Thursday, 19 November 2009

Day 19

A few weeks ago I had a dream in which a jumbo jet crashed into the Thames in front of Tower Bridge, so today I decided to visit the scene. There was a nice moment in the B&B when I was on my laptop writing down directions from Google Maps, which is what I do most mornings (several receipts, my old plane ticket and a copy of my CV are all covered in scribbles), when I realised that all I had to do was go South-East. And I did! And I didn't get lost once! I just went South-East. I lived four years in Aberdeen and never had any idea what was North from what, but here I seem to have mastered the compass points, and I don't have to see what side moss is growing on streetlamps or anything.

Streetsigns are still no fun to try and find, though, and every time I look up to find one, I feel like I'm just gazing in awe at the tall buildings like a meandering tourist. "Wow, this newsagents is so much bigger than the yurts back home". Although, heh, the other day when I was looking for an office off Tottenham Court Road, I had a piece of paper with the address on and looked at the piece of paper and then looked up at the building. It felt very fictional.

So I started to go South-East, and on my way there I found the London Church of Scientology. I went on in and gazed around. I could really tell that the receptionist was used to people turning up and not taking things seriously.
Receptionist: "Can I help you?"
Me: "No. I just wanted to know what this... is".
Receptionist: "Would you like a tour?"
Me: "No".
Receptionist: "Would you like some free DVDs?"
Me: "Yes. They're free?"
Receptionist: "They're free".
Me: "Okay. Thanks".

I now have some DVDs on scientology. Hurrah.

I did about a million Thames walks, and after a while realised that the trick is to follow the joggers. Follow the joggers as they pummel every bone in their feet and snag every toe on the cobbles. Gawd, I found myself in some strange underpasses and long galleries of plaques about London as a Roman city. There were also lots of alleyways to roam along. Oh look, the "clink prison", what the hell is that? And the thingy palace; ooh, a palace? And the GLOBE, it's the Globe! Oh no, they made it all gaudy, but never mind, the outside is fascin -- WHERE'S THE THAMES; I'VE LOST THE WATER, WHERE IS -- ah there it is. And look, a giant ship! HMS Belfast, huh?

The only problem with crossing Tower Bridge was that the view is rubbish -- because you're walking over the bloomin' view. Then there was the Tower of London, obviously, and beautiful as it was, it was sort of all fish-and-chippy and all that. So I carried on with the Thames walks and, being on the North Bank, they weren't as good. One of them had a sign: "should warn you that this walkway gets flooded quite a lot, so... lol".

At one point I was gazing into the olive-green Thames like a fool, and a fella beside me expressed interest in the big drilling machine that was half way across the river. So he roared at the workers on it: "SCUSE ME! SCUSE ME!!!"
The workers stopped the drill in order to hear him! (And the whole city slumped into a lull)
Fella: "WHAT ARE YOU DRILLING FOR? OIL?"
Worker: "NO, WE'RE DRILLING FOR WATER! FOR THE WATER TUNNELS!"
I don't know what that means.

Tomorrow, I think, will be a Soho day. This third week has turned from being a work-seeking thing to just a bit of a holiday, really, now that I've booked my ticket back to Scotland on Day 21. Here is a bridge:



Here is a better bridge:

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