Friday, August 26, 2011
I visited London twice before moving here. My first time was in March 2000, when I met up with my friend Arthur, who was in London on business. We stayed off Norfolk Square, near Paddington Station, and explored for a few days en route to our real destination -- Paris.
The second time was in July 2003, with my then-boyfriend, now-friend David. (Not to be confused with my current Dave.) We stayed in the same hotel off Norfolk Square and also made London part of a larger European trip that included Prague and Switzerland.
On my first visit with Arthur, I took very few interesting photos -- mostly just tourist spots like Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Those places really don't change much.
But on my second trip I took some more random shots of buildings, doorways and such. Now that I live here, I thought I'd try to find a few of those places again, to see how they'd changed.
Here's one example. The photo above was taken in 2003 on Pembridge Road. At the time, David and I were walking with his sister and her boyfriend (now husband) to find the Portobello Road Market. We passed this great window, and I loved the little peace sign sticker and the groovy paint job. Portobello Road earned a reputation as a hot spot of "swinging London" in the '60s, and the window seemed to express that.
The same window today, unfortunately, looks like this:
I guess whoever owns the house now decided to go the minimalist route. I think it's a sad statement. In fact it took me a while to figure out which window it was -- the relatively unusual wrought-iron, the crack in the wall and the telltale chip in the windowsill make it a certainty.
It's always interesting to see how things change over time. In this case, it wasn't even very long -- just eight years!