Sunday, January 29, 2017

The rain, the park and other things

Title courtesy of the Cowsills...who remembers them?  I saw this on Facebook and had to use the title which is very appropriate as I listen to the rain falling.  Today has been a "rest day".  My last one before I go home...yes the time is approaching.  Ten more sleeps until I am back in my own bed...I have mixed feelings on that one.  Okay my body will be happy...my knee in particular and my right foot which has been a right little b*tch these past few days.  No more stairs!  My heart...not so much. This morning I walked down to the launderette to do my laundry for the last time of the trip. I know I will be back (on the way to somewhere else)  as soon as my (new) knee is back in working order.

So what have I been doing the past four days?  Thursday I went down to Brighton to meet up with my friend Judi.  It was a cold windy day there - the wind was damp and cut right through you.  So needless to say we tried to stay indoors as much as we could.  We started out in the North Laine which is full of unique independent shops...dare I say I got two more coasters?  I know, I know...





We then stopped to have a warming coffee and a chat before looking in a few more shops.   We passed by the beautiful Brighton Royal Pavilion which is over two hundred years old.  George IV frequented Brighton as a young prince and commissioned that this be built.  I have been inside and it's over the top fabulous.



Today we just walked through the gardens to get to where we were going..lunch!!!


Vietnamese Pho!  Warming and good.  Being as the restaurant was less than a block from the sea I dashed...okay...limped down to the promenade and took a few quick..and I mean quick..photos.  Even the seagulls were shivering!



More wandering around Marks and Spencers and then we both decided we had had enough and headed back to our respective homes.

Friday I decided to go to Borough Market - there is a direct train to London Bridge from Streatham Common so that is very handy.  I got some of my favourite tea (2nd flush Darjeeling) and Masala Chai from the shop Tea2you.  Of course when I am on holidays I imagine myself cooking exotic meals when I go home so I had to go to Spice Mountain and get some Garam Masala and Korma to add to my collection.  Even as I paid for it I was shaking my head at myself (figuratively that is).


These look delicious but I didn't buy anything else..so proud of myself.  Of course there is always time to go back...Oh yes I did buy myself a thick slice of the delicious Borough Market cheese.

From there I took the tube up to St Johns Wood to pay my respects to Abbey Road Studios and have a snoop around the shop that was recently set up.  In my personal opinion things just aren't the same there anymore and it's really an eyesore with construction going on.  I got myself a book mark and a transit pass holder and that was it...no t-shirts, nothing!  Hopped onto a bus and headed down Baker Street playing "Baker Street" on my MP3 player. (as you do)  I got off near Piccadilly Circus and wandered over to Chinatown which was getting ready for New Years.  I decided to skip the big celebration this year - been there, done that and it's insane!  It was busy enough then.




Tempted by the smells and my rumbling tummy I decided to have lunch there.  I saw a buffet through the window that looked nice but they could only seat me with other people.  I hate that!  So I carried on and ended up having dim sum.  Deep fried shrimp rolls, steamed pork dumpling and mango pudding.  The fellow I go to at the Regina Farmers Market makes much better dim sum!

Over to Leicester Square where I visited the new Lego store - you couldn't get near it before Christmas.  It was really fun to see all the London Icons done in Lego.


All made of lego.






Even the elevator decorations were cute although obviously not Lego!


Not the best photograph but everyone and their dog wanted to pose in that phone box!



By that time I had enough and headed back to Streatham.

Saturday I decided to avoid central London and explore the local area.  So I purchased a bus pass for the day (my weekly travel card had expired) and off I went.

The first stop was Morden Hall Park which was a National Trust property.  I had read that it was really quite pretty and it was.






A walking group out for a stroll...this one organized by an 80 year old woman.  I was quite envious!


Morden Hall in the distance.  This park covers 125 acres.  There is no charge to visit and there is a lovely garden centre as well as an even lovelier cafe.  I had a flat white and a piece of Victoria Sponge.  The fellow ahead of me complained bitterly because his lentil and bacon soup didn't have any lentils in it (so he thought) -  I would never complain about not enough lentils! Obviously not a veggie if there was bacon in it.


I thought this sign was so cool!


A boardwalk was installed in 2016.


While the park wasn't wildly exciting as far as London attractions go I certainly enjoyed it.

On the way to Morden the bus had gone through Mitcham and it looked interesting so I headed back that way and got off.  The whole central area is going through massive construction and it is a mess but I did manage to get a photo of the unique clock and a really interesting looking pub.



I would like to revisit in a couple of years to see what changes have taken place.

My plan next was to go to Purley and I hopped a bus but was distracted by some pretty ponds in a place called Carshalton.  It was a Surrey village that has become a suburb of London but retained its village atmosphere.  I loved it!  I would love to revisit on a sunny warm day.



When I got off the bus I wandered into the charity shop which was selling duck food for 50 p so of course I had to get a bag.  For a few short minutes I was very popular with the local water fowl including some very greedy gulls.



The Honeywood Museum across the pond - it was interesting to visit.



The water tower which dates from the early 18th century.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to tour it as it isn't open to visitors until April.

By then I was tired so after a brief stop at M & S in Croydon I headed back "home".

This week is going to be a busy one with lots of things going on: two musicals, an exhibition of the 60's at the Victoria and Albert museum, a trip to Winchester, another travel conference and dinner with a friend to name a few.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Busy, busy ticking things off the list!

What have I been up to lately in the seven days since I've been back from Prague?

Friday the 20th was laundry day...not cheap as a load in the washing machine is six pounds and then another two for the dryer.  Ah well...it is what it is...  That evening I went down to the Italian pizzeria near the house and had a mushroom, mozzarella, soft cheese and tomato pizza.  It was delish.


Saturday morning I visited St James's Park before heading over to Waterstones for a browse...and no I didn't buy any books.



Yes the water was frozen.


Tourists were laughing at the gulls and pigeons skidding in for a landing.



And these guys just happened to be prancing by - on their way to the Horseguards Changing of the Guard.

That afternoon I took part in the worldwide Women's march.  It was an uplifting experience.  I walked the short (very short) route and only stayed for half an hour of the program at Trafalgar Square as my knee was so sore. The march was peaceful and I am so glad I took part.












They had expected 15,000 to 20,000 and there were over 100,000 of us!  They were still marching towards Trafalgar Square when I left.

Sunday I attended the Adventure Travel show specifically to attend a Blogger seminar.  I found out I am doing it all wrong.  Ah well...I have decided I am happy with my blog the way it is.  I came so close to booking a trip to South India for February of 2018.  It was one pound down and 20% off and the young lady told me I could take it anytime. I wouldn't have to pay the balance until 60 days before the tour and by then I would know the state of my knee.  I thought having a trip to look forward to would encourage me in my rehabilitation.  Okay let's do this!  We were scrolling through the trips (I knew which one it was..) when her co-workers burst my bubble and said the trip had to be taken by August of this year.  Boo!

Monday I visited the last of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries - Tower Hamlets.  It was easier to find than I had envisioned and turned out to be very close to where I stayed in the east end in 2015.  It was a chilly dank day as I wandered around.  I just could not find a couple of the monuments I wanted to see no matter how I tried - I had to give up as my knee was not happy with me.  I did enjoy what I saw though.  It started off rather strangely as some kids were lined up to go into the recreation centre that was just inside the cemetery gates.  There was a fence around but the gate was open and I went in to have a look at a couple of statues and some graves and was told to leave by a teacher "as there are children here".  Excuse me?  It wasn't a play ground and with about three teachers there what did he think I was going to do?  Grab a kid by the neck and head for the hills? My my... how did we children of the 50's and 60's and 70's survive?  I was a bit miffed about that and huffed and muttered for a while.  Then less than ten minutes later I was asked to leave an area as two fellows were filming a music video with a drone.  Lovely! (Well he did call me "Miss" so guess I will forgive them)  It was obviously background footage as there was no one around but them.  I was starting to get a complex about being there!






I will be writing more about this cemetery when I get home.

From there I headed over to Exmouth Market (on the list) on the tube followed by a ten minute walk. Again, not much that appealed so I headed to a coffee shop and had a flat white and a bagel.  Okay truth..., some of the vendors food looked nice but by then I needed a loo - badly!  But another thing ticked off the list.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I visited York for the day.  Again, I will be writing about this in detail later.  I had gotten a train fare for ten pounds return which is an unbelievable price and it's the best ten pounds I've spent.  I finally visited the Railway museum which is right behind the train station.



I'm not a train spotter by any means but it was pretty cool to see a couple of the Royal Carriages that carried Queen Victoria.  A particular thrill was seeing an actual carriage from the Japanese bullet train as I was on one in 1977.  Turns out this series was the one operating when I was there.   I will write more about it later.  The museum is free although donations are welcome.  I spent 90 minutes there but could have stayed much longer.  I took a "road train" into town which dropped us off by York Minster.

I wandered around a bit...and then had a pub lunch....


That was one big yorkshire pudding!!!


The pub where I had lunch.

The Shambles...more on this area and the trip to York in an upcoming post..


The beautiful Yorkminster.


One of the rooms in the beautiful Castle Museum.

Yesterday Claudia and I went for a cream tea at Browns in Mayfair, Central London.  While we both agreed that the mini scones were below par the rest was scrumptious!  It was a perfect size - we were able to eat every last morsel without slithering on our bellies out of there.


Today it was down to Brighton to see my friend Judi.  Brrrr...there was a cold wind blowing and I've been huddled in bed and still can't warm up!!!

A dozen more days and still lots of plans.  I've been having a hiatus from shows but next week I start back at it again.  Then there's the huge travel shows, a day trip to Winchester and more.  Stay tuned!