On Wednesday morning we dropped the dogs and their crates at a friend's farm and set off for London. We had an excellent journey of only five hours. A bit of traffic on the North Circular but then there always is:
The dreaded Hanger Lane Gyratory System:
But once we got onto the A40 and the Westway things were much easier:
Over Edgware Road and onto the Marylebone Road, the site of my College where I studied Architecture in the early 1980's. When I was there it was the Polytechnic of Central London and one of the best schools of architecture at the time. However, snobbery or goodness knows what found it necessary to change all of the Polytechnics in this country into universities, often with rather desperate sounding names. Mine is now the University of Westminster. Actually, the Polytechnic of Central London was originally the Polytechnic Institution in Regent Street and then the Regent Street Polytechnic so I can't really complain I suppose. I always thought it a very ugly building to house a school of Architecture but I've mellowed a bit now in the face of nostalgia.
We were staying with my old college mate who now lives with his family in the Golden Lane Estate just North of the Barbican and designed in the 1950's by the same brutalist architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon who are responsible for the Barbican Estate and complex. The whole complex was built on an area devastated by bombing in WW2. When I was younger, I dismissed Brutalism but have come to look at it differently later in life, especially having seen inside some of these flats and have learnt to appreciate the detailing, if not the general brutal impression. Did you know that Barbican comes from the low Latin word 'Barbecana', meaning fortified outpost or gateway. I didn't. This is one of the three residential tower blocks and one of the low rise blocks seen behind the local primary school. My friend and his wife used to live in one of the top flats with the barrel vault roof.
We wandered around a bit and had an ice cream. So unusual to be walking without a purpose and without canine companions.
An old warehouse, now flats and studios, like so many buildings of its type in London:
That Brutalist housing again:
Old meets new:
In a road I remember being boarded up and run down some decades ago, there are now chichi bars and restaurants. This one had dead pigeons and rabbits hanging in the window. No accounting for taste.
Those barrel vaults again:
Surrounding office blocks:
On the Barbican Estate, there are man made lakes which make the whole thing much more appealing:
London's Pigeons......I don't miss them.
These massive masks are suspended just outside one of the entrances to the arts centre:
London's hire bikes; Boris Bikes.....great idea.
Wednesday evening was beautiful and I shot these teenage girls doing what teenagers do on a summer's evening:
After a reasonable night's sleep, Thursday dawned and we walked to Great Ormond Street Hospital through hoards of people on their way to work. It rained, but not too hard and we got there early. Two and a half hours later, we walked out feeling like we were actually getting somewhere at last. The team of four psychologists and a psychiatrist looked at OB as a whole person and talked to us at length about everything. We were there for a reassuring two and a half hours and they will be writing to everyone we've had contact with down here in Devon. They suggested that the dreaded CAMHS send someone to spend some time with their cognitive therapists to learn how they approach Tourettes, which would be fantastic, not just for us, but for other children with the condition here. The whole hospital is so impressive, with everything geared for children; colourful and unthreatening. Pictures were difficult but I took one of the cafeteria on my phone before it got busy:
Back to the Barbican to collect the car and then a two hour slog across London and another five hours to get to the dogs, who were VERY pleased to see us. Home at last. Growing up in London was great but I'm very happy not to live there any more.
Over the weekend, I found Daisy, the mare who used to come up the drive last year if you remember. I haven't seen her since last autumn. She's looking well for a lady of her age and...........
She has a delightful new foal, whose unusual markings look all smudgy. Definitely a Smudge.
These two were flirting outrageously:
The dogs are so pleased to be home:
Three Eurofighter Typhoons (I think) flew over us in a delta formation as we were walking the other day. I saw them coming from a few miles away and managed to catch one of them. Whilst I hate what they can potentially do, I find them so exciting and was left saying "wow" to nobody but the dogs after they'd gone right over my head. When I was about twelve, I wanted to be a jet pilot but they didn't take women in those days. Probably a good thing as they'd have kicked me out when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes!
Things are getting back to normal here and the summer holidays are pending. I had planned to have repainted the downstairs of the house by now but it just doesn't seem to have happened. OB is doing a drumming course in the first week so maybe I'll try and do it then? Possibly? Don't hold me to it. So, until next time, welcome to a few new followers, I hope your weeks are going well and here are the boys looking winsome in the grass.