The Tate, and some bikes from our Holland stay

Trip Start Apr 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 08, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dries has let us know that putting up pics of his and Paula's bikes is no problem. So we've got a couple of shots on this page from our stay in Wezup. Lovely old British singles as well as an ex Dutch army Triumph and an XS650 project. We don't have a photo of Paula's (it was under a tarp) but it's a very tidy Sportster.

Dries repairs bike speedos as well as clocks so please look him up if you want a craftsman to work on your bike's instruments with care and attention. He trades as A.J. DeVries.

We went to the Tate on Friday night to see the exhibition Rude Britannia, which is cartoons, sculptures, film and satirical writing tracing the history of balloon puncturing since the 1600s. Excellent. The link to the website is below.

We also saw Fiona Banner's Harrier and Jaguar installation which is just what it says on the tin - two decommissioned RAF jets, both with war history, installed in the gallery. The Jaguar has been polished to a mirror finish and lies on its back. The Harrier has been painted with feathers and suspended vertically from the ceiling. Sounds very simple but it was really powerful. Next time we're in London we'll head for the Tate again. It's open till 22.00 on Fridays and there were heaps of people there on this lovely warm night.

Here's the link to this installation.

We had a great meal at Tuttons in Covent Garden on Thursday night. We recommend its great atmosphere and excellent food. That's where we were staying, in Covent Garden. Drury Lane, Covent Garden. Pretty cool address we reckon. Dave bought a belt from Elliot Rhodes on the street called Long Acre. A shop full of beautiful belts and buckles, all belts hand made for the shop, some buckles bought in, some unique custom efforts; and you can spend quite a lot of money or an absolute fortune, it's up to you. But it's nice to have something which is unique to London. Because we do think London is very very fab in case it isn't clear yet. Next time we're over we do want to spend a lot more time in the countryside though. Friendly helpful service from the sales assistant, busy as she was.

This is their website for people who want something different in a belt. Beautiful quality. You can easily remove and replace the buckles too.

Next time we're in London we know to stay clear of a couple of areas unless we really need to be there. Picadilly, Trafalgar Square and Westminster are madness. Jammed with people (to be fair, people like us taking pictures of everything) and full of shops selling cheap crap. There's loads of central London which is a little calmer and much more pleasant to be in. We'd like to spend more time on the South Bank, and we really enjoy the walk along the Embankment. Dave wants to run through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens too. They are lovely.

Poor old Andy Murray went down in a screaming heap to Rafael Nadal while we were there. He never really was expected to win, but he was being egged on to salvage British pride after the World Cup flame-out. All of a sudden he wasn't a glum-faced unpopular Scot, he was British - our Andy. Then he lost and, surprise suprise, he's Scottish after all and the papers talked about how charmless and crap he is. They really are amazing, British papers. It would be horrible coming nto their gunsights.

We've included a picture of the rattiest rat bike still actually on the roads that Dave's ever seen. We snapped it in Earl's Court earlier this week. Truly a work of art. It's a Honda CB 250.

We've used the Tube a lot this time. Just like Barcelona's Metro, we found it to be excellent - easy to navigate, clean, efficient, lots of helpful staff at the stations. Both city administrations could teach Australian public transport policy makers and planners a lot about running efficient and popular services. No aggressive nastiness, like Melbourne, just courtesy and competence when you need help. Although London does have very high scooter and motorcycle use, it doesn't actively support and encourage bicycle use, like Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and several other cities we visited do. But its public transport works well, including the Oyster Card.

And the weather has stayed brilliant. This is the best run of beautiful summer weather either of us can remember.
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