Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Indelibly associated with the English Christmas, Charles Dickens had a word or two to say at New Year, too. Here’s Trotty from The Chimes (1844)…


“‘Why! Lord!’ said Toby. ‘The Papers is full of obserwations as it is; and so’s the Parliament. Here’s last week’s paper, now;’ taking a very dirty one from his pocket, and holding it from him at arm’s length; ‘full of obserwations! Full of obserwations! I like to know the news as well as any man,’ said Toby, slowly; folding it a little smaller, and putting it in his pocket again: ‘but it almost goes against the grain with me to read a paper now. It frightens me almost. I don’t know what we poor people are coming to. Lord send we may be coming to something better in the New Year nigh upon us!’”



And while “God bless us every one!” may be the more famous cry (published a year earlier in 1843), we wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR with these closing lines from The Chimes:


“‘I couldn’t rest on the last night of the Old Year without coming to wish you joy. I couldn’t have done it, Meg. Not if I had been bed-ridden. So here I am…’

So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you! So may each year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share, in what our Great Creator formed them to enjoy.”


Join us on a London Walk on New Year's Day!

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Christmas Quiz Solutions…

The answers to our Christmas Quiz…

1. SPORT: In 1948 Lord Burghley was responsible for bringing which event to London for the second time?
A: THE OLYMPIC GAMES

2. THEATRE: The Can Can was first staged at which London Theatre in the year 1870?
A: THE ALHAMBRA

3. SHOPPING: The sign outside Mullins and Westley tobacconist in Covent Garden is a larger-than-life size figure of what?
A: A PIPER

4. THEATRE: Stomp is playing at which West End Theatre?
A: THE AMBASSADORS

5. ROYAL PALACES: Which birds famously reside at the Tower of London?
A: RAVENS

6. LONDON ON FILM: Which 1978 film starring Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore featured school rugby scenes shot near Twickenham?
A: THE WILD GEESE

7. LIVERY COMPANIES: The worshipful Company of Vintners take part in which ceremony of the River Thames every July?
A: SWAN UPPING

8. SPORT: Dorando Pietri was disqualified from what in 1908?
THE OLYMPIC MARATHON

9. LONDON PUBS: What one word complete the following London pub names: The Cock & ……………, Fulham; The …………… & Chickens, Highbury; The Tappit …………, The Strand?
A: HEN

10. COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG: What is the Cockney Rhyming Slang phrase for the word “Love”?
A: TURTLE DOVE

11. LONDON BRANDS: First produced in a factory just off Oxford Street, this transparent soap won a Gold Medal at the Great Exhibition of 1951. Name it.
A: PEARS

12. ART: In William Hogarth’s “The March of the Guards to Finchley” (1750) the composition includes a soldier kissing… who or what?
A: A MILK MAID

13. SHOPPING: Where is Partridge’s Grocery store?
A: SLOANE SQUARE

14. WHAT LINKS ALL THE ABOVE?
A: THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – 1. Lord Burghley was an Olympic hurdler (12 Lords a Leaping); 2. Nine ladies dancing; 3. Eleven Pipers Piping; 4. Twelve Drummers Drumming; 5. Four calling birds – calling birds being derived from “colly” birds, colly birds being black birds; 6. Six geese a lyaing; 7. Swan Upping is a ceremony in which the Vintners mark or claim their swans on the River Thames – seven swans a swimming; 8. The Olympic emblem is five (gold) rings; 9. Three French Hens; 10. Two turtle doves; 11. A Pear(s) tree; 12. Eight maids a milking; 13. A partridge(‘s) in a pear tree.


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Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Christmas Quiz!

Happy Christmas to all London Walkers – we hope you enjoy our special Christmas Quiz – which we wheeled out last week on the last Pub Quiz Walk of the season (the new season starts in March).

The theme is a Christmassy one. What links the thirteen questions? Sometimes the clue is in the answer, sometimes in the question itself. Sometimes it’s cryptic, sometimes just plain annoying (as one participant on the Christmas Pub Quiz Walk opined!).

Have fun. And Happy Christmas!


1. SPORT: In 1948 Lord Burghley was responsible for bringing which event to London for the second time?

2. THEATRE: The Can Can was first staged at which London Theatre in the year 1870?

3. SHOPPING: The sign outside Mullins and Westley tobacconist in Covent Garden is a larger-than-life size figure of what?

4. THEATRE: Stomp is playing at which West End Theatre?

5. ROYAL PALACES: Which birds famously reside at the Tower of London?

6. LONDON ON FILM: Which 1978 film starring Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore featured school rugby scenes shot near Twickenham?

7. LIVERY COMPANIES: The worshipful Company of Vintners take part in which ceremony of the River Thames every July?

8. SPORT: Dorando Pietri was disqualified from what in 1908?

9. LONDON PUBS: What one word complete the following London pub names: The Cock & ……………, Fulham; The …………… & Chickens, Highbury; The Tappit …………, The Strand?

10. COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG: What is the Cockney Rhyming Slang phrase for the word “Love”?

11. LONDON BRANDS: First produced in a factory just off Oxford Street, this transparent soap won a Gold Medal at the Great Exhibition of 1951. Name it.

12. ART: In William Hogarth’s “The March of the Guards to Finchley” (1750) the composition includes a soldier kissing… who or what?

13. SHOPPING: Where is Partridge’s Grocery store?

14. WHAT LINKS ALL THE ABOVE?


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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It's a London Thing No.18: Christmas

It’s a London Thing is our Wednesday series in which we turn the spotlight on a unique aspect of London – perhaps a curious shop, sometimes an eccentric restaurant, a hidden place, book or oddity. The subject matter will be different every week. The running theme, however, will remain constant: you have to come to London to enjoy it. It’s A London Thing.



Fortnum and Mason’s window. The madness of the office partygoers on the last Tube home on the Friday night before The Big Day. The big tree in Trafalgar Square. Bow Lane shining like a good deed in a naughty world. Bob Cratchitt sliding down a slide at Cornhill – 20 times! The exodus to the shires and provinces, leaving the streets to the hardcore Londoners and visiting London Walkers. Swimming in the Serpentine (don’t try this at home, kids). Abject misery on the EastEnders Christmas Special. Salvation Army bands at train stations. The Nutcracker. Skating at The Tower. The fact that Gordon’s Wine Bar advertises that it will close “at about 3pm” on Christmas Eve. “What’s to-day my fine fellow?” London Walks on Christmas Day!

Christmas. It’s a London Thing.



It's a London Thing will return in the New Year.

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Beautiful London in the Snow #7

London Walkers never let us down – come snow or shine. We asked for your snowy London pics and you sent ‘em. How about this from LISA ZOLLNER

…taken in Regent’s Park. She also sent this…

… taken in wintry Covent Garden – although the location is obviously the least comment-worthy aspect of a pic showing men running around in their pants. What are they up to, Lisa? Or were they going too fast for you to find out?!

Thanks so much for sending them in Lisa – Happy Christmas!


SHARE YOUR PICS OF LONDON IN THE SNOW …

We want to see your wintry London pics. Email them to to the usual address

OR

Post ‘em on our Facebook.

Quick! Join us on a London Walk before it all melts!

Happy Walking!


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Plaque of the Week No.69


You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Every Tuesday we track down a London plaque (Blue or otherwise) and put it centre stage on the The Daily Constitutional. This week…


Commemorating: Christmas!
Street: Elm Row, NW11
Borough: Camden
Placed By: The Hampstead Plaque Fund


A plaque to the man who popularized the Christmas card, Sir Henry Cole. Happy Christmas!



(Plaque of the Week will return in the New Year)



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