Thursday, April 27, 2006

Around London...

Around London. Yesterday was a travel day for me – got up at 4:30am Finnish time in order to catch my flight from Helsinki to London. Since there is a two hour time difference between the two cities, I got into London rather early – 9am, but it took so long to clear passport control it was well into lunchtime before I got to the hotel. Since I had a free afternoon after checking email and clearing out the queue on asktom – I met up with my friend (and ex-book editor, since he left Apress) Tony Davis:


He took me around town for some sites. We started at St Paul’s Cathedral:


Which we proceeded to climb to the top of. That was my exercise for the day – 530 steps up winding staircases. It was worth the climb for the 360 degree views of London from way up:


We were able to spy our next target, the London Eye - the large Ferris Wheel, across the water from the top of the cathedral:


As well as the millennium bridge we would walk across to get there:


Once in the London Eye, you get about a 20 minute ride up and down with again some excellent views, such as this of parliament, which of course reminded me of the movie V is For Vendetta where the building is featured:


While up there – I noticed this sign on the door of the “capsule” you ride in:


I liked that the “do not” is underlined for emphasis. As if I would actually even consider leaning against glass doors that bow out and would open to a considerable drop. No one went near them for the duration of the ride.

After that (and much walking/climbing) we went off to a local pub for a beer before dinner. Tony smokes in pubs and I laughed when he set his cigarettes on the table:


That would be motivation to think about quitting wouldn’t it. If every time you pulled out your smokes you had to read that big label.

But – it is back to real work today. Another two day seminar. On Monday and Tuesday I did it for a small crowd in Helsinki – about 25 people. Today however, the last I heard, over 120 people had signed up here in London. It’ll be a very different experience. The most people I’ve ever had in a technical seminar was 250 once. It gets a bit hard to take questions from the audience as the size goes up – as the questions can keep coming and coming (and coming) preventing you from finishing the material laid out. But even with 250 people – I was able to field questions and finish on time.


Anonymous Freek said....

About the cigarettes, in Belgium they are now planning to change the "smoking kills" label into photo's of lungs of smokers.

I thought smoking was no longer allowed in British pubs?

Thu Apr 27, 02:49:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Smoking ban in the UK goes into effect sometime in 2007 I believe.

Thu Apr 27, 02:52:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Doug Burns said....

Oh, good, something I can comment on with some authority.

The ban in Scotland is already in place and extends to all enclosed public spaces. The ban in England comes into force later.

As for the health warnings, if you flip over the pack, they have variations on a theme.

My current example is 'Smoking can damage the sperm and decreases fertility'.

I hope it goes well, Tom, I know someone who is going who's really looking forward to it.

Thu Apr 27, 03:08:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

so we all agree to leave the cigarettes and prefer
right ?

Thu Apr 27, 03:16:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

To each their own I suppose, didn't really understand the relevance of the above comment?

But given that it is

a) anonymous
b) via an anonymous proxy server
c) using an anonymous user agent even

have to wonder why someone would try so hard to hide their tracks for a simple comment on a blog ;)

Thu Apr 27, 03:42:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

Those would be cherry-flavoured cigarrettes, then, would they?

Thu Apr 27, 04:57:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Mathew Butler said....

To Doug:

When I was a smoker, I only used to buy the packets that read:

"Smoking while pregnant may damage the health of your baby" :o)

Thu Apr 27, 08:18:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Anonymous said...

so we all agree to leave the cigarettes and prefer
right ?

I especially like the second thread shown in that link. One of my favorites, actually.

Hope you are enjoying London. Loved the pics from the Cathedral.

Thu Apr 27, 09:39:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

I think it's nice that they now have gender-specific warnings, even if one of them does make ciggies sounds like a form of birth control.

I used to work just up the road from St Pauls, right opposite St Clements Danes and next to the Law Courts. Summer days were wonderful for hanging around outside for a smoke break, watching the LSE students wander past and reading the wall plaques about the suffragette movement etc., then wandering round to the Old Bank Of England pub for lunch ... now that's a pub really worth a visit for their beer + grub + extraordinarily extravagent decor (or just Google it of course). It's built on the site of Mrs Miggin's Pie Shop and Sweeney Todd's barber shop (also worth a Google). Further west is the Coal Hole pub, in the basement of which I proposed to my wife! They ought to make that a historic monument. What can I say, I'm a classy guy.

Somewhere around there by the river is Marconi House -- back in the early days of telephones if you were in Singapore and called Australia the call was routed by real live operators in that building.

Anyway, it all gives you a great sense of being surrounded by history.

And how about a SPOILER ALERT on the movie plots, Mr Kyte .. sheesh!

Thu Apr 27, 11:45:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

I can't remember which American comedian said this about cigarettes, but it was something like this.

"If there was a brand of cigarettes called tumors with a skull and crossbones on the cover someone would smoke it."

Thu Apr 27, 04:51:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Mark A. Williams said....

Tony still owes me an email. I'm probably going to have to ring up Sarah and have her get him motivated!

- Mark

Thu Apr 27, 06:33:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Dan said....

Re: Cigarette Labelling...

Canada has a similar program requiering tabacco product manufactureres to disply prominent graphic messages on their packaging.

You can see the current labels at this Health Canada web page.

The fourth one down (tabacco and impotence) is worth a look!

Thu Apr 27, 06:37:00 PM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> "If there was a brand of cigarettes called tumors with a skull and crossbones on the cover someone would smoke it."

It's been done!

Fri Apr 28, 01:01:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Andy C said....

Great photos. I walked past the London Eye, along the South Bank, crossed the Millennium Bridge and worked in the shadow of St Pauls for nine months and never once ventured inside (let alone ascended the steps). Now I wish I had.

Funny how you often take for granted what is on your own doorstep.

Fri Apr 28, 04:13:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Mark O'Laughlin said....

Anonymous said...
I can't remember which American comedian said this about cigarettes, but it was something like this.

"If there was a brand of cigarettes called tumors with a skull and crossbones on the cover someone would smoke it."
I believe that was Dennis Leary. I recall it being very funny too. He's usually hilarious and on the mark when he goes on a rant!

As for the Canadian packs, there are some nasty ones. I remember when I used to smoke in high school, I cut out the "smoking and impotence" one because I thought it was funny.

Fri Apr 28, 05:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mon May 01, 12:53:00 PM EDT  

Blogger David said....

My sister and I began our first trip through Europe in London, and I would say the word that best describes our impressions of the city is “overwhelming”. Everything we did was amazing, from tea and cake at the Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum to a play at the Globe Theater, from the oldest church in London, St. Bartholomew’s to the Ghosts and Graves tour, riding from old Rolls-Roys to huge Limousine London vehicle. Spending a full day in the British Museum was kind of a microcosm of our London experience. We saw so much, yet there is so much left to see. We will definitely be going back, as soon as our money replenishes, at least.

Fri Dec 14, 10:01:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Mike said....

Europe is great London although a nice place to visit I would not what to live there, I would choose one of the towns further a field.

Wed Feb 27, 07:28:00 AM EST  


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