30 September, 2010

Not bad...

...only 8 minutes late in the end...Flyingpops came to pick me up and drive me to Redhill (thank you sweetheart!) but by the time she had loaded the boys and all their things into the car the engineers had managed to get the broken down train going again! Oh well, at least Thomas got to see a couple of trains go past (to a great deal of pointing and chuffing noises)... ;)


Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...broken down train at Horley, no London trains at all!

Freezing cold...

Freezing cold...
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...this morning, gloves mandatory...brr!

29 September, 2010

OMG, the 3DS is gonna ROCK!

Foursquare has a purpose!

The benefits of checking in and becoming "mayor" are really starting to gather momentum now, check out just a few offers near where I last checked in (at the Wharf)-

Lulu and Lush
10% discount to every Foursquare visitor!

Domino's Pizza
Every Wednesday the Mayor of each store receives a free small pizza.

Blue Inc Clothing (London, SE13 7EP)
We'll select one mayor from all our stores every month to win a free t-shirt.

Rosa's Spitalfields (Shoreditch, Greater London)
Free tea every visit

All Star Lanes (London, Greater London)
Check in to be in with a chance of winning an exclusive pair of tickets to Studio East Dining's rooftop Pop Up Restaurant! Good Luck. All Star Lanes

RAAK (London, UK)
New client? We'll give you a 10% discount on your web or digital marketing projects if you find us through Foursquare.

The mayor will enjoy 20% off their food order (excluding drinks). Simply show this screen (which states you are the mayor) to a member of our staff when paying to redeem the offer!

Bean About Town (london, uk)
Check in 10 times and a free coffee of your choice is Free!

LivingWell Docklands (London, UK)
Show that you're the Mayor of Carrabba's and enjoy a complimentary dessert with the purchase of an entrée. Grazie!

- and it's really working too, earlier on in the year McDonalds spent $1000 with Foursquare for a one day campaign and saw foot traffic to McDonalds stores increase by **33%** and Domino’s Pizza has attributed its recent *29%* surge in pre-tax profits to its partnership with Foursquare (mmmm, no mistaking the power of free pizza)...! ;)

So well done Foursquare, turning something a bit geeky and fringe into something with real tangible benefits for both participants and partners! :)

Your Lord and Master...Fink... ;)

Damn, just lost One Canada Square again!

28 September, 2010

Titanium Spork!

Titanium Spork
Thank you Flyingpops (albeit slightly belatedly)! After moaning (probably a little too much) in the evenings, as a lovely surprise - I'm now saved from having to struggle eating my chicken lunches with the tiny children's sized, wobbly plastic Tesco sporks (which they have often run out of - but only because people like me grab a handful when they *are* available, I would imagine)...

Now I have a beautiful, super light and super strong stainless titanium camping spork, complete with full spoon and spork sporting a neat bevelled cutting blade on the other end! Woot... ;)

27 September, 2010

Thames RIB Experience - review

Had a really great time on Saturday, my folks arrived early to pick up Thomas (baby-sitting duty) enabling Flyingpops and I to head off into London, not as commuters this time, but as tourists (which makes a very nice change in my case)...once we had done the journey up (went to Charing Cross), we started off with a leisurely GBK in Covent Garden -
GBK Blue Cheese Burger
- I had the Blue Cheese, Flyingpops had the Veggie and Camembert (which refused to stay in one piece, so highly was it stacked with vegetarian goodness) then we had a little stroll around the area, checking out Trafalgar Square -
Trafalgar Square
- where they had a ship in a bottle on the fourth plinth -
Trafalgar Square
- and I got *very* lucky with the light for this shot -
Trafalgar Square
- which ended up looking almost HDR (but wasn't, obviously) -
Trafalgar Square
- and felt sorry for the poor (unable to pose) tourists visiting - as all the lions were surrounded by giant tarpaulin covered fences (I snuck the lens behind one) to get a cheeky picture...we then strolled down to Embankment (passing hoards of unused Boris bikes) -
Boris Bikes
- to our destination, the Embankment Thames Clipper pier -
Thames RIB Experience
- which, if anything, seemed to be busier on the weekend than during the week...The right hand end of the pier was turned over to the check in/dressing area of the RIB experience -
Thames RIB Experience
- so we went ahead and checked in (being told - contrary to the clear instructions on the email confirmation - that we should have bought our original vouchers with us, but they managed to smooth it over with "head office") and then discovered that the entire river had been closed by the Thames Harbour Master because today was the day of the Great River Race! They admitted that had they realised they would have asked everyone to re-book on a different day, at this announcement a large group of men (a well behaved stag party) all paraded off to the pub, after leaving a mobile number, and we hung around on the pier watching the odd procession of rowing boats parade past (to cheers and encouragement from all the spectators watching from the foot-bridge above -
Thames RIB Experience
- well, I say we, as soon as Flyingpops realised the pier was slightly rising and falling (she was on it for about ten minutes before noticing) she suddenly felt horribly sick and ran back to terra firma (not a good indication of things to come)...! Anyway, when the last of the stragglers hauled themselves under the Hungerford Bridge (about half an hour later) -
Thames RIB Experience
- the two RIBs were able to return to the pier (having been stuck up by the O2 Arena, complete with passengers, for the entire race duration), a quick phone call to the Stag do to summon them back later, we were handed *very* waterproof coats and lifejackets ("Don't pull the red toggle or we will charge you twenty five pounds to re-charge the cylinder") -
Thames RIB Experience
- (modeled here by Flyingpops) and then we were loaded onto the boat(!) -
Thames RIB Experience
- and then (much to Flyingpops relief) we were off(!) -
Thames RIB Experience
- starting with a quick burn down, past the Houses of Parliament and the O2 -
Thames RIB Experience
- learning that the two bridges either side are painted the colours they are to match the themes of Parliament and the House of Lords (same thing with the gazebos where the members and peers nip out for a smoke) -
Thames RIB Experience
- spotted St Thomas' (where baby Thomas got his name) -

- and then zoomed off for the first of several high speed runs (to the theme music to James Bond) I managed a few shaky shots as the London landmarks vanished past us at incredible speed -
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
- (past the office) -
Thames RIB Experience
- past the O2 -
Thames RIB Experience
- and up to the Thames Barrier where we stopped and turned around -

- and absolutely blasted back the way we came -

- the driver demonstrating that RIBs can still operate at a 45 degree angle by pitching us towards immovable objects (including the bank) at about 70 miles per hour and saving us from dismemberment and subsequent drowning only at the last possible moment -
Thames RIB Experience
- my goodness, this thing really had some power, and sat as we were, mere inches from the water it was staggeringly exhilerating...oh, and I can confirm (thanks to our drivers habit of deliberately crossing the wake of other vehicles, pitching us into the air and splashing us with lots of water, that the Thames is indeed a tidal river - the taste is distinctly salty...yum... >;P

Worth every penny, great, *great* fun... ;)

25 September, 2010

Just waiting for the...

Just waiting for the...
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...last few competitors to go past from the great boat race then we are off!

In case you don't know, we are doing a speed boat trip down the Thames! ;)

24 September, 2010

Finks Links #108

Ah, back to Friday once more! Time for a look back over all the things that have caught my eye on the World Wide Webs (for one reason or another) over the last week in one neat package-

First up, ever heard of "Security Theatre"? You have now! :(

Terry Pratchett makes his own sword (and then hides it)...

Contrastive focus reduplication, do you LIKE-like it? ;)

Check out the movers and shakers in the viral video chart...

Thanks gmail! Guess I'll change my password then (this is basically what happened to me a couple of months ago)!

Donkey Kong high score record broken again!

How to ruin a photo...

Please don't be a space invader...

(Sticking with the theme) how about a nice drink of Pac Man?

Rather a lot of interactive maps of Middle Earth!

...and finally an excellent Escalator win, a children's snack fail and an Identification fail...

Nothing more to see here...everyone concentrate on getting the weekend started...! ;)

23 September, 2010

Today at The Wharf...

Today at The Wharf...
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...absolutely pissing it down! No brolly and only my light
jacket...excellent... ;)

Dropbox - Free cloud storage...

...just found this really cool app and thought I would share...basically (for free) you get 2Gb of storage (in the cloud) - okay, you say, lots of people doing that - but here is the killer, you install a tiny app (there are clients for PC/Mac/Android/iphone etc.) say, on your office PC and install the same on your laptop at home and whenever you add/remove even *modify* any files on either of these machines then dropbox automatically syncs them up! <:O

They even keep incremental backups of all your stuff, this is just *perfect* for keeping collaborative shared folders safe and accessible everywhere!

Tube strikes and can't get into the office? No problem, access all those important documents in real time over the cloud! Want to transfer large media files into/out of the office, no problem - they will be there waiting for you when you get to your destination...!

Want to share files with another user? Just right click on the folder and hit "Share"... It even lets you access all your files direct from your telephone, or via a web client (if someone you are visiting has got a strict policy for not installing apps on their workstations)...

Click here to sign up and check it out (it's completely free)! Very slick, and super useful! I'll be testing the Android app out at lunchtime!

Rather telling...

Tesco Clubcard Bonus
...look what I got when I bought my tea and milk this morning at Tesco Canary Wharf...guess that confirms I'm using the right clubcard then...! ;)

22 September, 2010

Made it...

Made it...
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...forgotten how hot and sweaty and nasty the tube can be... ;P

AdTech London...

Off to Ad:Tech London...just got to print out my little visitors badge and work out the optimum route from the Wharf to Kensington Olympia... ;)

The cows at Earlswood...

...station are being so noisy today you would almost think they were being eaten by wolves! Be quieter!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.9

21 September, 2010

Views of Widmouth Bay 2010

 Widemouth Bay
This one was taken from the top of the cliffs, just off the little car park up there (near the Bay View Inn)...
Widemouth Bay
Some of the *excellent* surf (it was pretty much this good all week)...
Widemouth Bay
...and Thomas itching to get in the water... ;)
Widemouth Bay
Playing in the sand...
Widemouth Bay
What's this noisy cold stuff?
Widemouth Bay
The new RNLI lifeguard hut -
Widemouth Bay
Widemouth Bay
...(check out the "Conditions"!)...
Widemouth Bay Sunset
...and some of the amazing sunsets we enjoyed during the break...
Widemouth Bay sunset
Widemouth Bay sunset
Widemouth Bay Sunset
...sunsets just don't *do* that over London!

20 September, 2010

Little Chef, Popham

Popham Little Chef
More about the holiday later, the next thing I want to talk about is about what we did on the way home (and you may find this slightly strange), when we reached the M3 instead of joining the throng, we turned around and headed back the way we came, our destination? A Little Chef restaurant...
Popham Little Chef
...specifically the Little Chef at Popham, to eat a spot of breakfast...
Popham Little Chef
As you can see, the decor is certainly different, and I will get on to the food in a little while, but I do owe you a bit of an explaination as to why stopping for breakfast (in this particular location) is worthy of note...

Back at the tail end of 2008, Heston Blumenthal (and a number of other celebrity chefs) signed a big deal with Channel 4 to make a series of culinary TV shows, Heston's brief was a particularly interesting concept - to step in and see if he could save the ailing restaurant chain in question by revamping the menu (as only Heston could)...

The idea, or so Heston thought, was for him to develop clever ways to use a griddle pan (all they had by way of a "kitchen") to create something approaching fine dining (yep, you would have to be crazy, or Heston)...and then Little Chef head office would shake him by the hand and roll the menu out across the entire chain (fireworks/balloons/people cheering/etc)...as it actually worked out, here we are litterally *years* later and *still* the only Little Chef restaurant in the country bearing any mark of Heston's influence is the very same one, sitting all on it's lonesome attached to Popham Services, just off the M3 near Winchester...

For obvious reasons, this store, and this store alone has become a bit of a foodie mecca (or at the very least a curiosity), meaning when we did discover it was practically on our way home, it was a no-brainer but to go and see...my memory of the show was a little hazy, it being so long ago, but there was no doubt that it has deviated significantly from Heston's original brief (and subsequent work), there is, for example, a fully appointed kitchen...if the pitch to Heston had included a complete working kitchen to be installed I think his interest in the project would have fallen away quite sharply...there is also a wine cooler on the wall (bit odd for a travel cafe!) and one of those machines that pulps oranges for "freshly squeezed" - Little Chef of old, this is not - but it is also not what Heston left behind, his influence, if it is here, is now very, very diluted...

The food is, however, really rather nice -
Popham Little Chef
- the eggs were, I think, the best I have ever eaten, the sausage was creditable (not quite Porky Whites, but pretty good), the mushroom was buttery and wonderful, it was only the black pudding that let the plate down, being a bit overcooked, tasteless and crunchy, but this was a distrinctly above average fare, combined with a pot of (nice fresh) Earl Grey and a nice cold glass of freshly squeezed oranges...overall - excellent...I was almost tempted to stay to sample the lamb shank lunch... ;)

It's not all perfect though, the toilet in the disabled loo played random movie quotes when a little sensor detected you sitting down (which was fun - and so Flyingpops seemed to think, a remaining original Heston invention) but in the Gents the sensor was broken...and the "meet and greet" system at the door left one table of three requesting their cups of tea and coffee around six times, only to throw their hands up in frustration and leave (all the six memebers of staff completely ignoring them as they walked out through the door)...

Popham Little Chef
Although had they persisted they may be been charmed into forgiveness by the proper "Jelly Belly" flavoured American jelly beans that arrived with the bill...nice touch...We'll probably be back (next time we head home from Cornwall)... ;)

17 September, 2010

Brannigans Roast Beef and Mustard Crisps

Brannigans Roast Beef and Mustard
Aw...how nice is that? Only on Wednesday was I publicly extolling the virtues of Brannigans crisps (in a wistful sort of way) to all that would listen in the office, this after my chance discovery (while on holiday in the West Country) that they actually did still exist (hiding in distant corners of the Earth), then yesterday, when desk chum "Gumbo" arrived at work, with a smile, he reached into his bag and produced a packet from his secret source, apologising (totally unnecessarily) that they weren't the Ham and Pickle variety! A *most*generous and welcome gift, saved savoring at elevenses today... ;)