Day Three (London Trip Journal)

Another rough night of sleep, but that’s par for the course. Woke up and watched the news. The bomber is the big news, of course. Flight delays from London to the US are running on average over 3 hours. I’m going to have to try to figure out how to pack to come home or arrange to ship some stuff back. We left around 815am for breakfast which went without incident today: a nice, proper English breakfast. It was colder today (high was 7C) but nice and cloudless.

Our first stop was Petticoat Lane, located between Aldgate and Liverpool tube stations. The best way to do it, is just go to either one and walk through to the other. We started from Liverpool Street simply because it’s easier to get to from where we were. Petticoat Lane is by far the most famous market in London, one the most famous in the world perhaps. Not nearly the best in London much less the world, in my opinion, though if you’re looking for absurdly cheap clothing, it’s the place to go. It’s got a long history and was banned several times before Parliament finally allowed it. We grew bored rather quickly and headed off to Camden Market which was far more fun. We spent some time there, did some people watching, because there are some really interesting people there.

After that, we headed towards Saint Paul’s which is a short walk to one of the better museums in London, The Museum of London. While we enjoyed it, half of it was closed for refurbishment, and unfortunately, it’s my favourite half that’s closed. The balance is due open Spring 2010. Everything from c1350 forward was closed. We stopped at the museum café for a drink and a slice of cake. After that it was back on the tube to Holborn where we opted to walk to Covent Garden instead of transferring and taking the tube.

We went to the London Transport Museum which I love because I am a subway nut. They have a lot of dioramas on the construction of the tube, simulators so you can drive the tube, lots of maps from the past, present, and future. They’ve got omnibus and other modes too. Naturally I enriched the museum’s coffers in the gift shop. After that, we walked to Forbidden Planet because it was easy to knock off. I bought Karen an autographed copy of Little Brother as a gift for just £7.99, quite a steal. Forbidden Planet is a great bookstore devoted to science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic books. They have tons of autographed copies of books* and regular visitors. You wouldn’t know book readership is declining by looking at this store.

We got on the tube at Leicester Square, went to Gloucester Road and walked to the large Sainsbury’s on Cromwell Road. I bought some grapes and a Limeade (not fizzy) and Karen bought tea and cashews. That left us time to chill before dinner. We left the hotel a bit after five for the tube to Notting Hill Gate, where the famous Geales is located. It’s been redecorated since my last visit, and it’s much nicer. The food remains good, and I enjoyed my dinner though it seemed a little saltier than it used to be, but Karen said it was all in my head.

After that, we saw Nowhere Boy (see yesterday’s blog). I didn’t realize it was a Weinstein film, but it was. It was a good film, but it’s very difficult to watch. Lots of depressing moments, very little joy. You will meet three of the four Beatles as teens. But you won’t hear any Beatles music, nor even hear the word uttered. The film stops as the group is formed. It’s hard to have spoilers in a bio-pic, but if you don’t know Lennon’s early life, it’s possible so I won’t discuss it. Over the closing moments you do hear Lennon singing. But all the other music is what inspired them and not what they recorded. In unrelated news, one of the funniest articles you will ever read about Spandau Ballet was in the Toronto Sun. Apparently there’s some chance they will be the first band to perform in space on one of Virgin Galactic’s flights. The classic line it ends with is, “just long enough for someone to accidentally open the pod-bay door and turn Spandau Ballet from The First Band to Suck in Space to The First Band to be Sucked Into Space.” If you like Spandau Ballet, don’t read this article. Also, a bit of oddity: yesterday my blog got a slew of hits from Turkey. All were searching for “My Name is David ” an excellent movie I reviewed some time ago. My blog will hit the magic 1/4 million mark within a fortnight. Maybe not a big deal to you, but I am quite impressed that this flight of fancy has turned out to be so damned popular.

*Jose, Jasper Fforde will be there on the 18th.

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