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out and about in london - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2008-03-02 21:40
Subject: out and about in london
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:calmcalm
Music:the alan parsons project
Ever since Bogna's cousin died, about eighteen months ago, we've been periodically driving down to her flat in Marble Arch to pick up the mail and check whether anything has arrived to do with her estate.
At first this meant - and I apologise to those of you who don't know the geography of London - driving down through Finchley and Golders Green, down the Finchley Road to Swiss Cottage, then past Lord's cricket ground (always a joy on match days) to the edge of Maida Vale and then onto the Edgware Road and down to Marble Arch, then a right-turn into some twisty streets, past the Blairs' new home, to the flat.
This turned into a bit of a chore. While we tend to make the journey on Saturdays and Golders Green isn't so busy because it's Shobbas, the traffic on the Finchley Road is always faintly crazy and there's a junction just past Swiss Cottage which seems to attract the greatest concentration of drivers in London who have absolutely no idea which fucking lane they ought to be in to get where they want to go.
So when someone told us about an alternative route, we decided to try it. The trick is, about a mile after Golders Green, you make a right turn down West End Lane and go down past Kilburn, through West End Green and West Hampstead, down Abbey Road and Grove End Road, across St John's Wood Road, through Lisson Grove, across the Marylebone Road, then a few streets further on make a right-turn that takes us across the Edgware Road to our destination.
And it's a pretty good trip; about fifteen minutes quicker than our original route because it doesn't have all the traffic lights and roundabouts and intersections of the Finchley Road and it cuts out the sheer grind of creeping down the Edgware Road in the Saturday afternoon traffic. It's just a more or less straight run from the top of the Finchley Road into Marble Arch. People using it also seem to have more idea about where they're going and which lane to get into, and when, which is no end of help.
But there is one spot which is endlessly irritating, and that's the bloody pedestrian crossing where Abbey Road becomes Grove End Road, just past Abbey Road Studios. You know the one I'm talking about, the one on the cover of Abbey Road.
Now, you'd think after all these years that everyone on Earth who could possibly ever want to have their photograph taken on that crossing would already have done it. Not so. Most times we drive down, there's someone standing on it, right in the middle of the road, usually striking a silly pose, while their mates take their picture. Often it's more than one person. This being a pedestrian crossing, we can't just mow them down, so we have to wait patiently while they get their shots. Quite often, they're laughing. Which, god help me, does wind me up something terrible.
Joking aside, I guess it's testament to the Beatles and the iconic quality of Abbey Road that people still make the pilgrimage - the white wall outside the studio is covered in graffiti messages. I just wish they'd used a photograph of the Beatles walking along the pavement on that bloody cover...
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Kat: british accents
User: artykat
Date: 2008-03-03 01:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:british accents
Now, i've been to London twice, both time during a visit to England lasting 3 weeks. I basically know NOTHING about London except that I loved being there. That being said, I married an Englishman and so I read your post to him and he chuckled and nodded all throughout the post. He quite agreed with you about the Abbey Road situation. Just wanted to let you know you had someone who commisserates with you.
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RealThog: sunset
User: realthog
Date: 2008-03-03 02:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:sunset

More than one person. I use to live in a couple of the places along the route, and well remember the Abbey Road misery.

Incidentally, I listened to the album recently and thought a very long: "Ummmmm." It hasn't aged well.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-03 22:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I forgot you did the Norf Lundun thing once upon a time. Was that back in your Grauniad days?

It's ever such a long time since I listened to Abbey Road, but I was never a huge fan of the Beatles to start with.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-03-04 00:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

"Was that back in your Grauniad days?"

I was never at the Grauniad. When I worked in Fleet Street it was for a book publisher -- almost certainly the last book publisher to be based there. I lived in Kilburn/Brondesbury for a while, then for quite a long while in a couple of places in West Hampstead. I also, in adolescence, lived for a while close to Marble Arch.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-04 21:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm sorry; I could have sworn someone told me (or I read somewhere) that you'd once subbed on the Guardian.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-03-04 22:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

"I could have sworn someone told me (or I read somewhere) that you'd once subbed on the Guardian."

Ha! I wonder where that myth sprang from. Always good, as Uncle Oscar used to say, to know that people are talking about oneself . . .
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-04 22:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed. Sorry about that, anyway.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-03-04 23:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

No need to say sorry! I'm flattered.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-04 23:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Just out of interest, whereabouts near Marble Arch did you live?
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-03-05 00:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Grab your A-Z! I lived in Brown Street: head up Edgware Road about half a mile from Marble Arch, turn right along Nutford Place, then left into Brown Street.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-05 00:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I need no A To Z, for I have Google Earth. And I don't need Google Earth, actually. The next street up from Nutford Place that connects with the Edgware Road is Harrowby Street, and that's where we make our right turn to cross over into Norfolk Crescent, and thence to Albion Street. Small world. Wait'll I tell Bogna.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-03-05 00:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Yep -- Harrowby Street was the other end of the block. What may really boggle Bogna -- and perhaps even a grizzled, world-weary, hardbitten journo like yourself -- is that where I was living in Brown Street was in a hall of residence, Nutford House, that aside from me and some staff contained about two hundred female university students.

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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-05 21:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I thought the statue outside that building looked familiar! That very tired-looking statue...
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-03 22:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Bear's a Brit? How does he cope out there without sausage rolls and pork pies?

London's an easy place to love if you're visiting; it's a little harder if you have to drag your way across it every day. But it's not a bad old town, really. Even though I'm originally from Sheffield (and Bear will explain that) and I whine almost constantly about life in London, I wouldn't live anywhere else these days.
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Kat: british accents
User: artykat
Date: 2008-03-08 22:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:british accents
I'm sorry, I just found this! Yes, Bear is a Brit. He moved to the USA at the ripe ol' age of 50, and has been here 7 years. It was love...

The things that he misses are marmite, the wonderful selection of cheese, different sorts of bacon (we have one kind), cox apples, king edward potatoes, relatively cheap tea bags, Branston pickle, marmalade, good lamb,free flow ground beef and lamb, Indian food, Sainsbury's, easy access to France and French food, just to name a few!

He misses pork farms' pork pies at Christmas, and Sainsbury's cumberland sausages, and Sainsbury's multi-grain bread. Bread in general because "American bread is too sweet" says he.

We live in the heart of the Appalachian mountains and none of those things are available. Thanks to our great friend realthog , we can get Tetley's British blend. We are so grateful for that. Getting low on it, actually!

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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-09 22:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yep, that's a list I would be hard-pressed to do without, as well. Particularly pork pies. Years and years ago I visited a shop in Milwaukee, run by an expat Brit, which sold all that sort of stuff. Oxo cubes, proper marmalade, Tetley's tea - which runs in the veins of every true Brit - Marmite, Jacob's Cream Crackers. They even had proper sausage rolls. And I agree with Bear. Sainsbury's Cumberland sausages are particularly fine.
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Kat
User: artykat
Date: 2008-03-11 17:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We have found a city about 4 hours from here that sells British food, so we try to stock up when we go, which is not often (and at gas prices the way they are, it will be even less so). We can get Marmite, Ryvita (yum!), Jacob Cream Crackers (also yum), and papadams. Bear makes a mean curry, for which he is quite grateful (ha!) and I have learned to love. Must have yoghurt with it, but it is almost a weekly fare in our our house. He really craves fish and chips and it breaks his heart there is simply no equivalent.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-03-11 21:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know what he means; I would find it tough to live in a land without a chippy.
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