London in June

IMG_217816 June

Most of the bikers have gone home but the boat is still quite crowded with a fair smattering of camper vans and we are leaving the good weather behind for the rainy UK with a big black cloud hanging over the north of Liverpool but only a few showers on our way to Shrewsbury for our overnight at the Holiday Inn Express.

Remarkably no evidence of the flooding that is seriously affecting the nearby Wolverhampton area.

Watch most of the England  v Wales football match in Euro 16 on the ferry but no sound unfortunately.

17 June

Leisurely breakfast and we head off to the local Kia garage and try to get to Aldi. Garage linked with Ford and whilst salesman at Kia was helpful and said a brochure would be sent, it hadn’t arrived by the end of the the following month.  Ford salesman more helpful but after trying our suit case in a B Max came away with just brochures.

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The Feathers, Ludlow

 

Long queue on road towards Aldi with cars turning round, so no point in going and head for a garden centre for lunch followed by a drive to Ludlow for a walk around the market.

Some wonderful buildings that have survived the test of time but sometimes difficult to get photos without cars and/or people in the way.

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Ludlow street

Dinner tonight at an Indian restaurant in Moreton-in-Marsh with Phillip & Sylvia.

 

There was a lot to catch up on with their family including Christopher and Claire’s new arrival after Claire’s exceptionally long labour.

Head to Holiday Inn Express, Apsley for a few nights and, as usual, there are very limited parking places.

On our travels over the last two days there have been considerably more “Leave” posters by the side of the road than “Remain” but the nearer we get to London, the more we see “Remain” posters. (Ironic really as I wrote this at the time but in publishing this some 2 months later after the “Leave” vote)

18 June

Despite National Rail’s website saying that Apsley station was manned today, it wasn’t  – so we couldn’t renew our 60+ travel cards and had to make do with just day returns to London. 😠

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Stage set for The Go Between

Bus from Euston to Oxford Street and another to Piccadilly circus to get to The Apollo Theatre to see The go Between starring Michael Crawford.

 

A new musical which sadly may not last long as on arrival, we were re-allocated seats in the Stalls rather than the Dress Circle and even then the Stalls were not full.

The set itself was a bit dark with songs that were good but sadly not catchy enough to remember after the show.

The acting, however was wonderful, with Michael Crawford on stage the whole of the show as a young boy reenacted what Michael Crawford’s character had done as a youngster and the consequences that followed.

An intriguing story which needed a bit more concentration than many other musicals and a wonderful show nevertheless and very well acted.

Dinner in the Spaghetti House in Haymarket, where Sal had a surprise birthday meal some years ago. Table near the doorway allowed us to see some of the fast cars pass including a Gold Bentley.  Sadly, I didn’t have even my phone camera ready.

19 June

A day with Nick & the boys in Cambridge, Ute was in Germany with her father, a lovely meal and met Peter’s girlfriend.  Lots of discussion about the forthcoming EU Referendum, in which we don’t get a vote.  Nick’s family is very left wing leaning and wants to stay in.  Peter doesn’t get a vote as he is not yet 18.

Not so much trouble parking tonight, hotel not full.

20 June

A very wet morning for another trip to London, this time to take up the rest of the present the girls bought us for our birthdays (the first was Saturday’s show).

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Part of the Queen’s Gallery exhibition

This time we take car to Stanmore and use our Oyster cards into London on the tube which is much cheaper than the London Midland train. Only about 5 spaces left in the car park and therefore a long walk to the tube in the rain.

 

Manage to continue journey after tube on top front seats of a No. 11 bus and after a stop for a coffee in the new area between Victoria Station & Westminster Cathedral, head for the Queen’s Gallery.

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Pictures by Allan Ramsay

 

I had worked about 100 yds away from here in the 1970s for about 5 years but never been inside.

Not as big as I had thought but nevertheless full of wonderful pictures.

The exhibition at the time was Scottish artists and with the aid of a tablet we were given a fascinating insight into the artists themselves and the subjects.

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Pineapple with Cockroaches by Maria Merian

Next up it was an exhibition of drawings of butterflies and whilst I wouldn’t have said I was a keen butterfly watcher, the drawings certainly captured them well with an accompanying story about Maria Merian who visited South America in the very early 1700’s and then painted many of the pictures.

 

Dinner tonight was the last of the present and was in a Marco Pierre White restaurant right at the end of the King’s Road Chelsea.

Again, a No.11 bus had it’s top front seat available and we alighted at Sloane Square for afternoon tea at John Lewis watching the world towards N London from their fifth floor window as by now the rain had gone and the afternoon/evening was a lovely summery one.

A leisurely walk down the King’s Road, something I probably have’ done in 40 years or so and a lovely meal watching the commuters return from their busy day.

Our meal was a three course meal with one side for the main course, other sides being extra.

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“Big Ben” from the top of a No. 11 Bus

 

Can’t remember what the overall cost would have been had we not had the meal as a birthday gift but it would have been expensive.

Again, top seats on a No.11 bus back to Westminster, change for the tube and back to Stanmore.

Nowhere to park again but hotel happy for me to park in disabled bay.

21 June

Meet up with Sarah & Harry At Sainsbury’s London Colney – they had been in the UK for a visit to Thomasland near Tamworth & a christening at Hereford Cathedral.

The Christening was supposed to be a church in Hereford but the party couldn’t find the key to the church so they held it in the Cathedral!

Sarah still remembered the Sainsbury’s from when my mum & dad had lived nearby so a meet up there for an hour or so was a good place to meet before she & Harry headed off to Gatwick and we headed off to Woodford to Pete & Lorraine’s.

Some well appointed alterations to Pete & Lorraine’s house have made it more spacious and lighter. Another fabulous meal and a great catch up – was it 40 years ago since we first met in Tunisia?

22 June

An early start and a drive to Clearwell to pick up a couple of things left there, see Rob and a very long and slow journey back up to Liverpool for the ferry home.  What should have been a 3.5 hour journey from Clearwell turned into a 5 hour journey and we avoided more M6 problems by going via Chester.

Some time to rest and catch up at home before our next journey – to North Devon.

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