Bit of a back-post. I've been gallivanting around London. Started off at my cousin's in Hertford. She of Hanging the Star fame, who is a supremely talented singer, music manager and photographer. We did a promo shoot for my website.
It gave me slightly more respect for models. Posing looks easy, but when you have to hold poses and make the smile look 'natural' whilst staring at yourself down the barrel of a two-foot lens for hours - it's really not that easy. I think my favourite stage direction was 'try to look a little less pissed off.'
From there I headed to Camberwell to stay with my good friends from Rwanda: Jo and Pierre, who have just announced they're having a baby! Fantastic news.
Today I abandoned their couch and went in search of my friend Quito (of IMDB fame), and his wife Joan. We're members of a scriptwriting forum, so we've 'virtually' known each other for a long time but as he lives in Darwin, Australia, there aren't many opportunities for us to meet up. We were also joined by their lovely friend Judith from Germany.
Quito and his wife and family were doing a tour of the UK. They arrived in London via Ireland and Scotland. Having a day for the grown-ups, I met them outside Buck House (that's Brit for 'Buckingham Palace', obviously) as they were changing the guard. I'm always a little disappointed to see they just change them for more guards. I'd love to see the changing of the guards into froggie footmen, or maybe a pumpkin...
From there we took a walk across Hyde Park to take a peek at Speakers' Corner which was depressingly full of evangelical preachers. Give people freedom of speech and 80% of the time it seems they just want to bash on about religion.
We also chose the same day to wander around as Barcelona chose to meet Manchester United in the football at Wembley. The noise - especially in the underground - was unbelievable, and the crowds were even more crowded than usual.
We made a mad dash to Covent Garden for food. Famed for its street entertainers, pretty markets and Opera House. I was surprised Quito and the gang hadn't heard of it, and glad to be able to introduce them.
|L: Inside Covent Garden market. |
R: Crowds watching street entertainers.
click to enlarge
After lunch we took a rickshaw to Leicester Square and walked to Piccadilly to find the Rainforest Café which we'd read about, but it turned out to be more of a giant gift shop with no chance of a quick coffee - only reservations for the restaurant accepted.
|Judith and I being cycled across town.|
In an attempt to escape the chanting mass of footie fans, I suggested the South Bank and we hopped a tube to Embankment and took the river ferry up to London Bridge. It was about £11 return, only we didn't use the return as, once there, we decided to walk back, taking in the Tower of London, HMS Belfast, pausing at a traditional ale pub - The Mug House - to sup London Pale Ale from a pewter tankard, down past a giant metal ship in a shopping centre, wandering round the Dickensian Old Clink, passing by Shakespeare's Globe, then the Tate Modern before crossing the Millennium Bridge (which apparently also has something to do with Harry Potter?) to oggle St. Paul's Cathedral.
I have to say, it's a really nice walk with plenty of places to eat and drink along the way - often a lot less stressful than marching through central London. I highly recommend it as a route for sight seeing.
|Clockwise from top left: Tower of London, HMS Belfast, |
entrance to The Clink, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Tate
Modern from the Millennium Bridge & St. Paul's Cathedral.
From St. Paul's we hopped a bus and jumped off when we passed a lovely looking Italian restaurant where we had dinner before meandering towards Waterloo in search of the Cuban Bar. We found it, but opted for the quiet pub across the road for a last drink before home.
It's startling that in this day and age, in the capital city of England, tubes stop running at half-past midnight! Still, we had lots of fun and saw lots of sights. I think I did more walking in that one day than I have in months! Lazy me.