Monday, 30 September 2013

London Calling (Part II: Day II with a broken camera)

Another day, another train (it used to be bike rides ;-(
After this day I was wondering what background music to use for this post and the best thing I could come up with is this Homeley British Theme. Looking around the town where I am staying, not much has changed ! Careful: CLICK HERE

I’m standing at the train station to take the train into London again, when my camera lens refuses to extend (protrude?). This happened before, and in those cases there was either sand stuck in the lens barrel elements or the battery was too weak.  I just came from my hotel where I completely charged the thing and there was no sand noticeable along the way.  Given I’m on my way into London, the lack of a functioning camera could become quite noticeable very quickly.  I just might have to bite the bullet and get another one.  What bothers me is that this camera is only 3 months old.  On the other hand it wasn’t carried around Europe on a velvet cushion. It got banged in pants & jacket pockets, banged against laptops and other things in backpacks, and got its dose of sand, dust, and tobacco flakes.  And last but not least: Looking back over those last 3 month of blog post, I can say that it has done a formidable job. 

At the train station, the trains to London Victoria Station seem to alternate with those to London Bridge Station.  Like yesterday the luck of the draw (or rather: my particular arrival time) got me onto a train to Victoria Station.  So on today’s agenda is another attempt to see Sir Isaac (given that today is not a worshiping day ;-).

 HOOOO, stop breathing. Someone in my immediate vicinity in this train keep farting silent killers!  Hard to concentrate or even move one's fingers in the face of chemical weapons!

OK.  I recovered.  Hopefully I will find a camera store at Victoria Station.  Because after visiting Sir Isaac, I’m planning to take another boat trip down the river towards the Tower, or even further. Maybe Greenwich? We’ll see. In any event, a camera would be nice ;-)

I'm sitting at Victoria Station after having bought a camera.  No pictures to show yet, because even though I asked Mr Curry's PC World employee, whether the big memory cards would fit into the tiny Canon IXUS and he said "oh, just buy another one. SD will fit!" and I was stupid enough to buy another one.  SD DOES NOT FIT. Fortunately I'm only 5 minutes away from that store to exchange the memory card and then I'll be ready to snap again.  

I'm snapping again.  And I'm getting close to Sir Isaac Newton.

I almost faint when I see this sign.  But hey: I came this far ....

The place is PACKED. The Living and the Dead.  Graves in the walls, graves under one's feet. Me being the considerate type, I had turned the flash on my new camera off before I entered.  Then I see the NO CAMERAS sign.  18 Pounds and no pictures?  F U !!!

A clandestine attempt to get a picture of the ceiling. It went unnoticed. 
In London lies a knight whom a Pope interred
 While the above shot went unnoticed, the following one didn't.  A 40ish short skinny priest in floor length robe says "Would you NOT take pictures in the CHURCH !  You MUST TURN OFF you camera NOW, he says while staring at my pants pocket.  I fish out the diminutive IXUS and say "It's off".  My comment of "I paid 18 POUNDS to get HERE to see just THIS" only gets a "PARDON ME?", to which I reply "Never mind; have a wonderful day". He probably thinks he's SPECIAL because he gets to wear his black dress in WESTMINSTER ABBEY! If I hadn't been wearing sandals, I'd turned on a heel with my chin high.  With sandals I just shuffled to the nearest exit.
 I always though the Germans were the phoniest nation when it came to religion but I was dead wrong.  Nothing beats the British !

When I had entered the cathedral (PACKED with TOURISTS with VOICE-GUIDE devices and pamphlets) a voice similar to that of Emma Thompson came over the church speakers:  The voice of God?
Not quite:  "Please remember that this is a place of Worship"   'The place is PACKED with TOURISTS and you charged them 18 QUID each' I want to shout.  "Please move quietly", Emma continues and then "Let us PRAY"  and EMMA actually starts praying.  If I had found Newton's grave by that time I would have just left right then, but unfortunately I had not and got to enjoy Emma's performance.

I kid you not !
An IMPORTANT HINT to anyone wishing to visit the grave of SIR ISAAC NEWTON:  DO NOT go to the tourist entrance ! GO TO THE WORSHIP ENTRANCE.  ENTRY IS FREE for WORSHIPERS and Newton is RIGHT NEXT to the WORSHIP ENTRANCE.  

The river cruise again provided a bit of rest from the frantic street life and the even more frantic Abbey life.

Now I am going to try to get into St Paul's Cathedral (let's hope it's not 18 pounds again but I'm afraid it'll be close !)  There is a viewing gallery on the roof of the cupola, for which I am willing to suffer through 500 evil little steps of a long stairway. !

During a second stint at Whetherspoon’s (Tower location) I discover that even though the battery charge indicator of the new camera shows a full battery when it is connected via USB to a laptop, it doesn’t actually charge the battery.  So I have a new camera with an almost empty battery.  So no point in trying to climb to the viewing platform of St Paul’s Cathedral today: I won’t have a camera with functioning battery.

 'I heart London' ?  Nope !

I hop back on the train quite disheartened. I don't even feel like coming back into London, with or without working camera.

When I get back to my village I'm told by the bike mechanic that the bike won't be ready tomorrow, but that the missing bolt is being couriered from Portugal (1) and that it might be Wednesday or Thursday.

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