Sunday, October 13, 2013

Last Day in Blighty

Even though I'm running out of steam, and have a sore throat (I don't feel like I've got a cold, however, just a raw throat and a bit of congestion), I worked in a full final day. I was out the door bright and early, especially considering it was Saturday, to get to the Angel in time for the guided walk that I'd booked -- Visionaries, Rebels and Dissenters: A Walk Through Islington's Radical History. I had previously done one of David Rosenberg's walks in the East End, which I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from. This walk was no exception. We heard about fascist and anti-fascist organizing, an uprising of farm workers, the work of the ANC to build anti-apartheid solidarity in the UK, trade unions, free schools, Chartists, and Lenin's activities in London. And for good measure, we visited a clown's grave -- Joseph Grimaldi is buried in a little park bearing his name just off the Pentonville Road. 

At the end of the walk, I rushed from Clerkenwell Green to Farringdon Station to take three tubes in order to arrive at the Southbank to meet Roger at 1:30. We met up under the Hungerford Bridge, where Stik has done a very nice mural of figures. It was just a few steps from there to the entrance to the Classic Car Boot Sale. We had a great time wandering around, looking at the vintage stuff for sale, as well as the fab cars and scooters. Roger has always wanted a scooter. He came away with a ceramic one that looks like a Jeff Koons miniature (£2). I've always wanted a Figaro car. I now have a tea towel with a green one printed on it (£4). We saw Jane selling her clay pipe jewellery and had a nice chat with her before grabbing some lunch and pressing on. 

The high school kids at Roger's school were sponsoring a TEDx event all day Saturday. Roger had been there in the morning and wanted to go back for the last session, so we scurried back to ASL in St John's Wood to hear the final three speakers. 

Next was a bus ride to Hampstead, a meander down the hill, and a stop at The George in Haverstock Hill for a drink before going to Greg and Esther's flat. We then all walked up to South End Green for a great pub meal at the Magdala. The pub has a notorious history -- Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Britain, shot her lover outside the pub in 1955. Marks from where the bullets hit the pub can still be seen outside. I'd seen the movies about Ellis (Dance with a Stranger) and the executioner (Pierrepoint), and now I've had the fish and chips.

Now it's Sunday morning and time to pack for the return flight to Boston and then the long drive home. It's been another totally fab visit. I didn't get a single blister, my lower back held up quite well (although my middle back gave me some trouble, so I now need to work on that in Pilates), and my sore throat is already much improved. As usual, my itinerary was overly ambitions, though I managed to do most everything I wanted to do. I'll tally things up when I get home, but I'm pretty sure I got my value for money from the Art Pass. 

Many thanks to my host Roger and to all my mates who spent time with me, shared great conversation, bought me beverages and meals, and showed me new things in this wonderful city. 

£8 Islington walk
£3 Car boot sale admission
£4 tea towel
£5 street food
£10 to top up Oyster one last time
£2.94 throat lozenges
£10 to Roger for food & booze
19,926 steps (7.54 miles)

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