Thursday, 17 June 2010

First Time Out In London

Taking advantage of a company function which I was attending in Canary Wharf, I arranged to meet up with Sue initially on the Monday evening both of us in “bob” mode and then to go out together for a meal and a drink on the following night.

Having had a few beers and a very nice affordable Italian meal near the Strand on Monday, we finalised the details for the following evening.

To ensure no connection could be made with my company organised accommodation and Emma, I booked the Tuesday evening hotel myself and after the seminar finished I made my way across London to the London Guards Hotel in Lancaster Gate.

The hotel was just what a girl needed, in a good area, the room had an en suite, was clean, well equipped and larger than I expected and more importantly had two well lit mirrors.

I had just started getting ready when Sue arrived to get ready and so occupying the two mirrors, we both got dressed and put on our faces.

As we were going to a restaurant in the theatre area close to Covent Garden, I had decided on my LBD with the glitter (gets everywhere!), black patterned tights and my evening heels. For a jacket, I wore a black peplum style blazer.

Given that Sue had indicated it took her 2 hours to get ready, she made amazingly good time this evening, more so given that it was also her first trip out during the daytime. Exciting times!

I organised a taxi from reception to pick us up at 7-10 for a table booked for 7-30 and as we were both ready for 7pm, we decided to go down and wait for it’s arrival. Not sure how nervous or otherwise Sue was as we stepped into the lift on the 4th floor and then walking out into the reception area, heels clicking on the tiled floor.

Standing outside we patiently waited and waited and waited as various couples and groups walked by in the late afternoon sun. With no evidence of the taxi turning up, I returned to the reception and asked the guy at reception as to the whereabouts of the taxi. There was initially a degree of confusion as he didn’t relate my request from room 403 earlier to the two of us standing there in our finery.

The taxi it appears was stuck in traffic so we both sat down in the comfy seats in the foyer to wait. In the meanwhile, various other guests of all different nationalities came and went whilst we sat there demurely! waiting for an increasingly late taxi!

Finally, having warned the restaurant that we were running late, it arrived. Our confidence in the taxi service was further dented when he asked for the post code of the restaurant to put into his “tom tom”. English clearly was not his first language. Finally, having worked out where he was going, he quoted us £28 at which time Sue quite rightly told him no (perhaps no wasn’t exactly what we said!) and after trying to negotiate with him and failing, we got out and walked down to the main road opposite Hyde Park where after a 5 minute wait standing on the corner (didn’t pick up any trade!) we flagged down a black cab.

Chatting away to the cabbie, we made the restaurant Sarastro’s and threaded our way through a group of tourists to the door.

The restaurant was everything I expected (thanks Bea) and we were escorted to one of the alcoves where we relaxed with the aid of a Kir Royale whilst choosing what to eat. The place was amazing, the décor straight out of an old fashioned theatre. Shortly after arriving the place started to fill up though it was not overly busy. The service was good, the food very nice, I plumbed for the pigeon as a starter and the lamb for my main meal accompanied by a bottle of house white.

Just sitting there as two girls enjoying a chat over dinner and drinks was a wonderful feeling, given everyone around us was doing similar. Not once did we have any untoward comments or even any odd glances etc. We were totally at home, listening to a selection of operatic pieces in the background including excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen, one of my favourite works.

Sue had been advised that the murals in the ladies toilets were somewhat raunchy borne out by similar frescos in the gents (Sue in Bob mode had been here a month earlier for his birthday) so having had a few Turkish beers and the wine, I just had to pay a call. Yes, I can vouch for the décor in the toilets and have some photos to prove it. Definitely worth a look.

As it was past 11 when we stepped onto the street, we made our way down through Covent Garden looking for a pub to have a nightcap in but were disappointed to find just about everywhere was shut or shutting. After strolling through the late evening crowds (not quite more groups and couples) including coming across a herd of multi coloured elephants! we arrived at O’Neill’s in Wardour Street at the top end of Soho which conveniently was still open till 2pm and as a bonus had a live band playing.

We made our way in past the bouncers on the door and to the bar where we ordered some drinks and then finding a table sat down in the middle of the pub sipping our drinks. Yet again, truly a normal experience.

Several drinks later, we got talking to a mixed group behind us and enjoyed their company. One of the couples was squatting in a large house in Kew it seemed and was quite clued up. Chatting to Jo he said it took him over 20 minutes to work out that I wasn’t a woman finally working it out due to over hearing me and Sue talking and the fact I had larger upper arms than he did! Oh well! – back to the drawing board!

All too soon, the evening came to a close, the band were very good, (playing in the main covers of Kings of Leon, U2, AC/DC, Lynard Skynard etc – my type of music!) the pub was packed and we had enjoyed a good 2 hours of normality. So with a quick trip to powder my nose, we made our way out on the street joining the throngs at past 2am to find a cab. Within minutes we were lucky to attract the attention of one (it can be quite advantageous wearing a short dress.) – don’t ask what I did!

Back at the hotel, Sue got changed and then left for a bus to take her home whilst I got ready for bed. The end of a super evening. We are already looking at organising another evening out in London soon, though Sue is coming up for Sparkle and we will meet there next.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emma sounds like you had a great time -Glad you enjoyed it and well done x