Lara Ruffle Coles

Category: London Page 2 of 4

Snowy Thames Path walk

Back in January us Londoners had a bit of proper snow and it was lovely. Also that month, stories appeared on the Interwebs declaring that the Thames Path by the Lovell’s development was to be opened after being shut for years (that is how it felt at least).

These two exciting events coincided with a visit from my aunt and uncle the weekend after the snow, so what better thing to do in freezing January than go for a walk to the O2! 🙂

It was also another opportunity to crack out the new shiny camera so here are some photos…

My favourite local, The Pelton Arms

An amazing sight! One can walk beside the river!

I spotted these wooly bollard hats two days earlier and found out they were the work of the Guerilla Knitters, Greenwich branch. Part of this walk turned into ‘spot the knitting’ which was quite enjoyable.

After the first knitting spots we came to Enderby’s Wharf which is supposed to be turning into a cruise liner terminal

Yes, I do cruelly force family members to pose for embarrassing photos

The east side of the Isle of Dogs is in the background

Morden Wharf with its awesome lettering

Spotted this great bit of work, I would imagine the Greenwich Industrial History Society were involved


After walking the long way round we finally reached the O2 and went to Starbucks for a much needed hot drink!

We then went on the cable car but it was raining by that time and my photos are completely awful. It was fun though! Hooray for Boris’s dangleway!


London from the 6th floor of One New Change

Whilst in the City last Saturday I came upon One New Change and went in to see what all the fuss was about. Not much to see, bog standard new shopping centre with a mediocre range of shops and restaurants.

However, the architect did some wonderful things to lift this shopping centre out of its mediocrity. For example, if you go to the lift in the centre of the building, the aspect from the lift is of St Paul’s Cathedral and the shopping centre has been split in the middle so you get a stunning view of the cathedral as you rise and fall. Nice!

Also stunning is the free panorama from the 6th floor, take the lift up to this superb view…


Little Pilates Studio

I’ve been attending various dance classes at Little Pilates Studio on Trafalgar Road for the past two months.

My favourite classes are Barre Fit and Zumba and I am really enjoying popping round the corner for a class after getting home from work. I used to do a lot of disco and contemporary dance at school but it has been a long time since I went to an exercise class!

Barre Fit incorporates elements of Ballet and Pilates and is more about stretching and toning than weight loss. Zumba on the other hand is fast, intense and you sweat a lot! However, both classes are great fun and I am enjoying improving my fitness little by little.

The two instructors I have been exercising with are really friendly and lead the classes really well. One of them is a bit of an exercise nutter and works you flat out but that is the point!

The studio offers a large variety of classes at different levels and classes are available all week at different times. Classes operate on a credits system so you only need to purchase credits to book and attend any class with 24 hours notice. Cool!

Discounted packages are also available and I signed up like a proper healthy person a few weeks back! :D.

So, if you don’t fancy the gym at The Arches or can’t be arsed with swimming either, go and dance and stretch and bend at Little Pilates!


The Queen comes to Greenwich

I took the day off work today to see The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh officially open the Cutty Sark. The other half and I aren’t Royalists in any kind of nutty sense, but we do have a soft spot for the Royal family and this was too good an opportunity to miss.

Approaching the Cutty Sark through the Old Royal Naval College, the barriers were there for the procession a few hours later.

Reports on Twitter that grass spoilt by the Les Miserables filming was to be spray painted green was true…

Spots were designated for the local Primary schools to come and cheer the procession.

I still don’t know why these poor people were attached to the rigging for the whole morning.

Bit wet.

I bet these were The Queen’s bodyguards. The one in uniform was on stage with The Queen.

A good turn out for a horrible day. The stage was there for the inaugural performance of Diamond Greenwich.

The closest I got to the stage where the speeches and presentations were done!

But then they came down the path towards us and I took this! Yay!!! It was well worth the wait! :).

View from the junction of King William Walk and Romney Road.

We were feeling cold and miserable after all the rain so headed to the Trafalgar Cafe for breakfast before going home. We went back via the Naval College and saw the King’s Troop passing through College Way as part of the royal visit.

I think the first three photos might not be of the King’s Troop as they walked instead of riding. Can anyone enlighten me?

I love that our lovely power station gets in all the shots!

We didn’t stay about for The Queen’s procession through College Way or for her visit to the National Maritime Museum but more photos and details about the royal visit can be found here:

Long to Rain Over Us – Crowds Brave Weather for Queen’s Visit,

Cutty Sark: Queen Reopens Greenwich Tea Clipper, BBC News

In Pictures: Queen Reopens Restored Cutty Sark, BBC News

Queen Officially Re-opens Cutty Sark, BBC News

The Queen’s Rain, The Greenwich Phantom

The museum also has some wonderful photos from 1937 when The Queen visited aged eleven!

Opening of the National Maritime Museum, 1937

A lovely day was had by all and the reward of a Trafalgar Cafe Full English Breakfast made the day even better!


Meantime Brewing Company

Back in October I took the boyfriend to the Meantime Brewing Company for a boozy treat. For £15 each you get an excellent two-hour tour explaining the brewing process, the ideology behind Meantime and lots of free beer… if you can drink it that is!

The tours are currently on hiatus as Meantime is refurbishing its visitor area, the latest details can be found here.

A stone’s throw from Greenwich and the O2, Meantime moved to Blackwall Lane two years ago in order to expand its business. The brewery was started by Londoner Alastair Hook on Penhall Road, Charlton in 1999 and at first just brewed and bottled beer for other brands.

As detailed here, Meantime gradually developed its own beers, opened The Greenwich Union pub in 2001, and The Old Brewery restaurant in 2010. I can fully recommend the restaurant’s £15 lobster nights, yum yum yum.

Armed with a tasting glass we were taken round the brewery by charismatic guide Peter Haydon and were shown in excellent detail how the brewing process worked.

The Meantime logo sits atop the ROLEC vats

Huge shiny vats of booze

Spot the London Eye and the Jubilee Bridges on the London Lager labels

Meantime has its own laboratory where batches of beer are checked and tested frequently

Old and current brands brewed and bottled by Meantime

Haydon told us great stories about the history of beer in London and it was great to hear about the changes in business and drinking culture over the centuries.

As a non-beer drinker I only had a tiny amount of the London Lager, India Pale Ale and London Porter offered, but the other half more than made up for it as our tour group was small and you can’t waste five pint tankards can you!

He also bought a case of the Chocolate and Porter Style Ale which he indulged in over the next week or so.

We had a great time and are very much looking forward to the opening of the Meantime shop so we can pick up a well-priced case of beer on a regular basis. Here’s hoping the refurbishment will include the shop!


Elephants and Lambs

Today I visited Mudchute Park and Farm for their lambing season, and on the way I passed through the Old Royal Naval College to see the set that is being built for the filming of Les Misérables.

The part of the film being shot in Greenwich relates to the Elephant of the Bastille, an unfinished monument conceived by Napoleon in 1808. The elephant is used as a shelter for a character named Gavroche in the film.

French flags are now flying from the walls of the ORNC and the entire central area has been covered in tarpaulin with dark gravel on top. Carriages from the 19th Century are dotted around the area and the central area looks quite desolate.

It was pretty cool to walk through a film set too!

Fake ground on the left, real paving on the right

The lavender smelt lovely

Not sure if this is entirely historically accurate

Fake left, real right

I then wandered down to the foot tunnel and experienced the awesome new lifts that have been installed (at last!) at either end of the tunnel. They are huge inside and are very swish in comparison to the dirty mess of the stairs and tunnel itself.

It was then time for my first 2012 visit to my favourite city farm, and I had my customary walk round to say hello to the pigs first.

I was hoping to see some baby lambs and was quite lucky to be there at the right time of the day when the farm’s volunteers were feeding the sheep. I was led into the sheep shed where all the mummy sheep were looking after their young and lots of parents and their children came in too.

It was quite wonderful seeing the lambs and there was a little white face lamb that had been born yesterday huddling in the corner of its pen. They were all running about and feeding on their mummies, a beautiful experience.



Once I had torn myself away from the lambs I said hello to the lovely llamas.

I then witnessed turkey rape which wasn’t quite so pleasant!

But the lovely flowers on this plant made me happy again, as did my hot chocolate from the Mudchute kitchen. 🙂

Happy Easter etc!


#GreenwichTweetUp 3 at The Big Red Pizza Bus

Another Greenwich Tweet Up was had last Saturday and this time we went to Deptford to experience The Big Red which is a BUS, with PIZZA. Awesome.

We had a smaller crowd this time but still managed to ensnare welcome another newbie, Helen of West Greenwich.

In attendance were:


The Big Red was launched last June and I first heard of it through our local Dame shortly after it opened. They serve pizzas, salad, tapas, starters and various type of booze (including Meantime beer, yay for local products!).

The menu isn’t particularly extensive but extra pizza toppings are available, and I was offered a few more cocktails to choose from when I didn’t fancy the three on offer (I had a few Tequila Sunrises in the end, £3, yum!). Their website also lists upcoming additions to the menu so do ask if you fancy something slightly different, they can only say no.

We had dough balls with garlic butter, garlic bread and bread, olives and dipping oil to start and these were served quickly and were a lovely, light start to the meal. We all ordered pizzas, a few pepperonis, a flamenco and a seaside, and these were also served quickly and were hot on arrival.

As a red onion lover I particularly enjoyed this topping on my pepperoni, and the mozzarella balls were lovely too. The pizza was good, if a little undercooked for my liking, another minute in the oven would haven crisped up the base more, but the flavours were good and all the pizzas arrived within a minute or so, excellent timing.

This lot were happy too.

A few of us had desserts and this was Sam’s tiramasu, official verdict: “really good, delicious”. My chocolate fudge cake with cream was also excellent, lovely and moist and HUGE.

Outside area, a wee bit nippy for January but the bus itself was lovely and warm.

The gang.

I asked if we were allowed to sit in the driver’s seat… and the answer was yes. YAY!!!

We all had a great time on the bus and enjoyed the food and drink. Service was friendly and quick and we each spent about £27 including food, a number of drinks each and tip. And! We got a lift home in Richard’s flash car! Woo hoo!

More photos of the pizza fun can be found here.


Caird Library at Royal Museums Greenwich

Like the Deptford Dame I was invited to a bloggers preview of the re-opening of the National Maritime Museum’s Caird Library last Saturday.

The Caird Library used to be housed in the main part of the museum, but with the building of the Sammy Ofer wing the opportunity was taken to move and extend the library into a new space. Caird Library staff can now keep a significantly larger percentage of the 2,000,000 item collection on-site, and items can be retrieved from storage within forty minutes.

Along with The Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the museum is in the process of rebranding itself as part of Royal Museums Greenwich to tie in with the Queen’s decision to make Greenwich a Royal Borough as part of her Jubilee celebrations.

This event was an opportunity to promote the new wing, the free facilities available at the Caird Library and to show how the three museums are trying to have closer ties with the local community and those interested in Naval history.

I went along with my Twitter pal @mtcrowe as the RMG’s Digital Marketing Officer Emma McLean was happy for us all to bring a plus one to help us spread the word. After an introduction by Emma, Eleanor Gawne, Head of Archive and Library, gave us a talk about the development of the new facility, and with her Caird Library colleagues, a tour in small groups of the new storage spaces.

Unfortunately for us bloggers and photographers, photos were not allowed of the storage areas. However we were told that the storage areas have 9km of shelving spread over two and a half floors. They also feature those really cool rolling racks that you see at universities and wonder if anyone has ever gotten squished in. 😀

After the formal bit we were given plenty of time to have a nose around the new facilities and to look through items the Caird Library team had prepared for us from a list given to us with the invitation.

As you can see from the PDF many of the items listed have information and photos about them listed on the Caird Libray’s site, very useful for research purposes if you can’t come to the library yourself, and also useful in deciding what to ask the team to retrieve from storage.

Below is one of the items I requested to see and as I love maps this was a delight. The maps shows the course of the river from London to the sea.

River Thames printed chart by Richard Stanier dated 1790 ( G218:8/1) includes both the River Thames and the Thames Estuary, with cartouche

Books detailing the sinking of the Royal George whilst anchored off Portsmouth, the ship was built down the road at Woolwich.

An Account of the Loss of the ‘Royal George’ at Spithead, August, 1782… the 27 books that make up this collection are bound in wood taken from the wreck

Medical textbook owned by Captain Bligh, cited as particularly interesting due to its provenance. I had never heard of the term before but take great delight in understanding it now, I aim to use it in conversation to impress in the future. Tee hee.

Captain Bligh’s copy of William Buchan,’ Domestic Medicine: or a Treatise on the prevention and cure of diseases by Regimen and simple medicines with an appendix, containing a dispensatory for the use of private practitioners’ (London, 1779, 6th edition (PBD6069). Originally the property of Captain Bligh and subsequently in the possession of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers on the Pitcairn Islands

As mentioned above, you can access the Caird Library’s content for free, including log books, Admirality records, certificates of competence, letters, diaries, crew lists, business records (including the P&O archive), charts and maps. You can also read the 200 journals they subscribe to, and use their computer stations to access online journals and resources. Photocopying and scanning facilities are available, and content can be saved to USB stick to take home.

Another interesting feature is the hundreds of ship plans that can be accessed using a large touch-screen computer. These plans have been painstakingly scanned in and the staff are aiming to slowly scan in all of the 1,000,000 they have in storage over a number of years. The most famous of ships have had their plans scanned in first, so contact the library to see if your favourite is available.

This is the first local event I have been invited to through my blogging endeavours and having not visited the museum before, oops, it was an excellent event to have been invited to. I hope the RMG carries on with these kind of events as any kind of free public outreach event is an excellent way to encourage people to do something they wouldn’t have done before.

I also had the opportunity to talk to an astronomer from the Observatory and to promote the astrophysics talk my Dad does around the country. Hooray! It is a little dream of mine that one day my Dad will speak at the Observatory round the corner from my house. We also used to visit the park and the Observatory when I was young as we are from the area.

Here are some links to other blogs from this event:

Bloggers Preview of New Library, Caird Library blog

The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum, Deptford Dame

The Holy Grail of Nautical Books, Night of Bones

The Old Order Changeth, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins

Nerding Out at the Maritime Museum, Ice Floe


East Greenwich Pleasaunce Tree Planting

Thanks to an email from the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce, I was able to participate in some tree planting this fine January day.

Arriving at the Pleasaunce at 1pm I found a group of ten fellow planters including FEGP chair Matthew Wall, Gavin and Anne of Transition Westcombe and David and Lewis from The London Orchard Group who were there to provide the technical know-how.

David and Lewis showed us in two stages how to plant the six trees, “three apple trees, a plum, a gage, and a pear”, did the first one for us, and then assisted with the rest.

My tree planting partner Zoe marks out the square of turf that needs removing

Hole dug! My Dad and his girlfriend would be proud!

Zoe poses for a funny photo AKA packing down the removed turf before planting our tree

Fellow planter Nigel loosens the soil with a metal stake (technical name anyone?) so he can dig his hole

Holes dug, trees planted, hessian cover applied, time for the next stage: stakes, mulch, nails, hammers and cages

David and Zoe bang a stake into the ground, Zoe and I banged in the other, the metal stake banger thing is heavy! Hard hat time just in case your head gets knocked!

Zoe holds the cage, Gavin nails the cage together. Manliness proved

Nigel and his planted tree, the mulch was provided free of charge by the Parks and Gardens department of Greenwich Council, nice!

Zoe and I anoint our planted tree with cider as part of the New Year tradition of wassailing

…but we didn’t sing, we left that to David!

Happy planters one and all!


#GreenwichTweetUp 2

Last night was Greenwich Tweet Up 2 and we headed for The Pelton Arms again.

Saturday night is live music night at the pub and we saw The Repertoire Dogs strut their stuff. I thought they were ace and Ellie, Wayne, Michael and myself inflicted our awful dancing on our fellow pub-goers. There is a video but I will resist and not put it on YouTube!

Attendees included:

designedbyblind and Mercer


Charlie, a normo! i.e. she is not on Twitter, a friend of Helen’s

Also, the photos are crap, sorry!

Hai, my name is L A R A <<< A battle I will never win

Michael and myself, cheers!

Sam and Wayne

Wayne eating guide dog Mercer’s chew. Silly

Ellie, Sam and Wayne

Helen, Charlie and Jack

The dashing and sweet Michael who is raising funds for Movember

Another lovely night was had by all and Sam and I rounded off the night with a lovely lamb shish kebab from Greenwich Kebab. \m/

Keep your eyes peeled for the next #GreenwichTweetUp in 2012…


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