London Calling

Trip Start May 02, 2006
Trip End Mar 02, 2007

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Well, if it's Monday it must be London. After a couple of hours in the BA lounge pillaging them for everything they had available we jumped on the red-eye to London on a fairly uneventful flight. No real delays, no need for a stink sheild and no red wine spillages on Kat's behalf. Just airline food, movies and broken sleep.

Now, just so you can break off here if you'd like to, Kat and I only had two full days in London so we agreed that we'd just keep it relatively quiet. Maybe just catch a show in the West-End that neither of had seen before and to also go and have a look at a couple of places that I used to live in. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey? Not in this blog baby so you may as well go back to what you were doing as it could be quite a bore. I guess I wanted to visit Londoon more as a final goodbye to what was a big part of my life and to also show Kat the places that my friends and I talk about when we bring up stories about our time overseas.

Anyway, the show we decided on was The Woman in Black which I believe has just opened in Sydney? If so, then go catch it, very spooky. It's apparently been running in London for 10 years and is a favourite with drama classes so we had a bunch of screaming teenage girls which added to the atmosphere. Amazing what two actors can do with limited props and a bit of imagination. Great stuff.

Our final day was spent in and around the areas that I used to live in, Clapham Nth/Brixton and Elephant and Castle. Kat was hoping I lived in Kensington, Putney or even perhaps Knightsbridge, sorry babe, Souf London all the way.

Our first stop was the Elephant and Castle (E&C) or West Square to be more exact. E&C (the suburb) is a dump, a fact that nobody can deny. However the little area that we lived was a veritable refuge from the outside world. We lived in a mews right on West Square in a house that was owned by Southwark Cathederal for use by the Canon. We just happened upon it when the church was looking for a new Canon. The place was enormous and from a backpackers perspective a veritable castle. Well, from my brief observations it seems that unless the Canon rides a dirtbike and is a messy bastard they still seem to be renting the place out to the common people.

The rest of the area is pretty much unchanged, the Prince of Wales still exists (albeit getting a new lick of paint), the shopping centre is still a dive, in fact it's even worse than it was. Jenny's still had down and outters like Luke and Nik eating breakfast there. The one big change was that Ruby Tuesdays is now The Ministry of Salsa but no doubt even with a theme and name change it's probably still full of losers.

Our next stop was via the Northern Line down to Clapham North for the slow walk to 21 Ducie Street where my London experience (if you're bored now imagine how Kat felt being dragged around and forced to listen to my less than amusing anecdotes) began back in November '95. Well, the tube station's the same, The Falcon is yellow, Ducie Street is still there and number 21 is no longer a backpacker doss house. It's been done up and strangely for me it had no garbage bags outside stinking the joint up.

After taking a snap we walked down Acre Lane into Brixton to catch the tube back up north. Brixton is Brixton and will never change I guess. Not sure if I could live down that way again, in fact I'm not sure I could live in London again. Snippets of sun throughout the year just doesn't do it for me anymore. Give me Sydney's endless rays anyday!

Funny, all these years and it's true what people say over and over. Nothing really changes, not sure what i was expecting to get out of visiting all my old haunts but it was nice to show Kat all those little bits of my memory from a time I cherish but it was also nice to say goodbye for the final time.

I met a lot of great friends during my time in London and have met a lot of great friend since because of London (Kat herself being one) so all I'll say is, 'cheers London, thanks for everything!'


Nath and Kat.
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