Monday, 26 February 2018

Cleaning Nelson's Column

At 170ft (52m) high Nelson's Column is not that easy to clean but on Friday I happened to be walking past and for the first time I saw how they managed to keep Nelson clean. I noticed the large lorry parked in Trafalgar Square the day before and wondered why it was there and now I know.

Not everyone needs a lorry mounted platform to get to the top, as a number of people have climbed the Column as part of various publicity stunts. Here is an extract from Wikipaedia describing some of the attempts.
 Ed Drummond made the first such climb in 1979 for the Anti-Apartheid Movement, making use of the lightning conductor en route. On 31 March 1988 Joe Simpson and John Stevenson climbed the column as part of a Greenpeace Campaign against Acid Rain. On 14 June 1992 it was climbed by Martin Cotterrel, Joe Simpson and John Stevenson on behalf of Greenpeace to protest against the first Earth Summit meeting in Brazil. On 13 April 1995, Simon Nadin free-climbed Nelson's Column with Noel Craine, Jerry Moffat and Johnny Dawes following on top rope, and graded the climb as "E6 6b/5a". This protest time was on behalf of Survival International to publicize the plight of Canada's Inuit people. On 13 May 1998 the Column was climbed by Al Baker, Peter Morris and John Cunningham on behalf of Greenpeace to protest against Old growth logging activity in British Columbia. In May 2003, BASE jumper and stuntman Gary Connery parachuted from the top of the column, in a stunt designed to draw attention to the Chinese policies in Tibet. On 18 April 2016, in the early hours of the morning, Greenpeace activists climbed up the column and placed a breathing mask on Admiral Lord Nelson in protest of dangerous air pollution levels.(Wikipeadia)

Thursday, 22 February 2018

North Downs Way

 With March rapidly approaching I have to get my act together and start doing more walking in preparation for this year's long distance walk. So, today as it wasn't raining I put the boots on and set off for a walk on the North Downs Way. It is about a 30 minute drive for me to get out into the country. I don't have the mountains close by but I have the Downs. The North Downs are a ridge of chalk hills in the South East of England covering a distance of over 150 miles.
Today's walk was a five mile circular walk which was new to me. Pleased to see lots of snowdrops.

Bluebells look as though they will be early this year.

This walk joined the North Downs Way which is well signposted but the path was underwater in many places.

Stiles are being replaced where possible with kissing gates

Looks more like a river than a path.

For those of you who are regular readers of my blogs you may recall how much I dislike being in a field with cows. I have no fear of spiders or snakes but cows bring me out in a cold sweat. I had to cross this field.
On closer inspection I realised there was a bull in the field. Even the camera preferred to focus on a twig rather than the bull. It took me ages to get across the field as I went around the edge hugging the hedgerow.

My efforts were rewarded with these beautiful primroses. The first I've seen this year.

However my boots took some cleaning when I got home!

Monday, 19 February 2018

Chinese New Year

It was Chinese New Year this last week and on Sunday there were huge celebrations in London. I was there early before the crowds started to gather. The event is the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia with its martial art displays, music shows and cultural activities being held across the West End.
The dragons were getting ready for the big parade.

The open top buses were all ready for their guests.
The stage was set up in Trafalgar Square

Lanterns and stalls surrounded the Square.

The streets in Chinatown were all decorated with red lanterns.

By 10am the streets were crowded and the parade began.

Chinese New Year parade
This is a photo from the BBC website giving you some idea of the crowds.

Fortunately, being there early,  I had a good view of the parade.

After the parade I had a look at Trafalgar Square but decided against fighting my way through the crowds.

I wonder if this dragon had decided to find another way home.