What a busy weekend I’ve had. The father of my children picked The Boys up at 9am on Saturday and I shot straight off down to Elephant and Castle in London to… oh no, I can’t tell you that, you’ll find out soon enough, but I did have the pleasure of seeing The Marquis of Barnet and Carlos Fandango. The traffic was pretty good and I was there by 11.45 which included a stop off for a coffee and a bun at The Gates of London service station because I was in danger of falling asleep.
I came straight in through the centre of town and was, as ever, completely thrilled by the view as I crossed the river via Tower Bridge. In the wink of an eye I could see the beauty of Tower Bridge, the ancient Thames itself, the Tower of London, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and behind me The Shard racing skywards like a living mirror straining towards the sun.
London is beginning to feel like an exciting place again. There is so much regeneration going on; new and beautiful structures going up and old ones being refurbished. Yet somehow, London absorbs it all; the old bumping elbows with the new, the ancient holding its head high as it welcomes in the modern with open arms.
After I had finished … the thing I was doing … I headed for Walthamstow to visit my old friend Mrs Gnasher whom I have known since I was ten. Mrs Gnasher hails from Co. Durham and, despite living in London all her adult life, still has her gorgeous accent and will sing ’The Lambton Worm’ at the drop of a hat (whether you asked her to or not). For a cheerful version of this song, complete with words and chords, see below. I suspect the singer might actually be a Manxmen by his accent.
The Olympic Stadium is coming on a treat, giant cranes sweeping over the East End like great, lumbering iron men. The Velodrome resembles a giant version of those little plastic Pringles boxes – all very exciting.
I left my lovely friend and headed for The Aged Parent who lives near Staines on the edge of Heathrow Airport. We had chicken and chips for supper and watched an achingly brilliant documentary about the Festival of Britain in 1951. The FOB is worth a blog in itself, but I found myself fervently wishing that I had been born in time to have seen it for myself.
They should have re-done it as part of the Millennium celebrations or even for next year’s Olympics but I guess at the moment we simply don’t have the money. The thing is, that after the war they didn’t have the money either, but what the FOB sang out loud and clear is ‘We’re down but not out’ and the architecture and design that went into it heralded a bright and optimistic new world that gave people tremendous hope for the future.
In the morning, I dragged the AP out of bed and packed her little valise so she could come and stay with me for a while. Sister the First turned up just before we left for a lovely but fleeting visit, then we headed out to Sister the Second to give her belated birthday presents and have lunch.
We arrived back in Desbo at about 4pm, just in time to bake some cakes for Boy the Elder to take to school this morning for his birthday. He is 14. It is not possible. The Boys were collected from their father at 7.30pm. I unpacked the … results of my trip … , cooked dinner, put The Boys to bed and now I am here telling you all about it.
It was a lot of miles and I am very glad that I have got a couple of days off to get my head down and learn how to … (hand is clapped firmly over mouth).