Thursday, August 18, 2016
I am waking up to the dreaded telltale signs of plantar fascittis to come. Exactly two and half weeks into walking far more than I am accustomed to, my feet are starting to protest. Despite stretching regularly, I am apparently abusing them. It is time to pull back. Consequently, I spent probably the most inactive day since I arrived here.
Writing and editing a blog post took about an hour of my morning. Using Travel for London's Journey Planner website to figure out how I would use public transport to get through some upcoming weekend plans took another hour. Using various websites to get a hang of where and when I ought to be in certain places I wish to cover over the weekend and in the days to come took yet another hour. In-between there was brekkie to be eaten (toast with Nutella, another with peanut butter and two cups of decaff), several emails to be written (there are still some local friends to whom I have not yet reached out), a scouring followed by correspondence on a few more websites took me to mid-day with a shower thrown in for good measure.
Lunch and a Ramble:
As a result of staying in, I was at home for lunch for the first time in weeks--I made myself a toastie with blue cheese and pickle and had a cup of soup to wash it down. And then I was out the door at about 2. 30 as I had a few errands to run--my phone needed topping up (how on earth I went through 20 pounds worth of minutes is beyond me--probably chatting to my Dad in India), plus I needed to top up my Oyster card. Plus I took a long Tube ride to Ealing and back. Time flew rapidly.
Stumbling on to Shepherd's Bush Market:
On my way back, I unwittingly stopped at Shepherd's Bush Market which was perhaps my most thrilling discovery of the day. In one of my favorite TV series of all times, As Time Goes By, the male protagonist Lionel Hardcastle follows two of the characters, Judi and Sandy, to a market where, in order, to escape detection by them, he ends up buying a bugle he doesn't want or need from a local salesman. It turns out that the segment was filmed at Shepherd's Bush Market. Ever since I got to know the location, I was keen to visit the place and see it for myself. All I could remember was that it was at the bottom of an Overground train track that ran on a bridge that is decorated with wide arches.
Well, I did find it and because Lionel had bought a bugle from what looked like an antiques' stall (as found at Portobello Road), that was what I expected to find at the market. Only there was nothing of the kind. In so many respects, the market reminded me of Elco Arcade and other such markets in Bombay. Or the souk in Dubai. It was a collection of stalls lined up against a bridge selling vegetables and fruit plus really cheap clothing, household goods for the kitchen and bath, home linen and the like. Truly, things have changed enormously since the days when the TV series was filmed here. Most of the stall owners were either Sikhs or Indian Gujaratis with a few Arabs as well. The sparse clientele (it was the end of the day) were mainly Muslim women completely enshrouded in burkas and the stall owners were conversing with them in Arabic. It was far from what I could ever have expected. Sigh! As Time Has Gone By the demographics of the neighborhood have undergone a sea change.
Having wandered through many of the sites that were used for filming the series (mainly in Holland Park--which has remained the same--and in Chiswick--which has changed slightly), I am beginning to believe that with the many changes that have taken place in the areas in the past 15-20 years, I am better off not going out in search of them. Change is much too drastic and far less pleasant and I believe I am better off holding on to the TV versions of these sites rather than perusing them in reality.
Tea and Work:
It was time for tea when I got back--and I enjoyed it with dunked biscuits. A couple of videochats with Llew and I was at my computer again. I made steady progress on my paper which is now getting far lengthier than I would like--but then I can always edit it to meet time limits. The rest of the data I am analyzing can still be preserved for future use.
I continued working steadily until darkness fell. Somehow, I did not feel like eating any dinner--it was a day on which I broke with routine in many ways.
Late Evening Chinwag:
Around 9.30pm, I heard sounds that informed me that Anna had arrived--she is the daughter of the owners of this home. Knowing that she was expected, I thought it would be good to get out of my room to meet her. I did not expect her to have company--it was her boyfriend Will. She invited me to have a cup of tea with them and before I knew it, we were knee-deep in a discussion about American politics as Will is a huge Yankee elections junkie!
We had such a lively evening and it was so great to hear the sound of conversation in my home! I realize more than ever how alone I am in this place and how much I miss stimulating interaction...especially at a time when America is in the throes of a brutal election campaign. Well, several cups of tea were consumed as we reviewed the Trump-Clinton candidacies. In the process, I discovered that Anna and Will are opera singers, that they trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and that they share an unconventional lifestyle that involves hectic travel around the world as they go where the latest gig takes them.
It was a thoroughly fascinating evening and I enjoyed it immensely--mainly because I discovered that we were very much on the same page with regards to our views on American politics and the elections. But by 11.00 pm, we decided to get a move on and said goodnight.
Until tomorrow, which also promises to be more restful as I continue to work on my paper, cheerio...