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13 February 2007 @ 02:06 pm
London, and I still, after many visits, don't know the coins.  
Much delayed but inevitable, our arrival Saturday into Heathrow. The coffee shops have changed, I'd rather Costa than Starbucks, but I needed the caffeine. I don't delight in flying. Still exhausted but now coffee-fueled we dragged our bags to the curb (kerb?).

The cab ride across the city in the damp gray (grey?) morning was finally familiar and a small excitement began to flicker in my tired head. We'll live in a neighbo(u)rhood that was warehouses and dock enterprises, the haunt of Jack the Ripper and Dr. Fu Manchu, and now supports financial workers, asian immigrants and hipsters. Curry houses and music clubs. Gilbert and George have lived their unchanging lives here for many years. A reasonable, not unfamiliar sort of urban life for we who spent some good time in the Lower East Side and Soho/Tribeca. We want to try city life again for a while and this'll sure do.

Into the loft, out to buy some food, wander by St. Katherine's Dock, formerly a real dock...now posh waterside living for Merrills, Bears, and Morgans. Luckily their moneyed presence attracted a really good food store to the area. We'll benefit by a shorter walk and fancier groceries. The loft is clean, fresh, quiet and there's minimal street noise...we're on a bit of a side street. Finally, kindly gathered up by sleep.

Sunday, make a list of what we need, make our way up to the street market in Brick Lane to find and bargain. We have some success (towels, a vase, flowers and good old carbon steel bonehandled tableknives), see other good stuff to perhaps return for later (two Stanley #10's!) and then lunch at the Hookah Lounge. More wandering... over to Spitalfields, pursuing a great steeple to find a stunning Hawksmoor church underneath it, then home to dinner. We have no Internet and the phone here has no ringer. We can only call out. We begin to feel isolated.

Monday we take Devin's cellphone out to get it a number and buy it some time. The English phone system permits different ways to access it; long term contracts or pay as you go...five pounds at a time or two hundred pounds at a time. We get a number attached to the phone, put ten pounds in and we're on our way.

Then we go off to the Giant Mall City at Canary Wharf...past Limehouse and just before Billingsgate. Shades of the OOH ESS A. Consumption is the cause, the purpose and the existence of this place. It's a familiar, but necessary, bore to a NorteAmericano. We find a cheap new phone with a ringer and a cheap coffee maker (and other stuff) and head home, where I clean the coffee maker and proceed to crack the carafe. Curses. But, later that evening, through M3inkie's gumption and the kindness of strangers, we acquire Internet access. Calloo callay. We're both up clacking till two.

Tuesday we're up late, return the broken carafe for a new one, breakfast on great french pastry and coffees at Paul's (an old friend we feel from breakfasts at the Paul's in Marylebone, but now franchised and fully dressed in clever graphics at Canary Wharf) and return home. Again out and up to Brick Lane to the fabric shops to buy a bolster so we can sit up in bed, then home for dinner and this post. I call Colin (who does in England and Europe what Benchmark does in USA), reconnect, and hear some of his great stories. I'm fond of him and don't keep in touch properly. The next few months will be fun. We arrange a visit Thursday and to use his shop over the weekend to build the table and storage we need in our room. I guess now we're in London.
 
 
Current Location: Backchurch Lane
Current Mood: Okay...yeah, okay.
 
 
 
Kettu, Тёня, 狐, Дилги, Лиса, Sionnach, whateverfoxfour on February 13th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
(i love your writing.)

using colin's shop sounds really cool. like, just the thing.
(Anonymous) on February 13th, 2007 11:00 pm (UTC)
I live in St Kath Dock
Its nice and Im not a Merrill, Bear or whatever
wingandwingwingandwing on February 13th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
Re: I live in St Kath Dock
It surely looks nice and certainly expensive, which was my meaning. No offense intended. By the way, who are you?