Thursday 26th May, 2011
The North Bank
Emma had got up early and gone into Watford to do the food shop, leaving me at home to await the arrival of Emma Jayne, Len and Doug. They arrived just after 10 O’clock and after a quick coffee for me and Emma Jayne and a beer for Len (It turns out that while Emma Jayne had a shower, Len had sunk 3 beers! Ia mnot sure if he just downed them or that Emma Jayne takes a long time to get ready. I am putting my money on the latter.) and a half a beer for Doug, Emma Jayne drove us to Watford Metropolitan Station. Emma Jayne then went to meet up with Emma, while the three of us boarded a train to Baker Street. We arrived at Baker Street and as Len needed the toilet, we popped into ‘The Metropolitan Bar’ for a quick pint before starting on our tour of London. The rain had eased slightly so we made our along the Marylebone Road, before turning onto Portland Place. It was at this point that Swany called to say that he had been to the dentist and was now getting ready to come and join us in London. As we made our way past Broadcasting House, the Heavens opened, so we made our way onto Great Portland Street and into ‘The Cock Tavern.’ No sooner had we ordered our drinks (Alpine lager for Len and Doug, Stout for me) than the rain stopped. So, we finished our drinks and made our way down Great Portland Street and onto Oxford Street. We then walked across the new crossing at Oxford Circus and back again, before heading down Regent Street. We then turned onto Great Marlborough Street and then onto Carnaby Street and straight into ‘O’Neill’s’. The weather was beginning to improve slightly but Len needed the loo, again. We then continued down Carnaby Street, until we ended up on Beak Street, at which point I decided to take the guys to ‘The Alphabet Bar’. An expensive but great little bar, full of rock memorabilia of Led Zeppelin, Bonzo Dog and many more. We then headed into Golden Square and saw the ‘Absolute Radio’ building before going into ‘The Vintage Magazine Shop’ on Great Windmill Street. Len was in his element. So much so that he bought an Elvis Presley Coaster, although he could have spent all his money in there. Once we had got Len out of the shop, we crossed Great Windmill Street and walked straight into ‘The Duke of Argyll’. After this drink we headed off to find some food. Doug headed to McDonald’s while Len and I went into the KFC on Coventry Street. Once we had all finished our various food items, we walked into Leicester Square and headed for ‘The Moon Under Water’, to await the arrival of the Swany. We hadn’t even received our drinks before he arrived. We then headed out onto Irving Street which led us onto Charing Cross Road, which led us to Trafalgar Square. After a few shots of Len climbing the column and Doug sitting on a Lion, we headed down Whitehall to Horse Guards Parade. We arrived in time to see the guards being changed and so more photos were taken. We then headed down Whitehall to Downing Street to see if anything was going on. As it happens, nothing was happening. Obama had already left the Country, so there was nothing to see here. Hiding our disappointment we crossed Whitehall and entered ‘The Red Lion’ . This would be our last port-of-call on the North Bank of the Thames River.
The South Bank
After finishing our drinks, we rejoined Whitehall and continued down onto and across Westminster Bridge. We then dropped down in front of the old GLC building and continued our day through London by following the jubilee walk along the South Bank. More photos were taken of Doug with statues and Swany and Doug with a sculpture of two naked females. We stopped for food at a street vendor and then continued our stroll. We took our time walking the South Bank, as there is so much that you miss when you rush. There was part of the quayside that had been turned into a small beach with a wooden boat and sea plants and boulders. There was a man on the Thames beach itself, who was sculpting a female face out of sand. Street performers were also in abundance. Some of the trees had different coloured lanterns or cut-out shapes hidden in their branches. It was almost a game of spot the hidden item. Anyway, before long we reached ‘Doggett’s Coat and Badge’, so we stopped for a drink and some more photos. As we crossed under Southwark Bridge, we noticed four buskers and, after a bit of persuasion, they played a song for us. (Check out the Len & The Buskers video on my Movies Page.) After a good ten minutes with these guys, we continued along the Jubilee Walkway, until we got to ‘The Anchor Bankside’. More drinks and photos, before heading off in search of the next pub and our friend Steve B. The next pub was ‘The Old Thameside Inn’. This is a lovely pub and you get an amazing view of the Thames and, of course, The Golden Hinde. Our next port-of-call was to be the ‘Hardiman at Hay’s’, except we all got separated. I am not sure how, but while I was in front, Doug and Swany went one way, and Len went a different way. Doug and Swany tried to find Len, while I was still unaware of what had happened. Then they decided to phone me. We met up and I retraced our steps until Len answered his phone. He was in ‘The Shipwright Arms’, on Tooley Street, so we joined him, before heading back to ‘The Old Thameside Inn.’ It was once we had ordered our drinks that we noticed that Len was wobbling a bit. (I should stay Steve B noticed it more as he was the least wobbly of us all.) So, we finished our drinks, well the ones that Len didn’t knock over, and made our way to a station. Now, as a joke, Swany and myself jumped onto a train with Doug, travelled two stops and then jumped off, leaving Doug on the train. We then boarded the next train into the platform on which Steve B and Len were waiting for us. Once Len was back in our custody, Steve B boarded his train and headed home, leaving the three of us heading for Baker Street. When we arrived at Baker Street, we thought it might be an idea to try and call Doug. Not the best idea in the World. Apart from a lot of swearing and cursing, we gathered that he had got off the train and that he was walking to Euston. Oh, and that he had lost his travel-card. It was at this point that I lost signal on my phone. (That normally happens when I press the ‘call end’ button!) So, after taking a picture of Len on a train, I sent it to Emma Jayne to say that he was on his way… somewhere. Then we all piled on the train and headed home. Swany went back to his to pick up some things, promising that he would be over in-a-bit, while Len and I went back to mine for some more beer. Swany never arrived and Len fell asleep on the sofa. I sat up for a bit and watched some of The West Wing, series 3.
All in all a damn fine day out.
Len didn’t recover until late on Friday! His hair wouldn’t recover until Saturday!
Doug ended up on Chelsea Bridge and doesn’t remember anything after that, including how he got home!
Until next time… May it be well with you.