London: Tube strike and The Ashes 2015

Living in London is great when all means of transport are running.

So now, 8th July 2015 a Tube strike is on the map and it is going to disrupt workers, tourists, cricket fans going to The Ashes in Cardiff.

You may ask what is the link between The Ashes and London Underground!?

There is not just one strike action. It is indeed, a double movement including FGW trains and London Tube.

It is all starting at 6.30pm this evening.

Trains will be on standstill for 48 hours and London Underground for 24 hours.

The most affected are the passengers travelling between Wales, the West Country and London, of course.

There is one alternative route to reach the destination: National Express who will have extra buses and seats to help everyone going from A to B.

When it is all happening at once it can be rather frustrating but the only way to go through it is with the smile. Stressing and being angry about it won’t help. It is about stepping back and just accepting what RMT Union is protesting about doing.

In the News, the main advice is to postpone your day of travel. How can this be rational when your FGW train or Tube might just be a connection for another journey?

We mustn’t forget that it is also peak time for the Summer holidays. People have worked and saved for months and when it is departure time, there is even more tension. As if this was needed. Maybe not the right time to go to a family holiday park in sunny Devon. Or just decide to go away on a later date outside strike actions, as long as we know the potential dates well ahead!

Those workers who are not happy about their working conditions know exactly what they are doing! It is about having the maximum impact and being heard by as many people as possible. However, is this the best they can do? Will they obtain what they are after?

What is sure is that Boris Johnson has made clear that he is rejecting the attitude of Tube drivers (read The Independent full article HERE).

It is as well the moment where tennis fans want to make their way to Wimbledon!

What to think of all this?

Maybe make everything easier for yourselves. Either work from home (if you can or if your employer gives you this possibility) or decide to walk through London (weather forecast is looking pretty good). An opportunity to spread the word through twitter #WalkLondon.

Click on map for larger version

London Tube map - walk London - by AryJoe creatives

London Tube map – walk London – by AryJoe creatives


Paperless and digital environment

The improvement of technology has changed our daily tasks and way of living too.

Remember the years when sending letters and using typewriters? There was the telex and fax which started to turn things around as it was then possible to send a document by using a phone number and dial-up connection.

The internet started to be available to offices and homes with the first PCs with monochrome screens – such as Commodore64 and Amstrad1512 – finding their way to households. A real little revolution in the mid 80s.

Commodore 64 and modem

Commodore 64 and modem

The progress moved fast and Macintosh and IBM were seen as pioneers,  but seemingly more business orientated.

Most families discovered the joy of having a machine able to complete some tasks and also play with/against them. Then e-mails became a new way of communication without the hassle of looking for envelopes and stamps – except for legal documents. Everything can be scanned and printed.

For some firms it is essential to delegate the management of incoming messages – some of them can be vital for deals, offers and contracts.

This is also the time when individuals started to want things to happen faster.

Catalogue shopping/ordering was a common way to have items delivered to your doorstep. However, it could take up to two weeks to receive the new pair of shoes or cardigan…and no one moaned about the (long) process or even if the delivery was redirected, delayed or missed. There was no alternative.

Nowadays, it has to be fast and precise, with eventually the approximate time when the parcel will go from the driver’s hands to yours.

Concerning public transports, there is the monthly or permanent pass with a chip which can then be topped-up at ease. This allows travellers/commuters to avoid endless queues at the dedicated counters during rush hours. The Oyster Card for London buses and Underground is a prime and successful example. Airlines and train companies also introduced the e-ticket meaning less cost for them and no postage as well.

There is also the world of photography with SD and CF Cards for DSLR cameras – films being almost obsolete.

Photographic film roll negative

Photographic film roll negative

The next change is for drivers: tax disc will be axed after 93 years from 1st October 2014. This means that there will be less clutter on your windscreen and the rounded vinyl sticker or tax disc holders will have no purposes to be there anymore. However, the tax remains in place…confusing, isn’t it.

…The disc was introduced in 1921 but officials say it is no longer needed with the DVLA and police now relying on an electronic register… Source

With the past recession everyone is trying to cut costs (still now in 2014) and going digital is the way forward. Paperless offices aren’t that new, but more and more employers are finding it essential to reduce general expenses such as stationary for instance, or even irrelevant desk/wall calendars as everything can be found online.

Company going green

Company going green


London’s accommodations

Living in the capital is exciting. However, there is a price to pay and having a healthy budget and strong savings are essential.

There is a real attraction for London…a constant buzz about fashion, music, culture and art exhibitions as well.

Some people like central London when others have a passion for the East of the city and browse through Shoreditch and the rebirth of Brick Lane or the docklands.

It is almost like being in different towns when traveling on the Tube lines. For instance, Old Street and Liverpool Street stations are completely different from Sloane Square or Charing Cross.

There is always something to see, visit and the interaction is just second-to-none. Sometimes we can hear people saying that Londoners aren’t helpful because always in a rush.

Personally, I have never struggled to find a particular shop or address. Even delivery drivers would stop their routine to show me the right direction on their personal SatNav. There is a great feeling of community even if there are 7 million people living there.

However, when it comes to work and live there, a question must be asked.

Pay a premium for the privilege to have an accommodation closer from the office OR commute and get a more affordable rent? Some wealthy people are lucky and can purchase a property, but it seems that prices are hitting record highs. London’s lifestyle can be pricey!

Getting on the property ladder is one thing but even renting can be a real assault course… Decent flats are like gold dust.

Recently, The Independent reported that a bedsit in Earls Court equipped with double glazing , a bed, kitchen and shower (but no toilets) was available for £536 per calendar month. Not bad you might say… However, all this is in ONE room. Very very compact indeed. In fact, so small to live in it – alarming that such space can cost so much.

Bedsit London Earls Court

Bedsit London Earls Court

Everything is not lost. It is after all easy to visit London for a day or long weekend. There are plenty of guest houses and hotels. Some of them are even very close from London Underground stations and shopping arteries. The Strand Palace Hotel on the Strand will provide you a  room to rest and copious breakfast for a decent rate.

But when it comes to work, some companies also decide to move away from the capital. The Met Office (in 2003) then in the past months blur Group made the move from the Southeast to the Southwest.

 …Exeter and the South West demonstrate a track record in innovation and entrepreneurship… Source

The other latest news from Flybe was the implementation of regular flights from Exeter Airport to London City Airport will begin in October 2013 – (BBC article HERE).

This could change or facilitate life and business for a lot of companies and workers too. The Southwest of England offers a wide choice regarding shopping but also concerning the type of accommodations.

As blur Group CEO Philip Letts declared: “Exeter has the right ingredients to become Europe‘s San Francisco and south western UK the new Silicon Valley.”  There are already innovative graphic design studios in Exeter, but having new high-tech companies in Devon can only be a bonus point for the local economy and regional growth.

Could the forthcoming months show further moves from other firms in order to avoid paying premium rates and high rental costs? Some born and bred Londoners won’t certainly make the jump. But, it is always good to know that there is a plan B available.

The English capital will always remain a focus point for entrepreneurs, investors and tourists as well… whatever the amount to pay. The recession has affected a few families and sometimes a change is necessary in order to survive financially, but the heart usually stays anchored at the foundation’s root.

Aerial view of London

Aerial view of London