Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 6 March 2017


Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)
As I am off to the USA this week I thought it would be good to see an exhibition of an American artist currently on show at the Tate Modern. It is the first full scale retrospective exhibition since Rauschenberg's death in 2008. It is a large collection of his work covering six decades arranged into rooms. Each room represents a change in his technique or mode of working.

The work I liked the best was in the silkscreen room which he began to experiment with in the early 60s.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Grand Union Canal

This is part of the Grand Union Canal which starts in London and finishes in  Birmingham, 137 miles away.
Last week after visiting Perivale Underground station I walked back into London via the Paddington arm of the canal, a distance of about 7 miles.

There were so many reflections it was hard to choose but I think this was my favourite. 

Sharing with James at Weekend reflection

Monday, 27 February 2017

Hoover building

 Travelling West out of London on the A40 you might have driven past The Hoover building, a wonderful example of Art Deco. The design is not one we think of when looking at a factory. Built by Wallis, Gilbert and partners between 1931 and 1933 as a vacuum cleaner factory.  

1600 people worked here producing vacuum cleaners most of which were sold by door-to-door salesmen.

During WW2 the building was camouflaged and made not only vacuum cleaners but also parts for aircraft.

After the war business boomed and the factory was employing 3000 people.

By the 1970s business was down until eventually the factory closed in 1982. Tesco supermarkets bought the site in 1989, restoring the building before reopening it at the rear as a supermarket.
The inside of the supermarket is the same as any other Tesco supermarket.

Next to the main building is this later addition which was the canteen. This has also been restored and is now an Asian restaurant, Nawaab.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ace Cafe

Out walking last week, a closure of the tow path on the Grand Union Canal meant I had to divert through an industrial estate which brought me out onto the very busy North Circular Road. A bit fed up as I couldn't find a way back to the tow path I came across a cafe. Perfect timing for a sit down and cup of tea. I expected this to be the usual transport cafe or 'greasy spoon' as we call them. I couldn't have been further from the truth. It turned out to be a very well known motorcycle venue which had started life  in 1938 as a roadside cafe for the new North Circular Road.

 After the war with the increase in traffic, the cafe really took off. Being open 24 hours it attracted young motorcyclists. It was also the age of Rock 'n' Roll which originally was not being played on radio stations so the only place it could be heard was at fairgrounds or from jukeboxes at transport cafes.

It was in this environment that the 'Ton -Up-Boys' appeared on the scene. Their goal seemed to be to achieve 100mph on their bikes without killing themselves. It was here that the  legends of record racing were born. Using the jukebox they would  'Drop the coin into the slot' and race to a given place and back before the record finished!

There were many articles in the press about the cafe and its attraction to the trouble makers of the day. It was a place where 'decent people didn't go'. With the opening of the M1 motorway and Scatchwood service station the cafe began to lose custom and eventually closed in 1969. The ground floor of the building became a tyre sales and fitting shop with the first floor taken over by a delivery company.

It reopened on the original site in 1997. It is still a cafe but you could not describe it as a 'Greasy spoon'.  Freshly cooked large meals filled the menu.  There were only a few bikers there when I visited but that was a mid week lunch time. The place was full with a variety of people from office workers to tradesmen. I think I was the only walker there judging by the astonished looks on the faces of the couple of men I was chatting to. They couldn't believe that you could get to the cafe without a vehicle!

The cafe is a meeting place still for bikers, music events as well as a stopping off place when travelling on the North Circular Road. You will be pleased to know I did eventually find my way back onto the tow path to continue my walk back into London.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Quantum Cloud

This is the Quantum cloud sculpture by Anthony Gormley which is situated by the side of the River Thames. The 30m sculpture is dwarfed by the side of the Emirates Cable car structure.

The sculpture is formed from 1,5m long lengths of steel which seem randomly arranged. However in the centre you can clearly see a 20m high human body. At the time of construction in 1999 this was the tallest sculpture in the UK.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Clerkenwell pubs

I could only find one other pub in Britain with this unusual name. I have found it impossible to discover the origin of the name. The only possible explanation I read was that a landlord may have moved from one pub to another taking the name from his first pub and adding it to the second. Moving from the Fox to the Anchor.

The Bleeding Heart pub was named after the broken heart of the Virgin Mary after the Crucifixion of he son Jesus Christ.

 Another Clerkenwell pub is named after the Priory of St John of Jerusalem founded in 1140. The tavern dates back to the 14th Cent and has occupied different sites in the area. This current building was originally a merchant's house and then a watch and clock workshop. The present shop front dates to the early 19th Cent.

It has a small and intimate interior.