Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Pavlova and the arrival of the Deb!
Drawing of a trike
maxcelcat
One of the main reasons for this trip was to meet up with friends o' mine who are scattered all over the planet. So along these lines I met my friend Julia, current UK resident, at Charring Cross Station on Saturday. We had vague plans to make it to the National Portrait Gallery, on the proviso that if it was a lovely sunny day, we'd go for a walk instead.

As luck would have it, it was a lovely sunny day... In fact, of the maybe seventeen days I've spent in the UK, most of them have been lovely and sunny - which the locals tell me is very unusual. But to me it's just what the UK is like! I'm in for a rude shock if I'm ever there in Winter. There were stories in the free newspapers they give away on the tube about the unseasonably warm weather and how people were "sweltering" in 26 degree heat! I wanted to tell them about the 47 degree day we had in Melbourne back in February...

Anyway, Julia dragged me to a lovely French-themed cafe place, just across the river from Charring Cross. It being French-ish, I had a croissant with lots of cheese in it, and quiche, just to keep the Frenchness going! We chased this down with a very creamy pavlova - an Aussie dish, although its actual origions are lost in the mists of time, and an early version might actually have originated in New Zealand. I took a couple of very amusing pictures of Julia about the eat the pavlova, she had to be forcibly restrained from eating it for twenty seconds so I could take a picture!

And I am so going home from this trip heavier than I arrived. Although I have been walking for six to ten hours a day...

After that, we went on the aforementioned walk. Julia took me along the Thames a way, downstream, and then we crossed back to the other (northern?) bank near St. Paul's Cathedral. Or should I say, my cathedral :-)

We wandered around a bit in "The City", the square mile of London which is, officially, the city of London. It's almost dead on a weekend, most of the shops are shut, which surprised me. I've been told that it's so very business oriented that it really shuts down completely on a weekend.

We walked inland for a bit, until we encountered one edge of the Tower of London. I was a bit disappointed by said tower, it was a lot lower than I expected, although it turns out that what I had in mind was in fact the central White Tower, which is indeed an impressive building, and looks far less like one could scale it with a decent ladder. Oh, and I also found out that the some of the areas I was looking at had once been the moat, long since filled in, since yucky stuff from the Thames tended to collect there!

And then it was time to race out to Heathrow, for Cathy Pacific flight CX257, bearing mah Girlfriend! The plane was due to land at 4PM, but I figured it could be anything up to two hours before she emerged from the gates.

This time I knew what I was doing with the trains, so I hopped on at the Tower of London station, and changed at Green Park (I think) for the Piccadilly Line out to Terminal Three of Heathrow.

I got there at about 4.40PM, and made my way through a bewildering series of tunnels and corridors - I guess the worlds busiest airport takes up lots of space - until I found the arrivals area for Terminal three. It was surrounded by the usual throng of anxious families, and limo drivers holding signs with people's names on them.

The doors from the actually arrival area were more or less constantly open, disgorging what must have been hundreds of people into the airport. I was all worried that I wouldn't spot Deb in the throng, and kept on half recognising her in the distance - my brain doing stupid things with people with the barest resemblance. I remember thinking "well, that could be Deb, in certain lights, if she got a haircut and wore glasses!" I also worried that she'd already arrived and was sitting forelornly in some part of the terminal.

Eventually, after what seemed like ages - well, it didn't seem like it, it was - she emerged pushing a trolley from the doors. I managed to make it almost up to her before she saw me, and we exchanged a big hug.

She looked very bedraggled, like a tired kitten. It had been a shit flight, it sounded like - Melbourne to Hong Kong (coincidently on the same plane as my aunt who was off to Norway!). Then Hong Kong to London. The seats on her plane didn't recline as such, the base just sort of moved a bit, thus jamming your knees up against the seat in front. Then they messed up her order of a gluten free meal - bread rolls and things with oats on them are NOT gluten free! And they'd brought her maybe every third one of the drinks she'd has for. So it was no wonder she was looking a bit lots and dazed by the time I found her!

I bought her a litre bottle of water, most of which she drank straight away, and we began the long trudge back to Blackheath. Which meant walking to the train terminal, hopping on a Piccadilly train, hopping from that onto a Jubilee line train to London Bridge, then on a train out to Blackheath - which ended up being very crowded, not least because there was me with Deb's backpack, and another lady with a suitcase. Then we trudged all the way to Zoya's place, a good ten minute walk. And finally Deb was officially in London with me. Poor baby. She had a shower and then slept for about eleven hours....

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Someone finally found himself a wireless hot spot!

Someone is back at his friends place in London where they do of course have a wireless network :-)

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