Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thanks to Michael Portillo

Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo, ex conservative MP and cabinet minister (aka  "portaloo") turns out to be a thoroughly decent fellow and he has made his name through a documentary series of great British railway journeys aided by Bradshaws Guide.

Mrs N has reviewed these and wherever we tour in Britain a portaloo spot is never far away.

Portaloo Spot 1: Royal Flush - Queen Vic's Loo

Windsor and Eton station has a large concours and here is the Royal waiting room - I had lived in Windsor and never knew about this place.

It's now a bar

Mrs N leads the charge past Albanian cleaning ladies to the unspoilt regions of the building

Where one washes Royal hands

Where one performs

One is amused by the looks of it

Royal flush

Give one light

Give one traction

Interlude:  Nikos Cave Raves

I spent most of my childhood 1/4 mile from Chislehurst caves, located on the south ("sarf") east edge of London ("the smoke").  These caves were originally a flint and chalk mine and are entirely man made - during the war 15,000 people sheltered here to avoid bombs.

The owners have smartened up the entrance up a bit since my last visit 40 years ago.

War time entrance fee 6d (6 old pence) for sanitation 

A guided tour costs £6 now and parafin lamps are supplied

22 miles of tunnels dating back to the Druids

In the 1960s, the caves were used as a music venue. David Bowie, Status Quo, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd all performed here and Led Zeppelin launched their record label. Saturday night saw many a rave. I was oblivious to this and prefered to fiddle with my moped.

A Travelodge Formula 1 will be opening in the summer

Portaloo Spot 2: London Necropolis Railway station at Brookwood.
Mrs N relates a fascinating story of British class driven railway burials - I am sceptical but we drove into Brookwood Cemetery and found this Orthodox church of St Edwards and asked for directions. 

 Here is the fascinating story - please read it here!----------> London Necropolis Company

Platform 1 - the end of the line for many deceased at Brookwood cemetery

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hanging Out over London

The blossom is out down South and I pay a weekend visit to Miss N in the smoke.

Apple blossom at Clapham
A short Northern line tube ride takes us to the South Bank
The seat of coalition power and the Houses of Parliament in the background.
Miss N spotted an addition to Henry Beck's map - a cable car connection between the Royal Docks and the Greenwich penninsular
A DLR ride later...
A short inter-modal walk later (not forgetting to Oyster scan out)...
Are we dealing with SI units or what?  m and ft?
We hit cruisng altitude of 95m and I spot the runway of the docklands airport.
Our gondola is buzzed by a BAe 146
Fine views to the west, the dome thing and Canary Wharf
The glorious Deptford gasometer
And to the east, the Thames barrier
Looking south, the London that I know and grew up in dominated by the the Crystal Palace and Norwood Hill TV transmitters
These Japanese tourists trying to find onward tarnsport links from the dome thing got somewhat lost by the looks of it.
The edifices of near failed parastic financial services - Canary Wharf from Greenwich penninsular as we look for a 188 bus to take us to Greenwich village.

We drive by bus through Greenwich village towards the Royal Maritime Museum  - the London marathon event is being set up for tomorrow

Lunch is a dome thing mega burger eaten al fresco.

The Emirates Air Line is worth a journey on a clear day and it gives a contrasting set of east London views compared to the London Eye.  The Greenwich penninsular is a little bleak and dominated by the dome thing, with high grockle factor resulting in long queues for restaurants. We managed to find a bus to take us to Greenwich village and sat open air by the river to eat lunch in a more relaxed and congenial atmosphere.  The river bus took us back to Waterloo.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Springtime in Athens

A flying visit to inspect the estate, the weekend visit to Athens was quite pleasant thanks.

Πλατεία Νέας Σμύρνης
A sundowner watching the aperitif go down (This pun does not translate well into Greek)

το σπίτι μου
βελτιώσεις στην ηλεκτρική ασφάλεια
παντού πήγα είδα Αφρική δίδυμα
Θεμιστοκλής γαρνιρισμένη σε κουτσουλιές
αλιευτικό σκάφος στο λιμάνι της Ζέας
δύο γεννήτριες σκατά απολαμβάνοντας τον ήλιο
κοίτα τι σας είπα μια Africa Twin και πάλι!
πετούν τα ψάρια και τα τσιπ
επιστρέψει στο αεροδρόμιο στο νέο σταθμό του μετρό
στο επόμενο επεισόδιο ένα ταξίδι σε μια γερμανική autojumble!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Very First Honda

Never let me down and always started first pull.

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