diamond geezer

 Monday, April 18, 2005

Time off: I'm taking this week off work, for no particularly good reason other than it's been a while, and I can. My office colleagues immediate response on hearing of my imminent break was to ask "Where are you going?". They seemed especially disconcerted by my response - "London". When they have time off they like to travel - Euro city breaks, transatlantic jaunts, adventurous equatorial treks or even Antipodean long hauls. They don't stay in town unless they have something meaningful to do around the house, like decorating the kitchen or replumbing the bathroom. My proposed aimless week in the capital therefore somehow disappointed them, as if time off work were somehow wasted unless something substantial were planned. But I don't view my content-free London break like that. Huge numbers of tourists spend a fortune on holidays in my hometown, whereas I get to live here full time with zero additional accommodation costs. So I shall spend my week off enjoying some of London's finer delights, hopefully visiting some choice locations I've not sampled before. And not a repainted ceiling in sight. Now, where shall I go first...?Excursion 1: Bow Tesco
This delightful retail outlet nestles on the banks of the picturesque Lea brook, a modern brick cathedral with easy access from the nearby Blackwall Tunnel approach road. Several rows of brightly coloured market stalls line the interior, bedecked with all manner of fine comestibles from all around the world. Venture inside on a weekday morning and the smiling staff will outnumber the visiting shoppers, making for an especially pleasurable customer-focused experience. Cruise the aisles with your 4-wheel racing trolley, snapping up haute cuisine bargains whilst dodging nimbly between the screaming toddlers. Favourites amongst the local clientele include scavenging the 'reduced' section for cut price discounts, queueing for that alluring lottery scratchcard and stockpiling value lager (4 cans for 88p) to sip delicately on the bench outside in the car park. The perfect start to any London vacation.
by tube: Bromley-by-Bow   by bus: 108, S2Excursion 2: Imperial War Museum
It's not the most enticing name for a museum, smacking of Empire and murder, but the Imperial War Museum makes a good job of presenting the last century of world warfare. The entrance hall is filled with tanks and planes (and also, this afternoon, with several school parties in various states of disinterest). There's an extensive basement charting the first and second world wars in comprehensive detail, with an impressive collection of memorabilia and ephemera including Chamberlain's famous 'piece of paper'. I learnt about Franz Ferdinand and the real Kaiser chiefs, wandered through a shadowy WWI trench and experienced the aftermath of an East End Blitz bombing. Most striking, however, was the two-storey Holocaust Exhibition - a chilling exhibit complete with discarded shoes from the concentration camps of Eastern Europe. There's plenty worth seeing here, and plenty to reflect on.
by tube: Lambeth NorthExcursion 3: Design Museum
After such weighty concerns, the Design Museum seemed almost frivolous and trivial by comparison. Nonetheless, I enjoyed my opportunity to review several decades of cutting edge British design. Where else can you sit back in an Erno Goldfinger chair and watch a 1960s black and white film about London's Transport's iconic designs, or review the state of album cover design from David Bowie to Spiritualized? I was particularly engrossed by the latest exhibition on "the design of information" (closes 15 May), but then I would be engrossed by a display of maps, road signs, calendars and timetables, wouldn't I? All fascinating, but I was expecting more than two floors of limited galleries for my £6 entrance fee.
by bus: 47, 188, 381, RV1


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream