It is not about horses, it is about showing off

By Polina Vezhan

The Derby is one of five classics that are the cornerstones of Flat racing in England. It remains the race that everyone wants to win, as horses and riders push themselves to the limit around the unique and challenging course. It has had a long and remarkable history:

The Derby festival was my first event in England that took  me a few days to get ready for. Giving the fact that most of our readers are even less experienced in attending these kind of events, here are some tips, if you are intending to explore  horse racing. (more…)

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Educational Race

By Marleen de Rooy

Saturday the 26th of March 2011.

For the 157th time Cambridge and Oxford competed against each other on the waters of London. This year more than 250.000 people have watched the annual rowing race on the Banks of the Thames and tens of millions worldwide watched it live on television.

The ancient old rowing tradition came from two friends: Charles Merviale (Cambridge student) and Charles Wordsworth  ( Oxford student). 

The very first challenge was sent to Oxford by Cambridge in 1829. That first boat race took place in Oxfordshire and was won by Oxford. The race had an immediate attraction to the public. Local newspapers reported that over 20.000 people came to watch the race: a tradition was born. From then on the races took place at Westminster in London, but quickly they had to move because the event became too crowded and there was not enough space. They moved six miles up the river in the area of Putney, where the race still is.

Every year the loser of the previous year’s race, challenges the opposition to a re-match. In 2010 Cambridge won with 17 minutes and 35 seconds. This year Oxford beat them with 17 minutes and 32 seconds.


Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Robin Hood in the City

By Carlos Martin Tornero

The legendary hero is said to have changed the forests of Sherwood for the skycrapers of the City in order to lead a campaign to promote a tax bearing his name.

Source: Robin Hood Tax press kit

More than half a million people took the streets of London yesterday in the biggest demonstration since the protests against the war on Iraq in 2003. The march of the alternative held this saturday the 26th, gathered people from all walks of life to protest against the cuts that are undermining vital public services around the country.

As an alternative to the cuts, a campaign called the Robin Hood Hood Tax is calling to increase the taxes on banks. The initiative is inspired by the legendary hero who was known for robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. (more…)

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 1:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Housmans: a “traditional” radical bookshop

By Carlos Martin Tornero

Tradition and Revolution might seem contradictory terms. In the case of Housmans Bookshop, at King Cross, it is an exception.

Housman Bookshop at Kings Cross

They are one of the oldest radical bookshops in London since they opened in 1941. Housmans is the kind of  bookshop close to their customers and authors. They say they support the books they like regardless the benefits they can get out of them. (more…)

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sunday roast – not bigger than a meal

By Polina Vezhan

Photo by Polina Vezhan

The family Sunday lunch was as traditional as going to work in a bowler hat. But today the tradition is on the wane. The Future Foundation and the Institute for Social and Economic Research for Gallo Family Vineyards say that that just over six million Britons now regularly sit down to Sunday lunch whereas in 1961 this number was nearly 13 million. (more…)

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My urban garden is your garden. Real stories from the London´s grow-your-own movements

By Carlos Martín Tornero

The tradition of gardening in the City has mushroomed. Thanks to TV programs like Channel 4´s Landshare, championed by the chef and broadcaster Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the interest in home-grown food has been boosted in London. Now the TV programme has evolved into a vibrant online community.

Channel 4´s TV series "Landshare"

Here in London, the concrete jungle, how the food gets in our plates is not a frequent question. In down town cities it is unconsciously taken for granted that our feed comes straight  from the supermarket. Nowadays there is a mental distance between the urban world and the countryside.  However, a new movement has emerged to fill that gap: the “growing-your-own” communities. (more…)

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

It’s Question Time

House of Parliament 1890. Source: Old UK photos

By Marleen de Rooy

The UK parliamentary systems- that is the House of Commons together with the House of Lords and the sovereign- conserved many traditions over the last 700 years.

The present building was built after a catastrophic fire in 1834 destroyed most of the ancient building.  The House of Commons Chamber was rebuilt between 1945 and 1950 following the destruction of the Second World War. (more…)

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

What is Pancake Day?

All nice and well, pancake day, but what is it? And why do we celebrate the existence of The Pancake? Watch this package and find out!

Video was made by Marleen de Rooy

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm  Comments (1)  

A “Goodenough” pancake race

By Carlos Martin Tornero

Pancake races in London flourish on the Shrove Tuesday.

On your marks, get set, go!

Also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, the eve of Ash Wednesday is devoted to eat fatty foods before the fasting of the Lent season.

Besides the pancake cooking there are popular practices like this funny sport competition that involves running and tossing the official pancake at the same time.

In London one of the oldest races takes place in All Hallows by the Tower, the ancient church in the City. (more…)

Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

A night at the opera: Madam Butterfly @the Royal Albert Hall

Madame Butterfly

By Carlos Martin Tornero

WIML attended the highly acclaimed “in-the-round” production of Puccini´s Madam Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall, one of the most traditional venues of London.

The stage is a circular design which gives singers total freedom to interact with the audience and consequently makes them part of the performance.

First staged in 1998 and now in its fifth season at the Royal Albert Hall, this spectacular version of Madam Butterfly transform the stage into a traditional Japanese aquatic garden with 65000 litres of water. (more…)

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