The interesting views and matters from the recent referendum have already been a past, but where does the whole thing go?
We have seen several articles about the prices of the houses or the goods in the supermarkets, with the former to get dropped and the latter to rise.
Assumptions upon assumptions, even TV episodes are part of today's life of a Londoner showing which way to follow and the obstacles, always based on assumptions.
Deeply inside me, fear is an emotion which already conquered the life of the traders in the stock markets too.
Why do they decide about the life I want to live?
I know the answer as it has been given to me already: we live in a capitalistic system.
We are wondering whether the country is passing through an identity crisis. Is the result of referendum affecting the life of people in London?
We do not know and we do not want to make assumptions either.
It is still summer, for of both of us: politicians and people. Sometimes, I would not call them politicians as all they care about is the throne of power in the party. Until further notice from the government, enjoy the lovely British Summer, sun and rain at the same time! We love it!
A new Year came on, inevitable phenomenon!
We could not avoid it as another circle in our life in London has finished and New One opens.
But what is it for us in this New Year? Are we going to get wiser or richer or better?
I do not know but what I know is that the wise people with deep values do not expect the change of the year to start a new resolution no matter what their ultimate purpose is.
They work silently step by step using their values as compass to direct them to their goal. They do not force themselves to do anything as their values are deep engraved earlier on their life.
These values work as the power engine of their life.
Where do you find them? Rare but Everywhere, they do not talk about their money how big is their house and what car they have got. They talk about everything else and share their experience and some of them share their wealth too.
What are their values then one might wonder?
They care more, they strive to benefit the people in the community. They put others first. They have friends, real friends in this big city, and do not care how many friends they have in the social media.
They pick the phone to call you and to learn about you and not gossiping. They offer assistance and a shoulder to put sometimes your mental burden on. They open their house to have a lunch or supper with you.
Let's go and find them and talk to them or let's become one of them!
London, a vibrant city but harsh too, let's make slightly different one step at a time!!
Sometimes all you need is a strong will to get off bed on Saturday morning in order to see some ''hidden'' places in London. And then that's it.
London gives you options and opportunities to go around and enjoy food and coffee.
Now all neighbourhoods have some food markets, delis and independent coffee shops. There is always time to explore.
So we have decided to taste the food being offered and sold in South London. We visited Druit St Market, and Maltby Street market and Ropewalk and then we walked towards Shard.
We placed some photos for you to get triggered to do the same.
What we have seen was a circus of colours, food smells and people, all well mixed.
We tasted ice cream, cheese, fried duck, and fruits, in other words foodporn.
We believe Londoners that have not had the chance to go for holidays yet have a great opportunity to enjoy themselves going around in food markets, thus forgetting life concerns and sorrows for a while.
Hidden London, not just thing in my vocabulary when all you need is a just a bunch of good friends. The rest is just a simple procedure, remember the ingredients placed in the shaker to have an enjoyable ''cocktail'', called superb day:
- the invitation
- the place
- the response,
- the pre-gathering
- the gathering itself and then
- the willingness to explore more away from the busy London central areas. Greater London is becoming even greater with friends.
Thanks, George, Neki, Sophie, Elena, Chrys, Nick, Vicky. Enjoy the pictures and oh...By the way you can ask us about these places.
We have written before several times how ''ruthless'' London can be. How the living conditions have become a serious issue for several thousands of people as they can not afford it at all.
Why then, we do not move away from this city? There is always something which keeps us here stuck in the city.
I can not imagine the reason is just a job we hold or a house we own or both, it is more than that!!
It is more than a materialistic connection a deeper one, one which makes you connect with people and the surrounding places.
Recently, I have been in places that I have not been there before namely further West London. I am impressed by the people and beauty of small alleys, street and their fight to have a very decent, peaceful and happy life. London gives you the impression of a cosmopolitan city with thousands hidden, peaceful and picturesque corners which keeps you away from the city rush and stress. I think this is the reason that keeps you thinking that we are part of a London tale, a modern one.
A few days have already past since the beginning of 2015. I am trying to recall a few unique moments from the last year. By mentioning unique, I mean the extraordinary ones. I have not done it yet but I want to do it with friends and family, not just by myself. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once said the ''humans are political beings'' and I translate that as ''we exist to communicate' even if we do not do it effectively. Those unique moments will be shared and I feel the sharing process will convert them into something more deeply engraved into my memory. I am not sure whether you buy into my idea to do the 2014 reflection of your life in London but I will like to add a video made last year representing how I feel getting into the dawn of the year: elevation into the sun, enjoy it, and I will be waiting for your moments too.
Is London getting prepared for the new Year 2015? Are we all getting prepared for new Year's resolution?
Are we ready to face the new challenges? Are we ready to co-exist peacefully and help other people to help us? It remains to be seen the same day next year!
I can not wait for this Christmas festive period to arrive: what is the reason you might wonder.
You might say that you know the reasons for this wish.
Let's bet then you do not really know! What I can tell you, it is not the food, it is not the party time either, nor the shopping, it is not the Christmas bonus I may get from my job either.
What is the reason, then?
London people, citizens and tourists, will stop rushing from one place to another. They will stop chasing trains and will not face any type of commuting chaos. All of us will be able to relax, enjoy the moments and have a proper rest. We will able to meet family and friends that we have not seen for a long time sharing unique pieces of experience or to exchange a few hugs and smiles. And all ''this'', this coming Christmas time, or every Christmas time, so unique celebration! I feel this is something extraordinary, amazing and touching. One smile and hug are enough to make us forgetting all the pain and sorrows we have had for the last months. I wish I had the magic skills of Santa Claus to see from the chimneys the faces of the people on these coming Christmas days.
However this coming Christmas period made me wonder where my friends are, what they do, where they go. As a result of this, in order to see my friends, I visited some places, streets, cafes, restaurants that I have not seen for years, in other words, I went out of my comfort zone with regards to going out and learn a bit more about London living.
When I was in high school, I had serious arguments with my teachers about the existence of modern art museums around the world. I was wondering what ''a bicycle hang by the ceiling'' can offer to me or even to the society. Gradually, and with the help of two great friends, a music composer and architecturer/engineer, I managed to have a different angle/view at some things in our life through art. You might wonder how art appreciation can assist us towards this view. Sometimes it is difficult to analyse or explain but I will make an effort.
Through our life experience, we create some kind of ''solid'' views in our mind (Do not ask me why this is how I experience it). This experience could come from everywhere and could be anything but I will name a few : school and further education, church as institution, work environment, parents, relationships and socialising. I feel that these pieces of solid views create a kind of ''frame'' which is then embedeed into our mind and/or soul.
When we go to see a piece of art, and for example, we see a black square on canvas (Rothko), those ''frames'' are challenged from every ''corner'', thus
- We might say to ourselves: I can do that! (However, it was the artist who did this black square first and not you or me),
- We might wonder what is so unique in a painting of Rothko or Miro?
If we read the history of the painter then we start understand more about his way of understanding and thinking and then method of painting,
- Although, I consider myself as capable of drawing a few sketches successfully or in other words If I show my sketches to people they will understand clearly what I am trying to draw, however when I tried to draw by copying some other more complicated sketches from famous painters I failed miserably. That made think and understood that even simple drawing is a skill, a so unique skill, so are other forms of creating art.
- ''This is shocking'' , we might utter for a painting of Picasso or black/white photo showing some exposed flesh of human body.
All theses thoughts might disturb our ''frames'' and can create some serious provoking thinking, something which makes us humans.
Let's go out and visit London again, see its buildings and galleries, its streets and sculptures. Let's discuss with our friends what we saw and learn something more today.
Several years ago, it would be a rare thing to hear about strikes in London. Nowadays, it has become a frequent phenomenon.
What else is becoming a frequent phenomenon? An increase of poor people leaving in London, (I have heard a new term ''undies''), the rents, the food bills, the tube tickets, no end to this list.
You will need £4.60, peak time, to go from zone 5 to zone 1. With £4.60, I can buy: a pint of milk, a punnet of tomatoes, a bread loaf, a bag of chicken nuggets, a white cheese for salad 200g and a pasta spaghetti bag).
London is demanding city which ''pushes'' its citizens to the extreme. The last few days several articles
have been published describing London life. The picture is:
- Several negative adjectives such as expensive, ruthless, noisy have been used to describe some aspects of London living. Technology, previously presented as a saviour and mainly internet has invaded our rooms the last decade but it did not reduce my commuting time and the M25 is the biggest car park in the world during rush hour. Google might have launched the technology glasses but the several areas in London remain unclean and badly developed.
A recent estate agent research appeared to place London at the top of list of most expensive cities in the world. Services sector, mainly banking and IT, has rocketed its salaries while manufacturing sector salaries remains massively behind.
Human beings are strong organisms biologically and they become even ''stronger'' when synergy and symbiosis exist. And what I meant are the following (our guide for better London living):
- Make friends, I mean real friends, not in social media, but friends in life where you can go out to discuss everything with them. By the way, ''friends'' means also sacrifices, and fights with them, not only pints of beers and cups of coffee,
- Stop, stay in on Friday night and do nothing. Go out on Saturday afternoon. Having a hectic week and going out along some other thousands of people sucks away your energy, you feel exhausted,
- Think and breathe, make a little plan for the week, just going to pub and drink until you collapse does not make always things better.
Human beings can not develop a relationship with objects, fighting to acquire the best car ever does not make you even a single second happier. We get stuck with objects and then quickly we develop depression because you can not communicate with objects (Ask psychologists for this)
- Ask and share or help as much as you can. Ask for the best coffee shop and/or pub and invite some friends to enjoy the company and the place. What is the point me having everything while some other around me suffer? Even a little help creates miracles,
- Start talking to local authorities about issues and present the problem along with a solution, and participating in schemes that make our life easier,
I am sure that you can suggest some other ways. By all means, feel free to add your comments but
London living conditions can only get better when everybody is on board. Because London can be a very nice place to live.
Several years ago, I did a marketing strategy report for one of big coffee shop chains that we might all recognise. I learnt a lot such as there are only two varieties of coffee in the world, Arabica and Robusta, and the various tactics that the coffee buyers monopolies used to distribute the coffee around the world. Since then a lot of things in the coffee making industry have been changed where new smaller companies are able to source coffee of unique flavour from around the world. I hope the coffee producers have managed to earn a little bit more money than before.
You might wonder why I have written all this. It was Saturday when I was about to meet my friends, somewhere in St James Park. At that time I was wandering around Angel, until I stopped at a book shop. I love books, I have got to admit, and once I saw it, without any hesitance, I grabbed the opportunity, and bought the book: '' The world of encyclopedia of coffee '' . (See further below the front cover)
After a few pages reading on the tube trains, I realised that I knew nothing but few things about coffee.
My conclusion: Coffee making is a science and:
- There is no coffee drink without coffee bean roasting,
- Guatemala: a country with one of the best quality coffee beans in the world,
- Espresso: coffee beans that have undergone extra roasting process (and not pronounced as expresso),
- Kona Coffee: one of the best quality coffees in the world, too
- Frappe: a the cold drink, originated in Greece, made from instant coffee and ice cubes, and sugar if requested, using a shaker. Milk is added after making the coffee drink. The end result is a frothy drink. The so called ''frappuccino'' along with other paraphrased ''frappe'' drinks are just milkshakes.
Coffee drink making is an art, therefore the best coffee is not found in the big chains, there are mass producers and they just want to sell. Personally, I believe that the best quality coffee shops and cafes in London are two: the Doppio (Kentish town) and Monmouth (Borough Market). They sell coffee beans and coffee drinks. If you know an independent coffee shop and cafe, let me know: I will visit them and we can write a few things about them, too.
Coffee drinking is a social event and not a shopping event. When I see cafes closing at 5pm or 6 pm, I ''worry'' that the owners might not have any relationship either with the art of coffee making and/or socialising.
It was Saturday morning when I was invited to a secret place to check ''something'' and then, I would be free to follow my usual morning routine: good coffee and walking into some "new" places in London.
I got my things prepared and I walked to the tube station: destination London Bridge tube station. I was fortunate to have my friend as guide, as we walked through the little alleys by the Shard tower and finally after 5 minutes walk , we found the "place".
A few metres from this gigantic glass tower, there is a garden producing fruits and vegetables.
I could not believe in my eyes, not because of a garden but because of the existence of a garden in a such small distance from the industrialised office pool of high buildings. I managed to have a chat with David, the project supervisor, who was very willing to give us a tour. Neither fertilisers nor pesticides or any other lethal substance are used to cultivate these vegetables. Pure organic fresh produce!
By the way, there are some hanging baskets with cherry tomatoes outside the garden where people can take off the basket for free.
I was told that there is a restaurant which buys some of the fresh produce and they are looking for some new customers to support their project. Feel free to visit the garden and if you know a restaurant which can buy some of their produce, it would be of a great help.
I placed some pictures to see the garden but also I placed a photo of the gift I was given by David:
the London giant courgette, amazing!
London keeps alive by constantly providing innovation in food production and taste,
London taste is sky-rocketing.
I did not mention previously that the garden belongs to a team which helps homeless people.
I must admit I travelled around the world and I heard a lot of people mentioning that all the cities during the night become more beautiful and attractive. How do they achieve this?
During the night, with a bit of colourful lighting: blue, orange, red, the buildings and objects can be converted into architecture and design miracles, however when the day light comes back again, this beauty disappears.
Does this apply to London, too? I will leave it to you to think and observe.
I have decided to show some pictures of London during the night, different to the usual ones, not only buildings.
You might still wonder what methods or means I used to take all these pictures?
I can tell you: bus, tube, on foot, and several times the lifts to go to the top of some buildings,
I challenge you to do it, you can discover unique views!
If you want to find out which buildings, I visited, why don't you visit the London-Living ''contact'' page and send us an e-mail with title ''London by night: buildings'', we will send you back which high buildings we used for free to take some of our pictures and enjoy the unique views of London.
I have got a promise for you: The more ''likes'' this post receives, the more pictures I will upload, enjoy!
Learning the tricks of London tube map: all the station pairs, within walking distance from each other
The usual London tube map does not show the geographical point of each station. Based on electronic chips, the tube map shows an understandable and standardised representation of the stations.
In this London Living post, we have decided to show you which stations, from 2 different lines, are close to each other, within walking distance: 3 to 4 minutes walk (no more than 300 metres).
Some of these stations appear on the tube map far from each other.
We show pairs of stations where the two stations do not belong to the same tube or overground line:
1. Bayswater (Circle) - Queensway (Central)
2. Euston square (Metropolitan Line) - Euston (Northern, Victoria)
3. Regent's Park (Bakerloo) - Great Portland Street (Metropolitan)
4. Warren Street (Victoria) - Euston Square (Metropolitan)
5. Aldgate (Metropolitan) - Aldgate East (Hammersmith, District)
6. Finchley Road (Metropolitan) - Finchley Road and Frognal (Overground)
7. Tower Hill (Circle) - Tower Getaway (DLR)
8. Wood lane (Hammersmith) - White City (Central)
I am sure you might find or know more cases or pairs, but let us know please and we will update the post. No such information is available from any application for smart phones.
London always makes efforts to keep the attention of the world onto its area. This is done through different ways, and one of them is to participate and organise athletic-sport events. This time was the
Tour de France-2014. I am not sure why and how London has managed to achieve this: Interesting!
We went there to see the athletes-cyclists to compete through London roads.
You just bought some food from your local grocery shop. Most of the times this food is wrapped in some kind of packaging, plastic or paper or metal (tin). Have you ever wondered where all this packaging ends up?
You might say we put it in the rubbish bags which are left outside of our premises, either on the pavement or in the rubbish bins.
I was wondering how many thousands tonnes of rubbish are produced per week in London.
You might argue that there are several recycling initiatives in London councils, you might even mention that some of the food stores follow a scheme with the regards to plastic bags re-usage, but is this enough?
We all know that the appearance of rubbish on the streets can ruin our view of a neighbourhood beauty.
I was reading recently an online article where I found that pieces of plastic end in the ocean and it possibly gets into the food supply chain through fish again, in other words, we might eat some plastic back!
Please, feel free to search on the web search engines the term: the great pacific garbage patch, you will be shocked by the pictures and information with regards to where the plastic material can end up.
Recently I made an online research to find the population of London. Several resources were saying around 8.3 million. Why so many people have gathered here in London compared to other cities in the UK? Since we know that the living conditions in big cities are not better than ones in smaller places or rural ones, people still gather in big numbers in London.
Many conversations have been triggered in the past creating a favouritism to both living conditions but what really makes London so attractive?
London might be now world's financial centre, however I believe the variety of landscape colours, their contrast, and their ''ability'' to mingle so well with the nature green is what makes London so unique.
One more observation the dominance of one colour: red
Does this mean that London is beautiful city and really make people stick here?
I decided to put some pictures just to trigger some thoughts or to motivate you to observe the colours
around you. I will be waiting for your thoughts.
I was wondering if any of us has done any time mapping in their life before.
What I consider as time mapping is to write down in time chunks what you have done throughout the day, and then check and review it, and then ''what'' you might wonder: See where you wasted your time doing nothing and eliminate it.
We constantly rush in London going from one place to another. Many times I saw commuters' faces including myself on the tube platforms depressed, upset, half asleep, possibly without breakfast, cold in the morning. Why?
I personally feel that the time passes by and is wasted easily in a big city like London. Have you thought that we might not have a goal for the day? Purposeless days, I will call them.
Does a habitant in the countryside feel the same? I do not know.
If you live outside zone 1-2 you might need more than 30 minutes to go to central London to meet your friends for a cup of coffee or pint of beer, but even if you don't, you can easily spend wondering around having a good time but doing nothing.
Why so many online retailers offer ''one click away'' option for online shopping? Is that because they do not want to be wasting our valuable time or something else?
I feel that companies buy our free time every day to be in the office and then based on individual skills they pay us the corresponding salary. Time is extremely expensive as it is not coming back again,
I believe we should make sure that everything, done by me and you, adds real value to our life and to the ones of our co-habitants.
Think, Where and how do you usually use your priceless time?
Public transport or your own transport in London? Car, tube, bus or bicycle?
Let us think about the cost of having a car in London by using a real example:
- The car owner lives in zone 5 area.
- A medium size engine used car of around 50000 miles cost around £2000 (1.5L engine),
- A driver with a driving licence of more than 10 years with no claim bonus:
Insurance cost: £1000 meaning £83 per month
Note that if you do not drive a car for more than 2 years, you will lose the no-claim bonus in the UK.
- Home work distance: 25 miles x 2, cost of petrol apprx £160 per month.
- Car service: 2 per year: £80 x 2 = £160
- Changing or replacing worn parts per year: £200
- Average of £113 per month running the car without petrol cost,
I do not include any London congestion charge or renting any parking space.
Think twice before you make an decision as cycling and public transport might be a better idea.
I can see commuters using the folding bicycles where one can find good ones for less than £150 .
There are a lot of options available now, from renting a car up to combining several transport means including walking.
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