Well another catch up on my week in London. I flew in Monday morning and while the flight was smooth and went well UK customs was another story. It took nearly two hours to get through and I have a suspicion they were either all on a tea break or I will cut them some slack and say they were all at a meeting. (uh huh...). From my vantage point on the side at the back of the herd they were interrogating a fellow and the customs officer next to me decided to listen in. Why they couldn't have taken him to another room and done this I don't know as it must have taken fifteen minutes or so as we did not move. Grrrr...I also think there should be a third customs channel...have your EU and "Other" but how about a "Commonwealth" channel. Anyway I finally got through but had to ask where the luggage came in for the flight from Malta as it was long off the luggage carousal and sitting with some other luggage belonging to pissed off "others". Ah well once I got on the train and saw the beautiful English countryside rolling by it put me in a better mood.
Monday and Tuesday were pretty much "rest" days - a trip to the launderette, to the ATM, errands, to the Balham library to print tickets, etc.
By Wednesday I was ready to get busy again and visited the digital (smaller) replica of the famous arch at Palmyra which was destroyed by ISIS. (bastards!). This was situated at Trafalgar Square for three days and will be moved to other locations including New York City and Dubai. I was able to get past the barricade to get a photo (security was in place) but I didn't dare go up to it and touch it for fear of incurring the wrath of the other photographers. A couple of people tried it and let's just say steam was rolling out of a few people's ears. (and noses too I think).
I then headed over to the London Marathon Expo which was being held at the West Excel centre which is confusing as it's in the east. It was a fairly long trip but to an area I hadn't been before. It was huge of course and I found myself whimpering at times when I saw the medals as I did love doing my (19) half marathons and it's been hard to let go of that. They were offering massages and it wasn't cheap but I needed one so badly on my knees - I opted for the cheapest which was 15 minutes. Problem being I had to remove my bottoms...in a crowded complex. Anyway the massage therapist held a towel and I disrobed underneath so hopefully I didn't flash too many people but of course my fat legs and grossly swollen knees were exposed to everybody walking by. I was mortified so it was kind of hard to relax. At some point a fellow walking by was taking pictures with his phone - what kind of perverted loser takes pictures of people having massages. I hope the sight of my fat knees broke his damn phone! Rant over! It was wonderful to have about twenty minutes of walking without any discomfort or pain...pure bliss. I indulged my sock obsession and bought myself a couple of pairs (two for one - how could I resist?). I did buy a sleeve for my knee (forgot mine...yeah I know..DUMB) but even the largest did not fit so had to return it - I made sure I tried it on in the loo before I left the building. Anyway I enjoyed it so much.
Then it was on to St Pancras station to meet my friend Claudia from Germany. She suggested having sandwiches in St James's Park so we quickly picked up what we needed at M & S Simply Food (Prawn and Mayonnaise for me!) and off we went by tube. We walked through Green Park and on to St James Park. It was a beautiful day and the park was stunning.
We then walked back to Victoria and Claudia headed south to Sussex (I will be joining her there this weekend) and I headed back to Streatham Common.
Thursday morning I met my friend Judi at Victoria Station and we attended the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism at the Saatchi Gallery on Kings Road in Chelsea. It was fascinating and featured mock ups of the first flat they shared (and the ensuing mess it contained as it was described by them!), a mock up of the recording studio, stage costumes and personal clothing, instruments and more. It ended with a 3D snippet of a live concert. Very cool. No photos allowed unfortunately but they did have these outside!
We had a nice Indian meal near Judi's hotel in Bayswater - an Indian meal in London is a must and something I hadn't had yet this trip. Very tasty!
On the way back on the tube I read in the Evening Standard (they hand it out free at tube stations) that the Houses of Parliament were going to be red, white and blue in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday. So I went there....do you see red, white and blue? I stayed until 8:30 but no joy and it was getting chilly so I left...I took advantage of being there and got a few more shots.
I wandered over to the river bank and got a few shots of the London Eye.
This morning (Friday) we met up at South Kensington tube station and walked over to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit. I aim to see this every year I am over when it is on. (it runs yearly from October to March - this year it was so popular it was extended until early May) It was absolutely beautiful but I notice it tends to be more nature orientated these past few years with not as many animals. When there are live creatures they tend to be reptiles or birds. Ah well - a good thing to do on Earth Day!
After lunch at Whole Foods Judi set off home and I went to Battersea Dogs Home.
They don't have all the kennels open for browsers not planning to adopt but I did see about twelve dogs and of course they all stole my heart....
Back here for a relaxing evening which I needed.