Woah...just noticed that this month marks the start of the TENTH year of this blog...whoever would have thought?
Way back then (when I were young) we had just moved into our Earlswood house from the penthouse flat in Dorking -
- and I had been starting to play around with what gardening was all about (having only grown tomato plants on the balcony before) - the start of domestication - no kids on the scene (of course) -
- I was working in a (fairly nasty) pre-regeneration Kings Cross commuting with Thameslink (no comment), carrying an SPV-C500 in my pocket running (wow) Windows Mobile 2003 (yes, life waaaay before Android - but it could still -just about- play a converted DVD to entertain me on the train) and playing games on an original Xbox console - -
- on a huge cathode ray TV - HD TV broadcasts didn't even exist for anotherYEAR)...the very first episode of the Doctor Who reboot (with Eccleston and Piper was still around the corner)...7/7 wasn't far in the future...Flyingpops and I weren't even *married* yet for goodness sake!
What has it been? Five(?) different jobs over that time, dragging me all over London (and New York), our perfect wedding day, amazing honeymoon in Mexico and three beautiful children later the amount of ground covered is just staggering! Even the very act of deciding to blog strongly influenced my life - posting something every day quickly highlighted that I needed a better camera - by December that year I had the Sony Mavica, kick-starting a now almost decade-long love affair with photography (largely thanks to that love affair with my wife who spotted it and got the technology moving)...and without that how many things would have just faded into the "noise" of the past... ;)
It's proof - The human brain is just *terrible* at remembering details...Now, I just need to scrape together a couple of hours to fly my precious time machine back through the last decade to refresh things - I can already see that after the March snow in 2005 it was a rather beautiful summer (although it also looks like I have some picture links to fix that have managed to become obsolete over the years, worse luck)! Oh well...! :)
Never thought I would say such a thing, but I was a little bit naughty, I must admit - I didn't have enough money for a proper lunch, so I ate 4 soft iced Yum Yums in desperation, which has deprived some (obviously equally hungry) team-mates of their afternoon snack...I must pay back this mistake tomorrow (thankfully it's payday)... ;)
Not sure if it's cooler to be the Yum Yum Criminal or the Yum Yum Gangster...still thinking it over... ;)
Ahem - "I am the hip-hop-a-potamus, my lyrics are bottomless... ;0" :)
Taken last night when I decided to walk it as the weather was nice (for a huge change)! ;)
Also found out yesterday that we are moving offices in the first week of June - ours will be the very first kit picked up and transported to "The Place" - and after that I really won't have much reason to return to Wapping (bar perhaps a few meetings as the rest of the staff slowly follow us pioneers over the river) nor take the stroll across the Thames via Tower Bridge - so actually not that many more "organic" opportunities to do this sort of thing await me, they will have to be deliberate excursions...I may as well make the most of it...! ;)
...spotted this the day before yesterday (while the train was inexplicably stopped at East Croydon) - I imagine it's something to do with all the building work going on but I'm at a bit of a loss as to explain why (or how they go about enforcing it)...these hashed areas are up and down the platform, accompanied by signs telling passengers that they are not to loiter in the marked spots...How odd! I looked for quite a long time for any sort of reason why you wouldn't be allowed to do so but ended up just shaking my head in confusion...!
I spotted this the other day, right down at the bottom just beyond the glass back wall of the lift, really, unless you were looking extremely hard (as I guess I do), there is no way you would ever notice it (addressing no-one in particular) tucked away in the corner with no obvious way to reach it -
- here is a view of the space it points towards (from the lift when at the top) - you can see to get to it would require you to basically tip-toe along the wall at the side of the Thames -
- and a shot from the bottom (it's pointing at two square yards of paving slabs - and a few leaves - positioned behind the metal structure of the lift machinery)...so what is so important? It's basically saying - if - by a grand demonstration of river-side acrobatics - you have managed to actually get to the sign to read it - that you shouldn't have - these 10 paving slabs are not a public right of way...as if you needed telling...completely pointless!
Spotted this the other day, freshly installed by (Cycle Superhighway) CS3...how very civilised! I can think of a number of times this would have been extremely useful for push chair tyres had we had a few of them in Surrey bolted to the pavement around the place!
A couple of flights of stairs later (as if you actually needed to be any higher up at this point) -
- pushing through a heavy glass door -
- you suddenly (and unexpectedly scarily) find yourself standing back outside...No idea why, just a few feet below I felt perfectly comfortable...now my legs started to wobble (as the wind whistled past my ears)...
...and those little barriers looked just a little bit inadequate for the task of stopping me being blown off the edge...anyway, I overcame my reservations and had a little walk around, managing to get right into the corner to take a (dizzying) shot up to the top of the building -
...which really wasn't that far above where I was standing...! And then, I had quite honestly had enough, the rain was starting to come down quite heavily, so I took one more spin around the level below just grabbing a few shots of the raindrops with the city beyond-
- and then headed back towards the lifts...absolutely breathtaking...I can't help but look over at the Shard now (from time to time) and reflect on how staggeringly tall it actually is (once you are standing right at the top) the whole of the rest of London is just insignificant in comparison...well worth the trip - but if you are paying to do it, do it on a sunny day! ;)
Welcome to the Shard - (the tourist experience now) - it all starts (and predictably finishes) in the gift shop, all very nice-
- extremely shortly thereafter it all gets terribly serious however, a zig-zag tape lined walk towards "Coats off, empty your pockets please", all your belongings are x rayed (exactly the same as at the airport - except you get to keep your shoes on), you pass through not only a metal detector, but also what I can only assume is a T-Ray scanner (large green screens in the middle, monolithic devices mounted on tripods pointing towards one (make sure you are wearing nice pants) -
- and then into the second of the queues, waiting for lift number one (takes you half way up) being told by the extremely empathic lady lift attendant that "It should be cool up there" (I rather hope they let her up there one day to find out)-
-then a very quick break at the 33rd floor to queue for another lift (honestly, they redefine "express", each trip (once you make it into a lift) is only around 25 seconds in length, climbing something in excess of two floors a second - Canary Wharf could learn something)...
Just a quick shot of the lift roof, which is made of TVs showing a crazy montage of dizzying images (I guess to prepare you for what is to come)...
...and then boom, you are out, just a breath of colder air to greet you as you step out of the lift, the windows on this reception level covered in litho (to prevent people stopping and staring until the proper time, I imagine)...up a short flight of stairs....and...WOW...
...thanks to my training living at extreme Z+ levels at Canary Wharf I didn't feel any irrational/rational(?) terror (did wonder if I would do)...walked around (snapping as quickly as I could, as the clouds were getting threatening)-
- and then spotted another flight of stairs.... ;)
So, today was the day, what a shame the weather wasn't too good...(oh well - I guess the cool thing is that hardly anyone would normally do this sort of thing in bad weather, so my pics might actually be somewhat unusual)... ;)
...so I got to London Bridge quite early (had to cab it to Redhill and get on a super early Luton train in order to make it on time) -
- found the Shard Arcade (which I has spied on previously during construction) now open, but it's still a bit shy in the way of actual shops - anyway - at the appointed time, I walked to the main entrance of the Shard itself - was directed to a lift -
- honestly, it felt a bit like playing a tutorial level on a run and gun game ("This way, Sir", "Yes, just up there") there must have been ten people employed to this end (which was the 22nd floor) -
- we had a couple of hours of (very informative) presentations after taking a couple of snaps from this (comparatively low level) -
...and then...it was back down to the ground floor to take a trip up to the top of the world (London-style)...
...and then moving there (well into the baby version anyway)! Wow - the Shard was *small* back then!! Anyway, tomorrow, assuming I can get a train into London from Earlswood early enough for the start of the session at 0745 (just a clue - that's a no - going to have to get a cab into Redhill to catch a different train if I want to make it) -
- I can participate in one of our office's "Shard Event"s (there are so many people involved I think they are going on all week long) but my place is booked for tomorrow morning -
- we assemble for breakfast on the 22nd floor (so same sort of height I used to work at in Canary Wharf) and then get a load of presentations regarding our relocation later in the year (progress/strategy/integration and a background/orientation session from the property group responsible for the London Bridge Quarter structures) -
- and then last but not least a trip up to the viewing platform (hope it's clear weather like today)!
Really looking forward to it, will need to make sure I charge the Canon ready for the morning! ;)