More London Pics

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So, I went to London and the only pics I posted were of a budget hotel! That was pretty ridiculous, wasn’t it?

We were there on a grey, but not brooding,day. I’m sure I could have done more to make my photos pop, but it was just like that. The light was reasonably bright, but very flat.

Central London is a loud and busy place, full of tourists and people just going about their business. It’s polluted and congested and has lots of big-city problems, but it still has a certain attractive energy to it.

OK, this isn’t really an example of the energy I was thinking of. What it is is a statue of Francis Russell, fifth Duke of Bedford, in Russell Square. According to Wikipedia, it dates from 1807, five years after Russell died. I learned a lot about the Bloomsbury area in trying to find context for my photos, having been just about entirely ignorant about it during my visit. Incidentally, you’d think it would be easy to look this guy up, but Francis Russell was the name of the second, fourth, fifth, seventh, and ninth Dukes of Bedford. I guess in that family you didn’t spend a lot of time agonizing over a name for your first son.

We have buses, cabs, and red phone boxes (I haven’t checked recently that any still contain working phones) in Cambridge too. But I took a photo anyway.

So many young people, being students or at the starts of professional careers, dressed all spiffily and urban. So many fixies (fixed-wheel bikes, that is)! I almost applauded whenever I saw someone looking even remotely style-conscious with the fortitude of character to be seen on a bike with a derailleur.

I come from a place where white-people history and their buildings fade into oblivion in the not-so-distant past. Not so here. Many eras and budgets rub shoulders, architecturally speaking. That building ahead and to the left, containing a Waterstone’s bookstore, is just crazily fanciful to my eye.

Two! Black! Phone boxes. St Pancras New Church in the background, I want to make a stupid joke about sharing giant hats but there is no way to make it work.

St Pancras Station, with one corner of the British Library in the foreground. Incredible sensibilities evoked by such a building (St Pancras, not the BL, which, though grand, makes more concessions to practicality).

A slightly different flavour of train station.

There was a thinly-disguised stampede for seats on the Cambridge train just before 5pm (the disguise was that most people kept one foot touching the ground at all times, like race-walkers). The grey-haired “gentleman” behind me reached around and stuck his ticket in the machine I was just about to go through, so I felt obliged to step back and allow him through the turnstile before me. In a less orderly society that trick wouldn’t work, of course; even here, there’s an argument that I should have just gone through on his ticket. Mind-boggling that people will abuse the civility of others around them in such a way. If everybody behaved like that, it wouldn’t be quite such a nice place to live, would it? Anyway. I held my own in the fray and secured a seat for the trip home.