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June 01, 2003

The Last Day of May

A hot Saturday morning; almost too hot for pancakes (but not quite). After the whiny spell where the kids demanded to know why they aren't allowed to stay inside watching telly in beautiful weather, we settled down to a few hours of hanging around. Then over to Bridget Bradshaw's vacated family home (location for Farber Day), for a house cleaning and pizza party as they get the house ready to sell. We counted up our pennies, but it turns out that a large four-storey detached house in Hampstead is just slightly beyond our means.

We travelled to Hampstead by train assisted bike; we've not done much cycling this year and it was rather too hot to go the whole way. Instead we cycled to Queen's Road, and picked up the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, which we took to Gospel Oak. This is a bit of a Cinderella line; as it goes round London it's not useful for many commuters, and it spent many years being unloved. But now there's a cycle ramp at our station, and help points, and, most astonishingly, a special carriage for bikes and their owners, with tip-up seats to tie your bike to and enough space to turn a tandem inside the train. This line is unusual for London in that you can take bikes on it at any time, even during weekday peak periods.

Of course, when we arrived at Gospel Oak we discovered that cycling isn't allowed on any of the paths leading onto the Heath from the station. One in particular is road-width and would be a perfect shared path. So we walked our bikes up onto the Heath, picked up one of the few cycle paths, and then cycled over to Bridget's. Cycling is a great way to discover things you never knew; the Hampstead Heath Lido is right by Gospel Oak station, which means it's entirely practical for us to take the train over to the Lido on one of the rare days in which outdoor swimming seems like a good idea in London.

Posted by Alison Scott at June 1, 2003 09:17 AM

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I do hope and trust that something will be done about making sure a plaque is putting up at the former Hardcastle residence, noting its historic importance to sf fandom of the Nineties as site of FarberDay, and, to be sure, secondarily, as where Ms. Hardcastle/Bradshaw was raised.

Posted by: Gary Farber at June 19, 2003 02:02 AM

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