Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Notting Hill Carnival.

Yes, there has been some blogger neglect occurring as of the last week. All for very good reason, let me assure you. Things have been HECTIC. I spent the last week back and forth to New Cross, preparing for the show, while at the same time researching, and working on my last paper. We cleaned an entire Church (in preparation) and spent the better part of 3 days installing our work, checking on it, obsessing over it...you get the picture.

I've also found myself wanting to catch up on the blog and then holding myself back, as I'm feeling like every last second of my last week in London needs to be spent out and about in the city, and spending time with friends.

This all being said, I'm hoping to get a few more posts in this week, as I've been up to a lot, and want to share. I know all too well, that if I get too far behind, you'll never get to see how this last week and a bit has been spent.

Let's start with yesterday's bank holiday.

I got up bright and early to head into school (during a transit strike, go figure) for my final viva. I don't want to jinx things, but it was definitely the best one to date. I'm not sure why, and if I know my University, I know that this last experience means nothing as far as my marks are concerned, but I was really pleased to finish my MA (and this year of being out of my comfort zone) on such a high.

From school, I headed to the Notting Hill Carnival. Getting there in itself was a carnival. The tubes were absolutely packed, it was comical. I can't believe the city of London allows so many people to congregate in one neighbourhood, let alone Notting Hill. It was INSANE.

Definitely a different view of this usually cute spot. You'll notice many of the shops board up their windows in preparation for the two day event which tends to get messy when the sun goes down.

Yes, the bookstore from the film...

On our way, before the craziness.

Rum Punch, oh how I love thee.. (those who were with me in Barbados, no that this is the nectar of the gods).

The food was delicious. Jerk Chicken, grilled corn, meat patties, dumplings, plantain, curry, SCRUMPTIOUS! You name it, I ate it.

Jello shots..

As it appears, it was one giant street party. DJs on every other street corner, and people out and about, ready to have a good time.

I saw far less costumes than I expected, but we did completely miss out on the parade as there were so many people, and we attempted to avoid the chaos.

Everyone was getting into the excitement...

The garbage left EVERYWHERE, was definitely one of the down sides of the event. I can't recall seeing a garbage bin anywhere so perhaps that is why.

Not all of Carnival was peaches and cream..

After finding myself on a street so packed with people that my own feet couldn't keep myself upright amid the pushing and shoving, I decided to call it a day. I no longer felt safe, and knew at any moment a crowd that size could turn. Ignoring my voice of reason, I left the group alone and headed for home. 
The second I got out of the crowds, I was fine, and actually enjoying the atmosphere again. I strolled up Portobello road, put myself on a bus.

Even boarded up windows, mass crowds, and garbage, can't take the charm out of Notting Hill.

Photo Credit: A big thanks to KATE for MOST of these pictures. I only managed to grab about 15 from my iphone, as the little  'party cam' died.

Monday, 19 August 2013

To be Frank.

Last week I met my friends from school for some drinks at Franks Campari Bar. Have you been? If you haven't, you are running out of time, as they dismantle the bar at the end of September. You may have seen from my instagram photos, the bar itself is located on the tenth floor of a parking garage in Peckham. Pretty neat. Something I'm sure Vancouver's licensing laws, and 'no-fun' policies would prevent us from enjoying. This is the fourth summer running Franks, and so far so good.

The bar isn't easy to find. Once you see the initial signs (at the base of the garage) you are left on a hunt to search for small red squares with white arrows leading you to your destination.

When you reach the 9th floor there is an Art exhibition (a bit of an assurance that you've almost made it), and when you finally reach the 10th...you will know.

As you emerge from the garage to the open air of the top level, you are faced with the London skyline. That in itself makes Franks a wonderful place to spend an evening.

The menu was simple but tasty. We were left a little hungry as we didn't order enough between us, but I'll know better for next time. We ordered the humous and french bread, the grilled corn, and the Ox heart Kebab. The only other downside was the (sometimes) long line at the bar. Frustrating when you are excited to get back to your friends...and the view.

Great face Courtenay.

And in case you were wondering about plumbing logistics...

A true Londoner. I'm going to take this look back to Vancouver.

You can visit their website to find our more about Frank's HERE