A weekend in London catching up with Lady Peanut’s son Duncan and his partner Laura has been long overdue. Last weekend we met up in London on the South Bank under London’s Eye.
Duncan and Laura live in Brixton and there is nowhere there to park the car where they live so we opted to go via the train. This then was going to be a bit of an adventure. £109 painful pounds got us returns from Great Malvern to Waterloo where we were meeting D & L. My first treat was a coffee and a bacon bap for me and tea and a sausage bap for Peanut on the train. This, a fantastic sunrise and a chat with some other passengers made it an enjoyable trip to London. A quick hop on the underground took us from Paddington to Waterloo and before we knew it we were exploring the Christmas market on the South Bank in the shadow of the London Eye. The weather was cold but sunny – perfect December weather.
Lunch on the South Bank was very slick in a place called Giraffe and personally I had a very tasty Duck and noodles dish which set me up for the afternoon.
D & L had a surprise for us which turned out to be a trip on a DUKW! These are amphibious vehicles built for the Normandy Invasion in World War II and now very entertainingly doing tourist tours of London. Ours came with a very amusing guide and I thoroughly enjoyed the light and frothy whistlestop tour of the main sites of London. It really gave me my bearings. The DUKW was very high up when on the road and crazily low in the water when we went along the Thames past the Houses of Parliament. We entered the river down a slipway at the side of the iconic MI6 buildings. Yes I did feel like James Bond, especially as the DUKW entered the river at speed! Ok I’m easily excited but it was fun. Cold though, God it was cold so we treated ourselves to hot chocolate and marshmallows in the Slug and Lettuce afterwards.
Next stop a tube out to Brixton for afternoon tea at D & L’s before dinner in Brixton. In many ways I live a sheltered life here in sleepy Malvern and Brixton was just a whole different world. As we left the tube for the 15 minute walk to D & L’s I felt like the Man from Mars walking through the streets with the market stalls and fish markets and people teeming out of every street, doorway and passageway. It was very vibrant.
For dinner we walked back into Brixton and into one of the markets for a meal at a place called Cornercopia. I have grown up with markets and market stalls – heck I’ve had a few of them myself and I do love the buzz and atmosphere you can get in these places. However, what was different here was that it was alive in the evening too as many of the shops were cafes and restaurants and they were doing a brisk trade for a freezing cold December night. I waracked my brain hard to think of anywhere that I had been that was anything like this market hall in Brixton on a Saturday night and I could not think of anywhere in England that I had been that even came close. I concluded that the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and the Kasbah in Tangiers were the only places I had been that had any similarity. I loved seeing this different and vibrant world. We capped off the evening with cocktails in a bar on the high street and again this was very different to the mono cultural England that I know where a Yates’ wine bar would be the norm. Brixton does not seem to be a mecca for chain stores or pubs!
Sunday was a leisurely breakfast courtesy of Duncan and a train ride home. The trip home was a bit less fun. there was no buffet car on the train and a half hour wait on a freezing cold Shrub Hill platform in Worcester, as we needed to make a change. Train or car? Well the train started off good and it is relaxing, but it is slower than by car and way more expensive. But it was a change and none the worse for that.
Cool weekend then and cheers to D & L for thinking up the great DUKW ride!