Sunday, 12 September 2010

Here come old flattop he come grooving up slowly

Those are the opening lines from the Beatles album, Abbey Road. Maybe not their greatest, but an important part of the soundtrack from my formative years. So when I found myself in the St John's Wood area on today's ride I couldn't resist a diversion to see the famous crossing, and the inevitable group of visitors taking pictures of each other marching across.

The real point of today's ride was to complete another two visits on my list of famous churches, to bring the total to 50. St Augustine in Kilburn, and Mary Magdalene in Paddington were the last two on this year's list. Unfortunately one was closed, and people were worshipping in the other, so I didn't get to see either properly inside.

The rest of the day's ride made up for that though. Apart from visiting Abbey Road, I had my lunchtime sandwich in Kensal Green Cemetery.It's the oldest of seven private Victorian cemeteries on the outskirts of London, and resting place of Charles Babbage, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, among others (including George Melly, I now discover). I had a good wander round, but I failed to find either of the graves I was looking for.

Mary Magdalene in Paddington was the last stop on my planned route, and it is right next to the Grand Union Canal. So I thought it would be interesting to come home along the canal tow-path.

The Grand Union leads to the Slough Canal, which takes me as far as Slough,. As a result I can cover two-thirds of the distance home from Paddington on a nice traffic-free route. It meanders about a bit, the surface is a bit variable, and there are too many obstructions, so it's not fast. But it is a lot quieter, and a lot less stressful than the road. On the whole it is attractive, and it is quite beautiful in places. Odd that the idea hadn't occurred to me before.

In summary, I've had a great day, and covered 66 miles, which puts the annual target back on track. I've completed planned visits to 50 churches. If I had a project to visit all the places that had Beatles albums named after them, then I would have completed that one as well. I met a mix of interesting people during the day. But despite the efforts of Wikipedia contributors, I still can't make any sense of the lyrics from Come Together. Unless "I've got to be good looking 'cause I'm so hard to see" is saying something about cycling in traffic?.

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