Tag Archives: london

bus rides, bus jams, free birthday doughnut,but no free hamburger

7 Jun

london 4.47pm 20C cloudy/sunny wednesday 2017

saw lots of leaves and branches on the sidewalk around this estate as i waited for the bus to the library this morning. the estate  roads are lined with trees, and the pavements are littered with leaves , green leaves too which suggest that they have been forced to fall off the trees. must be some wind yesterday or last night. 

yesterday one of the branches fell across the road blocking the bus 88 ahead of mine, forcing the bus driver and a black cab driver who was behind him to get out and move the branch to the side walk. that was the first evidence to me that the wind must have been very strong at one time.

so there must have been a strong wind yesterday when it rained all morning… but i cant say i noticed it. inside my flat i dont hear anything. i only noticed it raining practically the whole morning…

i was out too yesterday, wanting to go and get my free hamburgers, in a pop up restaurant, called biteme, who are having their soft opening of 3 days inside a chinese restaurant near holborn.

when i arrived there about 2pm, i went downstairs , it was in the basement, but it was so deserted, no one inside, that i chickened out and climbed back up the stairs. haha.

well today i thought i shall try them again but at 12pm … thinking they might have more customers … but i was too early, i went at 12.30pm, or rather i went at 12pm but it was so deserted looking that i decided to go to the nearby krispy kreme to get my free birthday doughnut which they gave me via a email voucher. it was just because my birthday is soon. i got a cream doughnut with very sweet cream filling…it reminds me they are so sweet…once a year is enough for me.

at 12.30pm i tried them again, and saw a woman come out of the place as i approached, so thinking it might be more open now i went down, and saw 3 people huddling over a laptop, and i saw the counter with the biteme name on it, with two cooks there, and fresh minced meat on the counter… all ready to make up into patties and fry in the flat hot top behind them. but there was no one to serve me, i asked the cooks and they say take a seat, and i saw a group of people come in and they were taken to their table by a waiter who  appeared. there was a single guy who came and he too got taken to a table. i unfortunately was allready seated at a table, and i know a lot of waiters dont like u to just take a table without their permission, so i got up and walked forward, but the waiter was no where to be seen, so after a bit, i got a bit embarrassed and decided i shall give up on it… haha. the voucher is for 2 of their mini hamburgers, and i cant help thinking it cannot make much of a meal. normally it costs about £8, but this is a soft launch so u can get it for halfpriced. anyway i think i have made enough of an effort and can with good conscience cross it off my list to do. i think fate is  telling me i am not going to have that hamburger. haha. they want u to sit down and have a meal in the restaurant. it seems a lot of bother for two small patties of hamburgers. the selling point of the restaurant is that they make smaller hamburgers so u can order a variety of it and have different tastes and different hamburgers to enjoy. 

i find i enjoy travelling on the buses… usually it would be pointless to just take a bus ride without a destination, so this aborted aim is something to go for, just to let me have an excuse to ride the buses. now that my foot is so much better, and i can make my way easily without aid, i am enjoying being out and about in london.

i have noticed it is very slow going on the buses at the top end of tottenham court road and holborn. so many buses with a huge bottle neck near the centre point intersection, and also cambridge circus. it must be the traffic lights, causing all this jams, because once clear of cambridge circus , it is empty roads. i got the 38, and i can see behind me a row of 38s, stretching out along the road, a string of them… all catching up with each other on this stretch.

i went back to chinatown to that shop that was selling the reduced foods, and bought a 12pack carton of that instant noodle. i have allready finished the 5packs i bought last time. it is rather nice, made of rice noodles instead of that instant mee, and i find it much more to my liking than the instant mee. and at 10p each for 70mg it is great value for money. 

my induction stove went wrong and righted itself without any help.

16 May

lolondon 12.05pm 20C sunny tuesday 2017 thunderstorms forecast, but does not look likely here. rain would be good as they have predicted a drought.

yesterday i went to lidl’s to buy their special , £1.29 for 500mg minced beef. i bought 3 packs and split them up into two 250mg bits and frozed them, so i would have 6 portions. used to be these packs were sold for £1 each. normal lowest price now is £1.70 (tesco basic minced beef 20% fat). it seems so long ago that they were 50p each(15%fat). (actually it was about 2-3yrs ago)we shall never see those days again. haha. but that is life, prices just rise all the time. partly due to inflation, and also exchange rates with the £ drifting lower as the years go by. money is slowly losing its value, and this is all over the world, not just in uk.

yesterday also i was resigned to my induction stove being kaput. i boiled spaghetti and left it on the stew button and on the timer (that timer is so useful), and the water spilled over (which it tends to do esp if u put the lid on) and it must be quite a lot of water, because it the induction hob was sitting on a lake of water on  top of the conventional hob, where i put the induction stove. i did not realise it at the time, but it flooded the bottom of the induction stove and must have affected the fan, because it stopped heating up the pan once the fan stopped working. it did not heat up even though everything else seems to work.

so i told  simon about it when he came back from his mum’s, intending to ask him if his mum has a spare induction hob;  with news that his mum is finally going to sell her house in essex, (she does not live there, preferring to live with her boyfriend of many years in his house). they assessed the house as worth £400,000. it has 3bedrooms and end of terrace. simon grew up in it and has fond memories of it, as he says it is surrounded by the countryside, whilst still 10mins between two tube stations. such a low price i thought, but than it is only relative. living in central london i am rather used to high prices, as central london prices are so inflated it is quite unreal. i mean my own two bed flat here is £700,000. u have to admit it is quite unreal, when i bought it for £85,000 (though that was 25yrs ago).

the maintainance of the house is high, simon says, her water rates are £1000 a year. which surprised me because mine is about £340 and i am not on a meter. 

 but guess what, this morning, i saw it was used to cook something, by simon. he had a frying pan on it, with oil inside.  so  it works now, but how did that happen? what did simon do i wonder to get it working again. (he tells me he did nothing).

 when i switched it on, i can hear the fan working and everything seems to get back to normal. so i cooked my breakfast of two eggs, and mushrooms on it and quite happy to have it working again, because i am so used to the quick way it cook things, that i would feel a bit bereft if i have to go back to the electric  stove of my conventional hob.

that is the funny thing about electrical appliances. it goes wrong, but u just have to leave it for a bit, and it seems to right itself. well, i am rather glad it got better without me having to bring it to the store. and as usual, it has just passed its 1 yr guarantee. i looked back on my weblog, and saw i bought it 22april last year. in fact, i went looking for the receipt, but could not find it, so i could not claim the guarantee even if it is within the year… so just as well the stove righted itself. 


london’s weather is ideal

12 May

london 2.36pm 18C clouds/rain/sun friday 2017

its warm, but getting everything… rain, clouds, sun, haha. quite a nice day actually. we get a bit of everything but never so much that each outstays its welcome. to me, its ideal.

i have lived here in london many years now and it has gradually dawned on me that london has the best weather… i even  dare to say it has ideal weather,  because of a day like today, and what is more, it is nice all year round. its winters are very mild, summers are never swelteringly hot, and spring and autumn are so variable, they can go to extremes without it going off the scale. a cold spell in spring or autumn never gets to be a killer, nor if there is a hot spell, it is never that hot. when the headlines say there will be a heatwave, in spring… it means it goes up to 22C. haha and that is nothing really when places can get 40C as a daily temperature. i personally think temperatures in the 30s are unbearably hot, esp when they last for days on end.

i daresay this ideal weather in london can be said to apply to  the south of england too. though i dont have any personal experience of it. all those expats who travel the world searching for the ideal place may well find that in the end, the south of england is best.

room to let in london, for others i mean

29 Mar

london 12.46pm 14C cloudy wednesday 2017

reading this article about a very small flat that got viral with everyone criticising it, and this article interviewed a young guy who actually lived there about 2-3yrs ago when he first came to london at 22yrs, it reminds me of my situation too when i first arrived here in london . i too found a bedsit in kensington, it was so long ago i had forgotten where it is, i could not find it again even looking at the map of kensington. it was on a very busy road full of traffic. because it was a bedsit there was no rental agreement to sign or deposit to hand over. it was very simple which i like. electricity was a coin operated meter in the room.

 it was a tiny room, enough just for a single bed and a stove. i share the bathroom/shower with the others. not that i ever see them. and it was fine, the rent was very low, though i cannot remember exactly how much. i think it was £20 a week, i know impossible to get nowadays. but it was the early 80s. it was very central that was what attracted me to it. it shows you dont really need a fancy place to stay when u are starting out in london. all those who are so fussy about where they live dont have their priorities right. you should not be spending so much time in your room, go out and enjoy everything that london has. the time to stay in and want a nice place is when u are old where u can watch television all day. haha.

i am reminded of rooms to let now  when i got a message yesterday from a gay website ,from a bulgarian guy who has moved to london and who i have been chatting too since he came to london.  he asked me if i know of any room to rent long term. i remembered a friend of mine used to let out his spare room, in crystal palace. luckily i see this friend’s posts in my facebook, so i sent him a message via messenger and he said he has a room vacant. so i have put them in contact and hope it has a nice outcome. 

marches in central london

18 Mar

london 1.37pm 14.7C cloudy saturday 2017

another weekend, another protest march.

today there are two of them, 6th anniversary syrian march, from marble arch to oxford st to merge with the against racism march from portland place to parliament square. the routes for them seen here in this link.

i saw mention of the anti racism one when i googled , so know to avoid that part of london, but did not know of that syrian one. but luckily i avoided both of them. i took the bus no 2, from marylebone, at about 12.30pm even though the bus stop warned there will be no service of that bus from 11.30am onwards. the bus 2 route dont really go down oxford st, though it does go through a small part of oxford st at the marble arch end;   and any marches starting from there will block the route. but from that twitter website, it seems there were not many people going on the syrian march, and so they  delay it by an hour. well when the bus i was on came to that end of oxford st, there were no one marching or carrying banners there. no litter with their protest slogans at all.  not a single sign to show they have been there.  perhaps they have all moved on to oxford circus and left the area round marble arch. if so, they are very tidy haha. maybe after 6 yrs of doing it every year, they have got a bit bored with it. haha. 


 some commenters  on that twitter site were talking of traffic and ordinary people being inconvenienced by these marches. and tomorrow there will be more disruption as the st patrick procession will occur. ah well, perhaps the businesses in that part of london gain from having so many people come to london for these things. after all , those marchers, and those coming to celebrate st patrick, will need to eat and they might even be tempted to shop. who knows.

but what about many others like me who avoid going to that part of central london. perhaps there are very few people like me. though from my experience, even for people like me, there is no need to avoid that area at all, seeing that only the buses are disrupted , and the tubes are normal. so perhaps it really dont inconvenience any one really. i would say the biggest people affected are drivers. but then, no one in their right minds should be driving in central london anyway. i think drivers in london are the bogeys , no one cares about them . haha. they get less road every year, as more of it is taken up by bike lanes, which are mostly desserted most of the day. then if that is not bad enough, there are the bus lanes, where they are not allowed to enter. and i am not even mentioning the parking charges, if u can find any empty spaces , and the congestion charge. 

added. 7.58pm 14.2C what do u make of this, i happen to take a look at the sunrise and sunset times 

Mar. 18, 2017 Rise Set
Actual Time 6:07 AM GMT 6:10 PM GMT
Length of Visible Light 13h 09m
Length of Day
12h 02m
Tomorrow will be 3m57s longer.

so it looks like today is the equinox. or even yesterday was the equinox. but it will be interesting to see what happens as we near 21st march. i had a look at the same time in 2016 and saw i made the same observation that year too but on 19march 2016. i forgot to take a snapshot of the situation on the 21st 20th march 2016 to compare. this year i shall, just to see what it gets up to on the 21st , if it is not equal day and night.

added. google tells me 2017 spring equinox is on 20march 10.29 GMT


water bill

14 Mar

london 9.20am 11.3C cloudy tuesday 2017

1.10pm 13.1C cloudy

water bill came in the post today to tell me how much it will be this coming year. the first tranche is £155.83 to be taken on 1 april 2017, the next tranche will be £155.82 to be taken on 1 oct 2017. its actually about £2 cheaper than last year. my flat is the old fashioned kind, where we share a water tank so we cannot install individual meters. the whole bill is about half -half divided between water usage and sewerage costs. they calculate it according to how many rooms u have in the flat and how many people live there. so water is one thing that i dont monitor, so i let everyone use as much as they like. but since neither of us do much laundry, or take baths anymore… showers are so much more convenient. i think our water use is very low but without individual meters we dont really get benefit from it. but ah well, when it is a community charge and everyone gets to pay the same, we kind of accept it.  just being grateful that we have running water and our sewerage is taken care of. now and then i remind myself how fortunate we are to have running unlimited supply of water on demand. it is one of the undervalued joys of life. i have lived in times,(growing up in malaysia you get that) when drought or broken or burst pipes have made water rationing a necessity, and know how bad it can be to the quality of life not to have running fresh clean drinkable water on tap.

here in london i save a fortune not having to buy bottled water. used to, until i came to my senses and realise i am not living in a third world country or even some parts of europe where water is undrinkable straight from the tap and you have to buy bottled water. 




a slow period

31 Jan

london 9.17am 6.3C cloudy tuesday 2017

 first time this year that i had my pass checked by a bus inspector. i  noticed that recently the bus announces to all that there are bus inspectors operating, and to log in their pass as soon as they board the bus. i remember thinking oh are they saying that to frighten people to log in when there are no inspectors about really…

well, this morning on the bus,i noticed this young guy in ordinary clothes board the bus, and taking out a bulky gadget, that looks like a mobile and logging it onto the reader near the bus driver, and i thought it was someone operating his apple phone to pay the bus fare. then he walked up to me, and i thought he was someone begging. until he mentioned my pass, then i realised he is a bus inspector.

usually they are in uniform, and they work in pairs; so everyone notices when they board the bus and get ready to take out their tickets, or bus pass to show them. but he surprised me this time.

he went upstairs and later came down with a chinese guy and they started talking outside the bus by the bus stand. i wonder if it is a chinese tourist who did not know the system… you might say how come tourists dont know our bus system, where no money is collected, and no ticket seller comes round to sell u a ticket. but long ago when i visited europe and they have this system in place, i was caught out , and when i could not speak their lingo it was italian, and they cannot speak english, the inspector got so frustrated that he just told me to go after he got me out of the bus. it was lucky for me, because i was on the way to the airport to catch the plane home.

i wonder how they handle the tourists who cannot speak english who they caught trying to dodge paying on the buses. or who dont know this cashless way of paying the bus fare. if they dont speak or read english they will find it really difficult to get the information, because nothing in this uk is written in another language other than english. you would think london being so international and having so many visitors from abroad will write their notices in other languages, but it is not so. though nowadays with smartphones and their instant google translation by just photographing the sign, it is not such a big problem like in the past. 

the bus was practically empty , at about 1pm. i have noticed everywhere is quiet. where are the crowds of people? and the supermarkets seem to have less goods on display.

certainly brixton was so low in chilli and ginger, that yesterday i came back without buying any, simply because what they had to sell was such a small amount, and quite old too, for 50p. i thought i shall go back after a week or two, and hope that they will have replenished their stock and start selling them at the normal amount. i am used to this seasonal change in amount. in summer we get more of it. though this winter seems to be particularly scarce at least it got to the stage that i notice it. haha. most probably it is just after the big spending that occurs before a big festival like the  chinese new year that has just gone.

 added. 2.2.17thursday i went back to brixton and bought 200mg chilli , 300mg ginger for 50p each. asda sells chilli £4/kg. 

and this morning i was at the chinatown grocery shop and there were lots of gaps in the shelves and the shelves have fewer goods on them. hope it is not due to any difficulty in sourcing them from overseas. though i think it is just their workers not being able to catch up with restocking the shelves after the long holiday over the chinese new year. i see piles of stuff in their packaging, still left there by the shelves and not sorted out.

nice pattern made by these ivy like branches clinging  to the wall at the back of the tate britain. 

8.08pm 7C raining.