Friday, April 19, 2013

School’s Out

Robin finished her week-long class today. She learned a lot about research and what resources are available, and she’s glad she made the trip for the class. That’s always a good thing.

I spent most of the day at the St. Pancras international train station enjoying the free and robust WiFi connection, catching up on blogging. 

Tomorrow morning we take the tube to Marble Arch station and catch a bus to Oxford for the day. We plan to meet Oxford friends Lynn and Neal (and probably great dog Winston) and possibly visit a nearby castle. And dinner at a pub. Castles and pubs, just part of the day here.

Every weekday, around 5 pm, the sidewalk outside of pubs fills up with patrons leaving work and heading home.

This pub and the one above are about two blocks from each other. Seems like a nice tradition to me. 

At the end of the day I walked from the St. Pancras Station, past the St. Pancras Hotel, to the British Library to meet Robin in the book store. 
Above: The British Library lobby. Do not try to sneak out with this book.

This is John Betjeman, the poet laureate who is mainly responsible for saving St. Pancras from being torn down. He also helped save the Black Friar pub from being destroyed.

Earlier in the day I tubed over to Covent Garden to visit the Apple Store. A quintet of buskers was performing for tips in the courtyard.  

The Covent Garden courtyard. It’s still early in the year so crowds are small. By mid-summer it’s a big swarm of people.

A performer thrills the audience with this high-wire act.

EuroStar trains at St. Pancras international train station. Go to Paris for lunch and you can be back in time for bed. 

A light lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in the St. Pancras station.  

I'm going to resist the temptation to compare this train station to the one in Lamy, New Mexico.

Left Overs

Some more photos left over from yesterday.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away... wait, wrong text. Yesterday, as I walked toward Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, I passed the Black Friar pub, a landmark that I’ve passed by more than a few times, photographed, and sketched. But I’ve never gone inside. I decided to take a look and it’s probably the most beautiful pub I’ve seen. It’s on the Must-Have-A-Pint-There list. Maybe Sunday afternoon after we leave the nearby Tate Modern and the Lichtenstein exhibit.

This pub is an art-nouveau masterpiece, built in 1905 on the site of a former friary which existed from 1279 to 1539, after which it became the parliament chamber of the 
monastery. It is believed (yeah, we’ve heard that before) that Emperor Charles V, the papal magistrate, and Henry VIII's court sat on this very site during the dissolution of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon in 1532. 

I passed by my favorite car dealership. I buy all of my McLarens here. Or I plan to.

My journey to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese also took me right past The Seahorse on the corner of Friday and Bread streets. In Shakespeare’s time there was a pub at this location named The Mermaid and on the first Friday of every month London’s most notable writers and philosophers would gather here as a social group, called The First Friday Club. Either Shakespeare didn't get the memo, or —like most other Shakespeare documents — no documentation of him ever being part of this luminary group has been found. 

A local businessman using The Seahorse as an afternoon office.

Looking out the Mermaid Tavern — I mean Seahorse — window toward Friday Street.

More evidence that I'm being followed by a homeless guy. 
Lots of school groups everywhere. I'm glad I don't have to try to keep track of them on the tube. 

A poster in the tube. Yes, I can see how you might call this stuff outsider art, if you wanted to be polite. 

If you're a kid, racing everyone to the top of an escalator is just another opportunity to burn some extra energy. 

I saw this couple in the tube. On a poster. Ha! Scared ya. 

A patient little guy deals with big city life.


Here, for you portrait painters out there, are more of the paintings by Andrew Salgado in the Harvey Nichols display windows, because I’m totally freaked out by how great they are. It’s as if Lucian Freud decided to really loosen up and stop being so conservative with color.

These photos don't really do justice, due to the reflections in the glass, but you get the idea.

Beautiful stuff.

Forward to Yesterday

While here at the fabulous St. Pancras train station I’m using the also fabulous free WiFi service here. I was supposed to meet Robin here for lunch, but her class decided to take their instructor to lunch. What a bunch of suck-ups. I mean that in a nice way. At least it gives me a chance to upload some photos.

After I walked Robin to class, I stopped by an upscale electronics store to buy a mophie extra power pack for my iPhone. No luck so I changed my original plan of going to the National Portrait Gallery and made a tube hop to the Apple Store in Covent Garden. They had the mophie I was looking for, and I enjoyed the visit to Covent Garden. Photos in a coming-soon blog.

But now I gotta get some of these yesterday photos uploaded before I lose track of them.

I started the day yesterday with a tube ride/hike to Hyde Park, hoping to visit the Sepentine Gallery, which was closed. I asked if it would be closed all day and they said "Yes, until June." I decided not to wait and walked back across the park. Lots of dogs there. These two Golden Swan Chasers were having a great time.

I said "Give me a classic swan pose" and the swan struck this 10-second pose. Maybe 5 seconds.

A nice spot on Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake to have a snack.

Looks like the Swan & Pigeon Patrol has discovered a kid with bread.

Harrod’s department store is in the neighborhood so I stopped by. Harrod’s has 22 different upscale bars, cafes, and restaurants, and lots of other food markets and counters.  I recommend the cuttlefish, above.

More Harrod’s. Whole Foods will never seem the same.

Makes me wonder what I missed by just staying on the first floor.

Harrod’s perfume department. The scent in here os lovely but overpowering (cough, gasp, choke).  

Harvey Nichols, famous for its window displays, is about a block away from Harrods. This window display rivals almost any gallery exhibit I've seen. I love love love these paintings. And the entire presentation. This photo just shows about half of the windows of this particular display. 

Very contemporary and impressionistic. Love the paint spatters, splashes, and smears on the glass.
Detail of a painting. The artist is Andrew Salgado. I love you man.

The window displays include mannequins that are splashed with paint.

Love the messy paint on the windows. I keep seeing that homeless guy reflected in windows, but when I turn around he’s gone. Creepy.

Speaking of galleries, most tube stations are also galleries. This exhibit at Gloucester Road is based on a Big Ben theme.