Sunday, 16 March 2008

North, South, East and West

A couple of weeks ago, my dad came to visit for the weekend. We packed a huge amount in to a couple of days. Highlights were:

* Curry in Brick Lane on Friday night (East End)

* Drinks in a City pub (City)

* Getting to the top of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath on Saturday morning (North London)

* Watching Fulham v Man Utd on Saturday afternoon (sadly not me, but dad and Kevin enjoyed it) (West London)

* Going on a boat trip along the Thames to the Dome (East End)

* Taking a trip on the London Eye (South Bank)

All in all, we covered a lot of ground and really got the sense of how different each part of London is - it's an amazing city.

Too cool for school

Last month we had a Camden-based weekend involving going to see a band on the Fri night and wandering round Camden market on the Sunday (before getting ever so slightly tipsy mid-afternoon!)

It's not often that I'm particularly self conscious about what I'm wearing or how I look but being in Camden on a Friday night was a bit of a test! We went to see Glasvegas, who have been tipped as one of the next big things. Having spent a fair amount of time in various music venues in my life, I'm used to turning up in jeans and a t-shirt and, well, enjoying the music. That didn't seem to be the point at KoKo in Camden. The phrase that came to mind was church of superficiality, epitomised by a girl I spotted wearing sunglasses (in a club, I mean come on!?). There wasn't a haircut in sight that hadn't been carefully angled and tweezed into that 'casually tousled' look and I don't think there was a single person there who actually let themselves relax for long enough to enjoy the band. All very entertaining in a bizarre kind of way. We ended the night in the wee small hours with an expensive trip home in a minicab!

I was running on the Saturday and then again, in a 10K race, on the Sunday morning (around Canary Wharf, which was beautiful and eerie). Then on the Sunday afternoon, because it was a beautiful crisp day, we decided to seek out some views. Primrose Hill had been mentioned to us, so we eagerly set off, hoping for a bit of a climb and a chance to see out across London.

Lovely as it was when we got there, it was clear that the definition of a "hill" is slightly different in London than in Edinburgh. When we say hill, we mean Arthur's Seat - i.e. a proper bloomin' hill, not just a bit of a mound...

The view across London was, well, alright, but a bit of an anti-climax I'm afraid. Anyway, we wandered through Primrose Hill, the area, and were amused to spot the former abode of Marx's comrade, Friedrich Engels. Nestled among the organic cafes, designer boutiques and exorbitantly priced flats that are home to the London glitterati, I wonder what he would have made of it!?

We ended up in Camden again, this time along Camden Lock and through Camden Market, which is a riot of colour and energy. Feeling slightly knackered after my running efforts I requested a pit stop for a small glass of wine... several hours later and feeling much rested, we rolled out of the pub and headed home.