Day 184 – 186, Friday 6 – Sunday 8 July 2012, London and Richmond
I was determined to get back up to date with the blogs, so not my best efforts, but then again I am not exactly a writer anyway. Hoping to get back into more regular posting now. I sort of have a semi finished plan in my head for the next wee while. Once I have confirmed a few things – and worked out what I can and cannot afford I will update “The Plan” page. I still have to work on a menu system for the blog, but have not had the head space to be able to do that in recent times. Maybe this coming week.
I am now back to some semblance of normality – though what that really means for me these days I am not too sure. While I was away on Coast Path Run I passed my six month on the road milestone, so my version of normal is living out of a back pack and staying in a different bed most nights.
I am fortunate (I think !) to have been born in England and brought up in New Zealand, I have the best thing in world – dual nationality and two passports. I am also extremely lucky to have family in England and after I returned from the south coast got spend a night or so with my cousin and his family in Upminister on the eastern out skirts of London.
The last few days have been a bit blur, I have not recovered from the massive sleep loss accrued over CPR, my cousin has twin two year olds who rise early, so long lie ins were never going to happen. On Thursday I drove the Spaceship back to its base close to Heathrow airport and met Mal and Sally who delivered the second one and we were all picked up by Mal’s sister who took us back to her house in Surrey for a end of run celebration. I stayed the night there and went up to London on Friday morning. I have again ditched the Canon 5d in favour of my Panasonic GF1 to save weight and space.
My first stop (in the damn rain) was the Imperial War Museum just outside Waterloo station. I used to love this place when I was a boy, and it has not changed that much, lots of appeal for boys with tanks and guns and planes on display. There was a very good holocaust exhibition on, hard to say I enjoyed it, but it was interesting.
A piece of the Berlin Wall.
I strolled on in the drizzle over the river and past the houses of parliament and Westminster Abbey.
past the statue of Boadicea (look her up if you have not heard of her)
and the London Eye.
Through Smiths Square,
And on to Tate Britain.
I enjoyed the Tate, I paid the 15 quid to go and see the Picasso in Britain exhibition which I thoroughly enjoyed, the gallery is undergoing some renovation so some displays were not available, though I am sure I will be back.
You can tell I was on the last stop on the underground !
On Saturday I caught the train back into Fenchurch St train station in London and did a walk by the Tower of London on the way to the tube.
One side of the Thames is ultra modern
And the other not….
From London I jumped on the underground and headed to my old stamping ground of Richmond Upon Thames. From late 1985 – late 1987 I lived in Richmond, in fact I met and married Deana here in that time as well. I had arranged to catch up with some old friends, and was really looking forward to visiting. The town hasn’t changed that much, the core is the same though the shops and some of the pubs had changed. I was really pleased to see my old local, The Marlborough was still there, though it has been completely refitted in side – with the bar moving from one side to the other.
It was also cool to see our old flat still looked the same from the outside, probably hadn’t been painted either !
I spent a couple of hours aimlessly wandering the streets, it took me a while to find the Vineyard graveyard, i used to pass this every day on the way to the train station and grew to really love it. I have a number of photos taken during my time here and one of my favourites is of these two grave stones, though back then the small one had an “anarchy” symbol spray painted on it.
I spent the evening in the company of old friends Simon and Franciose, it was so good to catch up, Simon has barely aged in the 15 years since I last popped into Richmond on a work trip to London. Simon and I went to see some young bands playing at a small club in town associated with the church he goes to. The musicians were great, great voices and good songs, but I found it all rather tedious – disappointed that so many young people were playing “old peoples” pop rock. It was good to see some live music though.
I stayed the night at Simon and Francioise’s and bade them farewell late morning and headed back into London. It was great to see them again and I really look forward to coming back to Richmond when I return from the next phase of my travels.
I took a walk up Regents St to have a look at Carnaby St.
When I arrived here in 1985 I loved Carnaby St, I bought Doc Martins, some great brothel creepers and my first (and only) leather jacket there. Today it is just a plastic facade of what it used to be and i left in disgust, had a pint and caught the train back out to Upminster – where I finally accepted the weather and brought and umbrella. Which was fortunate as it pissed down on the walk back to my cousins !
Tomorrow, Monday – I am off to Paris !
Bon nuit, mon amis 🙂