28 February, 2014

Free public bike pumps!

Public Bike Pump on CS3
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!

27 February, 2014

Open air viewing platform at the Shard

A couple of flights of stairs later (as if you actually needed to be any higher up at this point) -
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- pushing through a heavy glass door -
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- 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)...
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
...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 -
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
...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-
Climbing the Shard in the Rain Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- 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! ;)

26 February, 2014

Top of the Shard in the rain

Climbing the Shard in the Rain
Welcome to the Shard - (the tourist experience now) - it all starts (and predictably finishes) in the gift shop, all very nice-
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- 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) -
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- 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)-
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
-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)...
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
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)...
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
...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...
Climbing the Shard in the Rain Climbing the Shard in the Rain
Climbing the Shard in the Rain Climbing the Shard in the Rain
Climbing the Shard in the Rain Climbing the Shard in the Rain
...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)-
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- and then spotted another flight of stairs.... ;)

25 February, 2014

Up the Shard on a Rainy day

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) -
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
- we had a couple of hours of (very informative) presentations after taking a couple of snaps from this (comparatively low level) -
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
Climbing the Shard in the Rain
...and then...it was back down to the ground floor to take a trip up to the top of the world (London-style)...

24 February, 2014

Watching the Shard being built...

The Shard from London Bridge
...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) -
The Shard
- 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 -
The Shard
- 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)!
The Shard at twilight
Really looking forward to it, will need to make sure I charge the Canon ready for the morning! ;)

Earlswood Sunrise today

Earlswood Sunrise
...another incredible view, knew it was going to be special the second I opened the front door...this was taken just as I crossed the road towards the new car park at East Surrey Hospital...only lasted for five minutes, sky was blue by the time I got up to Royal Earlswood Park...so there is something to be said for the alarm going off super early! ;)

21 February, 2014

Good Morning London!

Good morning London!
Absolutely beautiful sunrise this morning, taken from the break in the middle of Tower Bridge over the Thames, looking towards Canary Wharf... ;)

19 February, 2014

Welcome Baby Annabelle!

Baby Annabelle
Wow, bit of a shock to be back in town again today (facing three weeks worth of catching up to do) - that consisting of two weeks of paternity leave - starting with a world record breaking visit to the birthing centre (I think we were in there for all of 16 minutes before Annabelle was born - no time to finish running the water for a water birth!), then two weeks of voluntary isolation due to all three kids *immediately* getting chicken pox (Poppy first, then Annabelle, then finally Thomas - who thought he had got away with it by giving himself pretend "injections" from his little medical kit), a load of nights of Annabelle crying (while she is perfectly happy to sleep all day long - thanks Annabelle!) and then a week on my sickbed after managing to scratch my iris in three places and tear my eyeball by whacking it on the 'fridge door (no stitches required - thank GOD, but it was a close call!)...anyway, after a couple of weeks that could only really have happened to us, everyone seems to be on the mend and hopefully we can start to understand what the new "normal" is going to be as a happy family of *FIVE*! :)