London trip pt 1

So, this weekend Mr Vicola and myself took a little trip to the Capital for some sightseeing and to go to a party. We travelled up on Thursday and spent Thursday evening eating takeaway and watching 'Munich'. Incidentally, a bit of free advice to all you Indian takeaway fans out there, learn from our error. When ordering onion bhajis do specify that you want three bhajis as opposed to three portions of bhajis. We did think the quote on the phone was a little steep and to be honest, once you factor in your actual meal, rice and poppadoms, 9 bhajis was rather more than we needed between three people.

Anyway, Friday we had tickets to go to Oxford. Having a sense of perspective and direction that practically classes as a disability I had no idea how far away West Dulwich is from Paddington Station. In case anyone was wondering, it's a fair old hike and involves a 15 minute walk to the West Dulwich train station, a 15 minute train journey to Victoria, a 5 minute tube journey to Oxford circus, a change to another line and then another tube trip to Paddington. However what I also failed to appreciate, given that my commute involves 45 minutes sat in my car like a vegetable crawling along the M60 at between 0 and 10mph is that public transport in the capital can be a bit hairy at rush hour. And by this I do mean lethal. We arrived at Victoria station and headed down to the Victoria line underground station however there was a delay on the line, a crowd of roughly the size and density usually seen emptying out of Old Trafford on a Saturday afternoon were on the platform and every man jack of them was determined to get on the next tube train, no matter if the laws of physics dictated that this was an impossibility due to the fact that only one body of matter can occupy a space at any one time. As the 3rd tube train that we couldn't fit onto rolled past and the twat behind me surged forwards once again, banging me into the moving train I decided to deploy elbows as a means of self defence and with as much force as I could muster in a restricted space, aimed for his ribs. The muffled grunt and snarl of 'bitch' convinced me that I'd hit target. As the 4th train rolled up it was obvious to all but the most blitheringly stupid that no one was going to be able to get on it yet still the crowd behind us surged forward pitching those at the front, like myself, perilously close to losing our feet as the carriages passed by. At this point the Vicola temper, prodded like an grumpy snake by my dislike of small places and other people, finally bit and with some loudly uttered profanities, the thought that perhaps 8.45am wasn't too early for a G&T in these trying circumstances and the judicious use of more elbow power I made my exceedingly frazzled way to the back of the crowd. Mr Vicola was not best pleased because by this time our chances of making our Oxford train were slim but by hopping onto the Circle line we made it in time, just.

On our arrival, although it was pissing it down, Oxford turned out to be very pretty with a lot of bicycles and a lovely river that was looking a tiny bit rabid due to the excessive rainfall and snow melt. We tootled off down a backstreet to find a cafe for some breakfast. Having ordered a full English and some tea all was good and it was here that I came across a bizarre thing that I hadn't realised before: All students in Oxford are posh and many are exceedingly pretentious. I eavesdropped into the following conversation between students while eating:

PS (Posh Student)1: And I was like sitting there and she was like talking about Shakespeare sonnets and like she didn't even realise that like none of them before sonnet 76 were even famous and so all her favourite sonnets were like SO cliched. And then you'll never guess what she said.

PS2: No way. What did she say?

PS1: She said, OMG you'll so laugh, she said "I've been trying to expand my knowledge of Shakespeare's prose".

Both laugh like asthmatic horses

PS2: She never did!!

PS1: She so did, I said to her, "Do you not mean Shakespeare's plays?" and she went SO red.

Well, I'm impressed by 'her' restraint, personally I'd have told you to piss off and stop being such a pedantic little shit. Clearly Oxford is rather different to the university I went to because Thursday night there was spent at a club woofing down as much cut price booze as humanly possible and morning conversation (which would have taken place in the early afternoon over a bacon butty) was not so much directed towards linguistic pedantry, more about who got off with who, whether your flatmate had been seen this morning or was still missing in action and whether you could be arsed getting dressed for a 4pm lecture. There was also another overheard conversation about Wordworth and how some person the daft bint had met at a bus stop had seen her reading her book of Wordworth's works and just bombarded her with like loads of like cliches about Wordsworth and it was like SO obvious she'd not read the book but to be honest it was very tedious and very pretentious and I can't be arsed writing it down. Eavesdropping on students during the day I can say that while they aren't all pretentious wankers like the cafe pair, they are ALL posh.

After breakfast we went to the Ashmolean Museum, which was fab and which yielded some great photos of odd objects that I'll put up later and then for a wander round the town. Getting home wasn't quite as stressful as getting in but a broken down train causing partial suspension of the Victoria Line service and a problem resulting in the cancellation of several circle line trains meant that it took a frigging eternity but all was made good in the evening by a visit to a lovely restaurant in West Dulwich called Porcini and lashings of wine.

Saturday was a very fun visit to Hampton Court Palace but for now I msut return to work so I'll write about that tomorrow!

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16 Responses

  1. Oh, you were really near my house! I might wander to Porcini on your recommendation. How exciting (for me, anyway). Obligatory 'helpful' travel advice: was there no Circle line on Friday? That would have got you straight from Victoria to Paddington.
    Oxford Eng Lit students sound like the most annoying students ever, and therefore Blog Gold.

  2. Nice account of your travels Vicola.I have an odd mind picture of Oxford students "laughing like asthmatic horses"? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh you muppet. You were in Oxford and didn't tell us? You could have come out and met the ponies.Anyway, next time, here's the way to do the trip: Get to Buckingham Palace Road (Victoria). Get the Oxford Tube coach direct to Oxford. Result.

  4. No one does snobbery better than the English! Sounds like a fun time though!
    I argue that plays and prose could be termed one and the same anyway – it is not poetry.

  5. I thought that too. And anyone reading Wordsworth at a bus stop instead of a trashy magazine with shiny pages and no substance deserves to be accosted by an ill informed stranger…

  6. It didn't occur to me until I read that you live in Oxford! I should have remembered, I'd love to meet Vin and Tom and put furry faces to the names, next time I'm down your way I will most certainly get in touch first and see if you're about. Cheers for the travel tip, anything that avoids that horrendous tube trip in rush hour is a winner for me, I've never seen anything like it. Who could be arsed doing that on a daily basis?

  7. Cheers Gof! They did indeed laugh like asthmatic horses, you know how horses neigh? Well it sounded a bit like that but rather more breathy….

  8. PS1 and PS2 don't sound clever enough to be at the Uni – they're probably at the same college as Jeffrey Archer was getting a Dip Ed ….

  9. Porcini is lovely and they do nice king prawns in garlic butter. If you go to the Tesco Express in the middle of West Dulwich, the one opposite the row of shops that has the bookshop on it, Porcini is just next to there. I liked West Dulwich, it's got some gorgeous Victorian terraces. Do you have one of those?

  10. Interesting to read your adventures! So you like rice and pappadoms and bhajis? ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. … you just think he was rubbing up behind you trying to get onto the train …If there are more than 20 people in one place, it's too damned crowded.And the conversation – sounds like dialogue from a Merchant/Ivory production …

  12. My afternoon train commute can get like that sometimes. Of course the only place I want to get to is home, but there isn't a deadline time on that, so I usually leave the station and have a cup of coffee or pop into Macy's (shop) and come back an hour later.
    English do posh voices better than anyone.

  13. I do indeed. I am a particular fan of pappadoms! I love Indian food in general to be honest, I made a fantastic chicken bhuna last week but Mr Vicola wouldn't eat it because he said it was too hot. Pah, wimp!

  14. Ah you'd hate the Tube then. Rush hour in a morning it's absolutely packed, I've never seen a crowd so densely packed in together, it was horrific!
    And you're right, they did sound a lot like a Merchant Ivory production. Also sounded quite like two pretentious kids who needed a slap round the back of the head and telling not to take themselves so seriously.

  15. It's taken centuries of refinement to hone that perfect nasal posh whine…

  16. Nice to know that! Pappadoms are wonderful! Interesting to know that you cooked Indian style chicken at home. Must have been delicious! Maybe you can convince Mr.Vicola to try it next time ๐Ÿ™‚

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