A cold sunny day in London


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October 27th 2008
Published: October 28th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

What Year is It?What Year is It?What Year is It?

An interesting scene in London. It could have been taken in the early 1960s yet it was today.
As the sunshine streamed through my living room window this morning, the news here continues to be dominated by the world financial crisis. Sterling took a nose dive last night against the US dollar and it has many here in a spin. I have no idea what the implications of this drop in the value of the pound means for my exchange rate and frankly I am not going to worry too much about it.

Yesterday (Monday) my brother Paul and I wandered along through Southwark and the Southbank. We stopped off for coffee and hot chocolate at Le Pain Quotidien before crossing the Hungerford bridge which would take us to the National Gallery. Le pain was established in the early 1990's in Brussels and is a great spot for food and drink in a rustic setting.

After warming up with hot beverages it was onto the Hungerford Bridge towards the National Gallery which houses one of the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world. As with most Museums in London (and I assume the rest of Britain) entry is free and donations are encouraged at the door.

There are some fabulous works of art in
Window TaxWindow TaxWindow Tax

The window tax was a significant social, cultural, and architectural imposition in the 17th and 18th centuries. The concept was that you were charged a tax by the number of windows in your house. Even today (see top floor of this picture) there are buildings with bricked up windows that were either never used or bricked-in to prevent paying the tax.
the museum including classics such as the Sunflowers by Van Gogh, a number of Manets and Monets, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Cezanne, Rubens, Constable and Caravaggio.

After the National Gallery we wandered past Somerset House an imposing mansion built in 1547 by Edward Seymour. During winter there is an ice-skating rink in front of Somerset House.

We stopped for lunch was at Wagamama before returning to our respective apartments here in Empire Square.

Dinner was at Paul's place and then afterwards we watched the first show in a series featuring former Deputy PM John Prescott and his wife about the relevance of the class system in Britain today. It was really interesting to see Prescott (from working class roots) interact with the upper class and upper middle class types on this show.

Today (Tuesday) my brother and I are off to Hampstead during the day and dinner in Soho in the evening. I think I'll bring out the overcoat for today’s adventuring as it will be cold. Hampstead Heath is a 791 acre park about 8km from the centre of London. From what my brother tells me it offers fantastic views of London and the surrounding
The IvyThe IvyThe Ivy

Winding our way through Southwark I spotted this lovely old block of flats covered in ivy.
area.



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Sunshine on the ThamesSunshine on the Thames
Sunshine on the Thames

A cool yet sunny day with CJ in the foreground and St Paul's Cathedral in the background
A funny thing happened on the way to the National GalleryA funny thing happened on the way to the National Gallery
A funny thing happened on the way to the National Gallery

Coming off Hungerford Bridge we came across this place. Needless to say, we took a quick snap and scuttled away!
The City of WestminsterThe City of Westminster
The City of Westminster

Looking back towards Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament with the London eye on the left of the photograph.


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