Friends in London

Prologue: this blog entry is well overdue and my apologies to our loyal followers for its delay (hello family!) but as you can imagine there has been far more pressing issues to organise since our arrival in Whistler. Anyway…

Our stay in London was postponed by a week thanks to Eyjafjallajokul the Icelandic volcano, which meant our original 9 day stay was transformed into a whirlwind 2 day stopover. Understandably I was quite disappointed about this as time with friends was now drastically reduced, but such is life and we just had to make the most out of the little time we had.

We arrived at London Stansted airport late Monday evening. Note to travellers; airports don’t seem to operate customs during the evening so if you want to bring in half a kilo of Swiss honey rather than eat it every day for 2 weeks at your previous destination, you best travel at night. We walked through the non-EU gate, only to see it lead to the same place with no staff as the other gates, and made our way to the bus terminal. Kindly our friend Greg had volunteered to pick us up from Liverpool Street Station in the early hours of the morning and after a catch up with him we called it a night.

The next day we saw all the sights of London with Greg. It was an interesting city and one we will definitely have to revisit to explore further. The city put on some beautiful weather for our short stay, which was wonderful as it only made the gardens and parks we walked through look that much more amazing. We had some traditional English food for lunch (meat, potatoes and peas), shared some drinks and saw all the cliché British icons; black cabs, red double decker buses and the queen’s guards.

That afternoon Jase and I went our separate ways as we had different evening plans. Jase stayed in London with Greg, experiencing more of the London city culture, while I caught the train to spend the night with my friend Jess and her boyfriend Glenn at her place in Wadhurst. I had to laugh as I got on the train and looked at my fellow passengers. Prior to boarding Jason, being the good husband that he is, told me to hold on to my bag and stay safe. Somehow I don’t think the white, 50-somethings in their suits that would be worth more than everything I was carrying and wearing were going to mug me!

My arrival at Wadhurst brought on a wave of emotions. I was so happy to see Jess as for a while I didn’t think we would get to see each other at all. That evening we spent catching up over another traditional English meal at the pub and I was introduced to her lovely boyfriend and toured around her beautiful little cottage house.

The next morning Jase caught the train up from London and Jess took the two of us to an old English castle, very typical of the historic sites around her area of England. It was really enjoyable to wander the beautiful gardens while chatting to Jess. The scenery was just like you would imagine, something from a water colour painting with willow trees, lakes and greenery for as far as the eye can see.

The afternoon was spent with Jess and Nicholas, the little boy whom she cares for as a nanny. Nicholas was really cute and it was fun to hang out at the playground with them and another mum and son, just chatting away in the sunshine as the kids played on the awesome pirate themed playground. After a nice dinner at Jess’ we said our goodbyes and headed back to the train station to go back to Greg’s.

The next morning we were up early to catch the underground so we could get to the train station that would be the starting point for our trip to Dublin. While our stay in London was only very short we were lucky to see both the busy city and gorgeous countryside during our visit. Thanks to both of our wonderful friends for being such fabulous hosts and guides… we hope to see you either in the UK or Australia again soon.