Bowery Mural


Monday, 3 August 2009

So there I was standing beneath the London Eye on Saturday morning wondering how I find myself here.

So much has happened in the last year that only about 3 years ago i never thought would happen. It's funny how life takes you on paths and journeys you wouldn't have necessarily planned this way but get a wee fuzzy feeling in your belly when they do. This was my much anticipated first trip to London - ever! to meet up with Trek Buddies Ruth and Kate. It was intended as a visit but also happily coincided with Kate's 30th birthday.

I set off on Friday to the train station and if I'm honest with a little bit of nerves and a lot of excitement. Landed in Glasgow with about an hour to spare and had a nice wee cup of tea and some chat with a brown trousered bloke (I'll buy the next one and I might even have cake!) before heading to Central station for my 1.40pm London Euston train. I managed to find my seat and hauled my heavy bag onto the baggage shelf above my head. The train wasn't that busy but i had booked a window seat at a table. The others sat around weren't that chatty but one girl got hiccups halfway through eating so we had a giggle about that.

I arrived at Euston in London rush hour!! Ruth met me there and it was great to see her. Then we headed for the Tube to get to her flat in East Putney. We dropped the bags off and then headed out for a bite to eat. It was a lovely evening and we sat by the River Thames eating a very much needed meal. We chatted for ages as girls do and then headed back round to the flat for sleep.

Saturday morning we were up early and out the door for about 9.30am. It was a nice warm day - there were some clouds but the muggy heat was there. First stop was the south bank and the area around the London Eye. It really is massive!!! I didn't want to take the usual snapshot photo's so that morning we also embarked upon my Irn Bru Adventures project - a must for all Irn Bru lovers! You can see the results here of LDN Photo's. We wandered along the south bank and here were all the sights in front of me - houses of parliament, big ben, St Paul's, Gherkin, Canary Wharf - braw. We headed into the Tate Modern art gallery and i was so glad as i love art. One of the big exhibitions on just now is called Futurism. We browsed the shop for ages and i bought a few little bits of colourful fun art for some folks. We then wondered around this big massive building heading down into the Turbine Hall and then up into some of the free exhibitions on Level 2 gallery. One being a selection of the latest trends in contemporary art. It was good - some weird paintings that aren't A4 sized but are actually huge. Anyways I was pleased we went cos there were some works but Joan Miro (one of my favourite artists) and Henry Matisse. The huge Matisse work was brilliant and i bought a little postcard of it to hang on my walls.

Next we headed across the Millennium Bridge and into St Paul's Cathedral, then we were meeting with Kate for lunch so headed up the Trafalgar Square via Whitehall etc. I don't know if anyone's heard of the Fourth Plinth thing going on just now. It's the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square and you could apply to go on it to become a living piece of art. I did contemplate that a few weeks ago but discovered i was too late as applications closed in June! Anyway we sat for a little while on the steps of the The National Gallery amongst a throng of people of all shapes, sizes and colours. It was busy but i could cope. Kate found us about 10 minutes later and we went for lunch at a nice Italian in Covent Garden. The lunch was braw and very filling. After lunch we were meeting with a few of Kate's friends but first took a detour to Topshop as I needed a new top for the party that night (I chickened out of wearing the yellow dress - it was get an airing another time). Chez Gerard was the venue for a drink but we didn't stay long as we had to get back to the flat and ready for the party. Ruth and I headed back to her flat to get changed and ready for my first night time look at London - north London to be exact. Angel was the tube station we got off at.

Chapel Bar was the venue for Kate's 30th birthday party. It was good to meet all of their friends and people they work with and I was being introduced as Scottish Angela who they trekked in the Himalayas with! (slightly embarrassing but nice all the same). The night was a success and my pink top was smart although the weather had turned to rain and we stood in an outside area most of the night so my jacket never really came off. I was more concerned about the pain that was rising through the soles of my heels to the balls of my feet. They. Were. Absolutely. Killing. Me!!! Why do we have to wear heels?? Blisters on my feet and not a hill climbed - what's up with that?!! Anyway after a very very very tortuous walk back to Angel tube station at midnight we finally got a seat. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH that was better.

Well it was until this vile drunkard came on and started talking to a South African. Their conversation was along the lines of slagging off Barack Obama (I quote drunk man "we'll have one of them in next"), how Hitler should have ruled the world! (I know - arse!), and various other very racist remarks. I had never heard someone talk like this. He was drunk but they do say never a truer word comes from a drunk man. These must have been his actual real thoughts and feelings - weirdo! I mean I do know people still think like that in the dark ages but had never heard that kind of talk in real life. Anyway we hurried along the streets trying not the hurt my already aching feet (the shoes did come off but once you put them back on they sting like hell!). We had a toast and tea and hit the sack around 1am. There was talk of camping this weekend but instead found myself camping out on Ruth living room floor on a blow up bed, it was very comfy though.

Sunday we had a longer lie in and made our way out into London for more sightseeing about 11am. this time we headed to Green Park and Buckingham Palace only to find that i never pt the now fully charged camera battery in the actual camera. I could have kicked myself. What was i to do about my Wee Bru project?!!?! Aaargh.... After some thought we headed back to the flat to collect the battery and then down a nice pub on the River Thames for a Sunday lunch - it was a good afternoon. My feet needed a wee rest, they were now covered thickly in Compeed. We then headed back to Buckingham Palace (from another side) with a fully loaded camera. Then onto Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Soho and by then the shops were closing so we decided to hit the cinema at Marble Arch and seen Pelham 123. It was a good movie - a remake no less. But since I have never seen the original I am saying this one was good. By now I was lagging I think. We must have walked for miles over the course of the weekend but it also seemed to fly by too. I was tucked up in my bed by 11pm as i had an early rise this morning for my train back home.

We set off at 7.45am to head for Kings Cross in the busy Monday morning tube rush. It was pretty fine really but hot hot hot on that Tube. I bid farewell to Ruth on Platform 3 and was soon whizzing up the road to Scotland after a thoroughly enjoyable first visit to London. Thank you Ruth and Kate for having me over, I had a fantastic time!! Now we must plan the return trip for when you guys come up North. We'll get a hill done and drink Irn Bru!!

Ange xx

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