We visit the centre of time..Greenwich and then out to the 'burbs and finally Beatles territory of Abbey Road

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May 31st 2009
Published: June 1st 2009
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Look we know you guys in New Zealand are FREEZING 'cos we are up with the news here in sunny and warm London and we do feel for you.But we are pleased we are here and the weather continues to play ball and make the sightseeing so much more enjoyable.
A change of shower venue this morning meant all we had to do is use the vacant studio apartment next door and save some time from walking across the railway.
We met our planned departure time of 10am and hit the road up to the railway through the rubbish left by the locals from last night.
It must be something to do with the socio economic are we are staying in as we havent seen this sort of mess in other areas we have walked in the city.Don't want to sound snobby on this topic but itesnt take a lot to keep your rubbish in your hand until you get to a bin or get home.
The area is quite ethnic with West Indians probably in the biggest numbers and then Indians and those of Arabic background.Many speak their own tongue and it has been interesting to listen into some of the conversations especially those between Indians who have spoke a sort of pidgen English.Wonder how their kids get on at school here??
We decided to start out today by going to the centre of the world!!!Greenwich Observatory.
It was just a short ride down the District line to Bow Road where we switched to the Dockland Light Rail(DLR) after a short walk up the road from the underground station.
The line looks relatively new compared to the underground and was probably started when the dockland area was redeveloped into offices and apartments.There is still some extensions and improvements going on to the light rail system.
The train is driverless which can be a bit unnerving when the train dives down under the Thames river for one part of the trip to the Greenwich station also named for the Cutty Sark.
We walked down to the river to have a look at exactly where we were on the river and found that we were closer to the iconic gerkin shaped building than we were yesterday on our river walk which surprised us which indicates we have lost our sense of direction in this huge city with few high spots to line your position up against.
The Cutty Sark was destroyed by fire a couple of years ago and is in a state of restoration.
We walked through the British Maritime College and it seemed there had been some big celebration there yesterday as they were packing up a stage and there were heaps of workmen toiling away in the warm sun to get the job done.
We then tackled a small hill on which the observatory is situated.The building has been there since the early 1600's and it is here that the centre of the world from a longitude aspect is.
You can stand either side of the line marked on the ground and have one foot west of GMT and one east!!Interestingly the first line was moved soon after it was drawn although we couldnt find the exact reason for it.Apparently though the 20 or so metre movement doesnt affect time as it relates to a millisecond.
We joined the queue to have a photo and got the couple in the line behind us to take the photo of us and Murray standing at the centre of the world.
Back through the park where hundreds of Londoners(many with their shirts off - it is really quite a scene sometimes - were sunning themselves)Even some with bikinis!!!Now we know that the shops were we have seen them modelled in their windows do sell them after all.!!
Our daily visit to McD's was in order before we caught the DLR to Bank and swtiched lines to get us to Camden Town.Here we joined the throngs shopping in the Camden Rd stores and markets that seemed to be up every little alley there was.Think this has been the most people we have seen in one smallish area since we arrived.It also probably had something to do with the sunshine.
We walked up the road to the Camden Locks and were fortunate to arrive when a small canal boat was passing through the locks.
Its a 3 man job,one steering,one on the bow and the other opening and closing the locks(an all manual operation).The guy driving seemed to have the best job and perhaps was why he was supping on a beer while the other two hustled and bustled to keep the action going.
Beside the locks were cafes and takeaways with hundreds of people in the area,many lying in the sun next to the waterway.One of the takeaways had seats that were the back ends of motor scooters,very nifty.
One of the unfortunate things with so many people was the rubbish in the waterway which spoilt the appearance a bit.
We wandered along the road for a way taking in the shops and markets and then back to the underground only to find that the station is closed to outbound passengers on Sunday afternoons due to congestion and we could see why with so many people in the area.
So we had to stroll about 5 minutes down the road to the next station and head for Portobello Rd and another suburban area that we wanted to sightsee.Camden we would equate to a bit like Ponsonby and a bit like Manukau.
Portobello Rd was a step up though and more like Parnell with antique shops selling just about anything old you would ever want.The area was more classy than Camden and was a good contrast for us and our sightseeing.
We made Portobello Rd our now daily pub stop and had a half pint of Samuel Smith lager at the Earl of Lonsdale.Another very traditional pub which you usually find on just about any corner in this city.
With a couple of lines closed being a Sunday we had to carefully plan our route to Abbey Road to sightsee the famous pedestrian crossing the Batles used to get to Abbey Rd studios>It also featured on one of their albums but the name escapes for now.
We had a bit of a trek from the station we chose to get off at but it was through the leafy suburbs of St Johns Wood and Maida Vale,a real move up in class from Camden and even the Portobello Rd for that matter.There was no rubbish on the streets here!!!!
We arrived at the crossing just in time to take in 4 foreign speaking guys who knew the exact stance the Beatles were photographed in as they crossed the road and we snapped pictures and video of them doing their thing.The only difference was they weren't long haired Liverpudlian singers!!
It had been a long but great day visiting the sights from stepping from east to west at Greenwich and then the suburban market area and ending up with reminiscing about the Beatles at Abbey Rd.
We were too buggered to think about cooking dinner so we stopped in at our local,The Barking Arms and had a real cheap dinner of sausages,beans and chips for me and ham,eggs and chips for Gretch all washed down with a pint of Carling Cold each.
Needless to say we crashed fairly soon after getting home.


2nd June 2009

Abbey Road
Very surprised you can not remember the name of the album Grahame. Looks like you two have really planned this trip to the n'th degree. Can't wait for the next enthralling episode.

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