I quite fancy a trip to London. Here’s why that’s strange. I used to hate London, the noise, the hustle, bustle, commotion and general locomotion of the place. Over the last few years, I’ve warmed to it a bit, though not that much that I would ever consider going more than once or twice a year. As it is, I haven’t been for about a year and a half and the other day I found myself daydreaming about a wee trip south. I like to go by train, on one of those lovely Virgin Pendolinos tilting their way through lush countryside and ever bigger towns en route to the metropolis, but that also involves getting up very, very early and getting back tres, tres late. Just walking out of Euston and onto a street with red buses, Tube roundels and signs to some of the best museums and cultural places on the planet appeals to me greatly round about now. Other places do as well, thankfully, including Belhaven, the Borders and other places not beginning with ‘b’, like Dawyck Botanic Garden and Durham.
I think watching lots of videos about London on YouTube might be partly to blame. I think I’ve written here before about ‘All The Stations’, the YouTube series last year following a couple on their quest to get to every railway station in England, Scotland and Wales. Geoff Marshall, one half of that couple, is a major transport buff and does videos about escalators and old Underground stations, amongst many other things. I like enthusiasm and he has it, as does his partner Vicki who appears in many of the videos. Watching his rovings around the Underground, Overground and wherever else just brings up more notions in my mind. In preparation for a possible writing project, I also read London Overground: A Day’s Walk Around The Ginger Line by Iain Sinclair, a book which slightly annoyed me with its inability to keep to a point but I suspect being about psychogeography that’s sort of the point. Notions were still added to while reading it.
Where to go? The British Museum (shown below) is my go-to London place but right now I fancy the British Library with its Harry Potter exhibition which is on until 28th February. Might not happen for that one but I like the planning. The Science Museum needs a closer look too. Above all I just fancy a wander. As much as I get very nationalist around Westminster, I like the bit furth of the Palace of Varieties down Millbank towards Tate Britain. A wee spin along the side of the Thames towards the Globe would be good too, maybe even a peek into Tate Modern. A wee wander around by the Strand like I had the last time I was down but one would be braw. The problem is I have a load of ideas, enough for a good few days, far beyond the seven hours or so I can commit. Looking at a Tube map or doing even a tiny bit of research beyond where I know and like just makes the whole thing worse.
What to do about it? Well, if I want to see Harry Potter at the BL, I’ll need to be quick. If I don’t want to pay £142.50 for a return, nearly a tenner more than it was before the fares went up the other week, I’ll need to book a bit in advance. I just fancy a trip to London, that’s all, a bit of the unreal into my reality, but the logistics are a bit tough to figure out. This year it’s going to happen, though, even if it might take longer than I might want and even if I might not be able to fit in all I want to see. It will be an early one, it will be a late one. It’ll be good. And it’ll happen.
Update: Since I wrote this post, about two or three weeks ago, I have actually booked tickets to go to London, up and down on the same day, at the start of February. Sadly, the Harry Potter exhibition is sold out for that day. Any London suggestions will be gratefully received, by email (found on the About page) or by leaving a comment below. I’ve also been to Belhaven and Durham since I wrote this. They were great.