Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Miscellanea from Cardiff and London

Just a few glimpses of some adventures in the UK ...

London has a growing number of skyscrapers, often with peculiar shapes or features. One of the least popular is the Strata Tower, with three windmills on top—a green gesture which apparently the residents on the top floors resented. The windmills are rarely seen to turn.

Other London skyscrapers include the Shard and the Gherkin.

These modern structures coexist with fragments of old London such as the Leadenhall Market:

On Saturday I took a day trip to Cardiff, two hours from London by train. (I thank La Vie Graphite for inspiring me to visit Wales—as well as Oxford later this month, if all goes well!)

Cardiff has its boring modern parts and its run-down, post-industrial areas, but the High Street is a well-preserved and interesting avenue that's now a pedestrian mall:

Still more attractive are the numerous Victorian shopping arcades that you can access through the High Street.

Welsh is daunting, but at least I figured out that -au is a plural ending:

A Cardiff pub. The local brew is Brains. <Insert zombie joke here.>

Of course, I'm keeping my eyes open for typewriters and their representations. In a Cardiff bookstore I spotted this edition of Cloud Atlas:

And in the Tate Modern museum in London I was surprised by this photo:

Naturally, throughout my time in Britain I've checked out antique shops and markets, dreaming of running into something like a Waverley. I've seen many objects, but few typewriters...

This is quite a wonderful suitcase, including a special little container for ink:

I see a lot more taxidermy here than in the US:

In Cardiff, I did spot a turquoise English-made Smith-Corona—

—and a little girl who was gingerly touching the keys of a Fox. No, not a Grand Rapids-made Fox, but a more recently manufactured W. H. Smith Blue Fox portable. I helped her by fixing the paper and ribbon, and unjamming the keys.

These machines are not a typewriter lovers' dream.

But happily, I won't have to leave the UK empty-handed. My friend Piotr has agreed to sell me this Imperial Good Companion No. 3. It's a model I've been curious about, since I love the No. 5 and also appreciate the No. 7. The 3, 5, and 7 all use a basket-shift design first developed by Torpedo. So I'm very glad to be acquiring this machine — especially because it has a keyboard I've never encountered before: Maltese!