20 July 2008

Sunday Afternoons in London

...Of which this is my first so far this trip.

Today I walked 3 miles, although quite by accident.  I decided to walk from where I live (essentially, Tottenham Court Road) to Liverpool Street Station, to meet some friends who were coming in from Cambridge.  I didn't get any exercise at the conference, and I just felt thick and slightly puffy, two feelings I really don't enjoy.  I had no idea how long the distance was from one place to the other, but the walk was so simple that even I couldn't get lost (basically, "Go straight for quite a long time, then turn left," which gave me quite a long time to figure out which way left is), and I figured if I gave myself an hour and a half it would be fine, and I'd be able to get some much-needed exercise.  As it happened, I ended up leaving slightly late and so giving myself only an hour, but an hour and a half would have been fine.

It turns out that the walk from here to Liverpool Street Station is quite nice.  You go down Euston Road, which turns into Pentonville Road - which is one of my favourite roads, solely because I only recently discovered that I could walk down it and reach all sorts of places, so I'm always glad to see it for its usefulness - which turns into City Road, and then you hang a left on Sun Street.  Huh.  The walk took me past Bunhill Fields, the cemetery in which William Blake is somewhere buried, but I didn't have time to stop and pay my respects.  Later.  Anyway, the whole walk turns out (as I discovered when I looked it up on the Internet this evening) to be 3.2 or 3.3 miles.  And let me tell you, it felt good.  Probably not as good as it's going to feel to go to the gym tomorrow, but plenty good.

On my walk, I saw another one of those surprising London buildings, but surprising in a different way.  London, well England, has a lot of leftover Victorian buildings with quite elaborate facades and tops.  One tends to come across them quite abruptly and unexpectedly, probably because the tops and facades have been matter-of-factly built under, so that a modern business will have built a modern front on the ground floor, but all above that is fantastically elaborate brick or sandstone.  I came upon this one as I came over the rise of a slight hill on City Road:

My friends and I went to the Tate Modern.  I've been there before, but I really enjoy it.  The best part of the afternoon, though, was undoubtedly that afterward we walked along the South Bank, and there at the Barbican was an outdoor exhibit of some giant topiary furniture!  Of course it wasn't really topiary - it was astroturf made to look like topiary - but I like topiary, and I really like furniture that's been made disproportionately large (I know - I don't get it either), so I was delighted.  I had my picture taken sitting in one of the two huge chairs, but since this is an anonymous blog I can't reprint that one.  Instead, I'll insert one of all the furniture.  I particularly like the giant lamp.  I bet it lights up; I'll go back at night and check.

And finally, did I mention that they've put me in a new room?  It's actually a small flat, and has vastly more space than I need.  What it also has, however, is a double bed, and after the experience of sleeping in one at the conference and then again last night, I can honestly say that at least part of my depression at the single bed in my first room had nothing to do with sex but quite a lot, it seems, with an instinctive knowledge that the single bed is n
ot as comfortable as a double one.  It's quite possible that for the last six nights - let's call them Double Bed Nights - I've slept better than I've ever slept in my life.  So tomorrow I'll be ringing the housing office to ask if 

there's any way they can switch me, not to this flat, but to one of the small bedsit rooms I know they also have.  I realise those rooms will probably be booked up for at least a little while, but maybe they can get me in one in a couple of weeks?  Fingers crossed.  In the meantime, it's not just the double bed that's so great.  Look at the view out my windows. Who wouldn't want to wake up to that?  Look how green that moss is!

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