Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Day Trip to Brighton

I'll make mention of two matters before I begin this post properly. I always laugh when I think of a trip to Brighton because of Nana Norma's recounting in the claustrophobic and brilliant comedy The Royle Family. The late Liz Smith in the role Nana was sitting on the kitchen counter swinging her legs when someone mentioned Brighton. Nana said she knew someone who went to Brighton and he came back as a gay. It was very funny. This is not a clip of the scene but if you haven't seen the show, this clip will give you some idea.

The other thing to mention is that in 1984 British Prime Margaret Thatcher and her staff were staying at the Grand Hotel in Brighton for a Conservative Party conference when a bomb set by the IRA exploded. One politician and a few party apparatchiks were killed along with 31 people injured. It will become clear later why I mention this.

As usual it was the 422 bus to North Greenwich Station and then the Jubilee Line this time to London Bridge where we met Marie outside an upmarket toy shop. Trains to Brighton are frequent and we only had a few minutes to wait. The train was comfortable and sped along very nicely. It was a bit over an hour trip. The train also services Gatwick Airport and I was amazed at how far Gatwick is from London. 

I know these are awful photos but the electronic signs within the train were very useful. The train was not crowded.

OMG, what is Brighton Station roof like! The St Pancras Station set the standard.

We walked down Queens Road which becomes West Street. This I think this clock was somewhere along the way. Cro?

We turned right once we reached the seafront and there was the Grand Hotel. 

Isn't it very grand looking.

Oh, is this what is left of Brighton Pier?

It is an exaggeration to say Marie marched us into the Grand Hotel but she did ask us, and why not. The staff were all so smart and posh, the hotel guests and visitors not so much. No Madame, brunch in this area finished at 11.30, which was a pity as the area was at the front and overlooking the sea. 

We decided on lunch in a lounge area. Wow, silver service. Of late when travelling I leave the nasty business of money to R and just pay my share once home without question. I expect it is just as well in this case.

We thought we each ordered a modest amount of food, but it turned out not to be so. The servings were large.

I really like this not so good photo. Marie is smart, fit, a good conversationalist, but best of all the we have a laugh.

This viewing thing goes up and down. I expect it costs a bomb for a ticket. 

It is now down. I wonder what happened to the huge Brighton ferris wheel that former bloggers Jane and Lance Hattat complained about as it infringed on their view. Again, Cro might know.

I don't believe anyone should walk smartly along the Brighton seafront. It should be strolled, and that is what we did. So many places to eat.


John Gray of Wales volunteers for The Samaritans, kind of like our Life Line.

The slogan at the bottom amused me.

The Odeon looks better in this photo than it actually does. Demolish it.

A fountain in the Old Steine Gardens near the War Memorial.

Marie had a vague idea of the direction of The Royal Pavilion and found it.

Indian? Moorish? Maybe a bit of both.

While still a prince, it was built for King George IV, beginning in 1787 and completed in 1822. Queen Victoria did not like it and did not like Brighton. It was sold to Brighton authorities in 1850. Post WWII it was gradually restored and as well as being a tourist attraction with lovely gardens, is also a function venue for weddings etc.

We found a nice spot outdoors for a refreshing gin and tonic and yakked away. Not R nor I felt like walking back uphill to the station so we all used the nearby bus. The train journey back to London Bridge seemed faster than the trip to Brighton. 

None of us could finish our lunch. We asked for doggy bags. They were quite some doggy bags we were given and we stuffed them in our backpacks.

We were back at the hotel by 4.30. R collapsed on the bed. I woke him at 8.30 and he ate a slice of hotel pizza and drank a cup of tea and slept until 9.00 the next morning. He was clearly unwell. He never said but he did not feel well all day. In time he will forget feeling unwell on that day and will remember the otherwise great day when we visited Brighton.

The O2 with some illumination.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Be alert in Canberra

While not so large, Canberra is the capital city of Australia. It was designed by the great world architect Walter Burley Griffin in the early 20th century. His design included trams but tram lines in Canberra were never built, but there is now a newly built tram line in Canberra.

I've seen quite a number of tram near miss videos. I prefer videos of tram collisions, nearly always with cars where car drivers have done wrong. Generally alarmist videos of near tram collisions are very weak, with no real danger. But this video of the new Canberra tram line is not alarmist. There are some very near misses and occasions where the tram driver had to brake hard. I think the worst was the high viz bloke towards the end of the video. This should work, but I don't think it will.

Try this.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Believe it or not

As most of you would know I have little time for religion. There is some interesting history to religion and many fine worshiping buildings remain, but in this 21st century all it seems to cause is an awful lot of problems. Dare I say it is old hokus pokus stuff that has no place in what should be a century of science and enlightenment.

The State Government of Victoria is about to introduce a bill to parliament to rid the protection of the confessional in churches and make reporting of child abuse to authorities mandatory by everyone, including priests.

Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop, Peter Cominsole has said that he would rather go to gaol than breach the Catholic Church's long time confessional policy of five hail Marys and the sinner repenting.

Can you believe that in 2019, after all the child sexual abuse revelations by religions and institutions we have learnt of, the Archbishop will not report child abuse told to him in the confessional to the authorities. While I expect the Archbishop would take some kind of action, who knows?

May I just press the point? If someone confesses to Catholic Archbishop Peter Cominsole that he, or even she,  has abused a child or even raped a child, he would not report it to the authorities.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Buck Palace

Before we left our hotel Marie, messaged me. We had met when we were last in London and she took us roaming a London docks area we would not have dreamed of visiting, then the chairlift across The Thames and seeing the O2 and it was a great time with her. While we had planned to meet her the next day and travel to Brighton, she said she had to come into London today and would we like to meet for coffee or lunch. As there was not an invitation from Her Maj, we decided lunch would fit perfectly with our visit to Buckingham Palace.

We caught the bus to North Greenwich and the Jubilee Line to Green Park and walked through St James's Park Green Park. Here is a language quirk and I don't think it is a matter of being right or wrong. I would say St James Park. I might be wrong to do so, but I would write it as St James' Park. Marie pronounced it as St Jameses Park and I heard someone else do the same. Interesting to me and I am probably wrong on both counts.

The gates have to been seen to be believed. I did not catch the gold, being on the wrong side and facing the sun.

As you can see by the flag, Her Maj was at home but did not invite the colonials in for a cuppa.

Tourists were coming from all directions and gathering to see the Changing of the Queens Guard.

There were more police than you could shake a stick at and moving people along from walkways where they were inclined to linger. We found a good vantage point but we had forty minutes to wait. While hatted, it was very hot in the sun. As soon as R said we can't stay here standing in the sun for the next hour we quickly moved on. 

S'pose I should do some research. Right, Queen Victoria Memorial. There must be more statues of Queen Vic than anyone else in the world.

We found a seat in the shade after shoving a couple of old ladies off a bench and watched the passing parade and the soothing fountain.

We had decided to see what we could see from The Mall, the wide ceremonial avenue leading to the palace. 

Isn't it just stunning.

Various people involved in Changing of Guard came and went, some on foot and some on horseback. Police yelled at people who tried to cross from one side of The Mall to the other at inappropriate times.

It was really quite good standing under the shade of trees in The Mall.

I took this 20 second video. Turn up your speakers. Great fun and I wish I had recorded for a little longer.

We were to meet Marie at the Police Memorial further along The Mall at a certain time so we wandered along and greeted Marie and came across the Changing of the Horse Guard behind Whitehall.

We decided to lunch in one of the various terrific pubs in Whitehall. We are close to Big Ben, to Westminster, Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square but there are just normal pubs in Whitehall. We had a window seat. 

I only realised later that the last time we were in London we lunched next door at The Old Shades. This time it was The Silver Cross. Also the last time we lunched in Whitehall, god botherers shut down Whitehall as they demonstrated. This time it was a demonstration in support Tommy Robinson who was gaoled for breaching the peace. Briefly, he filmed Muslim men in an English town as they attended court charged with grooming underage girls for sex. While I have sympathy for the cause, let the courts decide without interference. It was as much an anti Muslim protest as much as anything.

I am not sure what this spire is.

Charing Cross Station but it is not The Tube Charing Cross Station, as we learnt.

Marie walked us on towards Covent Garden.

The dark woman had been singing opera and and a donation collection was underway.

Marie took us on to the Royal Opera House. It's a stunning building.

My shoelace had become undone. As we descended the Opera House stairs, I sat down to tie my shoelace. After doing that I looked up and a stern looking guard was just behind me. I expected to be told off for sitting on the steps, but instead as Marie told me, and he asked, he was just concerned that I was ok. Nice.View over Covent Garden.

We had to backtrack on the Piccadilly Line to Green Park to catch a Jubilee Line train to London Bridge where we bought a couple of things including our train tickets to Brighton for the following day. This is iconic building The Shard, better viewed from a distance.

The plaza between London Bridge underground and the regional trains? I didn't notice the colourful people at the time.

Back at North Greenwich and the 422 back to our hotel.

We caught the 188 bus to Greenwich and had a drink in The Mitre but did not fancy it as a place to eat. This was an impressive beast parked illegally in Greenwich.

We had dinner at the Rose and Crown, which I think is a gay pub. We were urged to participate in karaoke, but nah. Amazingly the menu was exactly the same as that at the pub in Whitehall where we lunched. Whitehall had run out of hummus for the nibble platter, but the Rose and Crown had not. I am sure the pub kicks off at some time, but it was very quiet when we were there. We caught the 188 bus back to our hotel.

An outrage. We didn't have glasses in our hotel room, only these plastic things wrapped in plastic which we chucked in the bin each day and they were replaced. Absurd.

Next post, a day train trip to Brighton with Marie and R becomes very unwell.