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Blog: Battersea and Bearsden

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On Saturday myself and The Water In My River went on a LONDON DAY TRIP to go and look at Battersea Power Station, which has recently re-opened as a shopping centre/set of fancy shops. Looking at the options to get there, the aforesaid Hull Of My Boat noted that we could avoid the horrible Central Line/Northern Line route by getting the Jubilee Line to Westminster and then catching a Thames Clipper, and so that was what we did. We were both expecting something like a FERRY from the 1980s, so were ASTONISHED when we got on board to find it was BLOOMING LOVELY. Man alive, the seats were a) PLUSH b) some of the comfiest I have ever experienced, and we felt like OLIGARCHS as we steamed along the river, gazing out at landmarks as we went. There was even a BAR onboard!

After all that Battersea Power Station could have felt like a let down but it very much DID NOT. Outside it was a lot like Tate Modern, which I guess isn't surprising as it also is a former power station on the south bank of the Thames, but inside it was GORGEOUS. The two turbine halls on either side are ENORMOUS, and Turbine Hall A was ESPECIALLY wonderful, like an Art Deco Cathedral (that had been fitted out with some shops). It was incredible to think that something as beautiful and lovingly designed was originally used as a POWER STATION with ruddy great COAL-powered turbines chugging away in them all day, it was FAB!

We had a good old wander around, had some lunch in Clean Kitchen (one feels one ought, don't you know, for THE CAUSE. Also, it was ACE) and then went to have a go on Lift 109. This is a LIFT that goes up one of the chimneys, and I must admit that, beforehand, I was not entirely convinced it was worth doing. After all, I have been in high buildings in London before, so what was to be gained? Still, The Height Of My Building was TREATING us to it, so along we went.

I have to say, to start with I was convinced my wariness had been correct. There was a LOT of us being moved from place to place in groups, like at a very organised wedding, and some things we moved to were a bit daft - there was an "experience" with some "interactive" lights while we waited for a lift that I'm pretty sure was just there to comply with a GRANT they'd been awarded, for instance, and at one point we were invited to look at...er... some numbers printed onto concrete. HOWEVER, once we got into the lift itself it was all quite nicely done, with dramatic music and a light show as we headed to the top, and then when we actually got there the whole liftful of people went "WOW!" as one, as we popped out with all of London below us. The lift is GLASS, you see, and pops out of the top of the chimney so you get a complete panoramic view of London By Night. It was STUNNING!

After we'd come back to ground level we hot footed it back to the BOAT and this time a) had a beer b) stayed on all the way to North Greenwich, as it was SO NICE. I would highly recommend it to ANYBODY!

I would also highly recommend watching My Old School on iPlayer too, as we did later that evening. It's a documentary about a man who went back to his old school in his 30s, pretending to be a teenager, and it interviews him and his old classmates. He didn't want to be filmed, however, so Alan Cummings LIP SYNCS all of his words, which is in itself PRETTY AMAZING, but the best bit is the old classmates, who are a HIGHLY entertaining bunch of Actual Normal People from the Bearsden area of Glasgow. As we said afterwards, it would be fun to see ANOTHER documentary where they talk about anything they like!

It was all very cunningly edited too, so you spent half the film hearing about what happened, and then get the rug pulled from under you in various clever ways as NEW FACTS are revealed. I especially liked one part where two women were discussing it, one of whom had clearly worked something out already, and was MASSIVELY enjoying helping the other to work it out too. There were LOADS of parts where you LARFED and also where you went "WHAT THE?!?!" and saying too much would be to spoil it, but honest, it was FLIPPING BRILLIANT! I recommend!

posted 10/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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