Monthly Archives: July 2014

Up at the O2

20140711_161148The Millennium Dome – once the Great White Elephant of London and now renamed the O2 Arena; revamped to host overpriced stadium events and a branch of every high street food and drink chain imaginable – has clearly been wondering how to get people down to North Greenwich if they’re not going to an event. This isn’t an easy task because North Greenwich is essentially a building site which is a long way away. However, somebody’s had a plan, and that plan involves being tethered to a steel cable and walking up the side of it.

It’s a brilliant idea. And a really fun afternoon out. You book a time slot – they run a group up every 15 minutes from about 10am to 8.15pm this time of year – get put in your group, sign a form saying that if you fall off it’s your own fault, have a safety talk where a very overexcitable man chews the scenery for 10 minutes about how awesome it is, and then you get your gear on and head up a staircase to the start of the climb. 

The walkway itself is suspended above the roof of the dome and is made of a tent-like material that gives a bit under your feet so it feels like you’re walking on the surface, which is a nice touch. A steel cable runs along the centre of the walkway and this is what you are tethered to with a huge gear thing which you have to drag with you, but which also locks and stops you from skidding off the edge. We were in a large party so it was a slow shuffle up the steepest section at the beginning, with lots of photos being taken that can be yours for £15 at the other end if you so wish, but a steady pace was picked up as we moved up to the platform in the centre.

Once you get to th20140711_161807e circular viewing platform they untether you and you can take as many selfies as you wish. The guide told us of a bunch of women busy taking photos of themselves rather than the views and when asked why, the reply was that they could go on Google Earth and look at that any time 🙂 Don’t go up there and take selfies – it isn’t the most stunning view you’ll ever see admittedly, but on a clear day the O2 says you can see for 15 miles across Greenwich, Canary Warf and the Olympic Park. The website says the guide will tell you about stuff around you but ours didn’t, so I imagine it depends on the guide, and they’ll answer questions if you have any.

Finally you gingerly shuffle your way down the other side, which is a steeper section and requires more concentration, especially if it’s a bit wet.

Overall it was a great experience and not as arduous as I thought it might have been. A top tip is to get somebody with an O2 phone and book through the Priority Moments app as this gives you 15% off the full price of £26. There’s also an Up At The O2 app (free) though I haven’t used it, which gives you a labelled view of the skyline and info on the climb. It took about an hour and a half altogether, and there are also opportunities for a walk up at sunset. Getting there, it’s on the Jubilee line so easy enough to get to, or there’s a Thames Clipper pier on the river for a more scenic arrival.

There is a weight20140711_161520 limit and a thigh-circumference limit as you have to wear a harness, but within these I’d recommend it to anybody who fancied doing something a bit different.The only issue we came across was that a woman had turned up for our slot with eight 14-year-olds who were having a birthday celebration and she’d called the helpdesk that morning to check she was okay being the only adult with them. Whoever it was had said yes that’s fine, but when she turned up at the arena, the guy behind the desk said there was an absolute rule that one adult could only look after two children under 16 because they are liable for their safety. He was very unhelpful to somebody who had clearly spent a lot of money, and who was faced with a failed birthday party and I felt that the situation could have been handled better as the assumption was that she was lying, rather than she’d been given the wrong information. We stepped in and took charge of two kids each so everybody did get to go up in the end, but clearly there’s a problem somewhere with regards to the information being handed out, but also with the way problems are dealt with on site. There’s also no point in taking your fancy camera along – you can take a phone or a small compact with you up there and that’s it.



Building the list(s)

I’ve been adding events to the listing, arranged by date so go take a look at that, and I’ve also launched a new page of alternative things to do in and around London, which includes everything from kayaking down the Thames to dressing up as a Victorian time traveler and helping prevent an awful mishap. This is still at an early stage so more stuff will be added to it and I’ll also be playing around with the appearance of the blog to make it look more interesting and to make the listings easier to use.

Plenty of stuff is happening this summer so go have a look!


Tudor music and dancing at the Epping Forest Festival


I’m back! Now with added jousting

Hello! It’s been over a year since I wrote anything and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with this blog as I write reviews for and that has taken over that side of things. For I while I was wondering whether to start some sort of challenge where I do something a bit different each week and then write about it, but that is a pretty large scale project to take on. Instead, I’ve decided to set up a new events page where I put up interesting events in and around London that I’ve come across and sound interesting to me. This is extremely subjective as it’s essentially just an extension of what I spend a lot of my time doing anyway, which is looking for something to do at weekends which isn’t going to the pub (make no mistake – I am very much in favour of pubs, but living in London it’s a pretty expensive pastime), so the events I choose will all be ones that I like the sound of.

I wanted to put this together as currently I don’t think there is a listing which really matches what I’m looking for. Time Out can occasionally have something interesting taking place but I find it a difficult website to use because there’s so much information and so much stuff cluttering it up which I have no interest in. Therefore, if you’re looking for a jousting event to go to, or rookie banger racing, or a sci fi festival hopefully this will be of use to you. I will be putting more work into populating the listing in coming weeks with what I come across and I’ll also be creating a page of more unusual things to do in London which are available all year round rather than for a specific event.

As well as the listing, I’ll be aiming to go to some of these events as that’s the whole point in me trawling the internet in the first place! I’ll then review them and get some pics up so you can see what was going on and whether I thought it worked or not.

If you’ve come across an event that sounds good or went to one and think people should keep an eye out for it in future let me know. As I get more material up on here hopefully it’ll become a useful guide for people like me who enjoy history, arts and crafts, literature, food, sci fi / fantasy / horror and just having an interesting trip out.

Losing Hamish


It is with some difficulty that I am writing this post, because thinking about losing Hamish still moves me to tears.

Hamish was a Gordon Setter – a big, beautiful black and tan dog with a heart like a marshmallow and a passion for tennis balls that passed all understanding. It was just under two months ago, on Friday 9th of May – my beloved father’s birthday – that he passed away, on a warm spring day with the bluebells and rhododendrons in full, glorious bloom. He would have been ten in September.

On that Monday he had been happy, healthy, splashing about in Llyn Brenig with his friend Lexie. On Tuesday evening he ate his turkey but didn’t seem interested in his biscuits. I wasn’t unduly concerned, but on Wednesday my instincts told me he just wasn’t well, so I phoned the vet. I could see that the inside of his eyelids –…

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