Wednesday 04 March 2020


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London, Baby

I've been a bit quiet for a week because Kim and I have been to London for a few days.

Split your Ticket

We booked a train on www.splityourticket.co.uk as the car was going for its MOT. Splitting the ticket saved us £80 over the return journey. We rode from Plymouth to Exeter St Davids, changed train there and rode to Pewsey. Staying on the same train, in the exact same seats, we used our third ticket to ride to London Paddington.

On the return journey we had a ticket from London Waterloo to Exeter St Davids and changed there (with an hour's layover) for a train to Plymouth.

There was hardly any inconvenience having to make the one change of train - Kim liked it because she could pop out for a quick cigarette - and saved us a load of money. I've heard that National Rail are going to adjust the main ticketing prices so that they fall in line with the split ticket cost, but until they do, I fully recommend using one of the split ticketing services online.

Day 1 - Sunday 01 March 2020

Kim had clearly been on this train previously and left her mark on the tray

A photo of Kim's seat tray on the train with the letters K, I & M inscribed by a sharp object into it'

After arriving in London, we took a tube and bus to our hotel in Canary Wharf. I had booked two nights using my leftover points from Accor hotels that I had built up while living out of hotels in my previous job. The two nights ended up costing me £4.21 (don't tell Kim!), and for that price we had a perfectly good hotel for our needs. The place was modern, had a bar and restaurant, has a decent sized room with a powerful shower and a great view over Canary Wharf.

A photo of Canary Wharf taken from the Ibis hotel

We decided to hit the town and took a tube to Green Park and took a stroll up Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue. By this time, we were hungry - the train trolley had run out of sandwiches by the time it got to us and Kim had taken a bite out of the vegan cheese & veg wrap and handed it to me quickly - so we looked around Chinatown for something to eat.

Kim was put off by the selection of Chicken Gizzards and Pigs Intestines on the menus, so we opted for a lovely little Italian place we found in Soho. You can read my review of Limoncello on my new review pages here.

Having spotted it rather quickly, we had to make a pit stop into BrewDog Seven Dials.

Our final stop of the day was to visit The Craft Beer Co. Covent Garden. This may seem sacrilege given my shares in BrewDog, but the business wasn't the reason for visiting (although they do some great drinks in there). This pub used to belong to my maternal grandparents in the 1960s. I showed the photo below of my brother Paul (baby), Gran, Grandad and Mum, taken in 1964 in the bar of the Apporto Pub as it was called then, to the staff inside the pub and their minds were blown.

A photo of my brother Paul (baby), Gran, Grandad and Mum, in the bar at the Apporto Pub in 1964

We were absolutely knackered from the travelling - and Kim working the night before - so we got a tube back to the hotel and crashed.

Day 2 - Monday 02 March 2020

A cloudy start to Monday morning with the top half of London apparently missing...

A photo of a low-cloud covered Canary Wharf from the Ibis hotel

Seemingly, last night we had walked past and completely missed the famous Traffic Light Tree!

A photo of the Traffic Light Tree at Poplar, London

We had planned to visit some markets to browse and also sample some street food.

Brixton has two open markets, so that seemed an ideal choice.

So we rocked down to Electric Avenue and checked out the wares. We had arrived a bit early and the market wasn't in full swing yet, so we went for a coffee first.

A photo of Kim outside a coffee shop with a sign saying that it is the last Coffee Shop for 50 yards!

Crime Spree

While I was negotiating the car's MOT failure on the phone, Kim entered the dark world of crime. She had stepped outside for a cigarette and dropped her leftover cigarette butt into the gutter - She was caught and given an instant £100 fine (rising to £150 if I hadn't paid it in 10 days) and is now a marked woman - if she was to do it again (she won't - she's learned her lesson), she would get a £150 fine rising with each occasion.

This wasn't either of us, but someone left this miniature bottle of Jack on a Pelican Crossing box and I thought it looked rather artful.

A photo of a miniature bottle of Jack Daniels on a Pelican Crossing box in Brixton

Museums

We paid fleeting visits to the Victoria & Albert Museum, and then the Science Museum in South Kensington before having a plod around Central London.

Walking along the river bank, I found myself having an NMI from my bladder high-level alarm (Microelectronics Geek Humour). At the time, we were just passing Savoy Place, so I ducked into the IET Headquarters and made the best use yet of my £200-a-year membership.

St Paul's

We took in a few bars - just for resting the feet, you understand - and made our way up to St Paul's Cathedral, pausing to think about the amount of ill-gained money required to build such an obvious and cynical edifice of opulence, while oppressing the poor unenlightened masses. Religion Poisons Everything.

  • St Paul's Cathedral from Ludgate HillSt Paul's Cathedral from Ludgate Hill
  • St Paul's CathedralSt Paul's Cathedral

We engaged meaningfully in a bit more plodding and imbibing in some pubs, including BrewDog Tower Hill Outpost.

  • BrewDog Tower Hill Outpost Vat AreaBrewDog Tower Hill Outpost Vat Area
  • BrewDog Tower Hill Outpost VatsBrewDog Tower Hill Outpost Vats
  • BrewDog Tower Hill Outpost CasksBrewDog Tower Hill Outpost Casks

Mugging Averted

On the tube back to Canary Wharf we were sat opposite three guys ranging from late teens to mid-twenties. The eldest had clocked us and the younger guy faked a yawn and stretch to reach across and tap the eldest on the shoulder. The eldest gave an almost imperceptible nod.
I noticed this and crossed my arm with Kim's and grasped her handbag strap tight in my hand.
The guys kept watching for a few stations and I saw the 'leader' shake his head very gently.
Of course, they got up at the same station where we had alighted, but Kim was onto them and we held back until the crowd had thinned out and we could be seen.

Another BrewDog

After that excitement, it was a return to a new BrewDog establishment we had stumbled upon the previous evening - BrewDog Canary Wharf for some dinner.

Try the Buffalo Chicken Burger - it's amazing!

Steps

After some 26000 steps by Kim's little legs, it was time to head back to the hotel.

A graphic from a pedometer showing Kim had completed 25,710 steps over 12.6 miles

Day 3 - Tuesday 03 March 2020

A bright start to the morning

  • A photo of Canary Wharf from the Ibis HotelCanary Wharf from the Ibis Hotel
  • A photo of Canary Wharf from the Ibis HotelCanary Wharf from the Ibis Hotel

Frank's Cafe

We decided to take a slow plod around London for our last day. We had our cases with us, so nothing too strenuous planned.

The first visit of the day was to Frank's Cafein Southwark. You can read my review. It was amazing.

Plodding

The rest of the morning was spent walking across Millennium Bridge and visiting various coffee shops and bars before heading to Waterloo Station for our journey home. We put in a decent shift though!

A graphic from a pedometer showing Kim had completed 28,904 steps over 14.2 miles

Train Toilet

The folks on South Western Railways have a sense of humour:

A photo of the sign on the inside of the toilet lid on a South Western Railways train.

Race Across the Country

Siobhan, my daughter, had been at Oxford University for the day as part of a "Special Talent" group of students from Torpoint 6th Form (proud Dad moment). She left Oxford at roughly the same time as Kim and I left London. Siobhan was in a minibus, we were on the train. Siobhan stopped at Taunton and we stopped and changed train at Exeter.

Siobhan and I agreed that the race would be to where the railway passes under the road at Marsh Mills.

In the screenshot below, I'm the blue dot and Siobhan is the Black & White picture.

A screenshot of myself and Siobhan from Google Maps having a race

We think that Siobhan won, but she probably could have seen the train as she passed over our heads!

Riveting stuff.


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