Made up at the moment of 4 couples who enjoy a beer and a good laugh, we used to all work together but recently Richard went off to drive big rigs out of Southampton docks.
We had a simple plan, lets all go to London for the day and be complete tourists. There was another reason for our trip all together and that was to celebrate Richard and Kjersti's 17th wedding anniversary. Why they decided to celebrate with us lot is still a mystery!!
I have to confess that I have been into London countless times but the last time I was there as a tourist I was less than 10 years old!
Brilliantly organised by Robert, Richard and Kjersti and Marc, all we had to do was turn up on the day!
The train tickets were pre-booked, £32.00 included the return train trip and bus and tube whilst in London. Not a bad price at all.
Tickets were also pre booked for the "London Eye" and for a "River Cruise" on the Thames.
As with all our meet ups, unless your working the next day alcohol is involved. So as the train pulled out of New Milton station our first can of Blackthorn Cider was consumed at 0837hrs! Rock n Roll style!
We were on the fast train so with limited stops it took us no time to reach the "Big Smoke"
Once at Waterloo station it was just a 10 minute walk over to the "London Eye" For those who are not familiar with this, basically it is a massive and I do mean massive "Fair Ground Wheel" which was built to celebrate the year 2000 but it has been such a success that it has stayed!
I have not seen it in real life but was taken back by the sheer scale of the construction.
But before we left Waterloo a quick pee, as 4 cans of cider was working it's way through. Here I found to my dismay it costs 30p to have a pee, which takes the piss (excuse the pun) not only that but the old saying about "spending a penny" is well and truly out of date. That's inflation for you!
A quick inspection of the tickets found that we had time to kill and that the river cruise would be the first touristy thing to do.
So with half and hour to kill we had time to locate a pub and have a pint in the Slug and Lettuce.
People always say that London is expensive, food and drink especially. Well, all I can say is you need to spend some time in Lymington to know what expensive is all about! I found the drink to be cheaper in all the pubs we went into, and the food was equal on price. So no, London is not expensive unless you decided to eat in Langhams!
Roll call from left to right Myself - Kiera - Kjersti - April - Richard - Jenny - Rob
Marc was taking the picture
A trip up and down the Thames was good, I had never done this before and it was great to see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and loads of other famous landmarks from the water. Well worth it if you are ever in London.
Next was the "London Eye" as soon as we got off the boat it was a 30 second walk up the gang way and straight into the "Pod" on the "Eye".
Richard was not to good with heights but he coped well all things considering, we were lucky with the weather and had brilliant views of our fabulous Capital City!
Once we had landed it was a wander up and over the bridge to take a look at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
And by this time we were due another pint - We found the Red Lion in Parliament Square and downed a quick pint!
From here we wandered down past the Cenotaph towards Trafalgar Square, where I was amazed to see a Big Blue Cock!
I'm not too sure what it is or why it is there, Trafalgar Square takes it's name from the Napoleonic battle of the same name in 1805 where Lord Nelson kicked France's arse rather convincingly. With the cockerel being an emblem of France it leaves me slightly confused!
Onwards and towards China Town! But a pit stop at Waxy's Little Sister for another pint or two kept us occupied whilst Rob, Jenny, Marc and April spent some time in the M and M Emporium.
From here a wander where we spotted this musical:-
Not too sure what that is all about at all!
From here we took a walk to the Tower of London to see the poppy display, a ceramic poppy planted for every soldier killed during World War 1. I have to admit that I was overcome with emotion, I could not speak and there was a tear in my eye.
Kiera asked me what upset me about it. My answer at the time was "I don't know" but thinking about it a number of things came to mind. Firstly the scale and number of poppies and what each one represents, secondly, the fact that like each and every one of those soldiers I also signed up to protect my Country and took the Oath of Allegiance which I still standby even today.
I wonder if I was around in 1914 would I have joined up? Now 100 years later would I be represented by a ceramic poppy?
After this I was in dire need of a pint, so a swift pint in the "Liberty Bound" where we all composed ourselves but not before having to find the public loo's and being charged 50p to take a leak! What on earth is all that about!? For that I was expecting someone to escort me in, warm the seat and wipe my arse!
Feeling refreshed and relieved we caught a Boris Bus, back into China Town. I liked the new bus, not like our bone shakers. It will be along time before we see anything like that down our way!
Back in China Town and with a massive choice of restaurants we finally found one that would seat all 8 of us on one table.
The food was excellent and once more I was pleasantly surprised by the cost of the meal. We have certainly paid more at home.
In fact the only thing annoying me about London so far was the Big Blue Cock and the cost of having a pee!
Finally we decided to head back to Waterloo, walking over the Jubilee bridge, the one where it wobbled when it was first opened. Here we stopped for a few more pictures.
We had been lucky with the weather, almost to the point of it being a bit to warm! The final walk back to Waterloo was hard work, we were all knackered!
A slow train home stopping at every station meant we got back around midnight!
A fantastic day was had by all, with feet aching and lots of laughs and memories stored away to remember for the future.