Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Get a photo crossing Abbey Rd

What can I say? This photo/album is my earliest memory and influenced the course of my life in so many ways from dancing around the lounge room with Dad to "Octopus's Garden" and "Come Together" as a child, up to today.

I walked the 3Km from my hotel listening to the Beatles on the MP3, even I was surprised at the rush of rising excitement as I got closer.

The first thing I saw was about thirty people running onto and across the road with cameras and mostly patient drivers rolling their eyes as they had to stop for these crazy tourists doing their reenactments.

At one point I was poised to grab a 2yo girl who wobbled off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic as the young mother was busy standing on the road taking photos of friends oblivious to her child's impending doom. Luckily the traffic stopped as someone beat me to it. The local council is talking about removing the crossing because of the danger and inconvenience to traffic. There was 18 accidents in the eighties, 18 in the nineties and 22 since 2000 but no deaths.

I stood smiling and watching for about half an hour just soaking it up and taking in all the changes and unseen details surrounding the original album cover and sussing out the various tourists for a potential photographer prepared to indulge me ten minutes of their time.

Their names were Dan and Shannon, a couple of cool local musos. Dan used my iPhone and Shannon very generously also took photos on her iPad and emailed them to me.

I did two crossings as Lennon with hands in pockets then two crossings as Paul barefoot with a cigarette. It was tricky to cross with no cars obscuring me, when no one else was getting in my shot and avoiding the traffic at the same time. At one point a car came screaming at me beeping its horn but I held my composure, if I was going to get hit by a car then this would be a great place for it to happen.

A great feeling just to see the famous crossing at last and a humbling experience to get a photo and cross it off the LIFE LIST.

I checked out the studio as well of course from the outside, smaller than I imagined.

Ride the London Eye

I got to the Eye about 1pm and happily paid an extra £10 (£30) for a fast track ticket and was aboard in fifteen minutes, jumping the hour plus queue.

I had this on the LIFE LIST for a number of reasons:

To challenge my increasing high anxiety.

To get a visual sense of the layout of London, this city I have seen bits and pieces of in movies and TV for years.

Also because its 135 metres tall, second highest Ferris wheel in the world (dam you Singapore!) but the highest cantilever wheel in the world.

It moved slow enough to ease my vertigo cautiously to the heights until almost at the top it stopped......."we apologise for the delay in service we are attending to an incident on the ground, we appreciate your patience". When this came over the intercom the fifteen or so of us on board flashed glances at each other and nervously smiled, I had to laugh out loud.

As someone pointed out at least we were stuck with a view.

After about twenty minutes we started moving again.......backwards! The kid standing next to me and I stared at each other with a look of "oh that's not right?" Then it paused and resumed our normal journey as if nothing had happened.

That all said it was exhilarating and I now have a real sense of how London is laid out and where all the major landmarks are in relation to each other. "Highly" recommended for a brief visit to London.

Travel the English tunnel

The tunnel was simple enough, just catch a train from Paris to London.

This was such an engineering feat I just thought it would be cool to go through.

The intercom announced we would be entering the tunnel shortly then with a whoosh at 160Kmh, total darkness surrounded the carriage, goodbye mainland Europe.

After about twenty minutes with another whoosh we came screaming into daylight and everyone gasped, hello England.