Thursday, 20 June 2019

Tears for Fears, Hampton Court Palace, South West London



Performing in a tightly-packed courtyard inside Hampton Court Palace, Tears for Fears immediately has the crowd out of their temporary seats and singing along to Everyone Wants to Rule the World. The rest of the set is short, but sweet, as the bands' eighties melodic hits are enriched by a powerful and versatile female vocalist. Although they don't have much chemistry on stage, front men Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith put enough effort into their performance to keep the middle-aged crowd happy.  Most of the classics, including Mad World and Pale Shelter, put in an appearance.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Thames, Central London


View from the 32nd floor of the Millbank Tower, which sits on the north bank of the Thames between Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

The Walled Garden, Brockwell Park, South London


Very much in flower, Brockwell Park's walled garden is splashed with colours in early June.  Brockwell Hall's kitchen garden was adapted by J J Sexby of London County Council in the late nineteenth century to create a formal garden of massed bedding, rose beds, and topiary around a central fountain, according to Historic England.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, North London

A stately home at the north end of Hamsptead Health, Kenwood House was built in the 17th century and remodelled extensively in the 18th century. Originally the seat of the Earls of Mansfield, the house now belongs to English Heritage and is home to a historic art collection. The surrounding parkland adjoins Hampstead Heath

Saturday, 18 May 2019

The Specials, Brixton Academy, South London

Brixton Academy and seventies ska band The Specials feel like soul-mates. Both the venue and group are long-standing icons of multi-racial Britain. Ironically, the crowd flowing through the timeworn foyers and up the staircases of the Academy to see The Specials is overwhelmingly white.  Although they are again producing popular new music (briefly topping the album charts with Encore in March), The Specials still attracts an ageing, but enthusiastic, audience, made up mostly of thick-set, clean-shaven men with short hair.

Monday, 6 May 2019

View down Gypsy Hill, South London



The view down Gypsy Hill brings together Victorian architecture, leafy green suburbs and the distant skyscrapers of the City of London

Monday, 15 April 2019

Tynemouth Lodge, Tynemouth Road, Tyne & Wear

A longstanding real-ale pub between Tynemouth and North Shields, Tynemouth Lodge has kept a laser-like focus on the quality of its beer, making it perennially popular with legions of middle aged locals, many sporting beards. The decor is dated, but no-one comes here for the decor.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Cycling National Route 1, Tynemouth to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Tyne & Wear

Picturesque in patches, this 30km stretch of the Coast and Castles section of the N1 cycle route can be windy and desolate. While the ride along the seaside from Tynemouth to Blyth is quite scenic, taking you through rural areas and sand dunes, the stretch from Blyth to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea takes in battered old industrial sites and bleak suburban housing estates. Still, Blyth itself has character, with its quirky mix of docks, red brick back streets, wind turbines and gentil parks. Moreover, there is a fun winding undulating detour inland along the River Blyth. Once you escape Bedlington and Cambois, Newbiggin itself is also quite easy-on-the-eye. As the N1 is pretty well signposted and generally off-road, it is easy to stay on route and stay safe. 7/10