Saturday, July 16, 2005

London - The heat goes on

Left Wigan around noon on Friday, expecting to get to Highbury/Islington in London by 3.30pm . Unfortunately, after a fairly smooth run down the M6 and M1, we hit the M25 ring road sometime after 3 and then slowed to a crawl. I tried to text my mate Steve, whose Highbury flat we would e be taking advantage of for a few days, but I had put the wrong number into my phone. Sometime around 5.15 we got into the right street, but I didn't have the building number (the UK postcode was enough to identify the street).

I knew I'd have to reach him via email, so proceeded through stages of

  • calling friends around the UK who I hoped would be online and could msg him
  • walking up and down the street with my Tablet PC trying to hitch a ride on a wireless network. There were plenty of home networks available from the street, but the unsecured ones were not strong enough to get a connection
  • driving around looking for an internet cafe ... finally lucking onto a phonebooth "coolroom" where I could get onto the web and email Steve and ...

It turned out that I had parked across the road from his building for an hour before I drove off. The apartment had a small rear garden that was ideal for Bondi to crash in.

After freshening up, we took a bus up to Highgate and headed to The Flask for a pub meal. A couple of guys were making really hard work out of the simple task of preparing burgers and sausage sandwiches (£5 = $12.50) and the wine was not too cold - apparently because "the fridge doesn't work properly when it's warm". I wondered if they knew the difference between fridge and cupboard. Our burger and sanger sandwich took 35 minutes to materialize.
We rounded out the evening with a walk to Camden and then bussed back to Highbury.

I slept in the next morning - fairly necessary after 2 days of driving (Cardiff - Wigan - London) and walked down the high street towards Islington where I picked up the new Harry Potter and an excellent lunch/coffee. We then walked around the inner city for quite a long time, crashing somewhere near Leicester Square station where Bondi sprawled out across the footpath for maximum exposure. I finished reading Last Tango in Aberystwyth. Bondi's first rail journey on the Tube from Oxford Circus back to Highbury. Also his first escalator rides, both of which he carried off easily ... ok a little coaxing for the escalator.
Evening meal with Steve and his friend Ross was a BBQ replete with Moscow Mules, with Bondi working the table for extras as usual. Started on HP and the Half Blood Prince.

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