My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 46: White City

If it's Friday we must be back in London. Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the previous days. This is Day 46.

Today we’re walking from the Ealing Broadway underground station to White City. The trek is 4.2 miles which should clock in at just about 10,000 steps. 

Back in 1908, the area was transformed from Shepherd’s Bush farm land into the location for the Franco-British exhibition and the 1908 Summer Olympics. Called the white city because of the white cladding of the ornate exhibition buildings, the area was used for the Japan-British exhibition in 1910, the Latin-British exhibition in 1912, and finally the Anglo-American exhibition in 1914 when WWI put an end to it. After that the White City was left to fall into disrepair and ultimately cleared away to make room for a housing site in the 1930’s. What a tragedy! Such lovely architecture, utterly ignored. The Olympic stadium was replaced with the BBC Television Center in the 1950’s, an iconic circular structure designed in the shape of a question mark when seen overhead saw the production of classic BBC shows.

While most of the BBC has relocated elesewhere, the BBC Television Center itself is in the midst of a ‘regeneration project’ which includes apartments, shops, restaurants, a movie theater, a hotel with a rooftop pool, a park and a few remaining BBC television studios and postproduction facilities designed to bring new life into central London. The apartments are very trendy and beginning at £550,000 not any part of an affordable housing program.

Little is left from the Great White City days, but Hammersmith Park lies in the footprint of the original Japanese Garden with some of the original plants and trees brought over from Japan in 1909. 

Take a look at this compilation video showing the exhibition area as it appeared back in 1908. Wouldn’t you love to go back there? 

Counting the Fitbit steps

Day 1-45:                                                 332,840 steps/146.7 miles    

Day 46: White City                                   10,000 steps/4.2 miles

Total Imaginary Miles to Date               342,840 steps/150.9 miles

Connect to Joy Weese Moll’s British Isles Friday meme. 


  1. I had no idea about the White City. St. Louis hosted the 1904 World's Fair & Olympics. Most of the buildings were, essentially, plaster-of-Paris and never meant to last. We still have the Art Museum and the aviary at the zoo.

    1. I think these were probably made similarly! One website said the buildings were marble clad but I saw other references that just said painted white so I'm not sure!

  2. Having buzzed in, out and around this part of west London a bit, I'm embarrassed to admit I knew little about this! Fascinating series, Ms Carter - keep going!!

    1. Thanks MIke! I appreciate the support.

  3. What an interesting historical tour today, I love your walks but I learn so much while I'm along for the ride.


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