London- 24 hours in the heart of the city. 

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

Samuel Johnson

London you beautiful heartbeat of the British isles, the place with so much electricity in the air I’m surprised anyone gets any sleep. Yet here I am on a drizzly Monday morning (no surprise with the rain) drinking a cup of coffee next to the Tate Modern thinking could this city get any better. 

Previously I have diminished the capital of my country with that of people who live there never seeing the rest of the country. A land lush with calm green countryside and accents that change every 20 miles. (Seriously it’s quite easy working out almost the town give or take a 10 mile radius where someone grew up by this). 

Anyway back to my story. 

So in celebration of myself turning a year older the missus and I packed our bags for the city although I am not from far away I needed a staycation. We decided to stay at the Hilton Bankside a lovely hotel with pool, gym, amazing bar and restaurant. The icing on the cake is it’s proximity to nearly everything in central London. It’s strange to stay somewhere where everything is walking distance and only a 5-10 minute walk to south bank and the Thames. 

From King’s cross station take the victoria line to green park and change onto the Victoria line to Southwark and it’s a 6 minute walk from there.

Places of interest near by include The Shard, Millennium bridge, St. Paul’s cathedral, Tower of London and the Sky Garden to name just a few. I would highly recommend avoiding the tubes on a sunny day and walk along the banks of the Thames either side. 

N.b. The Sky Garden is free to enter but it is recommended to buy tickets 3 weeks in advance to avoid disappointment on your trip. 


So a quick recap of the things I did in 24 hours in London. 

Arrive noon -grab a bite to eat at the numerous Pret a manager (falafel wraps are my go too, just thinking about one I might have to jump off at the next train station to hunt one out). 

Adventure around the bank of the Thames popping into the OXO building art galleries. 

Stop off for a drink at Doggetts pub near the Black Friars bridge. 


Head to the Sky Garden if you have tickets or try The Shard’s bar on the 35th floor as again free to enter and I believe no reservation is required. (This saves paying £25 to go up to the viewing gallery on the 50 something floor). 

Meander west towards Oxford street as you’ll be north of the river to do a spot of shopping. 


As dust is approaching try and book a theatre ticket (maybe I should have mentioned this early but oh well) to any west end shows or the opera or ballet the choice is yours. Around Leicester Square there are many theatre ticket shops that are selling discounted ticket to fill up the seats. So grab yourself a bargain. 

We then headed back to have another drink in The Distillery Bar located at the Hilton and moved on from there to the wonderful OXBO also part of the hotel. It had a nice atmosphere and I had the Calf’s liver (other options are available but I fancied something iron rich, as you know the UK in February lacks much needed Vitamin D etc). 

Sleep off the meal. 

We decided to miss the hotel breakfast and venture across the street to Leon and had the bacon and egg roll with coffee. (This is where the story began). After this we headed for some more culture in the Tate. 

Heading back before check we snuck in a quick swim in the oasis of basement swimming pools (not to be missed). 

Check was nice and easy and the staff from friendly and polite will hopefully back again to the little gem in London. 

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Future Cities, How can they improve undersold infrastructure?

 

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

In a world where consumerism is at an all time high and advertisements are assaulted on everyones eyes from the time you wake to the time you sleep how will the future look when everything is instant and on tap.

The growth of civilisation and the need for food are becoming out of synch and without trying to sound scary the time in which to act and get this back into equilibrium needs to start sooner than later. With more and more people moving to cities for work and prosperity  the demand put on resources can create many burdens on old infrastructure that was designed for far fewer people. For example to feed a growing city food and water needs to be transported into it that causes pollution and wear on the roads.

But how can cities improve on existing infrastructure whilst coping with demand?

Now I confess I am not an expert by all means yet, but a few ideas have sparked interest in my mind over the past few months.

The following is what I believe can help.

  1. Tesla Solar Roofs

    tesla-solar.jpg

     

    Courtesy of Tesla

     

 

Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Elon Musk.

The essence of what is achievable with solar technology excites me immensely. I love the idea of harnessing power from renewable energies (I wouldn’t class myself as much of a hippy as the next guy but come on this is awesome!) and the appeal of using this as a future building material that is non-invasive and visually appealing is a bonus. Although cost will be high at first (the cell phone was extortionate when that first came out) over time it will gradually come down in price and can you imagine walking past buildings in New York or London not even realising the buildings are power themselves and not relying on polluting gas burners to heat them or electricity from power plants running air conditioning units.

Aerofarm’s Vertical Farming

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Courtesy of Aerofarms

 

Aerofarm’s idea of repurposing old warehouses is inspirational. Why transport vast quantities of food into a city when you can grow within. Not only does it reduce strain on transportation but fresh vegetables on your doorstep must be appealing.

Coupled within innervations on green walls (gardens build into walls) should make a huge difference in absorbing all the nasty pollution and generating much needed oxygen into the area.

So the next time you see a polluted city with trucks transporting all the food into the city, imagine what the future can hold with self sustaining cities.

 

Powerful mind, strong body

You can’t depend on your eyes, when you imagination is out of focus – Mark Twain

Focusing is something I’m rubbish at! I think this maybe the third draft of this post and so far I’ve gone for a walk, had a cigarette, a nap and started a puzzle. 

Some would say this procrastination coupled with my short attention span can be attributed to maybe an undiagnosed case of mild ADHD but that would be someone else’s opinion. The problem I have is the not switching off when I have a new obsession. The way I have to research and research a topic, joining forums and reading bloody everything on the topic till I become an expert. For example I can tell you pretty much everything about suppliers and purchasing BMW’s pre 1996.  A skill I will cover in a future post about investing in cars. 


So what has this got to do with focussing the mind and building strength in the body? Well about 6 months ago I began meditating in the morning for 10 minutes. My focus prior was all over the place and I am definitely not a morning person. I found that taking the time to exercise the mind helped clear the junk and close all the tabs in my subconscious browser. I mainly started this to understand the foundations of business and allow my mind to process the information I’ve read. 

I am one of those people who doesn’t like talking around the subject. To the point is best!

From exercising my mind I knew I had to exercise my body. I stick by the simple principle of doing any exercise for at least 30 minutes. Anything more is a bonus. 

So 10 minutes mind and 30 minutes body a day that’s it try it and build your focus time up. You’ll be surprised what happens.