London, London, London. I love cities the way I love stubbing my toes on the dog’s tricycle. Ruddy ant-hills, can’t stand the places… and yet, when the Bro’ mooted a visit to our own capital I was disinclined to unagree. A spot of home-grown tourist activity might just blow the cobwebs away, and we do all so tend to neglect our own countries, don’t we?
Railway trains, aeroplanes and motor vehicles is the norm for bouncing around, but on this occasion I didn’t need to ask for the personal jet to be wheeled out, I simply motored over the Pennines to Cheshire, signed the Bro’ out of his secure establishment and then we took the Virginal train from Crewe. Two first class tickets to the smoke, please, and make it snappy. They did make it snappy – just an hour and a half later we were disgorged onto the platform at Euston, fed, watered and eager.
Fed, watered, eager and straight into those ultimate expressions of ant-hill social structures; yonder tube trains. I love tube trains the way I love tripping up over the dog’s discarded rugby boots. They are chaotic, with twisting tunnels, every escalator at a different angle, platforms high, low and inbetween, curved platforms, straight platforms, you name it. Ugh. I don’t “travel” on tube trains, I submit myself to them with my mind disconnected in the vague hope of popping into the light again, somewhere usefully closer to my destination.
The plan was to tourist and to tourist all day, every day, and that is what we did. Museums, galleries, attractions, a spot of a boat trip on the Thames – even an open-topped bus tour around the “ooh is that Buck Hice?” sights. Most splendid indeed. What I had not expected though was for a plot to thick while we were there. Travelling around London, seeing Boris’s Lair and HMS Belfast and Buckingham Palatial and many other such, an idea for a rather delicious plot took hold, and each time we saw another part of London the plot fleshed itself out. Ordinarily I cannot stand London, it is an over-blown, over-privileged, over-funded, self-centred, uber-parochial and institutionally arrogant nest of corporate n’er-do-wells and grime-covered unhappy corporate slaves. Any “living” that they do is done incidentally, in brief moments and narrow gaps between shuffling about like the insane Martians of Mr Quatermass’s proverbial Pit. The inhabitants, if they think about it at all, think that Hadrian’s Wall runs through a high-security Customs Post at Watford Gap. It is, however, ripe for a yarn that centres on the delicious sillinesss of royalty, the idiocy of “our” politicians in all shapes and forms, and a spot of an English p*ss-take in general.
In fact, London is very, very different in aspect these days to most of the rest of England. I had difficulty in making myself understood, and the locals had great difficulty in understanding what I was saying. ‘Cosmopolitan’ is a term that has long since become inadequate to describe London, it has gone far, far beyond Cosmopolitan. Looking around the place, it’s no wonder that “our” politicians – who think that London is the be-all and end-all of reality – are so out of touch with the other sixty million people stuffed onto the island.
Anyway, I not only got a great plot and outline from the visit, I also got loads of photos, half a million of which I shall be boring you with in future posts here. There are some great sights and places to visit, some hugely impressive museums and galleries – and we even made an expedition to Hampton Court Palace for a spot of Henry VIII’ing. I have to be more kind to London now that it has given me such a giggle-icious plot to work with.
Smoochies, from Eros with love.