Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday's spotlight - London it is!


In my late teens I lived and worked in the East End of London. My work, based in the custom house district of the east end, took me onto the three Royal docks in that area. Very busy docks they were at that time, taking cargo and passengers to various ports throughout the world. I can remember that you had to be very careful walking along the dockside and boarding the various ships. If you fell into any of the royal docks then it automatically meant a minimum of three days in a local hospital. These docks, and the others under the control of the Port of London Authority, were not the cleanest in the world!

I had one day off a week  and most weeks I would walk 2 miles into Canning town and there catch a number 15 bus up to the West End. Once I'd arrived I would spend the day wandering around, mainly people watching, and have a meal in one of the ' Lyons Corner House Cafes" that, in those days, could be found easily in the West End. I deeply mourned the demise of Lyons Corner Houses; they gave a very good meal at a more than reasonable price..

Since those days I have had a soft spot for the city of London. During most trips to our elder daughter, Mary, I manage to get a day in London. Even after all these years I can still find my way around the West End.

On a visit just over a week ago to see our elder daughter and her family I found the time to indulge in another trip to the city. It started off at Covent Garden; I enclosed photos of that in last week's blog. It is a major tourist attraction now. In its former days it was a vegetable and fruit market. A friend of mine from college lived with his parents in a flat overlooking the market. I stayed with him once and although the early morning market noise didn't seem to affect them it certainly woke me up!

I managed to get to Covent Garden early this trip before the crowds arrived. It was great just wandering around the shops and stalls, although those stalls were nowhere near as colourful as they had been when I last visited them.

The weather was really great for this time of the year and I had a sandwich and cake lunch sitting out in a pavement cafe near Trafalgar Square before visiting the many bookshops in Charing Cross Road and the computer/hi-fi shops in Tottenham Court Road. The junction of these two roads with Oxford Street was, however, chaotic with the road and building works being undertaken in that area. The junction, especially, was busy not only with frustrated traffic but also with frustrated pedestrians; not including me!!!

Another coffee at another pavement cafe -- how the coffee industry must depend on the support I give them -- and it was down the Oxford Circus tube station and back to Rickmansworth. The photos enclosed are from this visit.

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