9th June 2014, my son’s birthday, our trip to London to be ready for his flight to East Asia (again) on 10th.
9th June 2014, the realisation that no matter how many years we live apart he’s still one of my best friends and we’re as daft as each other.
9th June 2014 and hours upon hours of tube stations, walking, photos and eventually and finally getting absolutely drenched in the early/mid evening downpour.
9th June 2014 set off at 10 am for London. The trip was set so we were there in situ for him to catch his 10am flight after his brief visit from there to here (here being UK). We had to get his visa and passport first so Kings Cross to Oxford Circus, then locate the hotel then time was our own. … It went something like this…
Train, walk, tube, walk, rest, passport, walk, tube, discuss where the hell we need to go, choose the tube line, go the wrong way, go back again, get the tube to Finsbury, find out we could’ve gone the other way anyway, head to Brixton, get confused, look for Hounslow (location of hotel), confused whether east / central/ west, guess central, alight, walk YAY hotel…. So far it’s taken just under 5 hours to get his passport and locate our sleeping quarters.
Hotel was nice, small, but quiet and clean. We didn’t need frills as we only had a night to sleep there. Andrew suggested we go out sight-seeing. I wanted to sleep. Andrew wanted to sleep. Both decided sleep could come later (if only).
Around 3.30pm we left the hotel and decided to go into London, no idea where to, just see where we landed. First locate the tube station. Clever clogs mum.. it’s this way…we walk, no, not this way. We keep walking, Andrew wants a McFlurry, orders a choc brownie one, gets some other sort, complains to me but eats it anyway, we walk more, Andrew decides we’re going the wrong way, uses sat nav on phone, we are going the wrong way so back we go, locate tube, decide Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the river… off we go. Tube is now massively crowded so 40 minutes standing. We alight with a struggle (no one will let you off if you’re not glued to the door already).
Once back in daylight Andrew goes one way I go the other, we’re confused again, then I spot flags and we head for them, almost die in a massive bicycle onslaught, take photos, more bikes, head for the park area find a seat and fall onto it, legs ache, blues and twos start tearing past us so nosey us went to see, they’d gone by the time we got there as we were delayed by astoundingly ‘tame’ squirrels and photo opportunities. Get to Buckingham Palace and photos from all angles, then towards St James’s. Through a park, photos, birds, talking, walking, rain – just a bit – it’s getting very cloudy, we’ll be ok, neither of us has a coat although he has a hoody, but we’ll be fine. Walk some more, talk some more, take pictures some more, more rain, still warm but wet now. We walk towards Big Ben, a few photos along the way, astounded by trees keeping everything so dry so tree hop to Big Ben. Rain eases. Many photos, buildings, clocks, statues, Andrew, river, Millenium Wheel, flags… Over to Westminster, raining a lot now, I’m soaked but we don’t care, a few more pictures then head back.
Tube easy to find, which way, we don’t know, guess, right guess, sit this time as tube almost empty, 40 minutes, Hounslow east, next one ours, tube slows, we’re talking, never felt the stop, tube speeds, that was our station, missed it, crap, off at Hounslow west – a long way off, deserted station, wait, hope, tube arrives, is, 8.45pm by now, back to Hounslow central, which way, this way, no not that far, rain is pouring, ah, hotel, we haven’t eaten all day so agree to go to the indian place across the way, but I have to get dry.
Finally we settle to eat and enjoy each others company, a quiet end to a great albeit trying and tiring day. We didn’t worry, we’d find our way eventually to anywhere.
Now to try and sleep before the 0630 start, trip to airport and he leaves me again for another year.