UK Photos

I’ve finally put some photos from our UK trip onto Flickr. They’re not my best, I don’t think. A lot of them are from our day out in London and to be honest, I’m really not very happy with them. (Am I selling this to you yet? lol) But then we did go to London on a weird, hazy, dim day; it was seriously grey.

Yes, even by London’s oft monochromatic standards.

I’ve put them in anyway – for the sake of posterity if nothing else.
Fortunately, there were nicer days too:

So next time someone insists that It’s Grim Up North – simply point them in this direction…

Climbing London

Let me start by reminding you that trespass is bad. Trespass can get you arrested, unless of course you’re a protesting student at a South Africa university with a continually capitulating VC, in which case you’ll pretty much be allowed to get away with anything.

But I digress, often.

Don’t trespass. Let other people do it for you. Live vicariously through their foolishness. Allow them to take the silly risks. I’m talking, of course, of Harry Gallagher and his friend… er… HD.XR (possibly a pseudonym) who go leaping around rooftops and landmarks in London, making your palms sweat.

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One thing we’ve seen before from these sorts of naughty escapades is that you can get some fantastic photographs. Harry and… er… HD document their best efforts on their respective instagrams here and here.

It’s good stuff.

There’s also a Youtube channel, with rather too much introduction and not quite enough action for me, but the videos usually come with a handy “skip to [time] for the good bit” comment if you don’t want the preamble.

Pigeons v Pollution

Here’s more news from London, where things are warming up, and where pollution levels will surely rise in the heady heat of those halcyon summer days. But, how best to monitor this phenomenon? Dogs with briefcases? Rats with duffel bags? No – it’s pigeons with backpacks.

Seriously:

Pigeons wearing backpacks with air quality sensors are now flying around London.

Half a dozen racing pigeons have been released into the capital with GPS devices and a 35g sensor to measure levels of nitrogen dioxide being produced in the city. The pigeons took off from their Brick Lane base on Monday.

I’m unsure as to the benefits of the pigeon-based system rather than the more traditional ground-based sensors, but hey – pigeons with backpacks!

The birds are then, using the power of the internet, tweeting those who ask for a reading.

Coo! It works – I tried it:

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The pigeon people suggest that close opn 10,000 people die each year as a result of air pollution in London. Ironically, they refer to Asthma UK as “their friends”, although pigeons aren’t exactly the best pets to keep if you have pulmonary problems.

Still, just six backpack-wearing birds spread across ‘The Big Smoke’ can’t make you cough too much, right?

High (price) Tea

It wasn’t so long ago that I commented on the price of stuff overseas. Yes, here’s that post.

Of course, everything is expensive when you look at the tragic state of the South African Rand, but travel – especially train travel in the UK – is stupidly, near prohibitively, expensive.

But according to friendoftheblog Brian Micklethwait, train travel is cheaper (or at least better value) than some other stuff you could do in the UK.

Adults “from” £45. And I bet all they do is point at these various Things, and talk. There’s no way they let you out to actually explore them. That would take too long. So, pass. I reckon I could go by train to Birmingham and back for that.

He’s talking about this bus tour around the Big Smoke. The UK version of High Tea at the Nelly, but on a bus (and more than three times the price). Yeah, it’s a lovely idea, but it is hugely expensive – and it’s good that our resident London resident noted that too, and rather than riding it, derided it – in Capital style:

But forty five quid for a bus ride, some sandwiches, cakes and a cup of tea? Pull, as we say in these parts, the other one. Give, to coin a phrase, over.

Colloquial expression with interjected locution is the new black.