31 March 2010


Ooh, what an ominous title! We're getting over jetlag at the moment - yesterday was very hard! We both had naps during the day, but didn't let ourselves sleep for longer than an hour-ish, wanting to spend as much of the night as possible in bed. We went to bed at the nearly respectable time of 8:30-9pm and I got up at 3:30 while D slept until just after 7. So, we're doing OK. We're watching a lot of Poirot to keep us awake and because it is about as complex as we are able to cope with. It is lovely to hear the kookaburras outside, and the magpies warbling as we walked through Brunswick today. I always forget how much I miss Australian birdsong when we're away.

Anyway, thanks again to D for writing this up!

24th March, Wednesday.

Breakfast of champions this morning - |eft over curry. My nephews Y & T came over, and as neither of us have much in the way of energy for children (they are so tiring!), we decided to walk over to M's place, who was making us lunch. However, J's foot was playing up, so we ended up driving. Lunch was pleasant, and was followed by laid back chilling on M's couch.

After lunch, we drove home, bussed to Golders, tubed to Hampstead and had a peek in the local op shop, before taking a seat in the King William IV pub - London's oldest gay pub, apparently. J ordered a Swedish elderberry and lime cider, which was intensely sweet, while we waited for M to meet us. When she arrived, we did the compulsory crepes - however, we deviated from the norm by trying out their sweet crepes. They were incredibly messy, and we would have had pictures of us (especially D) with hilariously chocolate-coverd faces, but J realised that the camera had disappeared! OH NO! We retraced our steps back to the pub, and heaved a sigh of relief when they handed it over. To counterbalance the uber sweetness of cider and crepes, we popped into the Hampstead landmark The Coffee Cup for tea. We were all pretty exhausted and enjoyed sitting down, and headed home satisfied with another day of friends and food.

We also finally managed to catch a glimpse of the never-finished North End Road tube station from the train, after weeks of trying!

25th March, Thursday

LAZY DAY! Hooray! We did very little during the day, and loved it! We have been so busy on this holiday, that we haven't had any time to relax, so a bit of time off was nice.

We drove to A and L for dinner, out in the country, taking a very circuitous route - via Watling Road (an old Roman road), and through St Albans, out to their little village on the outskirts of the outskirts of Milton Keynes. It was so dark when we arrived, and the street lighting non-existent, and the house numbers so impossible to see from the road, that we totally missed their plae, and had to call to get A to come out a meet us on the road. We met their very smily baby R, who had just celebrated her 1st birthday! Dinner was delicious, the conversation was excellently random and inappropriate, and the drive home was slow - partly because the entrance to the motorway was hidden behind a load of road works, so we missed it and had to drive along dark country roads to the next junction, and partly because when we finally got onto the motorway, there was hideous traffic. At 11.45 on a Thursday night. WTF, M1???!!!

26th March, Friday

We spent an hour or so in the V&A today, just because we could. We were going to stop off in the glorious tea rooms for a cuppa, but they were hideously packed. Instead, we checked out the museum's new acquisitions, walked past lots of sculptures of muscled naked men wrestling or standing between each other's legs, and enjoyed the Britain 1500-1760 section - especially the Great Bed of Ware (covered in centuries worth of graffiti!), the recreation of a 14th Century oak-panelled hall, and the hand-illustrated anatomy book from around 1550.

the great bed of ware

tapestry depicting the story of queen esther

one of four kings

Heading over to the other side of the city, we navigated the labyrinthine Bank Station, walked up Poultry and Cheapside (yes, these are the names of the roads), and met R, down from Manchester for the weekend, at Mary-le-Bow church - home not only to the famous Bow Bells (heart of Cockney London), but also to the rather nice little (and aptly named) Cafe Below, housed in its crypt.

cafe below, london

Next it was time for a visit to our other London art regular, the Tate Modern. The three of us explored for a couple of hours, enjoying the landscape art (Richard Long! Hamish Fulton!) and talking critical drivel loudly behind the people filming some kind of tate documentary.


r and the giant dinner table

before heading for a coffee near St Paul's Cathedral (J surprisingly declared it to be the best coffee he'd had in the UK - a flat white from Costa Coffee!). J and D then headed over to Bank station, braving the insane rush hour crush - there was a queue for the queue to get onto the platform!


rush hour @ bank station

We made it home in one piece, had dinner with the folks, then all settled down to watch A Serious Man. Then retired for A Serious Sleep.

27th March, Saturday

We decided to walk over to Muswell Hill, following the Capital Ring trail, and also discovering a new path for us to explore more fully next time: the Parkland Walk - London's longest Local Nature Reserve. Spring was definitely in full spring - we noticed a few trees covered in a light smattering of new leaves during our last week in London.

spring willow, hampstead garden suburb


not a violet

We had a thoroughly pleasant brunch with D and G at one of our favourite London eateries - Sable D'Or. The two of us walked on through Ally Pally and checked out the foyer of the Model Railway exhibition (J quickly became a Model Rail Enthusiast enthusiast!), then went back up to Muswell Hill through the rain, and home on the bus.


d & d 2

daffodils in the rain

In the afternoon, we headed over to D's grandparent's place for L's 88th birthday afternoon tea. Sandwiches, cakes, tarts and tea = good times. Check out the colour of the sky when we got back!

pink clouds over london

purple clouds over london

Back home for an evening of final farewells, joined by E & L, M, L, M and J & S (these initials are getting confusing!) M gave us all a treat by previewing his costume for the fancy dress party he was heading off to afterwards - he made a glorious Austin Powers!

m as austin powers

28th March, Sunday

[NB: I will upload the rest of the photos soon! - J]

One final return visit to Hampstead in the morning, meeting up with R again with the plan of eating crepes for breakfast. Unfortunately, the Hampstead Creperie was closed, so we settled for an average breakfast at The Coffee Cup. While walking down to the Heath, R threw out all his socialist principles and decided that he wants to live in Hampstead (he was relieved when I told him that he didn't have to abandon all his principles, as Hampstead is actually the heart of Champagne Socialism. We paid a brief visit to Kenwood for more tea, before taking a stroll down The Bishops Avenue, ogling mansions, deciding which ones we'd live in, and whether or not they came with helipads (and if not, why not!). We said our good byes on the bus, then returned home for some frantic last minute packing, with family popping in and out around us to say good bye.

The next few days are a bit of a blur - we drove to the airport, checked in, bought and sent postcards, got on the plane. For a few glorious moments, we thought we'd have an empty seat next to us, but literally the last person on the plane came and sat next to us. Bah.

29th March, Monday.

On a plane. On a plane. On a plane. On a plane. On a plane. Off a plane. On a plane. On a plane. On a plane.

We spent our 4 hours at Incheon airport refreshing our selves as best we could, and napping as best we could, and spent as much of the final leg of our journey asleep as we could manage (which wasn't all that much, unfortunately).

30th March, Tuesday.

On a plane. On a plane. Home sweet home. Had a number of naps. The only thing we could cope with doing was watching old episodes of Poirot, and eating pizza. So that's what we did. So there.


  1. Oh behave!!
    Miss you guys already, no brunchesfor a while :(

  2. we haven't even been to a minor place since getting back - TERRIBLE!