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October 18, 2018
by Bloomsbury International
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The Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery, London

In the 1970s, there was a media sensation surrounding reports of ‘supernatural activity’ at Highgate Cemetery which gave birth to the legend known as The Highgate Vampire. Since then, many books about supernatural creatures have mentioned this supposed vampire. In fact, there was even a book called The Highgate Vampire, which was based on these phenomenal events.

The story of the Highgate Vampire can be traced back to media reports by two journalists, Sean Manchester and David Farrant. The story of the vampire begins on 21 December 1969 when David Farrant, spent the night there. On the 6th February 1970, he wrote a letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express, which got published. In that letter he said that when passing the cemetery on 24 December 1969 he saw “a grey figure”, which he considered to be supernatural. He then asked if readers had seen anything similar. On the 13th of February, several people replied, describing a variety of ghosts which haunted the cemetery or the adjoining Swains Lane. These ghosts were described in many different ways: a tall man in a hat, a cyclist, a woman in white, a face staring through the bars of a gate, a figure walking into a pond, a pale floating form, bells ringing, and voices calling. The only thing that was certain in all these reports was that no one gave the same story.

Another local man, Seán Manchester, who believed Farrant’s sighting, wanted to identify and eliminate supernatural entity in the cemetery. The Hampstead and Highgate Express reported him on 27 February 1970 saying that he believed that ‘a King Vampire of the Undead’, a medieval nobleman from Romania, had been brought to England in a coffin in the early eighteenth century by followers and was buried on the site which was to become Highgate Cemetery. Manchester claimed that modern Satanists had woken him up. He said the right thing to do would be to stake the vampire’s body, cut of the head, and burn it! Of course, these things are illegal, and vampires don’t exist. Nevertheless, the public enjoyed these reports and the stories continue up to this day.

The Highgate Vampire is regularly featured in books and internet sites on occult subjects. On Halloween, many people, mostly occultists, fans of gothic fiction, and open-minded individuals visit Highgate cemetery to try to catch a glimpse of the Highgate Vampire, or maybe get an Interview with the Vampire (yes, I know… another vampire book/film) as well. Who knows how lucky you might be? Visit the cemetery and check around some of the notable gravesites of people who are buried there. Is the vampire behind the large bust of Karl Marx’s grave? Or sitting next to legendary singer, George Michael’s grave? One thing is for sure. A visit to the Highgate Cemetery is worth it!

October 4, 2018
by bloomsbury
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The Bermondsey Beer Mile: London’s not-so-secret Hipster Destination

Craft beerMany people, including Londoners, haven’t heard of the Bermondsey Beer Mile. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with this concept, let me explain. The Bermondsey Beer Mile is a group of independent brewery bars and beer shops, called ‘bottle shops’, located along a stretch of railway arch that winds its way through to Southwark’s trading estates. And as you’ve correctly assumed, it’s about a mile long.

You can only visit all the venues on Saturdays, but thanks to a number of new restaurants in the surrounding area and Maltby Street Market’s weekend hours, a handful of places now open their doors on Friday evenings and Sundays. However, I recommend Saturday to enjoy it to the fullest!

If you’re going to visit the place, please wear something comfortable! I can’t stress this enough. This isn’t a nightclub or posh restaurant! You will be tasting beers in industrial spaces with few luxuries. Hence expect very basic settings. Plus, you’ll be walking everywhere! So wear comfortable clothes, and trainers!

Many people have asked me where to begin. Well, you can begin from any point, either Fourpure Brewing Co next to South Bermondsey station or Southwark Brewing Co, which is a 10-minute walk from London Bridge station – but not before you have grabbed something to eat from Maltby Street or Druid Street Markets. Personally, I can’t look past the oozingly debauched toasties from The Cheese Truck, but each to their own. If you like cheese, I suggest a cheese toastie from the Cheese Truck!

Once you’re there, you might think, ‘Hey! This seems longer than a mile!’ And you’d be right. Despite its name, it’s actually closer to two miles long these days. The Bermondsey Beer Mile is something that’s grown organically over a period of years, with bottle shops, food stalls and breweries opening up or moving, there’s no limit on how big this ‘mile’ is. But that’s not a bad thing, as it give us, the customer, more choice, more space, and of course more beer!

On the downside, there’s no definitive central resource you can consult in order to find out where all the bars are. That means, this place has no website. There are only food bloggers, like me, who write about them. And because bars and eateries in the Beer Mile change from time to time it’s hard to keep up with what’s there.

Despite this minor hiccup, the one thing these brewery bars and bottle shops have in common is that they’re all open at roughly the same time on a Saturday afternoon, giving those of you who fancy some exercise the chance to indulge in a rather fine activity, called a pub crawl.

Craft beer

A pub crawl at The Bermondsey Beer Mile will not only provide you with exercise, but also more knowledge of beer. Not to mention a memorable afternoon with friends, old and new. That is, however, if you can manage you way around it with all the confusion of the Saturday afternoon drunk hipsters, which may or may not be a bad thing.

Anyways, I’ve made out a guide of how you can get around as it currently stands, more or less. I’ve taken this guide from a guide I saw online a few years ago. I’ve posted of picture of it here. It’s a good comprehensive guide and it’s served me well.

The list below is my ‘Advanced level’ Pub Crawl Guide, and it was last updated the last time I was there, around June 2018. Hence it’s as current as it could possibly be. So basically, you could start at the either end and work your way to the opposite direction. For this plan, I started with the Cheese Truck, at Maltby Market. However, if you’ve already eaten lunch, either skip the truck or start at the opposite end, with Fourpure Brewery (they’re actually one of the best breweries in the UK, but all the others are still world class).

I must mention, this is a guide of the location of some breweries. It’s not a plan, nor a mission. And it’s definitely not a challenge!! There’s no need to stop at every location trying to drink your way through the mile! That’s a bad idea! Don’t do that!

Personally when I used this guide, I’ve only gone to three places, and saved the rest for another weekend. Drink responsibly, not dangerously. Anyways, here’s your pub crawl guide. You’re welcome:

Start at The Cheese Truck, Maltby Street Market
Hiver/All Good Beer, 56 Stanworth Street
Southwark Brewing, 46 Druid Street
The Barrel Project, 80 Druid Street
Hawkes Cider, 96 Druid Street
Anspach Hobsday, 118 Druid Street
The Bottle Shop, 128 Druid Street
Motor Beer, 71 Enid Street
London Calling Sweden, 72 Enid Street
Brew By Numbers, 75/79 Enid Street
Bone Daddies, 27-28 Old Jamaica Business Estate, 24 Old Jamaica Road
The Kernel, Arch 11, Dockley Road Industrial Estate
Affinity, 7 Almond Road
Spartan, 8 Almond Road
EeBria, 15 Almond Road
Partizan, 34 Raymouth Road
Fourpure, 22 Bermondsey Trading Estate

Keep in mind, It’s possible, of course, to start from Fourpure and go backwards.

Anyway, enjoy your crawl, but please: drink responsibly!!

September 20, 2018
by Bloomsbury International
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Sleep

A condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.Oxford Dictionary. After reading that terrifying definition of sleep it would be no surprise if you never nodded off again.

 

Sleep is as essential to our lives as food and water. Sleep is a big factor in our health; affecting everything from our mood and levels of fitness right through to more serious health issues. Sleep helps us process memories better, helping to retain and organise information more efficiently. It helps with our immune systems, metabolism and even cardiovascular health. Some people claim to be able to get by on only a few hours’ sleep every night, but it’s best to avoid them if you can. A good eight hours’ sleep is the ideal amount, helping your mind & body in a myriad of ways, and importantly, making you much more approachable the next day at work.

If you had a good, restful sleep last night then you are very likely feeling in the zone today – you’ll be happier, more productive, fresher overall. Today is the day you’ll get things done, smile at the stranger on the train into work. On the other hand, if you were tossing & turning through a fitful night of unrest then you’ve probably already snapped at someone and made sure that no-one comes anywhere near you until at least midday.

So we need to sleep and we shouldn’t feel any guilt about taking a nap if we get the chance, but how can we be sure that when a colleague whispers that they’re just off for forty winks that they mean they’re heading off for a sleep, and not something else entirely? As with any feature of our day-to-day lives that is so crucial, there are many ways to talk about sleep.

Here are some phrases used to describe the various stages of sleep.

 

Beauty Sleep” As we’ve already seen sleep is essential to us for lots of reasons, health and mood being just two of them. When someone is tired and irritable this manifests itself in their appearance. Close friends and work colleagues may suggest that this person needs to get their beauty sleep tonight, meaning a long, deep, peaceful night’s sleep, so that they wake up fresh and back to normal the next day and don’t bite anyone’s head off.

 

Slept like a log” If you’ve ever watched a log for any period of time you’ll understand that they don’t move a lot, and in fact seem quite peaceful. Getting that sense of tranquillity through sleep is a goal for many.

 

 

Slept like a baby” Contrary to what you might think, sleeping like a baby doesn’t mean rolling around crying, screaming and waking up everyone in earshot every two hours and then spending the whole next day asleep, instead it references the innocence of the baby, and lack of worrying thoughts that might keep it awake.

 

A Nap” A short version of the full night’s sleep. At a point during a particularly tiring day a person will lay down on any available horizontal surface and close their eyes. Before they know it they’re in the land of nod (see below). This peaceful interlude in their day will give them a bit of oomph and allow them to power through the rest of the day. NB: never approach someone within the first 60 seconds after they have woken from a nap.

 

Power nap” This is the 1980s version of a nap and usually done in an expensive suit; you lie down, close your eyes and empty your mind of all thoughts, then sleep for a short time, except on waking you order someone to make you a strong coffee and if they don’t you can have them fired.

The land of Nod” Whilst not a real place, it can seem real to those that spend any time there. It’s just the alternate reality that you exist in when you go to sleep, named for the slow nodding movement that the person makes as they fall asleep, or nod off.

Oh, and of course “Forty Winks” is really just a 1780s version of the short nap, to invigorate the mind, body & soul, so please let your colleague have their personal time.

Now, go out there and get some sleep!