Thursday, 26 July 2012

on your marks...

It's like it's always been like this. We've taken the heat in our stride and after 4 days Londoners seem to have forgotten that up until Monday we had the wettest and direst and most unpleasant summer since records began.

hot hot hot hot

And (in case you have been imprisoned in a dungeon for the last 2 years and didn't know) now we are at the eve of the Olympics . I was the biggest cynic until I saw these being transported downriver a couple of months ago... soon to be raised onto Tower Bridge.

Olympic rings being transported downriver
Then the navy moved into my patch and I started to take notice!

HMS Ocean complete with helicopters.
No need for an alarm clock this week!

“In London the Olympics are everywhere and the world is starting to arrive” said the reporter on last night’s BBC 10 o’clock news.

It's so exciting being in London right now. There is bunting everywhere, even in my dentist's gaff, flag sales must have gone through the roof and union jack t shirts are now the new black! The Olympic Lane Network went into operation this week and there are road closures all over the city.  
One report said that on Southampton Row motorists have 3 choices, all illegal and subject to fines. They can choose to drive in the illegal Olympic Lane, or the illegal bus lane or the other side of the road. Let's hope that someone has a sense of humour or at least the sense to let them off if these fines ever get to court.

But despite the Daily Mail and other horrible media trying to stir up negativity, everyone I have spoken to is enjoying life and the change of pace. Taxi drivers seem delighted at the prospect of tourists in town for a guaranteed month.  London transport and the games committee are warning us of long delays, packed trains and advising us to change our journey times and routes. Actually what they really mean is "Dear Londoners, stay off the trains and buses so the tourists can get to the Games." but we don't mind.  We know that if it does get as bad as predicted we can always stay home and do the garden work from home.
Even pedestrian crossings have been blocked off but that makes for a more interesting walk to work. Everyone ignores them and dodges the traffic, which is easy because reduced to one lane it is now going very, very slowly. A tweet from a motorist stuck in a long traffic jam this week reads :
Massive queue on the A40 this morning, but we're still excited

and that just about sums us up. The spirit of the blitz is alive and well in London!
Bring on the Games!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

groundhog day

This week urbanjane has swapped London pavements for rainforest. This week I'm junglejane and intent on getting right back to nature!

I've always loved sleeping under a mosquito net, and this, along with the sound the sound of crashing waves and singing crickets makes me feel very jungly. I had no idea the jungle could be so noisy at night!  The crickets get louder and louder and then the birds join in and they don't shut up until dawn, like an all night rave for birds. It kept me awake on the first night, more out of delight and not wanting to miss anything I think, but now I let it lull me to sleep.

In the last couple of days I've clambered up to a massive thunderous waterfall and swum in the pool below (pictures later when I get a better connection), eaten the sweetest passion fruits and guavas and pineapples and snorkelled over reefs where volcanic activity under the sea bed causes a stream of  bubbles to rise up to the surface in a stream like huge crystals. I tried to catch the bubbles and as I did so felt a surge of energy in my hands as they broke up and off to the surface. Nearby in the shallows the hots springs coming up from the sand were hot enough to burn your ankles. This is all so breathtakingly beautiful that I can hardly believe it is happening. I've even had dinner for three nights in a row watching a full moon rise over the Atlantic Ocean.

Actually that's not possible is it? Is this my groundhog day?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Christina O pays a visit to the Wharf

One of my first yachting jobs was on a flotilla. We were based in Lefkada, in the Ionian, and on our circuit  we used to pass Skorpios, the private island belonging to the Onassis family. I don't know if they are still there but some 10-12 years ago we would sail past some enormous buoys, which were said to have been laid for Aristotle to moor his legendary yacht, the Christina O, named after his daughter. I remember us all looking at these huge buoys in awe and trying to imagine the scale of the vessel.

After Aritotle's death the yacht was sold and wasn't seen for years, allegedly falling into disrepair in some shipyard.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when walking through Canary Wharf I stumbled across this very yacht, magnificently refurbished and relaunched, right on my doorstep!