Sunday, August 29, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
On a cloudy autumn’s eve, in a lift bound for her house
Gab squished in with her neighbour, and she began to speak.
Some comments on the weather, and the clouds that looked like leaking.
And then she started rambling, and flushed a deep rose pink.
The businessman looked ashen, he knew he was a captive
In a tin can with a lunatic, who couldn’t zip her lip.
So he nodded with politeness, but didn’t answer her back,
Instead he made her feel like she was on an acid trip.
She doesn’t know when to hold it, know when to fold it
Know when to cut the crap, know when to cease.
She could tell that her neighbour was losing will to live,
And praying for the lift to stop so he could be released.
(Repeat until the memory fades)
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
When I opened this blog post, I fully intended writing something potentially meaningful about my hopes and dreams for this, my 33rd year on this earth. I seriously thought about sharing with you my reflections on getting older and (hopefully) wiser. Then I realised all of that was complete tosh and I totally couldn’t be bothered. You can thank me later.
Let’s instead spend our time much more fruitfully by wishing a happy birthday to the late Patrick Swayze, who would have turned 58 today. Happy Birthday, Johnny Castle. You never put Baby in a corner and for that (and for your topless scenes and especially the lift at the end of the movie), I know you’re still dancing dirty at the Sheldrake in the sky.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Having spent the last few weekends lurking around central
I bought a coffee at the station in an effort to wake myself up but thanks to a rather ill-fitting lid, I slopped a sizeable amount of the liquid gold straight down the front of me. By then I was wide awake and fortunately wearing a black tshirt so the evidence of my clumsiness was not immediately obvious. Unfortunately I started wondering how long it would be before I started to smell like sour milk. Fabulous. On the upside though, I caught the right train and at this point in my tourist experience, that counts for a lot.
At the risk of sounding like a guide book, it probably helps to give a bit of background commentary on the Palace at this point, so here we go. The grounds of
The first area that modern visitors see when they get to the Palace is called
The good thing about
- Henry VIII’s Apartments;
- Henry VIII’s Kitchens;
- Young Henry VIII’s Story;
- Mantegna’s Triumphs of Caesar;
- William III’s Apartments;
- Mary II’s Apartments; and
- The Georgian Private Apartments.
In addition to the audio guide, on weekends there are actors at the Palace who recreate the wedding of King Henry VIII and his sixth and final wife, Kateryn Parr. From 11am to 4.30pm, tourists can basically stalk the actors as they move through the Palace providing commentary on key activities during the celebration day. This sort of entertainment is usually provided for the benefit of children of course, so I wasn’t too eager to follow the troupe. That said, my audio guide commentary was interrupted on a number of occasions by actors and stalkers bursting into the room I was occupying and launching into the next act of their pantomime. Needless to say, when that happened I took my cue and made a hasty exit, stage left.
The excellent audio guide comprehensively covers the interior of the Palace but it does not provide commentary on the 60 acres of exterior Palace grounds. This hardly matters because the grounds are very extensive, well sign-posted and are easy to navigate on your own. The map that the guides give you is easy enough for even a knucklehead like me to read!
By the time I got out to the Gardens, the weather was turning pretty rotten. In retrospect I probably should have toured the grounds first and then retreated indoors to tour the Palace. Oh well, hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
During the summertime,
Having enjoyed the carriage ride, and noticing that the weather had somewhat improved, I set off on foot. I walked to The Great Vine, an amazing mass of grape vines, planted in 1768. The vines are still producing fruit and the vines are even in the Guinness Book of Records! Pretty amazing stuff. Staying outside, I skirted around the back of the Palace and to King Henry VIII’s indoor tennis court, which looks as you would expect. Even today members of the Royal Tennis Club are allowed to practice on the court (and two guys were there doing exactly that, but they were old, slow, and stopping to chat every 2 seconds so I couldn’t be bothered hanging around to watch them).
I was going to see the famous
Finishing my lunch, I became one of those silly tourists that I had earlier derided and made a mad dash for the souvenir shop, in the pouring rain, before legging it to the train station.
From the safety of my apartment, I looked back over the photos I took today, to relive the enormity of the
You can view some of my
Monday, August 02, 2010
Waterloo Station - Concourse Windsor Side
Originally uploaded by Tristan Appleby.
One of the first things I was told about Londoners is that they are, by and large, an aloof lot. I was warned not to expect any conversation on the Tube; in fact, eye contact is almost unheard of and if someone smiles at you, they are more than likely psychologically suspect.
Having come from Australia by way of the US, you can imagine how much of an adjustment all this has been. Don't get me wrong, I'm not likely to grin like the Cheshire Cat at complete strangers either, but I'm not averse to issuing a cordial 'good morning' or nod of acknowledgement here and there. That doesn't jive here, apparently.
From what I can already tell, the advice I received was pretty well spot-on. Londoners are notoriously private and enjoy a public transport commute free from interruption or interaction. But once they hit the train platform, Londoners have absolutely no trouble invading each other's personal space and pushing and shoving to get where they need to go.
Being vertically challenged as I am, I bear the brunt of this physicality quite often. In my 8 weeks here, I've already had my share of stray elbows to the face and backpacks to the head, mostly inflicted at Waterloo Station (where all bets are off, and human civility ceases to exist). Don't wait for apologies because they will never come. A peak hour Waterloo Station commute is Darwinism in the flesh.
All that said, there are advantages to being my size. I may be small but these days I've learned to be deceptively quick on my feet and can bob and weave with ease. Come to think of it, perhaps that is the REAL reason people advised me to wear ballet flats every day. It has less to do with navigating the uneven cobbled streets and more to do with just staying alive?! Food for thought really.