Friday, 25 March 2016

Up in the mist.

One reason for our day out was that when Robyn came here as a tourist she had a trip on the London Eye and couldn't see was misty.......just like today!

So last summer when there was a rare opening of the old Post Office Tower I tried to get tickets but couldn't because the Home office had seized Robyn's passport and we needed ID.

So then I applied for tickets for 'The Walkie Talkie' ......we needed a passport to get up there too........Grrrrh!

I was really depressed - we couldn't go abroad and we couldn't even go up a building.

Now we both have passports but we can't go anywhere anymore but we did actually book tickets for 'The Walkie Talkie' at 20 Fenchurch Street.

Which seemed fine except that as the day got closer and closer I got more and more apprehensive;


Not that it's stopped me - I'm actually scared of going up ladders but I've been up plenty of them.

I've spent a lot of time climbing up hills and clambering along cliff edges.

I've climbed a few mountains too.

But this?

Oh dear!

That's high!

It didn't help that I've been having more or less permanent nosebleeds for the last month or so too.

Today was no different, so when I was searched at the entrance I had a pocket full of bloody tissues as well as a back brace which did seem to throw them a bit off balance.

It's 35 stories high and the lift takes about 20 seconds to get there.

There's a roof garden and some plush places to eat;

I was not too happy about going out to the terrace but the views were good;

It was very strange to watch helicopters flying only just above us and looking down at familiar buildings. This is City hall where I proposed to Robyn two months ago; 

Looking down at tiny cars and buses;

This is the classic view of Canary Wharf, and the East End where we had a day last summer. You can really see the curves of the river.

And how about looking down at The Shard?

There's always a catch - the Walkie Talkie is ugly and too big for it's boots (OK its too big for it's footprint).

It's design is flawed - two summers ago it melted a line of cars on the street because it's shape concentrated the suns rays into a beam.

It was a condition of getting planning permission that it had to create a 'public space' and most of us would have imagined this would be at street level and accessible to all.

Anyway, until everybody forgets about this condition we have some strictly controlled access to the 'Skygarden';

And it's a very science fiction space, in a 'James Bond Villains Lair' sort of way.

Please, where is 'Dr Evil's office?

Imagine, looking down at 'The Gherkin'?

There are lots of tree ferns and some quite nice temperate planting;

But it is a bit corporate.

By the time we left I was pretty much worn out and we took refuge in a Caffé Nero at street level so that I could have a rest.

The effect of mixing with a lot of City business people was getting me down - interestingly when we first got there we went into the office entrance by mistake instead of the side entry for the tourists.

As I came through the door security descended on me immediately - obviously I didn't have any legitimate business there.

As we settled down on the Bus I reflected on how glad I was that I'd spent my life trying to stay out of 'the system'.

Succeeded there!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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