So, the weekend in London. Away from home, and out in the big city and all that. How was it? What did we do? What did we think of it? Was it fun?
Well, I jotted down a few points to bear in mind for the future:
1) Taxis are not cheap. Even for short journeys. Seriously. You will need far more cash than you think you will.
2) When booking a hotel online, do NOT be fooled by the short-looking distance it is from Waterloo on the map. It will in fact be fucking miles away and cost you a fortune in taxis. (See point 1.) Remember, London is much, much bigger than you think, so places can be a long way apart and yet, strangely, still be in London. It's not like Wiltshire, where there are large swathes of greenery to let you know when one place ends and another begins.
3) Check the location of Tube stations relative to the hotel. If there are no Tube stations within quarter of a mile, stay somewhere else, or Point 1 will apply. Do NOT imagine that you will walk everywhere. You don't know the area, or the way to where you are going, and anyway it will rain.
4) London is crowded. Expect this. Do not give in to the desire to fling slow-walking tourists off Westminster Bridge into the river when they impede your progress. By all means imagine doing it, and add hilarious sound effects at the same time. Do not, however, allow this to become reality.
5) If it starts raining, and it will, the Natural History Museum will be full of families trying to avoid getting wet. Do not allow this to provoke you into unbecoming displays of outrage as the children shriek and gibber like howler monkeys around the dinosaur skeletons.
6) When you tell the taxi driver (see point 1) where you want to go, and he then takes you somewhere completely different, many miles away, do not get out of the cab. Simply reiterate where you want to go, as you told him at the start of your marathon cross-London journey. Give him the exact postcode to programme into his SatNav system, then sit in silence in the back till you arrive at the correct destination. Pay him a reasonable amount and make a mental note not to use that cab firm again. A magical white London cab* will appear at the right moment to take you home. Yes it will. You just have to believe it will.
We went on the London Eye (so high! So many short, squat, loud Northern women pointing out the restaurant where they had lunch yesterday, just there, just off the edge of Trafalgar Square, look, there, see it?).
We went to the Aquarium (sharks! So many fish of many different colours! So many dark corridors and small children to fall over as they blunder about, their parents transfixed by the fish.)
We went to the Natural History Museum, where we saw the ice rink out the front and admired the huge collection of sparkly, sparkly stones (so many Christmas present ideas!)
We went for a splendid dinner on Friday night at China Boulevard, overlooking the river, with a huge screen showing Celine Dion live in Las Vegas behind us. That was odd, but we put up with it because the food was great. Except for the chicken curry dish. That was weird and a bit crap, frankly, but everything else was excellent.
We had booze! At lunchtime! Unheard of, when you usually have to drive everywhere. Marvellous.
I took photos, oh so many photos, and will post some up here when I am feeling less feverish and rubbish. Because, yes! I have picked up a fancy big city Lurgy of some sort. Spent most of last night alternating between sweating profusely (usually I don't sweat much for a fat lass), and shivering as if I was in a homemade hut in the Arctic tundra, with Ray Mears mocking me from his cosy warm three bedroom semi-detached moss-lined palace.
So bollocks to London germs.
Other than that, a splendid time was had by all. The blogger/Twitter party thing on Saturday was fun. Met many lovely people, ate a million bits of chicken, drank a lot of not half bad fizz and laughed a lot. We could have done with little name badges though.
It was a bit disheartening to introduce myself to people and then watch them school their expression of "Who? I've never read a single word you've written," into "Ah yes, how charming to meet you at last."
Oh, and we got prizes! For one of the entries we submitted to the virtual Village Fete. Sadly, I have no idea which one was deemed worthy of a prize, but hey, we got a lovely** trophy and some posh Belgian chocs, so yay for us. It might even have been for this, but I doubt it. Or maybe this.
We need to get out more. Lordy.
*They are like the unicorns of the city, and only appear to the pure of heart. Mr WithaY can whistle them up like nobody's business.
**I will post a picture so all may admire its loveliness.