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Monday, 5 November 2012

American Girl Meets British Boy Part 2: Gadding About London

At the end of Part 1 the American girl and I had just met and were descending into the tunnels of Victoria Station's Underground.  The saga continues as we are now traveling to Bayswater and to our hotel.

The London Underground
When we checked into our hotel in London we discovered that it was comfortable, clean and nice. Erica had been fearing the worst since she had never been overseas before and the word on the street back home is that England was full of bad food, bad teeth and bad ideas such as free healthcare and calling Diapers "Nappies".

The bad food part almost was confirmed when Erica and I breakfasted in our hotel the next morning. We got cereal as you can very rarely go wrong with cereal. We sat down and as I was eating my bowl of Cornflakes I noticed Erica pushing hers away with a sour look on her face.

"I'm not very hungry" she whispered when I frowned at her.

I could tell that there was something more. We had a long day of sightseeing ahead and it was very likely we were going to cram in a lot before we even thought about lunch. I spooned a couple of her cornflakes into my mouth and she looked at me in disgust, her expression quickly turned to surprise when I nearly spat out the offensive cornflakes.

It seemed while she'd been up at the breakfast bar she hadn't realised that of the two pitchers of milk, one was warm for the people who like warm milk in their coffee and the other was ice cold for the cereals.

"What the hell? this is warm milk!" I sputtered and she looked at me in puzzlement  

"You mean you don't eat it with warm milk?!" she said, her fear melting away before my eyes. 

"Not bloody likely! You used the wrong milk!" I said back and we started laughing.

Her laugh was a thank-god-I'll be-able-to-eat-in-this-country laugh.

After that rather funny breakfast we took a walk from our hotel to Hyde Park. Hyde Park is one of the largest Royal Parks in Central London and is famed for Speaker's Corner: An area where people can debate or rant about anything, provided its within the law. I persuaded Erica to try a sausage roll from the bakery chain Gregg's. She didn't mind it but she said she was not a big fan of sausage.

She could have fooled me! ;-)

After that we hopped on a tube to Westminster. The first stop was the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower that houses Big Ben. Erica was getting nervous and peppering me with questions about where we were going to come up when we exited and if I knew where it was. The station is right next to Parliament so we came up facing Westminster Bridge.

"So where's Big Ben?" she asked all suspiciously as if I was leading her astray. I pointed upwards and she slowly raised her head following my finger and squinting in the light.....

Big Ben is actually the name of the Bell in the clock tower.
"WOW! CUTE!" she exclaimed and started snapping pictures like the little tourist she was. We walked across Westminster bridge to get a better view of the palace. She insisted I take her picture as if she thought I wouldn't have done so anyway...

Holding on to her hat as we braved the wind and rain for our adventure.
After a little walk down by the Thames we decided to go to the one place we'd both been waiting to go: Abbey Road Studios in St. John's Wood. We caught the circle line to Baker Street and hopped on the Jubilee Line to St. John's Wood. As soon as we left the station we walked with ever increasing anticipation down Grove End Road.

Erica was squeezing my hand tightly and smiling her white toothed perfect smile as we neared the corner where we turned onto Abbey Road and saw the Pelican Crossing surrounded by people like us. Fans of the Beatles taking photos and walking across it and stopping in the middle to pose for the picture. Annoying the many drivers who have to stop for them to do it.

Abbey Road on the morning of the Beatles album cover photo shoot in 1969.
An out take from the session.

The world famous cover.
Me going the wrong way with shoes on. I'm very much alive.

Abbey Road is as busy today as it was in 1969. This is Erica crossing during a brief lull in the traffic.


After just stopping and staring and soaking up the history for a while we turned our attention to the studios, just mere yards from the crossing. We didn't have a recording session booked so we couldn't go in but we were content to take pictures of the outside and the perimeter wall that was signed by everyone in the world.

Somebody did a wonderful Lennon portrait on the gate pillar.

Abbey Road entrance
After our tour of Abbey Road we decided to go visit Paul at his house nearby on Cavendish Avenue. He wasn't there but his gardener was. So we took some pictures of his gate.

Paul's gate and the top of his townhouse.
Cavendish Avenue
After this we were ready to go to another site of Beatles legend and lore and where they played their final live appearance ever......

Savile Row
3 Savile Row housed the head offices and basement recording studios of Apple Corps from 1968 to the mid 1970's. On the 30th January 1969 the Beatles played an impromptu concert on the roof of the building which was included as part of their 'Let It Be' film. It proved to be the Beatles last live performance.

3 Savile Row. Currently unoccupied.
"Don't let me down!"
From what I can ascertain, Savile Row is a Grade II Listed building so it's under some protection, however, it is amazing how nobody has seen the potential to re-open this building as a museum to the Beatles and possibly even re-open the basement studios. If you happen to have a few million handy and are a Beatles fan, contact me at beatlesthruyears@hotmail.co.uk and let's do this!

Erica and I were absolutely knackered after this and we dragged our feet to the nearest tube station and did whistle stop tours of the other London Landmarks.....

The Royal Albert Hall

Harrods

Buckingham Palace
Westminster Abbey

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge
It was a crazy little tour but in Part 3 we'll be going where many Beatle fans have gone before.......

2 comments:

  1. Nice. I love reading happy love stories like this. And what's kinda cool right now is I'm working on a puzzle of The Beatles Abbey Road album cover. Too cool. Hopefully, if I ever get to see London, Abbey Road is the first place I'm heading to!!! These pics make me want to visit London all the more!!!!!

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  2. You hit a lot of places in one day! Ah yes, warm milk. I had the same reaction until I figured out to ask for cold milk. I got lucky on my last visit to Londontown and saw Paul leave his house. After all the years of waiting at MPL, we were there less than 5 minutes when Paul left. Amazing!

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