Saturday 09 March 2013 – London
Another week has passed; this one all too quickly, I am not sure how really ready I for solo travel in hot and humid climates again, I guess I will find out when I get to Sri Lanka tomorrow.
On Wednesday I caught the train for a thirty minute ride to Barnehurst in Kent where I met Joan and Alan – an uncle and aunt. We all went down to Canterbury in their car to meet up with some more of my dad’s family, his two sisters – Barbara and Margaret, Margaret’s husband Roy and my cousin Anthony for lunch at a pub. Barbara lives there and it is the most central location for all. It was lovely to catch up with everyone again and I had a great time. For dessert I had banoffee pie, I have never heard of it before, a mix of banana and toffee on a biscuit base. It was so sweat, heart attack pie. Yum! I have been sleeping really badly the last few weeks so highly unusually for me I fell asleep in the back of the car on the way back to Barnehurst and my train back to London.
As it was my last week in town El took Thursday off work so we could hang out for the day, we had sort of planned to go to nearby Epping Forest so I could get some photos of the bare trees, however the weather did not play ball and it was raining. We decided to go the massive mall at Stratford as at least we could get a walk in, plus shopping is always good fun. We lunched at the Real Greek, a chain restaurant and it was damn good !
We took the tube up to Bethnall Green to the Childhood Museum, a vast collection of toys and things that entertained small people over the years. It was really cool, I loved it. So many of the old books, games and toys I remembered from mine and my children’s childhood. It comes highly recommended, especially for your inner geek.
On Friday I went back up to Dartford on the train to take the rest of my accumulated junk back to my Uncle Jim’s place. I was going to send a load back to New Zealand, but now I am not so sure on whether I will stay there or come back to England after my trip. I have decided to leave stuff here in the interim, though there was more of it than I thought. Jim and I had lunch in the local pub, The Ivy Leaf. I cannot believe how much cheaper food was outside of London, lunch for both of us was under six pounds, be lucky to get lunch for one in a pub in London!
Friday night El and I went to see the Welsh band ‘The Joy formidable’ at the Camden Roundhouse. This was my first gig of the year, I cannot believe I have slipped into the routine of not going to see bands so quickly ! It was great to be able to go to a gig with someone though : ) The show was good, the roundhouse is not a bad venue, I would call it midsize, but I guess it is considered small by UK standards. I really liked how they had the drummer stage front and side on – Fraser, one for you ?
Saturday was my last day in England for a while and my last day for a while with El, it was a funny old day. I had decided I wanted to have a final good English breakfast and as El had not seen my flat in London Bridge we went over to the south side for the day.
Starting with a visit to a recently fully re-opened Borough Market; which is just fabulous if you like cheese, bread, wine and deli-food from all over Europe – and funnily enough I do. The lunch options were just so tempting, but I had greasy breakfast on my mind, so we just had to walk past and enjoy the mingled aromas coming from the various stalls.
Next stop was one of my old favourite south bank haunts, the Tate Modern, I really like this gallery, the building is amazing and I love the wee stands of silver birches out the front. I really should have come here in the snow as one of my MUST DOs is to photo silver birches in the snow – I guess I will have to take a trip way up north to get them in the wild.
I also found the huge Monet ‘Water lillies’, I have no idea how I have missed this on my previous visits to the gallery ! As I have said before , I really appreciate being able to take photos in the Tate.
I bought a couple of prints this time, my first Tate acquisitions; though I am talking six pound art prints, not multi-million pound originals !
After the Tate we wandered slowly back up the Thames to Bermondsey St, where against all hope Al’s Cafe was open. He does a great big breakfast and I fully enjoyed my last one, too much so as I did not think to take a photo. It was great to share my last meal in England with El before showing her round the flat and introducing her to Kev and Phil.
And that was that, really. I walked El back up to the station at London Bridge and bid her a farewell – not a good bye, as I hope and want to see her again.