It is late, I know, but this is the first opportunity I have had to get to my computer to blog. I have had an awesome day. It was cold and wet this morning and I decided not to go off touring till it was time to meet up with Paddy. As I dragged my trolly bag behind me while holding an umbrella to protect myself for the raindrops I couldn’t help marvelling. I was doing this with a smile on my face and enjoying the adventure. I wouldn’t dream of jumping onto public transport at home at the best of times and certainly not with an overnight bag in the rain!
I arrived at Waterloo before Paddy, dropped my bag at left luggage after it was scanned, the laptop examined and I was interrogated by the official behind the counter. It was worse than checking in at the airport! I waited at Costa’s Coffee Shop and drank an expensive Americano from a paper cup. It was supposed to be small – but it was huge and not worth the 1 pound 90 pence I paid for it. I am fussy about coffee – it has to be just right. Everybody else seemed to think theirs was okay. Next time I’ll try the double espresso.
When Paddy arrived we started our walk along the embankment. She had never done the London Eye so agreed to go on it with me. We are both poop scared of flying and heights but thought it was compulsory to go on the thing at least once! The queue was long but moved quickly and before we knew it we were leaping into a moving capsule and floating gently in the London Sky. It was terrific. I took out my camera – oops no memory card – I’d left it in my computer – at Left Luggage! So I had to rely on photographs from Paddy’s Iphone.
While we were up in the air we caught sight of Paddy’s daughter, Jeanette who waited for us to join her below. She couldn’t believe we’d managed to negotiate the queues so quickly – sometimes they are hours long.
The walk along the embankment is lovely – something like the Waterfront at home but on a larger scale. The River is a hive of activity and there is a constant flow of people. There are lots of eating places, buskers and something to see at every turn. We watched a girl creating enormous bubbles with a huge contraption she waved skilfully. The metallic mimes were intriguing people by sitting comfortably on thin air and buskers played tuneful music. Suddenly a familiar face appeared and she said, You’re someone I know from South Africa. We were both puzzled as to how we knew each other but it dawned on us almost at the same time. It was Lindy a colleague from FHPS in the eighties. We’d had a reunion last year after 25 years so it was great to see here again. What were the chances! We walked together and had a long chat before she had to go in another direction.
We then joined Dan and Lindsay and their friends Karen and Martin in a lovely London Pub – I recognised Karen and her daughter, Tala – she is in Joshua’s class at school. Karen and Lindsay are friends and Karen knows Lauren. They are on holiday and staying with Lindsey and Dan.
After enjoying a half pint and a chat we headed to the Borough Market. (By now Dan had obtained a memory card for me.) The market is amazing. There are so many stalls selling all kinds of food products from all over the world. Speciality stores have nothing on what you can find here.
When we’d finished exploring the Market we all headed for London Bridge tube and returned to Waterloo. The others went straight to their trains and Paddy and I followed after I picked up my luggage. It was a half hour trip to Stonely and a short walk to Paddy’s house – once again dragging a trolley bag and holding up a brolly.
I am amazed at how economical the British are with space. Their houses are far smaller than ours yet you don’t seem to miss the room. Everything is well planned and of course makes for less housework – a blessing when you have to do it all yourself.
We joined the kids at Lindsay and Dan’s and sat outdoors to enjoy the delicacies bought from the market. Delicious. In spite of the weather being slightly chilly there was no wind so sitting outside was actually quite pleasant.
What a stunning evening. How lovely to enjoy delicious food and wonderful wine with such warm and friendly people. Thank you Paddy, Dick, Lindsay and for being so kind, hospitable and welcoming.
We returned to Paddy and Dick’s where I spent the night. I saved this post in drafts and have now completed it. The next episode will follow very shortly.