Posts Tagged With: London

Kayaking London

Since finishing all my treatments, I now have my life back and I feel particularly enthusiastic about trying out new things. I have the attention span of a two year old so, I naturally like to try new things all the time but BC (before cancer), I would sometimes put things off or think that I would do them one day…now, I just go with it. This resulted in me signing up to do a kayak tour of London by night through the Meetup group uDare Adventures.

I have been a member of that group for a couple years now but I haven’t been able to do many of their events. Partly because of timing issues and partly because the last year has been focuses on my health, so when this new event came up, the day after I finished my treatment, I was like “hell yeah, I am doing this”. Few days after I signed up, I was a little worried that maybe I had over estimated my fitness capabilities as the fatigue side effect from radiotherapy hit me hard.

However, I still had a couple weeks before the event so I decided to wait and see…I am glad I did.

The weather took a turn for the worse over the last week and I was worried as well that it would be a miserable experience but I wasn’t going to skip it because of it…again, I am glad I didn’t.

The tours are run by Kayaking London tour company and we got 3 experts with us to keep us in check and safe. Although the river was relatively calm (and the rain had actually stopped a few hours before), there are heaps of boats going up and down it and when it’s dark and you only have a little bike light at the back of your kayak to identify you, you are quite glad that an expert is ensuring you don’t get run over.

I didn’t know anyone in the group but that never stopped me. I originally paired up with a girl who I met at the gate but the coaches had recommended to try to mix the boys and the girls to make it more even so I ended up pairing up with R. He got the rudder controls at the back and we had difficulties aligning ourselves at first. I am a control freak by nature so I found it hard to trust him with it and kept trying to steer from the front…which is counter productive but as he was having issues managing the pedals I was nervous we were going to end up in the bridge…but halfway through the first leg, he got the hang of it and I started to relax and only worry about my own paddling.

We paddled from Chelsea Harbour where the kayaking club is to Big Ben and back. The tour took about 2.5 hours. After that we went to the pub for a drink. I had to leave quite quickly as it was getting late and we were on the wrong side of town for me. As it were, although the actual journey back should have taken me no more than 40 mins, it took me 1h15 because trains were only every 15-20 mins and I missed the first one by a minute…Oh well…I got home for midnight, like Cinderella, although the pumpkin effect is carrying through to today as I had to take a shower as I kept splashing Thames water on my head and there was no way I was going to bed with dirty river water on me…yuck. I now feel shattered but happy I did it.

And for those following…no Mr Piggy didn’t come. I couldn’t take the risk to drop him in the water!

Below are some of the pictures I managed to take with my iPhone (through a waterproof casing, so no flash possible).

Categories: Europe, Fun stuff, London | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

London: Notting Hill Carnival 2011

I have been living in London for nearly 13 years now – yes, I know, it makes me feel old too! – and I have pretty much loved every minute of it…well maybe not every minute: I didn’t loved being unemployed for 3 months and having to sign in at the JobCentre every 2 weeks ; I didn’t love having to move every 2-3 years ; I certainly don’t love that I can’t really buy a flat in a nice neighbourhood without having to move away from centre….but there is plenty I have loved, honest.

In my early years in London, I lived smack in the middle of Notting Hill and for 3 years I got to “enjoy” the Carnival as a resident. The first year was exciting as it was new and I had never been to a carnival of this amplitude before. The 2nd year, I felt like I knew what to expect and therefore enjoyed it more whilst avoiding the scary parts…the 3rd year, I was over it: the crowds, the noise, the mess…I wished I had gone away somewhere else that weekend. Then I moved away from the area and never thought about it again, until last year.

A friend of my family back home in France, sent their 16 years old daughter to spend the August Bank holiday with me. She was keen to visit London and experience a little of the life there as she wanted to come study there later on. So, to show her what London was all about, I took her to the Carnival…here are the photos of the day…

All the photographs have been taken and edited by me (under my Photography name StardustDigital Photography).

A little walk down memory lane…this is the street I used to live on

I spent many a Saturday morning buying fruits and veg at the Portobello Market

Some candid photographs of interesting characters or just gawkers….

Birds of a feather…

I got my first piercing done there…it hurt like a b*tch!

I remember a private party we managed to sneak into there once…Got really drunk on tequila shots and a little light headed from the smoke inhalation of all the happy cigarettes being smoked around…

Long day, uh?

Everybody joins in….all ages, all colours, all genders….

Some people were really creative….and a little scary!

The Aftermath….

The weather wasn’t too great on that day but it was a good day nonetheless…saying that, we had enough of it after about 2 hours!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures…

Categories: Europe | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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