Bank Holiday Weekend

Regarded as the last gasp of the summer holidays, people use it as an excuse to get the hell out of town. By Friday night convoys of caravans and cars were clogging up all routes out of London. I didn't think it would be the best of weekends to go touristing so I decided to take in the city with Skye. This weekend huge sections of the National Rail were going to be closed for repairs but you could still be creative

After Hamstead Heath on Saturday, on Sunday I went back to the Theatre Museum for a jazz concert with Rosemary George. Well it was jazz versions of broadway music so it was very sensible. Legendary reed player JD Parran was also there to accompany her and did a solo version of "My Favourite Things". It was a pity such a jazzy show was in such a stately room full of pensioners (and me) but you get that. The show went late after ending with the song Ain't misbehavin' (which I thought was very sensibly appropriate for me) which meant I was late to meet up with Skye and her friends at Richmond.

The Underground was an interesting way to get to
Richmond on Sunday. Riding in the cramped trains was an intimate experience. It was compounded by having a long weekend and a Rolling Stones concert on the same day, but I managed to get there eventually.

Being in Richmond with Skye and her friend and boy the friend was with for a while taking in the view and the drinking out of plastic cups on a terrace over the Thames was a very sensible way to spend a Sunday evening in London I thought. The boy was a bit of a prat (but he was from Manchester) so it was a little bit louder of an experience than I had expected. By 8pm prat boy wanted to eat in a Chinese Restaurant in Leicester Square but I happened to know two things
1) Nothing in Leicester Square is worth eating as its for the tourists or the pigeons
2) After coming all the way out to Richmond I wasn't fucking going back to Leicester Square to eat!
After diplomatically suggesting that we should eat locally we settled for an italian place where sensible pasta and pizza was consumed.

Notting Hill

The other highlight for those in London over the bank holiday weekend is the Notting Hill Carnival. After hearing that it is a hot, sweaty and intimate experience as over 1 million people take to the city's biggest street party, I did think twice about seeing it. But it is said that everyone who lives in London should go to it at least once... even if there aren't enough toilets and that you are bound to get mugged you will have a great time.

Fortunately the weather today was very mild so at least it wasn't going to be hot and sweaty. After arriving from the tube in a very coordinated fashion we found ourselves watching one of the several parades that went all afternoon. By the end of the afternoon there were a few things that became a little apparent
* Too much aluminium foil and foam went into the costuming
* Production values were a little low. Maybe they need more grant money.
* Sometimes all you need is a whistle and a horn to have a good time (although maybe alcomohol was part of the mix there too)
* You can never have enough hunks-o-meat to go on smokey grill barbeques. Despite the odd look and the dubious food hygeine standards it did look, smell, and taste great.

Skye and I sat and watched the punters go by for a while which was tremendously entertaining. Because the carnival started from Caribbean roots as black migrants moved into the area to meet London's demand for (cheap) labour there was a strong non-white-Christian flavour to the proceedings. Fortunately the Christians were there to make sure we knew that Jesus was our saviour. One woman tried to interest us in our church "I am sure you have seen us on television", to which Skye told her to piss off. The lady told her that one day she will need Jesus in her life and then asked if I was interested. Not being quite the Londoner I was a little more polite saying that "I would be just fine"

The carnival went until 9pm tonight but we didn't last that long. Instead we went back in the city and did some shopping along Oxford Street instead.

Entrepreneurs every one of 'em
* Throughout the carnival there were peddlers who need to have a "peddler's license" but throughout the carnival there were also shifty people carrying cooler bags full of "cold" beer asking if you wanted one for £2 or so...
* Walking down Kilburn High Road (just around the corner from me at West Hampstead) was a little deserted this morning. Public Holidays really mean public holidays here as many of the shops were shut... but there were plenty of street stalls and open vans where people were flogging their wares.
* Some places along the parade route apparently opened their homes so you could use their toilets for £1 or more...

Back to the grind...
* It looks like I may be moving to Manor House by the end of this week. Once I settle on the bond and four weeks rent...
* Later this week... more temping...

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