Friday, October 20
Berwick Street, 12:02
The Travelodge chain offers the comfort of familiarity since every hotel I have stayed in has looked and felt like every other Travelodge. They have reasonably large rooms and big double beds (that you can buy for home use), they offer good value, but they have no food.
I slept well and didn’t get up until about 8:30. I had decided that I would spend today wandering the centre of London, but first I did some writing. At 11:00 I left the building, walked over the road, and caught the tube to Stockwell, and then changed to the Victoria line for Oxford Circus.
I wandered down towards Tottenham Court Road, noticed that HMV had closed, then turned right into Berwick Street. Reckless Records and Sister Ray still stood where I remembered them. I looked through both and then decided I felt hungry.
I noticed the Green Man a little up the road and went in there. I had a large English breakfast and unlimited coffee. I did most of the puzzles in the i newspaper while I worked my through the sausages, bacon and beans. I ate my toast separately, with Marmite.
Afterward breakfast I cross the road and photograph the front of the Green Man. I feel full. I do not remember pubs acting as breakfast cafes in the nineties. I suspect that Weatherspoons have had a hand in this development. I had noticed that most customers, many of whom had obviously stopped work for a morning break, had mugs of tea or coffee in front of them.
I will return to Oxford Street, and then walk down Charing Cross to Foyles. I will recognise very little here because most of what I remember has disappeared and replaced with newer, trendier buildings, or with building sites. Foyles has also changed, and for the better in many ways.
I will stop at a comic shop and then walk down to Charing Cross to get the tube back to the hotel.
Yesterday, wandering around Balham, I had noticed a hipster fish and chip shop staffed by men with big bushy beards and the sides of their heads shaved. This evening I will go to Seventeen Fish & Chips for dinner, and have plaice, mushy peas, two pickled onions, and chips. I will leave full.
Later, in the hotel, my stomach will realise that a full English breakfast should not start a day which ends with a giant plate of fried food. One or the other, it will say.