On tiles and fake houses

Leinster Gardens text

This text conversation took place on a Friday night, just over a week ago. It caused great excitement, much to the consternation of my companion at the time. It took rather a lot of explaining to help her understand the cause of my glee, and to be honest, I don’t think she ever got it entirely.

You, my lovely readers, will have understood though, surely? Leinster Gardens is famous and has been previously featured on this blog at least twice. I first discovered its secret during the tube’s 150th anniversary celebrations, courtesy of the fabulous 150 Great Things About the Underground blog. Then, thanks to Sherlock, the rest of the world discovered it this time last year. [In case you don’t remember, the location was one of Sherlock’s bolt holes.]

Sunday dawned bright and chilly – perfect conditions for some geeky exploring. It got off to a great start before I’d even joined my fellow geeks for brunch. My destination was Baker Street, and as I emerged from the Jubilee Line platforms (something that until three and a half years ago I had done six days a week), things felt different. Cleaner. Lighter. I thought perhaps the walls had undergone a deep-clean. As I reached the top of the escalator I realised that it wasn’t a lack of dirt, it was entirely new tiles. Not a big deal, you might think, but this part of Baker Street station had previously featured tiles reminding passengers of its most famous (yet entirely fictional) resident. Surely they hadn’t got rid of the Sherlock Holmes tiles??

Well yes, and no…
The tiles had gone, and been replaced by some classy, antique style tiles very much in keeping with Baker Street’s status as one of the oldest stations on the underground. BUT, one patch had been preserved – so sense had prevailed!

Baker St Tiles

Brunch over, we set off towards Paddington in search of Leinster Gardens. Should you want to find them yourself, they’re only 10 minutes walk from Paddington, so it’s very easy to do. So easy, I’m bemused that it’s taken me this long to get there!

Still unaware of the terraces’ secret? Take a look for yourself. Spot anything?

IMG_3891.JPG

How about from this angle?

Leinster Gardens

Got it? There’s something fishy about number 23. Did you spot the different roof in the first photo? The peculiar ‘glass’ of the windows in the second?

If you walk to the end of the road, turn right and then right again, you soon discover what’s behind the windows:

Behind Leinster Gardens

That would be nothing. Well, not exactly nothing – the District & Circle lines run along here (although originally it was the Metropolitan Line). The line’s first trains were steam powered and needed space to let off steam (don’t we all??), but residents apparently didn’t want their lovely white terrace to have a massive hole in the middle of it. And thus, the facades were erected and the residents were happy. Until, presumably, lots of geeks turned up to take photos of it…

Baker Street spelling fail

In case you’re unaware of the glaring error in this notice, it should read ‘Madame Tussauds’.
Honestly, you only have to stick your head out of the station or read one of the many tourists’ carrier bags to check the spelling…pure laziness.

Can I take this opportunity to have a rant about the aforementioned tourist attraction? [Actually, like I need to ask your permission – it’s my blog, I’ll rant about what the heck I want to rant about!] I find it intensely annoying that it draws so many tourists to the station and locality that I have to travel to six days a week. (At least – last week I managed an eight day consecutive stretch of using Baker Street station. In fact, it would’ve been 13 had I not been off sick at the start of this week.) Why do so many people feel the compulsion to look at wax models of celebrities? It’s baffling.

Tourists don’t get tube etiquette – like standing on the right on the escalators. It’s ok though, because as I walk down them, I call out “excuse me” loudly so anyone can understand my meaning. [That’s using the British rule of not attempting to use any other language, simply increasing the volume of my speech.]

Tourists also like to take photos of the Sherlock Holmes statue outside the station. There’s not a lot of space on that particular walkway and I don’t have time first thing in the morning to pause and wait for photos to be taken. As a result, there are probably photos all over the world of me passing through shots of the man in the Deerstalker.

Actually, it’s not just a space thing – if I’m using that exit (rather than the one on my office’s side of the road) in means I’m in a lazy mood as it involves two escalators instead of one escalator and three flights of stairs. Thus, I’m even less inclined to make concessions. In fact, if I’m on a rant, I’d like to complain that for three weeks of July I was forced to use this exit because of engineering work, meaning I had to put up with it out of necessity, not choice.

Urgh. Apologies. Rant over….for now.

The only good thing about Madame Tussauds is that its café is a Café Nero which is open to the public. I can get to its counter and back to my desk in about 10 minutes which is incredibly handy for a mid-afternoon Chai Latte pick me up. It’s just slightly disconcerting that in doing so, I have to pass a fake Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. Oh, and the queue comes in handy from time to time.

I’m writing this the night before I potentially go back to work after the aforementioned sick days. As I type, the thought of the morning’s angst-ridden commute is definitely making me feel unwell again. Hmph.

Post-Edit: I came to work. Baker Street was hell.