diamond geezer

 Friday, August 17, 2012


• Ah, we love London Open House, the annual opportunity to get inside special buildings we're not normally allowed inside. Programmes were sent out in the post earlier this week, and pre-booking for certain venues opened yesterday. Or it was supposed to. Instead the website completely collapsed under the weight of demand, which is what happens when a new interface requiring everyone to log in first isn't tested properly. Still, this you gives you more time to register, and to mull over the list of properties requiring pre-booking (thanks Ian). [the site hopes to be up and running some time this afternoon, but this may prove optimistic] [update: try 12 noon on Monday]

• If you'd rather not wait until late September to see some fine architecture, take a look at Modern London Houses. Here David Anderson has catalogued the location of hundreds of Thirties style dwellings across the capital, with photos, so that you can track them down too. It's a wonderfully comprehensive site, with a separate page for each London borough, which means in-depth information whether you live in Harrow, Merton or Croydon. The site's still growing, so your area may not yet be fully complete, but this is a lovely labour of love.

• Ever wondered where that plane in the sky was going? Wonder no more, thanks to Plane Finder, which is a map with little red aeroplanes flying across it in real time. Click on one to bring up full details of airline and destination, and to leave a trail across the map showing the plane's route. It works across the UK, indeed across the world, and if nothing else it's fascinatingly time-swallowingly therapeutic. [bookmark this for the map centred on London]

• As you may or may not be aware, the London Underground celebrates its 150th anniversary next January. In tribute, Ian Jones is visiting 150 great things about the Underground and writing about them, with pictures. Recently he's been to Mornington Crescent, the mosaics at Maida Vale and the World Clock beneath Piccadilly Circus, and less recently Kilburn and Newbury Park. With more than 100 "great things" yet to go, maybe even some suggested by you, it'll be a while before he gets to the end of the line.

• The fully accessible, stripped back, no fuss TfL Journey Planner

• As you may remember, The Ladies Who Bus have long been working their way through London's bus network one bus at a time. They started off with the number 1 in 2009, rode the 380 to Belmarsh prison last week, and this week's made their journey in front of the TV cameras. The 381 from Peckham passes the offices in Southwark that dish out Freedom Passes, which proved the perfect excuse for a splash of unlikely publicity. Join Linda, Mary and Jo as they journey onwards into the suburban 400s, then who knows, maybe all the schoolbuses and lettered services beckon. [you want a video, here's a video]

• I've been meaning to get out and explore 99 Tiny Games, but I need to get a move on. As part of the London 2012 festival, the rules of ninety-nine games (not sports) have appeared on walls, floors and pavements all across London. In Croydon town centre, two players can try 'Statue of Limitations'. In Romford, 'Street Tester' is a word game for any number of players. In Wembley, how about playing 'Musical Stairs'? Search the map, then explore in real life... and hurry, it all ends on Monday. [all devised by the folk at hideandseek.net]

• I've mentioned Edith's Streets before - a blog that's forensically cataloguing London and its surroundings, river by river, grid square by grid square. Whether by accident or design, the sequence of posts recently landed upon the Lower Lea Valley and the area around the Olympic Park - that's Hackney Marshes, Temple Mills, Stratford, Abbey Mills, Hackney Wick, Old Ford and Bromley-by-Bow. A phenomenal resource, for those of you with the patience to wade through it.

• Fancy going on a walk this Saturday, any Saturday, somewhere in the countryside in southeast England? The Saturday Walkers Club organise train-friendly walks, with no official leader, and anyone's welcome to turn up. These are the people who write and maintain the two Time Out Books of Country Walks, which should give you some idea what to expect. Their detailed website will tell you a lot more. [here's this week's walks, for example]

• Own a bit of London 2012 history. Bid for a genuine chunk of Olympic memorabilia.

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