Splash Magazines

London Postcards Day 7

By Paula Jessop

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Having a great time wish you were here.

I took a walk today in Little Venice. I'd never heard of it and was intrigued when I stumbled across someone on the web mentioning it. I asked the Hilton concierge where it was and he explained to me which tube to take. It made my head swim so I opted to take a taxi. I've been taking far too many of them (transferring hotels with luggage) and am spending half my budget on the blasted things. This one really wasn't necessary but since I had no idea where I really wanted to go no address etc, and not a lot of time to get lost I figured what the heck.

I learned from the cabby Little Venice is in the area of Maida Vale. The ride felt like a long time and the meter ticked on. When we arrived I was in a residential area, with houses on one side of the street and a canal on the other side. There were boats docked in the canal which were wide and some more narrow.  Most are used as private residences but a few were business like a restaurant, a puppet theatre and a florist. It was chilly and a there was a small breeze blowing so it wasn't the most pleasant of days to be walking.  Although there were people lazing around and walking the canal in spit of the chill. I imagine in the summer it could be a fun outing.

The canals were built to carry cargo to inland England, long before trucks were around. People used to live on the canal boats along with whatever cargo they had and they would have a horse harnessed to the boat. The horse would walk along the embankment and pull the barges along. The canals are laced throughout England and some are wider than others, the narrower of the canals impossible for the wider boats to go through. Often a boat can travel for miles along a canal without the room to turn around. So if you miss your stop you'd have to travel forward until you had found the space to turn, this could take you miles out of your way.

As I said most of the boats in Little Venice are docked permanently and used as residences. These are often more expensive than the house directly across the street. Byron the poet would often come to Little Venice and row a boat over to the island in the middle of the canal where he would compose his verses.

I walked until I reached an area where they had closed down the pathway. Signs directed me to go to the street where I imagined there was another entrance. Which I of course couldn't find and so I ended up wandering the streets and getting totally lost. Had it been warmer and had I not been in such a hurry it would have been fun. But instead I ended up giving in again and hunting down a cab and going back to the hotel.

The Hilton has a wireless connection but they charge 20 pounds a day and I just felt robbed. So instead of using it I packed up my laptop and went in search of a Starbucks where I could have coffee, write and post my articles. This was a fun search I found some sweet quaint side streets worth exploring further and finally a Starbucks.

Boy are they busy I got my mocha and saw a table with an empty seat. I approached the single man at the table and asked if I might join him. He said yes and did I bring cakes. His name was Tolly and he was a local businessman out for a cuppa before going back to work. We chatted for a while and then he excused himself and went off to make money.

My table wasn't empty for long two women approached asking if they might pull up an extra chair, then a girl from Germany out job hunting. I ended up having to leave this Starbucks because they didn't have a toilet. I was directed to another Starbucks just up the street two minutes away which did have one.

I went into the new Starbucks found an armchair with an electrical outlet and hunkered in for the rest of the day to write. After which I found a Kinkos where I could get on the internet (with Starbucks you have to be a T-mobile customer) then spent another couple hours on email and postings and headed back to the hotel for the night, which I spent writing.   Tomorrow is a spa day.

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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