I was having a look around Blackwell’s in Tottenham Court Road at lunch on Monday and spotted an impressive Londony book I had never seen before, London Underground Stations by Stephen Durin:
Just the cover photo grabbed my attention. I also dug the fact that my local Tube station was on the front, but even more I had a moment where I smiled to myself thinking ‘I have a local Tube station now’. Anyways, I ended up not getting it. As soon as I got back to work though I started thinking I should have treated myself to it.
I had a look for it on Amazon but there were no copies available. Likewise on eBay and a few other places. Hmm looks like it may be at least right now a bit on the rare side. There was just the one copy on the shelf at Blackwell’s as well.
Yesterday after work I cracked and made my way to the shop again to purchase it. Of course on my way there I got anxious thinking, oh no what if someone bought it. Luckily that didn’t happen and it’s now in my possession.
It’s brilliantly simple. Each page is a photo of the station exterior. Below it, in London Transport’s Johnson type face, is the station’s name, the year it was built and who built it be it the company name or the specific architect.
The most text heavy part of the book is the back cover describing the contents within:
It’s such an impressive tome my arm was a bit sore after holding it up long enough to go through each page. I’m glad I caved and picked it up.
I haven’t had anything really big lately to post about, so I thought I’d do a collection of odds and ends; new acquisitions and places I’ve been.
This past Sunday, not having much else to do, I thought what the heck, let’s go to London. There’s always something to do there. The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green has an exhibit of Quentin Blake illustrations from Roal Dahl books. Seeing the original water colour of The Witches cover was pretty amazing. Roald Dahl (and shortly thereafter C. S. Lewis) got me into reading, and The Witches was really the book that did it for me. I still love Quentin Blake’s drawings. There’s loads of them covering some of the scaffolding at King’s Cross and seeing it always makes me smile. After that I had one of my clothes horse moments and did some shopping for new trousers, shirts and sweaters in Oxford Street. The thing I had last year for jackets seems to be back. I wanted to buy nearly every one I saw at UniQlo. Not the big puffy ones though.
The Saturday before last I had a ticket to go on a behind the scenes tour at the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton. It’s a bit like their open days, but with only a handful of other people there and a museum volunteer giving plenty of info and stories about the items. I really liked seeing all this stuff in more of a working than a staged environment, which prompted me to think that more museums should be like that. Just a big jumble of lovely things to discover. I filled a 2GB memory card with photos and managed to prune that down to a selection of 87 to post on Flickr. Of particular interest was the collection of station signage and maps. I didn’t even have time to see it all before our group had to move on to let the next group have a look.
They’re going to have another open day in October and I reckon I’ll probably go back. If nothing else just to see the rest of the signs.
Speaking of transport, National Express have been on strike lately. What does this matter to me? Well their strike involves zero service on Thursdays and Fridays, making it a bit tricky to get to and from work. It started last week and looks like it’s going ahead again this week. On Friday there were loads of National Express East Anglia trains (the ones I take to work and London Liverpool Street) parked at Cambridge station:
And even more transport! I got myself a bike last Saturday. I’ve been thinking of it since moving at the end of June (did I mention that? I don’t think I did). I was looking at classified ads, but weary of them as the majority are probably stolen. I ended up going to Station Cycles which is pretty handy as it’s in the rail station car park. They had a nice second hand mountain bike there that was an agreeable price with a 3 month warranty and they even had a look at the gears ticking a bit before I even said I’d take it. I’m pretty happy with it and my rediscovery of how aces cycling is. I was one stop short of going “wheeee!” when I took it for a test spin around the station car park.
For the past two years I’ve been using a great little Canon camera, a Powershot A550 to be exact. I’ve had an itch to upgrade to one of the Powershot G models. First the G9, then the G10 came out. I’ve saved up and bought a Canon Powershot G10. From Canada. Yes, they do sell cameras in England, but it was a decent sale price so I went for it. It went through customs today and should hopefully be arriving before the end of this week. I’m really looking forward to it. It shoots in RAW format, so my poor ol’ MacBook’s (upgraded) 320GB hard drive is going to take a hit and I’m going to have to get better at archiving stuff off. Still, it’s going to be neat to learn all about how it works. Any votes on what my first shooting spree with it should be?
Lastly, I’m digging Street Fighter IV on the XBox Triple60. Oh and I haven’t had broadband at home for nearly three weeks. A mixture of mobile broadband an a neighbor’s iffy open wireless network to the rescue. Right I think that’s about it, or at least all I can think of for now.
I woke up with an idea this morning. I’m rather particular about keeping things in good nick, and books are certainly no exception. It’s always tricky to pack a paperback just right into a bag so that its risk of damage is as low as possible. Then it hit me; why aren’t there any small portable paperback cases readily available?