Tag Archive | London

Is London not beautiful?

For this post I got inspired by my girl friend who discovered a lot of interesting things while having a little walk in our neighbourhood. She likes to go down to the Thames river bank enjoys the views over London, fresh air and the sound of the waves. However, on this occasion she made some shocking pictures of stranded rubbish that was swept onto the little bank we have only 2 minutes next to our home. I was surprised to see so much stuff. I know that the Thames is not the cleanest river of all and you can usually see that the water is not really clean, but the amount of plastic and rubbish in this river is just ridiculous. I think the pictures say it all.

By the way the red basked on the left was not even damaged and we have now in our storage cupboard.

What does a coconut have to do in the Thames?

This little duck seems to have escaped the bathtub and was looking for a bigger adventures.

The most concerning thing for me is that all the plastic rubbish will be swept out onto the sea and over many, many years will make its way into our food chain and will ultimately end up in our bodies. Therefore, we decided to go down to the river bank again on our next day off and collect all this rubbish and put it where it belongs –  in the bin. Anyone joining?

Is recycling really difficult?

Alright, today I need to let some steam go off in this blog post. For the past 3 month we (my girlfriend and I) have a big blue wheely bin outside our house for all our recycling and additionally, a small brown bin for all the food waste. Something I am used to since I am a small child. Apparently, not os for many of my house mates. But this is not the actual problem, the problem seems to be the ignorance and misinformation about recycling. When be first started to separate our glass, plastic and paper from the general waste, most of our flatmates did not join at all and just continued throwing everything into the general waste. When we talked to them about the issue they willingly listened and explained that they do not know how to recycle and what can be recycled. Therefore, we made some pictures and explained it all to them and put some instructions next to the bin. It was working maybe for a few days and then everything went back to normal and all rubbish was landing in the general waste bin. One comment we received was if we really believe that recycling will help the environment at all and that it all is just a big scam or hoax. Really????? I could not believe what I was hearing…!

Recycling by Nour El Refai (nourelrefai)) on 500px.com
Recycling by Nour El Refai

Anyway, we continue to get our hands dirty by getting plastic, paper, cans and other recyclable stuff out of our general waste bin. We will also continue reminding everybody in our house share what proper recycling looks like and why it is important.

Do you have similar stories? Please share them!

Fascinating colourful glass

I recently visited the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery at New Bond Street in London. Unfortunately, it is only a small exhibition of his great works, but the lighting was just perfect. I have already seen some of his works a few years ago at Kew Gardens which was really impressive. One impression here:

glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly in London/U.K.

Image via Wikipedia

Here are some of the best pictures I managed to take with my new Samsung Galaxy SII phone. I really like that it has such a great camera with 8 Megapixel and it was the first time I really tried to take some pictures with it. The only thing I can say – Great stuff! I never thought I can make these kind of pictures with a mobile phone….

Coral of glass

For some more pictures, just check out my 500px account here: 500px.com/Mavegyver

Another great thing about this exhibition is that it is free. It will close in 5th February 2012, so be fast if you want to get to see it. If you will not be able to make it for this one, I am sure that there is the next Dale Chihuly event around the corner. And if you cannot wait until then just visit Claridge’s on Brook Street and enjoy the Chihuly chandelier in the Foyer.

Reflecting on 2011

Inspired by an email I received today from business partners in Hungary,  I would like to share with you some thoughts about the upcoming festive season. It is always the time when we start to relax and maybe reflect on the past year while sitting not in front of the TV, but in a candle lid room and these fantastic Christmas smells. And I don’t know about you – but after having reflected on the past year, there comes the time to look ahead into the new year, the future, of what might be and want we want to achieve or make different.

Personally, I am happy to say that 2011 was a great year with many interesting people that I met and lot’s of new things that I learned. I am very thankful that I have an amazing family and the best girlfriend I can imagine to support me in all my endeavours – if sometimes stupid or not! I know that we will have many, many happy years ahead and will life a fulfilled life. One of the most exciting things that I will take with me from this year was that my dreams or goals are more precise and I have a better idea what I want to do, what person I would like to be and how my life shall look like in future, which according to many people are the foundation to a happy life. A small step on a long journey, but  life will  always be a journey and that makes it fun!

However, I did not achieve all the goals that I did set out to achieve this year, but I honestly believe that this will change in 2012 for the better. I do believe that a year when the Olympics will come to London there will be a lot of exciting things happening and I will be able to play a part in it and will take the necessary steps towards my life goals.

I wish that all of you will have a great festive season as well. I do hope that you will take some time to reflect on the past year and to say thank you to one’s you love. But also look forward to an even better year 2012 with so many things to learn, explore and experience.

And I would like to end this post with a saying that really made me think this year a lot: “In the end everything will be fine. But if it not fine that it is not the end yet.”

Customer service at the Experimental Cocktail Club, London

You are probably wondering if this will be another great story about one of my customer service experiences – and you are right. I was thinking actually for a while if I should write about my experience at above mentioned cocktail bar in the heart of China town and finally decided to do it. Bad service or better bad complaint handling needs to shared with others.

Here we go! We made our way after our Christmas party about two weeks ago to the Experimental Cocktail Club as recommended by one of my colleagues. It is one of these places that still serves alcohol after midnight during the week. I do remember this place from some late nights five or six years ago when I started to explore the night life of London and at that time it was a bit shabby and not necessarily a place where you wanted to spend an awful lot of time.

When we arrived the bar was quiet busy for a Tuesday night, but it was easy to find a nice table. We ordered the first round of cocktails and a friend of mine opened a tab at the bar. The cocktails were delicious and the atmosphere was great. The service staff seemed very unexperienced but tries their best to make a good impression. I have to say, it is really tough to impress me as I have worked in hospitality and gastronomy for about 15 years now.

After finishing the second rounds of drinks the waitress asked us to pay as last orders were done and we should leave soon. When they came over to us with the card, the waitress already apologised and set down next to us not knowing where and how to start. She explained that unfortunately they mixed up the cards with another customer and this customer was already gone. They did not realise that the cards was swapped even after entering the pin code three times. The other customer just used another card to pay the bill and took the card.

Here we go! There was this waitress, first day on the job trying to explain the situation and being really apologetic. We then asked to speak to the manager as she just mentioned that the other customer would probably notice the mistake the next day and would be back and we could swap cards. Great idea! I usually do believe in the good of people, but as only the pin code was blocked it would be possible to order some nice stuff via the internet where a pin code is not needed.

My colleague immediately tried to cancel his card with the bank who straight away asked for the card number, which we obviously did not know as the card was gone. What a great idea from call centres to asked for the card number of a stolen card. Who actually knows their card number by heart? He finally managed to cancel the card after being on the phone for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, we were sitting with the finished drinks around the table trying to speak to the manager who clearly was not in the mood to speak to us. He was actually trying to avoid us by constantly sending the waitress back to us to mention that he is busy and could talk to us right now as he would need to cash up all the tills.

Finally, we did manage to speak to him. He actually made a face as if he could not care less as it was his last day. He explained to us that all cards are kept in a glass and the names would be in the system to identify which card belongs to each table. A system that is made to fail on many occasions especially in a busy cocktail bar like this. They did give us the drinks for free as were not willing to pay for them, but were still sitting there for half an hour without anything – not even water, the bar staff looking at us like we should get it all sorted a bit quicker as they want to go home. After a lot of discussion and the manager telling us several times that it is not such a big problem they also invited us back, but overall I have to say never open up a tab at this bar and hopefully you will have no complaints to make as these guys don’t really take them serious.

Looking back it is kind of funny how some establishments, shops or companies get away with when it comes to customer service.

Finding glass bottled water in super markets

Here we go! After an absence of about 9 days from blogging due to life happening, I finally managed to write my next blog post. I am really behind with my 365 project, but I will catch up during my holidays in October when I will be off to Germany for 2 weeks and can spend all the time I want for blogging and other things that sometimes don’t fit into a busy schedule.

Street view down to Covent Garden Market.

Image via Wikipedia

But back the actual issue of me trying to find glass bottled water in a Marks & Spencer on Sunday last week while having a little walk through London in the Covent Garden area.

It was a great day and it was just great to be out with my baby and discover some new areas that I did not manage to see in the past 6 years in London. After some extensive shop hopping we were looking to get a bottle of water as a refreshment and went into Marks & Spencer. In my opinion, Marks & Spencer stands for the more environmental kind of super market with a lot of good ideas to minimise the impact on the environment. However, it was very difficult to find some glass bottled water. We found all kinds of plastic bottled water from all different brands, but nothing really bottled in glass. We asked a very friendly customer service agent who gave us a really astonishing look when we were asking for water in glass bottles. But he managed to find us the only water in a glass bottle that was in the lower corner of the last row on the bottom shelve, which was San Pellegrino.

To my shock it was the only glass bottles water. I was really under the impression that are more companies that still fill their beverages into glass bottles. Having been glad to find at least one brand of mineral water in a glass bottle, we enjoyed the healthy refreshing water and continued our walk.

However, the next challenge was coming up on the horizon. Recycling. It took us several streets to find a recycling bin that would take glass bottles. We did not really want to use any available bin. Anyway, there are not many bins around in London when you compare it some other major metropolis in Europe, but there is a relatively small amount of recycling bins in London as well. Still much to do when we really want to make a difference.

I really hope that in future we will have more people asking for glass bottles water and make retailers change their product offer, because at the end we as customers have a great power with our buying decisions.

I will also have a look in a German supermarket when I am back home and will try the same thing, os watch this space for a comparison!

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