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London: Day One [Dec. 18th, 2016|12:35 pm]

We are in London for the briefest of weekends, mostly for the Bears' carol evening - but there's always time to visit friends, and to have a look round, too.

Starting with a visit to King's Cross: as we arrived, I caught sight of a large sculpture in front of the station that surely hadn't been there before - so the following morning we all went back to take a proper look. Sure enough, a Henry Moore is on long loan in front of the station (chosen, apparently "to suit the vertical lines of the Grade I listed station..." and "because it is impossible to sit on and very difficult to climb."). The picture I'm most satisfied with doesn't show any of those things:


Time to see what's changed since our last visit, three years ago. Resisting the foodie market outside the station (very foodie, very pricey, but the bread was very tempting!) and the queue to photograph each other at platform 9 3/4, we found ourselves a table in the Parcel Year (now a pub) for surprisingly good coffee. It was busy, and loud, but I can see it would be a good place to know about at quieter times. Then out to Granary Square: what's that iceberg?

Fighting Fire with Ice Cream

It's sculpture, of course, but I like the conceit of the tree in the block of ice (oh! doesn't it look good with the lights on?).

We lunched, as before, at the Skip Garden, although it has exercised its ability to move round the site, and has grown a more solid-looking café, with an upstairs (a second portakabin on top of the first, I think) whose picture window gives a fine view of a muddy patch of land, cleared for construction. The café claims to use produce grown in the garden, and while this probably doesn't include the pomegranate seeds scattered over the Bears' salads, durham_rambler and I had Jerusalem artichoke soup, and I'd believe that. Also excellent crusty seedy bread.

Work progresses in building luxury flats within the old gasometers, but one has been stripped back to a skeleton, and left open as a little park:


":Gashenge!" said BoyBear, and he's not wrong, though you'd need an aerial photo to see it clearly. I loved the details of the mechanism, presumably to allow the structure to rise and fall as it filled with gas and emptied again. The park opens onto the canal, where a walkway takes you past the lock, and the lock-keeper's cottage, to Granary Square. Another new arrival since we were last there is Waitrose, where we stocked up on what was needed for tonight's mulled wine. Entrance was through a temporary market, advertised as 'Wallpaper Hygge Market' - but Wallpaper magazine favours the cool design end of Scandinavian culture, and the stalls were white and frosty, very pretty but with the sort of chill that hygge was invented to combat.

The day wasn't over yet: after a pause at home to recuperate, we set off again for Waltham Cross, to dine as we did last year with A and A (durham_rambler remarked that the journey was a lot easier by train!) They've had various things happening in their lives, so there was plenty to talk about, and I was glad not to be trying to cram all the conversation in between carols. And the train got us home in time to make a serious attack on the Oldie prize crossword (in fact, BoyBear had finished it by the time I got up the next morning). So that was Friday...

[User Picture]From: desperance
2016-12-19 07:28 am (UTC)
John Arlott always used to talk about the gas holders at the Oval...
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-12-19 09:26 pm (UTC)
Now a listed building, and so less likely to become a des. res. in the near future...
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[User Picture]From: anef
2016-12-21 12:56 pm (UTC)
Darn, I commute via King's Cross 3 times a week, and I never saw the tree in the block of ice! If I'd known it was there I would definitely have gone to take a look.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-12-21 07:51 pm (UTC)
As I hope the photo makes clear, it isn't magnificent or unmissable - but the sort of thing it's good to see for yourself! Is it too late?
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