London February 2019 - Part 2

Right, here we go again. Better late than never? I’ll let you be the judge of that, written, as most of this was, in my head on the school bus home run the other night. A dangerous place – inside my head that is, not on the minibus – mostly anyway.

So, Tuesday and with the first of two visits to the theatre planned for the evening I wasn’t rushing to get going, not least because, as I had been painfully reminded the day before, walking time is somewhat limited thanks to my knee. I know I keep going on about it but it did affect my trip somewhat, however at the time of typing I’ve had my first session of physio so hopefully there will be an improvement soon.

It was a lovely morning so I pottered about, doing the usual caravan jobs – top up the water and empty the waste and loo. In addition there was another task I needed to complete as well. You may recall that in the October trip the pull out canopy was removed with help – thanks Adam – and I’ve been meaning to replace the awning rail protector strip – which obviously now had a large gap ever since, a new reel having languished in the front locker since November.

Firstly however I had to remove the remaining stopper, which again involved prising the awning rail gently apart a little, then gently tapping back with a hammer after. It’s not something I’d do on a new ‘van and it’s not a perfect finish but then at the age of 11 Patsy does have several other marks of er, character about her bodywork and one more won’t make any difference.

It was then I remembered that I’d put away the towing jacket, soaking wet, in the back of the car so, took it’s two halves out for a good shake before loose folding and laying back on the parcel shelf, figuring a couple of hours in the fresh air would dry it off.

With no specific plans for food later I made lunch – OK warmed something up – before heading off, not for the number 3 bus but to the Overground Railway station on the southern side of the park, my eventual destination being Hampstead after swapping lines at Highbury & Islington station.

Hampstead High Street was pleasant enough, sloping gently uphill but suffering, as so many places do, with far too much traffic. At least this time, however there wasn’t a certain red Honda adding to it.

I mooched about a bit, not really enthused then headed for my next port of call which was Hampstead Heath, the lure being nothing more exciting than the promise of a good view of the city from Parliament Hill. The walk to was pleasant, taking in a number of pretty back streets and by one of the entrances to the heath I came across a National Trust sign at the entrance to a property proclaimed to be 2 Willow Road.

The property, designed by one Erno Goldfinger was subject to some controversy, not least because local residents at the time considered it ugly. One of those was a chap by the name of Ian Fleming, him of James Bond fame. It is said that Fleming named one of his villains after the aforementioned Mr Goldfinger in revenge. Not the most attractive property as you can see:

The rest of the walk to, and the view from, Parliament Hill certainly didn’t disappoint and was impressive even though it had clouded over. I found a vacant bench and paused for a moment. There is – apparently – plenty of activity on the heath where throbbing plays a part but in my case it was only the knee. I took in the view, the fresh air and the occasional whiff of marijuana from those occupying a nearby bench.

The plan, when I set out, was to head down the other side of the hill for a meander around Highgate. We did the famous Cemetery on the 2013 trip, but the village was apparently worth a wander. It would have to wait though – had I been more enthusiastic I might have made the effort but with the knee aching and the light fading early thanks to the moody looking skies, I decided to make my way back into town, my saviour being the number 24 bus just a short walk away.

A short walk brought me to the Lyric pub, just around the corner from my eventual destination; The Lyric Theatre. It came recommended by CAMRA’s as a ‘real’ pub likely to be occupied by locals rather than just tourists and so it proved, with a wide range of local beers and and a window seat to people watch it proved to be a very amenable port of call for an hour or so.

Another wander brought me to The White Horse on the corner of Archer Street and thoughts turned from grog to grub as I glanced at the menu. As is often the case here the dining room was on the first floor and proved to be a real oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the rush hour trade below. Whilst waiting for my meal I got talking to a couple from the Midlands who were enjoying the first stay in London, Les Miserables being the main reason for their visit. At first they thought I was in one of the shows, assuming it seemed, that no-one dresses like I do because they want to. However we had a very pleasant chin-wag – and a very reasonably priced meal too. A main course of a tidy burger and chips, a dessert of sticky toffee pudding and a coffee – yes coffee – all for less than seventeen quid in Theatre land. I thought that was pretty good going.

Right, the show in question was Thriller Live!, now in it’s 10th year in the West End. I’d picked it, not least because I like a lot of old wacko Jacko’s stuff but also because it filled my seat/price criteria. When it comes to shows, I’m not that fussed what I see but I have a price limit and and I want a half-decent seat for that price and the view from the first row of the balcony on one side was great. As for the show itself, well it didn’t really hit the spot if I’m honest. The lighting was good, the band were superb as were most of the performers but it just didn’t quite do it for me. There was no story built around the songs so it had a tribute act feel about it. Even the title song failed to ignite my enthusiasm. Good but not great was my conclusion and I didn’t come away with that lovely buzz as is so often the case.

The Admiralty on the south eastern corner of Trafalgar Square was handily placed to empty the bladder – and yes, refill again. Well it would be rude not to.

The number 3 starts it’s journey at the bus stop opposite but the departure board suggested a lengthy wait – lengthy that is on a chilly night when you’ve had a few. Fortunately though it appeared to be a work of fiction as the bus appeared not two minutes later.

It’s fair to say that I was in a bit of hurry to get in and pay a visit on returning to Patsy but risked an accident by diverting a few feet to check the car – you see I had no recollection of shutting or locking it before leaving earlier and whilst the boot lid was down it was still unlocked. All seemed to be present and correct though.

It had seemed sensible to turn the heating right down earlier with Patsy basking in sunshine, bit I was regretting it now, as well as not bothering to make up the bed prior, with both the duvet and pillows feeling like they’d been residing in a fridge.

Never mind though, it had been another good day overall and I was already flipping through the Rough Guide deciding what to do the following day as the duvet thawed, but for that you’ll have to wait for part 3. Yep, I’m afraid there’s more – much more - to come!



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