Well it was all go here this weekend - a cheery meet up with four lovely friends and lots of fun on the way!
It started on friday afternoon when I headed into London to St Pancras Station to meet Jenni - regular readers will remember that I never need any encouragement to venture into that particular building, and this was no exception! A quick wander around and then it was time to meet - I was just heading to the agreed spot when a familiar head was seen just in front....
....a familiar head of HAIR, I probably should say - have you worked it out yet?
Yep, Queen's Brian May, who was appearing briefly on the upstairs concourse of the station in aid of the "Tiger Tracks" campaign alongside Kerry Ellis (formerly of We Will Rock You fame and now forging out a notable and deserved solo career for herself). Understandably I got a bit distracted - I couldn't get to the John Betjeman Statue in any event and that's the thing that would usually distract me - and hovered about a bit to see if Mr May was going to do anything interesting. Then Jenni arrived and we both hovered some more, before deicing that actually he was just going to talk to the press for a while, and we couldn't be bothered to wait. Sorry Brian.
We headed off to drop bags at the hostel Jenni was booked to stay in that night before deciding that a cup of tea was in order, and much nattering followed before we aimed ourselves back at the West End for chinese food, and a few drinks to follow, with a side-order of yet MORE nattering. Finally a stroll back to Embankment Tube station where Jenni went one way and I went the other.
The following morning saw me on my way to another transport hub, this time London City Airport where Fay was due to arrive....there you go, that's her flight just landed, a few minutes early!
A quick trip on London's best low budget rollercoaster followed before we arrived at Southwark Cathedral's cafe and met up with Jenni, Lula and finally Gill to complete our party. The lovely Cheri was also meant to be joining us but sadly was taken hostage by a nasty case of lurgification and had to cry off - hopefully she'll be feeling better by the time you read this. A wander around Borough Market was followed by lunch - "Egg and chips!" was the call from at least two directions so a handy greasy-spoon was found before we headed off for some more wandering - along the river this time with rather too many steps thrown in for the complete happiness of Fay's "wooden leg" - she soldiered on though, good lass, and after a bit of wandering and a quick sit while we waited for a lifting-bridge to stop lifting, we found a boat to sit on for a while and meandered up the river being tourists. From my perspective as a born and bred Londoner this was altogether strange - I realised part way along I had never seen the London Eye from quite this angle before....
...and as you might recall I'm always interested in finding a new angle for photographs of that particular landmark!
Handily enough we just happened to alight from the boat at precisely Tea-and-Cake time - fancy that, eh? As we were just a short distance from the lovely St Martin In The Fields "Cafe In The Crypt" we headed that way - a more atmospheric setting for tea & cake style refreshment you could not imagine, and delicious too, we made such short work of our assortment of cakes, puddings and savoury treats that all I got was a picture of the carnage afterwards...
...Some more nattering followed - the cafe is very happy to let people just sit and enjoy the surroundings as well as eat cake...
...before we decided to head off in the direction of our lodgings for the night. Great fun - a four bedded room in the Youth Hostel Association's Earls Court hostel involving bunk-beds - the last time I slept on a top bunk was the last time we travelled on the sleeper-train to Scotland, and in fact the next time I do so will be, as well! All nice and clean, and although basic, there was everything we required, and the kitchen for tea-making was right next door, which was useful!
Eventually dinner called - Earls Court is an easy area to find lots of lovely options, and after a bit of looking we settled on a fabulous family-run small Italian Restaurant which just looked really nice...and so it proved. GIANT pizzas (none of us could finish them!), excellent service, and reasonably priced bottles of house-white all helped the evening to go with a swing and the time positively flew, before we knew it it was time for Lula to return home and the rest of us to the hostel, for a final cup of tea and yet MORE chat before the yawns got too frequent and we decided that our beds were calling too loudly to be ignored.
Sunday dawned bright and cold, but not too cold to allow for cups of tea to be drunk in the garden area outside our room before we got packed up and headed for Liverpool Street and Spitalfields Market where a quick brunch was consumed at John Torode's excellent "The Luxe" before Fay had to be pointed in the direction of the airport ready for her flight home. The rest of us enjoyed a meander around the market, bought some very budget-friendly scarves (an addiction we all share, there!) and Jenni was also won over by a rather lovely red dress which looked utterly fabulous on her. Finally it was time to return to Liverpool Street where we scattered in our different directions.
One weekend, five very different but utterly fab ladies (and four more with us in spirit), some lovely food, some equally lovely drink, and more lively, fun conversation than you can shake the world's biggest stick at. What more can you ask for?!