Sunday, 3 August 2014

London July 14


Drove down to London this week with the family to see the sister and to see a bit more of London. I've got a “to do” list that I'm gradually ticking my way through with every trip south I take.

Ate in a Big Red Bus converted into a restaurant. Delicious pizza. Quirky surroundings.

Watched the sunset from the observatory at The Shard, the highest building in the UK. The highlight of the trip. It's not cheap but it's worth every penny. Absolutely beautiful views. If you're wondering what the draft is, it's because you're technically outside, although with the tall glass windows in front of you it doesn't feel like it. It's an open roof. I wonder how they maintain the place when it rains. Thankfully, it was dry for us all weekend.

I also dropped by the very scenic Barking Park,

The Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the Thames,

and stumbled upon The Ragged School Museum. The Secret London guide describes this venue as “a Victorian lesson in East End history.” An homage to Thomas Bernardo’s successes in introducing accessible free schooling for children, the museum holds real school lessons for children so that they can see the differences in life in school a hundred or more years ago to how they experience it themselves. There was no class running at the time, but the curator spoke to us, explaining that a lot of the staff were actors. “The teacher plays a very stern woman, very no-nonsense,” explained the retirement-aged gentleman, possibly a historian, in a very posh and probably genuine accent. “But in those days, when they had classes of a hundred children, they had to keep control. Nowadays, kids don't see this kind of teaching. Some of the children cry.”

We finished the trip with a drop-in on relatives in Frinton, Essex. We ate at The Flight Centre. The flying school has an apparently affiliated restaurant where, through the windows, you can watch people take helicopter pilot lessons from the comfort (and comparative safety) of your dinner table.

Brilliant weekend. Plenty more like this to come.

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