Finally managed to organise a day out shopping with Sue in London. It had been touch and go due to members of my family over the Christmas period succumbing to viral infections etc including my wife. However, on Tuesday evening I got in the car, bag packed and proceeded to make my way South through fog and an amazing amount of traffic, turning a two hour leisurely trip into almost 3 ½ hours of torture.
Arriving at Sue’s I dumped my bags and we went to the pub for a couple of beers and planned the following day in London.
Up early, I got ready taking only 30 minutes to put my face on and get dressed. This is due to knowing what I was going to wear, doing my nails the previous evening and having a fixed routine for my make up (practice, practice and more practice)
Sitting there nursing a cup of tea whilst waiting for Sue, I reflected on how far I had come in the previous two years. I was totally at ease and excited at the forthcoming adventure and comfortable as Emma in a way that I had never felt was likely in those early days. As usual the weather had turned unpredictable and I was faced with being too warm in the shops but warm between the shops. I chose my favourite woollen pencil skirt, blouse and matching jacket. Opaque tights on the legs and kitten heeled courts with a ¾ length woollen coat over the top. For the first time, I went without my usual forms and instead wore my new bra from Asda with a pair of fillets. The bra worked in squeezing and pushing up my own flesh to give me a smaller than usual silhouette but not out of place. Overall I was very pleased with the result and with summer not far off!! I will be able to show a reasonable cleavage with the right tops.
Leaving the “sanctuary” of Sue’s we made our way to the train station and tickets purchased, just missed the train, having to wait for the next one to take us into London. The train ride was “ordinary” and we chatted all the way into town.
On arriving in the City, our first port of call was an excellent coffee shop where we sampled some Belgian chocolate and cookies (well they screamed at us – eat me eat me!). Our plan of attack was to head towards the centre of Oxford Street and work our way back from the Soho end. We didn’t have any priorities, so we explored the shops as and where we found them, too numerous to name them all here but including the main culprits.
A common denominator was the sheer frustration I felt in finding a dress or top I liked, only to find 6 of them in a size 8 only. The other problem was the random spread of the sales goods and that was without facing up to the odd elbow in the ribs from other women looking for that perfect buy!
Before stopping for lunch, Sue had managed to find a new bag and a couple of skirts and a pair of leggings whilst I made do with a pair of shoes (no surprises there then!) from Zara. We decided to lunch at Bistro 1 in Soho, a restaurant we had eaten at before and very affordable. On entering, Sue was greeted by the waiter recognising her from previous visits! No comment!
We both ordered the 3 course meal (£9.95) and a bottle of Pinot Grigio to wash it down with. Whilst there, we were joined by Helen Love and ended up having a lazy 2 hour lunch with a couple of bottles of wine! I could get used to this, sitting there in good company, dressed and accepted as a woman, chatting about clothes, make up, venues, music and the state of the EEC ‘s agricultural policy! Not!
On paying the bill, we first explored the nearby MAC shop before Helen left us and we continued back to Oxford Street. By now, the streets and shops were heaving and after another hours shopping we decided to have a tea in House of Frasers café on the 5th floor.
During our break, I ended up having a bit of fun with a young child on the next table to us who was there with his parents. It’s amazing where it can lead to when you stick your tongue out. As it turned out the mother and I then exchanged thoughts on taking a baby buggy complete with all the paraphernalia associated with young children through the crowded London streets and on the Tube. She then confided that she was 23 weeks gone with another baby at which I raised my eyebrows. Wishing them both good luck, we parted ways.
Before leaving the store, I decided I needed to go and so found the toilets only to end up in a queue of 7 women. I decided that it was not fair for the others there and so rejoined Sue, moving on.
Our penultimate stop was in Debenhams where we took our lives into our hands and joined the throngs of shoppers. I managed to find an evening bag I quite liked which was still big enough to carry what I need. As to trying anything on, forget it, there were queues right round the floor. We did receive a nice compliment from one of the women on a stand in the beauty hall. She asked us if we used tinted moisturiser and would we like to try some. I pointed out that I needed something a touch heavier than that and we started to chat. She asked me what I used and I explained that I was a MAC girl. She said we both looked very good (it may have been a cynical statement to try and entice us to buy – but I took it as the compliment offered). What girl doesn’t like a compliment?
Finally we decided that as it was now rush hour, we would find somewhere to have a quiet drink whilst waiting for the crowds to die down. Using Sue’s excellent knowledge of the streets of London and the fact that we had already had a quiet drink there earlier in the year (in Bob mode and accompanied by my wife) we made our way to The Mason’s Arms in Maddox Street. Walking down Bond Street, skirt caressing my nylon clad legs, the sound of my heels on the pavement, the taste of lipstick on my lips, earrings dangling from pierced ears – it could have been taken from a fiction site and certainly 3 years ago would have been only a figment of my imagination.
Entering the pub, we found it to be quite full with no apparent places to sit. Ordering the drinks we looked around and were pleasantly surprised to find a couple moving over and inviting us to sit on their table. Sitting down, we thanked them and without much ado entered into conversation with them. The guy was Scottish and a classical musician whilst the woman was freshly divorced and had just lost her job. We talked about all the regular topics such as unemployment, VAT work etc and of course fielded a few questions about our dressing. Debbie was amazed at our antics and I explained how I was happily married (27 years) with three daughters. She expressed great interest in joining us for a shopping trip the next time we were out in London and we exchanged contact details.
Sitting there cross legged with my hands around a half glass of Speckled Hen, the light reflecting off my long dark red painted nails , chatting away to “complete strangers” in a busy pub in the middle of London, I reflected on life and my decision some 30 months earlier to join the Angels and to come to terms with my dressing.
Eventually some two hours later and having consumed a few more beers, it came time to depart and we wished our new friends all the best and with a promise to try and meet up the next time we are in London.
Given the time we decided to eat in town and having passed by a few establishments which had queues outside, we ended up at a Spanish restaurant where we took a table for two. Meat Tapas and a carafe of wine later, it was finally time to gather our bags and make our way to Bond Street tube station and onward to the main station for our return trip to the suburbs.
We made the 10-15pm train with seconds to spare which involved running from platform 6 to 15 in heels and a tight skirt carrying our shopping! Probably should be in the next Olympics!
Taking our seats in the carriage, we just chilled out as the train wended its way out of the City with passengers changing at each of the stops. Finally we joined the other passengers getting off at our stop and made our way down the main street past the pubs and closed shops back to Sue’s. Kicking off our shoes, jackets hung up and with a welcome cup of tea we chilled out after a brilliant day shopping as Emma and Sue.
My thanks to Sue for her friendship and putting me up, to Helen who I met for the first time and who I would like to get to know better and to all of the Angels whether I have met you in the flesh or just on the forum for the encouragement, enthusiasm and support offered to myself since joining. May I wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year and that you achieve all your wishes and dreams.
5 years ago