Saturday 1 May
I had a shock this morning when I tried to upload some pictures from the first SD card out of the camera. It looks as if the camera has corrupted the card. The later two cards seem alright but no more pictures. It subsequently turned out that I was able to recover a good proportion of the images through Dr. Data. Will need to get a new camera when I get back.
London is a mess. The Underground is practically shut down for the weekend. There are posters everywhere saying before you go to the airport, before you go to the match, before you go shopping you had better check for the planned disruptions. The entire Jubilee Line is shut down as are the western sections of the Central Line and the eastern part of the District line. Many of the escalators are out of service or under repair - it is like being in a building site. The Oyster card is not much use if using it is a problem. There are lots of congestion points getting between the platforms and the surface or another platform and I don't understand why there are differences in height between the platform and the trains when they have been running the same trains for years. At least London Transport make it easy for one to find out about the planned disruptions through text, email etc., but better not to have them in the first place. This is the result of many, many years of underinvestment.
Of course these problems are not confined to the London Underground. Robert and Elora who were with our group planned to stay overnight in London before returning to Glasgow today. However, the West Coast Main Line is shut down for the weekend and they are being forced to go to Glasgow on the east Coast Main Line via Edinburgh and it was goping to take them about seven hours I think.
We took the underground to St. James park and walked across to the Mall and down to Trafalgar Square. At the St. James Park station there were 30 or 40 police vans full of London policemen, playing cards etc., At least they weren't kitted out in riot gear and none of them appeared to have firearms. On the way we passed a group of schoolchildren who were drumming - very entertaining. We walked past St. Martin in the Fields and along to Covent Garden which was a zoo being filled with tourists and people trying to relieve tourists of their money. We quickly left for the Strand and down to the embankment which was a little more sane. We crossed the river on the Millennium Bridge and had lunch at the cafe in the Tate Modern.
Messes/Fish and Chips and fried broad beans
English toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream/Caerphilly cheese and chutney.
Bottle of Rueda
We then had a look at the Tate and walked along to London Bridge which was another zoo. It had started to rain by the time we reached Canary Wharf but, with the help of an Auxilliary Policewoman, we found a pub where we had a very passable Fullers London Pride best bitter.
It started to rain. To get back to Paddington we took the Docklands Light Railway to Bank and changed to the Central Line. We lucked in to a car with a number of drunks of both sexes who were trying to entertain everybody with songs. The girls were trying to get everyone to join in saying "You will never experience anything like this again". This was certainly true as they were in danger of having wardrobe malfunctions. The Central line had quietened down by the time we got to Notting Hill Gate where the exit to the Circle Line was long, tortuous and arduous.
Neither of us has changed our opinion about London. We don't like it and much prefer Paris.
The first thing I did on getting back to the room was to check in for our Air Canada flight to Ottawa tomorrow. We are going home.