hutch0 (hutch0) wrote,

out and about in london

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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