LONDON – It was a slower morning for most of us as we began our third full day in London researching and exploring the area.
The day started at around 6 a.m. for me, which was an hour before breakfast and gave me time to move a little slower than normal, but I could have moved even slower.
Dining service in London does not compare to what is in the United States and when I arrived for breakfast I was reminded of that.
I got there 30 minutes before the hot breakfast was served and was told sternly to wait. As University of Central Oklahoma Alumnus Leroy Coffman and I sat there waiting for others to begin coming in.
The hotel was not ready for nearly 30 people to come in for breakfast at the same time and it caused them to become disgruntled.
Besides unfriendly wait staff at The Crescent Hotel, we had a good breakfast that included poached eggs, bacon and toast. I skipped on the tomatoes and baked beans.
Once breakfast was finished Coffman and I finished getting ready and came outside of the hotel to see the groups of students waiting outside after eating breakfast.
It struck me immediately that there were two different groups of people and there was a division between the liberal arts and business students.
I believe this has to do with two different schedules and itineraries, but I do not want there to be a division and hope that changes. Coffman also noticed the division.
I left Coffman at the hotel as he had a private tour in the afternoon and spent the morning resting after two long days.
After the observation of the division, the business students left for research at the King’s Cross area.
The first morning of our research we spent asking individuals about the redevelopment of the area and what it has brought to the area in terms of development.
I spoke with five individuals and asked them on how the new skyscrapers and businesses going up were going to change things.
Many of them said that there has been a negative impact on the culture and believed that despite the former crime in the area the development has made rental prices too high.
One individual I spoke with is paying $3,387.56 for an apartment per month. I was stunned, but learned it is normal.
We spent the morning interviewing and had lunch at the 1.2-acre park in the middle of a London neighborhood.
Showing off the community garden space Lousie Gates, director of the facility, describes how they grow their own food and use on-site compost for multiple things.
The park, Calthorpe, was more of a community garden with people from across the area spending their midday playing ping-pong or having a bite to eat.
I had a great cheese and Calthroppe pickle sandwich, a hot tea and some great banana nut bread, but it was not as good as my grandmother’s recipe.
Before and after lunch, Lousie Gates, director of the facility, showed us around the area with all the sustainable practices and greenhouses they grow their food in.
After lunch, we all headed off for the Olympic Village in Stratford for an afternoon tour with a local official in the area.
It was amazing to see the great condition that the 2012 Olympic area has been left in, but what other impacts it has had on home prices are still up for discussion and our research.
During our tour, we saw the Olympic Athlete’s Village, shopping areas and beautiful parks though it was a lot of walking and even I was tired from all the walking.
During our tour of the Olympic Villiage, the local official, left, discusses the future of the area and new development.
We walked back to the London Underground and headed back to the hotel before dinner. Coffman and I left for dinner after freshening up.
We headed off to Ristorante Olivelli, which was a small Italian restaurant about a mile from our hotel.
It was an excellent meal, even though we had the typical slow English service. I had the pistachio salmon with a chocolate almond cake for dessert.
When we returned I got straight back to writing and went to bed after a long day of walking across what seemed like the entire countryside.
A day of work, day four
Waking up today was not easy as I had not had enough water the day before and was experiencing a slight headache. But, I carried on.
Londoners are not early risers I have learned, and it has put a slight schedule change in my mornings for retrieving the newspaper while I am here.
I prefer to get it before our 7:30 a.m. breakfast time, but you have to arrive nearly 30 minutes early to get a seat in the small room to have a hot breakfast, so I get the newspaper while they are cooking.
Once again, the service is nothing like it is in America or other areas in the world.
After breakfast Coffman, professor David Chapman and I went off to the Camden Public Library to work on things. I was transcribing interviews from yesterday from the group while they were out interviewing.
After being in the library for most of the morning we headed off to the British Library for lunch.
While going there we saw a lot of homeless individuals along the street and the police warden and another official were questioning them. I believe that they are not a fan of homeless people here.
Once we arrived at the library we went to its newest restaurant, which was very good even though I had salmon for the third time in two days.
Seeing rows upon rows of books and the hustle of everyone there made me appreciate the need for libraries and knowledge.
However, I did not stay long. Chapman, students Chip Daniel and Ashton Walling and I went off to an interview with a local chairman for the Camden Square Neighborhood Association.
This interview with Michael Harper, allowed the four of us to better understand how crime and new development in the King’s Cross area is being dealt with and has changed.
Over our hour-long interview, we got first-hand knowledge of what he was doing and some of the efforts by local organizations to help those in lower social and wealth classes.
Throughout the interview he kept getting off track.
Afterwards, we went back to the British Library to pick up the other students, but I stayed back and took some photos of the students there with their heads in mounds of books.
With manuscripts on both sides Rebecca Dahl, student researcher, works at the British Library transcribing books.
It was good to see them all, but having a camera out in the reading room can be a distraction, so I quickly left to go back to the hotel.
Dinner we went to the Boot, a local pub and had some great food with Coffman and Chapman.
After coming back I worked on a long list of including transcribing interviews and other items before bed.
Featured Photo: Local officials warn multiple homeless individuals about sleeping on the sidewalk near King’s Cross.
P.S. Journals will be updated every other day.