A Cloudy Day in London Town

Be warned. I’m opening a geek tag.

<geek>
It’s completely off-topic based on my title but Ally just recently introduced me to Firefox’s QuickSearches, and they’re the greatest thing since …some tech equivalent of sliced bread (USB?). So, I’m taking a moment for a quickie example. If you’re not tech inclined, or have not yet seen the light and accepted Mozilla Firefox as your lord and master, you can avoid the wanton geekery to come by skipping down to the “geek” closing tag.

Okay, as for the rest of you:

  • Step 1: In Firefox, click Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks and then New Bookmark.
  • Step 2: In the new bookmark properties field, set the fields like so…
    Name: Google Quicksearch
    Location: http://www.google.com/search?q
    Keyword: gl
  • Step 3: Save the bookmark and close the bookmark manager.

You’ve just created a quicksearch whose keyword is “gl”. This keyword can be used directly in Firefox’s address bar, and any text following it will be used as search parameters that will replace the “%s” in the bookmark’s location string. So, for example, typing “gl globe and mail” in the address bar will perform a google quicksearch using the parameters “globe and mail”.

I’ve found quicksearches highly useful for any search-based site. For example, I have quicksearches in place for IMDB, Wikipedia, Google Maps, a dictionary, a thesaurus…
<geek>

But enough of that silliness.


Ally and I were down in London this past Sunday for a touch of exploring. Though it’s a bit of a trip distance-wise (~120km), it is made wickedly accessible thanks to the fantastic service of British Rail. For just over £10 (with youth card in hand) I can snag both a return ticket on a train that makes the trip in under an hour, and a day pass for the London underground.

Unfortunately for our photograph-craving audiences the weather in London was, well, typical for this time of year – which means dark and cloudy. Thankfully, we’ve spent a few years in Vancouver (incidentally – too bad about just falling short of the consecutive-days-of-rain-record, guys!) and we explored happily.

A few pictures that did turn out were of the wild and eclectic Camden Lock Market – an insane mishmash of wildly decorated storefronts and street markets where one could purchase everything from Mexican funerary charms to metal-studded gothic black wedding dresses – complete with fuzzy handcuffs.

Bonus points to anyone who can identify the slightly out-of-place t-shirt in the photo to the right. A nice touch, I thought.

Later on in the day, we also used a certain famous crosswalk, easily located thanks to both the flashes of cameras and the angry horn honkings of frustrated drivers who, I imagine, must encounter a traffic jam here every single day of the year. Another neat piece of history at this site was the wall in front of the recording studio, which has been completely covered in graffiti bearing messages of peace, love and music.

All in all, we had a very low-key day of touristing, opting to shy away from the big museums and attractions in lieu of puttering around quiet side-streets and finding the occasional plaque or statue of interest. (I did, however, set my watch to Big Ben and indulge in a plate of fish ‘n chips and a pint of bitter in an overpriced basement pub during the day – somehow it felt as if this needed to be done.)

We debated hunting for some last minute tickets to a show in the west end while we were there (Richard Dreyfuss is currently in town starring in ‘The Producers‘, we discovered) but in the end opted for an earlier train back home, which felt like the right choice in the end. So, with books and cheese & bacon pastys in hand, we enjoyed a quiet trip home after a great day of adventure in the “big city close to home”.

(Update – 14:41: My mistake. According to an article in the Guardian entitled “My Musical Hell”, Richard Dreyfuss is no longer starring in ‘The Producers’.)

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