New York


It's been a busy few months, my last post was ages ago. Since then two bucket list items have been ticked off and a third is in the pipeline for this year - that's kind of a big deal. I've been putting off writing my blog post about New York because I wanted to make sure I covered off all of the details. However, it doesn't look like I'm going to find some proper time soon so in the interest of actually posting some content here are some pictures with a bit of an explanation!

The long and short is that we held some Technical Architecture meetings at Cushman & Wakefield HQ on 6th Ave, so the aim of this trip was to be in the same room with all those responsible from around the global business.

I'd never been to NYC before and was quite a bit excited. This picture was taken immediately after leaving our hotel (I travelled and stayed in the same hotel as my boss). I think it's hilarious as I managed to take the picture facing the wrong way and without hardly any of the screens bill boards in the shot. The guy on the left however does have an amazing t-shirt. This is also the only picture I took in Times Square, as I somehow didn't take any more.

Day 1 was spent wandering around quite a lot, here is the first ever Shake Shack in Madison Sq Park. The queue was enormous, even compared to the crazy queue when the Covent Garden restaurant opened in London. From here the famous Flat Iron Building can be seen. Dinner was at The Olive Tree in Greenwich Village near Washington Square. I was totally exhausted but managed to eat some Chicken Wings and Nachos! We went to a bar afterwards, although I can't actually remember where it was (other than walking distance) or what it was called.

Day 2 started with a rough morning. We went to Bubby's for Brunch, the food was ridiculously amazing but I only managed to eat half a bagel and drink some coffee due to my fragile state.

From Bubby's the new World Trade Centre can be seen, which is just the most enormous thing I've ever seen. It boggles the mind as to how it's even possible for something to be that big.

This is the 9/11 memorial and one of the reflection pools. The 9/11 memorial museum was fascinating, and so well and respectfully built.

After the memorial we headed over to Battery Park to see Liberty and the Hudson river. From there we walked past Wall Street and over towards the Brooklyn Bridge! This was also immensely massive. There was an Abercrombie and Fitch store just by here where I spent quite a lot of money - whoops!

Just going to leave this one here... Dinner was at Hillstone which is an up-market american steak restaurant. The food was amazing. So this picture wasn't taken by me, or with my rubbish iPhone camera, I have to thank my colleague for this one :)

With fun and games over it was in the office for breakfast and meetings the next morning! The office is located right next to the Rockefella Plaza and Radio City on 6th Avenue, it's just a short walk from Times Square.

One evening we went out to watch some baseball. It was a crazy, awesome experience, unfortunately the Yankees lost to the Astros although I was lucky enough two(?) home runs!

Can't wait to go back.

There are a bunch more pictures which I may try and upload to another post at some point.

Istanbul, Turkey

This was a rather epic trip. It started off fairly normal, I headed over to Heathrow T5 to catch a flight to Istanbul. The flight took off as usual all seemed fine, I set my tablet up to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel and got ready for a spot of breakfast. It got a bit different near the English Channel when the pilot decided to rock the aircraft's wings.

A few moments later we had performed a 180 degree turn and were heading directly back to Heathrow. Heading west when your destination is due east is isn't really a good sign, especially when you're 20 minutes into the flight. Most passengers didn't really notice until the pilot told them over the intercom. We were assured all was fine and that there was a minor technical problem and we needed to land to get it checked out.

The landing into Heathrow was astounding, we were straight down on the ground within meters of runway. The plane was met with a landing party of police, fire engines and emergency crews - to our complete totally unknown to anybody on-board and despite my best efforts to check twitter while on approach.

That was the interesting bit. We then sat on a remote stand for four hours while British Airways messed around and pretended that we would actually get back on our way. After we offloaded I was rebooked on to a Turkish Airways flight the same day at 22:30 (12 hours after original take off).


Above - One of the fire engines that met us on the North runway at Heathow.IMG_0056

Above - LAN Ports on the back of the seats! This plane loads of buttons, even in economy.

The Turkish flight wasn't too bad, I managed to nab a row of three seats at the back, find an unopened pack of flight socks and ear plugs and do some mild napping. The landing at Istanbul was pretty cool, the plane (Airbus A333) had a camera so you could see the approaching runway. However the experience at the baggage carousel wasn't quite as good, seems they don't treat my pelican case as a suitcase and it's brought up on the back of a truck. Longest hour ever, thought I'd lost my peli case for good!


The following morning wasn't too bad, managed for get a few hours of sleep in the hotel before brushing up and meeting my colleague downstairs. Missed breakfast by some distance though!


Above is the view from the old office near Taksim Square, it was really quite stunning.


There was of course some downtime, the guys in Turkey are incredibly hospitable. Here I am standing in Taksim Square, below is Gezi Park where the 2013 protests began with an occupy movement. The protests were still fresh in the memory of many locals, According to Wikipedia some 8,500 people were injured.


the park itself was surprisingly small, but is significant in it's location. There aren't a great deal of other parks around this particular area.


Of course, the 'selfie' - This particular picture was taken near Ortaköy, you can see the Bosphorus Bridge (or First Bridge) in the background, behind the Ortaköy mosque. The Bosphorus is a fascinating waterway because of it's location between the Black Sea and the Sea or Marmara. It is the narrowest straight used for international navigation. There is simply loads of shipping traffic. The Queen Mary was docked in Istanbul for one day while we were there.


Above - one of the historic trams that run along the street from Taksim to Tunel (below). I got the impression the trams were more of a tourist attraction than a practical form of transportation - although I could be wrong.


Above - This is Tunel. It is the oldest underground railway after the Metropolitan in London. It's a fairly short track that has two cars with a passing place in the middle. The lights inside the tunnel made the journey very interesting, the original brickwork is still visible.


This has become a small tradition (which is probably the whole point of Hard Rock). It wasn't amazing but a Hard Rock Cafe none the less! It was a bit of a nightmare to get to, the taxi driver was literally following my iPhone's google maps. Turns out in the end that it was right next to where I took the picture of the tram - doh!

IMG_0124The flight back to London was painless - although the same aircraft that had landed back at Heathrow. I look forward to visiting Istanbul again, it was much safer than I had anticipated, people were friendly and surprisingly it wasn't too expensive.

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

This was kind of a good birthday. It's not often that it falls on a Saturday, and even less often that is is followed by plenty of annual leave. This birthday @tigziefc and I went to Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Broadstairs was lovely, we had a quick go on the penny pushers and even won a prize from the tickets! After that we got to see two lifeboats! bembridge_lifeboat_selfie_c

Above is the the oldest Mersey class lifeboat still in service with the RNLI RNLB Peggy and Alex Caird (ON 1124, Op. No. 12-001). She was last briefly stationed at Dungeness as a relief vessel while their lifeboat had some work performed in Ramsgate. Prior to being stationed at Dungeness she was stationed at Bembridge between 2009-2011 while a new station was constructed for their Tamar class vessel. It's not clear why she was out of the water in Ramsgate, although presumably she is waiting for her next relief assignment, perhaps undergoing some maintenance.


Above is Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. RNLB Esme Anderson (ON 1197, Op. No. 14-02) can be seen in the water, she is a Trent class vessel which has been stationed at Ramsgate since her construction in 1994. A blue davit can be seen at station level which is used to launch Ramsgate's inshore lifeboat Bob Turnbull (ON B-765) a Atlantic-75 class rigid inflatable. rnlb_peggy_alex_caird_c

Brands on a Whim

Wasn't sure what to do this weekend, @tigziefc was working and I was looking after my little brother... I spent ages looking online and racking my brain for fun things to do - then in a sudden moment of inspiration I realised Brands Hatch is where it's at. I didn't really check the website before we headed over on Sunday, other than to make sure it wasn't insanely expensive. Turns out... motorbike racing was on!brands_small

The weather was awful. It was freezing and raining and hailing (see below video). I foolishly decided wearing shorts would be appropriate - wrong.

Anyway, aside from the weather and the fact we were basically the only people there it was really good! We saw maybe 10 races, some of which were qualifying sessions and others which were full on races. There was a good mix of different bikes and riders, some of whom were awesome and others who clearly weren't!


We also saw two guys have pretty bad falls at Graham Hill Bend, both in separate sessions, one in the dry and one in the wet. The first chap was clearly in a bad way and was flailing all over the place in pain. This is when I relaised I had made the correct choice in bothers' day out!