This year however, he is taking his skills to a whole new level. A whopping 215lb pumpkin came delivered on its own pallet yesterday and needed more than just one strong man to move it about.
Here is the Viking boat he has been working on today which will be completed with sail and ghoul face on Monday. I think you will agree that it is a true masterpiece in the making.
Just click on the map for a larger version
Like so many major cities, London is located next to a great winding river and with the sun shining (well on and off!) it is a great place to be. Water always looks so inviting in the summer and our river has over recent years become much more of a focul point in terms of living, working and leisure time. In fact, one of the highlights of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year will be a river pageant with The Sovereign’s specially constructed Royal Barge leading a flotilla of boats along the river. This will no doubt conjure up thoughts of Tudor times when the mighty Thames was in constant use as a trade and transport route. After such a long time of underuse it is so good that the Thames has once again developed an effective riverboat service. Its also great that it has been integrated into the city’s infrastructure and you can even use your Oyster card!
You can tell ‘Olympics fever’ has started. The countdown shown in huge numbers at the top of the BT Tower now seems meaningful and of course the recent party to unveil the Olympic Countdown Clock, only served to heighten the sense of excitement and expectation. I have to say how fantastic it is that all the permanent stadia are now complete a year out. That really says something for our ability as a world city to plan and execute such a huge project.
Westminster feels quite a focal point with Horse Guards Parade, site of the Beach Volleyball and only 5 minutes from One Great George Street set up for the Test event running at the middle of this month. According to the press, the Prime Minister is very excited about it and will have a birds eye view from 10 Downing Street.
Our own venue will becomes the London Media Centre for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games from mid June next year and registration has now opened for media. Our next door neighbours, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre has been booked by Italy and close by 45 Millbank has been booked by Georgia. All of us are members of The Westminster Collection, a collection of stand-alone venues based within the boundaries of the City of Westminster.
With so many visitors, officials and of course the athletes in town our transport infrastructure will be pushed to the limit. The inclusion therefore of the river as another travel option and the connections available from the river to other integrated modes of transport such as the DLR will be most useful. The authorities are now making available lots of information to help everyone plan their journeys within the city around and during the games themselves.
I hope that you have found some of what I have been blogging about interesting reading. If you have any comments or suggestions about this blog post or ideas for future posts, just drop me an email. Enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer I’ll be back with another post September time.
LED lighting has been available via our on-site Audio Visual team from Eclipse for about 3-4 years now. Recently however, I was fortunate to see our venue Great Hall look spectacularly spruced up by the innovative use of LED lighting. Martin from Eclipse has been bending my ear since they purchased the LED lighting and equipment telling me all the benefits of this new cutting edge lighting technology:
~It is a great alternative to traditional lighting sources
~Gives off less heat
~Does not project UV and therefore a great way to protect our magnificent paintings
~Extremely versatile and decorative
~Very energy efficient
~Good for the environment as it has no mercury and pollutants
~Fully programmable and changeable at short notice by the on-site lighting engineer
The Great Hall, is our most popular room for weddings at One Great George Street and never fails to impress with or without lighting with its huge chandeliers, marbled walls and gold leafing. Passers by on the pavement walking through Storeys Gate are often seen gazing up to the windows to marvel at the glistening crystal.
Here are some snaps to show you the various areas of our building which were brought to life with LED lighting recently:The Foyer ~ Slow colour change of soft pink, amber and gold for the drinks reception
The Great Hall ~ Started similar to the foyer. Then spiced up when the Bride and Groom were announced by flashing the lights with quick colour changes in bold colours of red, green, blue and yellow. Then returned to the slow colour change of earlier. Coupled with a few bars of a favourite song this really did stand out as a grand entrance as the newly weds were received into the room to great applause from waiting friends and family before taking their places at the top table.
The Chandeliers ~ We made features by projecting colour onto them which resulted in giving a gorgeous glittering effect as the crystal sparkled.
The First Dance ~ We changed to soft pink/amber. Then we kept with warm colour changes and chases of various speeds plus rainbow and bold colour chases.
So….I guess you know what my answer to the question will be. In my view LED lights given their versatility, represent brilliant value for money and adds less than £8 per head for a wedding up to 240 people. In terms of a WOW factor it really transforms a beautiful room into something even more spectacular. Shame I cant have them for my own and a colleagues joint 90th celebrations tomorrow night the 8th of July!
Yes I couldn’t believe it really. I know that our location is in the middle of the Capital’s political life and that means we are privileged to see quite a lot. American Presidents are usually cocooned away and with recent events, I fully expected there to be more security than ever before. But hey, ho, next thing we know….it’s Michelle Obama, sitting on our side of the street, giving us a big smile and waving with much enthusiasm as the Presidential limo purred past our side entrance in Storey’s Gate.
They were en route to Westminster Abbey where the President was due to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
When George W Bush came here on the last State Visit, he also went to Westminster Abbey via the side of our building in Storey’s Gate. On that occasion not even pedestrians were allowed to cross the road . It had the usual barricades in place to hem everyone in depending on which pavement you happened to be on and you were surrounded by an enormous amount of uniformed Police, not to mention other less obvious security forces.
Yes, of course there was a lot of extra police presence this time round. While my colleagues and I stood on our side steps waiting to wave, the ‘men in black’ were obviously eyeing us up behind their dark shades. Guess that this gave them comfort about the threat level. At no time did it feel oppressive and people were walking up and down Storey’s Gate or waiting with their cameras in the most normal way.
I am sure Michelle Obama would have loved to have her window wound down to say ‘Hi’ as she waved to our group on the way past. We understood the limits though and went back into the office in high spirits about the whole thing. For once, the general public had been allowed to get as close to the President of the United States as we are allowed to get to our own Head of State, albeit from the other side of armour plating.
Also, it was amazing how little disruption was caused to London going about its daily business. They left it to the last minute until roads were closed off or traffic stopped to allow the convoy to pass. Congratulations to the decision makers for keeping the city moving!
As we move into June, the pageantry continues as the nation celebrates The Queen’s ‘Official Birthday’ with Trooping The Colour on Horse Guards Parade this Saturday the 11th June. All this week we can hear the sounds of rehearsals and Guards marching from their barracks to the famous parade ground, just across the way from One Great George Street. There is also of course the two spectacular night-time floodlit Beating the Retreat ceremonies too. It is hard to imagine now, that only about 20 years ago, Horse Guards Parade was a car park for Civil Servants. When it was not being used for official occasions such as this of course. Be sure to look out for it next year in the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In my last blog I mentioned about Simon Watkinson, the Prince William lookalike civil engineer coming in for lunch, also on 24 May. I had in fact forgotten, not being involved on the day. So, I was a little lost for words when our Sales and Marketing Director, Wendy Greenhalgh brought Simon over to introduce me.
Simon does have an uncanny likeness to HRH and obviously chooses his wardrobe carefully. He has also learned to stand with a certain regal poise. I think I was being hesitant in not speaking before being spoken to first!
Then I read at the weekend that Prince William was taking part in the rehearsals at last Saturday’s 2nd Dress Rehearsal for Trooping The Colour. HRH was seen later that day in the Royal Box at Epsom where The Queen was running her hopeful filly, Carlton House in the Derby, but which sadly ended third. Before I might have thought he has access to great transport links, but now I’m not so sure…might have to ask Simon if he’s been near Epsom recently.
So, 24th May will be a date to remember for some time. Until we meet again…..have a good week.
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