Tag Archives: london

random musings

10 Jul

london 10.50am  22C sunny wednesday 2019

 

 

 

very garish colours of summer flowers, these are the ones growing in the communal gardens in my housing estate, now. added. i googled the image of the flowers, and google says they are marigolds. 

when i say housing estate it conjures very ugly housing, but it is not so in mine. it was built in 1898, the first london council housing. and very pretty it is too, with red bricks and the block of flats set in pattern and tree lined. it used to be millbank prison. this area must be very unsavoury in those days for them to think of siting a prison here. right next to the river too…and they boarded the prisoners to the ships that are bound for australia from the banks of the thames here too; 

just goes to show that in olden days no one wants to be near the river, as it is swampy , prone to tides and most probably because it must smell awful, as the river acts as a sewer in the old days. now, everyone fights to be near the river, with river views commanding a premium.

the picture of the hamburger is the one i took at belushi’s, when i went there for their £1 burger yesterday. it was a very dark corner of the pub, and i took it without a flash, because i could not access the flash in my camera. i am surprised it came out quite bright, when i thought i would just get a dark blob.

it was a rather nice burger, with lovely smell of barbequed beef. that smell is quite difficult to get nowadays. the reason being that many of these high end burger places cook it lightly, to keep the middle slightly red. to keep it tender. but this one even though cooked right through was still very tender, which is good of them. i think the secret is very high heat. but whatever , it was lovely to get that smell of barbequed beef. heavenly.

later i saw a chap eating a hamburger with a knife and fork, and i thought, 1) his hamburger is much smaller than the one i got, 2) they dont give us knife and fork at belushis, we have to eat it with our fingers. i suppose we could ask for knife and fork and they would give it to us, but we dont mind. 

lucky i went to wash my hands first at the toilet. usually i find it difficult to eat with the hands, but this one was very manageable. even though the bun was big, and the meat was big.

they provide lots of bottles of sauces on the table, but i did not put them on, as it just makes the whole thing very messy if u do and it does not need it really. it would mask the taste and smell of the meat and defeat the whole purpose of the exercise.

and two of the malaysian women who are regular goers of these offers were seated there allready enjoying their burger. i went there at 12.30pm, actually i arrived in the area at 12pm, but felt it was too early and went wandering in the nearby  lidl and poundstretcher shops before hand. so it was nice to have their company while we ate. they live near hounslow , west london, so no wonder they chose this branch of belushi’s, in shepherd bush, as it would be nearer them. and it was a coincidence that they chose the 12-1pm slot as well.

in the evening i thought i shall go to trafalgar square to see the opera, marriage of figaro. i arrived just after 7pm, when it starts. lots of places to see it really as the square was not full. you can even see it on the outside of the fenced area, without needing to go through security if u wish. but if u stay outside it does mean you wont be committed to staying… and that means you will be tempted to move on, like i did. there was a lot of speech singing rather than actual singing, if u know what i mean.

anyway i just wanted to wander about, and appreciating the sight of the buildings around trafalgar square, and the people and just savouring the atmosphere of being in the middle of london in this pleasant warm evening.

so i strolled along to chinatown, and sat a while in leicester square looking at the people, and then popped into two grocery stores in chinatown, before they close, and bought a flat and a thin noodle £1.15 each.

and looked at the queues forming to get into some restaurants in chinatown, and not in others. very curious phenomenon, where one place would have long queues to get in, whilst next door no one is in it. 

added. 11.37am, how nice of them, just after writing the above, i saw an email from them saying they are giving me a 2 for 1 voucher to use from now till the 20july..

hottest day in london

29 Jun

london in the pimlico library. 3.19pm 33C sunny saturday 2019

the forecast hot spell has arrived and it is 33C as i write. but i was out and about, having gone to shoreditch boxpark, near liverpool st station, to get their vegetarian lunch box, which gosh is giving out in exchange for a postit note that u write  a few words as to what u are going to do as a good deed. and then pin it on their board.

i got  falafel balls with lentil salad. the falafel was nice because of the spices in it. you cannot fail with spices , put it in anything and it will be nice, whatever you do with it. the lentil salad was a bit dry. not much dressing in it. 

it is not that i crave a vegetarian meal, just that it is a nice day to go out and about, rather than stay indoors. but also, my telephone line has gone down. dont know why, but with it down, it means i cannot get broadband too, as they are linked so i cannot get online with my chromebook. 

the tv still works without the broadband, because we still use an aerial to get our tv channels, rather than rely solely on broadband. but there is nothing on tv that i want to see now in the daytime program.

even though it is such high temperatures now, (another weather website says it is now 35C!) it is not uncomfortable. i have been out in it, and i can say it is quite pleasant actually, even inside the tube trains, it was pleasant, because the ventilation fans were working, and able to cope. if anything it is the buses that cannot cope, it is quite warm inside the buses. mind you it is the first time i am wearing shorts outside, so that might be the reason why i felt so comfortable in spite of the heat.

in the library, it is very pleasant because it is airconditioned.

the boxpark which is made up of shipping containers  and not airconditioned, were hot, which puzzles me why there are so many people in there.  it did not seem to deter the beer drinkers, who filled it full. it was lunch time, and none of them were eating, they were all drinking… but it still does not explain why so many people are hanging about in the city of london. those beer drinkers look like office workers, rather than tourists.  i thought the city is closed on the weekends. 

today is not a working day, i thought.. unless.. i dont know it but does the city still works on saturday morning… does it? if it does it will explain why so many people are hanging about in the city at that time.

added. 8.10pm 31C sunny . the phone line has come back, so i am able to get online again. i came back from the tesco near me. it is closing tomorrow, and a lot of shelves were empty. some guys scooped up all the seasoned chicken that were reduced allready and had it further reduced to 88p by the final reductions shop staff. now i am wondering if tomorrow they will reduce everything in the store. 

london ends where toby carvery begins

15 Jun

london 12.11pm 18C rain saturday 2019

just now i saw my first fly of the year. so it took middle of june for the fly to appear in my flat.

now i see it, i am reminded that it is rather rare to see them. i dont think i saw one last year. or maybe i forgot. whatever the reason, it goes to show they are rather rare to see.

i see more moths , the kind that eats wool than i see flies (what we call domestic flies, i wonder why we call them that, or is that a term that is not used nowadays and kinds of date me perhaps) in my flat. but neither of them bothers me, in that they dont bite or suck blood. unlike mosquitos, which i have never seen in my flat in central london ever.

now i see lots of adverts about father’s day… it is on sunday, tomorrow. most of it seems to be about food. huge steaks it seems. and free beer. only one chain restaurant offers the father a free roast dinner, i think it is tobys’ carvery. they dont have a presence in london. at least not in central london.

this article says london ends where toby carvery begins.

life

9 Jun

london 6.30pm 17C cloudy sunday 2019

this weekend is very quiet for me. even though lots of things are going on in london, the naked bike ride , eid festival in trafalgar square, the queens official birthday , all this on saturday. its nice to hear of them, but thank goodness i dont feel i am missing out if i dont go to them. i only went for a short time to the eid festival in trafalgar square, but did not stay long, preferring to go on to the virgin lounge. i did toy with the idea of staying longer at the virgin lounge so that i can see the naked bikers as they pass it, later in the day, but i decided to get the bus back, and was pleasantly surprised to find the roads clear, earlier on the bus going there there was a diversion and quite a jam as the road from parliament square to trafalgar was closed. i think they were closed for the tail end of the d-day celebrations, there are a lot of war memorials along that road.

every year these things come round and are observed and i include the naked bike ride , and all the festivals. people get off their routine to attend these celebrations and make a bit of fuss about it. but for those of us who live here, in the middle of it, it might be we get a bit bored with it…

hmm, makes me think of that adage, about london, if u get bored with london, you are dead. or something like that… well, i should clarify myself, and say we might be bored with these official celebrations, but not with life in london , the ordinary day to day living that still have lots of things to interest us , the small things, the details. 

 

perks to living in london

5 Apr

london 12.05pm 13C sunny friday 2019

5.16pm 12C cloudy

7.29pm 11C cloudy. sunset 7.40pm

i have not been out all day and wondering if i should go again to the supermarket, maybe sainsburys, to buy something, usually i  would buy the milkpowder, and the frozen fish, which are still good value for money. the milkpowder especially is the cheapest. i find i use so little of it, that it lasts me 1.5month instead of 3wks. i stopped putting it in my oats, and just use it for my coffee. the frozen fish is about the same price as tesco, but i will buy it from sainsburys because there is a offer of a bonus 50 nectar points for every purchase in sainsburys this week. on the whole sainsburys are more expensive than tesco. whilst i go more often to lidl now to buy my basic foodstuff. though i still go to asda for their toilet paper, still the cheapest . but it is no point going to the sainsburys at late evening, as they dont reduce their food prices at the end of the day. so it looks like i shall be staying in all day and not bother to go out. i like staying in london, but not for all the touristy stuff that abounds here… like the art exhibitions … the van gogh and later in the year the william blake exhibition, touted as the largest exhibition of his works to date. i have long ago not bothered to go see art.

i know, i am in london… the home of the biggest , largest and most famous works of art in public view, and i dont go and see it. people might say what a waste , and maybe scold me for not really using my position living in london to the best advantage. people come from all over the world travelling far and spending lots of money to come here to see these things, and here i am not bothering to go . but that is life isn’t it? i see it so often i am not interested anymore.

instead i just enjoy the small pleasures that living in london, (and any big city) will give  to its inhabitants. and extra unique items that only in london do i see offered to us living here. such as free public transport on trains, buses, tubes for over 60s,

the extremely drastic slashing of food prices at the end of the day by the supermarkets(i have never seen this in any city anywhere in the world). also dont forget there is no vat on fresh food, so that it makes these fresh foods very cheap. and helped by lidl and aldi with their changing  6 items of low priced foods every week. and the basic items in other supermarkets that have low prices. 

free food and coffee offers  and such like offered by restaurants as they open new branches, or promote their businesses.

free newspapers with special offers with coupons like the £1.99 beefburgers and fries from macdonalds, or subway (the food chain) offers.

then there is the free libraries, where can borrow books to my hearts content or read the newspapers free.

also the free wifi that is available all over london , so it is easy to get online free anywhere in the city.

and vast network of buses and tubes so that it is very quick to go anywhere using public transport. and hardly any long waiting times either, as they come so quickly and at such short intervals.

then there are the surprise finds in the recycling bins of really useful items for the household. i dont know anywhere in the world where u can find this perk, i have furnished my flat using the finds that i rescue from the recyling bins over the years.

and dont forget the tv . very watchable and interesting programs from the bbc and commercial networks that do not require a paid subscription. though u could say the bbc is a paid subscription as the annual license fee is compulsory so that is not free. but if u are renting a room, you dont need to pay that , as it is the landlord who will pay it. but you could argue that it is paid for in the rent. haha. mustn’t forget the huge amount of flowers and plants that people grow in london, you dont need to go to the countryside to see them, and enjoy them close up and right by where u live. spring especially will find lots of flowering plants right in the heart of london where u live, you dont have to go far to see it and feel it even. there are so many public gardens, every housing estate has one or even more, where the gardens will have changing plants growing with the seasons. 

 

 

 

a day of free meals

28 Sep

london 8.02pm 13.7C dry night friday 2018

i got a email from steve, this morning, when i woke at 10.30am about a free mac and cheese lunch at debenhams, oxford st starting from 12noon today. i allready have booked  a free meal this evening at a pub in elephant and castle. i was half thinking of giving the lunch a miss, but then i realise it is so near me, it does not take much effort to just wander there. so i did. and steve was there, near the head of the queue. not many when we arrived, but it later got busier. it was a very filling meal, it was macaroni pasta in melted cheese topped with meat , or veggie. mushrooms was one of the veggie options. i got a spicy chorizos with halloumi, which turned out to be melted as well. so not a good choice as it made the dish very salty indeed with so much salt in those cheeses. it costs about £5.59 usually. if u are hungry it would really fill you up. actually when i compare to what they are charging for mac and cheese in spitalfields market, this one is quite low priced.

then i went to liverpool st, spitalfields market to get the free icecream given away. this icecream is not sickly sweet, so i like it. they will do this promotion for another two days.   there were lots of people there, sitting around eating, listening to a band playing. i passed a stall selling brisket of beef. it looked very good, piles of meat . there was a sample board and i took two slices to eat. and found out they are very salty. they look so tempting, but the salt puts me off so that i lost all desire to eat anymore.

i might go again tomorrow, to get another eat of icecream, and visit the library there to see if they are open and have the daily papers.   i went in there to read them today after eating the icecream. those papers look unopened and it seems not many people go in there to read the papers.

the free meal at the pub in elephant and castle was very filling too. for some reason they gave me two portions. each portion consist of 3 small burgers, with different meats. and i got another tray of it . steve and his wife were there before me. they were sitting with me after their meal, for us to chat, when the food came and we were all surprised at me getting double rations. they were too full to eat it so i had to eat it myself. 

i thought i would be very slow getting served as there were two large tables with huge numbers of people allready there, and they were drinking beer and wine. but they never did get any burgers. so i dont know why , because they had numbers on their table just like us. so they must have ordered the meal.  still i am glad the kitchen was able to cope with the large numbers.

in the end, i was so full, (made worse because that mac and cheese really filled me up), that i just ate the meat and left the buns. as i noticed others have done the same too. it has been ages since i went south of the river, to elephant and castle, and the whole area  has certainly risen up in the world. so many high rise, and they got a sainsburys!! and the central roundabout, that used to be such a mess of underground tunnels for pedestrians was no more. they have buried all those tunnels  and just made the whole thing above ground now.

the actual shopping complex in the old elephant and castle building does not look at all as if it is lively. the building is all dark and looked closed. i wonder what they have planned for it. i was expecting it to be pulled down and a new classy building rising up in its place.

in the past, it housed the clothes stalls, and food stalls, run by small businesses. i was thinking they will be turfed out to make way for more expensive businesses i expect. though i hope it wont happen and they try to retain the market stall groceries and small wet and dry market type businesses.

not much profit in those unfortunately, if u want to preserve the low prices you will have to charge low rents. that is why those kind of markets are doomed to go extinct. 

added 3.10.18 a clever way to make mac and cheese for one. 

mundane things

27 Aug

london 18C dry bank holiday monday 2018

i just had a thought, just now. i was thinking if i were in malaysia now, i would be thinking of going out to eat, and deciding which of the many hawker centres that i can go and maybe even thinking of calling some buddies to see if they will join me. but here i am in london, and i was wondering what places will be open on this bank holiday monday and cannot think of any except the chain restaurants like kfc, or macdonalds, or pizza places like pizza hut, pizza express. but the choice will be limited . as for calling friends to join me, forget it. here if u dont make an appointment days in advance, no one seem able to just join you on the spur of the moment… you could say it is because most of us here will have plans allready made, unlike most malaysians who are not so organised, nor want their days planned so well, so they can allow for friends calling them up on the spur, or even they themselves doing it. that i notice is the difference between people in s.e.asia, and over here. perhaps life has changed for people in malaysia now, and that kind of impromptu calling up and meeting up is no more. but i dont think so, somehow i have a feeling that people are more people orientated in the east. we like the face to face meetup i think. or at least that is what i think i would do if i were ever to find myself living there.

its possible that people like to meet up because  the tv programs in malaysia are awful, so that is another reason not to stay at home. here, it is not so, the tv guide does throw up some interesting films or programs that i find i would stay in for.

also i think in malaysia, people are not so tied to a fixed tv schedule. they can watch films on demand, or buy dvds. in other words they can stop and view at a time of their choosing. here we can do it too if we subscribe. but spur of the moment phone calls to meet up are not encouraged here. at least in my experience.

one thing i suspect might affect meeting up in malaysia, is if it is rainy season, when it is too wet to be going to the late night hawker stalls and drinking teh tarik and gossip.

but i wonder if that is a vision that i have that dont exist anymore in malaysia, and people there are just like here… keeping isolated and surfing the internet for porn and finding sexual contacts to fill their leisure time. haha. 

added 9.33pm hmm, i am seeing a tv program on bbc2 by adrian chiles about his drinking. i dont drink, but i can see how most people here will be like him, socialising in the pub with friends and drinking heavily. or rather, drinking normally, because if he were not questioning it all, he would have considered he is normal and have no drinking problem. because the old idea of alcoholism, is some one waking up in the gutter and not knowing what happened. during the program they were drinking 7pints in the pub. each. how anyone can drink that much water is beyond me… the trouble is , even on his high drinking, his liver function is normal… only on scanning do they find his liver has fibrosis, and fat. so i can see why others watching this might say all those scientist saying only allowed 14units a week, may not be correct. and it seems different countries advocate different limits. which suggest no one knows really what is the optimum limit. (some of us might say no alcohol is the only limit to say to people. that alcohol has no health benefits at all.) but i can see the socialising is all centred round pubs, and if u stop drinking, your social life may die, just like that.

28.8.18 added here is a review of that program.