If it were a person, I would marry it.
I arrived this afternoon by way of a 4 hour, 24 minute express service from Glasgow which went by very quickly. The train fought its way through flooding in the borders and masses of fields and sheep and mist. This is such a gorgeous country, I wish people would appreciate it a little more. I love the train.
I came into Euston and needed to get to Shepherd’s Bush where my hostel is. Euston is a big station, running rail and tube lines, so this would seem easy, right? No. Is there a lift? Bah! Who needs lifts when we have stairs, you ask? Well, in short, me. My case was a backpack when I got here four months ago. It is now a slightly pregnant pink beast on wheels containing a backpack and my accumulations of four months of life, and masses of sweeties to keep my siblings loving. I need to review this whole travelling light notion. And the downward escalator was not working. Hence the problem.
So I banged my way down those stairs and dragged my way through tunnels like a mouse burrowing into walls for the winter, in search of a southbound Northern Line train. I love that I barely ever have to wait for a tube train. There always seems to be one pulling up just as I get to the platform. How handy. Anyway. I launched the beast onto the train and snuck in before the thirty seconds was up an was off again. Of course, I was wearing a long sleeved top under a hoodie, under a jacket and after all this fighting I was three flights under ground and I was boiled. I made it to Tottenham Court Road and launched the beast off the train while the Mind The Gap lady was still giving her speech, and forged onward to tackle escalators and 20-step staircases. Always up. Why are they ALWAYS up?
To whomever started the rumour about Londoners being sullen, unfriendly gits,
I had no less than five of your so-called unfriendly gits assist me on my 15 minute tirade through the tube system with my case today. And three of these, very cute young boys at that. Even one super-strong but skinny faerie in thick-rimmed glasses who carried the beast all the way up one of those 20-step stairs by himself! He was a darling and I told him so. So you can take it back. They are a lovely bunch. And they even say, oh, I am sorry, darling in their delightful cockney accents when they bump into you. So there.
And another thing whilst I’m on my rant:
Dear London Transport folks,
Your tube system is a marvel. I love it, I really do. But some lifts, please! And some air conditioning. If you could. Thanks.
Either way I made it to my hostel which has pink and yellow walls and red and blue beds, so a very happy place indeed, so handy right across the street from Shepherd’s Bush tube.
I have finally made it to Shepherd’s Bush, though I have been swearing I would get here for years. The lovely Gavin was living here when Bush (x) formed, and I have always been curious.
I found the beast a resting place and phoned Mumma, then Granny, then Johnny, to ensure they all knew I was in a nice neighborhood and stood very little chance of being accosted by the serial killer who is currently picking off hookers in Ipswich. It’s far away, ok guys? Chill. And by the way I’m not a hooker.
And then I ran away. I hopped on the tube to Oxford Street and checked out the Christmas lights and the giant shops. Oxford Street and Regent Street basically have the Supersize equivalent of all the UK high street shops, some American ones and lots of specialties you won’t find anyplace else.
(The photo is not great but if you notice the Bobby is riding by on a horse. Where else in the world do they do this on a regular day? Love it. )
The steps from the station delivered me as if by magic, right in front of the giant Topshop. What is a girl to do? That is the most beautiful shop in all the world. My Holly, if you saw it, you would reach for your visa card and pass out in an instant. They have bags and shoes and tights, oh my. In every colour and conceivable size. Jewels and nails and a vintage section and a boutique section. Scarves and makeup and dresses and even sweeties. It’s like Disneyland in there.
So naturally I found a few things I want but I am saving myself for Portobello Road on Saturday and then there may be a trip back. And then I went into H&M. Also bad news and everything is so cheap. I found a green dress and a purple cardigan to love, but again it will wait.
And then I had the bright idea to pop into Hamleys.
It is the biggest toy store in the world. Seven whole floors of toys. Lego EVERYTHING. Stuffed creatures, magic tricks, bikes and trikes and gadgets and games and puzzles and giant teevees to play nintendo on. And a lifesize stuffed giraffe that costs 3500 pounds. For my Canadian friends, that is about $7500. But someone, somewhere in this town will buy it. I’m sure they will. Perhaps Madonna will buy if for little David. Why bother putting a price tag on it otherwise? Madness.
The guy sitting ahead of me on the train today was busy writing a paper about derivatives. Now, I don’t know much about derivatives but I do know this. The people who deal in them just a few stops down on the tube in The City are making Christmas bonuses in the nether regions of Two Million pounds. I know this because it was in the Metro paper just last week. They make such big bonuses they’re not even allowed to breathe a word of them. And they are young twentysomethings, mostly boys but some girls. SO where is mine? I should have bought him a cup of tea and helped him with his spelling. Perhaps he would have bought me the giraffe. Bollocks.
Anyways. Tangent over.
I wandered Chinatown and Soho and Leicester Square, which, by the way, has been turned into a fairground for the season, complete with a carousel and games to win giant stuffed things. How thoughtful. And then I turned a corner and there it was Piccadilly Circus. It makes me smile no matter how many times I see it.
I passed the theatre where they are showing Mary Poppins which is on Old Compton Street, heart of Gay London, funnily enough, and cried a little at the prospect of a 55 pound ticket. I passed faeries in suits and faeries in woolly jumpers and thought of my lovely Benny and how this is such the perfect place for him. I ate Thai food for dinner, passed up gay porn cinemas and Soho sex shops and peep shows, though when I passed one such peep show, the rather unbecoming lady perched on the stool at the door gave me a look as though perhaps I DID want to take her up on it. I have to admit I am painfully curious. Do I have a volunteer, preferably male, who would kindly pop in there and see what exactly the arrangement is? I would be forever grateful. Thanks. I did snoop around the bookshops though because they do have the most fabulous art & photography books alongside their piles of erotica, which given the chance may not be half bad.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I love this city.