Thatched Houses

Thatching was popular in early days as the walls were not designed or made to take enormous roof weight. While wheat straw was common in south of England, reeds were in East Anglia. As transport facilities became available, cheap slate could be brought in from where it was abundant and cheap to any part in Britain. Mechanised farming resulted in making wheat straw unusable for thatching. These beautiful houses were seen while passing a small village near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

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Hex nets can prevent some of the damages unknowingly brought in by animals and birds. But what about the natural effects? Repairing and maintaining a thatched house in a good state costs lot of money.

Covent Garden…

…to Leicester Square, London.

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
— Samuel Johnson

Boswell and Johnson were discussing whether or not Boswell’s affection for London would wear thin should he choose to live there, as opposed to the zest he felt on his occasional visits. (Boswell lived in Scotland, and visited only periodically).

This discussion happened on September 20, 1777, and Johnson, someone who hated to spend time alone, was always going out and enjoying what London had to offer.

Recent times…
A casual walk around the covered market at Covent Garden… old military uniforms, peak caps, medallions, ribbons, shoes, helmets… and lots of toys and curios.

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Stepping out into the street…. it begins to snow.

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Past Verve, Sussex, Spaghetti House, Bella Italia…

The Sussex boasts authentic English pub cuisine across an extensive food menu, in a bright, vibrant atmosphere. Situated on St Martins Lane the pub is popular among visitors to Central London.

Bella Italia at Covent Garden – the hustle, the bustle, and of course the Bella! Bella Italia can be found on Wellington street, just behind the London Transport Museum. The restaurant has three floors and there is a private dining room downstairs if you’re looking for a party!

The Hippodrome Casino has well & truly established itself as a cornerstone of West End life. The biggest & busiest casino in the UK, we are also London’s most popular entertainment venue.

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Finally a cosy warm place… and something to savour.

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30 St Mary Axe

Developed by Swiss Re and designed by architects Foster and Partners this 40-storey office building is situated in the heart of the City of London. The building officially opened in March 2004 and provides some of the most flexible and environmentally sound office space in London.

30 St Axe

The above view is from atop St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

30 St Mary Axe is situated on a site of 1.4 acres and stands at 180 meters high making it the second highest building in the City of London. At its widest point the circumference of the building is 178 meters (only two meters less than its height) and tapers to the top and bottom giving the impression of even greater height.

The building provides approximately 500,000 sq ft of office space, private dining rooms and a restaurant and bar that boast unparalleled views of London. All of this is from a footprint of just under 50 meters in diameter, a great deal smaller than a rectangular building providing the same accommodation and which enables the provision of a landscaped plaza around the building for residents and the public to enjoy.

The building has won a number of accolades for its contribution to architecture including the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architecture’s Stirling Prize which is awarded to the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture.

Other interesting facts and figures:
Over 35 km of steel weighing 10,000 tonnes was used to build 30 St Mary Axe. Despite its curved shape, there is actually only one piece of curved glass – the lens at the top of the building which is 2.4m in diameter and weighs 250kg. The glass dome at the top of the building provides 360 degree views of London. The top two floors of the building, 39 and 40, are available for the use of tenants of the building during the day and to external parties in the evenings (subject to Landlord’s approval).