A Lovely Day in London Town
We woke up around 8 a.m. in preparation for our day in London. By 8:45 a.m. we had begun our brisk walk to the Longfield train station, which took us about 25 minutes. From there, Doug and I caught the 9:45 a.m. train to Victoria Station, where we arrived at around 10:10 a.m.
Not long after that I had a bit of a stroll down memory lane. It was a little over a year ago when my high school sponsored a student trip to England, a trip that was all too short and definitely sparked my interest in wanting to come back and spend more time here. Doug and I walked past the King’s Arms… a pub where my friend Justin Tappan and I had our first pint in England; The Reuben’s Hotel, located across from Buckingham Palace, where we all stayed while in London; and then Buckingham Palace itself.
Doug and I timed it perfectly and we were able to catch the changing of the guard ceremony. Quite a spectacle to witness… lots and lots of people gathered around the giant fence at the palace to see the changeover. When that concluded we walked back toward Victoria Station, where we stopped to have a good ol’ American meal at Burger King. Had another flashback to my high school trip in April 1987, when we walked past the Scotch Steak House, where Mike Straub, Molly Sherman, Pete Farrell, Debbie Jackson and I ate our first meal. We also saw the video arcade that lured Josh Weinberger and I, keeping us from going to Harrod’s with the class. Ah, memories!
With a slight drizzle falling from the sky, Doug and I returned to Victoria Station, and with our capital cards (pictured, right) in hand (£2.50, and you can ride on any train or bus in London all day, which has already saved us a bundle), we headed into Camden Town, where there was a market and smaller shops that we wanted to check out.
That’s where I found a cassette tape of Prince’s rare, bootlegged unreleased "Black Album", which my friend Scott Reed had asked me to try and find for him. I was hoping to find it on vinyl, but just in case I don’t see it again, I bought it. Scott is a big Prince fan and has been unable to find it in the States. He’ll have to hide it well since his Mom disapproves of Prince and will confiscate it if discovered (she already swiped his Prince tapes… but he found those and gave them to me for safe keeping… which isn’t a bad deal for me!) Scott’s at Liberty University right now; but unfortunately for him, I don’t think Jerry Falwell thinks any more highly of Prince.
I also found a rare bootleg Genesis LP called “A Trick of the Tail, Outtakes,” but it was £10 and I couldn’t afford it, so I had to pass. Hopefully I’ll see it again soon.
While walking around this area, we were continually approached by foolish socialist students peddling copies of the Socialist Worker newspaper. It wasn’t long before we’d had enough of that annoyance, and we hopped back on the Tube to head to Pimlico, where we went into the Tate Gallery. It was a fabulous art gallery, which featured so many different artistic styles. The highpoint of this venture came when I found Andy Warhol’s famous “Marilyn Monroe” painting, of which I have a copy back home. It was quite large, actually.
Well, after leaving the Tate Gallery (and witnessing Doug tell the gathering pigeons outside to “Get a job!”), we walked along the Thames River in search of a phone to tell Sid that we were coming back to her house at around 8 p.m. However, when we finally found a phone box, we ended up waiting 10 minutes before leaving because there was a knobhead suffering from malignant plumber’s butt calling car dealers galore.
So we left and continued to walk along the Thames until we came upon Parliament and Big Ben. We took a few pictures here (including the picture of Doug in front of Big Ben, top), then went into the Underground where we finally found a phone to call Sid. However, she wasn’t in, so we left a message that we would call back later, and continued our walk along the Thames to Trafalgar Square. Once we got there, we attempted to find Hamley’s, the world’s largest toy store, on Regents Street. However, we never quite made it. We stopped at Garfunkel’s restaurant in Piccidilly Circus for dinner, and afterward decided to skip Hamley’s, skip London, and head back to Hull tonight instead of tomorrow, as originally planned. The meal at Garfunkel’s was exquisite, and I had chicken kiev and Doug had a kabob. Doug also treated for the meal, which was very kind. Doug, I’m starting to notice, also has a way of confusing and disorienting waitresses.
Anyway, we left for King’s Cross Station, where we called Sid to tell her that over dinner (which we ate at 5 p.m., or noon Millersville time – I wonder what they had for lunch??), we decided to go back to Hull, so not to expect us. We then caught a 6 p.m. train to Doncaster. When we got to Doncaster, we fortunately had a few minutes to spare, because our train to Hull was 10 minutes late. Had the train been on time, we would’ve missed it. Thank heavens for late trains!
We arrived in Hull at 9 p.m., a three-hour trip again, and took a bus back to The Grange halls… tired, broke and happy. Doug was in very good spirits today… best I’ve seen him since we arrived. I guess a little journey to London was all he needed to break out of his funk.
However, the night was still young.
After checking the mail and unpacking, we went to Kenny’s room to talk for awhile. Kenny is a nice guy from St. Andrews, Scotland, who has one of the double rooms in St. Hilda's with a guy named Sean.
Then I returned to my room for a bit, because I wanted to listen to the “Black Album.” It was weird, funky, dirty, evil, and very black. Scott will get thrown out of college for sure! After that, I popped in “Sign O the Times,” then fell asleep until about 11:15 p.m. I walked over to the TV room in St. Hilda’s where theywere watching “Monty Python's The Meaning of Life” – on regular TV, unedited. That was on until 1:30 a.m.. Afterward I talked to a few people in the hall, including J.P., who had had “a few” and was very surprised to see that Doug and I were back.
Then I went back to my room, popped in an Andreas Vollenweider tape (or "Andre Volkswagen," as Greg Swartz calls him) to mellow out to some New Age music, closed my eyes and went to sleep. It had, indeed, been a very fine day.