Monday, 26 November 2012

London's Ladies Wot Lunch

I’m pleased to say that yesterday I organised one of my long, lazy Sunday lunches for friends in the London area and it was really enjoyable. It was the first I’d done for six months, and the delay was due to the trolling and troubles I’d had in the spring and summer, which rather put me off the T world. I’m glad, therefore, that this went so well, although I just invited friends this time rather than advertised it generally online.

We met at the Cambridge pub right in the heart of London. A hundred years ago, Piccadilly Circus was the “hub of the universe” but things fashionable have shifted half a mile north east to Cambridge Circus where Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road meet. Once a bit shabby, apparently the setting for the “Circus” of Le Carré’s character George Smiley (the “octagonal room” is above the bank opposite the pub), it’s now where today’s liveliest West End quarters all meet: Soho, Seven Dials, Chinatown, St Giles.

The Cambridge, which does stand out on the thoroughfare, is a transitional sort of pub, the kind of place you pop into for a quick drink on your way to the theatre or home from work. Only when there’s a major sports event do people tend to linger in the bar, which is not that large. But the dining room upstairs is comfortable and quiet, and the food is good and plentiful. The fact that my pal Joanne is team leader there is beside the point! Well, not really.

So ten of us met up there for lunch at a leisurely pace and caught up with each others’ news: Helena had just been to the Hyper Japan show, and Stella to the Enigma Ball; we reminisced about our TGirl bar exactly a year ago at Olympia. Ann and Stephanie had been enjoying shopping at Westfield. I was seeing Tina for the first time since Sparkle, and Rachel of the Brick Lane Set was making her first (I think) foray into the West End. Just pleasant conversation all round over roast dinner with attentive, cheerful service from the staff. Splitting into two tables makes conversation easier (and dealing with the bill).

Pictures? Oh yes, got to have pictures:

The Dolls' Table. l-r: Stephanie, Ann, me, Mrs Stella, Stella, Helena. Hurry up and take the pic, my pudding's melting! (And just to point out, in case you think I'm a greedy pig, that in fact the others had ordered and eaten their puds long before me!)

The Cuties' Table: Tina, Rachel, Irene, Ange.

Afterwards, as evening drew on, Irene, Rachel, Tina and me wandered through Seven Dials into Covent Garden to do a bit of pre-Christmas window shopping. These areas are really beautiful before Christmas with lights and worthwhile decorations. We ended the day with a quiet drink at my favourite watering hole, the upstairs Opera Room bar at the Chandos pub just off Trafalgar Square.

At Seven Dials monument with Irene and Tina.

Covent Garden markets before Christmas

Irene's got some nice photos of the evening on her Flickr pages:

I’d just add that going out as a TGirl in London is a totally affirming experience. Not only do you get served like any normal paying customer but staff in places like Accessorise and Kurt Geiger treat you very well. I was delighted also that the railway staff organising rail replacement buses called me “love” when I asked them for help.

Will probably try to do another such lunch in January.

Sue x

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