Goodbye

My visit to London is rapidly coming to a close.  My original intention was to be here for some two weeks and then go to Florence with my sister.  She would stay for a couple of weeks and I would stay on alone for a couple of months.

London-Skyline 3Alas, the best laid plans etc .  Shortly before I arrived in London it was thought that my sister had suffered a heart attack.  So in the first few days we spent time at the local hospital having a barrage of tests.  Nothing moves fast in this big, over crowded city and so she is only today receiving the results of these tests from her GP.  Several more tests were called for which entailed waiting for the letters of appointment, as they were in two different hospitals, and to make life complete she was advised not to fly until the results were all in.

At this time she is still waiting for the final test to be carried out and this will happen next week.

So it was decided that I should go to Florence and she will join me when she is cleared to fly.

british-museum-27-09-13-005.jpgMeantime we have been enjoying my native city again.  Not as a tourist because I was born and brought up here, but as a returning visitor.

The most surprising thing of all is the changes wrought to the East End by last year’s Olympics.  Stratford that was once a really derelict and run down area has been transformed.  During World War II, the area suffered severe bombing damage. Industrial decline followed, accelerated by the closure of the docks from the 1960s onward. And the ethnically mixed area suffered from high unemployment, a labor force with low skills and crowded housing..  But all this changed once London was awarded the 2012 Olympics.

Where once were disused factories now stand tall apartment blocks,

University of Eat London

University of Eat London

the University of East London and student housing to accompany it, a large Westfield Shopping Mall and a new transport hub.  This has been good news for most of the people living in the area.

There has of course, been controversy.

_Orbit_at_nightThe Orbit sculpture and observation tower has been praised and denigrated by the public.  It was  designed by  artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond  and stands 114.5 metre (376 feet).  It is apparently the largest public sculpture in Britain.   Orbit closed after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as the South Plaza area of the Park (in which Orbit is positioned) is under significant construction – and will re-open to visitors in April 2014.

London Olympic Stadium 2The Olympic Stadium is still being fought over by rival football clubs who want to use it as their base.  Currently the  has been awarded to West Ham but Leyton Orient are claiming that exclusive use rights should not have been given and that these two East End clubs should have equal access to the facility.

London_Aquatics_Centre,_16_April_2012

The London Aquatics Centre.  An indoor facility with two 50-metre (160-foot) swimming pools and a 25-metre (82-foot) diving pool.

Some of the residents of course, were moved on to make way for this huge redevelopment, and the redevelopment is still going on.  I saw a sign advertising a shopping and entertainment centre of 1.9 million square feet..  Wow!

the_Shard_London_Bridge_5205

The Shard Via Wikipedia

And the changes are not restricted to the East End.  The City is changing.  Where once were old office blocks now stand huge glass monoliths that do little to differentiate my home town from many other I have visited around the world.

British_Museum_from_NE_2

The British Museum – Still hasn’t lost its charm*

But the old favourites remain.  The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, The British Museum in Great  Russell Street, The Tower of London, St Paul’s and of course, Parliament and Big Ben.  These are all a must see on any visit I make to London.

Portobello RoadAnd of course no visit to London would be complete without the street markets.  I have written of these in an earlier post.  The World famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill (you probably saw the film Notting Hill  staring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant), the local markets at Roman Road and Ridley Road, Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane, the antique market at Islington and on and on,

So as my time here comes to an end and once again I say farewell to family and friends, I am a trifle sad and of course, nostalgic.  But I have my adventure in Florence to look forward to and of course, I shall be back here again after that before taking that long haul flight back to the other side of the world.

“My formula for living is quite simple.  I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.  In between, I occupy myself as best I can”
Cary Grant,  1904 – 1986 ,
English stage and Hollywood film actor

Related Posts:

The Market 
Down Memory Lane

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26 responses to “Goodbye

  1. Going to miss you big Sister but my love goes with you where ever you are in this wonderful world of ours, Love you xx

  2. Thank you for your impressions Judith – it’s always strange, when you revisit old haunts, to some across little familiar bits among all the brand new developments. All the best to your sister, hope she can join you soon.

  3. Lovely tour, Judith. Hope that your sister will be able to join you soon. Enjoy Florence.

  4. Portobello Market! I lived in Notting Hill for a summer due to a stroke of good fortune (never could have afforded such a posh flat without a stroke of good fortune). We were just a few blocks from the Portobello Market. It was amazing how crowded it would get on Saturdays.
    I hope they find nothing serious wrong with your sister, and that she will join you in Florence soon.

  5. I’m sorry your visit has been marred a bit by your sister’s health. She must have been really looking forward to doing lots with you. I hope the tests turn out fine next week. In the meantime I hope you have a wonderful time in Florence. It’s been nice having you home and hearing about it..
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • Hi David. Yes well we were rather confined to London as she couldn’t fly and we were waiting for appointments to be made. Hopefully she will be able to join me in Florence really soon.

  6. Thanks for showing us so much of London. Enjoy Florence and hopefully your sister will soon be able to enjoy it with you.

  7. I look forward to hearing about Florence, and hope your sister will be able to join you soon.

  8. Your tour if newLondon was inspiring, I have never. Seen these places on visits to London, how the world is changing, trust your sister can join you soon,you are going to have such a wonderful time in Florence, you cannot help it, so beautiful there
    Happy days in Italy, enjoy.
    Love girlfriend.

  9. Best wishes for your sister’s good health, safe journeys for all…and thanks for this insider’s view of a wonderful city!

  10. I lived in Leytonstone and worked in Stratford in the 1960’s and it was a very sad place then. I just cant imagine the new modern Stratford. We have enjoyed Italy and eagerly await your impressions of Florence. Safe travels and hope your sister can join you soon. Joy

    • My husband and I (doesn’t that sound regal) left Hackney in 1960 and as you say Stratford was a sorry sight then. But no more! It is amazing the changes that the Olympics brought to the area.

  11. I’m glad you’ve had a nice time in my home city and look forward to your tales about Florence. I’ve always wanted to go there and never have

  12. Hope your sister is on the mend.
    Looking forward to your reports from Florence!

  13. Oooh, so hated to hear of your sister’s health problems and hope you will be reunited soon. Great pictures. Glad the Olympics had some lasting positives for London.

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