Monday, 8 December 2008

Our Excellent London Adventure

We have had a lovely time this weekend, helping Frannie celebrate her birthday.

We all went to London on the train. It was very exciting. The train went along the same route that goes past Frannie and The Builder's house. It was a beautiful day but the sun was shining brightly quite low in the sky so it was hard to see. But we did see their house. And their greenhouse. We didn't see Marlo though. I think he was asleep on his radiator hammock inside.

The train was a bit late into London. But that was OK. We weren't in any hurry. And the hotel we were staying in was quite close to the station. We checked in, got organised and then all four of us went out for a stroll in the late afternoon sunshine. We looked in some shops and pottered around and then went to the Marquis Cornwallis for a pre-prandial pint. Actually, it turned into pre-prandial wines, and then prandial wines as Frannie and The Builder decided to stay there and while away the evening over wine and food and general chit chat.

We all slept very well. Apart from Frannie, who seemed to have lots of dreams featuring ziggurats. We think she might have been over excited by the planned visit to the British Museum on Sunday to see the Babylon exhibition!

So. Breakfast, and then a stroll along Bernard Street to get to the museum [SH reminds me to inform you that if you are on facebook you can see the original Bernard Street saga here here here here and here. Frannie says that she has always wanted to have an apartment over the Brunswick Centre as a nice London town pad. We can certainly see the attraction , especially now that the complex has been smartened up and has a Waitrose and various food outlets downstairs. But why would you live there, when you could live in Bernard Mansion? I think we have convinced her that an apartment in Bernard Mansion is the way to go!

We enjoyed the British Museum. The Babylon exhibition had some magnificent lions, and a bull and a lovely dragon. It also had lots of paintings and clay tablets and other things which were all very interesting in their way, I suppose. But Sleepy Hippo and I really would have liked to have spent more time talking to our new friends the lions, the bull and the dragon.

Frannie and The Builder took us to a pub that they've been to before for Sunday lunch and a drop more wine. Then we made our way down Charing Cross Road to the River Thames, pausing on the way to admire Trafalgar Square. We had to cross the river over the new footbridge, for we were being taken for a ride on the London Eye, which is a huge Ferris wheel. You get fantastic views over London and it isn't a bit scary, even though it's very, very high, because you're in an enclosed capsule and can't possibly fall out. It was an excellent adventure for two small hippos.

But what to do after the ride was finished? Frannie and The Builder offered us a boat trip along the river. Even more exciting. We all sat outside in the sunshine (still very bright and very low), although it was really quite cold. We snuggled up in Frannie's scarf and hat and kept nice and warm and enjoyed watching London float past us.

Then it was time to head back to the station. We were very early but there is a lovely pub at the
station named for some poet who fought a long, hard battle to stop people knocking down the building. We don't really know why anyone would have wanted to knock down such a lovely building. It looks like a fairy's beautiful birthday cake. But Frannie says that they did and the poet, who loved trains and stations, almost single-handedly saved it and now he has a statue in the station and the station pub named after him. And it's a lovely pub. It does good food and serves nice wine and has a dining room and a snug and Christmas trees.

We got home quite late and have been resting today. Frannie tells us that we have been invited to go to Gran Canaria next week. We hope that Freyja has been looking out our sunscreen and straw hats!

The photos are on our Facebook site. If you don't have a Facebook account and would like to see the photos, let Frannie or Freyja know and they'll organise it for you. We've just put our Cambridge photos up on picassa.

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