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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
If you like this you'll LURVE One Stop Short of Barking, the fun and informative book about travelling
on the London Underground.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How well do Londoners know tourist Tube Stops?

Readers of this blog probably pride themselves in knowing where the nearest London Underground stations are to major tourists attractions. However, apparently other Londoners aren't so Tube savvy.

Holmes06 by Scott Monty
Photo by Scott Monty from The Baker Street Blog

Over the Bank Holiday weekend Dave Hill from The Guardian's London blog said "The creator of the Tube Map app has put three searching questions to 2,628 frequent users of the London Underground. What is the nearest station to noted London landmarks Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Madame Tussauds? The answers were intriguing."

Almost half didn't know that Tower Hill was the closest stop to the Tower of London, despite there being a pretty obvious clue in the station's name. 56% knew that Baker Street was the closet to Tussauds, although 14% thought Piccadilly Circus was closest.

Buckingham Palace was also puzzling to some. 15% thought High Street Kensington was the nearest Tube stop.

Many will say that surveys like this are just designed to be publicity seeking, and yes of course they are. Not much point in a commercial organisation doing them otherwise. But over 2,600 commuters isn't a bad sample size and certainly shows that most Londoners don't really visit popular tourist attractions (especially not as adults). I think I was 12 last time I went to Madame Tussauds. I've never been inside Buckingham Palace, nor had a desire to really and of the three it's probably the most likely one for people not to know the very nearest stop, as there's a lot of Tube stops that serve it very well (not High Street Kensington though).

Similarly with The Tower of London, I was probably only nine the last time I went inside the grounds.

What are your thoughts on the survey & the results? Are there any other tourist attractions where Londoners might have trouble naming the nearest Tube Station? For example London Zoo, Big Ben, Downing Street.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 31, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Artists working for London Underground stage second exhibition

The second art exhibition organised by London Underground staff showing their own art work goes on display from Monday 5th September 2011. For the second year '
Out of Uniform' is will be displaying photographs, poetry, art and music from people, who when in uniform, work as supervisors, ticket sellers, train drivers and gate line staff on the Tube.

Video of the opening night of last year's Out of Uniform exhibition

It will run until the 10th September 2011 at The 198 Gallery in Brixton Village SW2. All are welcome to the launch party on the 8th September 2011.

Out of Uniform 2011

It's great to see these staff are showing a completely different aspect of their daily working lives. As regular readers of this blog appreciate, it's often a surprise when we see their hidden talents revealed, as with the Caledonian Road Tube artist Kim last featured earlier this year.

Once again, this exhibition will uncover some real talent and diversity, ranging from Ben Langham - aka Ben Phaze of Tunnel Sounds - who makes amazing club music sampling sounds recorded from the London Underground, to a photographic trainee train driver, (sorry Train Operator) the immensely talented Anne Manningas aka Version 3 Point 1. There are also individual websites and a documentary film to view. Everything has been put together by the staff themselves - sadly, yet again there appears to be no official support from Art on the Underground.

For further details and more on all the staff who will be exhibiting, visit Out of Uniform or contact the curator, David Nevin, a station supervisor at West Ruislip Tube, on contact@davidnevin.co.uk for more information.

You might also like:
Sounds of the Underground

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On this day in 1906 John Betjeman was born

A few posts you might like, in honour of Sir John Betjeman "poet & hack", one of the first people to bring a love of the Tube and trains into the popular literary world.

John Betjeman lookalike on Northern Line
South Kentish Town Tube & John Betjeman
Metroland trip on 1930's and 1920's trains
Meeting Julian Barnes - Metroland author - Top London & Tube Writer

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, August 28, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, August 27, 2011

London Underground over August Bank Holiday Weekend 2011

Normally there are engineering works over Bank Holiday weekends on the District Line, but as you can see from the picture at the bottom of my garden, it all seems to be running well, at least on the Richmond end.

District Line Trains Richmond branch are running OK this Bank Holiday

Check out TfL's website for all of the planned engineering works & for other Bank Holiday travel information, including how to use the Tube for the Notting Hill Carnival.

Bolli looking shocked in Garden

I'm keeping out of central London all Bank Holiday weekend and staying local or pottering around in my garden. Whatever you're doing have a great time.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, August 27, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bob The Angel Tube Cat - Update

Since the fantastic news about
Bob the Angel Tube Cat & his Big Issue owner getting a a book deal got featured on Catster's blog (Catster's a massive online community for cats in case you were wondering), the whole thing's "gone viral" according to James, Bob's owner. I've been getting literally loads of very sweet emails asking me when Bob is at the Angel London Underground, if he's OK as people haven't seen the pair, where else they are etc. So I'm pleased to report that I saw them last night and they are as lovely as ever.

James & Bob the Big Issue / Angel Tube Cat - 25th August 2011 by Annie Mole

James has got the date for a launch party from his book publishers, Hodder & Stoughton and should be able to annnounce this soon.

Last week The Big Issue featured him & Bob in the magazine and as a fun follow up asked readers to send in pictures of their cats "reading" The Big Issue. So if you get this week's edition (see the one in the picture with James) you'll see pictures of cats looking at pictures of other cats and putting their paws on photos of Bob. London's going cat crazy!

The guys & gal at Angel Tube confirmed they had given Bob his own Oystercard as well. When I was chatting to them last night, James went off for a quick fag break with Bob perched on his shoulder. I was already behind the barriers and too far off to leg after them to snap a picture.  Although there are some lovely photos of Bob on James's shoulder in the Bob the Big Issue Cat & James Flickr Group.

This story keeps on giving!


My cat Bolli is very attention seeking and when he heard about The Big Issue wanting pictures of cats reading the magazine, he demanded I give him a copy to read.

Bolli pondering sponsorship opportunities - The Big Issue authors discuss publishing & corporate

The last one I bought from James was one where Neil Gaiman interviewed Iain Banks  in advance of the Edinburgh Festival. Both Bolli & myself are big fans of Gaiman (Neverwhere should be required reading for all Tube commuters) & Banks (whisky pub crawl on Glasgow's subway in Espedair Street is a classic).   Bolli took a strong interest in the article which covered Doctor Who, whisky & why publishing has become so corporate. There are a couple more pictures here, before Bolli got bored and went off to have a nap.

Related Posts
Bob, Angel Tube Cat, gets Book Deal
Tube Photo of the Week - Angel Tube Cat
Angel Tube's Thoughts of the Day go online

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 26, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guess Where Tube 8 - Dangerous Tube Door

Continuing the series where I ask you to try to guess where on the London Underground picture from the
London Tube Flickr group was taken from.

Lovely Tube Door

The last one was really tough and only one person got it right Guess Where Tube 7 (see the comment I left just now) - so this time I'm being easier on you.

Today's "Guess where Tube" features one of those "Dangerous doors" on the Tube.

I love the slightly Steampunk feel this one has. Again I'll say it's one where if you really know where it is, you'll get it straight away. If you don't it will be harder. So really try not to look at the comments in front of you before making your guess.

Once again, there's no prizes for getting it, just the satisfaction of knowing you were right.


You might also like
Guess Where Tube 7
Guess Where Tube 6
Guess Where Tube 5
Guess Where Tube 4
Guess Where Tube 3
Guess Where Tube 2
Guess Where Tube 1
Guess Where Tube Quiz
Guess Where Tube Quiz Round Two

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The futility of QR codes on Tube adverts

Interesting guest post from
Ged Carroll @r_c Director digital strategies Ruder Finn

This is probably the best usage of a QR code that I've seen so far. Still don't think they'll catch on past nerds, though by littlelazer121
US Subway ad with QR Code by littlelazer121

"Travelling on the London Underground ‘Tube’ recently I have noticed that more and more adverts have a QR code, I am not too sure if this is a recent phenomena or that I have been paying more attention as a number of the projects that I’ve been recently looking at are about the ‘web of no web’: the interface between the web and the real world. I am a big fan of progressive approaches to marketing, however, the more I thought about the phenomena, the greater the waste of time that it seemed to be.


Picture credit - Friends of the Earth

"Londoners often joke about the Tube being like cattle trucks; in reality European Union regulations wouldn’t allow livestock to travel on a train with the conditions of the Tube on a hot summers day. A combination of overcrowding together with the lack of air conditioning means that some of the lines can be as hot as a walk in the desert. The over-crowding also means that would be hard to take a picture of a QR code. So whilst the advert may have a large reach, the realistic reach of the QR code call to action is a lot smaller.

Sardines on North London Train from the London Paper

"So you happen to be lucky in terms of where the crush places you and try to snap the QR code with your phone. You probably won’t be successful, Tube lines aren’t known for the smooth ride of say the Paris Métro, so you will be trying to hold your camera still whilst the train carriage rocks and sways in front of your smartphone. Your phone won’t be able to focus and take a clear image of the QR code. That’s one of the reasons why there isn’t a Tube advert shown here to illustrate this post, despite at least three attempts over the past week to snap a picture of an appropriate advert.

This is London by alexander_boden

"Unlike other mass transit systems in the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong, huge high-traffic sections of the lines are underground or in such a deep cutting that they are inaccessible to mobile phone networks so QR code won’t take the audience through to an appropriate web page, but instead prompt a ‘network unavailable’ message.

"All of this shows that the media buyers, marketers and or designers don't pay much attention to the context of their advertisement artwork, which could artificially skew campaign objectives and measurement adversely."

There are some good uses of QR codes at stations but I agree with Ged that using them for in-carriage advertising just smacks of trying to be trendy without having much thought for usability.

Terence Eden spotted a good use for QR codes at Wimbledon Station waiting room:

Wimbledon Station Bookswap. What a good idea (& good use of QR)

He said "Wimbledon Station Bookswap. What a good idea (& good use of QR)"

The US also seem to be using QR codes in carriage adverts but it appears to be on overground trains only where there is a good reception (also see first picture on this post)

More QR codes
More QR codes "in the wild" - on the MBTA Red Line - by Mark Eichin

Thanks again to Ged Carroll  for a thought provoking guest post, you can also see the post here.

So, what do you think?  Do you use QR codes on the move or at Tube stations?  Have you seen many QR codes on Tube adveristing - both in carriage & outside of carriages?  Do you think QR codes on Tube ads will be a growing trend.  Do you even know what a QR code is?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 23, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Riding mini train added bonus of Steampunk Exhibition

If you like Doctor Who (Tennant & Smith era), William Gibson and the whole Steampunk scene and happen to have some free time from 23rd August, pop along over to Kew Bridge for your last chance to see the amazing
Steampunk Exhibition.

On Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday there's the added bonus of getting a free ride on London's only steam railway. Today I was on the "Wren" class locomotive Thomas Wicksteed, which is apprarently typical of a waterworks engine. More trains here, here and here.

Thomas Wicksteed  Engine

Back to Steampunk - there's an awe inspiring collecton of masks, costumes, jewellery, posters and props which all hint at what science fiction in the Victorian age could have been like.  It's very similar to the some of the futurology in the Sense and the City exhibition at London Transport's Museum, except Steampunk is an imagined  futurology of the past (still with me) where modern writers and thinkers imagine what Victorian science fiction writers like HG Wells and Jules Verne could have been writing, if they'd have known a lot of the things we know now.

So you get wonderful Victorian imaginings of K9

Steampunk K9

Cyborg-looking fighter pilots in copper masks:

Protect the Skies

Steampunk Bomb Disposal Expert by Annie MoleSteampunk Googles 2

And people taking part in Tea Duelling competitions. (One of the weirdest games I've seen in my life).

It basically involves a pair of duellers who each select a biscuit, then dunk it in tea. They then have to hold it upright for a long as possible, before it goes floppy and then eat just before it's about to drop. The person who can hold out the longest and not eat before the other, wins.

Concentration in the Tea Duelling Final

And lots of people making jewellery and other small things that are all part of what Steampunk means

Making Steampunk crafts

The full set of Flickr Photos are here (including more trains) and I look foward to seeing any comments or thoughts you may have.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, August 21, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 19, 2011

Celebrity Tube Spot / Stalk

Can you name this man?

Can you name this man?

I asked last night on Twitter if people could name this man seen at my London Underground station yesterday morning. No one at the time managed to. Can people on the blog do better? No prizes for getting it right and I'll uncover the touch of irony in this photo at some stage after the correct person is guessed.

Good luck.

Update - To all those who guessed Justin Lee Collins you are right!  Here's the story behind it.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 19, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What inspired the name of this blog

Trying to put
Paul Weller & The Jam where they should be on Google when you search for "Going Underground"

Some people might say my life is in a rut,
But I'm quite happy with what I got
People might say that I should strive for more,
But I'm so happy I can't see the point.

Something's happening here today
A show of strength with your boy's brigade and,
I'm so happy and you're so kind
You want more money of course I don't mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes
And the public gets what the public wants
But I want nothing this society's got

I'm Going Underground, (Going Underground)
Well let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going Underground, (Going Underground)
Well let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I've enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
Me, I'm too busy dodging between the flak

What you see is what you get
You made your bed, you better lie in it
You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
You'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
And the public wants what the public gets
But I don't get what this society wants

I'm Going Underground, (Going Underground)
Well let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going Underground, (Going Underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Lalalala Lalalala

We talk and talk until my head explodes
I turn on the news and my body froze
The braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

Going Underground, Going Underground,

I'm Going Underground, I'm Going Underground,

Lalalala Lalalala Lalalala Lalalala

The braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!
Going Underground, (Going Underground)

Well let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going Underground, (Going Underground)
Well let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout

Going Underground, (Going Underground)
Well let the brass bands play and feet pow pow pow
Going Underground, (Going Underground)
Well let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

When Going Underground went straight into the charts at number 1 in 1980 it was said: "who else would dare to lyrically combine nihilism, with a hatred for complacency, a call for peace and political cynicism and still top the charts?"

Thank you Paul. You changed my life with Going Underground.

Related post
How will London recover from this?

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 17, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Love on the Central Line - South Woodford London Underground

A married couple returned to the place they first found love. That place was South Woodford Tube station. They also got engaged at the station and yesterday dressed up in their wedding clothes to thank the London Underground staff there.

Photo by Hayley Lehmann
Photo by Hayley Lehmann - see another great shot on her site

In December 2006, 30 year old Will Gull, a tax advisor, was on his way home on the Central Line after some post work drinks, and saw Katie Crammer, a 27 year old teacher, getting on the train at Bank station.

He wrote Katie a note: ’I think you are beautiful, from Will’, and put his phone at the bottom, and passed it to her.

Katie, also quite fancied him so handed back a note with her phone number saying: ’You’re not so bad yourself, from Katie’.

They decided to stop the notes and started chatting until they came to Will's home station - South Woodford.  They both left to have a drink in a  nearby winebar. After the drink they went both went to their own homes and the rest is history.

"Barnet photographer Hayley Lehmann, who took their pictures at their wedding in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, said she was captivated when they told her their romantic tale particularly as it nearly went awry.

"For the next few weeks the pair made calls and texts to each other, but were unable to find a time to meet up again and then it nearly all went wrong because incredibly they both lost their phones!

"But then they remembered the notes on which they had written their numbers and they finally arranged a date and they have been inseparable every since.

"Almost exactly three years after they met, on Katie’s birthday, Will treated her to a celebratory meal at The Ivy and then they travelled home on the Central line.

"When they got to South Woodford station, Will told Katie she must get off the train because her birthday present was here.

"Will got down on one knee and proposed to Katie in front of commuters and station staff – which is why they decided to travel back to South Woodford station to let the staff know their journey had a very happy ending," she told TfL.

London Underground’s Chief Operating Officer, Howard Collins said: “It is lovely to hear that we have brought this young couple together and that they returned to South Woodford to let our staff know.

“We had more than 1.1 billion passengers on the Tube last year so this can’t be the only couple who have found love on the Underground and their journey ended happily in marriage.

I love this story and often get asked about people who found love on the Tube. Howard Collins is right, but in my experience those stories are few and far between, so it's fantastic to hear this about Katie & Will.  Hope they took advantage of the free rail travel for any Kate & Will on Royal Wedding Day.

You might also like
Finding Love with the Tube's Help
Where to Find Love on the London Underground
Which Tube Line has the Hottest Commuters
"You're Beautiful" is about the London Underground

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 16, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guess Where Tube 7 - Acts of kindness

Continuing the series where I ask you to try to guess where on the London Underground picture from the
London Tube Flickr group was taken from.

Acts of Kindness Tube Poster

A few of you got Guess Where Tube 6 - but it managed to stump the majority of people who guessed.

Today's "Guess where Tube" is about the wonderful "Acts of kindness" poster campaign where artist Michael Landy is collecting stories of kindness on the Tube.

It's particularly pertinant this week in light of many Londoners "fighting" back to the London riots, looting and general mindless violence which we saw at the beginning of the week. The "acts of kindness" in London such as the #riotcleanup campaign; the fundraising to help the Malaysian victim of a mugging which horrified all who watched; the making of cups of tea for the police - who use a riot shield as a tray; shop owners in Brixton handing out free cupcakes in a show of kindness; #NotInOurName - a non political movement giving London's youth a voice; @RiotRebuild a new fundraiser set up for performers & artists and many more acts, have restored my faith in London again.  I'd love to know which acts of kindness where your favourites.

Anyway, back to the guessing it will be interesting seeing the thought patterns of  those who try to guess where the above picture was taken.

Once again, there's no prizes for getting it, just the satisfaction of knowing you were right.

Try not to look at the comments in front of you before making your guess. Enjoy!

You might also like
Guess Where Tube 6
Guess Where Tube 5
Guess Where Tube 4
Guess Where Tube 3
Guess Where Tube 2
Guess Where Tube 1
Guess Where Tube Quiz
Guess Where Tube Quiz Round Two

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 12, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Deal with Commuter Rage with Giant Punch Bags

The Chinese have an answer for everything. There's a lot of
pent up frustration and anger in the UK right now and maybe this is what we're looking for. We all know what it's like when we've just missed a London Underground train. Or we've been waiting on a Tube platform for what seems like an eternity, only for the train to be cancelled. In Shangai there's a way for dealing with this frustration.

Chinese subway riders get punching bags to beat out their demons

Treehugger report that "The punching bag is, in actuality, a very clever ad campaign by Adidas, installed in Shanghai. The slogan written on it, according to Micgadget, says, "Every year you have to wait on the platform for about 1,824 minutes. Don't waste your time, come and have some punch !"

We know there can be a lot of waiting on a Tube station platform. It might not a bad way to get some exercise or blow off some steam while waiting. Fun installations like these are definitely a way to get people to try to enjoy the daily commuting grind a little more. The recent slide installed in Overvecht is a great example of this.

However, there are obviously downsides to the punch bag idea. Dvice points out, "Now, I understand there are droves of stressed out workers going to work and returning home in China, like there are in every other major global city, but a subway station doesn't exactly seem like the best place to install a punching bag. One blown nerve and a person taking it out their virtual boss on the bag could end up accidentally injuring a bystander."

Hat tip to @Jester who told me about this.

What do you think? Are there any station platforms in London big enough for this to work on?

You might also like
Slides on the Tube - would you use them?
Slide stairs to the Train

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 11, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

How will London recover from this?

I'm not normally speechless. I don't normally put my head in my hands and shake my head in despair. I don't cry over sudden sentimental issues. Last night and in the early hours of the morning that changed. London changed. The London that I was born in and grew up in, turned into a place that I didn't recognise. A London that I did not want to be a part of.

London I'm ashamed

I have lived through riots in the 1980's. I'm a child of the Thatcher generation. I was at college in Uxbridge during the mid 1980's. I remember me and my friends sitting in a small college room listening to riots in nearby Southall and being very scared. One of my friends had a work placement where she worked for the law firm who were representing PC Blakelock, who was killed during riots at the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham in 1985.

We never condoned violence, but we slightly understood it. We could see why those people in Tottenham felt they had been misreprsented when one of their community had died after the result of a police raid. We were students after all. We were supposed to understand this sort of stuff.

I've been on student marches. One of the proudest moments in my life was taking part in a Anti Rascism march and walking nearby the Jam's Paul Weller & his ex-wife DC Lee (see video below). I loved Ken Livingstone's free GLC concerts like Rock Against Rascim. It was good to see a revival of these in recent years.

Telling lines here  - "The competition's is a colour TV We're on still pause with the video machine That keep you slave to the H.P." - maybe he should update with Flat Screen & DVD.

I went on more student marches. Anti apartheid, demonstrations outside Barclays' Banks, feminist conferences, I went to several speeches which Ken Livingstone, when he was leader of the GLC, gave at our University, he was an inspiring speaker, he was a Londoner he spoke about issues that I believed in. My last march as a student was against the introduction of student loans. I was just about to graduate so I was OK but I knew that if student loans had been introduced when I was about to go to University. I probably wouldn't have gone. My life would have taken a completely different path to it has today.

As an adult I became less Political and more political. I started blogging in 2003, but can't really remember anything happening with a political edge to my posts. I had a broken leg during the marches protesting against the Iraq war in 2004. But my ex-husband went along and said he'd never seen so many people on a march before.

Fast forward to 2005. (Me & ex-hubby divorced in October that year). The July bombings made me angry again. I felt sad, depressed, shocked and appalled that 52 innocent Londoners had been killed just from trying to go to work. I blogged every half hour or so about that horrific day. I got onto the Tube the next day to take pictures of the ghost town. I was determined not let terrorists dictate how I would travel around my city.

In August of 2005 I was part of the Tube Relief and live blogging our attempts to raise money for the victims of the London Bombings. We raised around £12,000 through a fundraising Tube Challenge. I felt proud to be a part of that.  The bombings changed me in ways I did not expect.  I became Political again.

Fast forward to 2008, the year of the London Mayoral elections. If you've been reading this blog from then it will come as no surprise to you to know that I'm not a big fan of Boris Johnson. My comments about Ken Livingstone above will perhaps explain why I was so sad when Boris Johnson came into power. There's many blog posts which go into that in more detail. If you've seen the T shirts that have been sitting in my right hand side bar since 2008, you know the story.

Basically I understood why Londoners felt that they had to protest about certain issues. I could see the cause. I could see why people got angry and how that sometimes led to pent up violence. I never condoned violent protests but could see why people might do it.

Angel Tube - Thought for the Day - 9th August 2011

Last night I saw a completely different type of rioting in London. People's homes were being attacked and looted. People were doing this in broad daylight in some instances. I was watching virtually children throwing rocks & burning out cars. I was watching riots taking place in Ealing only six miles away from where I live, a very leafy part of London.  Diners were getting robbed in Michelin starred restaurants right on Cameron's doorstep.  The London where you don't imagine people have the issues and feelings of powerless that they might have in Tottenham, where the riots started in the small hours of Saturday morning.

I make NO apologies for this post not being Tube related. During the Mayoral elections I decided that I would never apologise for being political on this blog. If you don't like seeing a post about my political bent move onto another blog post that does interest you. There's plenty to choose from.

Here's how our Mayor "handled" the riots when he decided to come back from hols

I am a Londoner, I was always proud to be a Londoner. Last night was the second time in my life when I said that I was ashamed to be a Londoner.  If you want to see the rest of my Tweets as I watched the horror unfold  they're here.

I have no solutions. I have only shock, horror and a slight edge of fear. I have no idea when this inexplicable behaviour will stop. I have no idea how it could have happened in the first place. This is a London that could possibly be changed forever.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 09, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 08, 2011

Baby on Board inspired Tube Badges

What to do if you're not pregnant but still want a seat on the London Underground? I blogged in February about the
Baby on Board Badges that pregnant women can wear, to tell fellow passengers they are in need of a seat. I was surprised that a lot of people had no idea what the badges meant or hadn't seen them before (it was one of my most commented upon posts this year), as I thought the concept had been out for years.

Anyways, inspired by these badges Chloe Lee Carson has designed a range of 5 spoof badges that reflect and address a few more issues faced by many on the Tube.

Not pregnant just had a big lunch badge Get Lost that Seat is Mine

She said: "For many London commuters, distinguishing between a pregnant and a simply bloated belly can cause anxiety when deciding whether to offer a seat. London Underground ingeniously launched the "Baby on Board" badge to inform other passengers that it's appropriate to offer up their seat to the pregnant wearer.

They shouldn't have stopped with one badge as the possibly pregnant lady isn't the only awkward Tube moment.

Seeing as it is almost illegal to actually speak to a fellow passenger, badges could just be the answer to getting through your daily commute....and possibly life in general!

We hope these less than subtle badges help to meet your commuting needs

I love these Tube Badges specially big lunch not pregnant one, although not exactly sure that the "I'm a tourist please be patient" badges are needed. Tourists are generally pretty easy to spot on the Tube, by their innate ability to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time - crowded around the bottom of stairs looking at line diagrams, standing on the left of escalators, travelling in the rush hour with suitcases the size of small campervans in tow etc etc.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 08, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Win Five downloads of Great British Chefs app with Nom Nom Nom's Food Quiz

As many of you may know, for the last four years I've helped to organise
NomNomNom  a charity fundraiser food blogger's verison of MasterChef.  It was one of the things that helped me land my new job - check out my Twitter profile if you want to know what it is!

So with only a few days before the online vote for Viewer's Choice for Nom Nom Nom goes live on Monday 8th August, we had promised to put up the Foodie/pop culture related  quiz that the finalists did after lunch.  Remember they weren't using the internet for help and ended up mainly shouting out random responses until either me or Liz said "stop".

Each of the questions relates to a prize (in bold) that the finalists bought tickets for to go towards the Action Against Hunger fundraising page.  How well would YOU have done in the quiz?

To make it interesting the five  people who get the most right now (try not to Google them)  - will win a free download of the Great British Chefs app.  For £4.99 the iPad and iPhone app contains 180 exclusive recipes from 12 Michelin starred chefs including video techniques and stunning photography.  TimeOut London called it "food porn at its best" and it was PocketLint's app of the day  "expansive but not intimidating. Jam packed with content (if not jam)."

Bolli with Great Britsh Chefs app Mmm .... Crab's looking possible
Bolli watching crab video on Great British Chefs app

Please leave your answers in the comments section below  & the five winners will be selected on Thursday 11th August.  Good luck

Q1 – You’re making lunch for busy office workers. Office Space is a cult film by Mike Judge starring Ron Livingstone & Jennifer Aniston. One of the characters also starred in a re-make of a cult seventies series – what’s the actors name and what was the name that film?

Q2 – The Trip was a BAFTA award winning TV series starring Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon who go on a culinary tour of the North of England with the aim of writing restaurant reviews. Which breakfast cereal does Rob Brydon currently promote?

Q3 – Julie & Julia is a film about blogger Julie Powell who was inspired to revitalise her marriage by cooking Julia Childs’ dishes. Julia Childs was played by Meryl Streep. What’s the connection between her and Tina Fey?

Q4 – Toast by Nigel Slater was recently televised. Helena Bonham Carter played his step mother, but who played his Dad?

Q5 – At the end of Sideways Paul Giamatti’s character Miles drinks his most prized wine on his own in a fast food restaurant – what variety of wine is it?

Q6 – Ratatouille follows the adventures of a French rat who dwells in an upmarket Parisian restaurant and dreams of becoming a world-class chef. Where did the stewed vegetable dish Ratatouille originate?

Q7 – Tickets for two at Comedy Festival at Riverside in Hammersmith were up for grabs. Name a food lover’s restaurant that’s nearby - Chicken Cottage doesn’t count

Q8 – No Reservations stars Catherine Zeta Jones as a Master Chef but what does she have in common with Rosemary & Thyme?

Q9 – Jamie’s Christmas DVD can get you in the mood for the festivities. Oliver has recently severed his ties with Sainsbury's. Which chef will be Sainsbury’s new face in a deal worth £1 million a year?

Q10 – Mistress of Spices is a romantic film where spice shop owner Tila – who must love only spices for them to work, gradually falls in love with American Doug. What other foodie film (also based on a novel) does this really sound like?

Q11 – Dinner Rush is set in an elegant, but hectic, New York restaurant over the course of a highly eventful evening. Name a New York Diner/café made famous on TV

Q12 – Fast Food Nation starring Bruce Willis and Kris Kristofferson is a film based on a book with the same title. Who wrote the book

Q13 – TV cook Rick Stein wrote English Seafood Cookery – what’s the nickname given to the town where he has his famous restaurant?

Q14 - Elizabeth David is the woman who changed the face of British cooking. She introduced post-war Britain to the sun-drenched delights of the Mediterranean (We had copies of Summer Cooking, A Book of Mediterranean Food and Italian Food up for gabs in the raffle). In the BBC2 TV dramatisation of her life Greg Wise played her lover Peter Higgins. Name a film starring Greg Wise. Plus who’s he married to?

Q15 – We all love our afternoon tea breaks,  but who was the first person to originate the traditional English afternoon tea?

Q16 – The Duck Tea Infuser was up for grabs in the raffle, where was the first tea bag invented?

Q17 – Who’s the largest producer of tea in the world?

Q18 – What nation drinks the most tea per capita?

Q19 – A roundel ice cube tray was up for grabs in the raffle.  Can you name a Tube station that used to have a pub on its platform?

Q20 – Jane Grigson was one of the UK’s most famous cooks, we had a copy of English Food Book up for grabs in the raffle. Her daughter is a well known cookery writer – what’s her name?


Q21 - Last Question – For a copy of One Stop Short of Barking – That book wot I wrote in collaboration with Mecca Ibrahim. I had 3,948 followers before doing a tweet about Nom Nom Nom on the morning of the contest. I had been Tweeting about this all day – did I piss people off or not – did I have more or less followers at the end of the day?

Please leave your answers in the comments section below - leave your email address or Twitter account so we can contact you if you win.  The five winners of the Great British Chefs app  will be selected on Thursday 11th August from those who have most answers correct. Good luck

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, August 06, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 05, 2011

Inside Disused Tube Station: Brompton Road - Pictures

I was kindly asked by
Ajit Chambers of the Old London Underground company if I would like to make a visit to the "ghost Tube station" Brompton Road. He only had last minute access and it was too short notice for me to go. So I shared my invite with IanVisits and Londonist who eagerly "(We tagged along like eager Jack Russell puppies on a first trip to the park)" took up the invite and have kindly gave me quick notice of when their pictures of the tour of Brompton Road London Underground station were up.

Side passage from lifts to platforms by IanVisits

"The station retains plenty of period features including a distinctive brown and green tiling pattern and electrical switch gear." said Londonist.

Electricity box  by IanVisit

Ianvisits said "Will this make a viable tourist attraction? I think it might – it is quite a decent size facility, is close to the museums, has a good lump of WW2 military history and has sufficient tube heritage left to appeal to the transport geeks. Also, more critically, the deep level layout permits a loop for people to go in, down, around and back up a separate exit shaft – which is essential for safety."

To the stairs! by IanVisits

Check out their full posts at IanVisits and Londonist for more pictures & thoughts and even a video on Londonist.

Thanks to Ajit for inviting me in the first place and for giving what sounds like a fascinating tour.

Update - 6th September 2011 - I got to go on one of Ajit's private tours of  Brompton Road Tube - it was amazing.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 05, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Bob, Angel Tube Cat, gets Book Deal

Many of you may remember the story of
Bob, the Angel Tube Station cat, who was adopted by a Big Issue vendor and is now his constant companion in Islington. You'll often see Bob's owner, James, along Upper Street or Islington High Street walking along with Bob sitting calmly on his shoulder (seriously I've seen this many times).

Bob the Cat outside Angel Tube by Annie Mole

Well through the wonders of Twitter I heard a rumour that Bob had secured a book deal. I asked James about this, and he does have a book coming out next year.

Yesterday while London was roasting on a freakishly hot day, I had another chat with Bob's owner outside Angel London Underground station where Bob was calmly lounging around. The book will be called A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets of London and will be published in March 2012.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton, the blurb talks about how James found Bob when he was injured  "Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.

Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other's troubled pasts

A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it."

How absolutely brilliant is that?

To celebrate James got Bob to pose for me and he looks remarkably like Long Cat in the shot above.

Many thanks to Flickr for putting this picture in their Explore category yesterday. If you came from there, I hope you've enjoyed hearing the back story to Bob The Angel Tube Cat.

Update: 6th August 2011: The Independent also reported this story and said "London Transport, meanwhile, has presented Bob with his very own special Oyster card in recognition of his popularity at the Angel station."  Yay for Bob!

You might also like
Angel Tube's Thoughts of the Day go online
Stationmaster Cat has his own train

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 04, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Is this offensive? Thought of Angel Thought offends commuter

When you dabble with Social Media you have to be prepared for some public criticism. Thoughts of Angel London Underground had a message board
"Thought" removed due to a passenger's complaint.

What do you think? Do you find it offensive?

Related Post
Angel Tube's Thoughts of the Day go online

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 02, 2011 Permalink COMMENT HERE