So I went for a walk in Central London. Got out of the tube at Oxford Circus and walked south along Regent Street. It was just starting to get dusky when I got there. Stepping out of the tube into this:
Amazing! I felt in the thick of it all, red busses and black cabs and people hurying and shoppers strolling. The sky was a wintry blue.
At the corner with Great Marlborough Street is this fantastic Tudor style building. Google tells me it was built around 1920 to house the business which had operated on the spot since the mid 1800s: Liberty’s luxury store. It’s quite impressive. A walk under the arch on the right hand side leads down a small court onto Carnaby Street.
Everything was, of course, decked out for Christmas. It was pleasant to amble around, as there weren’t large crowds. One can never have Carnaby street to ones self, but it felt less bustling than Regent’s Street. Still, I the main thoroughfare did call me back, as I needed to proceed south to find Hamley’s Toys. When I was two years old, my parents took a trip to England. I asked for three things. A plate, a book, and a red teddy bear. I still sleep with the bear, named Red Ted, almost every night. My folks bought him at Hamley’s, so I wanted to go have a look at the shop where my favourite bear comes from.
I didn’t find Red Ted, or even any of his cousins once-removed, and I don’t know what brand made him so I don’t know if any of his distant family members were there either, but I did find the Queen. I decided to walk slowly through the entire store, circling clockwise and then taking the stairs up all six floors. The Queen, in the lego section at the very top, reclined with her dog. So I did get to meet her after all.
The place was crammed, and full of employees doing demonstrations of the latest toys and gadgets. But evidently they didn’t get the memo about ending gendered toy sales and ceasing to support societal stereotypes about who should play with what. Female employees were busy demonstrating nail appliques and glitter pens while male employees played with model airplanes and did card tricks. The store had a pink floor full of dolls and a grey floor full of construction sets and transportation toys. So even though Hamley’s had the potential to be super fun, it was actually somewhat disappointing to visit.
When I left Hamley’s, it was deepening into twilight, and I enjoyed the rest of my walk down Regent’s Street to Piccadilly Circus under the illuminated verdurous and 12 Days of Christmas decorations overhead.
At the end, I visited Japan Centre for a few things like rice crackers, udon, and some frozen prawn gyoza, and then I headed home.