August 1st, 2015

krazy koati

Winding your way down on Baker Street

Saturday we got up and attempted to get jacket potatoes at The Eight Bells and failed, as noted. This happens. We got plowman's lunches instead. And we noticed that among the wall decorations was a plate that's not quite the twin to ``His Majesty'', the Thanksgiving turkey plate we use as a centerpiece in November. It's a wild turkey in about the same pose, but a different setting, and that was a neat unexpected twin to see.

We had thought a little about going back to Chessington, which it turned out wouldn't have helped any as the same roller coasters would be closed still. And, by the Twitter and Facebook posts bunny_hugger found, would be unimaginably packed. Similarly we had considered Thorpe Park, the rather larger park in the area, but we thought that might be too much to do in short order, and besides a number of their roller coasters were also closed in the Alton Towers accident aftermath. We settled on doing lower-energy, lower-commitment things.

So that's why we took the Underground to Baker Street. Our real objective was Regent's Park, since it is a nice spot and there's a Regent Park right by our house back home so who could resist the coincidence there? Something I think I knew once but had forgotten was that the Baker Street station was part of London's earliest subway system, and dated back 150 years. Part of the station still looks it, all mid-Victorian bricks and nooks and crannies and just gorgeous to see and move around in. It's got historical plaques and even replica seals of long-gone railway companies to impress the infrastructure-history enthusiast in all of us. Also a monument to the employees killed in World War I; I'd imagine there's a matching one for the Second World War, but we didn't see it.

Almost immediately outside the station is a rock-and-roll memorabilia/kitsch shop. This is good in case you need any Black Sabbath travel coffee mugs. In the shop window we noticed the box for a badly faded AC/DC tabletop pinball machine. That's the kind that's none too big, has a couple of sluggish pop bumpers, and doesn't really make any kind of organized sound or anything. But this did mean that we had technically speaking found pinball in England. (There wasn't any at Chessington so far as we could find.) This trifle gets more amusing since there is a modern AC/DC pinball table that we're occasionally haunted by at pinball leagues. As I say, technically, we found pinball there.

Of course there's the inevitable pop-culture draw of Baker Street, and I have to admit I was disappointed: I couldn't find a pillar box anything like a stone's throw from 221 B. Also, yes, there's a Sherlock Holmes Museum there, as well as a historical marker. I love historical markers for fictional events. I can't help it. And yet, yes, I've only ever been to Grovers Mills, New Jersey, in passing. There was a pretty substantial line to the museum and to having a photograph taken at the 221 B doorframe, so we skipped that. Neither of us is really enough of a Sherlock Holmes fan to make that the focus of the day. We are just enough of fans to wonder about the Mrs Hudson's Restaurant next to the place; wasn't Mrs Hudson an indifferent if not bad cook? We thought we remembered that much.

Also in the immediate vicinity was the London Beatles Store, and I don't know if that's coincidental to the rock-and-roll memorabilia store across the street. This was a cute, if packed, spot that didn't really have anything quite interesting enough to buy. bunny_hugger looked with dedication through the postcards, though, because she had promised to send one to our hipster bar back home. The head bartender/manager is from London. Also apparently we've now got the kind of relationship with our hipster bar that we're expected to send postcards from London. We didn't find any there, but we'd keep the postcard issue in mind as we went touring about.

Trivia: The eighth month of the Babylonian calendar, Apindua, was dubbed Arakhsamnu in the Semitic calendar and Apellaios in the Seleucid calendar. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: The Complete Dick Tracy Volume II, 1933 - 1935, Chester Gould.

PS: What I Learned Doing The A To Z Project, reflections on that big writing project.