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Showing posts from May, 2007

Van Der Graaf Generator

Van Der Graaf Generator
Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.
The reason we came to London! - and well worth the effort. This is Mike's favourite band and have been for longer than we care to calculate!

They opened with my favourite song - (Childlike faith in) Childhood's End - and continued in storming style for the entire set. This incarnation is saxaphone-free and so the soundspace is filled by Hugh Banton on the organ. A dammed good job he makes of it too. There are many more reviews and better photos elsewhere on the web so I'll not ramble further. Try starting with Phil Smart's site if you're keen.

Ice cream house

Ice cream house
Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.
I called this the Ice Cream House because it looks like it's made from the kind of ice cream my grandparents bought in blocks. This would be mint and strawberry.

It's on the Thames near Richmond. On the Monday morning we took the boat from Westminster up the river and got off at Richmond. My wreckedness from two nights before's experiences had not fully lifted and I didn't really enjoy walking round the town as much as I should have. The cruise was fun though.

We left in plenty time to get confused by the Oyster card system and the layout of Richmond station, end up in the wrong station in the city centre and still get back to the hotel in time to settle down before the evening's activity...

Giraffe drinking a smoothie

Giraffe drinking a smoothie
Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.
This was one of the unexpected highlights of our time London. As smoothies go, this minty fruity one went really well with lunch and a walk along the South Bank with friends - some of whom we'd never met! Internet contacts meeting in "meatspace" for the first time can sometimes be a bit worrying but this was delightful.

We also got to chill out to the 3D IMAX movie about building the International Space Station. That and good company helped focus my my thinking and I realised it wasn't worth staying in the Albion House Hotel if we could find somewhere else. (See Hotel Blues below for the full story.) We found the Mermaid Suites and shifted our stuff that night.

What I did on my holidays

At primary school each year after the summer break we were often asked to write a "composition" called "What I did on my holidays". I could never remember and it would have been pretty dull anyway. Now I'm all grown up I hope things will be different.

I decided to keep a holiday diary of sorts. Turned out to be harder work than I thought. My handwriting has never flowed with ease and I was completely drained by the bad hotel experience in London (see Hotel Blues post below). I did catch up with diary stuff on the train to Brussels and after that it was easier. That deals with the remembering bit, though York and London are a little sketchy, but I guess it will be interesting only if you like the same stuff we do (off-beat art & architecture, strange music, old buildings and science fiction). I've broken up the posting so it's in the order it might have turned out if I'd posted while we were away. York in this post, London next time and the…

Hotel Blues

Well it's been nearly two months since I posted anything here and it feels a lot longer. We've been back from our holiday for three weeks. (all the tourist pictures are on my Flickr account).

We had a great time except for the hotel we booked in London. The Albion House Hotel in Kings Cross seriously over sells itself on its website. They say it is "contemporary, stylish, elegant, luxurious", however reality is very different.

They say "The Albion House Hotel offers an unobtrusive yet attentive and genuinely warm level of service." They claim to have 24 hour reception when they actually have none at all. There's a grumpy guy eating a take-away in a different hotel in the square who'll give you a key once a departing resident lets you in the front door and you figure out that the dimly lit room on the left is supposed to be reception. This was not late at night but around 8.30pm.

They say "The Albion House Hotel is a brand…