Friday, 22 February 2013

Victoria's Station has the right idea!

New rule for the Code of Conduct: TfL should employ people like this at every station across London. That would get a smile on a few peoples' faces.

Now I finally understand why Victoria is forever shutting down in the mornings, I would want to listen to this guy all day too. One Love....


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Friday, 15 February 2013

Please Stand Behind the Yellow Line

Love is in the air in London this week! Well, in reality ‘love’ in London is angry commuters carrying dying flowers and melted chocolates on the Underground, to partners at home (don’t worry singletons; I am retching at the thought of those loved up couples too).

So even St Valentine can’t tame the commuters of London. If anything I think he has made it even worse. It is a well-known fact for anyone who has to regularly fight their way onto a Central Line train, like I do everyday, that people on this line do not want to go to work, but this week has been particularly bad. Passenger alarms are pulled as regularly as District Line closures.

Daily commuters, like me, have a routine that gets them from bed to work in a certain amount of time, and anyone disrupting this routine is likely to induce a rage like no other…silent rage. Probably the most deadly of all- cursing and screaming at someone you have never met, but all inside your head.

Therefore, I think TFL should enforce a Code of Conduct to reduce the severity of the inevitable heart attacks and stomach ulcers awaiting us London commuters. For example…

Code of Conduct

1. Stand on the right. ON THE RIGHT!

Having lost the ability to tell my left from right at roughly the age of 11, I am  (embarrassingly) one of those people who have to double-check which one is which.  If you are the same, pre check this before you get on the escalators remember if your hand makes an “L” shape then that is left.

(And yes, I have had to check on my hands at least 3 or 4 times that right is actually the correct side to stand on before posting this.)

2. Public Displays of Affection (PDAs)

Please refer to earlier retching comment. Enough said.

3.  “Can you move down a bit”

The most dreaded words commuters can hear on a packed train. If you have to ask the question, then there is CLEARLY no bloody room!!

4. Give up your seat

Now, I am not suggesting giving it up to anyone of course. I know the attempts of pushing yourself into the aisle to get into prime position only too well, but occasionally it is just good manners to give it up. I know this all seems obvious, but it still surprises me when I am the first to offer my seat to an elderly person when there are grown men averting their eyes in the carriage, where are your manners lads?? Hasn’t Pride and Prejudice taught you anything?

Also if you are pregnant, please wear the badge, please! It would save the rest of us from some very awkward conversations.

5. Coughing and sneezing

Take your disease ridden self home to bed and stop infecting the rest of us…please.

As the Underground has just celebrated its 150th anniversary I think TFL should give something back to its raged commuters by way of a simple gift. Like enforcing the Code of Conduct, or even more simply having the District Line completely open for one weekend in the year, or putting a ban on those people who are incompetent at topping up their oyster cards. It’s the simple things in life TFL..

Now, I am aware that this blog post isn’t exactly in keeping with my general theme of finding hot spots around London, but it has just been one of those weeks. And although I may be ranting, you can’t tell me that the majority of you haven’t experienced at least one of these things or silently wanted to punch that slow walker in front of you.

So maybe St Patrick can do a better job next month. Sure, no one enjoys a tube journey more than the ones filled with drunken people dressed in green and claiming to be the next Michael Flatley, and trying to prove it to the whole carriage….

Bring on the 17th March!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Tourism; Deadly Sin or Guilty Pleasure?

Can you imagine moving to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower, or moving to Dublin and not visiting the Guinness Factory? No, of course you can’t! (Well, okay, maybe you can, but just go along with it.) So, why is it so difficult for us London dwellers to get out to see the sites of the City?

I am not here to judge of course; it took me over a year before I decided it was time to don the bum bag and the camera and set off on a day of touristy activities with a Farmer and a Londoner in tow.

London makes a lot of money out of tourism, and no, I am not going to provide a nerdy fact of how much, but it is safe to say that these activities are not cheap. To start with, I would avoid the London Eye (with tickets between £17-£40), there isn’t anything up there that a good Google Images search of ‘London Skyline’ can’t provide. In my opinion the best action is at ground level, or underground to be precise…

With a National Rail train ticket you can get 2 for 1 on lots of attractions around London, and my tourist day started with the London Bridge Experience and the London Tombs, which unsurprisingly takes place under London Bridge.

[Can I just point out that, yes, this deal is convenient for people who have travelled into London on a National Rail train, but for the regular Underground users the best way around this is to take a quick trip from Waterloo East to London Bridge, or something similar, for £2.60 so you have your National Rail ticket ready to go!]

The London Tombs are what I could only describe as the dirty love child of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre villain and that creepy puppet from Saw. Horror films have never overly scared me, well, with the understandable exception of when someone decided to call the house phone after I had just watched The Ring, but I can quite honestly say, in the Tombs, I was scared shitless.

I would like to point out now that if you are one of those grumpy sods who tuts at people who love a bit of audience participation, then I would say this one isn’t for you, as interaction is required/forced upon you.

So, we were initially briefed on the usual Health and Safety stuff, told that no photography was allowed and most importantly, not to worry because the actors would NOT touch you. This, my friends, was a LIE. Not only do the actors chase, scream and swipe at you, they basically go Hannibal Lecter on you.

I can advise now that if you have any friends who adopt the same ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ style tactics when faced with danger as my friend did, I would suggest not opting to walk behind them when going through the Tombs, as it makes running from the villains exceptionally difficult! Although, I do have to admit there was something oddly satisfying about hearing the 6ft3 man behind me screaming in terror as he was chased with a man wielding a chainsaw.

Now, I am aware that I may not be selling this particularly well to everyone, but honestly it was a very fun, if slightly terrifying, experience with a bit of London history thrown in there too. For the thespians among you, it makes for a great role-play exercise, and if the Movie Star dream dies a painful death after Drama School, could be a great job opportunity!

However, if you would prefer something a little bit more relaxing for your touristy day National Rail 2 for 1 covers lots of well known, and not so well known events, from the London Aquarium to Locations of James Bond Films to a Jack the Ripper tour.

And for a completely free experience just take a walk along the Southbank where you will get to see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, The Globe Theatre, the London Eye and a variety of other London attractions and some incredibly talented street performers along the way.

So, leave your commuter rage at home and embrace your inner tourist! As for me, next stop ... Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea.

Follow me on Twitter: HollyJ_Brown

Friday, 1 February 2013

Touched too much

For all of those who think they have just stepped into the blog of an aspiring 50 Shades novelist, I am very sorry to disappoint, you filthy lot, but you haven't.

As I have mentioned before this blog reviews some of the things to do and people to see ( not things to see and people to chain up 50 Shaders!) in London, within a budget.

I, for one, certainly felt fitter over the Olympics last summer- all that drinking and shouting at the huge screen in Hyde Park really was a good work out- but as the GB flags and Tom Daley shrines are starting to be taken down, the pounds are starting to creep back up!

I know from experience how difficult it can be, when you move to London, to decide which sports team to join without sacrificing a lie in on Saturday morning, or even worse, being that person who is hungover and throwing up on the side of the pitch. However, fear not my dear obesophobes (and yes it is a real phobia) I have the solution.....getting touched up.

Now calm yourselves down 50 Shaders, I don't mean it in that sense, I mean in the touch rugby sense. Let me explain....
The sport is mixed touch rugby, so no tackling or cauliflower ears and both woman and men on the pitch (2 girl minimum at any time), although, as you may expect, the majority of the players are men.

Most men who play in a mixed league have sustained an injury at some stage and can no longer play full contact rugby, or so they tell me... However, I have been held/touched for a tad too long on a number of occasions to believe that all the men's motivations are based on previous injury...

Honestly though, if you have recently moved to London, or even if you haven't, and are looking to play some light hearted sport and meet lots of new people then Go Mammoth is the place for you. I paid £65 for a 9 week league and it was worth every penny. It is even cheaper if you enter a full team in the league too. If touch rugby isn't your game then Go Mammoth have a variety of sports from dodgeball to ultimate frisbee to meet your needs. Not only this, but after each match all the players get 20% discount at a local sponsored bar.

So, don't be that person who can only talk about their job and their partner. Get out there, meet some new people and keep those pounds off!!

And hey, who doesn't love a cheeky grope.