Tag Archives: The Thames

My Life As A Chameleon (76/80)

Post 76 of 80. Friday 22 November  – West India Quay (Square D7 on the Tube map), West Kensington (D3), Westminster (D4), West Ruislip (A1)

I’ve been asked many times, Why do you do no research beforehand about the Tube stations and places you’re about to visit? Surely that’s a recipe for disaster or, at least, for missing what is important, unusual, beautiful about those places? My answer is simple – since importance, rarity and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder, I don’t want to see those places through the eyes of others. As far as is possible, I want to see them afresh, new, as though this was the very first time human eyes had been clapped upon them. And, as much as possible, I wish to leave whatever happens to chance. But how much are seeing afresh and random happenings possible?   Continue reading

This Is The Modern World (75/80)

Post 75 of 80. Tuesday 19 November  – Westferry (Square D7 on the Tube map), West Finchley (A5), West Ham (C8), West Hampstead (B4), West Harrow (B2)

I step out of Gingerbread Cottage early and breakfast-less for today’s assault on London. By Jove, it’s cold! That wind is Arktik! Rounding the corner into Sydenham Park Road (there’s no Sydenham Park, by the way) I come across a traffic jam in Dartmouth Road heading towards the South Circular: it’s a supersnarlyhootilisticexpleetayalatrocious snarl-up! Less of the outrageously long words, snarls The Inner Curmudgeon. Otherwise we’ll never get through this post. Feeling something like the Israelites must have done when crossing the Red Sea, I shoulder my way past the boils and whirls malarking on the pavement on their way to skool.   Continue reading

2013: A Tube Odyssey (57/80)

Thursday 29 August – Queen’s Road Peckham (Square E6 on the Tube map), Queensway (C4), Ravenscourt Park (D3), Rayners Lane (B2), Redbridge (B8), Regent’s Park (C4)

It has been a minor but enduring disappointment of TubeforLOLs that the last entry on TfL’s ‘Index to stations’ is Woolwich Arsenal. This, I should hasten to add, is a purely alphabetic anti-climax, not a comment on that particular locality. Why, I wonder in this great city of ours, this city of hard-working families, hermit-like celebrities, honest politicians and humble bankers, this city where we are all in it together, do we have no Tube stations beginning with ‘X’ or ‘Y’, far less ‘Z’? Beijing has its Xiju station, Tokyo has a whole train-line beginning with ‘Y’, Berlin has its Zoo Station. Why not London? Well – stop scratching your toupee, Borisconi – I have a solution.

However, these alphabetic speculations are over-shadowed by the great excitement of the day …   Continue reading

Bewitched in Plaistow, Spellbound in Poplar (55/80)

Friday 23 August – Perivale (Square C1 on the Tube map), Piccadilly Circus (D5), Pimlico (E4), Pinner (A2), Plaistow (C8), Pontoon Dock (D9), Poplar (D7)

I see many different Londons on my travels today, many barely-overlapping Lunduns. By the time I get back to Forest Hill I’ve noted some 22 – the bankers’ couldn’t-care-less city, a splinter of downtown industrial Turkey city, the cramped paranoid behind-city-walls city of Shakespeare, the visionary heaven-and-hell city of Blake. Lunduns of suburban dog-walkers, it’s-only-a-movie tourists and absentee safe-haven investors. Lunduners living on both sides of the tracks. Betjeman’s up-dated metro-land of the zimmer and tequila sunrise. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Lundun of gypsies, genies and demonic possession. The chill-out Friday-afternoon Parklife London and the yin-yang London of the Tao. Then there’s the city of alligators and the Biblical sea-monster Leviathan. Beware all ye who enter here …   Continue reading

Rivers of Babylon (51/80)

Monday 12 August – New Cross Gate (Square E6 on the Tube map), North Acton (C2), North Ealing (C2), Northfields (D1), North Greenwich (D8), North Harrow (E7)

It’s another warm, sunny day. Maria has repaired her Labyrinth on the Albion Millennium Green. The pet food manufacturer is making canned fish mush for cats. It smells disgusting. The guys at the skip depot are banging skips on top of each other – a cloud of builder’s dust shrouds the railway path. Just another normal day at Forest Hill.

My elation and sense of achievement at reaching Mornington Crescent (see last post, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue) have dissipated, disappeared, gone. They’re toast, history, late. I imagine this is how my name-sake, Alexander the Great, must have felt after conquering the Persian Empire. At least Alexander had India ahead of him. I’ve got to make do with New Cross Gate.   Continue reading