My intentions were to continue with part 2 of this post yesterday. But. It being half term, and me having time on my hands, and being curious and a little crazy, I decided to pull up the carpet in the front room of my house to see the floorboards underneath. I pulled it all up, underlay included (arriba!) got really dusty and made a huge mess. The next stage will be to replace any floorboards that need replacing, and sanding! More mess. We’ve lived in this house for almost 8 years and it’s about time more improvements were made. I lifted a floorboard – I am so curious about what is under the floor – and was met with a lot of dust and rubble. No bodies, no treasure, and no mushrooms (I am convinced there is some sort of river flowing under my house, it being so old there are a few small damp problems). Let me continue with my birthday shenanigans.
On Saturday morning, which James declared my birthday (it wasn’t until Monday) we got ready again and drove back into London. I drove this time, and it was the first time I’d driven into central London. I was accompanied by a sat-nav, and I had been on the same journey quite a few times before, so it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as it could have been. In fact, it was absolutely fine.
We arrived at Starbucks were we had a quick drink and bite to eat. Here, I paid using my contactless card! It’s the first time I’ve done this. The man serving me said, “Isn’t that so cool?” to which I replied yes. It was cool. From here, we picked up our luggage from the car and headed to London Bridge to see if our room was ready in our hotel. We had booked a secret hotel from lastminute, which turned out to be the Hilton Tower Bridge. I’d done my research, as you would have guessed if you know me at all and was 99% sure it would be this hotel before I booked it. Our room was ready 2 hours early which was great.
The room was just right, with modern furnishings and it was reasonably bright. The only thing I didn’t like so much was that the window, although tall, was narrow. A window taking up the whole wall would have been great. Here’s a few pictures of the hotel room and the view from the window.
I’d decided I wanted to visit Camden. Last time I was in Camden, I must have been a teenager. I’d heard that it had changed a lot, so we took the tube to Chalk Farm (to avoid all the other tourists!) and walked down towards the market.
We had some food – a fajita to be precise, which had a taste of a Thai red curry to it, but that was fine as I love red curry. It was tasty and filling. Wandering around, it was quite clear that there was still a lot of tat in the market, but there were some finds, such as the cake knife and spoon I bought for £1 each. I haven’t cleaned them yet but I’m sure they will find their way into a post sooner or later. We met these delights:
Soon after this we had a drink in the sun, watching the canal boats go up and down the lock. It was fascinating watching the water rise and fall, and also watching the people who had hired the boats not completely knowing what they were doing! What a lovely way to spend a sunny bank holiday weekend, on a barge. This was the start of the drinking session.
Next destination was the Lock Tavern, which I know to be a bit trendy and a popular place to drink in Camden. It was rammed, which was to be expected given the bank holiday and the weather. I had a lovely pint of Fruli here. There was some sort of acid house day/night on here, but from the music I heard it wasn’t very acidy or housey.
Next up… Joe’s. We arrived during happy hour which made us very happy. A cocktail each and hotdog each, we sat outside and enjoyed the sun.
By now, we needed to be heading towards Caledonian Road for The Pleasance Theatre. I really wanted to stop off at Drink Shop Do in King’s Cross, and as it was pretty much on the way, we did. This place does food, drink and crafty activities, plus it has a shop. We had a quick drink here. I had a cocktail called ‘The Sherbet One’ which had raspberry sherbet in it and was garnished with a sour jelly sweet. It was good! There were massive origami cranes hanging from the ceiling. We got back on the tube one stop and headed to the theatre, after going 5 minutes in the wrong direction. Ooops that was my fault.
Finally we arrived at the theatre, and saw the star of the show arriving just before us! It was Phill Jupitus. We were going to see an Edinburgh preview of the show Voices In Your Head, this time featuring Mr. Jupitus. Quickly grabbing a drink and catching our breath (we had to walk FAST) we took our seats and ‘the voice’ spoke to us about the show. The premise is that the voice will give the performer a scene, a name and some other small details so that the performer needs to improvise. The voice will continue to talk and ask questions of the performer. The show comes with a safe phrase, which for this show was the phrase, “We’re not gonna take it”, in a singing voice.
The safe phrase was needed as the voice gets deep into the dark side, with scenes in which Jupitus had to decide whether he should live or die, and why, and some disturbing dialogue in which Jupitus is a character in a Glasgow S&M club, his speciality being asphyxiation for the pleasure of his clients. Even the seemingly lighter sketches – where Jupitus was a 6 and a half year old girl from Tennessee called Matilda (occupation – butterfly catcher) descended into heaviness when we discovered Matilda was being taken away from her family because she was showing tendencies of a psychopathic killer, just like her Grandad. Jupitus’/Matilda’s response to the information that his/her Grandad was locked up in a secure unit because he was a psychopathic killer – “He’s a CATERPILLAR?” screeched in a deep South child’s voice, was brilliant and quick.
The show was an hour long, and was constantly changing. Despite the subject matter, it was funny, if you like black humour (I do) and I found myself laughing at bits that were otherwise silent and I never usually laugh out loud at comedy.
Not wanting to go home, we decided to get off at trendy Old Street. We had a drink in a bar called Common, where a woman tried to tell us about the benefits of Patron Tequila. It looked like oil in the glass. “I hate tequila, but this tastes great”, she gushed. Tequila for the sake of tequila, one thought. Onwards….
I had researched some bars in the area and came across one called Nightjar just around the corner. It was listed as a speakeasy, which is still quite trendy at the moment I think. Hidden dens of drinking and debauchery. Obviously not that hidden, as I found out about it on Time Out. We walked through the unmarked door, the doorman checked if there was space and we were shown to our table downstairs. We were lucky to be seated right in front of the band for the night, a New Orleans ragtime jazz band, called the London Jazz Kings. They were so good! A double bass, a banjo and a trumpet, plus singing. Very good singing.
Looking a bit different there, hey? Hmm. Our second choices were blood and sand and a naked lady (ooer missus) which had little chocolate eggs in an eggshell floating on top. My pics again… spot the difference.
I know we had a good time but I can’t fill you in on too many details due to the nature and volume of alcohol consumed. The waiters wore moustaches and braces (the men) and service was really good, the place was busy as well.
When we had finished, we had to walk home as it was past tube time and I couldn’t be bothered to look for buses. City Road to London Bridge is pretty much just one straight road. It was a quiet and pretty walk, looking at all the lights. Our heads hit the pillows in our hotel room and away we went to dreamland.
On waking up, the room was still dark but it was definitely daytime so the curtains were really good at keeping light out, plus the double glazing was a good insulator of noise. You could have slept all day if you wanted. We were hungry so went off in search of breakfast. We found a cafe near Tower Bridge where we had coffee and breakfast sandwiches in the sun.
We sat by this fountain, which is called Waterfall by Antony Donaldson. It was lovely to listen to, and to look at. Around the base of the fountain there were little details like a pair of shoes, a pile of books and a camera, all cast in bronze (?). The details suggested they were modern women, not from a different era as I had thought. No clothes around the base of the fountain cast in bronze though. They must have arrived and left naked.
Home time was nearing, to our actual home. Boo. It was actually like being on holiday, especially with the beautiful weather. We packed up and headed back to the car and left for home. That was the weekend over. We had such a great time. It’s not the sort of thing we do very often so it was a nice treat. We felt like we had made the most of our time in London.
So, back to the floorboards and rolled up carpet…
All pics by me, except the ones that are obviously linked to a website, then they aren’t mine.