Ready for the Shardpener

Shard 7th October 2011
Shard from the Millennium Bridge 7th October 2011

Another photo for the fans of the amazing Shard who end up landing on this blog and wondering exactly why.

It’s very close to being finished on the outside. The concrete core has reached its final height and the glass panels have almost enclosed it — the impression this photo gives me is of a huge pencil with a bit of protruding lead at the top, ready to be put into the pencil sharpener.

This photo was taken on a research run in London (see the Google map below to see exactly what route I took). I did some checking out of the locations in which I’m setting parts of my novel — mainly at the eastern end of the route.

I can’t think of a running route that would go past any more tourist sights than this one — or at least one where you could actually get up some speed. I’m not sure if New Scotland Yard or MI5’s HQ are proper sights but they were on the first stretch, then London Eye, the Southbank Centre (where I went earlier this week to see Pipilotti Rist’s exhibition at the Hayward Gallery), Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul’s, Victoria Embankment, Cleopatra’s Needle, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

I even took my research so far I wanted to wander into the St. Paul’s Cathedral shop but, having just done 5km at the time, and dripping perspiration in puddles from my bright orange Nike running top, I decided to respect the decorum of the church and come back again another day.

More pics from other research trips to come in the next few days.

Check out my run below.

View Westminster-St.Paul’s Circular 2011-10-07 12:30 in a larger map

2 Replies to “Ready for the Shardpener”

  1. Had no idea of a new building in London – which living north of Watford Gap surprises me. Any London news usually breaks in the headlines (can you sense the sarcasm!!) and spends at least 27 mins of a 30 min news program being spoken about 🙂

    Loving the pencil tip analogy though – so true!!

  2. North of Watford Gap? Most people in the south don’t realise that Watford Gap is about 60 miles north of Watford itself, although it doesn’t make much difference to their perceptions.

    I am a northerner myself (not sure how much I mention that in the blog) and exiled down in the south, originally for economic reasons but I now see the cultural attractions of being here. I used to say when I finished university that I wanted to get a job anywhere but London. And, of course, I got a job in London and I’ve now lived in the south-east longer than I ever did in the north. However, my formative years were spent up (as Kate Bush would say) on the ‘wily, windy moors’ of the South Pennines. In fact I come from not that far away from Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath land, just on the Lancashire side of the border.

    I’ve been back to Manchester a few times recently and I’ve seen quite a lot of the new building there, including that weird overhanging building. However, what’s being built in London is quite extraordinary. There are two huge buildings going up on Bishopsgate and then there’s the Shard. I think I blogged about this brilliant book that I found at the Tate Gallery about 21st century London architecture — and it’s amazing how much there is of it. For example, I go through Westminster tube station nearly every day at the moment and it is the most extraordinary space.

    If you’ve not been down to London in a while then it’s worth coming to have a look at some of it.

    I know what you mean about London monopolising the news. One of the themes of my novel is about the difference between London and the rest of the UK. I’m using a European character who feels quite comfortable in cosmopolitan London — and then she moves out just far enough to experience the ‘real’ England, which is a far bigger step than between Berlin and London, although it’s far less in geographical distance. I think this might appeal to all sorts of readers.

    I have lots of new London photos ready to go on the blog…question is do I post these or spend a bit of time on my writing?

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