Showing posts with label Shoreditch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shoreditch. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Am I the only driver without a satnav?

I seem to be one of the few people who doesn’t have a satnav in their car. I still rely on an ancient AA atlas that cost £1.99 in a garage years ago. The Oxford page has got a massive rip through it, but apart from that the map is still doing sterling service and I rarely get lost.

But now it appears that I’m one of a dying breed. A survey by budget NetVoucherCodes has found that the UK’s map-reading skills are fading fast. Sixty-nine per cent of women and 59 per cent of men say they’d be lost without a satnav, while four out of five 18 to 30 year olds couldn’t manage without one.

I’m mystified by the popularity of satnavs. For a start I don’t want to be bossed about by an annoying voice when I’m driving - and quite apart from that, satnavs aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. Lorries are always getting stuck in tight lanes, while car drivers have ended up on railway lines, cliff edges and in Richmond, North Yorkshire, rather than Richmond upon Thames. And look at what happened to Sabine Moreau, a 67-year-old Belgian woman who set off on a trip to Brussels earlier this month to pick up a friend from the station. The journey should have been 38 miles but thanks to her satnav she took a wrong turn and ended up 900 miles away in Zagreb, Croatia. Stick to a map next time, Sabine, and you’ll be fine.

PS. Don’t worry, these two tube trains haven’t gone AWOL after relying too heavily on their satnavs. I passed them in Shoreditch the other day and couldn’t resist taking a picture. They are actually recycled Jubilee Line trains (there are four altogether) and they’ve cleverly been converted into offices and studios high above Great Eastern Street.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Hotel review - The Hoxton, London

In my days as an on-the-road reporter I used to stay in hotels quite a lot. Now my hotel stays are as rare as my trips to the gym. But this week I hotfooted it to east London to spend two days with my daughter. After scouring scores of websites we eventually plumped to check into The Hoxton in Great Eastern Street. As well as being just round the corner from Spitalfields, Columbia Road and all the places we wanted to visit, it looked good value and good fun.

And so it proved. The Hoxton, which opened in 2006, focuses on the things customers really care about. The room prices are cheaper the further in advance you book and every so often there’s an online £1 a room sale. Instead of leaving endless reams of literature in your room, they give you the basics about room service and the flat screen TV on postcards labelled the “really boring stuff.” 

Rates for the night include free WiFi (no annoying codes), tea bags, bottles of water, milk, copy of The Guardian and a Pret breakfast of orange juice, banana and granola delivered to your door in a paper carrier bag. Oh, and there’s a corkscrew so you can bring your own bottle of wine and actually open it. The twin room we stayed in was small (with an en suite shower room) but the beds were super comfortable, with fine cotton sheets and duck down duvets.

The best bit was sitting by an enormous open fire on the ground floor, lounging back on a massive leather Chesterfield with the morning papers and a skinny latte. The only drawback was that it was all so comfy that at 11.30am we had to pull ourselves together and actually go out and do something.

When we got back to the hotel that night we were so exhausted that we couldn’t summon up the energy to eat in the hotel restaurant, the Hoxton Grill – all exposed brickwork, huge wooden tables and chic lamps. So we ordered a bowl of chestnut hummus (delicious) and some flatbread, poured ourselves a glass of Pinot Grigio each and settled down in front of the BAFTAs. Bliss.
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