Sunday, 20 March 2011

Weekend Wafflings: Of Friendship, London Visitations and Balloon Moons...

Greetings my fellow blogging beauties!  Have you all had yourselves a wonderful weekend?  I do hope so!

Well first things first - my daughter didn't pass through the preliminary auditions. She had a great (although cold and tiring) morning however and was glad of the experience.  I do personally feel that the whole  selection process is highly suspect and have been boycotting the programme for the last few series now, however I guess it makes for good television and that's ultimately what they're looking for.  I won't launch into a tirade about it because it will look like sour grapes but suffice to say that my low opinion of the whole shebang hasn't changed!

Enn.  Knee.  Way. Moving on.

My friends and I had a wonderful weekend in London.  After an early start I reached Euston at 9.10am and met up with two of our number, Emma and Catherine soon afterwards.  We spent lots of time in Starbucks, sitting on squashy sofas with caramel macchiatos (them)(blergh!) and peppermint mocha (me) (YUM!) just catching up and putting the world to rights.  Bliss!  I really do love doing that - it just seems a little decadent really and very grown up and cosmopolitan to me. Again it's those simple pleasures that make me happy.

Sarah arrived at around 2pm and we had a wander up to Victoria Park to sit in the sunshine for a little while.  The general consensus was that we were all quite bloomin starvin marvin actually, so we made our way over to the Chinese Quarter.  I took a couple of touristy photos - please excuse the quality - my poor ancient camera really is about to give up the ghost I reckon!! 

There were lots of cooked dead things hanging in the windows looking ... erm....  dead... enticing.   Hang on a minute.  What on EARTH is that yellow thing?! 

I'm reliably informed that it was an octopus.  Ok.   If you say so.   I'm of the opinion that it looks like some weird alien pod and they can jolly well keep it to themselves thank you very much!!!

Dunno why but this shop sign made me smile! 

After inspecting around 947 shop front menus, we eventually had a buffet lunch at some, (frankly rather suspect), little upstairs Chinese restaurant.  Nothing special though I have to say - and it left me with a raging MSG furry mouth thirst for hours afterwards. 

Good job these were on hand to slake my thirst eh?!  Yep - there were only four of us. And we were only staying overnight.  And only three of us partake in the pink stuff!  Oops... there appears to be one in the bottom of the fridge door that met with an untimely demise at an early stage! 

Unusually, we rented an apartment for this trip.  We usually book a family room in a Travel Lodge or similar for our girlie weekends but having done a bit of investigation we got this fantastic apartment for which worked out at just £37.50 each via one of the online booking agents.  This is as much as we would usually pay for one room in London and to say that we were impressed was an understatement!  It was a little way out of London central - Limehouse to be precise, but as is usual with any London suburb it was relatively quick and easy to get to and worth that little bit of extra effort.  I believe that this block of apartments used to be an East End Mission.  There was certainly an ecclesiastically themed stained glass window at the front of the building which said as much.  It was a shame about the stroppy troll receptionist but once we had negotiated our way over the ricketty racketty bridge (so to speak) and up to our very swish apartment all that was forgotten!

Two double bedrooms.

One with ensuite.

A decent shower room.

A balcony with views across to Canary Wharf.

A lovely fitted kitchen with dishwasher, fridge, cooker, microwave etcetera

A nice squishy sofa with a dvd player and nice sized telly which suited our chill out night perfectly.

Pizza, garlic bread, wine (a little anyway. Cough.) and chocolate.   Oh.  And a few TT ** dvds along the way!!

I was a little disappointed that I couldn't take a better photograph of the most incredible moon I have ever seen.  It seemed to arrive from nowhere.  I happened to look over my shoulder and out through the french doors and actually gasped at the orange orb suspended just to the left of the lights of Canary Wharf.  I tried for ages to to get the perfect shot but sadly to no avail -  although I've seen some truly amazing ones throughout blogland - check out Leanne's beautiful images over at somerset seasons

Above the Dock

Above the quiet dock in midnight,
Tangled in the tall mast's corded height,
Hangs the moon. What seemed so far away
Is but a child's balloon, forgotten after play.

-- T E Hulme

I adore this poem.  It's one of the few that I can recite from memory and it seems very fitting somehow.... and it really did look like a huge yellow balloon you know.  The sight of it was something I felt priviliged to witness and had to quietly step outside on my own for a while just to gaze and to absorb.  I'm sure if I'd have stretched out my fingertips I could have touched it. 

N. B.

**The story behind our friendship is an unusual one I guess - well, unusual to some. (Cue "Our Tune" music).   We met through our mutual adoration of the band Take That via a fan-forum.  I would just interject here that people who have known me for years are a little aghast at my new found love for this band.  For the last 30 years my musical roots are firmly entrenched in punk (we have a 3 foot high poster of Johnny Rotten at the top of our stairs!) and very heavy rock music (when I mean heavy read Rammstein, Slayer and Slipknot!) and for me to admit that I lost my head and heart to an aging boy band at the age (at that particular time) of 39 never fails to get me teased by my old rocker pals!  What can I say?!  It's my guilty pleasure!!
Anyway - back to the plot - A few subsequent meet ups later and the four of us formed a firm friendship, travelling far and wide to see the band on tour and at various performances along the way.  It's a relatively new friendship, forged only over the last five years really; but I think it's safe to say that we'll remain friends for a very long time.  In that short space of time, we've road tripped to Sunderland to camp overnight in a tent on concrete to get to front row next day, lived the five star lifestyle at the Conrad Hotel in London following our attendance at The Brits, flown to Dublin and driven up to Belfast on a whim to see Howard play his DJ set, pelted across the pitches of several huge stadiums (Croke Park, The Stadium of Light,  Ricoh Arena and Millennium Stadium - culminating in, gasp, Wembley!) to secure our position on front row.  We've witnessed a bit of history at The Royal Albert Hall, attended a dress rehearsal for last tour which was limited to just 200 lucky people; we've seen Gary sing Born Free as a tribute to Don Black at the Palladium and we've watched James Corden sing his little heart out at the launch of their Sing Star game at the Tabernacle in London - again a very privileged attendance and a small intimate venue.  We've laughed, cried, been knackered to the extent of exhaustion, been soaked to our underwear by water cannons and endured virtual hypothermia and near bankruptcy and do you know what?  I wouldn't change a thing!  Although seeing the band is a lovely bonus, seeing each other is now just as special and I shall (ahem) Never Forget that.


  1. Oh Kim this is a fantastic post and there's so much of it (!) in a good way of course. Glad you had a lovely weekend and sorry that your daughter didn't get through. Blimey girl, you were in my neck of the woods - east London I mean! I work very close to limehouse. Loved your story about you and you friend's adventures! Have a great week, Kim.

  2. What a luxurious hotel. What a shame about your daughter, but at least she had the experience, onwards & upwards and all that. xxx

  3. Absolutely Vix - she's very stoical about it and like you say - the experience counts for a lot at that age.

    Loo - thanks so much for your loovely ( HARRGHH loovely!! That was a typo but it turned out ok didn't it?!!) comment - I do tend to think that I waffle an AWFUL lot - but I can't seem to cut my posts down!! LOL!! (see what I mean?!) ;)

  4. Sounds like a great weekend was had by all!
    We were in the car when the moon came into view, a huge orange balloon, lying low in the sky. Husband refused to turn back for the camera!

  5. Blummin men eh Kath?! It was absolutely stunning tho - it was a privilege to witness :)

  6. I've passed a blog award to you... :)

  7. It sounds like you've had the most wonderful time in London! And where you were staying looks like the perfect place for a friend's night in!