On Sunday we went for a walk along the Regent's Canal in East London. This canal joins the Limehouse Basin -- itself connected by a lock to the tidal Thames -- to the Grand Union Canal at Paddington. Originally the plan was to walk to Paddington via one of Islington's trendy eateries, but a combination of rain and poor restaurant service put paid to that idea. There's actually little of interest to say about this, but here are some more photos in lieu of actual text.
To get to Limehouse, one has to take the Docklands Light Railway. Apart from the conversations of other passengers, little was memorable about this. The only conversations I can remember: (a) the two ladies who, sitting at the front of the train, pondered at length the absence of a driver before naturally concluding that he must be driving the train from the back, at which point they walked to the other end, where they were presumably again disappointed; and (b) the two blokes sitting next to me, clutching a copy of a pamphlet entitled
BUSINESS STARTUP 2003
incorporating Franchise Village
who, despite endless signs at stations explaining how to get to `Excel' (``London's Exhibition Centre'', which it presumably is if you exclude, oh, I don't know, Olympia and countless other venues) were completely unsure of how to get there. So obviously that made me optimistic about our country's economic prospects. Anyway, the DLR is basically boring, so instead here's a picture of the Monument (which commemorates the 1666 Great Fire of London):
I didn't know, or had forgotten about, the anti-Catholic inscription removed from the end of the text at its base, after gracing London for 150 years. (See, e.g., the end of this Wikipedia article describing the fire.)
At Limehouse there is an imposing church by Hawksmoor:
... but being Sunday, this wasn't an appropriate day to actually visit the church. Pressing swiftly on, it rapidly became clear that it was absolutely pissing with rain:
... which sucked pretty badly. Other things that would suck pretty badly include having a go on this slide, which was placed inexplicably at the side of the canal:
-- ``and the next day, everybody sued everybody else''.
No urban landscape would be complete without graffiti of one sort or another and there is a particularly large-scale effort in Dalston, apparently due to Banksy (particularly crap web site, but worth reading through despite the DHTML, pictures-of-text and other designer droppings; see also this more amusing article from BBC news):
Eventually one reaches a pub and comparative dryness, though sadly in this case it was the York in Upper Street, which had unaccountably run out of all forms of beer that one would want to drink.
There is some suggestion that this had something to do with a certain early-morning sporting event the previous day. The pub had also run out of food, or at least staff to prepare it, which rather sucked. That said, it didn't suck anywhere near as much as `Bar Opal', which I had the misfortune to visit on Saturday, and is without doubt the worst bar I have been in in many months.
Walking plans rather disintegrated at that stage. Probably a good thing, given the weather. Anyway, on the return journey I felt duty-bound to take a photograph of the AMT Coffee stand on King's Cross. AMT Coffee apparently claim that photographing their premises is prohibited, so naturally I urge all members of the public to take pictures of them whenever convenient.
(That said, the AMT people didn't object to me photographing their establishment.)
In other news
The NTK Effect, in glorious GNUPLOT: