World Zombie Day 2013

World Zombie Day 2013

This year World Zombie Day was celebrated on 12th October 2013.

World Zombie Day 2013

Carmen Miranda with her hand on her head!

An international event commemorated in over 50 cities worldwide, started in 2006 at the very shopping mall in Pittsburgh where George Romero filmed his iconic first zombie movie Dawn of the Dead.

Apart from being good natured fun, the event also raises money for the homeless charity St Mungo’s and the participating zombies donate items of food to the Hackney Food Bank.

World Zombie Day 2013

Donations for the Hackney Food Bank

 

I got word of the event some time ago from my eldest daughter, who happened to part of the organising committee.  In the run up to the day, I was deliberating as to whether I should take a more active part and apply a few scars, dripping flesh and blood of my own.  But in the end I decided that I couldn’t cope with being the lone old-enough-to-know-better woman traveling in from the suburbs to Marble Arch where the zombie hordes converged before setting off on a shuffle around the streets of central London.

Thankfully I didn’t feel out of place, you know, the one person who couldn’t be arsed to make the effort at the fancy dress party!  There were probably as many photographers and bemused tourists as there were zombies.  Some of the costumes were absolutely stunning, cleverly applied bits of rotting flesh, entrails, maggots, and all sorts of posts, sticks and other implements worn to look like they had been impaled.

World Zombie Day 2013

Bloodied trio

The hundreds of assembled zombies then set off from Marble Arch and dragged themselves groaning along Oxford Street to the utter bemusement of the masses of Saturday shoppers.  There were plenty of screams from unsuspecting young girls and, sadly, there was also a child who burst into tears.  I’m assuming he was scared by a zombie rather than not being allowed to go to McDonalds!

Needless to say, as with any celebration, the route included a few watering holes along the way, with a whole street set aside with beer and bands for the after life after party at the end of a long, tiring and fun day.

World Zombie Day 2013

The undead stare

A fun way to celebrate a cult following  that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity, with TV series such as The Walking Dead and movies like World War Z.

Here are a few snaps I took during the early part of the day.

Morden Hall Park – a surburban oasis

Morden Hall Park

What could be more pleasant, relaxing, theraputic, and mind clearing than a slow contemplative stroll around a stunning area of outstanding natural beauty.  But the best part is that I don’t have to travel into the countryside to be at one with nature, it’s all here, as part of south west London surburbia, in Morden.

Probably more famous for being at the end of the London Underground northern line, and also subject to a quaint pop song by Good Shoes (whatever happened to them!).  But the National Trust’s  Morden Hall Park really is an oasis in the heart of surburbia, and I took the opportunity to visit early on a misty autumn Sunday morning.

Morden Hall Park dog walking

Early morning dog walking

 

I have visited the park a few times before, but never quite so early in the day.  Having dropped off my son to play football for his Sunday morning team, I made the most of my early start and headed into the park, which was on my route back home anyway.  I was expecting to see a bit of gorgeous mist, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Misty morning Morden Hall Park

Misty morning sunburst

There is a magical eeriness about mist rising from the ground or floating across water.  I’m no meteorologist so I won’t pretend I know how it works, but I’m glad it does.  As I entered into the park, it was like entering another world – the mist was gently hovering above the open grassed areas, floating through the rose garden and gently rolling over the river Wandle, which runs through the park.  It was a show stopper for me.

Misty morning trees at Morden Hall Park

Mist rising between the trees

 

On a regular day, Morden Hall Park has a lot going on, loads of activities for kids, as well as a garden centre and cafe for the adults to hang out after a healthy stroll.  It’s not a huge park, standing between Morden and Mitcham, it also leads to Deen City Farm, another fabulous activity for kids.  The park also boasts a rather lovely kids adventure play area too, just a shame about the juvenile, and offensive, graffiti spoiling it!

The park has has plenty of history about it as well, it was a country house retreat (being as it’s in Surrey!) for two significant families of the area, the Garths and the Hatfields.  Morden Hall was also at the heart of industrial activity, having two snuff mills taking advantage of the river Wandle’s current to turn a water wheel so that tobacco leaves could be crushed in the making of snuff.  Not much call for it now of course, but many of the buildings still stand, and are used to host many of the community activities on offer.

Definitely worth a visit at any time of the day, there is free entry to the park as well as ample free parking.  I look forward to returning again myself soon.

Here is a small gallery of the images I captured during the morning.

Going to the dogs

Greyhound racing track side bookmaker

Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium is the last remaining dog racing track in London, and one of a handful of tracks in the UK.  Is the sport literally going to the dogs?

They're off!

They’re off!

My husband likes a flutter, so we headed to the stadium in Plough Lane, as part of one of many regular Instameets organised by the London Instagram community.  This one organised by the queen of Instameets, Natalie.  We gained free entry and a printed sheet with the races and runners listed, using their Oyster Card offer, one of many packages on offer by the stadium, clearly doing all they can to get punters customers through the gates.  The stadium is past its best, a bit shabby around the edges, a posh venue this isn’t!  It’s all part of the charm and adds to the ambiance of a pastime that has seen better days.

As a small group of mobile, and other, photographers, we took a position near to the starting traps in the hope of capturing the dogs in full motion as they leaped out chasing after the toy bunny hurtling round the outside of the track.  Sadly, an iPhone is not an ideal camera in these conditions – the low light and the slower shutter speeds nowhere near good enough.  Any captures would be more by luck than judgement, although some of the group did get some great shots with their ‘big’ cameras.

But the lack of doggie photos meant there was more time for people watching, and what an interesting crowd!  From a lady celebrating her 90th birthday, old chain smoking guys with faces full of character, groups of younger people on the piss, families with children and couples just out together for the evening.  All life was here.

The unhappy punter

The unhappy punter

The girl from Trap 6

The girl from Trap 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I walked around attempting to take candid shots of some of the characters, my husband was busy placing a few bets.  As I said, he does loves a flutter, mainly on horse races it has to be said, so he did his usual bit of research with the Sporting Life, and came up with a few ‘naps‘.  He put his bets on all sorts of combinations, reverse forecasts, tricasts, even a straight bet to win.  Nothing!  You might as well bet on an interesting sounding name, that’s what Natalie did, and she came away with four winners!  But here’s the thing, out of 13 races, seven of the winners came from Trap 4. Coincidence?

The trackside bookie

The trackside bookie

Would I go again?  Might do, it’s not far from home so it’s convenient.  But for me, as someone who doesn’t really find betting (especially losing!) pleasurable, I’m not sure what else it has to offer.  Except great photo opportunities of course!

Checking out the form

Checking out the form

Pondering

Pondering

The happy punter

The happy punter

 

An evening with Tim Vine

IMG_1543A

IMG_1543A

As Patron of our local arts centre in Raynes Park, the Lantern Arts Centre, the epic master of the one liner Time Vine took the opportunity to preview his new Chat Show before taking it to the Edinburgh Festival.

I first saw Time Vine many years ago in pantomime at Wimbledon Theatre, playing alongside John Barrowman in Cinderella.  As the comic character Buttons, Tim had me in stitches and has done ever since.  His classic one liners are award winning and legendary! He also co-wrote and starred in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out with Lee Mack, a great double act the pair of them.

The Lantern Arts Centre is a great venue.  Within walking distance of home, the venue has taken up residence in the majority of the space of the Raynes Park Methodist Church.  When I dropped off my payment for the Time Vine tickets I was lucky enough to receive a tour of the place, courtesy of Artistic Directors John and Georgie Talbot, a couple of fabulous actors who I have known for a number of years through my links with a school theatre group I commissioned as part of my work as Graffiti Manager at a London local authority.  I was amazed at the volume of ‘stuff’ around the place, rooms, theatre space, props, and a newly opened costume store, where anyone can hire one of the many fabulous performance costumes.  Anyone for Widow Twanky?!

But getting back to the main man Time Vine….actually I can’t remember any of his jokes.  Is that good or bad?  I remember laughing as much as I ever did, his one liners were as sharp as ever, with the added value of impromptu gags at the expense of members of the audience, who had been asked to volunteer to join Tim on stage before the start of the show.  You know you’re in trouble if you put your hand up for things like that, and I did wonder why a couple of people bothered!  You certainly wouldn’t get me doing that, well not sober anyway!

You can check out Tim on his web site, which also includes a number of his YouTube videos.  You have been warned!