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TGI Paul

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Foggy Day in London Town

I woke up this morning in a hotel just off Tottenham Court Road (don't ask... all you need to know is that it was fun!), and have only just got home. A couple of things have happened though on the way home that I just wanted to note;

I walked round from the hotel onto the main road to catch a bus back home and was struck (not literally) by how foggy it was this morning! I haven't seen London so foggy in years. As I turned the corner I saw this view of the Post Office Tower (right). I could only see the top, poking through the fog, almost like it wasn't attached to anything. The picture beneath is from their site, showing it in all its (unfogged) glory.

The Tower was built between 1961 and 1964, and at 580ft was for many years the tallest building in Britain. At the very top was a revolving restaurant. The 'Top of the Tower', as it was called, was leased to Butlins, could seat 120 diners on the 11 feet wide revolving section which formed part of the 34th floor. A complete revolution took 22 minutes. We went there once as a family in the 70's and I remember coming back from the bathroom and not being able to find my parents because the table had moved! Sadly, my sister lost her ring or bracelet or something in the bathroom. She cried for hours!

Apparently, the 'Top of the Tower' revolving restaurant was nicknamed the 'revolting restaurant' by staff who had to make do with their own 'canteen' which served a different class of cuisine. This I can totally believe, having worked at Butlins myself so I know what their staff canteens are like! It was closed in 1980 after Butlins didn't renew their lease.

From Tottenham Court Road I caught the bus to Islington, where I was going to change lines to go on to Hackney, but by now I'd started getting hungry so decided to buy a newpaper and stop in at one of my favourite places to eat, The S & M Cafe.

It's not, as the name might suggest, the kind of place where you'll get whipped if you don't eat your greens, but actually a kitsch little 50's style cafe that mainly serves sausages and mash ("The Worlds no1 Comfort Food!" according to their logo), although this morning I opted for kippers and poached eggs. The food was as excellent as ever, the waitress was a sweet friendly young woman (with a badge reading "Come sad... leave happy!" Ooer!) and the soundtrack went from the theme tune to Rainbow through to Tears for Fears' 'Mad World' and Paul Wellers' 'You Do Something To Me'.

The decor here is a little camp but it feels authentic, with lovely little touches such as these toilet signs;

... although I don't think any of the girls that I know would like to depicted as a mound of mashed potatoes! I stayed there for just over an hour and it was lovely just to sit, eat and pause from modern hectic London life for a while.

Now, as I said, I had my copy of The Times with me, so I endeavoured to get stuck into the Su Doku. There's a 'Killer' Su Doku printed every day as well as the two normal ones which I really enjoy trying to beat!

In 'Killer' you don't start with any numbers already in the grid (like the regular Su Doku's). The clue is that the numbers you put into each of the odd shaped “inner boxes” (marked by dotted lines) must add up to the small number written in the top corner of that inner box. All the normal Su Doku rules apply, and additionally you can't duplicate a number within an inner box. Throughout the week the puzzles get harder, starting with 'Gentle' on a Monday and working up to 'Deadly' on Friday.

Now, I've become really quite addicted to these, as sad as that is, and Mondays and Tuesday I can do really quickly. Wednesdays I have to think about but Thursdays are still a struggle.

A Friday one I had yet to finish... until TODAY! And within the target time of 55 minutes too! How chuffed am!? Well.... my lovely waitress was impressed anyway!


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