Posts Tagged ‘London’

My Trip to England: Day 5

June 24, 2016

Woke up early to the sounds of thunder. Nasty, but fast-moving set of storms passed directly over London and my hotel. FlashBang close.

The Hotel. I'll have more to say about this when I revise these entries.

The Hotel. I’ll have more to say about this when I revise these entries.

Had planned to go out while traffic was low but it stayed pouring rain until 10AM. Had an early lunch with Jen, and we set off for Cambridge. Of course we went through King’s Cross, and of course they had a Platform Nine and Three Quarters set up. Not however, between platforms 9 and 10, but off to the side, where the crowds wouldn’t interfere.

Platform Nine and Three Quarters.

Platform Nine and Three Quarters, the tourist version.

After which we had a nice train ride through rolling green countryside, to Cambridge. It was raining there, the traffic was horrible, and that’s a story for tomorrow.

Advertisements

My Trip to England: Day 4

June 23, 2016

Today was the big day. Up early to check out the facilities. Session room is small and stuffy, about par for the course. Nobody embarrassed the side too badly, and I got one complement.

To get to the session room you go into this guy's lab, and across his bridge.

To get to the session room you go into this guy’s lab, and across his bridge.

Attendance was poor, but it was, after all, the last day of the con.

That evening I did a bit of a walkabout. Crossed over Waterloo Bridge — lots of cyclists, lots of joggers, all fleeing the city.

The Thames, looking East to the Shard and St. Pauls.

The Thames, looking East to the Shard and St. Pauls.

I promised MJ we’d come together next year. The Southbank area seems a good place to do things.

The Thames, looking West towards Westminster. Many of the props from the Harry Potter movies are still in place.

The Thames, looking West towards Westminster. Many of the props from the Harry Potter movies are still in place.

My Trip to England – Day 3

June 22, 2016

Up early and had my now-standard breakfast of pancakes, mushrooms, fried potatoes, and boiled ham. Off to register for the conference and have a look around campus. Parts of the campus are new, and parts are old. Here’s one of the old ones:

Kings College Chapel, London branch

Kings College Chapel, London branch

That night there was a dinner — small and sparsely attended (this is, after all, London). The meal itself was quite odd: goat curry, vegetable curry (mostly sweet potato) and vegetable salad, also mostly sweet potato

Curried Curry

Curried Curry

Add some rice, an adequate white wine and an inadequate red, and you are ready to go. And sorry, England, sorry, India, I like the Japanese version of curry better.

My Trip to England – Day 1

June 19, 2016

Preliminary notes. Will be organized into a separate web page, just like my Japan trip, although I probably won’t spend as much time talking about toilets.

The trip over was sortof not bad. British Airways 777. Minimal leg room, and what there was was taken up by a space-heater-looking box under the seat ahead. Seat itself was comfortable enough that my back didn’t die from 9hrs sitting in it. Heavy turbulence almost the whole way.

Spent an hour or so running around rescheduling flights and hotels (see previous entry). The downside of booking ggggggggggggggggg* everythingg through a travel agent is that many changes have to go through them as well.

After too big of a mixed grill and rather too much cask-conditioned beer, I wended my way back to my hotel room. Small, overheated, noisy. On the other hand, the headboard does have two USB ports.

One mat bigger than the room in Kobe

One mat bigger than the JR hotel room in Kobe

And now it’s 5AM, even though my body says 9PM. Time to get on with the day.

 

*The ‘g’ keycap on my 10 year old MacBook just came off.

Sorry, Slate, DC (still) doesn’t need any skyscrapers

July 16, 2015

Just over three years ago, I posted a short comment¬†on an opinion piece in Slate on the the then-ongoing debate over whether to relax Washington, D.C.’s limit on building height. The crux of my argument was that DC, as designed, had maintained the balance between human scale and public function that caused European cities like Paris to be praised for their historic beauty. DC, like Paris, is a capitol city, and esthetics should rank first when talking about change.

Now, from Slate, comes a tale of another European city, London. Unlike Paris and DC, London has given way to developer’s greed, to the point where even those who love the city are leaving it.

The new Slate article covers one of the symptoms of the decline, the destruction of the esthetics of central London. What’s happened there? Consider Saint Paul’s Cathedral, begun on the still warm ashes of the Great Fire of London, survivor of the Blitz, and for 150 years the tallest and, as Shepps says, the most prominent building in the city.

Saint Paul's, 1891

Saint Paul’s, 1891

Here it is now, in a photo from the Slate article, a small parish church, huddled amidst the encroaching cranes, dwarfed by The Shard, prominent only in memory.

Saint Paul's and The Shard, 2014

Saint Paul’s and The Shard, 2014

If that’s what you want DC to become, then build those skyscrapers.