Sunday, July 18, 2004

I love London. I love the shops, the sights, the diversity, the vibrancy. I never imagined there would ever be a day when I was ready for going home within less than an hour of getting there.
The journey there passed rather enjoyably thanks to a number of text messages from Cute Suit. I'd managed to blag the front seat behind the driver - I'm not good as a passenger - too used to being in control - but it went downhill the minute we got there. We took the Tube fromMarble Arch to Westminster and walked along the Embankment, navigating hoards of tourists, across the Golden Jubilee Bridge to the Eye. There was a huge queue, but it seemed to be moving fairly quickly to my mind, not so to my 2 teenage companions so we decided to give that a miss and I rang Kathryn to meet us.
We walked along Whitehall, all the while cursing my decision to wear Shantung silk mules in British Summer, I stopped off at a small drugstore for industrial strength pain-killers (my left sinus was loudly heralding its arrival in the Smoke and my right ear was aching), whilst Kathryn and her 5th limb, her camera, tried to persuade Jack and Le Frown to pose for photos on the lions at Trafalgar Square. There was an anti-landmine demonstration going on - piles of assorted footwear all over the place - I was tempted to swap the rather fine numbers I was sporting for some comfy old trainers.
We quickly headed for Lillywhites - both boys like sport so we figured they'd be happy - Jack's usual enthusiasm for shopping was very evident and he came away with a few bags of assorted kit for the coming season - Le Frown did at least show a passing interest for some of the rugby wear but it was very shortlived. I had originally suggested throwing some money at them and abandoning them in the Trocadero which had been met with disdain by my sis but it didn't take her long to agree with my sentiments so we headed there - even that wasn't good enough. Jack had a couple of goes on various things - he was the fastest Bull Thrower today apparently - but Le Frown just well, frowned.
To cut the story of an interminably long day short, we just wandered about a lot - you will probably be appalled at my lack of imagination and poor host skills - I would be too were it not for the knowledge that I suggested loads of things, none of which raised more than a Gallic shrug. We strolled through China Town, Covent Garden, Soho - (by this point I was getting so frustrated at the lack of responsiveness from my temporary adoptee, that I was tempted to give him £20 and push him in a private club - see if that would make him animate!!)
Jack was happy because he bought himself some Nike Air Force Ones (cool, apparently) Kathryn was happy because I bought her a very fine evening beaded poncho as an early birthday present, I was happy because we had a tasty lunch in a bustling teppenyaki bar - Le Frown? No idea!! He expressed his usual level of emotion - nil.
I was so pleased to get back on that coach - which turned out to be the highlight of the day - the teacher in charge asserted her authority and sat next to me on the journey back up the A1. I'd never met her before this exchange. We had a terrific conversation which made the 5 hours pass like 5 minutes - I know her partner - an Italian Jew from Darlington who happens to be one of my co-bereavement counsellors - what are the chances of that happening?
In fact I enjoyed the chat with her so much I almost didn't mind the fact that not only had I missed the off-licence last night but I'd also got back after Tesco had shut so I've had the driest weekend in (my) recent history.
4 more nights, 3 more full days and a ridiculously early start and we can wave Au Revoir to our Bete Noire!!!


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