Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Loafing in London as the Clock Runs Down

 It's official! Blog posts with photos clearly get more hits than those without. Thus, I am including another "Photo of the Day" in today's entry simply to maximise the coverage of my Blog, if nothing else. No harm in that is there?

 I hope nobody minds my selfish indulgence in displaying yet another shot of my late European holiday. The sands are running through the hour glass with obscene haste and some aspects of the trip are getting blurry and others are forgotten already such is the rapidity with which time slips by. It's six months since I boarded the plane and headed off to the Old Dart.

 The photo in question was taken on my last day in London. I am standing by the lake in Regents Park in the district of Marylebone of the City of Westminster. It's quite a famous part of London.

  We had booked a Hotel near St Pancras Station where we had alighted from our train which had brought us from Edinburgh. The hotel it self was nothing flash but it was clean and habitable and that is all I cared about after the slog down the length of England.

 We had a bit of a problem the next day as our plane didn't depart until late in the evening so of course, as the tourists do in London, we spent the majority of the day walking. We strode from St Pancras up Euston Road where we finally made it to Madame Tussauds' Waxworks and we spent a couple of hours wandering through the exhibits and although Linda was a little underwhelmed by the experience, I found it to be quite entertaining.

 It was full of folk of all ages and exhibits included many of the famous celebrities of contemporary times and many historical figures of the past. Some models are better than others. The representation of Elvis Presley for example was decidedly ordinary yet Adele was cast in a very lifelike fashion as was Alfred Hitchcock. Perhaps different craftspeople of different skill levels are used for different folk? Who knows?

 As I said, Linda, while enjoying it felt it wasn't as good as she had been led to believe. I guess there is always a danger that something so famous will not meet expectation but I would recommend a visit in any case for anyone likely to be in London any time soon.

 I am including a photo of myself at Madame Tussauds' with a recreation of the figures of a couple of likely fellows from the literary world. They are of course William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens and I like to think of myself giving these two some advice on how to make it big and some instruction on how to improve their writing. Haha.

 One can only imagine how much money this pair of genius' would have made had they been born in modern times.

 From Madame Tussauds we walked past a major Underground station and it was notable that tourist traps were burgeoning as we loafed along especially as we turned right into Baker Street.

 Yes, Baker Street, made famous by Gerry Rafferty's song of the same name but even more famous as the home of yet another giant character of the literary world, albeit a fictional one, Sherlock Holmes!

 Plenty of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia in Baker Street along with even more shops catering to tourists who want to pick up cheap, useless junk which will commemorate their trip to London and sit gathering dust on their mantelpieces for years to come. The interesting thing about these shops is that they all seem to be run by men of middle eastern appearance.

 Baker Street is also a main road into Westminster proper and had we decided to journey in the other direction we would have found ourselves in a major shopping district around Marble Arch where you are only a stone's throw from Hyde Park and all the tourist attractions London is most famous for.

 We had a pretty poor lunch at one of the cut-price establishments across the road from the Sherlock Holmes museum and watched as people of all races, colours and creeds marched past the shop-front window, completely oblivious to a couple of Australian tourists biding their time and using up the clock, watching them as they went about their regular business in one of the world's greatest cities.

 We continued our adventure after lunch, loafing along Baker Street as it dog legged to the left past London Business School where we had a coffee at a clean, bright, health cafe which no doubt caters strongly to the students of the school who will probably become the next movers and shakers of Britain's financial sector.

 The road became relatively quiet as we ranged alongside Regents Park, the parade of BMW's and Audi's of which we had become accustomed to in the streets of London slowing with only the occasional tradesman's vehicle or less well to do commuter venturing through this part of town.

 Finally, as we walked past London Mosque through a few worshipers coming and going from that establishment, we spied St Johns Wood Road and on the corner we could see our final destination. Lord's Cricket Ground.

 For any Aussie who loves the noble game of Cricket, a visit to Lord's is a must. It was a surreal experience to be there having seen it on television numerous times and we managed to get in and tour the museum and see the Urn, the real Ashes, not the copycat they present to the winning team at the end of each Australia versus England Test series.

 Of course you are not allowed to take any photos of the Urn, there are too many tourist dollars in selling postcards of it in the Lord's shop for them to let you do anything like that but Linda and I can at least say we have seen them.

 The Englishmen who ran the museum and the shop were very old school, plum in the mouth types yet were polite enough not to mention the fact that England had defended the Ashes only a few months before. It must have been obvious we were Australians yet they held their fire. If only we were back there now after we delivered a drubbing to them this Australian summer! Always a bit more of a swagger in your step when you are on top.

 A tour of Lord's which included a visit to the Long Room and an inspection of the centre wicket was just starting as we were leaving and we would have loved to have taken it but it was three hours long and we really needed to start inching our way back towards our Hotel to retrieve our bags and begin our long journey home.

 The first photo I published today was taken as we ambled back through Regents Park, taking in the atmosphere as our journey, which we had long planned and crisply executed, rolled to a close.

 It was a nice way to spend our last day in London. Unfortunately, from there it became a blur as we collected our bags, struggled through the masses to board the Tube to Heathrow airport and finally boarded our plane.

 Linda says she has no desire to go back to London now she has seen it. As for myself, I couldn't imagine never going back and I'm sure I will. I will see the great city again before I die.

 But for now it is back to everyday reality as I prepare for work and some numpty up the road plays his music at a volume that everyone in the street can hear! Such are the perils of suburban living in Wanniassa. But where else would I want to be?

 Hope all reading are having a fine day. Take care and be happy.

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