London February 2019 - Part 4

And here it is, the fourth and, I promise you, the last blog post about my recent caravanning trip to London, staying at the Caravan & Motorhome Club site at Crystal Palace.

Right, Thursday and with the second of my visits to the theatre on the agenda for later I wasn’t rushing about to get going, enjoying a leisurely morning involving not much more than a book and coffee at various intervals. The sun was out and another lovely day forecast. I may have nodded off. More than once.

The days expedition began after lunch, once again on the trusty number 3 bus as far as Brixton, changing to the number 159. That was after a short interval during which I’d boarded the 59, only discovering my mistake when the nice lady in the cupboard under the stairs announced the bus’ route. Numpty.

My destination was an area known as Lincoln's Inn, populated as you may well know, by London’s legal eagles, much like Temple to the south which, you may recall, I had a wander around with friends during my October visit.

Like Temple it is an oasis of calm and relative tranquillity and seemingly a very agreeable place to work. Lincoln’s Inn Fields was still well occupied with those enjoying a late lunch in the sunshine but it was much quieter in the gardens.

I’d had thoughts of making it as far as Clerkenwell for a look around but the aforementioned part of my anatomy that shall now remain nameless was having other ideas. I did get as far as Hatton Gardens though – where in truth there isn’t much to see – and traversed Leather Lane too. Well it had to be done…

Then followed the first tube ride of the trip – a short hop from Chancery Lane to Oxford Circus and a thence a wander around Carnaby Street. It’s changed a lot since my first visit some twenty years ago when I was looking for my first long leather coat – no such garment can be found here now, it’s all brands and designer labels so the plastic stayed firmly in the pocket. At least until I came across the Old Coffee House, in Beak Street. One of those great little back street boozers that I love so much that hasn’t been mauled at the hands of greedy pub co’s and still retains some authenticity. A good range of local ales but trying them all and making it to the theatre would have been a er, challenge. I settled for one. Oh, alright then, two.

Whilst trying new places can be fun, sometimes I like just going with what I know, so it was the White Horse that I returned too for my pre-theatre meal and was even lucky enough to get a table by the window. Aware that variety is indeed the spice of life I opted for a chicken burger rather than another beef burger. It was a good though.

The theatre was a little walk away so I took my time, brandishing the DSLR on the way. Results were mixed, many of the resulting photo’s being too blurry, but one or two came out OK.

The show – as many of you will know, was Mamma Mia, at the Novello Theatre and it was every bit as good as I hoped, a thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting evening marred only slightly by a foursome a couple of rows in front who shrieked their way through the songs and stage whispered their way through the dialogue. Several audience members spoke to them at the interval along with a member of staff and they did quieten down in the second half. Two of them beat a hasty retreat soon after never to re-appear. Given the obvious difficulty in putting one foot in front of the other, combined with a prevailing air of urgency, my money was on an impending psychedelic yodel in the toilets.

Unusually, there was no desire for a post show pint but I took the opportunity during a rather long walk to the bus to grab some more photos, I’m no photographer, straying rarely from the ‘Auto’ setting, but was quite pleased with the results.

Seemingly every bus in the TFL fleet went past before the one I wanted eventually appeared which had my pondering the decision not to use the loo before I left the theatre and whether I’m at the time of life when Tena Man is worthy of investigation. It was packed but soon thinned out and was nearly empty by the time I hopped off near Brixton and renewed my acquaintance with the number 3 for the journey back to the site and the welcoming outline of Patsy.

Friday, and my last full day. I spent the morning packing up as much as possible as I wanted to make an early getaway in the morning to avoid the likely traffic on the Purley Way.

It was a funny morning in truth. For the first time in the caravan since the early days I was overwhelmed by an intense feeling of loneliness. I couldn’t understand at the time, thinking that feelings like these generally recede as time passes, but then it occurred that up to this point the trip had been entirely on my own. Every other trip I’d taken since Trev’s passing had involved meeting up with friends and family. It eventually passed but was to return later.

After lunch I met up with some friends from Brighton at Victoria for a very enjoyable afternoon er, sightseeing with just a pub or two on the way, purely for medicinal purposes obviously. The ultimate reason for the expedition – QPR v Watford failed to hold my attention as the sadness returned and I did several times contemplate leaving early but of course, as always it passed.

Back in Patsy my stomach was thinking my throat had been cut so I prepared a large plate of cheese, cooked meats and biscuits, accompanied – quite sensibly for me, by a glass of water rather than the last remaining beer in the fridge. I’d already had quite enough and didn’t wanted to put my intended early departure at risk.

Well, as per usual I was late leaving the site Saturday though this time I had an excuse. Let’s just say it was wise that I’d emptied the toilet cassette the day before and was thankful there was plenty of room in it. I did the rest of the packing up, never straying too far until things had er, settled down and I could get hitched up and start the journey home.

So, there we are, another trip done and dusted. I do love London, there is so much to see and do and it needn't cost an arm and a leg either. I’m booked in again for October, making the most of the site while it’s still open. It will close in December unless another extension is agreed by the local council.

Right, thanks as always for reading. Not long know until my next trip, heading back to some sites that Trev and I enjoyed so much, and a new one too.

Until then,

Cheers

Rich

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