Wednesday, 15 August 2012

I Like London

But I hate those London Condo ads on the radio. You know the ones I'm talking about. Is it that hard to find somebody with a genuine London accent in this multicultural city of ours? Is that hard to find somebody who could fake a credible London accent? I'm so sick of hearing Melissa Mississauga or Nora North York or whoever she is exult over the "mahble showahs". Get the hook!

And another thing. I really hate all these condo developments in Toronto that rip off the names of neighbourhoods and streets in New York, London, and California. In addition to the monstrous "NY Towers" (for North York Towers) that are supposed to resemble the magnificent Art Deco Empire State Building, we have condo developments named for Chelsea, SoHo, South Beach, Marina del Ray, Park Avenue, and the West Village. I swear to God, I saw an apartment in the Queen Street West and Ossington area advertised as being "in Toronto's West Village" Gah!

Anyway. I gotta get ready for work. So I can earn some dough to pay for an apartment on Toronto's Lower East Side.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

What I did on my winter vacation

One of the most exciting things that happened to me whilst in the capital of the UK is that I lost 7 pounds (of body weight, not money). I guess that's what walking for hours carrying a daypack holding two cameras, a water bottle and Lonely Planet will do for you. I drank pints and pints of beer and had chips at lunch nearly every day, but I don't seem to have put on an ounce. Hurrah!

I didn't really "do" the museums or the art galleries. I visited the V&A one afternoon, but found it overwhelming. How much silver can a person look at in a day? And I went to the Museum of London, the largest urban history museum in the world. But most of the time, it was so bright and mild (by Canadian standards) outside - perfect picture-taking weather. So I walked around and took pictures.

I photographed things that were interesting to me. Some of these are in the photo album on the left, but I have a lot more - I took 135 digital pictures and about 30 with my point-and-shoot 35mm camera. I didn't bring the SLR as it's very heavy, the light meter is unreliable, and I need to replace a part on it.

I photographed Georgian terraces, an apartment building near Oxford Street, pastel-painted houses on Portobello road, various churches, some of them "famous", like St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, which stands near where Newgate Prison used to be, in the City, and St Giles-in-the-Field, in St Giles, which used to be one of the worst slums in London. I photographed Seven Dials (almost getting hit by a taxi in the process).

I went to the theatre - friends got us really great seats at Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin. It was really good. My favourite line is "Never mix, never worry".

I went shopping at Liberty of London, which is famous for making Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts furniture and decor accessible to the masses (well, the middle-class masses, I guess). I also explored the food halls at Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, and popped into Peter Jones. I bought my nephew the sweetest little cardigan and a jacket at Mothercare in Oxford Street. I walked down Carnaby Street a couple of times, because I was in the neighbourhood.

Six days wasn't nearly enough time to explore, so I'm tentatively planning another trip for the end of May. A few more days in London, overnight in Hastings and visiting the nearby very beautiful town of Rye, and maybe a couple of days in Paris? We'll see. May's the earliest I can get away for good weather and somewhat fewer tourists. Either that or I'll wait till September. But I'm definitely going back this year. There's so much more I want to see and now's the time to do it!