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The Overground Circle Pub Crawl – How 2 Aussies & A Canadian Became The First People In History To Complete It

the start and finish of the overground pub crawl

The 3 of us at Clapham Junction, the start and finish of the Overground Circle Pub Crawl. Proof that we can take photos at the same station during the day and at night.

Warning: The following account is not a part of my tube walking. It in no way endorses binge drinking or drinking along the Overground. It was an experiment to see if it was possible. It was in no way endorsed, supported, condoned or even tolerated by the Overground network and/or Transport for London. We did it so you don't have to.

Well, it was bound to happen. Once the new Overground Circle opened on 9 December 2012, it was only a matter of time before some group of people attempted to outdo the Circle Line Pub Crawl using it instead. Turns out I was one of the first 3 people to complete it, on 16 February 2013.

So how does it compare to the Circle Line pub crawl? The Circle Line pub crawl goes through 27 stations, with 28 total stops, as you're supposed to have a drink back at the original starting location. The Overground Circle has 33 stations, and we decided to adopt the Circle Line convention and have a final drink back at the starting point for a total of 34.

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Come To The Maple Leaf On Jan 20, 2013 To Try Montreal Smoked Meat

A Montreal style Smoked Meat Sandwich

A Montreal style Smoked Meat Sandwich

Regular readers will likely know that I'm both walking the Tube to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK and that I'm Canadian. What you likely don't know anything about is Montreal style smoked meat. Montreal Pastrami by Jacob Harrison and myself are looking to change that.

To find out what smoked meat is all about (if the picture above hasn't enticed you already) come to the Maple Leaf Pub in Covent Garden anytime after 1pm on Sunday Jan 20, 2013. Plus, he's generously offered to donate 50p from each sandwich sold to the cause.

What: Try smoked meat. To learn more about what smoked meat is and isn't read their Manifesto.
Where: Maple Leaf Pub in Covent Garden (41 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7LJ) -see map below
When After 1pmTickets go on sale at 12:30pm, meat will start being served at 12:30. Sunday Jan 20, 2013
Who: Myself, Montreal Pastrami and hopefully you!
Why: To try an amazing Canadian food that hasn't previously been available in London, while also supporting fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK.


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The End To One Of The Tube’s Strangest Commutes – South Kensington to Kentish Town

South Kensington Underground Station

My home station for only one more day.

Today will be the last day I make my daily commute from South Kensington to Kentish Town. I suspect (although I can't confirm) that I may be the only person to make this trip each morning and the reverse trip each evening.

This isn't a commute I ever planned on doing, just a random combination of events. My wife and I were lucky enough to find discount student accommodation in South Ken., a year and half ago and then I got my current job in Kentish Town about 9 months ago. Over that period, I've experimented with a variety of different routes.

However, before I look at them, I should just mention that my office is actually located closer to Kentish Town West Overground station than Kentish Town Underground station. This also means that's it's a fairly short walk from Chalk Farm station. Over the past 9 months I've tried using all of them.

My normal route is a slight variation from one of TFL's suggested ones and involves 3 trains, so each morning I have to be sure and double check that there aren't any service disruptions.

The fastest everyday route is as follows:

  1. Walk to South Ken. (2 minutes)
  2. Travel to Victoria via a District (or better yet Circle) line train. (5-6 minutes)
  3. Change to Victoria line going north. (1 minute)
  4. Travel to Euston. (8 minutes)
  5. Make cross-platform change at Euston to Northern line towards High-Barnet or Mill-Hill East. (15 seconds)
  6. Get off at Kentish Town. (6 minutes)
  7. Finally walk to office. (5 minutes)

If all goes according to plan and I catch each train right away, I can get to the office in just under 30 mins. door-to-door.

This route differs from TFL's by the fact I change to the Victoria line at Victoria and not Green Park. The reason for this are two fold. One, District and especially Circle line trains at South Ken. are less crowded than Piccadilly line ones in the morning. Two, getting down to the Piccadilly line at South Ken. and then changing to the Victoria line at Green Park take far more time than just using the sub-surface District/Circle line platforms.

Other routes I've tried:

  1. South Ken. --> Leicester Square --> Chalk Farm (My original route, slower but only two trains).
  2. South Ken. --> King's Cross-St. Pancras --> Kentish Town (Still only two trains, but slightly faster).
  3. South Ken --> Green Park --> West Hampstead --> Kentish Town West (3 trains, but avoids some walking at the end, however, have to change between station buildings at West Hampstead).
  4. South Ken. --> Green Park --> Highbury & Islington --> Kentish Town West (3 trains and you can transfer in the same building at Highbury & Islington).
  5. Walk to West Brompton --> Kentish Town West (The only route with only 1 train, can also take district line train to West Brompton from South Ken and do this).

Now all this information is useless. My wife and I have been lucky enough to find a flat in another set of discount student accommodation in Primrose Hill. This means I will be able to walk to work in about 15 mins. door-to-door. It also means I can avoid paying the £116.80 it now costs each month for a zone 1-2 travel card. And thus the end of one of the Tube's strangest commutes.

Know of any one else with an even stranger commute? Tell me about it in the comment section below:

Happy 2013 – A Look Back At Randomly London In 2012

New Years 2013 London Eye Fireworks

New Years Eve 2013 Fireworks from @MPSinthesky - Original Source.

Well the past year has been nothing short of amazing for Randomly London. Although I registered the domain name back in December 2011, I didn't get around to writing my first post until March 24, 2012.

In that very short period of time, I've played around with a few different content ideas and London related topics. The overall response has been great, especially for my Tube challenge related posts.

Here are just a few numbers that sum up 2012:

Number of posts: 155
Unique Visitors: 7,592
Unique Pageviews: 11,392

Top 10 Posts By Unique Pageviews:

  1. Victoria Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions - 2,032 pageviews
  2. Why Are London’s Property And Rental Prices So High? Hint: It’s Not Greed - 1,129 pageviews
  3. Victoria Line Walk – From Walthamstow Central to Brixton - 1,024 pageviews
  4. Bakerloo Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions - 914 pageviews
  5. Randomly London v. The Tube – My Personal London Underground Challenge - 718 pageviews
  6. The Various Faces Of The King's Cross Canopy Before Demolition - 565 pageviews
  7. Is There Any Doubt We Are In Drought - 224 pageviews
  8. Tube Challenge Status - 221 pageviews
  9. Waterloo & City Line – Walk And Tube Station Visits - 192 pageviews
  10. What A Difference 5 Years Makes – City of London 2007 vs 2012 - 128 pageviews

Top 5 Sources Of Traffic

  1. Reddit – 4,426 visits - By far my biggest source of traffic. A huge thank you to everyone who's upvoted and commented on my various posts.
  2. Google Search – 937 visits - I'm deliberately not trying to target search traffic, so it's interesting to see it being my number 2 traffic source.
  3. Stumbleupon – 622 visits - Lots of visitors, most of whom don't stay very long.
  4. Twitter - 420 visits - A huge thank you to everyone who follows, and retweets my posts on Twitter. You can follow me @RandomlyLondon
  5. Facebook - 311 visits - Also thanks to everyone who's liked my Facebook page.

So overall a fantastic 2012 and here's hoping 2013 will be even better. You can expect a whole bunch more tube related posts as I continue my tube challenge along with some other surprises too.

52 Great London Blog Posts Plus One Book From The Past Month

Old Eurostar sign and building at Waterloo

This is the second of my irregular looks at great London blog posts from the past month. Overall, the past month has seen a huge output of great writing and content. Below are just a few of the highlights for me.

Special Mentions

London's Lost Pneumatic Railways - Ian Mansfield (of IanVisits fame) has written a short Kindle ebook about a forgotten aspect of London's transport heritage.

Bomb Sight - Maps every bomb dropped on London during the Blitz. See if your address was hit.

Transport for London Urban Design - Just discovered this gem of a website. Looks at all design aspects of TFL's offerings. The undeniable highlight is the inventory of all listed buildings and structures owned or operated by TFL.

An Edwardian Advent Calendar - Ian from IanVisits looks at ads from 100 years ago. Some highlights so far include: Scrubb's Ammonia, Foot's Bath Cabinet, His Master's Voice, A Motion Photograph of Yourself and my favourite Wolsey Wool Underwear. Fascinating to see the difference in what things are advertised and how it's done compared to now.

News

Final Section Of Overground Network Opens In South London - London's second 'circle line' opens for business.

London private rents up by a third in three years - Dave Hill has a look at the very worrying statistic.

Fares To Rise By More Than Inflation For Next Ten Years - As if rising rents weren't bad enough...

Tube/Rail

This section should really just be titled 'Diamond Geezer and the Tube' since almost all the posts come from him. One of London's best bloggers.

Out of station interchanges - Diamond Geezer looks at how long it takes to transfer between stations - that while close to each other - require exiting one and entering the other.

Tube Waiting Times - Mind The Gap - Diamond Geezer looks at how long you may have to wait for a train at some of the more far flung stations, plus the circle line.

No change - Diamond Geezer looks at places where lines cross but there is no interchange.

Chameleon stations - Diamond Geezer looks at which stations are busier at the weekends rather than weekdays.

Nice view - Diamond Geezer looks at some of the best views from the Tube.

The Circle line goes east - Diamond Geezer looks at a little know fact about the circle line.

Mark Lane - Diamond Geezer looks at Mark Lane, one of the lesser known ghost stations.

The platform tiles at Aldgate East - Number 66 of 150 Great Things About The Underground.

The old entrance to Highbury & Islington - Number 67 of 150 Great Things About The Underground.

The river over Sloane Square - Number 69 of 150 Great Things About The Underground.

The escalators at Angel - Number 70 of 150 Great Things About The Underground.

The interior of Westminster - Number 71 of 150 Great Things About The Underground.

How to take your appendix out on the Piccadilly Line - From the The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok found via The Great Wen.

Old Posters from "Ghost Station" Euston at new Exhibition - Annie Mole gives you the details.

The Overground Orbital Loop - Diamond Geezer claims the world record for going around it in 1 hour 40 minutes 40 seconds.

The End of an Era on the South London Line - London Reconnections says goodbye to the South London Line, which has been removed from service due to the Overground extension.

London Underground Stamps & £2 Coin - A preview of the new stamps and coin to commemorate 150 years of the Tube next year.

Walking Overground South - Diamond Geezer walks the new section of the Overground in South London in 4 parts. Read parts 2, 3, 4. This new service also removes the old parliamentary train that used to run between Kensington Olympia and Wandsworth Road.

Tube Map Circuit Board – Working Radio - Mapping London look at a very unique tube map.

Dangleway Data - Not the tube or rail, but it's on the tube map - Diamond Geezer has a look at passenger numbers for the Emirates Air Line.

Shopping

Roman Road Market - Diamond Geezer has a look around.

The Shops of Old London - Amazing photos - as always - from Spitalfields Life.

First In Store - Diamond Geezer looks at the original locations of many of today's high-street stalwarts. Turns out I used to live down the road from the very first Sainsburys.

London Winter Markets For 2012 - The Londonist tells you all about them.

London Life

Shit London Awards 2012 - Looking at the very worst of London.

Eel Pie Island - thelondonphile looks around this unique artists community.

Ask A Black Cab Driver: The Swedish Cabbie - The Londonist looks at the only Swedish national to have ever passed the knowledge.

Eleanor Crow’s East End Cafes - Highlights illustrator Eleanor Crow's work, focusing on East End Cafes.

History

The Streets of Old London - More amazing photos of London's old streets from Spitalfields Life.

Kentish Town Road – Birthplace of the Laptop - Little known connection between Kentish Town and the laptop.

A Christmas Carol’ London Locations - A View From The Mirror looks at locations from the famous Dickens work.

A Walk Through Time In Spitalfields - blends together old and new photographs of the East End, from the always outstanding Spitalfields Life.

Architecture

Tower Bridge to get a glass floor - Ian has a look at the plan.

London Tunnels - The Londonist includes photos of some of the various tunnels around London.

In Pictures: The Kings Cross Clock Tower - London Reconnections has a look at the clock tower that's about to get a whole lot more visible.

Turkish Baths, Russell Square - Caroline's Miscellany has a look a sign I've occasionally wondered about.

25 Great London Blog Posts From The Past 25 Days

Passive Aggressive Directions
Photo from outside South Ken last year

When I'm not working, walking the tube or out at the pub, I spend a fair bit of time reading about London. There are so many good blogs about London out there that don't get the attention they deserve. So I've decided to start an irregular feature where I highlight some of the better posts I've read recently.

News

  1. The Cally Market - new street market opening on Caledonian Road November 17th, 2012 (near Caledonian & Barnsbury Station).
  2. Food Standard Agency Apps - Find out if a restaurant, takeaway or food shop you want to eat at or buy food from has good food hygiene standards. Warning do not look use the morning after.
  3. Parliament Tours Could Raise £3m Per Year - Won't happen, but it should.
  4. Homeless families to be expelled from London by councils - Seems councils are looking for ways to move their poorest people out.
  5. 4.2% Fare Rise - Diamond Geezer looks back on transit fares in historical perspective. No surprise, transit's got a lot more expensive.
  6. London Overground Goes Orbital - The South London link from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction opens on Sunday 9th December, and suddenly it'll be possible to ride round the capital via only orange trains.

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Thoughts On Turning 30 And The Direction of The Randomly London Blog

This month (July, 2012) I turned 30 and while I don't feel any different, it has made me think about what I want to do with my life going forward. The main thing is that I want to make sure I continue to get the most out of it. London has so many thing to do and see that it can at times feel overwhelming. There is thought process in many people (myself included) to put off doing things, thinking they'll always be there.

I want to try and break this habit in myself and make sure I make the effort to go out and experience London to its fullest. Getting the most out of life is easier in London. So far since turning 30, I think I'm off to a good start. Here are the 6 big highlights of this month (In chronological order, not all in London):

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Odd Advertising On The Tube – Old El Paso Jubilee Tube Ad

Old El Paso Jubilee Tube Ad

I know you're likely Jubileed out, but I thought I'd highlight my personal favourite ad to make use of the Jubilee to sell something. I have to give Old El Paso high marks for trying to make Mexican (well Americanized Mexican) food seem British - or at least something you'd want to serve at a street party. They even have what is obviously supposed to be the Queen's hand holding up a taco. Hopefully it worked out for them, although I have to admit not seeing a single taco, burrito or other Mexican food over the whole 4 days.

I noticed this ad all last week at South Kensington station, but only got a chance yesterday to take a photo. However, I've seen it all over London. How about you see any good, bad or just odd Jubilee advertising? Tell me below: