Sunday in the City

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It’s not the first time I’ve had a bitta Pulp stuck in my head walking around London, but today’s lyric of choice was “oh, is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel?” Because, back in the days when my parents were young and dinosaurs roamed the Earth (or was that Mick Jagger?), someone decided that Future London would be all highwalks and high-rises. Yes, the Barbican was meant to be a vision of the future that (thankfully) never materialised. Today, it feels eerie and anachronistic. Today specifically was a Sunday, so the whole City felt eerie. The closure of most of the major bridges meant that traffic was minimal and tourists non-existent as we struggled from Moorgate to the scrap of green known as Postman’s Park.

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And oh yes, it was a struggle indeed. Crossrail have achieved what I thought was impossible – making the area around the Barbican more confusing and impenetrable than ever. Our mission was simple – to have a picnic in Postman’s Park before church on London Wall. Our transport was subterranean, thanks to the aforementioned bridge closures. Our route was…err….complicated. Every way we turned, there were hoardings up advising that this way was closed and why not try avoiding the City altogether,cause yknow, we’ve made a complete dungheap of it…working in conjunction with the 10,000 other building projects going on in the Square Mile right now, all of which aim to ensure that there is more  unaffordable, vacant office space blocking out everyone’s sunlight but it’s OK cause they all have funny names like “the upside-down, embedded cheese grater of death”. It’s ironic, you see…blame the arm of shoreditch creeping ever further down
Bishopsgate…and…” Did I slip into a rant there? Sorry. I think my point was that the City of London is looking a complete mess right now, and Crossrail – in the words of Morrissey – has so much to answer for.

IMG-20130804-00062So, the route from Moorgate to Postman’s Park, which looked so simple on Lottie’s my 2008 A-Z really wasn’t. We ended up going up an escalator, along St Alphage Highwalk past both Roman ruins and a disused 1960s social club, and through this building above, which got us back down on the other side of London Wall via another couple of escalators, one of which wasn’t working. At this point, I was very glad we didn’t have a buggy with us. Still, it meant we avoided most of the pavement on London Wall, which has a disconcerting habit of either disappearing completely, transforming into a vertical slope or going directly into an underground car park.

IMG-20130804-00065You’d hope, after so much hassle, that Postman’s Park was something to really blog home about. But it wasn’t amazing. It’s just a churchyard, which we knew before we left, and there isn’t much in the way of greenery. Reuben wasn’t forewarned about the lack of slides etc (how else were we going to get him there?!), so sulked and called it a “boring park”. However, it has its charms, really it does. There’s a fountain with giant fish in, that both kids liked looking at, and Eva happily pottered about between the flower beds.

IMG-20130804-00066And then there’s The Feature. Called the “Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice”, it features a lot of tiles that commemorate ordinary people who died in heroic (and sometimes bizarre) ways. There are actresses that caught fire, and kids who saved other kids from drowning (sob!). This was one of my favourites:

IMG-20130804-00068“Upset from a boat” – what a lovely turn of phrase! There were also some which beg for further details:

IMG-20130804-00067Credit to the wall-makers, there was one from 2007 that blended in so perfectly that I didn’t even notice it until my friend Catriona pointed it out. I also love the Bakerloo-brown tiles.

So, a boring park for a fussy 4-year-old, but a nice green and quiet spot for anyone else who happens to be in the city on a Sunday. Though I wouldn’t bother unless you had to. It’s not really worth it….

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