Taters on the mould

Man alive it’s cold out there at the moment. I was up town with the family today and took refuge in the British Library. It turns out that they’ve got a series of free talks and lectures on every week Tuesday to Friday. Each talk lasts 45 minutes. This should leave you time to get there and wolf down your sandwiches before educatizing yourself while brushes crumbs from your cardigan and suppressing the inevitable hiccups.

The inclement weather also prompted me to salute the brave lunchtime soldiers I saw last week, eating their sandwiches in defiance of the bitter wind and plummeting temperatures.

Why aren't you all having a picnic?

Why aren’t you all having a picnic?

My upper lip couldn't be stiffer

My upper lip couldn’t be stiffer

Jus' chillin'

Jus’ chillin’

So if you ever get to thinking that it’s too cold to sit outside and gulp down some fresh air, eat your lunch and catch up on some reading, consider these brave warriors, putting it all on the line to take every minute of their allotted lunchtimes and use it to its fullest. W



Reading of the 5,000

Healthy planet

Here’s a good place discovered this week while rushing back to work carrying a heavy catering pack of chicken breasts from the butchers in Theobalds Rd (a great butchers by the way if you’re into meat!)

Just around the corner from Conway Hall, Red Lion Square (site of Crass gigs back during the “punk wars”) is what looks like a charity shop. On closer inspection it’s a bookshop that gives away free books! It’s only open for a short period so get your skates on and have a look.

The shop is run by Healthy Planet a charity that distributes free books that would usually end up on landfill sites. Don’t expect too much as some them are probably charity shop rejects but you never know what you might get. My three books for the day (that’s your daily allowance) included a great gardening one where I learnt that the organic herb grower Jekka McVicar was in a progressive rock band in the 70’s called Marsupilami. They released a couple of LP’s and appeared at the Isle of Wight festival and the first Glastonbury, how mad is that?

The shop’s address is Procter 5, Procter Street, Holborn WC1V just by where the record shop “City Sounds” used to be back in the day. P

A different path

Remember when I had all those things lined up for last week? Well, it may not surprise you to note that I failed on achieving any of them. As I say, though, it’s always nice to have a plan. What with various errands to cure me of my maladies, my lunchtimes were cut short, somewhat. I did manage to mither the poor lady in the information centre opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral for details of when they were going to release free tour tickets for the Livery Halls (as yet, the Skinner’s Hall is the only one that has any in the offing and I will keep you posted as to when they’re released). On the way back I thought I’d just try and duck into the Clockmaker’s museum but got sidetracked by a church on Foster Lane.

Looking in through the glass doors, it looked very quiet and I’d never been in there before so thought it was worth a look.

It's collegiate, apparently

It’s collegiate, apparently

I tell you what. If you’ve got 10 minutes or so it’s very peaceful. The main points of interest for me being the fact that it looks like John Betjeman was a warden.

Well I never

Well I never

And if you leave the church, turn right and go to the next set of blue doors you find yourself in a charming little courtyard. It looks very much like you shouldn’t be there but according to their literature that I picked up afterwards, it’s all open to the public.

Nice spot for a sandwich

Nice spot for a sandwich

So, the lesson here is, even if you do have a planned lunchtime, it’s still nice to walk aimlessly and push open some doors. W

PS In other news, P and I are thinking of ways to “jazz” up the blog as we enter the warmer months – we’ll be posting details soon.


Cor baby (That’s really free)

There’s now a new section called “free events” on the right hand side of the page and we will be adding more links as and when. There’s now no  excuse to go out and do something even when you are a bit financially embarrassed during a lunchhour!

We here at Liylh are always looking for new things to keep us occupied especially decent music. There’s a fair selection of recitals and classical concerts but when it comes to electronica, reggae and the left-field variety it’s a bit thin on the ground. Any promoters out there do get in touch if you are doing something on a lunchtime and we’ll give you a plug. Years ago Rob Da Bank and the Sunday Best crew used to do free events on Finsbury Square during the summer and when Pure Groove was still at West Smithfields there were some cracking free shop appearances (including Jeffrey Lewis performing Crass songs amongst others). So come on, we’d love to see/hear more decent free music on a lunchtime! If you know of anything do email us at londoninyourlunchhour@gmail.comI hate eating

On a final note I’ve just found a link to some regular free lunchtime concerts at St Annes Lutheran Church (THE home of Bach in London) and it states, “feel free to bring your sandwiches” I do like that. I’ll be the one who turns up with the boiled egg & piccalilli sarnies with a side dish of smelly cheese and coleslaw perched in the middle of a pew with no-one around us. There’s also a promise of “coffee and biscuits served”, will they be served for free you reckon? P

Sick and tired of London

essential suppliesI’m off work today with what feels like a bout of the flu. Around midday I dragged myself out of the sickbed to get some essential supplies; own-brand Ibuprofen and soluble Vitamin C from the local chemist.

Have you ever wandered around your own locality during the week while everybody else is at work? Very strange (or is it just how I am feeling today?) P

What to do, what to do

Good afternoon,

I know P and I are always telling you to get away from your desks and do something in your lunchtime. Ignoring our own advice for a day, I decided to have a look and see how easy it was to get a week’s plan together for free stuff to do in a lunchtime this week. These are what I’m planning to have a look at if I get a chance.

Tuesday – Concert

Watch him tickle the ivories

Watch him tickle the ivories

As part of the City of London Festival, there are a ton of recitals going on. Which means you can chill out for an hour, listening to some lovely plinky plonky music in the warm. This Tuesday brings Leslie Howard and his lovely head of hair to the Bishopsgate Institute. If you really must know, he’ll be playing these lovely ditties:

Beethoven Sonata No 13 Op 27 No 1 Sonata quasi una fantasia
Beethoven Sonata No 14 Op 27 No 2 Sonata quasi una fantasia Moonlight
Alkan Symphonie pour piano seul Op 39 Nos 4–7 (from Douze Études dans les tons mineurs)

Which will be nice.

Wednesday  – Museum

The Guildhall Library (London EC2v 7HH) also houses the Clockmakers’ museum. I’ve been meaning to have a shuftie round it for a while and this week seems as good a time as any.

Thursday – Talk
21st Century Inc.: Making the corporation work for us

On Thursday, Colin Mayer will be calling for a new approach to how we run companies to ensure that the corporation contributes to, rather than undermines our economic prosperity, environmental welfare and social well-being…apparently. It all sounds rather jolly though and I’ll be tagging along just in case someone asks a question about Downton Abbey.

Obviously, I doubt all of these will come off for me to go to this week. Work will undoubtedly interfere in some way, but I always feel better to have a plan in place. If you want something a bit more loose and not tied down to a clock then the Imagine festival starts at the South Bank Centre this week. It’s actually more for children and timed to coincide with the half-terms that are happening this week and next. It does mean that there will be stuff to do and see there though, so if you work around there, you’ll at least get to see the Centre dressed up a little differently.

Do let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed or stuff you’re getting up to this week. We’re always on the look out for a new vista; a sparkling horizon on a hoary lunchtime; an unparalleled experience of beauty and chaos in this city we call home. W

Cheap pumps and shrapnel marks

On my monthly afternoon trips from work in Covent Garden to St Thomas’ Hospital to have dental work done off one of the students there, I pass many sights while walking down The Embankment. I’m usually either so tired (I stay up late the night before so I can fall asleep in the chair, they don’t mind as long as I don’t snore!) or so preoccupied with the forthcoming work on me teeth I usually walk down there with my eyes closed.

where's me pumpsI noticed for the first time last week a smart monument to the the man who devised the Plimsoll line (of the seafaring variety not the cheap sports footwear.) I do love the get up of the sailor on the left (very robert elms in the eighties. “Oi, where’s me espadrilles?”.) More on  Sam Plimsoll and his monument here.

Don't needle me, ok?

We all know about Cleopatra’s Needle but have you ever had a butchers at the shrapnel marks on the walls that surround it from the aftermath of a German raid during the first World War? The area around the needle is supposedly haunted and there’s rumours of a ghostly semi-nude man with a Peter Stringfellow hairdo who is regularly seen jumping into the river their with no sound and then disappears without trace. W informs me too there’s tales of all sorts of mysterious stuff buried beneath the obelisk in a time capsule. What would you like to hear was buried underneath it? A a signed photo of Larry Grayson perhaps, 10 B&H or a flick-knife bought on a school trip to France in the seventies by a London schoolboy? Answers on an email please to londoninyourlunchhour@gmail.com. P