London | February 2020 | Part 4

Wednesday 19th February

After an early breakfast - well early for some, we’re talking 9am here - we set off again in the direction of Greenwich. There were a variety of ways we could get there but in the end I settled for the Number 122 bus, the stop for which was handily placed just around the corner from the site. This took us to to Lewisham where we changed to the Number 180 which took us to Greenwich. It made a welcome change from the usual Number 3 and, once again getting seats on the top deck we were at least able to see a different part of town. It was at this point dry, if a little chilly and certainly breezy as we got off outside the Naval College.

Sandra:

Wednesday, my day of departure arrived but not until late afternoon. We were booked to see Greenwich Museum and Observatory. A mixture of buses and we duly arrived. Obviously, with a keen eye on the clock, we knew it would need a repeat visit to do it all justice, probably a couple of days to see it all. It was a cold and mizzle day, but we warmed ourselves up with a lovely strong coffee in the undercroft of part of the historic Naval college. We then ambled up to the Observatory and had a good look round, we soon ditched the audio guides we had been given and preferred to use our eyes and read. It was interesting to think how it must have looked when it was first was built and the view was almost predominantly grasslands.

The walk up to the observatory took us through the grounds of the Maritime Museum, but that would sadly have to wait another day. It was nice to see the daffodils out though and even in the increasing mizzle there were some stunning views from outside the observatory. In fact I was taken with the whole area and Greenwich as a whole is on the list for a return visit.

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Sandra:

There was an amazing museum style room of all types of clocks and maritime navigation equipment including speaking clocks, GPS and some beautiful crafted brass instruments. The detail and adornments, which were not strictly necessary, were fascinating to see. Of course, there was the compulsory photos of standing astride the meridian line, the only other time I have done that is abroad. A couple of spots of souvenir shopping completed the visit. We then adjourned to the on-site café, which being half term was exceedingly busy and rather on the small side. However, we were fortunate enough to get a table and welcomed a great bowl of lentil and carrot soup, plus crusty sourdough bread and a sandwich for another very nice meal.

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Sadly, it was time to start thinking about getting back to site and collecting my things and getting me to the station in time. We had one more treat in store and that was taking the Thames Clipper boat taxi from the pier back to Westminster bridge. It was overcast and raining but still possible to see sights from a different perspective. Landing at Westminster pier rather than the planned London Eye side saved us quite a walk and by now both of us were feeling the effects of the past few days.

Yes, the weather did take the edge off what was, in every other respect, an enjoyable journey taking in a number of London's’ iconic landmarks. Definitely one to repeat in better weather but it served it’s purpose and gave us an alternative route back to the site, hopping on the Number 3 again near Parliament Square.

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Sandra:

Another bus journey and we were then ready to go to the station. We said our goodbyes until the next time and an uneventful, for once, journey back home. A very happy few days was had which were just the tonic after some pretty awful weather.

I must admit to feeling a bit low as I drove back from dropping Sandra off at Streatham Common station for her journey home. The sign of having such a good time and sharing experiences with others I guess. However, that evening I was to have company again, in the shape of Rob who had got a pass for the evening - his words not mine - and we had a wander up to the Crystal Palace ‘triangle’ indulging in some ‘research’ at a number of hostelries and a good chinwag about all things caravanning and more. The Postal Order - a Wetherspoon’s - had the benefit of our custom for a second round, hardly surprising at less that two quid a pint. An enjoyable evening and just the tonic.

Thursday 20th February

With rain promised for most of the day - and duly delivered, I planned and executed a perfect winter caravan day, cosy warm, radio, reading and one or two naps. Whilst I like to get out and about as much as possible, the rest would do the knee good and I really didn’t fancy trudging about in the rain. Yes, I know there’s no such thing as inclement weather, only unsuitable clothing - or something like that, but  I like unsuitable clothing. Although I suppose leather does keep the rain off. Unlike many I don’t possess any suitable ‘outdoor gear’ and have no intention of changing that.

I would be heading out again though, for the third show of the week, and the weather duly obliged with the rain stopping mid afternoon. Duly tarted up I headed back into town on the dear old Number 3 again, getting off at it’s terminus in Whitehall near Horse Guards Parade. When we first came to London in the caravan, some eight years ago, the route used to finish at Oxford Circus. Then it was shortened to Trafalgar Square. A consequence of traffic, extended journey times and working hours for drivers I would imagine.

Anyway, the first port of call was the The Red Lion, a busy Fullers pub full of a mix of tie-less suits - many no doubt from the nearby government departments - and tourists. I was about the only one wearing a tie. For once I eschewed the London Pride, opting instead for the ESB which was excellent.

Thirst temporarily sated I walked up to Trafalgar Square then in the rough direction of Covent Garden, procuring a sarnie for tea, then partaking of round two in a nice little boozer called the Lemon Tree, managing to grab a rare seat in the window to watch the world go by over a very fruity plum Porter.

It was still a  bit too early to go to the theatre so I returned, for what was to be for the final time this trip, to the Lyric - a favourite as I’ve said before  - before heading to the Apollo in Shaftsbury Avenue.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was the show in question and what fun it was. Unashamedly camp and full of foot tapping songs it tells the story of a teenager called, funnily enough Jamie, who’s ambition was to be a er, drag queen. There was the sombre, tender moments of course as is de riguer in a musical but ultimately a feel good show that was uplifting, entertaining and funny too.

Thank you for reading, Part 5 - the final part, coming soon.


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