I have an unusual routine every Thursday night. I pull on a pair of swimming trunks, a dive mask and snorkel, and a pair of fins before diving into the deep pool at Putney Leisure Centre. I am an underwater rugby player.
Underwater rugby is played in a 3D-environment where attacks can come from anywhere: above, below and all around you.
Underwater rugby (UWR) started life in Germany in the 1960s as a way for divers to stay fit during the winter. It quickly took on a life of its own and today, it is played in much of Europe, as well as the US, Australia, Colombia and Singapore.
London, known to many as “The Big Smoke” has historically, and still today, been synonymous with air pollution, traffic jams and intense urban hustle and bustle. BUT, there is another side to the city – its “greener” side. London, despite the nicknames and assumptions, actually boasts 8 Royal Parks and countless smaller green spaces. So, if you need an escape from city life – the parks are a perfect saviour!
In my opinion, probably one of the best known parks in London for multiple reasons. Found in the Paddington area, this park is HUGE – 142 hectares to be exact.
Thankfully I managed to avoid being dragged to see the Oxford Street Christmas lights this year but as my Christmas-loving boyfriend was visiting it would be rude to not show him any and he was happy with seeing some of the Regent Street lights during a day out in London.
As I described in an earlier blog post, work last week consisted of mostly Christmas parties! Starting off with the the Natural History Museum Student Association Christmas Party and moving on to the Soil Biodiversity Group Christmas gathering where my supervisor Paul Eggleton tried on my Christmas hat! Sadly I was unable to join the group Christmas meal afterwards but it was great catching up with volunteers, students and staff.
I have been experiencing the twin miseries of house hunting and a heavy cold, my mum came down to help with the latter, but to brighten the day we also visited the Camellia show at Chiswick Gardens in west London.
Chiswick House is a neo-Palladian villa built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729. The conservatory was originally built for growing fruit but was then given over to Camellias which were new arrivals from plant explorers in China. Some of these plants are still here, but were nearly lost when the conservatory fell into disrepair. A £12.1 million project to restore the gardens was unveiled in June 2010.
I took a day off from studying to visit the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, South East London. The museum has been on my ‘places to visit list’ for sometime, and I was particularly looking forward to meeting its famous walrus specimen, which even has its own Twitter account.
Since rain was forecast we decided to look around the grounds of the museum before heading inside. The building is in the arts and style and was founded in 1901 by Frederick John Horniman. The wall features a mosaic called Humanity in the House of Circumstance.
The museum has extensive gardens which include a bandstand overlooking the London skyline and some farm animals.
Studying in London gives plenty of opportunities for ‘going tourist’ and visiting attractions in London, so for a treat after two busy weeks away in France my friend Andrew visited and we went to see the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The Exhibition had been in the London newspapers recently as it had just opened a glass floor on the high level walkways, giving views from over 100 feet above the River Thames, and so we wanted to pay a visit – despite Andrew being afraid of heights!
Tower Bridge is in the eastern part of London so it was exciting to see a part of London I am not familiar with, emerging from the Tower Hill underground station we saw the Tower of London – another attraction on the list to visit while I am here studying.