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Archive for the category “M25”

Barbican, Rollins and Mileage

Yesterday was another Rollins gig, this time at the Barbican in London.

It was a bit more complicated than last week’s gig in Bristol, as it involved collecting another friend of mine from over by Oxford, then getting a train to London, across to Barbican, getting food, going to the gig, and then a similar journey for the return.

All told though, it went really smoothly.  I’d booked pretty much everything in advance, including the train tickets and reserving a table at the restaurant of choice, so it was as organised as humanly possible.

The restaurant in particular was a real success – the Jugged Hare, just round the corner from the Barbican itself. I’d seen it before, but never eaten there, so went for it when the chance came up, and booked for their pre-theatre menu. I am truly glad I did.  They specialise in game of all sorts – it’s definitely not a great place for vegetarians! – but there’s enough variety in the menu, if game isn’t your thing.

To be fair, there is a vegetarian option on the menu – well, it says “Vegetarian – £14”, so it could be a fillet of vegetarian, for all I know.

The three-course meal was great – particularly the venison haunch, and their sticky toffee pudding was amazing. (as was the accompanying mince-pie ice cream, which has to be tasted to be believed)  Knowing how easy it is for me to drive to Barbican in general, I will be returning. Several times.

The gig itself was great – Rollins spoke for three full hours, with no breaks. The show was about 50% the same as the one I saw last week in Bath, but I can live with that – it’s better than being entirely the same!

The journey home was OK – getting the trains back went smoothly, and then a drive through snow to drop off friend, and then another hour and a bit on motorways in heavy snow (though thankfully not settling) to get home, which happened just after 2am.

So a long day, but an entirely worthwhile one…

Another London Run

Yesterday was yet another day spent in London. Thankfully, it was also a different area (again) which helps to keep things fresh.

This time, it was Hammersmith, primarily to see an American comedian called Gabriel Iglesias at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo with a friend (who was the one who knew of Iglesias first) who was doing a one-off, rare (and sold out) London gig

It’s a long time since I’ve been to the Apollo – December 2008, from the look of it – and Hammersmith has changed a bit since last time. The places I’d used to use for parking had – unsurprisingly – changed, and disappeared, so it was time for a bit of a new explore.

Because it was an evening thing, we aimed to have food before. So mid-afternoon we went into London via a circuitous-ish route that allowed us to avoid the vagaries of the peak-time weekend M25, and simply blat straight into Hammersmith. Into the parking area I’d chosen, and job-done.

Had a decent meal, a couple of drinks, and then to the Apollo for what turned out to be a brilliant show – thoroughly enjoyed. (Although lots of people doing American-ised whoops at lots of things, which isn’t really my thing at all) Paid a small fortune for parking – which is taking the piss, as that parking wasn’t being used for anything else – and a pretty simple escape. Certainly nothing like as bad as getting out of Wembley…

And then a straight motorway blat home, dropping off friends at houses along the way (we’d met another couple of people at the gig) so I got home at about 1am, and didn’t get to sleep ’til gone 2.

It’s fair to say I am not fully awake today…

Bellwether

In a conversation the other day about driving – and motorway driving in particular – I was told I was too callous and calculating. I’m not sure this is true, but I’m interested…

 

So.  When I’m driving motorways, and even more so at night, I usually let someone else go in front who’s driving faster than I am, and let them be the testing point for whether there are any active speed cameras or unmarked police cars around.

My theory is that if [Other Driver] blats past a camera and it flashes (or a car that then turns out to have concealed flashing lights on/in it) then that’s their problem rather than mine. And it gives me time to slow down before getting to the camera myself.

I was told that’s callous and calculating. I think it makes sense.

Surely I’m not the only driver that does this?

Brighton Images

On Sunday, I trolled off down to Brighton for the day. I haven’t been there in years – the last time was a flying visit five years ago for an interview, and before that it had been a number of years too – but realised it’s just about the same distance as Felixstowe is (they’re both a two-hour drive time) to get to, so what the hell.

I don’t know Brighton as well as I should, and so having a wander around was also appealing. It’s on the list of ‘places I could re-locate to at some point’, so seemed like a worthwhile explore – and I was right on that score.

Being December, it was pretty blowy and chilly – although less cold than a December Sunday would suggest – but that’s never bothered me all that much. I lived by the South Coast for a couple of years before, and have no real issue with cold. That was the flat where the freezer shut off because it was colder outside the freezer than inside it, and where more than once I woke up with frost on the top of the duvet. Sunday, by comparison, was almost summery.

Brighton Beach

As it turned out, the weather made it ideal for what I actually wanted – waves, and the sound of the sea on shingle beach. Walking along one of the groynes/piers (not one of the Proper Piers, but the little jutty-out ones) was a joy, just for getting out to be where the waves were hitting the beach.

Brighton Waves

And then the sun came out, and it was even better…

Sunlight hits Brighton

All told, I think it’s a place I’m going to go back to a lot more in the coming year. It’s an easy run, and I think I could really get to quite like the place.

There’s others still on the list too – something I’ll be writing about at some point this month, I’m sure – but yeah, Brighton is definitely now more of a destination, and pretty high on the possibility levels too.

Coastal – Brighton

Following on from last week’s day-trip to Felixstowe for coastal stuff, today I’m off – assuming vaguely decent (or at least non-abysmal) weather – down to Brighton for similar reasons.

I realised afterwards, looking at maps, that actually the two places are a very similar drive-time (and indeed mileage) away, so sod it, go for something different.

I haven’t been to Brighton in yonks – well, I had an interview there a few years back, but that doesn’t really count – so it’ll be fun to go back, and have a wander around, plus spend some time on the beach (I know, it’s stones rather than sand) and see how things go.

That’s the plan, anyway. I’ll update later/tomorrow with how it goes, and any relevant photos etc.

Signage

At the moment I seem to spend far too much of my available non-work time on the road, so I notice stuff around me.

Over the last couple of weeks one of the motorway gantries on my route (the ones with speed cameras on) has been out of action, so there’s been a small – but noticeable if you pay attention – yellow sign saying

Camera not in use

Today though, I noticed that it has changed, and now says

Camera now in use

And lo, there we go, seeing it flash on speeders.

It just struck me as interesting, the simple alteration of one letter that means so much, and changes the whole thing – and I wonder how many people notice/realise.

Going Round in Circles

Yesterday I did – yet another – circumnavigation of the M25 in one day. It’s quite a childish thing, allbeit not something I do on a whim, but sometimes it amuses me.  The main difference this time was that I did it anti-clockwise, which for some reason I do less often.

Yesterday was a drive from home to parents in Oxford, collect them and drive them to Dover (they’re off on a holiday) and then back round to the M1 to go home.  It also involved a trip into the office – that’s a post for another time – so all told I covered about 350 miles in the day.

Anyway, all well and good, and I’m still alive. Just currently snowed with work-related stuff, hence the paucity of postings here.

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