Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A "I walk past that sign every day and I've never visited" day

In one of my more random and terribly unsuitable jobs I worked for a few months at the fine chocolatier Mr Paul A Young's (I don't like chocolate, really, not even at all) in Islington, North London. Every day on my way to work from King's Cross I walked past this brown sign for The London Canal Museum and I'm ashamed to say, in all the time I worked there, and despite my obsession with brown tourist signs, I never visited. Shame on me, and what an error that was, I realised today when I paid them a long overdue visit.
I was greeted by a sceptical front desk attendant who found it hard to understand what I was writing a book about, looked at me funny and called a more senior member of staff over to suss out whether I was a threat.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

A little history of ice skating

It was the long cold North European winters that inspired the invention of the ice skate. The earliest known example is over 5000 years old and was found at the bottom of a Swiss lake (I assume the chap wearing them rather overestimated their capabilities) and were fashioned from animal bone and leather straps which attached to the skaters shoe. Early records indicate that ice skaters using poles to propel themselves across frozen lakes and rivers “as swiftly as birds” was a common sight in the colder climes across the North Sea. Consequently ice skating was positively old hat on the continent by the time Britons really started getting excited about it in the mid 1600s, when social trends and weather conditions changed the notion that is was just a bizarre activity one hears about foreigners doing in far away lands.

Monday, 2 August 2010

My day at the office

Richard Branson
I thought I might share some non-brown-sign related thoughts with you today in the absence of any brown signed attractions filling my waking hours. It has been a funny day, well, an enlightening one at least. I knew things wouldn't be normal when I burst out crying after reading The Man, Richard Branson's morning blog post entitled "in it for the fun, not just the money" (click to read) . The Man describes the drive and motivation behind starting out on your own, and this was the sentence that started those little tears a-comin':
"I don't think that many businesspeople start their business with the idea that they can make a lot of money. Most people feel that they can create something that is going to make a difference to other people's lives – that is how they start their businesses."