Sunday, 9 November 2014

Weekend in That London

 So, we went down to London for the weekend.  Friday night was excellent, we met up with an old friend of mine from my trainee solicitor days back in 1991-1992.  We haven't met up for 6 years and it was a last minute call on Friday morning which set it up.  I love it when a (half-assed) plan comes together!!

Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful.  Actually, that's a total lie - it was a bit misty but it quickly turned bright and beautiful.  We had planned to meet the Sheffield boys at London Bridge for a few beers before taking the train down to Charlton so we arrived at 11 (natch). After a pint though,I couldn't stay indoors any longer and decided to walk down the river to the Tower of London to see the poppies.  We had planned to see them on Sunday but it was giving rain so off I went.

Across London Bridge and past this interesting office building right on the river.

I love crossing the Thames.  Especially on a gorgeous, sunny day.  It was ridiculously warm for 1 November.  I was wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt and no coat and I was sweating by the time I reached the Tower!

The tide seemed to be running pretty fast.

Selfie time!!  (Seeing as I didn't have a photo-taker elf assistant!)

The Thames Walk path was rammed and very slow moving so I had plenty of time to take some summery pics (on 1 November!).

The crowds were intense.  The authorities had been pleading with people to stay away as it was so busy but I didn't have that option.  When I first arrived I felt that that the crowd would detract from the experience but as I inched closer to the rail the crowd got quieter and more hushed. It was very moving and thought provoking.  I didn't take many photos and just stood and soaked it up for a while.  Thought about all those poor young men (and a few women) heading off to God knows where to do God knows what. Hard to fathom what it must have been like for them.

Then it was a brisk march back across the river.  Me and my hair tried for another selfie!

The Shard (looking a bit like an alien spaceship) and Southwark Cathedral.


The pub we were meeting the lads in.  One of them, Sean, has always had the nickname "Mudlark" so he was very excited to be drinking in this, the only pub called The Mudlark in Britain.

Me and the 2 Richards. The other Richard is one of my muckers from the pub quiz team, also a staunch Wednesdayite.

After the pub it was off to the match and an unspectacular 1-1.  Our goal and the first half was good but the second half was dreadful so normal service resumed.  I was happy to get down to The Valley though.  Nice to see a new ground and a new part of London (to me anyway).  It's hard to imagine that the ground was once the largest football ground in England, bigger even than Wembley with a capacity of over 115,000.

As expected it was rainy on Sunday so we went to the British Museum with Natalie, it being on the way to St Pancras.  I haven't been for years and hadn't seen the Norman Foster courtyard.  What an awesome idea.  It has transformed  a rather dank courtyard into a stunning space.

We went to see the Elgin Marbles or the "Parthenon Sculptures" as they are known.  I had this image of a British Museum official being harangued by Greek officials saying "No, no Elgin Marbles here, you can check the inventory if you like but that really doesn't ring any bells.  Sorry old chap".

They were stunning and so alive.  I can see why we don't want to give them back.  They didn't photograph well though so sorry, you'll have to go and see them for yourselves.

On our walk from the Museum to St Pancras we walked through Bloomsbury Square Gardens.  We were striding along not really paying attention to the surroundings but my brain must have been taking something in as I suddenly stopped and went back to one park bench.  There I saw a plaque in memory of a friend of mine from Castleton.   I knew he was a teacher in London when he died but had no idea where or that there was a plaque to his memory.  How lovely to see it there in that beautiful garden adding another layer to his special but too short life.

And then on to the splendour of St Pancras.  What a building.  So good to see it scrubbed up too.

They were filming a period drama in front of the facade  but in between time hoodied youngsters nipped in through the main gates while the rest of us gawked and tried to spot any famous actors (unsucessfully).

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