22 February 2009

Hampstead Heath

The last few days have been full of firsts, including my first visit to London's only Kyrgyz restaurant (to my knowledge) and the purchase of my first proper trail shoes. This gave me the opportunity and incentive to run off my samsi, lagman and plov on Hampstead Heath today.

One of the reasons that I like running in London is that, having grown up here, many places have very old memories for me. For example, my slight fear of dogs was clearly down to our family's habit of going for a walk on the Heath every Sunday morning prior to lunch until I was in my teens. Here, I was regularly attacked by hounds that were, for the most part, bigger than I was. Even today, I found my way barred by an Old English Sheepdog, who refused to let me past.

Going to the Heath has some great advantages over my usual routes. This was my first real off-road running and the first on anything like hilly terrain - central London is actually pretty flat. On the other hand, it's a bit of a probe having to commute to your run - the Heath is a bit far for me to run to, then around, then back again. Apologies to those on the tube on the way home who had to put up with a somewhat feral-smelling man.

Speaking of memories, the view from Parliament Hill (above) was as cool as I could remember (maybe better, now that Canary Wharf is in existence and viewable) and it was good to see my and my brother's tree from all those years ago still standing there. Check it out - perfectly designed for climbing:

16 February 2009

I eat rubbish

Many of my pics seem to be scenes on the Thames. This is partly because a lot of my runs involve travelling along the river, in order to have a bit of scenery to look at and to avoid traffic (the same reason I'm keen on the Regent's Canal and London's parks). Yesterday saw me take in all of the above - along the North bank to Westminster, then up through St James' Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, Regent's Park and then back along the canal. As I hit the Thames south of St Paul's, I saw this craft and couldn't help taking the picture to the right - somehow it seemed fitting in so many ways. 40 tonnes of rubbish is a lot - possibly even more than I could manage though...

14 February 2009


Amidst the excitement of a 5-day marketing trip to Boston, New York, Denver, Kansas City and Chicago, there was a little bit of time for a run. This took me up 5th Avenue to Central Park, past a huge ice rink and the Guggenheim, to the reservoir and then back home again. I looked like a bit of a loser taking my snaps ("night scenery" mode involves me standing stationary for about 20 seconds desperately trying not to jog the camera), but a couple of good ones came out and no one laughed at or mugged me...

08 February 2009


I took the opportunity to make a slight detour on yesterday's run down to Battersea to pass by a building opposite my company's old office. Some cursory googling has revealed that it was designed by Whinney, Son and Austen Hall for Credit Lyonnais and, when it was finished in 1977, was the first building in the world to be entirely clad in glass-fibre-reinforced cement. I just think it looks cool.

Further on, I came across the last remaining evidence of last week's snow falls, that were so successful in stopping public transport everywhere.

Off to the States for 5 days now with work - I'll be taking my trainers and camera in case I'm able to fit in a run...

01 February 2009

Cranes and African hunting dogs

So there I was, thinking: "these building sites look quite cool, I'm going to use those on the blog this week". The sheer number of cranes in London, particularly the City, has always fascinated me. Even before the recent economic "wobble", it always seemed a bit weird that we'd need quite that much office space. Now, it just looks ridiculous. I particularly like the second one, of the Old Street roundabout with the Lloyds building and a tiny bit of Gherkin pointing up above the new development (the Bézier apartments - "curves in all the right places" apparently)...

Anyway, I continued along my Regent's Canal run full of further thoughts:
"It's not that embarrassing wearing tights [see first ever post] to run in, apart from those bits around Camden Lock and Islington where people can actually see you";
"It's nice to get back on a run after a two-week layoff";
"I look forward to my lunch of Jerusalem artichoke soup and the after-effects, which should coincide neatly with Super Bowl 43 (let's hope Kurt Warner can give it a go)"
"It's amazing how carrying a camera makes you notice things when running - things you'd probably miss otherwise"...

At which point - how right I was - I spotted these fellas behind one of the fences at London Zoo. Pretty cool guys, trotting along here and there. Now, admittedly the sign at the back says "giraffes" but I'm pretty sure they're not. My best guess is that they're African hunting dogs, seeing as the London Zoo website seems to admit to them owning some of them. Apparently they "mostly hunt medium-sized antelope". Even better, "the preferred species [varies] according to the most abundant prey species in the area". I wonder what they subsist on in London. Pigeons and children?