30 July 2010

Tales from the Quartier: Summer Edition

1. Thousands of Londoners woke up this morning to find a new bike outside their house; I found 13 (and only two months late). It was almost like Christmas, although the last Christmas I actually wanted a bike was in about 1994. The bikes are part of the new cycle hire scheme, modelled on the successful Parisian vĂ©libs (of course, the French have a much more laissez-faire attitude to cycling than the hardcore, power commuter Londoners, which is probably why Parisians get proper baskets on their bikes and we just get a rack barely capable of holding a copy of Metro). On my 20-minute bus journey to work this morning, I witnessed at least three incidences of Boris Biker muppetry (including one woman who was pretty much camped out in the bus lane at the intersection of Baker Street and the Marylebone Road; thank goodness for natural selection).

The nearest cycle hire station to my flat is actually at the bottom of my stoop. The nearest pub, meanwhile, is about three doors down. When I returned home this evening, the (presumably drunk) people leaving the pub decided that it was hilarious to ring the bells on the Boris bikes over and over and over. This is going to get old way fast.

2. Although the weather is still warm, it wasn't so sunny as it has been this evening, which meant we actually managed to get served in under five minutes at the Temperance and even found a table. My booking at Monkey & Me, a local Thai, proved unnecessary although by the time we left, the ever unpredictable Marylebone restau-going population had showed up in large numbers and the restaurant was full.

3. The quartier featured if not prominently then at least in a supporting role in the new Sherlock Holmes Y2k10 series on the BBC. The upper end of Baker Street (NoMaRo) these days is filled with Subways, Baskin Robbins's and the Sherlock Holmes museum, which always has a hella long queue of peeps waiting to be photographed with a genuine(ly fake) London copper outside. In this new series, however, they've made the street more nondescript with just an anonymous sandwich shop and some nameless, faceless buildings. This is fine. What isn't fine, though, is the sign. The "Baker Street" sign, that is. You see, the sign says, "Baker Street - W1," whereas every resident of the quartier knows that in SoMaRo, the postcodes begin with W1 but in NoMaRo they start with NW1 and 221b Baker Street is definitely NoMaRo. This is hugely pedantic, of course, and besides the point as, having been deprived of decent Jonathan Creek episodes for about ten years, I really enjoyed the new Sherlock and his ninja deduction skillz. I guess I was just hoping that NoMaRo would get some credit for once.

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