Sunday, 28 June 2009

Biggin Hill Air Fair 2009

This is becoming a bit of a tradition for me now. Today I went off to my third Biggin Hill air fair, in Kent.

The weather was exceptionally kind to the organisers. It was very warm, but a layer of cloud held the fiercest heat at bay for the day. Around 60,000 people were rumoured to be present today, and it certainly felt much busier than previous years.

But what a show those 60,000 visitors were in for!
Despite a few technical problems preventing some planes from taking off (most notably the Avro Vulcan which flew on Saturday, but couldn't fly on Sunday) the other displays were magnificent.

The wing walkers were once more there, with a breathtaking display of amazing strength and agility.
The Eurofighter Typhoon blasted just about the whole county with unbelievable power and sheer noise, and the highlight (amongst MANY) was the special fly past celebrating 25 years of Virgin Atlantic.

I managed to take 1,273 photographs in the course of the day, and rather than try to decide which to upload, I put together a montage of my favourites below. I hope you enjoy the taste of Biggin 2009.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

TopGear adverts

For those who love TopGear, now even their advertising is bordering on the genius...

Where they found these kids who look so much like the originals...

I love the new kid.... He doesn't say much though, does he?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Bit of fun

This was sent to me in an email this week, and is actually quite entertaining....

It's one of those little silly games that entertains you in the office and becomes a bit addictive

Anyone know where Izmir is?

Enjoy - and try to beat my score!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Evening out on Centre Court

The brilliant thing about Summer in England is that the sun is up so very late in the evening. This means that even if you arrive at Wimbledon after work, you are likely to see a good amount of tennis.

This evening I stood with 16,000 of my closest friends in an 80 minute queue (which I swear was at least a mile long!) waiting to get in to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. They have reduced price entry after 5pm, so I popped down after work.

Then I managed to get myself a ticket for Centre Court and spent the next two hours watching a mens singles game between Marin Cillic and Sam Querry. The game was competitive, and even though there was a less than capacity crowd in, they remained passioante and boisterous, even starting a Mexican Wave in the middle of the fifth set, and cheering loudly every time members of the royal Box also stood to join in the wave.

The game ended just before 9pm, and even at that time there was no question about there being sufficient light to play.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Evangelical Advertising Genius

It's the eve of the All English Lawn Tennis Championships - Wimbledon.

it seems like everyone is jumping on the band wagon and shops are employing many clever rhymes and phrases to associate their product with the tournament.

Of course, with Andrew Murray winning the Queens grass court tournament last Sunday in London, Brits have a new icon on which to anchor their advertising gimmicks.

But as I walked through Wimbledon Village this evening, the last thing I expected was a church climbing on the Wimbledon bandwagon...

but you have to give them credit - it is a piece of genius advertising.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Wandering the Wandle

Today was another glorious sunny day, and so I wandered with intent.

Having made a rudimentary error a few days ago and assumed that the River Wandle was just an arbitrary river in Merton, I found while shopping in the week that there is a whole trail that runs the length of this 9 mile little river, and so I set out to travel at least some of its length and explore.

I started just off Merton high street and travelled upstream, south toward Carshalton.

I had seen on a Discovery channel program before that some Industrial Revolution age industry had made its home along this river, and that was the extent of my knowledge.
As I travelled though, I found that this "little river" as I called it, had been the boundary line between ancient parishes, had marked the border of a property in William the Conqueror's Domesday book of 1086 and had run through Merton Priory in the middle ages.

So by the time it contributed to the textile industry (amongst others) in the Industrial Revolution time it had already witnessed and been part of much of London's history.

The point I started had been near a bridge where the Roman Stane Street had crossed the river in the first century. The trail passed Merton Abbey Mills, where a craft market and arts area has been created. However, a mill wheel still turns and demonstrates clearly the ability of the river to power machinery for all manner of industries.

It's quite interesting, as you progress, there are still lots of remnants of weirs and mill pools, where the energy of river has been harnessed.
However, these days it appears that wildlife has taken back this once industrialised river. As I progressed I found all manner of bird life - the highlight being a grey heron that stood in the same place for more than 30 minutes while catching fish for lunch.

I rode through to Carshalton Ponds, one of the sources of the River, and was entertained by squirrels bickering with crows over food on the grassy areas around Wilderness Island.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Watershed Live in London : a large slice of home

Watershed have long been one of my favorite bands, and certainly the one band I have always made a concerted effort to see live. (... actually the only band I have made the effort to see live...)

And so on Friday I saw them live for the third time, and oddly enough for the second time in London.

I knew about this concert a few months ago, and had my ticket booked a while back. And so donning my Watershed t-shirt I travelled to Kentish Town.

It is not often that this straight laced, sometimes DULL, accountant climbs out of his shell and just lets loose - but it always happens when I see these guys live. At one point I even had someone next to me enquire if I was their biggest fan... I guess I might have been embarassing myself! But who cares...

I had seen them perform all the songs in December when I saw them in Johannesburg, but every show you attend is different, unique, and the guys come up with fantastic new ways of presenting their songs, always changing arrangements, timing, instrumentation. Taking their music to a brand new place every time you see them - you can never see the same show twice.

The arrangement of "Down to the Water" was amazing, and of course "Indigo Girl" brought the house down, with the guitar solo being a massive favorite.

The turn out was not huge, and certainly I am sure the band would have enjoyed having many more people in the crowd. But it didn't deter them and they deliverede an amazing performance which just left you wanting more.

This concert represented the start of their European tour, and I am sorely tempted to try and catch them at one of their shows on the Continent.