Saturday, 23 March 2013

Travelling by arm chair

Odd week this week. Unfortunately only the very smallest of opportunities to partake in any urban wandering, and that was after work, when it was dark, cold and wet. I has hoped the few days of milder weather we had a week or so back was a sign that spring was finally on its way, but we seem to be back into deepest winter again this week. These short wanders took me around the Paddington area and to some familiar mews, but I didn't hang around there too long as it was bitterly cold.

So, my entry today is more a series of observations that a write-up of an urban wander. Firstly I think I'm slowing down. What do I mean by this? Well, I've noticed that I no longer stand up before the train pulls into Paddington to make sure I get off first and beat the crowds, but instead I stay in my seat until almost everyone else has alighted, and then miss the crowds at the other end of the process. I can't say this is something I have made a conscious attempt to do, but just something that seems more aligned to my mindset these days.

On the rare occasions I stay over in London instead of making my way back to the countryside, I am always a bit concerned about whether I over-indulge in the hotel breakfasts. If I've been out for a meal the night before I generally don't need a cooked breakfast the morning after, but if it's there, all laid out neatly in front of me, I find it hard to resist. However, I do try and have some fruit and cereal to balance this off, so not feeling too guilty, and even less so when the two girls opposite me were having coke with their cooked breakfast. I Used to drink quite a lot of fizzy drinks as a kid, but haven't done so for years and years now, but even I am not sure I had coke for breakfast.

I'm up in London again next week, in a couple of different locations but am not sure that either the weather forecast, or my work schedule will allow me to wander very much. So much to do, so little time.

On a more positive note however, the inability to get out and about in the evenings has meant that I have managed to find time to catch up on some of the recorded TV programmes. In particular I'm working my way through the final episodes of Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys series 3, as he continues to navigate his way around Britain using George Bradshaw's guide book. These short, episodes are just about enough to fill the odd half-hour between other activities, and as with many things these days provide me with more places to add to my "to visit" list. This week it's been the Scottish West Coast, so not something I could quite manage in a lunchtime or after work one evening. I've also been enjoying the BBC series, Heritage: the Battle for Britain's Past, which includes some incredible archive footage, and also some great moments of architectural sadness as witnessed by the demolition of so much Victorian architecture, all in the name of progress.


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