Travels: London: Saturday 19th August 2000

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Highlights

Fish!Diner, Canary Wharf

Main purpose: seeing the Jubilee Line Extension stations; general sightseeing in Southwark; revisiting memories of Docklands in 1987


I was woken by torrential rain at 06:15 - fortunately that was it for the day.

I checked out of the hotel early so as to make the most of the morning, before the crowds and the heat. Fortunately the concierge was able to look after my luggage, saving having to lug it around all day.

I walked down to Horborn station and used a ticket machine to get a Travelcard. There was now a special intruction panel and a simplified sequence of buttons to get it. At 09:04 I took the Piccadilly Line to Green Park, then changed for the Jubilee Line to Westminster. There I had a longer look at the innovative station. Each hall is vast, with walls consisting of cement boxes or alcoves. The rear surface of each box seems to be artistically textured. The openness makes things much clearer - a striking change to older stations with the mazes of tunnels seemingly in random directions.

I arrived at Canary Wharf station at 09:46. It's vast and uncluttered, with lots of ticket machines and ticket windows. The next up has a large shopping Mall plus offices such as Coutts & Co. and other financial institutions. Boots was one of the few normal high street names amongst the shops - they were mainly specialist or trendy/designer ones. I walked through westwards to Cabot Place and walked around the area to the south and back to Norman Foster's station. There were now a lot more people about (10:15).

I took the Jubilee Line back to London Bridge and Tooley Street, this time turning north into Hay's Galleria. Just after my last trip, when I'd seen the southern side of the Galleria from Tooley Street, I saw an article on the Web which made me realise I'd seen it in 1987, on a trip exploring the then-new Docklands developments.

(10:38) I walked along the river bank (the tide was out) to Butlers Wharf. By now it was hot, with some cloud cover. At the Wharf there are various bars, cafes and restarants, including Terence Conran's ones plus his Design Museum. Behind the Wharf is the area known as Shad Thames, with the much-filmed streets with high-level walkways between the old warehouses. I spotted an old pumping house and an Azerbaijani Cultural Centre.

Arriving back at the Galleria, the bar at the corner, Horniman's, gets good write-up and I looked in to see what they had: Adnams, Bass plus a couple of boring beers.

I carried on back to the Cathedral area and found the Fish!Diner, which had just opened (at 11:30). The inside is somewhat like an American diner - for instance a seating area of a high counter plus stools. I chose to sit outside at one of the many tables. The furniture was of a shiny metal and on the tabletop was a menu sheet with the day's main courses ticked - very efficient.

I chose steamed (rather than grilled) Sea Bream (which included vegetables) plus new potatoes and an ordinary coffee. The bill was about 15.50.

I popped into the Wheatsheaf again and had a pint of Old London Bridge Brewery Gryphon of Gold again (same price!).

Catching the Tube again, I arrived at Bank station at 13:30 and once again forgot about the long walk for some of its exits - in this case to the Central Line for Holborn.

I collected by luggage from the hotel and decided to walk to Kings Cross rather than swelter on the Tube. I'd given up on going to see Copenhagen for now.

I stopped off at The Lamb again and had Young's Special (4.7%, 2.18).

On arriving at Kings Cross I again tried to get a FT but the special holder was empty. I caught the 15:15 non-stop train. The air blowers (directional nozzles) above the seats were particularly welcome!

Once again I saw lots of Micro Scooters - they really are the thing this summer.


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