Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Bad, the Good and the Posh

Jet lag? Not me! After taking mat class at NY Pilates Studio, I was all stretched out and ready to go. We were headed to Charing Cross to get a Southeastern train to Bexleyheath. Normally, we'd take the Bakerloo line from Queen's Park, but Roger wanted to drop off a print at the framer in the Harrow Road, so we got on a Hammersmith and City train at Westbourne Park. I would probably have changed for the Bakerloo at Paddington, but Roger knew there would be a shorter walk between platforms if we went to Baker Street. At Edgeware Road, the stop in between, it began to be apparent that something was wrong as we sat on the tracks for an unusual amount of time. We could catch bits of the announcement over the tannoy on the platform -- "signal failure," "alternate routes," and "number 205 bus." Finally, there was an announcement on the train -- the signal failure was at Moorgate and our driver was waiting to hear whether he could go ahead to Baker Street or King's Cross, and we should wait for him to let us know. So we waited. Then, he told us that the train we were on was terminating and we should cross to platform 2 and take the train back to Paddington to change for the Bakerloo. We followed his instructions and got into an empty carriage and waited there for something to happen. But the train didn't seem to be going anywhere, so we headed up the stairs to the exit, turning back to see that train pulling out. As we continued to the exit, we heard an announcement that the train on platform 1 (our original train) would be departing for Baker Street. Yup, we saw the carriage doors close and the train leave the station. Out to the street we went, onto the 205 bus, over to Baker Street, into the station and onto a train to Charing Cross, and from there on had an uneventful journey to Bexleyheath. 

Red House was the home of William Morris. It was in the middle of an orchard when it was built in 1860, but now it's in the middle of suburbia. We reached the house by way of a 15-minute walk through residential streets and found ourselves in what seemed to be a scene right out of an episode of Father Brown. The Friends of Red House (average age about 70) were having their annual garden party, complete with cake and sandwiches, tea, Pimm's, and a brass band. The house is a lovely, asymmetrical Arts and Crafts masterpiece. The National Trust has held the property for about ten years, having completed a significant amount of restoration work since then (with much more to come). After wandering around the house, the flower beds and the veg plot, we joined the OAPs in the back garden. I had my first glass of Pimm's! I can't say it would be my cocktail of choice, but it wasn't bad. 

On the way back, we made a stop at the Whole Foods in Kensington Church Street. I'd heard about this multi-storey temple of veg and capitalism, but I'd never been there. It's more over-the-top than I imagined, and full of more yuppies and their demanding children than you'd ever want to encounter. They sell essentially the same products as Whole Foods at home, but there's something about the elegant presentation in this former department store that makes you think that you MUST CONSUME. There's even a little bar, where you can have a glass of wine or a pint of beer -- probably a bad idea to get tipsy and then try to find your way out of the store without buying all manner of exotic, expensive edibles. 

My expenses for the day were modest:
£15 for mat class
Red House was free on my Art Pass
£3 for a litre of coconut water at Whole Foods

11,162 steps on the pedometer (but probably another 2,000 or so for the walk up to the Pilates studio and back), 4.4 miles (which I'm going to round up to 5.4 miles)

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