Sunday, 20 March 2011

London weekend

I have an amazing weekend in London with my son and others.
I got there on a wet Friday afternoon, Kit had got a day off so we decided to go back to his flat and see if the rain stopped before we made plans for the afternoon.
On getting there there was no choice but to clean. Gawd boys don't have nice bathrooms! So he cleaned his bedroom ready for me to borrow and I got busy with the flash! I know that normally he's the one in his flat that does the cleaning, but recently with the budget looming he's been working really long hours to get the stuff ready for the Treasury for next Tuesday. It's budget day next Wednesday. And the two guys he lives with don't, in the way of young men seem to notice bath rings and designer stubble in the basin!

The rain stopped and the sunset out of his living room window was spectacular. We enjoyed a walk back down to his local tube to go to Angel, probably one of the best areas of London. Full of amazing shops and facilities. We met up with my niece and her very lovely new boyfriend at a lovely French restaurant called Le Mecury, it's one only lit by candles with a fabulous French menu and really cheap.Then on to a pub. So during the evening, two G&Ts half a bottle of red wine and a liqueur coffee, no wonder I was dehydrated by bed time!!!

Next day dawned with a stunning blue sky. Was waiting outside the flat for Kit to get something he'd forgotten and noticed I was standing next to this tiny flowering apple tree.. I do think that it is wonderful that even in a really urban area trees are still being planted in the streets.

The colours here had the feel of high summer, although the weather wasn't quite as then! But it was warm enough for a T shirt and cardi. So wonderful to start leaving the coat behind.

We went to enquire about going on an open top bus, but I had a fit of meanness. It was £25 for a trip. Well that's not strictly true it was £25 for a twenty four pass, but we only wanted the hour bus trip and I thought that was excessive.
It was so lovely anyway, we just started walking. We went down Pall Mall into and through St James's park, definitely a favourite of both of ours,down then into Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, via the Treasury. Past the Cenotaph, which is much smaller than when seen on the TV. I was far more impressed with the monument to women who had died during the wars,along to the Houses of Parliament.
This picture is taken from the lawn that if you ever see news stories set near Parliament this is where they stand!

Then on to lunch. This rather dilapidated shop front is a well kept secret. It is an exact replica of how the shop looked at the turn of the twentieth century. On opening the door there is no room, just step stairs down into the vaulted ceiling cellar lit only by candles. This wine bar only sells wine with bread and cheese to mop it up. What a fantastic lunch, a plate of Camembert, goats, blue and Manchego cheese,pickles and crusty bread and a delicious red wine. No wonder I needed a sleep later, I don't normally ever drink at lunch time, but hey this was a mini break.

After lunch down to see the Thames, the tide was in and it was running fast. It does I know look filthy water, but it's clean enough nowadays for salmon to go up it to spawn in Oxfordhire. It just has a muddy bottom which is endlessly churned up by the pleasure cruisers, clippers (water buses) and police boats

Final destination for a photograph,was Somerset House,the place that used to house all the births, deaths and marriage certificates for England. Now holds the Courtald Gallery and in the winter ice is put down for a skating rink.

Going back for the much needed snooze to prepare for Billie Elliot. We set up in the gods, the theatre was jam packed even after six years of this show being on.
It was amazing, slow to start, but once it did it was just wonderful. The lad that was Billie was an utterly brilliant dancer from traditional ballet to modern hip hop moves. And when he did his long solo he bought the house done. You could see him grinning from ear to ear as we applauded and applauded. Fantastic stuff.

Sunday morning had us back in Angel meeting up with Kit's lovely girlfriend for breakfast. Again another fabulous place called the Breakfast Club. We had to queue for a while, but it was worth the wait. A pitcher of freshly made fruit smoothie, blueberries, strawberries and apple. Huge plates of American breakfast, pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage, fried potatoes and maple syrup. So not an English way of eating, putting sweet with savoury and definitely only a taste you get after eating it over in the States.

Then time for me to go. I had a couple of hours to kill before my train, so I got off at St Pancreas Station just to see it.This is as daft as the time when I was waiting for Kit when he lived in Ealing, that I carried on sitting on the tube to the end of the line at terminal 5 at Heathrow just to see what it looked like and to keep out of the rain!

Finally Euston and the train home.

What a wonderful weekend I've had, and I've just had a text from Kit saying he thought so too. So you can't get it any better than that!


Merry ME said...

Oooohh! Can't wait for the stories!
Great photos!

Marilyn said...

Wonderful photos, looking forward to your words that will flesh them out.

TALON said...

Gorgeous shots, Mandy! Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

Angela said...

You had sunshine!
And thank you for your thoughts on my blog... who can know of the outcome? Thanks for your friendship, Mandy!

Friko said...

Hi Fire Byrd.
I read your comment at Angela's Letter from Usedom and I wanted to come and look who hides behind Fire Byrd.

To see that you had a wonderful weekend in London is rubbing salt into my bleeding wounds. Most of my adult life I lived in London, now I live in the depths of Shropshire and get to see London very rarely. Wonderful pictures of a well-loved city.

I also agree with your measured comment on Libya.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

How delightful and what a treat to have the weather mostly cooperate. I will get to spend 2 days in London later this year and this has me filled with anticipation. Funny thing is my husband really looks forward to English breakfasts when we visit :)

Mel said...


I had to snicker about that designer stubble. And the cleaning--it's sooooo what we do. LOL

Wonderful photos--obviously a grand time with a good assortment of wine. LOL And awesome company.

I now want breakfast!
Just sayin'........

Ishouldbeworking said...

You managed to get the best of London into that weekend. Good on you. I'm up there all the time but never take it for granted. Its grubby charm stands the test of time.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

It was lovely to hear about your weekend and see your beautiful photos.

Paula & Skip said...

So glad you have had this wonderful weekend. Sunshine instead of a coat. Just glorious! Mandy mine, my facebook got hacked last week which affected my hotmail account to. It took some time to get everything sorted again. Means I got your long email just today. Have to catch up with all and will reply tomorrow. BTW I have my own cellphone now...

Marilyn said...

I am just catching up after a couple of days away all sounds fabulous to me. I love London and to share it with a lovely son like your's would be all the more special. I loved seeing your photos.

bodylift said...

Such beautiful pictures. I really like London and it's atmosphere. This would be your bets weekend trip. I am sure you would be enjoyed it.