London | February 2020 | Part 3

Tuesday 18th February

Another exciting day ahead and the weather, at least initially played it’s part. Our starting point at Lambeth Bridge meant another ride on the dear old Number 3 bus, making it’s steady progress through the likes of Gipsy Hill, Herne Hill and Brixton.

Today was a significant day sartorially - not often you’ll come across that in a caravanning blog - as I donned my old ‘Matrix’ coat for the first time in a number of years. It’s quite fitted so has not been an option up until recently. Clearly, the er, real ale, merlot and cheese and biscuits diet has been paying off. Bar my first long leather coat - which I’ve had for over twenty years - all are second-hand, having been procured from eBay. They garments’ relative unpopularity meaning there were some real bargains to be had.

With the roadworks still in place on Crystal Palace Parade - the same roadworks that were there on my last visit in October - the nearest stop to the site heading into town was still suspended. To save our legs we jumped on a bus to take us in the opposite direction, crossing the road and joining the Number 3 at it’s starting point. Thanks to Transport for London’s pricing structure this didn’t cost us any extra - always a result in my book!

Sandra recalls:

Tuesday morning was much better weather wise, and this was the day booked for the London Eye, something I had never done before. We duly arrived in London and spotted a lovely independent coffee shop right on the river, both of us remarking how similar position wise it was to the one we had visited last year in York. I was both excited and slightly nervous at the thought. I need not have worried as the late morning sun and relatively clear skies made for some amazing views and was a memory that will stay with me for a long time.

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Some may recall that I did this a number of years ago with Trev but was delighted to have the opportunity to do it again, in it’s 20th year of operation. As before visibility was pretty good although this time I left the DSLR at home.

We’d considered continuing our walk along the South Bank, as I did last year, but the clouds were darkening, the wind was getting up and, being by the Thames it was pretty chilly too. We decided to turn tail, hopping on a number 453 bus at Westminster Bridge before transferring to the tube at Oxford Circus.

Sandra:

We then made our way over to Notting Hill, another area I had not visited before. The Portobello Road made for an interesting stroll down, looking at some of the more genuine antique shops and avoiding the sadly, multiplying tourist tat shops which are springing up.

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The weather was starting to turn inclement and we had spotted what looked like a good place for lunch - the Prince Albert. We were to be very pleased that we did, both from the food and drink perspective but equally as the sky had turned very dark and it was pouring down. We both had chicken and leek pies with mashed potato – they were delicious, home made and of a sensible portion size. We followed this with treacle sponge and a chocolate brownie. Replete, noticing the weather was improving, we made our way towards the second theatre show, via Covent Gardens. A nice meander around there and listening to a very good busking quartet passed time very well. We had time for a drink in another pub right by the theatre and passed a little while watching the bike lane road crossing to the side of the pub. There were, what seemed like hundreds of them coming through in packs and as they pulled up at their traffic lights, it was amusing to see them jockeying for start position and racing across the road. They just kept on coming. Of course, there were the few who decided red lights did not apply to them and weaved in and out of traffic in close your eye moments.

The classical quartet, in the undercover area were very accomplished and, for a novice when it comes to anything other than funk or disco, easy on the ear too. Whilst we could have stopped for a drink here - no doubt for the price of a small mortgage - we headed instead first to the Nell Gwynne, one of my favourite London boozers, just off the Strand and roughly in the direction of the theatre. It was quite noisy, a group clearly having been engaged in ‘research’ for some time. We decided to move on and, once having located exactly where the theatre was, took refuge from the returning rain in The Wellington, on the corner of the Strand and Aldwych. Whilst London Pride is one of my all time favourite beers, so is Timothy Taylors’ Landlord and clearly it’s journey down from Yorkshire had done it no harm at all.

Sandra:

As on Monday night, we had taken our baguettes with us fully intending to repeat the previous night and eat them in the theatre before the show started. Unfortunately, the security guards at the entrance were not impressed and refused to let us take them in, citing theatre policy regarding food. It was, by now, starting to drizzle again and we opted to quickly eat our sandwiches in the fire escape doorway of the theatre along from the entrance. It was certainly novel and caused much humour on both our parts!

The show we had booked to see was the ‘Play that goes Wrong’. I had heard good things about it and there are now several touring shows all around the country. Another very full theatre, even though not first night. We were again treated to a show of a very high standard and it caused much laughter once more. A steady ride home on the bus completed another fabulous day.

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This was truly hilarious, again proper laugh out loud comedy. A different beast to the Upstart Crow so I’m not going to compare but the timing was spot on with the visual gags and slapstick executed to perfection. There was no small amount of proper acting too, the cast playing their roles as aspiring actors in an amateur dramatic production superbly, the frustration and desperation slowly increasing as disaster envelopes them, with hilarious consequences. The same company present ‘A Comedy about a Bank Robbery’ which I saw in October and there is now another - ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ - which, if anything like the other two, will be well worth a watch.

Our journey back was across Waterloo Bridge this time, taking the 59 bus from Aldwych and swapping to the 3 as routes converged near the Imperial War Museum. A welcome drink back at Patsy as she returned to habitable temperature brought an end to another enjoyable day.

There’s more - eventually! Part 4 out soon. Thanks as always for reading,

Cheers & Beers

Rich



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