Day 3. Election fever. Ash. Feeling relieved that we made it here before the volcano erupted. Mother Nature is really asserting herself these days. Watched some of the election debate but it was depressing — no one stands out as brilliant. The press seemed to feel that Nick Clegg “won” but hard to say how that will translate into votes.
We are finding our feet. Our location is amazing. Club Quarters is located at 8 Northumberland Avenue which is one of the streets that runs into Trafalgar Square. So the walking routes are very diverse and yet to be fully explored.
So far the focus has been on — yes — you guessed it. FOOD. And yet again we tried out the local Tesco — not that great. At the other extreme, we explored (in great detail) the food “rooms” at Harrods. There is the seafood and meat room, the bakery room (complete with Krispy Kreme which kind of upset me), and numerous others. One wonders how they can keep alive — but I think it is probably that they have cleverly combined buying food with eating it in quite elegant bars — the oyster bar, the caviar bar, the “ham” bar, the pizzeria and so on.
In the end, we re-found the Soho Whole Foods. Hate to admit it but was glad to see it here. We are also going to explore the Boughton Market tomorrow which allows us to walk along the river past the Tate Modern and almost to London Bridge.
We are going to be eating in a lot — restaurants seem quite expensive and somehow not as appealing as San Francisco’s in terms of quality, variety and proximity.
The other focus has been on WORK. And getting organized. There is quite a good workspace in the Club Quarters — work stations, printer and so on. It is an oak-panelled room but not a lot of natural light.
Yesterday I ventured to the Bartlett Graduate School — the Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London. It is located at the Goodge Street Tube stop on Tottenham Court Road — so really walking distance from “home” or a two-stop ride on the Northern Line. Our stop is Charing Cross.
I have to admit that UCL is well organized — in a matter of minutes I had my access pass, my fire drill tour and my desk in a smallish room with a number of other people — visitors and post docs I think. Not sure how much I will work here but it is great to have a place to work from. I had a great lunch with Alexi Marmot who is the Director of the Graduate School — she is an Australian architect who has been in London since the 70s. We have a lot of common interests so it will be productive.
Today we have errands to run — get our “bat phones” activated (these are the cheapest possible T-mobile phones that we bought and used for local calls in SF) at the Soho T-Mobile outlet, find a place to buy newspapers (sadly lacking in the neighbourhood), and generally do more exploring.
What a life!