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London: Good for Golfers

Our day at the Ashes cricket required at least one full day’s recovery, and so we spent the next day hanging out with Kirk, Jools, Rosie and Anna at a local park, and checking out the original residence of Lord Melbourne, of whom our home city of Melbourne is named after.

After saying our goodbyes (and spotting Jools 80 quid for hergroceries when she forgot her purse. No worries Jools, glad to help out), Bec and I caught a bus to London – another easy three hour trip. Once again we had free accommodation, this time staying with Benny Holmfield, and old school friend of Bec’s who had stayed with us in Edinburgh just a few weeks before. Karma – there’s a lot to be said for karma.

Benny was living in a one bedroom apartment in Shepherds Bush (or She Bu, as Benny called it), essentially an Autralian suburb of London. Of course, this being London, he was sharing this one bedroom apartment with a couple of his mates, Simsy and Chopper (such great Australian nicknames). Two in the bedroom, and one in the lounge room. I wasn’t quite sure where we were going to be sleeping – I had nasty images of curling up in the bath with nothing but a toilet roll for a pillow and a shower curtain for a blanket – but the boys had a couple of futons in the lounge, and the worst we had to put up with was Chopper’s snoring. Good practice for the next six months of hostel living I guess.

We had three nights here, and so spent a couple of days seeing the sights – Tate Modern (Gallery of Modern Art), which had pieces by Picasso, Warhol, and Dali, The National Gallery, dispalying paintings from as early as the 1200’s and including works by Da Vinci and Carravaggio, and the British Museum, which we unfortunately only had an hour or two in, as you could easily spend days here looking at such amaying artefacts as the Rosetta Stone (the key to unlocking the language of Egyptian Heiroglyphics), and Egyptian mummies.

Our previous five months spent in Scotland, including the summer, had not exactly prepared our bodies for the heat down South. In our time up North, the mercury only passed 22 degrees on a handful of occasions. But here we were in London, greeted by a stifling 29 degrees, and sweating the kilos out like a jockey trying to make weight. It was particularly nasty on the London Underground, which was ridiculously hot. The Underground struck me as at once a brilliant and horrible thing. Brilliant in that you can get anywhere in town very easily, and for such a vast network of tunnels it is refreshingly simple to understand. Horrible in that it is cramped, hot, smelly, dirty, and features some of the rudest people I’ve come across. A bit each way then, eh.

Our nights there were, thankfully, subdued. Each of the boys was up early for work, and so we avoided burning money at the pub. We did, however, sneak in a few quiet ones on our first night. benny, Bec and I were sitting near the door of a pub just up the road from Benny’s place. In to the pub swaggered a young bloke, having parked his bike at the door, dressed in a dirty t-shirt and a pair of short shorts, backpack on his, er, back, out of which was sticking the arm and head of a desk lamp. Strange thing for a bloke like him to be carrying in his bag, I thought.

He sauntered over to our table.

“Golf clubs. You lads wanna buy some golf clubs. 50 quid. Bargain. Hell, the bags worth 50 on its own.”

“Uh, nah, we’re right thanks mate.”

“C’mon boys, 50 quid. Right now. Take ’em home right now, there just out the fron there.”

“No thanks mate.”

“Righto, what about a desk lamp?” He opened up his bag and pulled out not one but two funky little desk lamps. “25 quid each, or 50 for the two.”

“Sorry mate.”

“C’mon, you’re not in Souf London now lads, this here’s Shepherds Bush.”

We shook our heads once more.

“Righto, well, do you mind watching me bike to make sure no one nicks it,” he asked, as he moved on to the next table, desperate to offload this set of golf clubs and these two lamps.

After a few minutes, he convinced one guy to stop out the front on his way home to have a look at the clubs. They actually looked to be a pretty decent set, and 50 pounds did seem quite the bargain. Of course, it depends on if you’re willing to buy stolen goods.

We could see the guy out the window, and his mind was clearly ticking over. Hmmm, 50 quid is a bargain, but what will the missus say when I walk in carrying a set of tolen golf clubs? Decinding the wrath of his missus wasn’t worth the sweet drive off the first tee, he shook his head, and began to walk away.

“Firty Five” our mate in the short shorts yelled out. We laughed – this guy was desperate.

The guy walking away stopped in his tracks, and slowly turned around. I reckon I can handle a night on the couch for a 35 quid set of golf clubs.

He came back, looked at the clubs again, and started chatting with the seller. Money was exchanged, and we looked at each other with a bit of surprise. As he picked up his new set of golf clubs, the guy stuck his head in the door, clearly aware that we had been following the proceedings,

“30 quid” he said, with a great big smile.


We also managed to catch up with a couple of my old work buddies from Melbourne, who couldn’t believe that if you Google: Fanta Pants, this site comes up number one. Mirtscho and Franko, I hope you blokes are reading this now. It wqas great to see the boys, as it was the last timewe would be seeing/staying with friends from home before we started our backpacking trip proper.

If we thought the heat in London was bad, it was only going to get hotter in our next destination; Rome.

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One Response to “London: Good for Golfers”

  1. Mark Hogan Says:

    Too late, too late is the cry, when the man with the bargains has passed you by!

    You could look on the bright side, receiving stolen goods might get you a couple of nights free accommodation.

  2. Posted from Australia Australia

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