Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt


... if only briefly. The weather here in London gives new meaning to the word 'changeable'; every day has been an inconsistent mixture of different types of weather. This morning, it rained, and it was so cool that I found myself wondering why I hadn't taken along a jacket before I headed out to Greenwich. However, right now, it's sunny and breezy and Trafalgar Square never looked so wonderful.

I thought I'd head out to the London City Airport because... well, because I've always been curious as to what it looked like. I waited about twenty-five minutes for the bus to arrive... but it never did. I left only because I figured out the bus schedule finally - it can be a bit difficult here because no distinction is made between AM and PM. The schedule said 'First bus at 0445' and hey, that looks like 4:45 AM to me... but it wasn't. The bus only runs between 5 and 11 pm, approximately. (There was another, private bus, sure, but that would have cost me £4, and I wasn't that interested in seeing the airport. This did however give me an excuse to have a close look at a few more stations on the Jubilee Line extension - I had enjoyed reading the book Dan bought on the stations, and I think I can see I've seen most of them at this point. West Ham (I think it was) was the only one that was basically worthless - nothing there to see at all.

The Millennium Dome has now suffered the worst indignity of all: if you get off at North Greenwich and have a look around, no one has bothered to vandalize any of it, and virtually nothing has been stolen from the property. There were a few signs lying around on the ground - 'Credit cards only', that kind of thing - but even those had managed to stay untouched. I was amazed - it managed to be such an insignificance that no one can even be bothered to scavenge for souvenirs or mementoes. Last year, when Dan and I visited, the scenes in the gift shop were amazing - pallets and pallets of unsold merchandise marked down to prices that certainly must have been less than the merchandise would have cost to produce. There must have been a major disconnect there somewhere; the perpetrators of the Dome must have thought people would spend Big Money to obtain ready-made Objects that would become Keepsakes and therefore Valuable in a few short years, but instead people yawned and moved on. It was the most amazing overkill of merchandising I've ever seen, and I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again. (Then again, I didn't make it to Expo 2000 last year...)

Out there, in the rain, there were sheets of water cascading off the Dome. Many of the outbuildings had been removed - the foundations were overflowing with water - but much of it was exactly as it was last December. The British Tourist Information office had been stripped bare, presumably to raise cash to finance the 'Foot and mouth disease: Please come back!' campaign they'll need to mount next year. The Kodak map of twenty pleasant photo spots was still there, fading slightly, and unconvincing as ever. Gone were the hordes of yellow-parka'd employees, replaced by two London Transport employees on a cigarette break. Sad, sad, sad.

  • It's July 2013.

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