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Things you may not know about London’s Piccadilly Line

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As you probably know, London’s Piccadilly Line is the dark blue underground line. It is just over 100 years old, its first version only went from Hammersmith to Finsbury Park, now it starts from Cockfosters in the north and goes to Heathrow airport or to Uxbridge, another west branch.

The two branches split in Acton Town. Only a third of the trains end up at Uxbridge, two thirds going to Heathrow. London’s Piccadilly Line is the line with the most stations.

It also has several original Art Deco stations and for this reason they are protected.

Covent Garden station on Piccadilly is said to have the ghost of a man in evening dress walking on the platforms.

Interesting facts about London’s Piccadilly Line

In central London London’s Piccadilly line travels in deep tunnels and in the suburbs becomes an outside line, in total it is 71km long

During rush hour there are 76 trains in operation, the 1973 trains with six carriages have almost all been replaced, the last remaining ones will disappear by the end of 2014.

The new trains always have 6 carriages and each has 38 seats. Train depots are located in Northfields and Cockfosters.

The Piccadilly Line carries over half a million passengers every weekday and over 176 million passengers annually

There are 7 ghost stations on London’s Piccadilly Line that can be glimpsed by passing the train. Osterley & Spring Grove between Osterley and Boston Manor, Down Street between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park, Brompton Road between Knightsbridge and South Kensington and York Road between Caledonian Road and King’s Cross.

The last station on Piccadilly, Heathrow Terminal 5 opened on March 27, 2008

It was one of the London Underground lines affected by the terrorist attack on July 7, 2005. The bomb went off on the first carriage between King’s Cross station and Russell Square

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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History

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – a pub with a literary history

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Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a Grade 11 listed building at 145 Fleet Street, City of London. There has been a public house at this location since 1538, when Henry V111 was the monarch.  It was called the Horn and like many city pubs burnt down in the Great Fire of London 1666,  but was swiftly rebuilt the following year. The pub is a short walk (about 700 yards) away from both St Pauls Cathedral and Blackfriars tube station. 
 
Photo: © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
 
There is a single narrow entrance to a building that is deceptively small as it extends up to four storeys. The lack of natural light is evocative of its past history, as a cosy meeting place for famous literary figures.  Charles Dickens liked to sit at a table right of the fireplace on the ground floor, opposite to the bar. The pub is thought to have been referred to in “A Tale of Two Cities” as a dining place for Charles Darnay.   Robert Lewis Stevenson, Antony Trollope, and P. G Wodehouse all referred to the pub by name.  In “The Dynamiter”  Stevenson writes that ‘a select society at the Cheshire Cheese engaged my evenings”.  In Anthony Trollope’s novel “Ralph the Heir”,  one of the characters, Ontario Moggs, is described as speaking “with vigour at the debating club at the Cheshire Cheese in support of unions and the rights of man…”
P G Wodehouse on at least one occasion preferred to dine there, rather than at his club The Garrick. Agatha Christie wrote that her fictional detective Poirot dined with a new client at the Cheshire Cheese in her 1924 story, “The Million Dollar Bank Robbery” adding a description of “the excellent steak and kidney pudding of the establishment.” Oysters and Larks were also on the menu served up in pies. 
 
The Rhymers Club was a group of London-based poets, founded in 1890 by W. B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys. They met as a dining club at the Cheshire Cheese, producing anthologies of poetry in 1892 and 1894.
The founding meeting of the Medical Journalists Association took place at the Cheshire Cheese on 1 February 1967. At that time, doctors who wrote articles under their own name could be reported to the General Medical Council. From an initial membership of 48, the MJA now represents around 500 journalists, broadcasters and editors.
 
Last by not least, the pub had a famous parrot, whose death on October 30th 1926 was marked by worldwide obituaries.  Polly, a grey parrot, of unknown gender, passed out on Armistice night in 1918, exhausted from imitating the popping of champagne corks.  The bird was in the habit of addressing customers as “Rats” and placed orders with instructions to “Hurry Up!” Deservedly Polly holds pride of place as a Stuffed Parrot in the Bar. 

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Travel

In Hampshire looking for Jane Austen

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Many people when they think of Jane Austen, they think of Bath, in fact, the well-known British writer lived for 25 years in the county of Hampshire.

This county appears relatively little in her novels, but if you go to Hampshire, you can visit some places related to the writer. In particular we can visit a museum dedicated to her which is located in a small brick cottage where the writer lived from 1809 to 1817.

This after having lived in Southampton and Bath. Clearly these larger places gave her ideas and inspiration that she would not have had in the country but it is only after returning to a quiet place that Jane Austen resumed writing.

The museum is located in Chawton and you can still see the original furniture such as the desk where Austen àwrote some of her works.

Edward, the writer’s brother had become rich and while Austen frequented wealthy circles, she was not from a wealthy family. The brother lived nearby and visiting him meant frequenting a wealthy and fashionable environment. His brother’s house still stands today and is called Chawton House, a 16th century Tudor-style house.

The house now houses in its library a collection of books written by women if you go just outside the house of St Nicholas church you will see the graves of Austen’s mother and sister. If you want to continue your Jane Austen tour in Hampshire you can take the scenic railway called Watercress Line to Aston where the Jane Austen festival is held every June. Aston was where Austen used to shop regularly.

The Vyne is a house definitely worth visiting, it is  located near Basingstoke and was a house from the Tudor times, where Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and many others also stayed. Jane Austen was a friend of the family who lived here at the time and therefore she used to come often and participate in the dances and other social gatherings.

Jane had to leave her beloved cottage when her health deteriorated and so she went to live in Winchester to be near her doctors. That is why her grave is in Winchester Cathedral. Originally her grave did not say she was a writer because all of her books were published anonymously when she was alive

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Travel

Dunster Castle in Somerset; what you can find

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The castle on a hill called Tor has existed since before the Norman invasion, even though it was made of wood until the end of 1100.

In the late 1300s the castle was purchased by the Luttrell family who lived there until 1976 when the castle and land were donated to the National Trust.

On several occasions, especially in the Tudor period, the Luttrell family renovated the property practically transforming it into a villa.

In 1800 it was renovated again to adapt to modern tastes, it was the times of the Neo-Gothic revival and then the castle was transformed into a building in that style that is as you see it now. The architect who worked there was Anthony Salvin, also famous for the works of Alnwick Castle which is Hogwarth in the Harry Potter films, therefore2nm  you can imagine the style.

Almost nothing remains of the medieval castle now except the large tower and the ruins of some towers. The castle can be visited in spring and summer and is managed by the National Trust, if you are registered with this organisation you will not pay the entrance fee.

Among the many things to see at Dunster Castle are the interiors which are undoubtedly interesting, a portrait of John Luttrell’s Tudor times showing him along with the three graces and several Greek goddesses.

Dunster Castle is also home to several species of bats that you can find in the park, and don’t miss the gardens which are an oasis of the Mediterranean in the middle of Somerset.

The views of the Bristol Channel that you can get from the park are also not to be missed. You can also visit a perfectly functioning old water mill.

Like all self-respecting castles Dunster Castle has a ghost, rumored to be in King Charles’ bedroom. Dunster Castle also hosts numerous events throughout the year, from falconry to Easter egg hunts.

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