Saturday, 25 September 2010

4.West Finchley

On my way home from lunch I decided to get off at West Finchley - its on the Northern Line (black line) High Barnet Branch. West Finchley is a lot closer to home than Finchley Central but there are no buses so I had to walk all the way home (almost 7 minutes!) I run past West Finchley when I do my long Sunday morning runs. Because it is on the overground stretch of the Northeren Line you exit at street level so I climbed up to the bridge which crosses the line (just so that I could say I had climbed out!)

The most interesting fact that I could find out about West Finchley is that it was opened on the 1st March 1933 - interesting because my birthday is the 1st March (but not 1933)

3. Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is on the Piccadilly Line (purple line). The Piccadilly line is quite deep so there are two sets of esculators and my ankle is currently strapped up but I still climbed all the way out! I love the name Piccadilly Circus, it basically means open circle were Regent Street meets Piccadilly. It is one of Londons famous landmarks right in the middle of the West End, and there were a number of tourists there today enjoying a fine late September day.

I went there because I was meeting some people for lunch at a trendy restaurant "Hix". So trendy that when I got there I couldn't figure out how to get in and had to go into the pub next door to ask for instructions! I also managed to get locked into the loo and had to be rescued by the staff (luckily there were other women in there at the time otherwise I might have been there for a long time.)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

2. Finchley Central

Finchley central is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line (the black line)

Finchley Central is not the nearest tube station to my home but it is the easiest to get to - just hop on a bus and it takes less than 6 minutes except if there is an accident on the North Circular and then it can take almost 40 minutes. The trick is knowing if there is an accident before you board the bus - then its a good 20 minute walk or an 8 minute run.

I exited Finchley Central on Sunday evening because I was coming home. One of the things I like about Finchley Central station is that The New Vaudeville Band once had a hit single about it.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

1. Victoria Station

Victoria is on the blue line - the Victoria Line. It is linked directly with the Victoria Mainline station.
The blurb says Victoria station is a major interchange for rail, Underground and bus transport as well as a central commuter and tourist destination.

In 2006, the same number of passengers that used London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports combined - 91 million passengers - entered, exited or interchanged at Victoria Underground station.

This demand continues to climb, resulting in severe congestion necessitating daily closures of the station and gatelines.

I must be at least 200 of the 91 million passengers! I used to commute through Victoria at least once a week - the last time I had been there was last weekend, on my way to Gatwick - and I have often been one of those faceless commuters herded into corals waiting to shuffle onto the overcrowded platforms and then squeeze myself sardine-like onto one of the trains. Oh the joys of commuting into London in the rush-hours.

On this occasion though I was in no great hurry, when I exited the station I realised that I couldn't remember ever having left the station complex onto the street. I had no idea how central it is, nor how splendid the station facade is.

The purpose for going to Victoria today was I was en route to Victoria Coach Station to catch the bus to Oxford. As I walked along Buckingham Palace Road, I heard the roar of a motor bike revving up and zoom past doing a "wheelie", for at least 200 metres! I looked a round to see if it was a movie stunt but no cameras were visible, and typically in London only one other person in the street seemed to have noticed! The tourists were all too busy looking at the buildings, the locals too interested in getting from a to b.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Tube Bagging

A friend of mine wrote to tell me that he had climbed one of the mountains in Scotland - the main purpose of the climb was to celebrate one man in the groups achievement of climbing every mountain in Scotland - he has now "Bagged the Munros". I have left it too late in life (and Scotland is too far away) to start climbing the Munros (there are 283 of them!) it made me think about what I could do in the city - and I decided I wanted to "Bag the Tube". So one lunch hour a friend and I sat and thought about the rules....

1. You must exit every Tube Station in London by walking up the escalator (or stairs if there is no escalator)
2. You must have photographic evidence of yourself at each Tube station to prove that you were there - or failing that a photograph of the station that you have taken.
3. You have to exit the Tube Station with a purpose, i.e not just to say I exited that Tube Station. You have to be doing something nearby - have a meal, visit a monument, catch a train etc
4. You must try and find out an interesting fact about the Tube Station you are exiting.
5. You must keep a log of your Tube Bagging.