Archive for the ‘public transport’ Tag

DT #346, 12 December 2014 (Full Sail Wassail)   Leave a comment

Full Sail Wassail


Only one full week
And two more days after that
Til Xmas pig out.

Name: Full Sail Wassail
Type: dark ale
Venue: Four Candles, Oxford

Review/notes: 6% abv and bitter but with a fruity finish.  Stuck waiting for the next bus as a delay made the last one packed to the gills (expecting two at once, soon, and can see them from this window).

Full Sail Wassail pump


Today’s run while waiting for users to finish with instruments (have to shut down the lab over the weekend) was 3.9 miles looping up Marston Ferry Road.  Brrr.

2014-12-12 lab shutdown run

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

DT #283, 10 October 2014 (Arpeggio Nerello Mascalese)   Leave a comment

Arpegio Nerello Mascalese at Rustico


A planned pub visit.
Think, “O for a Muse of fire.”
Try to guess which one.

Name: Arpeggio Nerello Mascalese
Type: red wine
Venue: Rustico, Swindon

Review/notes: Carb loading for a long run I have planned for Sunday, I convinced the wife an Italian place was a good idea.

Earlier today, I spotted a pub along a short trip route I’m taking tomorrow and thought it looked great from the outside (Google Street View is my Desert Island App); I read up on the place and found that it has one of the best back-stories of any pub I have ever been to (and there are 1261 so far on this blog alone…so far).  So, I am excited about that part of the little trip…stay tuned.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

London Travel Ideas (current as of 2014-08-25)   2 comments

An old acquaintance has secured Kate Bush tickets (first of 22 shows — which all sold out in 15 minutes — is tomorrow), one of the more heavily hyped items of late with several pages of bits in yesterday’s Observer and a documentary on BBC4 last Friday.  Since she and partner are travelling from Los Angeles, I feel compelled to give some wholly unsolicited tourism options for any down time they have on the trip.  Most of these are from the blog, so almost all of them require no extravagant expense (depending on what and how much you decide to eat and drink along the way).  Not at all comprehensive, please add your own suggestions for my next trip down the Big Smoke.

london pubs thru 2014-08-25

Pubs: The map above is my London pub tally through 24 August 2014 and if you click on the picture it should take you to the UK-wide map from which this was gleaned.  The pushpins are more accurately located than Google has them but some of the pubs are now gone.  If you see one you are likely to want to visit, I have an entry for it on this site now linked to the pushpin on the map but haven’t bothered to include links on the map (so you would have to come back here to search for them).  Some of my favourites are:

The Bree Louise: great selection of beer and cider near Euston Station

The Lyric is pleasant enough and you can peer out at the former Red Lion where the Communist Manifesto was mostly written.

I owe the Lord Nelson another visit after their hospitality during the London Marathon. Likewise the Rose of Denmark. The night before the race, we were also thoroughly entertained at the Flowers of the Forest.

Ladbroke Grove is the part of West Kensington where the Clash were holed up in the early years and you’ll find the Kensington Park a fabulous watering hole in the neighbourhood. Another pub with a bit of a punk history to it (and great Thai food on the menu) is the World’s End in Camden.

One of the most beautiful pubs I’ve seen in town is the Blackfriar. If you want to go to just one for atmosphere, this is it.

blackfriar london exterior 4


The East End has a few worthy boozers, too. I really like the White Hart with it’s Jack the Ripper connections and proximity to the London Hospital where John Merrick (the Elephant Man) lived out his days. Just up the road you’ll also find the Blind Beggar where Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell (Kray Brothers, Piranha Brothers, and Kemp Brothers fans should make time for a beverage here). Dinsdale.


highgate east me and marx SDC11340

Cemeteries: These are a particular favourite of mine and Jackie’s and we’ve done the Highgate tour several times.  London has a bunch of good ones sprinkled around, and you could do worse than to stumble upon the Bunhill Fields (wiki here) and leave a penny at Blake’s site for the ferryman.  Highgate East is free and very good, but Highgate West requires a tour guide although the hassle is well worth the cheap fee and the advanced planning.  Closer into town, Kensal Green is also truly awesome and a good way to kill a few hours.

Farther afield but still in the London confines, the Necropolis Station is worth trying to find.  Near the Waterloo Rail Station, this was a dedicated rail stop that shipped 10’s of thousands of small pox corpses out to the suburban cemeteries.  Also, if you find yourself at Chelsea Bridge (see the music entry, below), there is another Victorian cemetery nearby we haven’t visited yet but have shortlisted.

highgate west SDC11386

Food: Okay, you can probably find more palatable things to eat, but nothing will be more quintessentially London than a bowl of jellied eels soaked in as much chilli vinegar as you can stand…and it comes with a little plate on which to spit the wee bones.  Trust me on this one.  Go to the Borough Market because if you chicken out there is a ridiculous spread of other food to go for, as fresh as you might ever hope for and reasonably priced (considering the floor show that goes with it).

English food is generally dreadful although I am really fond of blood pudding and fish and chips.  If you are from the southeastern U.S., as the catalyst for this note is, you might find yourself more at home dining in the Brixton Market where people know what pimento cheese is and the greens and black-eyed peas are cooked in artery clogging levels of salt pork.  Just pick a street stand and start eating; don’t worry, the contact high you get from the pot smoke everywhere will keep you munchy enough to try everything (wear loose clothing for the trip).

Music sites: More than any music site in London I am ashamed of NOT going to is the house where Joe Meek had his weird studio and eventually killed his landlady before committing suicide.

Look out, kid, there are sites I have been to that are pretty good such as Savoy Street in front of the Savoy Chapel where Dylan dropped cards while Subterranean Homesick Blues played in the background.  You might also want to pop by number 3 Savile Road, the Apple offices where the last Beatles performance occurred, but under no circumstances should you do the Abbey Road walk of shame (better to just leave some graffiti on the walls outside the studios where, keeping with the Kate Bush theme, Man With the Child in His Eyes was recorded).  Also, here’s a Werewolves of London location near the Kensal Green cemetery and not far from Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten’s squat.

At my peak weight...for the ladies!

Not London, just my Christmas card pic a couple of years ago, but musical

Clapham is an easy tube stop and the Clapham Common is a great and very large park to kill an afternoon around.  Squeeze fans might go to the Clapham Junction station and get Up the Junction stuck in their heads.  It’s not a long hike from there to Chelsea Bridge where you can look out over the Thames toward Battersea Power Station (The Pink Floyd’s Animals should come to mind) and settle into a brilliant Waterloo Sunset.  Classical music fans can find Jimi Hendrix’s place (which had previously been Handel’s place) at 23 Brook Street while you can find the scene of one of the more annoying brain worms, Come On Eileen, at Brook Drive on the opposite side of the Thames.

Here are two websites that give pretty good music tour ideas.  First, Music Like Dirt has a map if you just want to find something near you.  The Shady Old Lady has a much more comprehensive site and a lot of other categories to choose from but you are on your own for mapping.

Dr. Who just started again, and I do try to hit Who sites out here in the provinces.  Below, you’ll find a screen shot of the Google Earth map of Dr. Who scene sites in central London taken from  (download the file DrWhoLocations.kml to load into G-Earth and maybe a more useful map overlay — I’m using OpenStreetMap for mine).


For movie sites in London, try the map at which, though far from comprehensive it does give you some touristy ideas, and a map.


Other recreation:  I do not recommend Boris Bikes except maybe in the Square Mile on the weekends (the City is abandoned by 6pm Friday).  They are cheap, sturdy, and fun but you can get yourself killed on them as well.

Depending on your interests overlapping a bit, I would highly recommend hashing in the city.  London hashers are a friendly lot, take you to the most interesting pubs around, and if you aren’t careful you might even get a little exercise while trotting around the back alleys and through tunnels and up and down streets you might never otherwise venture.  They have a centralised calendar of events here but sometimes it is irregularly updated; I have never been disappointed by a London based hash…here are some of the individual kennels’ pages:

London HHH

 City HHH

West London HHH

South London HHH (SLASH) … say, ‘hi,’ to Testiculator if you go here or, for that matter, any of the others as he seems to hash a lot.

Buckles, Chippenham, Chippy Challenge #87   2 comments

Buckles Chippenham bus cod

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: bus fumes
Evaluation: I was shocked by how small the small cod was but it turned out to have doubled over on itself so was a fairly substantial snack in the end.  Delicious, and not just because I was exhausted, starving, and slightly buzzed from the day’s adventure in pub running.  I was still waiting when I saw my bus go by to the adjacent station, but reckoned I’d just catch the next one in 20 minutes; however, there was a queue of pensioners for the bus and I just had time to dash over and catch this one for a mobile snack as we motored out of Chippenham.
Days since last: 6 (Seafoods, Bath)

Buckles Chippenham
Map link.

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

DT #190, 9 July 2014 (Prescott Hill Climb)   Leave a comment

Prescott Hill Climb Greyhound beer garden Besselsleigh

Bus number One: Packed.
Bus number Two out ran me.
Await Three with ale.

Name: Prescott Hill Climb
Type: bitter
Venue: The Greyhound, Besselsleigh

Review/notes: Cumnor Hill is only 250 feet high and the climb spread evenly across a mile but it is always a challenge especially with a backpack filled with 15 kg of groceries and work clothes.  Today, I tackled it at a slow pace of about 9:30/mile which is probably why the bus sped past me ¼ mile from the Besselsleigh stop…”drat,” I thought, “I’ll have to wait for the next one in the pub.”  Needs must…

Prescott doesn’t make a challenging beer, in my experience, but they are all eminently quaffable.  Hill Climb would be a good introduction for a lager-head as it is simple and tasty but a bit smoother than their beloved soda water.  I tried it simply for the silly name.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

Happy Seafood, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Chippy Challenge #69   2 comments

Happy Seafood Schiphol Airport Amsterdam kibbeling kabeljauw


[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: kabeljauw (cod)
Sides: geen
Evaluation: My train from Swindon to Bristol was an hour late, then the bus was 15 minutes late. My plane was delayed, so I was fairly pleased to find that I had some time to grab a bite to eat.

I really miss kibbeling and the kabeljauw at Happy Fish in Schiphol was primo if a bit expensive (in the airport, so what else would it be?). This was generous, despite that, and chunky and juicy and lovely. I hurried off to my train, which turned out to be five minutes late…of course.

Days since last: 2 (Poseidon, Oxford)
Map link.

Happy Seafood Schiphol Airport Amsterdam

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

Vintage Bus Day 2014   2 comments

Bus Day 2014 1966 Bristol FLF6G

We are Public Transport Geeks.  However, when we attended the geek-out that was the Gloucestershire Running Day where vintage buses are put on a bunch of routes between the three major towns in the county we seemed quite normal compared to our co-passengers.  Every trip included at least one guy with a complicated chart he was filling in of each feature from each bus (including the ones passing or meeting us en route).  There were endlessly dull conversations on the esoterica of buses.  Some folks even discussed international trips to do vacations where similar events take place annually.  And, people on the routes were out waiting to take photos (it’s pretty rural out there, so make your own inappropriate assumptions about those folks).

For my part here are a few photos from our day out (we also went to an ancient pub and even older church, by the way).  To start, you used to be required to smoke on the bus, especially upstairs.  Here is one of the smoking amenities:

Bus Day 2014 cigarette stubber


We had a conductor on each bus:

Bus Day 2014 conductor

The interiors were well-preserved (geek note…screw-in light bulbs superceded in the next version of this Routemaster by fluorescents).

Bus Day 2014 Routemaster 1961 interior

A herd of buses in Tewkesbury while we haunted antiques stores:

Bus Day 2014 Daimler CVG6LX 30 1967

Bus Day 2014 SC4LK 1961

Bus Day 2014 Bristol RELL6L 1967

Our bus from Tewkesbury to Cheltenham approacheth:

Bus Day 2014 Routemaster 1961

And, here’s the one that brought us back from Cheltenham to Gloucester:

Bus Day 2014 Routemaster 1967


Awesome day out for the price of a bus ticket (which I already had for work, anyway).

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