and secateurs, which I never get to use any more. That was really the best bit.

So besides that I’ve been drinking beer a few times. My Scottish friend Adam was in town for the weekend and we visited a few breweries in Hackney. We were mostly at London Fields, which was a pretty cool place to drink. We went on the tour and got loads of beer shoved down our throats. This resulted in me walking out of the brewery with a full on buzz at about 3 PM. Classy.

conditioning vats…not so much tanks.

conditioning vats…not so much tanks.

Last week I took the week off from drinking. It’s likely I’ll take this working week off again too. I’ve been not feeling 100% and I’m certain drinking a load will not make me feel any better.

Oh, I’ve also been introduced to the world of rugby. I went to my first rugby match a week and a half ago with my co-worker Rob. It was England vs. Australia…….legends. So not the young fit guys. It was the old guys still trying to give it their all. In some ways it was way more entertaining.  It was a really good time. Afterwards we even got to go out on the field and run around a bit.

The rugby

The rugby

I’m looking forward to giving some pumpkin pie to my co-workers tomorrow. I whipped by hand some whipped cream tonight and I think I may have hurt my right hand in the process. 2 hours later, it’s still hurting.

Nothing much else to say at the moment! I’ll be traveling a bit this month. I’ll be sure to take some photos and re-live the memories here.  And I’ve got a load of books stacked up waiting to be read. Currently, I’m plowing through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. So good! I hope you’re all well. Ta ta.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.