Friday, October 02, 2015

I'm Baaack

Here I am, back in Blighty. I've brought my bluetooth keyboard.  It's  pain in the arse to type on, so I reckon my blog posts are going to be shorter than they've been in the past. This is all because I don't have unlimited access to the desktop computer at Roger's flat, but that's a whole 'nother story and I'm not going into it.

I flew over in steerage on British Air and spent at least an hour this morning in the immigration queue at the UK border. But once I cleared that, it was easy-peasy to grab my bag and get on the tube to Paddington via Hammersmith (I hadn't changed there before, but opted for a route with step-free access). I topped up my Oyster card at the news agent on Praed Street (because it was a step-free alternative to the in-station machine), got on the #36 bus, and was at Roger's flat about 9:45 am, too late to take a Pilates mat class, but plenty of time for exploring.

My adventures today took me to some new places and some old. I took the 187 bus to somewhere in Maida Vale and walked down through Lisson Grove. My first stop was the old aeroworks factor (now luxury flats, natch), which is a lovely art deco building. As I was snapping photos of the facade with the fantastic deco airplanes and Egyptian deco columns,  a nice middle-aged gent in a high-vis vest saw me with my camera and chatted me up about the building and how very few people even notice it.

The next stop was another new-to-me destination -- Church Street. I mooched around the street market and the antique shops before getting a sandwich at Tesco Metro, which I ate in a nearby park. Then on to the Lisson Gallery for an interesting gallery show called Fieldworks (link to come when I figure out how to do that with this keyboard). At Edgware Road, I went in search of the Joe Strummer Subway (found it) and the Subway Gallery (no luck there, I think it's closed). From there, the number 18 bus took me to the Wellcome Collection, one of my all-time favorite places for interesting, albeit strange, exhibitions. This one was by Alice Anderson, who explores how we make memories through her use of fine copper wire to "mummify" various mundane and/or iconic objects, such as a Mustang car chassis, plasma tv, various tools and electronic devices. I thought about doing an hour stint helping to mummify stuff with wire, but decided I needed to push on.

The Crypt Gallery in St Pancras Parish Church was my next stop. On my way there, a German or Dutch couple asked me for directions to their hotel in Tavistock Place, and I was able to help them out. The exhibition was kinetic sculpture/installations that came to life -- with lights, gunfire noises and Germanic (Nazi?) voices -- and made a lot of racket. Things in that gallery space are always hit or miss. I'd say this was somewhere in between.

Pushing on, as my aching back was improving from Advil and arnica, I went to King's Cross Station in search of Harry Potter kitch for my Pilates instructor's 6-year-old son. I thought I'd just be able to walk up to platform 9 3/4 and take a snap. No! There was a queue of at least 50 people, waiting for their photo op. I waited at the side for the interval between two selfie-seekers and got a quick photo. Next, I managed to get in and out of the shop with a Griffendor patch in less than 5 minutes. Online pre-shopping is the way to go.

Why I decided to push on from there, rather than doing  hasty retreat back to Maida Hill, is beyond me. I was drawn to a structure behind King's Cross that said "Viewing Platform" on the side. The views were of all the development -- tons since I'd last been there. I was hoping to see the gasometer being reconstructed, or where the swimming pond is, but if they were there, I couldn't find them. What I did have was a nice chat with a uni student from Tanzania who is studying fashion at University of East London. They have Fridays off for sports day, but he and his mates were exploring the town instead.

Now I'm back at the flat and about to eat dinner.

£25 to top up Oyster
£1 for lunch
£5 for Harry Potter patch
20,876 steps, 8.59 miles


  1. Welcome Back!
    I had not heard of the aero factory, but see they only manufactured components as I thought this aviation fan had missed something!
    I was up in Islington today to meet some friends, but I'm very busy the next few days. Enjoy London!

  2. Have a great rest of your trip! -- shawn2e

  3. Sounds like quite the first day! I could have done only 2/3 of that without sensory overload or a long break at a pub. I don't get the King's Cross hubbub--not familiar with Harry Potter universe. En route to Venezia? Stupendo!

  4. Sounds like fun m.j. Went on Facebook just for you but will now just come to the blog. Going to MHC gym for 1st time today. Looking forward to my vicarious armchair travel during your trip. Don't forget the picture of you in the gondola!

  5. In light of the VW diesel shenanigans, would you like to rename your blog A Trailer Full of Fumes ?
    See you soon.