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


  1. Portaloos and burial trains, that is quite a combination. And 22 miles of underground tunnels, wow.

    Thanks for the links, I learned something. Must be time for a nap now.

    1. There is so much to explore and so little time..

  2. For some reason now the battle of water-loo has a brand-new meaning to me.

    Interesting story about shipping the dead out.

    1. I guess it was alweys a worry where to be buried!

  3. I was there at the Windsor and Eton station very recently. Had a meal there. An awful lot of tourists though... I'll have to check out those Chislehurst Caves when I come up next to London. Looks like fun!

    1. I always stay in Windsor when visiting the crowded south....Windsor is mostly grockle free before 10am and after 6pm.

  4. Incredible history, tunnels begun by the druids and frequented by the likes of David Bowie, coffin tickets and a royal lieu. (Thanks Queen Vickie for our Canadian 24 holiday weekend!) All kidding aside, the history is amazing.

  5. I have been to a party at Chislehurst Caves... er... seems we were almost neighbours.

    1. I had you down as a loo person so good news about the caves!

  6. During the late 1950s and early 1960s a group of us lads used to travel from Bromley Common by bus or on foot to the saturday night Chislehurst Caves gatherings. There were always at least 2 pop groups and a trad jazz band playing. We used to jig around to the music and when we got fed up with one band we would move to another one. One one occasion we were entertained by Screaming Lord Sutch ! Often we would jig around and have a really good time. I would dress up in silly fancy costumes - that is how I am. They were really wonderful times.


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