Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 9 in England

Saturday, the 23rd of October, 2010

We started the day with breakfast at our hotel, the Copthorne Tara International.  Then we went back to Harrod's for "a couple of things" that we wished we'd gotten the day before.  (Ha!  But 'C' & i knew *exactly* where we were going.  The fellas had to pay attention and hurry to keep up with us!)

It was a Saturday, *and* a sunny day, so the streets were crowded, as was Harrod's.
After our quick stop into Harrod's, we caught the bus to go to "the market at Portabello".  The very first thing i saw was... 

Nope.  I didn't see Allsaints Spitalfields first.  I saw:

Boyfriend &  me in front of AllSaints

But that wasn't all...
There were MORE!

The sewing machines were lining EVERY WALL!  I was A-mazed!!
I was too busy walking around with my mouth hanging open, and then i noticed it was actually a clothing store... with GORGEOUS clothes in it!  Anyway, i was too busy/distracted to even think about stopping an employee to ask why all the sewing machines were there.  Sorry.  I could make up some story for you about how this used to be the garment-making district, and all those machines were used in this building by poor, underpaid women and children...  Whatever!  You make up your own story.  Or, better, go Google that shit and come back and tell me!  =-)

I'm telling you, they were everywhere!

It was a corner building, and the sewing machines were in ALL the windows.

Then Boyfriend stopped and started taking a bunch of pictures.
I think he was putting off actually *walking into* this crowd.  (He's a bit afraid of being in crowds.  Shh! Don't tell anybody. 'Cause he's a manly-man, you know.  He won't admit to many people that he has a problem with being "crowded in".  He feels like it isn't safe, and if he needs an escape route, he won't be able to find one and keep me with him and everything.  Shh.)

Folks out enjoying the gorgeous weather at Market.

We walked through the market (and Boyfriend did good!), and saw all sorts of neat things.  It was a beautiful day!  And i think everybody and his aunts and uncles were out that day!  There were people *everywhere*!
After walking through the Market, we caught a bus back to the Picadilly area, and we walked around there a bit.

See all the people on the sidewalk?!
That's what happens in London on a beautiful Saturday.

Me & Boyfriend in front of the Eros fountain at Picadilly.

Next we walked to Old Bond Street, on the back-side of Harrods.
Oh my goodness.
You know, i'm not much for designer *anything*, but this street?
Top-of-the-line Designer Alley.
I had Boyfriend take all these pictures for my little sister, who *does* know a thing or two about fashion and designer stuff.

All the street signs are on the buildings closest to the street corners.

There was Tiffany, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabana, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Mikimoto, Cartier, Chanel, DKNY, Rolex, MaxMara, Yves Sant Laurent, Mont Blanc, and... a bunch of stuff i've never heard of, but i'll bet my little sister prolly has!  =-)
And the cars that were parked there!  We saw Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley and Rolls Royce, along with lots of others...
I'll only bore you with 2 pix from there.  These are for you, Z!  

Yes, that's Prada, but also notice the car.

Dolce & Gabbana

After a full day of walking around, we caught the Tube back to "our" neighborhood to go to TK Maxx to do a bit of shopping.
Yes, i spelled that right. 
*We* call it TJ Maxx, but in England it's called TK Maxx. 
Then we walked "home", had some wine, and decided to catch a taxi to go to "W" & "C"'s favorite spot:

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese,
rebuilt in 1667 after the big fire.
Yes, it's older than  three hundred years old!

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a neat place.  It's old and built and re-built and most of the floors are on different levels.  There's not really a 1st floor and a 2nd floor 'cause they're really all over the place! 

Inside Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Me & "C" feelin' good after a pint but before supper.
(Can you say "Cheap date"?  Yep, that's me.)   =-)

The night was as beautiful as the day, and we walked along the Thames River for a bit of photography before we made our way back to the hotel.

London and the Thames River

The Green Line of the Tube.
You can tell it's the Green Line because the poles you hold onto and the seats are Green.
Clever, huh?

I'll try not to put this off for almost a month again before my next update.

Yes, there's more.
This was the longest vacation i've ever been on, and it was THE BEST!  I'd go back again in a SKINNY MINUTE!  I loved this even better than Hawaii, even though this was so cold.



  1. Lol - the sewing machines are actually the bosses who run the whole thing, they just sleep during the day so you don't see them doing much!

    People out walking - that's another thing I liked about England. People see nothing wrong with using their feet.

  2. Hi Wendy here is a little about the shop you found :

    One of the most eye-catching window displays in recent years has been the batallions of old sewing machines mustered by the All Saints clothing chain. These well-worn antiques represent the style of All Saints' washed-out looking fashions, but the machines are also a reminder that All Saints started life in Spitalfields, the historic tailors' and silk weavers' part of London.
    The label opened its first store an All Saints Day 1997 in Carnaby Street and their outlets now number around 75 worldwide. All of them have an industrial air, with scrubbed brick, wood and steel floors and stairs. In May 2010 their US flagship store opened at 512 Broadway with windows displaying 493 antique sewing machines. It included an old cashmere loom and 11 large Singer sewing machines from the former sail loft in Chatham dockyards, and The New York Times wrote of the store's "scavenged-looking" mechandise.
    Classic Machines, Like the Bicycle
    Glistening with "japanned" black lacquer and gold decoration, there is something about these wonderful antiques that people cannot help but stop and admire. Dating from the second half of the 19th century and lasting well into the 20th century, they are classic pieces of machinery, representing manufactured goods at their most elegant. And along with the bicycle, they are probably the last piece of technology whose workings everybody actually understands.
    Many were made by the Singer company, with a distinctive logo of a red letter 'S'. Started by Isaac Singer in 1851 and still going strong, the company grew so wealthy that by 1908 it could erect the tallest building in the world – the Singer building in New York.
    Machines were produced in vast quantities: by 1871, their biggest manufactory, in Clydeside, Scotland, was producing 13,000 a week, and most middle class families in Europe and America would have had one. So they are not difficult to find today. On eBay they fetch £10-100, and the site has an instructive guide to selling old sewing machines, some of which are brought back to life with a little oil and care.
    Unwelcome by Friends of Portobello
    One might expect such antiques to be appreciated in places such as the Portobello Road, the popular antiques market in London's Notting Hill Gate. But the arrival of the shop in January 2010 with hundreds of machines glittering across ten widows and lining its interior walls, divided the locals, who objected to a "chain shop" taking over what had been an antiques arcade of 150 traders.
    Robina Rose, a founder of campaigners Friends of Portobello, told the London Evening Standard: “To sell Portobello down the river means it will be gone in less than five years.”
    Nevertheless people regularly stop to admire and take photos of the window displays, attesting to the aesthetic of these once-ubiquitous machines.

    Glad you are having a wonderful time in our Nation's Capital. Hope the weather gets better too.

    Susie, Derbyshire, England