LONDON – It took us several days, but today the day started off right with breakfast and we quickly got off after having our English breakfast.
Today was a day of more interviews in the area of the Mile End Underground and we were at a library interviewing any person we could ask about the area.
This was an interesting time during the morning as I went off across the area speaking with shop owners about pseudo-public spaces and how the Olympic area has affected their area.
I always enjoy getting to speak with individuals about the way they live their lives and how the local community works.
I interviewed about eight individuals in the two hours we were there. Luckily many of the answers were different and made it interesting.
Many of the other students were working diligently asking other people in the area about their lives.
We left the area and headed to our next destination which was lunch and the Bank of England. I took a detour to pick up Leroy Coffman, alumnus of the University of Central Oklahoma. At the same time, UCO professor David Chapman took a student to the hospital for a small issue, which was quickly fixed.
Time slipped away from me that day and I was unable to get dinner but picked up Coffman and we headed for the Bank of London.
Once we arrived we got there too early and looked around the museum, only to finally find the group and learn we were not going there, but instead inside of the actual bank.
It was an amazing building in terms of architecture with its Roman columns everywhere and marble floors. It was not as busy as I had expected.
We received a short walking tour to our destination down in the old basement vault, which had now been turned into offices and conference rooms.
We were given a presentation by Tom and Marine, their last names are unknown to me, who gave us an hour-long presentation on how the bank works there and its purpose.
It is similar in many ways to the United States Federal Reserve Bank but was mostly focused on monetary policy and controlling the pound.
The most interesting fact was that the bank stops most individuals from taking out a loan of four and a half times their annual income, which Tom said was difficult on those trying to get a mortgage.
It was a great meeting and I got several photos, but Tom told UCO student Camila Bazoalto that photos were off limits and there was non-public information in his presentation about future projects of the bank.
Afterward, Coffman and I went off to dinner in the Shepard’s Market area for dinner.
Once arriving, I saw a parking police officer and asked the older man where the best restaurant is and he began pointing everywhere and grabbed my hand and took me to the corner of the street stating one restaurant was the best.
We went to a Lebanese restaurant called Sofra Mayfair, which was amazing. I had the Lamb Tagine and Trio Baklava, which is one of my favorite desserts.
It was a great place that was fairly priced for Coffman and I’s large portions and his cheap scotch that was £7 for roughly four shots, a real bargain he said.
We walked back to the London Underground and made it back to the hotel and I began working again and did a little reading.
Afterward, I took a short trip down to Parliament with Rebecca Dahl who joined me, even though both of us were tired.
I marveled at the sights of Big Ben which was under construction and walked up on the bridge over Thames River and just looked out.
I thought about all of the nearly 8.8 million people who lived there and how much culture was there. It was a true sight to see in the evening time all lighted up.
We then saw a few other sights and went back to the hotel, as both of us were nearly about to fall asleep.
Hitting the grindstone, day six
It was a slow start for the students today as they were given a day to work on their work and transcribe the interviews they had done the last several days. I had a lot to do and quickly got busy.
Breakfast was nice this morning with fewer people and I had my normal poached eggs with bacon, tomato, hash brown and toast.
At 10 a.m. Chapman, UCO student Ashton Walling and I took a short walk down the street from the Crescent hotel to the town hall where we were meeting councilman Cllr Paul Tomlison.
We were going for research and he was able to give us a great perspective on the area and his time there as councilman for the past three years. He had also lived there since the late 70s.
Over the course of our interview, he said the area has changed in many ways including the decrease in crime, prostitution and drugs, which he said was for the better.
Our research is about understanding how new developments are changing an area and affecting those around there. We also are looking into government housing.
In London most developers are required to provide around 20 percent social housing in their developments, however, there are ways around it by providing local infrastructure or parks.
He was a typical politician and would not answer several questions, but after evading the questions multiple time I finally got the answers out of him.
Once we were done we left and went back to the hotel, picked up Coffman and went to the store to buy laundry soap. Both Coffman, Chapman and I needed to do laundry.
It began to rain around this time and was the typical cold rainy London weather. I enjoyed it while waiting for the clothes to wash and dry at the laundromat.
It reminded me of when my father, sister and I would go to the laundromat to wash our clothes and have great times.
The three of us went across the street to a local coffee shop, Fork Deli, and had some coffee and worked.
For some reason, Chapman does not like coffee and has never drunk any. I have met few people like him, but we will keep him around anyways.
We all gathered our laundry and headed back to the hotel and worked … and worked. Then we worked some more.
Before heading out for the night I was able to spend some time with the history students and learned a little about their research.
Topics ranged from certain aspects of the printing press to one woman killing her sister and how criminal lunacy was dealt with and perceived during the 1950s.
For dinner the group of students went to the Soho district, an energetic neighborhood, to say the least, to celebrate Bazoalto’s birthday.
The old folks like Coffman and Chapman went off to a local pub, The Boot, for fish and chips.
We went to a small place down the street and then went out for drinks afterward. We had a great time in the Soho district and then at O’Neill’s. Details have been left out and are found in a written journal.
Everybody made it back safely and I was quickly off to bed after giving a few people headache medicine and water.
Featured Image: Ryan Chapman talks with an individual about the area near Victoria Park.