Sunday, 25 November 2012

WInds of change

Hurrah! It's my "I survived another year" day. And it's been a good year, I can't complain.

It's been a calm Sunday since I already had my little birthday get together Friday evening. I'm still munching on leftovers (I alway get too much of everything) and have to say a big thank you to all my flatmates who helped out in one way or another. Flatmates who make you cupcakes with the Finnish flag on are keepers!
 I was also given my very own blingtastic birthday glass which matched my outfit perfectly. From now on, I'll always drink from it on this special day.
Today I then decided to sleep in before pretending to be a cultured grown up and visit the Tate Modern which I hadn't been to before. I got off the bus at St Paul's Cathedral and then walked over the bridge to the not too attractive but interesting arts museum.
The view of "City of London" from the Museum. It's been a very windy day so the first thing I had to do after walking over the bridge was to find a toilet and untangle my hair. 
A piece of Finland in the Museum shop. 
it was fun to realise that "Shakespear's Globe" is just next to the Tate Modern. The theatre is a new build based on what historians think the original globe looked like in the 16th century when Shakespeare worked there. Today, the theatre does high quality versions of Shakespeare's plays and it has a limited season because the shows are put on in the circular space in the middle of the building, which is mainly outdoors. You can choose to buy a seat underneath a roof or stand under the bare sky, rain or shine. 
A friend told me that she'd met a wise man in Vietnam when she was my age, and he'd told her that women of 28 make a big decision to either stay put or take a very important direction in their future. I feel I've already taken a few important steps, but hope this year will help me move even further in the direction I want to go. This is going to be a good year!

Cheers!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

London - Where it rains indoors

Hello!
Plenty of fun stuff happening at the moment. Here's some of it and the rest you'll get tomorrow.
Today I went with a couple of friends (new and "old") to the Rain Room at the Barbican. The artist had basically created an indoor space where it rains constantly. Now why would anyone in London want to go and see rain when it's already pouring down outside? Well because when you walk into the space, the rain doesn't hit you. It stops raining in the exact spot where you are.
At least that's the theory. Nobody told us but you're apparently supposed to walk fairly slow and if you want to make sure you don't get wet, stay in a group. I walked towards the edge of the rain and suddenly realised it was dripping where I stood. Obeying my instinct to flee, I hurried to my friend, but that only made it so much worse because the censors or whatever makes it stop raining, didn't have time to register me so it just started to pour. Brilliant.
Look, my camera works in the rain!
So does their ...

It's a free event so it's definitely worth a visit. Just make sure you have enough time because you might end up queuing for two hours. But bring a few happy people and the wait won't seem so long!

 Hope you're having a great weekend!

Cheers!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Scenes from a toilet

Sorry, it's not as sensational as it sounds. I just saw these toilets at the Bush Theatre yesterday and thought they were cool. The booths were wallpapered with scenes from different plays, and so should all loos be in the future!
Yes, it did feel a bit weird taking photos inside the booth. I tried to make sure nobody else was around, or they might have gotten some strange ideas. And I didn't use a noisy flash.

Right, I'm soon off to do some serious shopping. Hope you all have a great day!

Cheers!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

One of those Sundays

Another Sunday and I really can't complain. I slept in, did a bit of writing and then shot off to meet Lotta for lunch. Pea and Mint soup this time around. With a wholemeal scone. Perfect for a sunny but slightly cold day.
 Suitably warmed up we then decided to walk back towards my area of town, and found ourselves in a partly enchanted, partly smelly park. The ideal place for a Sunday stroll, or hiding a murder victim.
 A Finnish friend commented on an earlier entry that we still have leaves on our trees. And true, we do. Or did, before they fell down all pretty and red.
It's always nice to find a little piece of London where there is almost nobody else and you can suddenly hear yourself breathing again. After that, you're prepared to push yourself into a crowded café and fight for you coffee. 

All the best for next week!

Cheers

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Just a few more

Just in case I never graduate, here are a couple more pics of me and my fellow paraders in our graduation gowns last week. Thanks to Lindsey Baker for the photos.
 Greeting the new Lord Mayor at Mansion House.

I'm soon off to a play which I'm looking forward to. I just wish it wasn't dark outside already. You sort of want to go straight to bed. My crazy dreams beat most play plots ... 

Have a good Saturday Evening!
Cheers

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lousy paparazzi

Last night;
"You're heavier than Andy, but lighter than Neil."
Right. Heartwarming. Although a fairly accurate estimation I would think. (Still, note to self, don't let guys lift you off the ground.)

It didn't stop me from visiting The Arts Theater's little tea room while waiting for today's play, All That Fall by Samuel Beckett. And I learned something while I was sitting there, sipping my green tea. I would be a lousy paparazza.
Only a table away from mine sat one of the show's "stars", Sir Michael Gambon, reading the papers.  Now someone with the "instinct" would have snapped a photo of him, not caring if it was an intrusion. I, on the other hand, took a photo of my glittering cupcake.
Massive paparazzi fail.
Another job I don't think I could manage, is the professional autograph hunter. You don't really see them in Finland, but here, every time you go to a play with some more prominent names in it, there's at least a couple of people waiting by the stage door simply to get something signed. They didn't see the show, they just stand by doors waiting, hoping for someone famous to step out. I guess they then sell the autographs? Or collect them?
Either way, they're usually quite easy to spot amongst the real fans who just want a glimpse of the stars off stage. They have the "moves". They know how to get in front of everyone else and are alway prepared with several items to sign and the perfect signing pens. I'm not sure the actors really appreciate them, but they're usually civil. The actors do however seem happy to give autographs to real theatre goers.

Anywho, my observations for the evening. Now to bed.
See you later!
Cheers

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

As long as it does the job

Not too much excitement today, so I thought I'd do a little friendly comparison between my two home cities. So far I've found the public transport adequate in both places. I haven't had any severe problems, despite everybody's love for hating the buses and the trains and the underground and the trams. Nothing is ever quite enough ...

Anywho, this is the London underground service; the Tube. Rather useful once you've deciphered it.

Here is the tube in Helsinki, or the Metro as we call it.
You can go either East or West along this line. Same line both ways. But be careful so you don't end up in Vuosaari when you wanted to go to Mellunmäki or vice versa.

There are plans to extend Finland's only subway network, but it might take a while before it has caught of with London's.

Hope you're having a good week!
Cheers

Monday, 12 November 2012

And then there were two

Today I'm sporting my very own wrist warmers. I finally finished the second one. To be honest, they look like they should be warming a different piece anatomy, one I don't even have. And few people have two.
Still, once they're on and "stretched", they're very warm and cosy. You can see one in action here. Next up is a pair of socks. Heel, I will master you one day!

Cheers

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A day to remember

Today was Remembrance Day here in the UK, a day observed since the end of World War One to remember those in the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. My local council had their own parade which passed by my house and then an outdoor service at the green close by.  
The Mayor of Islington, Councillor Jilani Chowdhury
I especially like the big drum because my brother used to play it. 
There was a 2-minute silence nation wide at 11am and amazingly it did become almost entirely quiet in the middle of this vibrant area. No buses, lorries or cars. Only a few barking dogs and a baby crying. 
I have now sung God Save the Queen with the locals. I wasn't entirely sure about the lyrics, but luckily they were in the program. Had a sneak peak now and then.

Afterwards I went to one of my favourite cafés for lunch and a bit of work. They had Swedish pea soup on the menu! I had to try it and although it was very thick, it almost tasted like home (don't really know what the difference is between Swedish and Finnish pea soup ... This one didn't have meat in it.)
 The café has a very flamboyant decor which is perfect when you need some creative inspiration.
A very good Sunday all in all. New experiences and plenty of relaxation. Next week will be full on so I'm taking a deep breath and look forward to it.

Cheers!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Potter for the day

Two young girls: 
Girl 1: Look at them!
Girl 2: They're students.
Girl 1: No! They're Harry Potters.

Today me and a bunch of City uni students got dressed up in graduation robes to participate in the annual Lord Mayor's Show. Granted, we did look a bit like we'd escaped Hogwarts.
 Our "float" was a vintage red double decker bus with a rhythmic band on the roofless upper floor. On our way to the meeting spot however, we had to travel "on top" despite the rain. We managed as best we could.
 Our moods were lifted once we got to the starting point of the parade. There was still a wait ahead, but there was also plenty to look at.
A tank. (Thank goodness we didn't have it behind us in the procession. Accidents do happen.)
 My fellow academic found a machine gun she wanted to try out ... (Voldemort has a new weapon.)
There was the Lion's Club lion who had lost his head.
A few clowns of course ...
And these were just the participants waiting closest to us. Some of the really cool floats, horses and bands were farther ahead or with the Lord Mayor and his Golden carriage. 
We also had our own Marshall who made sure everything went as planned. He did show us his sword. 
All right, let's get that drum up there so we can get going!
At this point, my photos became rather blurry. Walking fast and taking photos isn't the best combination. But I tried! The parade itself was great. The people in the audience were really happy, waving and clapping, like they'd all come out to see you and just you. We all clapped and waved back. At this point the raining had stopped which also lifted everybody's spirits. 
We reached the grand stand where the new Lord Mayor himself, Alderman Roger Gifford, together with Mayor of London Boris Johnson, watched the parade. They didn't turn out very sharp around the edges, but fancy costumes anyway.
A short lesson copied from Wikipedia: The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London is the legal title for the Mayor of (and head of) the City of London Corporation. The Lord Mayor of London is to be distinguished from the Mayor of London; the former is an officer only of the City of London, while the Mayor of London is the Mayor of Greater London and as such governs a much larger area. Within the City of London, the Lord Mayor hasprecedence over other individuals and has various special powers, rights and privileges.

There's a new Lord Mayor selected every year and celebrated with a parade. The parade is over 800 years old and is the largest unrehearsed parade in the world. The Lord Mayor is also the chancellor of City University which is why we participated. The Lord Mayor travels in this: 
Photo borrowed from cityoflondon.gov.uk
We did the parade one way. Had an hours lunch break. Waited for a bit longer and then did the parade again, a slightly different route back. By the end, I had a new found respect for the queen. All that waving! And my whole body was stiff from the walking and standing around. But it didn't matter. It was possibly a once in a life time thing, a brilliant one at that, and who can complain when you're surrounded by guys like these?

Hope you're having a great weekend!
Cheers

Friday, 9 November 2012

More Orange soup

Apparently I'm discovering the soup selection in London's theatre cafés & restaurants. So far I've made one conclusion, they're always orange.

Okay, so I've only visited two so far. Yesterday I saw the play NSFW at The Royal Court Theatre and they had a really nice café and restaurant. Quite big, but still somehow cosy and warm. Before the matinee I had lunch; carrot and butternut squash soup and toast. The English love their butternut squash.
The soup was thin but really good. And the buttery toast was tasty when you dipped it in the soup. (Not very classy maybe, but mmmm.)
I couldn't get a proper photo of the theatre because the buses kept taking brakes in front of it, covering the sign, but here's a picture from the side anyway.
Today I visited the Almeida Theatre's bar & café. I noticed it a few weeks ago when I saw King Lear at the theatre. The production was great. To be honest, I hadn't seen a proper Shakespeare play before. At least not in English. I was a bit worried I wouldn't understand everything, and yes, some of the lines just flew past me, but it was still easy to follow. So much passion, so much drama! I don't know how the actors find the energy to do it night after night, I was exhausted just sitting in the audience. But I think I finally know how to read a play by Shakespeare. It's definitely not boring.
All the actors were great, but the star of the show was Jonathan Price, familiar from several films and TV series.
By the time of the show, Price had grown a long white beard and turned into King Lear.
But to the soup! I went back to the Almeida café today (it's within easy walking distance) and had lunch while finishing up some writing. It's a small space. Modern. But the atmosphere was still good. The staff was nice, and the customers a mix of "normal" people and people working at the theatre. A few tables away from mine, three men sat with a miniature stage, moving around different pieces of the set and discussing what they could do within the budget. I would love to know more about set design.
Again, the soup. It was a pumpkin soup with bread and butter. The soup was good, but not as nice as yesterday's. The bread however was brilliant, I could have eaten the entire loaf.
  The second piece of bread is behind the bowl ... I will be going back.

Where to next? Any other theatre's serving orange soup? I'd like this to be at least a trilogy. Sure, I had almost orange soup at my visit to the BFI, but that's film, not theatre. I'll let you know how the drama unfolds.

Have a nice weekend everybody! (I might have some interesting photos for you tomorrow ...)

Cheers!