This is one of these posts where I say to girls: look, if you want to get out in public and be treated nicely as a woman, here are some ideas for places to go, things to see and do and stuff to consume!
I mentioned last year that when the weather got autumnal I’d look back to the sunny summer and describe a few days with my friend Emma Walkey and her wife. But there has been a delay and now it’s appropriate to post this reminiscence from 2013 as we look ahead to another summer.
Normally Emma joins me for a few days in July before we head up to Sparkle but work prevented her from doing that this year. But she and Mrs Emma came to London in August instead and we had a few days visiting the city.
They stayed at the Tower Bridge Hotel, which was where the first TGirl London lunch I ever went to was held back in the snowy winter of 2010. This time we had lunch at St Katharine’s Dock near the bridge. And it was from their room that I saw a sight I have never seen before despite having been resident in this city all my life, and that was Tower Bridge opening. What’s more, it opened twice within an hour! Like London buses, you wait a lifetime and then two come along at once!
That evening we went to see We Will Rock You, the long-running musical based on the music of Queen. Written by comedian Ben Elton, this show is brilliant – hilarious and exhilarating with remarkable stagecraft. I’ve seen it before but it was good to see it again. It’s been running for 12 years but they will be closing at the end of May 2014 so get your tickets now.
|By the statue of Freddie Mercury|
The following day I met them at Embankment tube station and we had morning coffee at the pleasant café in the leafy Embankment Gardens looking over to the statue of the camel, one of the very few animal statues in London. We took the tube to Warwick Avenue (made famous in a hit song by Duffy – what happened to her, incidentally?)
and had a juice at the barge café at Little Venice
while waiting for the water bus that took us along the Regents Canal to Camden Lock. The Camden markets are a delight and go on for ever. You could easily spend all day there and we pretty much did! Lunch at the Cuban bar there restored us before we plunged into more stalls.
Emma needed reviving after all that browsing so we dropped into the Elephant’s Head pub in Camden High Road which is a decent, popular pub that often has classic rock and roll playing. We were intrigued by the complex takes on classic cocktails. Bloody Mary with Worcester, Tabasco and horseradish sauces? Is this true? Only one way to find out.
And so we went back to the centre and had dinner in the London Chinatown restaurant precisely in Chinatown. I always find it decent and good value. On the way home I introduced my visitors to De Hems, a Dutch hostelry that still stands within Chinatown when it used to be more of a Dutch and French quarter (indeed the Chinese restaurant still has Hotel de Boulogne written in mosaic on the threshold).
And on their final day I met them in Greenwich. Emma’s been going on at me for some time to go to see the newly restored Cutty Sark but we didn’t go the previous year as the area was getting ready for the Olympics and would have been chaos. A stroll through Greenwich Market, always a pleasure with its unusual craft stalls, and then on to the ship itself which is pretty much as I remember it as a child but with more interactive displays within. Harr harr, me hearties!
And back to St Katharine’s Dock where we had dinner overlooking the marina with its pleasure cruisers and sailing boats. I’m pretty sure my friends had a lot of fun, and I know I did.