About Cool Your Jets IV

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London, GL7

Cool Your Jets IV:

Saw this via the great Urban 75 message board and thought I’d share – enjoy!

Originally posted on Words on the Street:

Imagine you’re driving into London for the first time from, say, the West Country, along the M4. Let’s say – not because you’re from the West Country, but merely for the purpose of the exercise – that you’ve lived a sheltered life and your knowledge of the capital is fairly limited. After a few hours you’ll have passed the M25 and the Heathrow exits and perhaps started to feel like you’re nearly there. You’ll have left the motorway for the A4 in Chiswick, flown over Hammersmith to Talgarth Road, and continued heading East past the big unloved terraces that line the road through West Kensington. Talgarth Road becomes Cromwell Road, and you pass the imposing Victorian museums in South Kensington and really start to feel like you’re entering the Big City. You carry on East through Knightsbridge, past the world-famous Harrods department store, perhaps glittering with hundreds of yellow bulbs in the…

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Jobseeker!

Finally, after several months of looking, I’ve finally found a job which is due to start in the next few days.

Its been quite an interesting experience – I’ve had a few little jobs to tied me over, working as a concierge for a large art fair, doing some basic accounting work and even working in Borough Market making toasted cheese sandwiches!

Having been on the other side of fence (I was a recruiter for a number of years) and now having dealt with recruiters as a candidate, I now know what a huge shower the vast majority of the industry is – thankfully for myself, I did do the basics right and made several friends with people I’ve worked with in the past.

Anyway, been listening to this for the last few months – enjoy!

Cycling Trip with Camping

Being thoroughly enthused by the Tour de France I’ve been jumping on my bike at every opportunity and heading out on fairly decent bike rides – mostly exploring London, taking in the sights – something I usually miss whilst commuting and having found myself with a few days to spare I decided to load up the bike and head off. My plan being to follow the river east riding the Thames Path, out towards the Dartford Crossing with my aim being to find somewhere to wild camp at the far end.

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Travelling light – I was carrying 2 litres of water, a jungle bivvy, roll mat and sleeping bag I set off mid-afternoon from Lewisham in SE London and was very quickly at my start point – the Trafalgar Public House, right on the River Thames in Greenwich where I grabbed a photo of my bike next Nelson who was looking north across the river at Canary Wharf.

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I do love this ride out of London and its interesting seeing the contrast between north and south – on the north side is Canary Wharf and south is mainly derelict buildings, ship breaking yards and large aggregate industries.

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Before long, the O2 Centre came into view…

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The whole area is being redeveloped, certainly all round the O2 Centre, its one big building site. After a short while the Thames Barrier came into view. The Thames Barrier became operational in 1982 – I do like to see this structure as my father who sadly died earlier this year fitted the lightning protection to it and I remember the stories he use to tell me all those years ago.

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I couldn’t resist this next photo, a well placed bike against a nice piece of graff – almost looks like the guy is about to jump on the bike…

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I carried on riding, heading further east before stopping in Erith for refreshments. Having loaded up at the local supermarket my thoughts started turning to where I might sleep tonight. Looking at the map on my phone I spotted a couple of likely stops over near Bexley Village. Leaving Erith I rode along several trails, chatted to some fisherman all of whom were having quite a good day. I also stopped to eat some blackberries! Before too long, I was peddling through the village of Bexley heading towards the spot I’d found – on arrival I was very impressed, it was a great little spot so set up camp and settled in for the night.

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I had a great ride and night out under the stars though next time I’ll remember to bring my mosquito repellent!!

Caminito del Rey – Finally Being Fixed

After many false starts, the world-famous Caminito del Rey is finally being made safe so that many more people can enjoy this thrilling walkway – thankfully we got to bag this a couple of times over the years by using our Via Ferrata and Climbing gear to gain access, we were able to enjoy this unique place.

Welcome Stranger to the Humble Neighbourhood

I love this song by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – the energy of the man is amazing and the list of food is fantastic and this song always makes me smile. It’s also a great antidote to all the bullshit spouted by the likes of UKIP – I mean, where would we be without Bombay Duck, Balti Curry, Beigals, Houmous, Cous Cous, Tikka, Lassi and all the other great food we enjoy from all corners of the globe?

South of the River and East

Last week, over the bank holiday weekend my good friend and I cycled from Southampton Way in London to Greenwich and along the Thames Path, all the way east to the Thames Barrier. It was a thoroughly good ride and having not been there in a while was surprised to see how much development has taken place and how much is going on – the place will be unrecognisable in the next ten to fifteen years. It is though, still one of my favourite places to go – does feel quite wild being so close to London but still so far.

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Hole in the Box

Box Freestone Mine is located on the outskirts of Box village, just off junction 17 of the M4. Again like so many of our trips, this one was conceived in the pub with emails going out the very next day. Several weeks later here we were, getting ready to enter these vast underground tunnels.

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This limestone quarry has been mined since Roman times though this came to halt during the very early 70s. Now its visited by intrepid explorers and the curious – buying maps from the local pub, the very good Quarrymans Arms (who looked after us once we’d finished our adventures) and is also the place where you can pick up the key to gain access to the mines.

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The tunnels are vast and if I remember correctly, are broken up in to three distinct areas Northern, Southern and one other area which I can’t remember!

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We had a great time, the mine is very impressive – there were discarded tools, old wooden cranes, graffiti going back to when the mines were mined and areas of tunnel that were collapsed.

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We were underground for a good few hours before finishing up at a place called the Cathedral, natural light teeming in from the hole above – its only whilst you have someone stood there that you get a sense of how large this space is.

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We exited the mine into someones garden (a seriously impressive garden it was too) and headed straight to the pub – not more than 100m from where we came above ground.

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A great session in the pub was the perfect end to the day with most of us opting for the very quaffable mole beer!

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Sleaford Mods – Donkey

Recently found this Nottingham based band and been completely blown away – the music is raw, aggressive and unlike anything else out there. I missed Punk first time around and feel that this very much has that DIY feel – compared to everything xfactor and music in general, this really hits the spot.

I’ve not stopped playing them and can’t wait to see them live in the next couple of months – enjoy!

St. Georges Day – Lamb Tavern

With Bombardier Beer being sold at £2 a pint, I decided to join some friends at the Lamb Tavern pub located in the Leadenhall Market which is in the heart of the City of London. I’m not really one to celebrate our national day but did have quite a good time, though think this was more to do with the band, the £2 beer and some Elvis lookalikes – they were having a great time!

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