Friday, October 8, 2010

London Journal - Tweed, tattoos and tasty treats

The Victoria line was absolutely heaving for three in the afternoon. Of course it's a Friday so everyone is taking off early if they can. I leaned against the back of the car, resigned to the fact that I'd not get a seat. An old gent boarded at Pimlico. He wore a tweed jacket and a matching tweed bow-tie. A woman seated in the priority seats offered to get up.
"Oh no, quite alright," he said in exactly the sort of voice I'd imagine him to have. It was throaty, rich and strong with only the slightest quaver. He came over to stand by me and after a moment I realised he was speaking to me. A first I thought he wanted to stand where I was but as I moved over he peered at the map I had been obscuring.
"We're on this line, are we not?" he gazed at me with watery, red-rimmed old eyes. His smile was kind and sweet, his finger pointing to the black line that signifies Northern. At first I forgot we were on the Victoria line and I nodded. I doubted myself a moment later and looked at the poles of the train. Their lovely blue reminded me of the fact that I was on a very different route than I normally took after work.
"No, we're on this one," I pointed to Victoria's path on the colourful map. He asked me which stop he needed for a hotel I'd not heard of. I shook my head, shrugging and apologising for not being able to help.
"I'll get off at Green Park then," he said, pointing to Warren Street. I smiled softly but didn't correct him as he was already turning away from me and because I knew Green Park was next so I could just tell him to get off when the train stopped. As it turned out he saw where we were himself, sending another thankful nod in my direction before disembarking.
I travelled the next three stops to King's Cross St. Pancras (Which always makes me think 'pancreas' no matter how much I try not to.) where I caught the bus up to Farringdon. My destination was The Family Business, a tattoo parlour owned by Mo Coppoletta. I learned of it only very recently when my partner booked in for a piece of work about a month ago. I'd come to meet her there and whilst waiting I perused the work of the many artists that are both based or guest in the establishment. This was when I discovered the work of Noon, and instantly fell in love. After several emails with the aforementioned artist, confirming that he would be in London in January and again in July, I confirmed a date with him. My trip today was to confirm my July appointment.
As soon as my deposit was down I found myself with a significant chunk of time with which to play. The day was warm, the sun an autumnal gold. I wandered the streets, taking in the still stunning architecture as I made my way to Holburn.
When I met up with my partner, the architectural tour continued. We decided to board a bus to Liverpool Street and we managed to secure the front seats on the top deck. This is the ideal seat in London for anyone who likes to catch the details of the elaborate stone and iron-work that adorns so many of the city's buildings. Together we scanned the archways and windows, pointing out the Green Men, strong stone oak branches and elaborate iron gates.
I was almost disappointed when we reached our destination, especially as a wind was kicking up and the warmth from earlier in the day was a memory and nothing more. Fourtunately we didn't have long outside and after a small wander around Bishop's Gate we went to our destination, the stunning Steak House of Marco Pierre White. We were served the marvellous sirloins accompanied by a roasted mushroom, roasted tomato, Bearnaise sauce and a simple salad with blue cheese dressing.
Needless to say, I'm feeling quite content at the moment.

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