Category Archives: London

Are you feeling less than excellent?

If January has left you feeling dismal and you’ve resorted to buying daffs and eating hot cross buns in an effort to hurry Spring up a bit, maybe a class at the London College of Excellence will sort you out a bit.

Yes, it really exists. I discovered the London College of Excellence on a bus map out at White City today and it gave me my first belly laugh of the year.

It made me wonder what went on there – and what other daft colleges there are: the College of Niceness maybe, or the College of Mediocrity (credited to my friend Anna) – so of course I had to get online and check it out to see what’s so excellent about it.

Having now done so, I wish I hadn’t bothered. Their website is about as dull and uninformative as it’s possible for a college website to be. Click on the page titled ‘Courses’ and you get no information whatsoever about courses. Definitely not excellent. Perhaps it should be renamed the College of Can’t-be-arsed. Much more appropriate for this time of year.


London’s first snow

This morning London got its first snow of the season…

I know it doesn’t look like much yet but it is still trying.
Fingers crossed for a white Christmas.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Since Saturday, not only have I been wandering around singing Chris Rea’s festive ditty Driving home for Christmas, but as I’ve been singing it, it’s been accompanied in my head by a moose.

Apparently this moose is making its second annual appearance in Hyde Park because last year someone YouTube’d it…  Singing Moose

It’s been two years since I last went to the winter fair, when it comprised a couple of crappy stalls, some even crappier rides and a rather pretty big wheel. This year it’s ginormous – the rides are endless and look great fun and there’s tasty-looking food and booze on every corner. And a singing moose. What more could you ask for?

I can’t wait to go back and have a go on the dropping thing and the top-hanging rollercoaster but I think I’ll hold off with the burger-eating and glogg-drinking until I’ve had my fill of spinning and whizzing around. My stomach’s not as strong as it used to be and a marzipan potato might tip me over the edge.

The weather

As much as yesterday’s government absurdity aka ‘happiness index’ made me unhappy, nature worked damn hard this morning to redress the balance and gift me with my second best favourite kind of weather – fog at its thickest consistency.

Apologies to those of you who have no interest in the weather (G!) but I do.

I might not care about isobars and all the other html of weather but I care very much about the colour and texture of the sky and it gives me a weeny bit of pleasure on these autumn mornings to look out of the window and try to gauge what kind of hat I’ll need to tether my unruly hair against the elements.

They say small things please small minds but as the weather is fairly infinite in its largeness I can only assume…

Psycho on the buses

You’d think that a prerequisite for being a London bus driver would be to be a wee bit patient. Patient with the traffic, patient with all the stopping and the starting and patient with the STOP bell ringing all day long.

This morning, I waited to get off an almost empty 19 bus, having pressed the bell once. Just before we got to the stop, the bell rang again. The bus driver stuck his head out and started shouting at me about “…ringing the bloody bell”.

Rather surprised at being sworn at before 8am, I told him I hadn’t rung the bell again. Which made him get even more angry and start shouting about how he couldn’t see anyone else wanting to get off. At which point a man came down the stairs and waited to get off.

“Would you like to apologise now?” I asked as he finally opened the doors. He didn’t.

I think I’ll have to add that bus driver to the same list as the dog crap bag dumpers.

Bring on the revolution!


As a winter-lover, I’ve been waiting for the change from summer to autumn with a great deal of impatience, so this morning I was one happy but slightly cold bunny when I saw this beautiful grey fog hanging over the river.

100% Design 2010

I’ve been going to 100% Design since 1996 and if the giant pile of bumf I willingly collected is anything to go by, this year is possibly the most interesting it’s ever been.

So here’s what caught my eye, in no particular order. Sorry if I miss out any credits.

Polymer Clock by Pottinger and Cole
They also do one with very lovely orange and grey hands and can change the polymer colour too if you ask nicely.

There was a fair bit of creatively used concrete this year and this company (whose name I forgot) had a rather wonderful sort of etched feel to their concrete wall.

Heavy Light Collection by Benjamin Hubert
I remembered to card-gather by the time I saw these great concrete lights. But I do think they’d be even better if they were made from Litracon.

Trace of Time by Ilgu Cha
A noteboard with an adjustable timer mechanism. As the hand moves around the board, it wipes off all the things you wrote on your ‘to do’ list.

Birdhouses by Gavin Coyle
Each one is unique and hand-made from bits of wood most people would chuck on the firewood pile. I want the bottom-left one.

Bramcote bench by Edward Robinson
There was something a bit warm and fuzzy about this beech bench. It made me think of wet dog and snowboots.

Flatpack chair kit by Dan CivicoI’m a generally a big fan of furniture that you get to play with before you use it and this one looks great before and after assembly. Surely this has to be the perfect chair for people to send their kids off to college with.

Dan Civico was just one of a showcase of designers from the North East of England exhibiting together under the banner.

So that’s my top pics from the 2010 show. Hopefully 2011 will be even better.

100% Design