A day out …
16/12/2013 § 4 Comments
Yesterday, I spent the day in London – with my own, personal, funny, amazing tour guide – our daughter!
We travelled from Waterloo Embankment down the Thames and back up again by Thames Riverboat – what a brilliant way to see the City, especially on the return trip at dusk, when we sat out at the back, seeing all the sights lit up for Christmas.
I’ve never thought of using the river as a road, but we hopped on and off at various piers, stopping first at Greenwich Market.
It was buzzing with activity, super stalls including loads of original art and makes. A vibrant, festive atmosphere and such a lovely village feeling. We lunched on pie and mash – just what’s needed on a winter’s day in London – followed by a sticky, toffee tart tatin and tea at a neighbouring boulangerie. Then back to the river to catch the boat down to our destination – Handmade Christmas at the O2.
I’d ‘won’ free tickets, as had quite a few other visitors I spoke to! There were lots of people visiting but as a seasoned market stall holder, I always judge the success of a market by the number of bags that visitors are carrying rather than the actual number of visitors – if they’re loaded down with purchases then to my mind that’s successful! I’ve since found quite a lot of comments on social media sites about the fair – I’ll leave it to you to dig more deeply, if you wish. I thought there were some lovely stalls, interesting crafts and some friendly stallholders who had obviously worked very hard to attract customers and display their wares with a festive twist. We treated ourselves to some super Christmas baubles – bargain!
Never having visited O2 before, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it as a venue. Outside, it was windswept and a bit bleak (well, it was a rainy day in mid-December). When I think back to yesterday, that part of our day feels rather flat. I didn’t feel any great excitement or atmosphere. I won’t be in a hurry to ever visit again.
Hopping back on the riverboat was exciting though as we made bumpy progress back up the river, under Tower Bridge, London Bridge, past houseboats and barges, magical Christmas-lit squares, wharf-side apartments, The Globe and The Tate, Canary Wharf with its impressive finance houses, HMS Belfast (complete with Christmas tree on deck) and that’s the part of the day that I’ll always remember. What a great way to see the City and so much more fresh air than on the tube!
‘Madam’ had opened one of her Christmas presents/late Birthday presents at lunchtime and I loved seeing her wearing the wrist warmers and snood (my own pattern), that I’ve been lovingly making for her over the past few weeks. When she was little, she could never resist hunting down hidden treasures. One memorable year, she delighted in telling her younger brothers what was in the wrapped-up parcels on Christmas morning! Madam has always been ahead of the game, arriving over 2 weeks early to ensure that her birthday wasn’t too close to Christmas Day! And then there was the year that she opened all the advent calendar chocolates and carefully closed all the little doors again! Oh Madam – the stories I could tell!!!
It was chilly out on the rear deck, but well worth it to see the sights as dusk fell on the City.
We stopped off at the Embankment Pier and mooched to Covent Garden market – now that’s what I call a festive atmosphere – WOW! There was music, entertainment, activities (wheel a bike to power a huge snow globe), walk through snow-globes, fantastic decorations and fairy lights, a huge stag sculpture draped in sparkly fairly-lights and a tremendous Christmas tree positively laden with lights – oh, it was marvellous. Everyone was in good humour, the atmosphere was vibrant and electric. Shoppers were staggering under the weight of their purchases!! I saw some really original, quality makes in the old Apple Market art and craft stalls.
We fitted in a cuppa and shared a scrummy mini pavlova at a streetside boulangerie, where we sat outside people-watching and savouring the dwindling daylight, before I boarded the train home.
Thank you darling, for a wonderful day out.