Iconic Images Of London

Typical London scenes don’t normally feature on the Londoneer, but a change is as good as a rest, so I hope you’ll enjoy looking at some photographs snapped earlier today on Whitehall in Central London.

First, a member of the Queen’s Life Guard, part of the Household Cavalry, two of whom flank the entrance to Horse Guards Parade wearing their glistening armour and sitting astride their beautifully turned out horses every day – the tradition is that they remain motionless when they are at their post, so if you want to see them actually moving then turn up at 11am (or 10am on Sundays) to witness their elaborate changing ceremony.

Second, two magnificent beasts of the mechanical kind, parked on a side street on the opposite side of Whitehall – a vintage Routemaster which serves the ‘Heritage Route 9′ between Olympia in West London and Trafalgar Square, and another which goes from Trafalgar square to Tower Hill on ‘Heritage Route 15′ (these buses are serviced by mechanics at the West Ham Bus Garage, which you can see in this post). You might be interested to know that the Routemaster’s 21st century replacement is due to enter service in London later this year…

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The Royal Ballet’s ‘Raven Girl’ & ‘Symphony in C’ – A Review

Sarah Lamb as Raven Girl in Raven Girl © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

A brand new work by Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor is always something to look forward to, and I booked for Raven Girl at the Royal Opera House well before there was much information about what it would be like. It turned out to be a modern fairytale, the result of a collaboration between McGregor and Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveller’s Wife, with music specially composed by Gabriel Yared. With all that talent combined, why did I find it disappointing?

The main issue is the general gloominess, both in the story and on stage where the dancers battle manfully against an almost jet-black set, sporadically lit. With dancers of the calibre of Ed Watson and Sarah Lamb you want to be able to see every detail of their movement; having them appear fitfully in the spotlight is such a waste. The second issue, sadly, is that the choreography is just not interesting enough. Yes, there are some beautiful moments for Sarah Lamb when she acquires her wings – and some scary ones when she constructs a tower from chairs and climbs up it – and the detail of Watson’s portrayal of the Postman and his love for the Raven (Olivia Cowley, affecting despite the handicap of a black mask) is a joy. But the dance of the ravens is too simplistic – we want to see them soar, not trot, and the pas de deux for Sarah Lamb and Eric Underwood (riveting as always – such an undervalued dancer!) while bringing a welcome touch of excitement, is very much business as usual for a McGregor ballet.

It was such a relief to come back after the interval to Symphony in C and see how an old master like Balanchine does it. Bright lights, plain blue backcloth, dancers in white tutus and all the emphasis on the dancing. And what dancing! The inimitable elegance of Marianela Nunez, impeccably partnered by Thiago Soares; Stephen McRae and Yuhui Choe fizzing with energy and humour. A supporting lineup that demonstrated what a wealth of talent the Royal has waiting just below the top rank. But above all, choreography of wit and charm, subtly becoming more challenging both for dancers to perform and audience to follow, performed with a sense of fun by dancers at the top of their game. The audience went wild – and rightly.…

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The Future Of Microwave Cooking: What To Expect?

The odds that you have a microwave at your home is pretty much high. Microwave has become one of the most useful appliances which are used by the people. In recent times, Microwave has become an indispensable part of the kitchen and rightly so. The appliance has got multiple uses and reduces the work of a person very much. In addition to this, the appliance is also pretty simple to operate. The question that arises now is, will this thing be useful in the future as much as it is now. Many people have a doubt regarding the future of microwave cooking. What will it be? What to expect? Will a replacement come? Well, let’s find out.

Replacement of magnetron based Microwaves

Well, we all know that Microwaves that are used today are based on magnetron technology. The microwaves with this technology have ruled into the kitchen of a common household for quite some time now, but it seems like things are about tochange. In the not very distant future, the magnetron based Microwaves are set to disappear. They are going to be replaced by solid-state RF energy. The magnetron based Microwaves have been in use for so long, that it might seem impossible that something can replace them, but believe us, it’s soon going to happen.

The benefits of solid-state RF energy

 

Well, there is a wide range of benefits of the solid-state RF energy which cannot be ignored and it is the major reason because of which it is speculated that it will replace the magnetron based microwaves. The biggest advantage that solid-state RF energy has over the magnetron based Microwaves is that it cooks food more precisely in comparison to the latter one. Another aspect is that more amount of healthier food can be prepared on the solid-state RF energy. This is one of the functions because of which it will find a connection between a large group of people nowadays. The vast majority of people are going for healthier alternatives for food nowadays. The problem with microwaves is that when you think about it, healthy food will come into your mind.

Increase of players producing solid-state RF energy

When companies come to see the possibility of a product they are automatically attracted to it. Similarly, it is happening in the case of solid-state RF energy. There are multiple organizations such as the MACOM and REFA that are hell-bent on unlocking the full potential of the solid-state RF energy.

The magnetron based microwaves might be ruling the households for some time now, but with the onset of the solid-state RF energy, it is surely going to lose a large number of its users. This is because the solid-state RF energy has got way advanced features as compared to the magnetron based Microwaves. It is also able to cooking food which is tastier as well as healthier. …

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Happy Christmas, Doctor

But I’m not terribly optimistic for the New Year. The Doctor Who Christmas Special today was a *titanic* disaster – really poor writing and lots of hammy overacting and hackneyed one-liners – even Queenie got a very corny look-in, and there were a few bars from “My Heart Will Go On”…!

Ah well, at least today marks the day when the Queen finally entered the 21st Century, with a YouTube Channel no less – here’s her Christmas message, which is more watchable than Doctor Who if I’m going to be brutally honest!

Happy Christmas everyone!…

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‘Smoke – A London Peculiar’ Finally Makes It Into the 21st Century…

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, I really love receiving the little magazine which focuses on our wonderful city; ‘Smoke – A London Peculiar’. It has unique mix of short stories, poems, photography and of course the regular ‘Bus Of The Month’ column, and it usually keeps me occupied for weeks as I dip in and out of it.

With that in mind, you might be interested to learn that the guys behind the magazine have finally come up to date with their own Facebook page. I’m copying the missive I just received from them in its entirety so you can find out a little more, and get a feel for the sentiments of the creative team behind it…

“Hello, dearly beloved supporter of Smoke: A London Peculiar!

I, Jude Rogers, co-founder of the quarterly love letter to our city that many of you have known and loved since 2003, is here to tell you that our magazine – Good God – finally has a page on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/London-United-Kingdom/Smoke-A-London-Peculiar/157174527655789

Regular (and nervous) readers, fear not… we have not turned ourselves into something fancy and “virtual” in our sabbatical from print. But we *are* preparing ourselves for a Very Exciting Announcement, and wanted to prepare you all properly too…

So like us, share us with your friends, and get ready!…

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Smoke – A London Peculiar #16

It’s time for another edition of Smoke – A London Peculiar. Number sixteen includes a tall tale about Leyton, a letter from Columbia Road, and an enticing little story by Tricity Bendix, ‘The Nun With The Eagle Tattoo’. If that doesn’t persuade you to pick up a copy, this month’s bus is the No 100, and the ‘elephant’ of the month is the weird three-pillar statue at Bakers Arms…

You can order a copy of Smoke – A London Peculiar online here, and it’s also available in a couple of the specialist bookshops across town. It’s only £2.90 a go, well worth it for it’s interesting slant on all things London.…

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Londoneer: Two Foodie Events – Ben & Jerry’s and Free Bagels

There are two food-related events coming up that I thought readers might be interested in.

 
 

First is the annual Ben & Jerry’s Double Scoop Sundae Festival, which takes place on Clapham Common on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th July. 15,000 tickets are available on each day and this year’s festival is being headlined by Maxïmo Park and Ocean Colour Scene. Maxïmo Park will be supported on Saturday by Ash, Fun Lovin Criminals and others, while on Sunday Gary Numan, The Duke & The King, Little Comets and Sound Of Rum will be adding to the atmosphere for headliners Ocean Colour Scene.

You’ll also be able to visit the staple of Ben & Jerry’s festivals, a petting zoo, and there’ll also be a fairground and bare toe wrestling competitions… Unsigned bands are also being invited to take up slots on the main stage through a competition called ‘Be Herd’. Acts can submit music and video at the festival site and also be in line for a cool £1000 prize to the overall winners. Tickets are now on sale at £17, but as this is a decidedly family-friendly festival children 5 years or under are admitted free (as long as they’re with an ice-cream loving responsible adult of course!). Keep an eye on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook and Twitter for further announcements regarding acts that will be appearing on stage. 

 
 

Secondly, there’s a freebie coming up in the form of free bagels from the New York Bakery Co. who are celebrating American Independence Day on 4 July. Head over to Canvey Street, behind the Tate Modern, from 12 lunchtime and you’ll be able to sample one of their bagels, but don’t wait too long otherwise the bagels will run out!…

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Simon Rimmer’s J20 White Blend Recipes

If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll remember I was swinging a hundred or so feet above the Southbank as Simon Rimmer from the BBC’s Something For The Weekend food show prepared a couple of dishes he’d created to match with the new range of J20 White Blend drinks.

I’ve now managed to get hold of the videos where Simon demonstrates how these dishes were created, a refreshing Italian Panzanella dish for the summer and a really warming venison sausage and mash (with really more-ish onion rings) for when the autumn closes in. There are also two other recipes which I’ve uploaded to Google Docs for you to have a look at; Smoked Duck and Plum Salad, and Penne with Turkey and Smoked Salmon. I hope you enjoy creating these for yourself!…

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Lithuanian Restaurants In London – Another Look

The recent revelations from the census have unearthed some startling facts about London’s ethnic and national makeup, in particular the fact that the Poles currently make up the largest group of immigrants to the capital. Often overlooked however are their near neighbours, the Lithuanians who have also arrived in large numbers (you might well have mistaken them for Russians if you’ve passed them in the street – the men in particular have a similar physical build and their language sounds similar to the untrained ear).

Barring visiting the country itself (it’s worth mentioning that the capital Vilnius is a very pleasant destination for a weekend break) there are various ways that you can familiarise yourself with Lithuanian culture right here in London. Some time ago now I wrote what turned out to be a popular post about the Lituanica restaurant which sits above the big Lithuanian supermarket in Beckton, but since then new options have opened up that will allow you to spend some time in the company of our Eastern European neighbours, particularly when it comes to their cuisine.

‘Smilte’ at 627 Lea Bridge Rd

London now has four Lithuanian restaurants, all of them over in East London where the majority of recent Lithuanian arrivals have found themselves. There’s Lituanica, as I’ve mentioned above, and Krantas on Walthamstow High St, Smilte at Baker’s Arms and Berneliu Uzega at the Shepherd Inn in Leytonstone (part of a chain that also has restaurants in Lithuania itself). The latter two also act as nightlife venues for the local Lithuanian community – visit at the weekend and there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself being serenaded by pop stars and folk groups from the home country.

Typical Lithuanian dishes include ‘cepelinai’ (Zeppelins) which are potato dumpling stuffed with minced meat, usually accompanied by a large dollop of sour cream – very filling, I wouldn’t recommend more than one at a sitting! ‘Zrazai’ (rolls of beef stuffed with vegetables) are also a popular evening meal as are ‘skilandis’ (pig’s stomach stuffed with meat and garlic – not a million miles away from haggis).  You might want to wash it down with their fermented, slightly alcoholic bread drink,  gira (which is fairly similar in taste to dandelion & burdock).

If you fancy something different for an evening out, why not steep yourself in some Eastern European culture and give our Lithuanian friends a try?…

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Fingers & Thumbs Seafood Shack – A New London Pop-Up Only Until Saturday

Fingers & Thumbs Seafood Shack is James Ballantyne’s latest pop-up eatery, bringing foodie goodness to Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green.

Occupying The Arch, a cavernous gallery/events space underneath the railway at no 289 (between Wilco Security and E-Two Parts on the western side of the road if you’re struggling to find it), the Shack is serving up huge steaming bowls of seafood, enough for two or more to share, until Saturday 8 December.

The offering includes crab claws (at £32), enormous tiger prawns (£36) or huge hunks of lobster for £40 a bowl. Served up with a selection of vegetables and bread, these gently spiced and seasoned dishes are the perfect antidote to London’s current freezing conditions! It’s a BYO establishment, so don’t forget to secure some alcohol (or whatever takes your fancy) before you arrive – our table was occupied by white wine, rum and ginger beer which proved to be the perfect accompaniment to the more-ish seafood!…

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