Sunday, 10 April 2011

Day out in London with Jackie

Having missed the last planned lunchtime meet in London, I decided that this time, I would endeavour to join in and suggested to my wife that we could go down to London for the day and combine the lunchtime meal with a day wandering around London.

My wife agreed to the proposal and we decided that we would drive down to Hatfield, leave the car there and get the train into Kings Cross.

I left the house dressed wearing a baggy tracksuit jacket over my top and covering the fancy stitching to the top of my stretchy jeans, no wig, shoes or forms and finished getting ready whilst my wife drove. Other than eye make up, it was fairly straight forward applying my make up and finishing off with my glue on nails.

Whilst stopped for fuel at Biggleswade on the A1, I quickly did my eyes.

Leaving the car for £2 for the day, we bought our day tickets and joined other travellers on the platform for our 25 minute ride into London. Image

Once in London, rather than attempt to keep to our planned touristy itinerary, we decided to make our way to St Katherine’s Dock and have a leisurely breakfast and drink. We were blessed with sunshine and so took a table outside the Café Rouge Imagewhere we took in the atmosphere, had a good chat over eggs Benedict and a cup of tea – all very civilised, surrounded by other customers. ImageBefore leaving I needed to take care of business and purposefully strode through the busy café, the waiter guiding me to the ladies. Washing my hands I exchanged pleasantries with another woman as we juggled for position for the hand dryer – all very normal and wonderful for that very reason.

Moving on, we had a pleasant amble around the dock and then made our way to our rendezvous with Sue Richmond and a number of other girls at Salieri’s an Italian Restaurant opposite The Savoy Hotel.Image

The lunch was everything I had expected and Jackie and I enjoyed the chance to meet up with old friends and new alike. The food was good and the bottle of wine and a couple of beers certainly hit the spot.

At 4 pm, the party broke up and Jackie and we made our way to Primark where Jackie wanted to pick up a few things. Bad mistake. The shop was heaving and even I took a few hits I didn’t expect – more like on the rugby field and queues! – wow, I reckon they should have those signs you get at tourist attractions – 1 hour from here! Trying to try on shoes was fraught with difficulty as all the seats were occupied by women waiting for friends/relatives and having found one seat, I was almost pushed off it by another woman when I reached up to try a different sized shoe!
Giving up in disgust, we decide that we need a drink and so worked our way up Oxford Street and then branched off by Debenhams finally arriving at The Marylebone having passed two pubs which were full of football supporters.

Finding a spare couple of seats on a table we joined a couple of French girls whilst sipping our beers and chilling. The pub was very busy but importantly – no football supporters! It was great to be able to sit there without attracting undue attention. Image

Before leaving I paid a call and whilst in the cubicle, a group of American girls entered the toilets and continued their discussions about a couple of guys who had been trying to chat them up. I won’t go into detail but it was kind of graphic with no holds barred. On leaving the cubicle, the girls were posing for photos on the sink and just smiled at me as I washed my hands, brushed my hair and touched up my face they continued with their appraisal of the guys.

Leaving the pub, we decide that it was time to make our way back to King’s CrossImage and we walked to Baker Street tube only to find the station closed. During the day we had found a number of the stations closed which did cause a few hiccups as we made our way across London. As there was a replacement bus service we made use of it and took the scenic route back to King’s Cross where due to the absence of a bar, we decided to take the first available train back to Hatfield.

Tired but satisfied, we headed North and reunited with the car, I drove the first leg home. We decided to take a “small” detour off the A1 halfway home to stop for a break and a quick drink at a country pub. Well that was the idea however having chosen to come off at the exit for a place called Woolley we found ourselves on narrower and narrower country roads and not a sign of any village. We blinked and missed the two houses – no pub!! As we wended our way deeper and deeper into the “sticks”, we jokingly commented that if we see a big house on a hill with a light on to keep on driving! Finally we found what we were looking for, a quiet pub in the village of Greetham (wherever that is!), called The Mermaid.

Walking into the pub, we noted that the ongoing conversation between the 6 oldish men about football at the bar didn’t stop on our entrance and we were promptly served by the woman behind the bar who commented on how it was slightly warmer inside than out. Taking our drinks, we made our way past the standing customers into what one could describe as a living room and took our seats by the fire. In the 30 minutes we were there, we might as well have not been there, even the one other woman customer (one of the guy’s wife?) sitting on a barstool facing us seemed to accept us- again a very welcome feeling. Gathering up our glasses we thanked the barmaid commenting on the fact we still had 50 miles to go and bade her good night.

I wonder if they continued talking about the football and cricket after we left!

We finally crawled through the door before midnight having made sure our youngest had indeed stayed out at her friends before collapsing in front of the television exhausted having had a wonderful day out in London.

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