The Half-Term Duo - Part 3

Once again, welcome back. This should be the last part. Probably, but we’ll see how it goes.20181023_144506

The 58 mile tow up to the Caravan & Motorhome Club site at Crystal Palace could hardly have gone better. Traffic was light and for the large part well behaved. Even the Purley Way was relatively benign and shortly before 1pm I was pulling into the site having only had the need to stamp on the brakes once at the usual spot on the mini roundabout at the entrance to the site. It happens most times.

Pitches are generally allocated at Crystal Palace as sizes vary so it was not wholly surprising that I ended up on a pitch we'd had in the past. I made my usual token effort to get Patsy thereabouts with Rosie, actually make a fair go of it, then finished off using the motor mover with a ramp needed on the off-side.IMG_20181023_135629

As I stood back before getting the legs down I reflected on my achievement. Towing through south London and setting up now totally on my own. It may not seem a great deal but I felt extremely proud of myself and I knew Trev would be too for carrying on and making the effort. I had to take a moment before continuing with the task in hand. Soppy sod.

Once Patsy was all set up - and my ‘bung stuff in a plastic tub’ wheeze certainly saved some time - I wolfed down a swiftly made sandwich then fired up Rosie to head back to the Crystal Palace triangle. Perfectly walkable but with the likelihood that I’d be doing a fair bit later - and never knowing how my knee will behave, I took the car. Also I couldn’t be arsed to walk. Only a couple of loops were required before a space became available.

The destination was a barbershop for a trim up. Now I don’t doubt there’s some will be thinking “You pay? For That?” Well, not usually no. I’m quite happy with a bit of DIY but It’s nice to have someone else doing it for a change, they can fade the sides and rear and it does look better. To me anyway.

20181023_160410Then it was back to Patsy to get myself tarted up for the first of the trips assignations - in Soho no less - and the first of many rides on the number 3 bus that connects Crystal palace with central London  terminating right by Trafalgar Square. 20181023_212821

I’ve known Ash for a number of years since his Mum & Step Dad were neighbours when we first moved to the south coast. Hailing from Nottinghamshire but now living - and loving - the London life we’d not had chance for a proper catch up since Trev’s funeral and then, understandably only briefly. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, the pub hopping interrupted only by an apparently authentic ruby that whilst not my usual Madras or Vindaloo was extremely tasty. Grog, grub and a damn good chinwag. What’s not to like? I knew where to catch the bus back but Ash was keen to steer my in the right direction and we parted ways at Trafalgar square after admiring the homage to Queen down Carnaby Street with a hug and a promise to catch up again soon.

The cold air had hastened activity down below but fortunately the chance to relieve my aching bladder came right by the bus stop. Sadly it was a pub and it would have been rude just to go and use their loo without buying a drink wouldn’t it. Of course by the time I eventually got back to the site after an hour on the bus I was bursting!

It was back on the number 3 again the following morning, destination the Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road. I was happy to walk from Trafalgar Square but without warning the bus terminated in Whitehall. Mildly peeved and again concerned how my knee would react it soon became clear why, the western side of the Square was completely gridlocked - mostly by buses it seemed - and walking was certainly the quicker option.

First job though was to locate a purveyor of cheap specs. I’d left my reading glasses back at the ‘van and gone are the days when I could still manage the phone or a menu without. Luckily there was a Boots nearby and I even got a compliment on my attire from the guy behind the counter. Little things like that do wonders for the ego.

I’d been loitering with intent for less than a minute outside the theatre when my next ‘dates’ arrived, in the  shape of Richard, director of insurance company Cover4Caravans and his digital marketing chap Jason. I’ve known Richard for quite a few years now and we were due to meet him at his offices to do some videos before dinner on the tragic day in August. When I mentioned I was coming to London Richard invited me, along with Jason to see ‘Bat out of Hell’ the musical. As with pretty much anything these days I accepted immediately.

First on the agenda though was lunch and nearby Five Guys did the honours with burger and Cajun chips that really were superb. Following that we had a good catch up over coffee before it was time to head to the theatre.

20181024_141920Well, what a show it was. Many will know that my musical tastes are more Abba than Meatloaf but it was superb, the energy right from the start was infectious. It was too, surprisingly emotional in places - I assumed it was just me but Richard - who was seeing the show for the third time - said the same. The final song I’d Do Anything for Love could have been written for a musical and was delivered with such power and feeling by all involved it almost took my breath away. Fantastic and I urge you to consider it if you’re heading to London before it closes in January.

After a post show ‘come down’ coffee we parted our ways, them heading for the train and me the dear old number 3 back to the site.

Given the size of the burger at lunch a sandwich sufficed for tea and then I fired up the laptop to start the first of the blog posts of the trip. Having made considerable progress I  had a walk to Westow House on the corner of the triangle for a celebratory pint. It’s a nice pub but my - well both Trev and I’s - favourite was the Grape & Gran across the road now sadly boarded up. We used to love, once all set up, heading down there for a late Sunday lunch before watching folk dance to a jazz trio or quartet over an ale or two from one of the dozen handpumps.

Still, Westow House does a good range as well as though I didn’t get past trying more than two.

And there we are, time’s up again. So, once again thanks for reading and look out for Part 4 - which WILL be the final part - out real soon. Ish…

Cheers

Rich

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