Last weekend I went to London again with 2 of my daughters. Marjorie and Dharma.
Marjorie is very familiar with getting out and about on her own and has tackled London and New York. It doesn’t phase her one little bit. However….. Dharma is a bit of a social butterfly and has never even stayed in a hotel on her own, never mind tackling the underground system in London.
We stayed at the Premier Inn in Beckton again. It’s perfect. It’s simple. Somewhere to crash at the end of a busy day. Somewhere to have a bath/shower each morning. It’s attached to a bar and restaurant. It has it’s own parking. It’s outside of the congestion zone. There is an Asda supermarket right over the road and it’s literally a 1 minute walk to the DLR into London City.
Anyway, the journey down went smoothly, even on the M25, but as we got into Beckton there was carnage as idiots blocked the roads and roundabouts outside the hotel, queuing for fuel over the road from the hotel. This wasn’t a one off either. On Sunday AND Monday mornings the car horns started at 05:30!!! As people blocked the roads up again trying to get to the petrol station.
Anyway, we secured the car but couldn’t check in to the hotel until later, so we headed to the DLR to start our weekend. Saturday was a planned shopping day so first stop was Camden. We had lunch and a good mooch around Camden Lock before heading back over to Oxford Street as the girls wanted to go to Primark of all places!! Yeah, let’s drag Mum into London JUST to go to Primark!! Anyway. they weren’t impressed and we ended up heading over to Leicester Square where Marjorie got to go to the Lego store. By this time, the streets of London were taking their toll on everyone’s feet and we decided to call it a day. We had dinner at Bella Italia in Leicester Square which Dharma loved and there was a fantastic selection of Gluten Free items for Marjorie so it was a win, win!
Sunday was a bit more of a tourist day. We headed over to Tower Hill and we took a Citycruise tour from Tower Hill to Westminster and back again. Ironically, it was the same boat me and the Hubster had a trip on a few weeks ago, with the same crew member doing some amusing commentary. However….. we struck lucky with this trip. On the way back to Tower Hill the crew got word that Tower Bridge would be opening for a tall ship to pass through as we were coming into the pier. So they slowed the boat so that we could watch the bridge going up and as it was going up they swung the boat round right underneath it! and then we watched the clipper go past.
It’s always amazing to see the bridge opening up but it was an absolute privilege to be able to see it from the viewpoint we had on the boat! We were very lucky.
After the boat trip we did something I have NEVER done and actually went into the Tower of London. To be honest, apart from the Crown Jewels (which were gobsmacking), I had no idea there was so much there. So much that we had to come away before we could finish seeing everything because the girls wanted to do some more shopping down Regents Street and it was already mid afternoon on a Sunday.
So, we racked it up as something to come back and do again when we have more time! I certainly think I need to bring the hubster for a look. Anyway, we headed over to Regents Street and spent WAY to much money in Hamleys.
We came out of Regents Street at Piccadilly Circus and couldn’t resist popping into the Picturehouse Central for a drink. The bar has had a bit of a face lift since I was last there and they’ve renewed the seating which was WAY to comfy. Netflix also had a Festival running and there were some costumes from Bridgerton there.
As we headed out of the bar to the top of the stairs, we literally ran into Ricky Gervais as he was being escorted down the stairs by his enterage!
We then walked back through to Leicester Square and we were thinking about Bella Italia again but at that time on a Sunday there was a long wait for a table so we decided to head back to the hotel and have dinner there instead. It was a great weekend but as is usual, there is never enough time to do everything you want to do in London. It’s also very hard on the body if you’re not used to it!
Anyway, it was a lovely weekend and I think Dharma really had a good time, even if it was a bit of an eye opener for her!
One of the last photos of the trip! I have NEVER noticed Canary Wharf from the station at Beckton before, but this sunset showed it off beautifully.
I have just watched a film that I thought I would never see again.
It’s from 1988 and I have never been able to find it on video or DVD or streaming services…….. until now.
It’s a wonderfully simple film. Funny, heart warming and quite emotional at the end. It had me crying back in 1988 and it had me crying again this afternoon.
The film is called ‘Hawks’.
It tells the story of two terminally ill patients in a hospital who yearn for relief from their predicament. With little or no friends, they form an uneasy alliance and plot an escape for one last wild time. They steal an ambulance and head for Amsterdam, bumping into two British girls in a bit of a predicament themselves.
It’s a film that really makes you want to pick life up by the balls and say fuck it! There is, unfortunately, a fairly predictable outcome which is the all too emotional part, but it is a real giggle getting there.
One of the British girls is played by Janet McTeer.
She plays Hazel, who is a very tall, lanky and clumsy girl, who has gotten herself into a bit of predicament which means that she and a friend are also heading for Amsterdam, where they bump into Timothy Dalton and Anthony Edwards.
Having a little flick through IMDB to see what else she’s done, I find that she is also in another one of my favourite films. She is Camilla Traynor, the mother of Will Traynor in ‘Me Before You’. I would never have recognised her if I hadn’t looked!
Anyway, I found the film via MGM on Prime. I highly recommend it.
My eldest daughter, Murron, was expecting our first grandchild with a due date of 30th August. However, babies never go to plan. It was a tense week and although she was getting uncomfortable after a couple of ‘sweeps’ by midwives, the little sod proved to be just too comfortable where he was.
Murron went into hospital last Saturday and after a couple of minor interventions to encourage labour, it all kicked off on Tuesday evening and little Jameson Jack Michael Wiley was born at 07:49 on the 8th September weighing 8 pound 5 ounces.
He is absolutely gorgeous and the spitting image of his mother as a baby!!
Now, it’s been a long week at work and because babies don’t come to plan, I didn’t book any time off work. To make things even more annoying, we have a house inspection on Monday so there’s a bit of sorting to be done around the house and in the garden. Dharma is in Coventry with her Dad today and Marjorie is working, so I was under orders NOT to go and see JJ without them. The plan was to concentrate on the house today and then all of us can go and see JJ tomorrow.
HOWEVER!!!…… I had a lovely surprise when I got home from work last night.
That wasn’t the only thing to happen this week.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to a job description and asked if I’d seen it because she thought it would be right up my street. I hadn’t been actively looking for another job so I hadn’t seen it. Out of interest, I went and had a look and my interest was definitely piqued. I spoke to a few colleagues at work, including my manager and everyone I spoke too were in agreement, I would be stupid not to give it a go and at least find out some more and get some interview experience. So I applied.
About an hour after I found out about JJ on Wednesday, I received an e-mail inviting me for an interview. It’s not until 21st September and I’m not going to say anything else about it until I know one way or another what I may or may not be doing.
Suffice to say, it’s going to be another tense couple of weeks. I’m going to do a little research around the job spec and I am going to bombard them with questions because I have lots of questions that need answering. I really love my current job, but it could be time for a change and a new challenge.
This will be only my 3rd job interview in over 20 years! It’s a bit scary!
So that’s it! Right, I’ve procrastinated all morning and now a really must go and get something done in the garden.
Tomorrow is D-Day and I could be in for a big change in more ways than one.
August 30th is Murron’s due date. Official Grand Baby number one will be arriving at any moment. I saw Murron today after a quick visit to deliver the piano she loves and she is absolutely HUGE! She’s is glowing and is now totally ready for baby JJ to arrive. I say official Grand Baby because she is the first of my kids to have a baby, but in fact I am already a Grandmother to her partners two little boys and they are so excited for the arrival of their little brother.
August 30th is also the closing date for the new job I have just applied for! This has taken me very much by surprise as I wasn’t actively looking for a new job. I love my current job but I can’t deny I’ve been finding it very tough over the last few months. Out of the blue, a friend pointed me in the direction of this job advert for a new team being set up based in the community that involves a recent interest I have developed at work. I have spoken to colleagues who have all said that it’s right up my street which has given me a little more confidence. It’s a scary prospect and I am still very much in two minds about it, but going for an interview if I’m offered one will give me an opportunity to find out more. Watch this space!
I have just managed to see Annette. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard’s musical adventure. If you haven’t seen it, there may be some minor spoilers in this quick review so you have been warned. .
When I first heard about Annette I was quite excited and then I found out that it is a musical with a completely sung narrative and I’m afraid I really don’t get along with that kind of musical!
For that reason I have been very apprehensive about seeing this film.
However…… I have to say that I’m glad I’ve seen it. It was beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted and totally surreal! I also have to say that I don’t think I could watch it again.
The film has it’s moments and Adam Driver really delivers an out of this world performance, but there was one moment that really blew me away and that was the duet Adam has with little 5 year old Devyn McDowell in the closing minutes of the film. They sing Sympathy for the Abyss together and OMG! this little girl has got some acting and singing chops! It actually gave me goose bumps.
It also makes you feel quite heartbroken for Henry, Adam’s character, even though he’s actually quite an arsehole the rest of the film.
It’s a very artsy film and I can see it doing pretty well when it comes to awards season next year and dare I say it… there could well be another Oscar nomination coming Adam’s way, but I won’t be going out of my way to watch it again. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. You can’t win them all!!
I have finally reached my limit. I live in a house with 3 other adults. My husband, Dharma who is 19 and Marjorie who is almost 22. My eldest, Murron, has moved out and is starting her own adventure and grandchild number one will be here anytime over the next 3 weeks.
Over lockdown and since Murron moved out we have had some MAJOR clearing out and moving around in the house. What is beginning to urk me are silly things. When I go out to work I will list things that need doing in the family chat group like, washing up, tidying up, putting shoes away and doing the washing. I have to do this list EVERY DAY. If I didn’t, nothing would be done and when they do do them, they tend to do the bare minimum or a half hearted job.
A couple of recent examples. The hubby did a shop for me yesterday. He threw a new kitchen roll on the side and left it. Instead of taking it out of the packet and replacing the empty roll on the stand, he just left it thrown on the side.
The shopping bags themselves are another urk!
This is how they should look when they are finished with. They are folded nicely and fit in this bag with the handle hooked back up to keep them all out of the way.
But this is how I quite often find them and it does my nut in because I have to put them away before I can get to anything.
Coats and hoodies are left on the bannister or hall chair instead of being hung on the rack which is practically in the same room. Shoes are left where they are taken off and I have found them recently in the middle of the kitchen, under a sofa in the living room and all around the hallway. There are TWO racks for shoes but I still have to pick shoes up.
Pots and pans. For some reason, it is acceptable to let them pile up in the hope that I will do them when I’m home. Baking trays left on the hob unwashed. Frying pans used with the promise of being washed ‘when I’ve finished eating’…….. which never happens. Chopping board never gets wiped down, cooker top never gets wiped down.
General cleaning, like bathroom, toilet, dusting and hoovering, only gets done if I specifically put it into the family group chat and ask for it to be done. God forbid anyone should think about doing it because they think it needs doing! People leaving items laying around like ear pods, cups and bottles, parcels or letters that they’ve opened, instead of putting them away. I could go on and on and on.
Don’t get me wrong, when Ian had to leave the house for work each day and the kids were smaller it wasn’t such a chore but now that the kids are old enough to completely look after themselves and Ian works from home it’s beginning to get to me.
To put things into perspective. I’m no spring chicken anymore and I have a knee problem that is only getting worse. When I’m at work I go out of the house at 7am and I don’t get home until 20:30 and sometimes later depending on the day I’ve had and the writing up I need to do before I leave, so I’m out of the house for around 14 hours. Sometimes I’m lucky if I get to sit down for more than 45 minutes during that time. I do two of these shifts in a row, sometimes 3 and occasionally 4! If I only have a day off between these shifts, I need to rest. So when I get home and I’m confronted with silly little things like washing up, clothes and shoes not put away, general tidying up and cleaning that hasn’t been done when 3 other adults have been in the house all day…. I get a little urked!
Yes, I know my husband works 9-5 Monday to Friday…….. BUT…. He does that SITTING at a computer and he gets to walk away from that screen whenever he wants to. I’ve seen what he does for work on my day off and if he thinks he even comes close to what I do,,, he is sadly mistaken. I don’t deny he works hard mentally but he doesn’t come any where near to what I do physically and he wonders why I get angry when I get home to silly little things that haven’t been done!
So! I am starting a name and shame blog. If I find anything that urks me, I will take a photo and I will post it here. If I know for ‘definite’ who did it, I will name them, otherwise I hope these posts will be a way for my family to get an idea of what I actually expect from 3 adults who live in the same house as me. There is no magic fairy to do the washing and cleaning. Four people use this house and it is actually the responsibility of EVERY one in the house to keep it tidy and clean. The ‘but I didn’t use it’ argument doesn’t work anymore!!
So that’s it, our first break away since 2019 done. Gone in a flash and thoroughly enjoyed. It has proved to us however, just how unfit we have both become over the last year. Walking around London is hard at the best of times with the amount of walking you can rack up. I think 24000 steps is our record for one day! It’s made even harder by all the different surfaces you have to navigate, particularly cobbles. By the end of each day we could barely move!
Anyway, Weds Aug 4th, we arrived quite early at our hotel and they were able to check us in early which was a bonus. We unpacked and then headed straight to the DLR which was literally a stones throw from our room.
We’ve stayed at this hotel several times as it is out of the congestion zone, has cheap parking for London, has a restaurant/pub attached, has a supermarket over the road, the DLR on it’s doorstep and most importantly, it’s cheap! we’re not looking for fancy when we go to London. We just need somewhere that’s clean, where we can sleep and have a shower and that has a TV and this ticks all the boxes.
So, first stop was at the Emirates airline for a cable car ride over the Thames to the O2.
Then we headed over to the South Bank and did our usual wander up and down. The weather was pretty good with lots of sunny spells and no rain, although it did look a bit threatening at times! We had a pint at The Thameside Inn before heading to our first meal of the trip at The Horniman in the Hays Gallery. One of our favourite haunts right next door to the HMS Belfast.
After this we were really struggling, so we headed back to the hotel for an early night and to catch up on some of the Olympics.
Thurs Aug 5th, we decided to start with breakfast at the hotel to fuel up for the day and then we headed over to Hyde Park Corner to catch a Big Bus Tour bus. I know, I know, that is SUCH a touristy thing to do, but it’s actually quite fun and a good way of seeing lots of sites in a relatively short space of time. It also means you can jump on and off the bus all over the major site seeing areas without having to go on the underground. The start of the day was lovely and sunny and so we enjoyed the open top area all the way round to St Paul’s Cathedral.
After this we hopped back onto the Big Bus and headed over to the Tower of London where we walked down to Tower Pier to take a short boat trip over to Westminster pier. The weather was getting a bit bleak by this point and our meal for the day was booked at The Rooftop bar and restaurant at The Trafalgar St James!!
Anyway, Ian wanted to check out the Lego store after dinner so we headed to Leicester Square in the rain. There was a HUGE queue still waiting to get into the store when we got there and this was 18:30 in the evening! So after a few photos with the resident statues, we headed back to the hotel for another fairly early night and a catch up with the Olympics.
Fri Aug 6th, was our anniversary day. This was to be a shopping and wandering day and we started back at the Lego store and made sure we were at the front of the queue for when they opened at 10. Unfortunately what we were after was out of stock so we headed off to Regents Street. I wanted to go to the Burberry store to look at getting Ian some Burberry Hero. This is the new fragrance that has just been launched and that Adam Driver is the face for. Obviously we both wanted to smell it first to see what it’s like and I have to say that it’s bloody lovely!! On a par, if not better than Hugo Boss!
Shopping in Burberry was surreal! We were greeted at the main door and asked what we were looking for. I asked where the men’s fragrances were and we were escorted there! We were introduced to a member of staff who showed us the fragrance and sprayed some onto Ian so we could really see what it was like and then she escorted us to a till where a colleague dealt with the sale while she took the bottle of fragrance to wrap. Our receipt was popped into it’s own little envelope. The fragrance that was already in it’s own box and shrink wrapped was placed into a Burberry box with a ribbon and then placed into a tough little Burberry bag , sealed with a Burberry ribbon and the bag had linen handles. We were then escorted back to the main door. The whole shop is covered with DEEP pile, pale cream carpet, and it was spotless! I came out of the store feeling like royalty. I was just a little disappointed at the lack of Burberry Hero posters….. and by lack of, I mean NONE!
We then had a mooch around Hamleys and they didn’t have the Lego we were looking for either so we heading for a mooch in Carnaby Street and Soho. Of course, this is where the heavens decided to open and of course we just had to find a pub for a bit.
We headed over to Oxford Street to check out one of the few remaining Disney stores in the country and bought a few gifts for the Kids and Grandkids, and yes! we found the Lego we were looking for!! We then headed over to Covent Garden in anticipation of our meal for the day which was at the Hawksmoor Seven Dials. We were taken here two years ago for our 25th Anniversary and my 50th Birthday by my Brother and Sister in Law and my parents. It’s quite an exclusive steak house with a long history.
The restaurant is located in the old Watney-Combe brewery, tucked down a quiet street a few minutes walk between Covent Garden station and Seven Dials. The Brewery’s first owner, Alderman Combe, hosted an annual steak supper for London’s great and good, with his guests in 1807 including the Prince of Wales and Duke of York. A newspaper reported that: “At a late hour the company left the Brewhouse, highly gratified with their beef-steaks, on which the Duchess of York was lavish in her praise, and very pleased with their worthy host’s hospitality.”
I have to tell you that it still lives up to it’s reputation. The meal was amazing although I was a little disappointed that they appear to have reduced their cocktail menu but this didn’t stop me from downing a few!
Sat Aug 7th proved to be a really wet day which was a shame because we had tickets for a canal boat ride from Little Venice to Camden Lock to meet up with and do some shopping with Ian’s cousin Debbie and her partner Greg who moved back to England from South Africa a few years ago and they were planning to do us a South African BBQ for dinner. Anyway, the plan for the BBQ had to be scrapped so plans for dinner today were a surprise.
It took us longer to get into Little Venice than planned as there was a line closure that wasn’t very well announced so we didn’t have time to wander around and find breakfast anywhere. This was probably just as well because of the rain. We will definitely be going back to Little Venice in better weather. It looks like it’s a beautiful little place. The canal boat ride takes about 45 minutes and the crew give some history stories along the way.
As we arrived in Camden, the heavens opened again so it was a case of ducking for cover and having a little mooch. But as is traditional with the English weather, the sun soon came back out and we ended up sitting in the garden at the Ice Warf having a drink and waiting for Deb and Greg. We managed to get a table underneath a parasol which was just as well as there was more rain. I couldn’t get my app to work (or so I thought) so Ian ordered two pints. Turns out my app was working and two more turned up 5 minutes later!! Deb and Greg soon turned up and we went to do some more mooching around the market and stopped at Gabeto’s in the middle of the market for…. yes, another drink and a chat and some nibbles and when the weather turned again, we ended up in the Oxford Arms to have more drinks, more chat and to watch the Springboks BEAT the Lions much to Greg’s delight! We ended the day at Wagamama’s around the corner. All in all, it was a lovely day, if a little wet. We really should see more of Deb and Greg. Two years between visits is a bit much, although the pandemic hasn’t helped.
We had left Sunday 8th August open. 1 – we didn’t know what the weather would be like and 2 – we didn’t know if we would be up to anything physically. Turns out the weather was horrendous AND we were not up to much physically. The plan would have been to head over to Gilders Hill on Hampstead Heath to see the old Pergola and to see the Butterfly house and Zoo that is also over there apparently. Anyway, this day has now been filed away for a future trip.
We had breakfast at the hotel and we headed home. Despite the weather, it was a lovely trip away and it has given me something to think about when it comes to my own health and fitness level.
First week of annual leave….done. I have been on a wind down and now my body refuses to move!!
I’ve not done too much so far. I did get out to the cinema and a meal with the husband a few days ago and went to my first open mic night in over a year with Murron and her partner Jordan and my mate Debbie on Monday evening. It was a lovely catch up with a few of the music family and we even got Murron up for a song!
The rest of the time has been spent doing the usual household chores and some gardening. These chores never seem so bad when you know you haven’t got to think about work the next day.
I’ve also been watching some of the Olympics. The best bit so far has been Tom and Matty winning the 10m Synchro diving gold!! I’ve been watching Tom’s career since he was 12 years old and I’ve watched him go through heartbreak when he lost his Dad, come out publicly, find the love of his life, lose his mojo and almost quit, had a son and then found his mojo again! I’ve seen him mature and grow into an amazing young man and this week he finally nabbed an Olympic Gold Medal for the 10m Synchro Diving. He is on a roll and still has the individual 10m platform diving to go at the end of next week.
A new trailer for Dune dropped 6 days ago and if you read my blog regularly you will know that I have been REALLY looking forward to this film. It should have been released at Xmas last year but because of COVID it was delayed. It is now being released 3 days before my birthday on October 21st and IT LOOKS AMAZING!!
Something else that was released just a day ago was the official advert for the Burberry Hero campaign starring Adam Driver!! OMG!! After a year long Adam drought we are finally rewarded with this!! Hot is an understatement.
Of course Twitter has gone mental and we have been rewarded with loads of new Adam photos.
On to the next week and apart from getting the car MOT’d on Friday, there’s not much going on except chilling and watching the Olympics. It’s the build up to our time away in London next Wednesday.