What we're reading:
- On the trail of London's lost hospitals.
- Colindale tube station could soon look very different.
- Only 4% of London's high-rise council blocks have sprinklers, 18 months after the Grenfell fire.
- Mapped: the cost of a return train ticket from London to... almost everywhere else in the country.
Things to do
CHRISTMAS TREE: The V&A's Christmas tree never disappoints — past incarnations have included a 'singing' tree and a red velvet installation. The 2018 tree, described as a "spectacular 21st-century architectural gateway" is unveiled today, so why not drop by the museum to be one of the first to see it. V&A Museum (South Kensington), free entry, just turn up, until January
NICE PEACH: If you regularly find yourself in conversations with Siri or Alexa, this lecture may interest you. Find out why it took so long to develop machines that can understand and process human speech, and get an insight into what the future of this technology might be. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm
FESTIVAL OF LIGHT: No, not another light festival to be enjoyed out in the cold, but a Thai feast celebrating Loi Krathong Festival. The meal, consisting of canapés, Thai food and bottomless drinks, is served around communal tables, and entertainment includes a traditional ceremony of floating ‘krathongs’ lead by Thai Buddhist monks from Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon. Busaba Oxford Circus, £45-£60, book ahead, 6.30pm
MEET DAN SNOW: Historian and TV presenter Dan Snow discusses his new book, On This Day In History, which explains how selected historical events shaped the world into what it is today. Waterstones Piccadilly, £5-£14.99, book ahead, 6.30pm
JO BRAND: See comedian Jo Brand discuss her approach to comedy, including the influence her former occupation as a nurse has had on her work, with producer John Lloyd. BFI Southbank, £20/£15, book ahead, 6.30pm
TERRARIUM: Learn how to build and care for your own terrarium in a jar at this workshop. Use fittonia, ivy, fern and moss to green it up, then turn it festive with mini Christmas-themed figurines. Neal's Nurseries (Wandsworth), £35, book ahead, 7pm-8.15pm
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: Before Andrew Lloyd Webber put his stamp on it, The Phantom of the Opera was a silent film, made in 1925. Watch the original at this screening, accompanied by a live musical score. It's a double bill for horror fans as 1921 Buster Keaton short film The Haunted House is also shown. 1901 Arts Club (Waterloo) £12.50, book ahead, 7.30pm
RNLI WOMEN: Hear about the women involved in the RNLI as this talk by Sue Hennessy, author of Hidden Depths: Women of the RNLI. Women have been actively involved in the lifeboat rescue service throughout its 180 year history, and this is a chance to hear their often-overlooked stories. Chiswick Pier, £3, just turn up, 7.30pm
COMEDY NIGHT: Jordan Brookes, Sarah Callaghan and Jeff Innocent are some of the comedians on the agenda at this comedy show, styled like an AA confessional. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5 to reserve a seat/pay what you want on the night, 9.30pm-10.30pm
GUILTY FEMINIST: Be part of the audience at a recording of popular podcast The Guilty Feminist. Host Deborah Frances-White chats to comedian Rachel Parris and opera singer Nadine Benjamin about their goals as 21st century feminists, and the obstacles they face. London Coliseum (Covent Garden), £20, book ahead, 10.30pm
Good cause of the day
Choose Love when you're doing your Christmas shopping this year. Head into this pop-up shop by charity Help Refugees and purchase items which will help make life easier for refugees across the world. They'll be distributed directly to where they're most needed, so no need to worry about carrying anything home on the tube. Blankets, medical equipment and school bags are just some of the items available to buy, with prices starting from £4.99. There's also an online store if you can't make it in person. 30-32 Fouberts Place, Carnaby, until January 2019 — store opening hours and further details here.