Monday, October 01, 2007

Planes Trains Automobiles Buses and Tubes

I landed in London Saturday morning after flying through Toronto for a total of 13 hours. Managed 0 hours sleep but watched Spiderman 3 (mediocre), Hot Fuzz (fun), and read two books: Ondaatje's In The Skin Of a Lion (stunning) and Haddon's The Mysterious Case of The dog in The Garden at Night (excrutiatingly good) (can't remember the title but it was something like that). Took the Heathrow Express to Paddington, dropped one of my unneeded bags at Paddington' left-luggage, bought my train ticket for Reading on Monday, and then tubed to Covent Garden to meet sparx and the spud. She had to divert to the bus, since the Victoria tube line was out of service for the weekend. She made it right as I arrived, but had had to cancel her original plans to meet me at Paddington.

At Covent Garden, the cufflink store I wanted to see was closed despite saying they would be open. Looks like someone else was diverted that morning too.

We had a tea and breakfast roll sitting at an empty cafe and chitchatted while we entertained Charlie. I walked him totteringly around the tables. I estimate he will be walking in two months, at least that's my inexperienced, uneducated, uninformed and yet hopeful opinion. The worst thing is that he still doesn't talk, which I always find frustrating in the children of someone that I love. Despite my fervent attempts, he never mastered "Hoto" or even "Uncle" which I felt was very insulting and thoughtless of him, although since he's not yet really mastered "Mama" or "Dada" I shall have to wait for him to trot out those two tired old epithets first before I can hope for anything more (sigh).

After sitting and listening to a lively string quartet+flute in the Garden, followed by an odd couple singing decent opera, we gave up on waiting for the cufflink store and bussed/cabbed to Brixton where we met sparx' better half D at the house and dropped my bags off. We then just pottered about, had an exceptional Thai dinner at D's hand before my eyelids finally were too heavy to lift and I staggered to bed. Slept late on Sunday (9-ish) and had a good breakfast followed by the much anticipated Japanese F1 race, where we watched Lewis Hamilton rise above all the conflict and hype and take the win in the pouring rain.

Then we all bussed back to Covent Garden, obtained my cuflinks, had lunch at Neal's Yard (where Monty Python's offices used to be when they were starting out), took some pics in Trafalgar Square with the Spud on my shoulders, and finally arrived back for a pasta dinner in Brixton.

Now I am barrelling west on the train to Reading for a meeting; am being picked up by colleagues to head to a customer site in Swindon.

The sky is yellow and gray, but as always, the England tearing past my window seems surprisingly green and verdant. Like a very old house, England is always somewhere that I will belong, comfortable and grimy in the corners, friendly and full of welcoming life.

More later.
(sent wirelessly from my phone)

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