My first visit to London in a long time was a very pleasant affair. I think the last time I went down to London was for the Millennium Dome experience. The experience that time left me wondering what an earth the capital had to offer for me since I migrated up North.
It was good to catch up with Ruth in the flesh and under better circumstances than a funeral. She has a very nice flat in Wapping with a nice peaceful urban landscape which seemed at odds with what I thought industrialised London would be like. It was possibly helped by the nice fresh bright winter morning as we walked down the river side to the show.
The show itself was a lot better than my previous experience in Manchester. For starters the floor area was a lot larger and there where a lot more stands. The stage show was also very well done being more of a set gymnastics routines where the performers wore little rather than being explicitly seedy. In the end I didn't end up buying anything (apart from a lot of olives*) but it was still fun to go to.
The evening was more of an eye-opening experience. Aside from a one guy in a Goldilock's wig (and not much else) you could see most people had made an extra special effort for the night. I was pleased with my new jacket (suitable for LARP, less so for lots of dancing) and think I scrubbed up pretty well. I even had new shoes.
Sunday was a little hectic as I planned on visiting my Aunt and Uncle and Nana before catching the train back. However as they are based south of the river (and further out than the tube) meant I had to take a punt on the regional railways not being crap. It did not bode well when I discovered the Tolworth train was actually a train to Wimbledon and then catching the bus. Luckily (and thanks to the power of mobile communication) we managed a re-rendezvous and my Uncle picked me up from Surbiton and whisked me to their house a cup of tea and sandwich (less ambitious than the original plan of me taking them out to lunch). Still it was nice to see them and next time I travel down to London I shall have to arrange travel better so I can do the lunch thing properly.
The return journey proved to be another exercise in excitement as despite getting the "fast train" (defined by the fact it only stopped at 3 places before Waterloo) it insisted on waiting at each station for 5 minutes so we could stretch our legs or have a fag! When my Palm beeped its half hour warning I was still on the overland regional train on the wrong side of London. Thankfully the I was lucky getting the connection on the Victoria line and made it to the rather packed train at Euston with a whole 5 minutes to spare. Still kudos to the Underground working well (and also being a lot cleaner than I remember).
The journey back Manchester was pretty uneventful apart from the fact the train was very packed and the queue for the shop lasted most of the journey. I did chat to the producer/director from the BBC who was sat next to me which was interesting. I was even helpful to the point of being able to provide Sunrise and Sunset times for her filming the history of the Co-Operative movement. She's probably cursing the Manchester fog right now...
Once I got home I mainly collapsed, watched half of Spooks before Anne turned up and then watched Rome which seems to be in sync with where I left of on the HBO version. And then I slept :-)
*The phrase "you can never have too many olives" may well require the amendment "unless they are chilli stuffed olives".