Monday, October 22, 2007


What a difference a year makes. This year's arrival day was a complete 180 from last year's -- the key worked in the lock on the first try, not a drop of rain, and I had a pal to meet up with so I didn't have to wander around in a disoriented and jetlagged state all by myself. After a nap and a shower, I met one of my Flickr mates in St Pancras Churchyard, then we went to the British Library and the Wellcome Collection. No trouble figuring out the bus, didn't get lost, had a good time -- couldn't be better. Saturday and Sunday were equally brilliant days. Spooner and I went to Kew Gardens on Saturday to see the Henry Moore sculptures. They looked fab in the natural setting, but after walking around and looking at over 20 of them, I had to say "No more Moore. Let's get snacks." We had tea at a very old-timey English tea room, where Spooner and I argued about how to use silverware (he's trying to learn how to eat like a Brit, i.e. use his knife to shovel food onto the back of his fork.) I tried to tell him that his ancestors left the persecution and damp of this isle so that he could grow up in freedom and eat like an American. We covered large sections of the East End on Sunday -- Bunhill Fields, Shoreditch, Brick Lane area, and eventually the Isle of Dogs. We saw a ton of street art, walked through Columbia Road Flower Market, looked at the old Huguenot houses in Princelet and Fournier Streets, found El Chivo and Banksy graffiti in dark alleys, bought stuff at UpMarket, took the DLR to West India Quay, went to the Museum in the Docklands, and came home exhausted. All along the way, I saw things that I'd seen in pictures in Guess Where London -- it was really freaky to see things I knew, but had never seen in real life, and I even often remembered who took the photo. Now it's Monday morning and Spooner has gone off to work, leaving me on my own for the whole day. It's cloudy and damp for the first time since I got here -- much more like what I expect of London weather. I'm heading to Kensington today to go to the V&A and to walk through Holland Park. Tonight is the meet up at a pub in Waterloo with the rest of my Flickr mates. I'm really psyched to be meeting them. Hope they like the gifties from America.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Planning London

I think I've done just about all the planning I can do. This year, I know to have an indoor alternative in every area I plan to explore, because it's inevitable that rain will fall. I've got lots of cool stuff planned:

  • Kew Gardens (big exhibit of Henry Moore sculpture there)
  • Columbia Road Flower Market, an exploration of Shoreditch street art, possibly the Dennis Severs house, and on down to the Docklands with Spooner
  • Kensington, the V&A, perhaps a visit to Harrod's to see the Di and Dodi shrine
  • Various galleries in Central London
  • A very long walk through the City
  • Southbank, the Hayward Gallery and the Tate Modern
  • Day trip to Winchester or Dover
On some of these days, I'm hoping various Flickr mates will be joining me. I've planned a mini meetup for a small group of them at a pub in Waterloo one evening. Spooner and I may go to theatre one night, or to see the movie "When Did You Last See Your Father?" that we saw being filmed in Brighton last year (it's just opened in the UK).

Tales of the adventures will follow.