It's a mystery to me!

Well the big thing on my mind right now is my surprise trip - two more sleeps!  I got an email on Friday giving me the weather forecast for the city they are sending me to.  I will be gone three nights and right now I have't a clue where I will be.  Hotels and airfare are paid for and for the rest I am on my own.  I made sure I have plenty of cash to exchange in case I am out of the euro zone.  My bank card will go "tut tut tut, no no no" as if I don't know where I am going my bank certainly doesn't!

So I think it's safe to say I'm not going back to Spain!  Of course because I am nosy I went on the Easy Jet website (I know I am flying with them as that was on my credit card) seeing what flights leave around 9 a.m. to places in northern Europe and then checked the forecasts.  I have a couple of ideas! Because I have to  be at Gatwick so early (7 a.m.) and with the trains being unpredictable these days I decided to stay out at Gatwick tomorrow night so I got a cheap room at a chain hotel.   I'll head out there late tomorrow afternoon.  I finally was able to find a carry on that fits my needs - a duffle type bag on wheels but with the option of having a long strap to put over my shoulder when I go home. (I need a hand free to grab a   Only 8 pounds.  Of course I don't expect it to last long but for that price that's quite all right!

I've had a laid back couple of days.  Yesterday I stayed in South London and took the train from Streatham station.  I was able to get the Thames Link train (they are not on strike - it's Southern Rail) to Herne Hill.  Herne Hill was "on the list" of places I wanted to see.  Of course flakes of snow were coming down so not the ideal time for sightseeing.  Coming from Canada I am used to cold so it wasn't like at home but it's very damp here and silly me neglected to put my fleece jacket on under my winter jacket.   I had a flat white and an apricot danish at the Bluebird Bakery and caught up on my journal.  Coffee shops seem to be my favourite haunt to catch up on my writing.   I went into the smallest book shop I've ever been in and because I wanted to support him I got a greeting card.  There were a few nice shops but not as exciting as I had imagined it to be.

Saw this mural on the way to the park...




And this one as well...




Need I add I didn't walk in the park - too damn cold! Stood here and took two photos and scadaddled!

I got a bus to the Horniman Museum - I had been there before two years ago when I was staying in Brockley.  This time I was approaching it from a different direction.  I went to see the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.  This one was free and almost as good as the International one at the Natural History Museum that I paid for.  Unfortunately there was some sort of informal childrens' play group in the corner and one kid never stopped shrieking.  It was really hard to study the pictures while that racket was going on but I was impressed nontheless.

The gardens were a bit snowy and oh boy that wind...so I braved it for a few minutes to snap a few photos.  In the summer the gardens must be a real picture. I had been there before as well - on a much nicer day!




There's the Shard in the distance...the area isn't called Forest Hill for nothing.



This huge walrus has been here over a decade - it's from Canada (Hudson Bay).


I was able to find a place despite the swarm of yummy mummies and their huge strollers (called push chairs here) in the museum cafe so had to have a chocolate walrus cookie..oops sorry..biscuit, with my tea.  It looked better than it tasted...I think (I know) I bought it just for the photo opportunity.

Then it was back on the bus to Brixton - we passed through Dulwich Village which is charming and I had intended to stop off but by now I was too cold and wet. (it was raining and miserable)  At Brixton market I got my carry on which I am so pleased about...you don't know how long I've been looking for one.  And it holds more stuff than my backpack!!!

Then back here for a ready meal from M & S.  (braised beef with roast veggie mash - and cooked brussel sprouts on the side if you are interested!)  Had a great TV evening - yes Corrie was involved.

Today (Saturday) was market day!  I got the train to Balham and got some cash out and then on to Waterloo on the tube.  I found my way to Little Marsh market but what a disappointment...turns out they have a wonderful food market during the week but mainly bricbrac on the weekend.  And there was barely any of that... boo!  I did find my way into a gourmet type grocery store and got a small quiche with a sweet potato salad - so that's tomorrow's meal before I head out to Gatwick.  That's where I found out that the weekday market is much better.


Doesn't that make it look exciting?  Guess I will have to go back during the week - now that I know how to find it!

Thanks to google I was able to get to Maltby market on a direct bus.  This was disappointing as well...not as big as I had imagined and the food did not appeal.  Well okay maybe a table full of different gourmet brownies did but I resisted.





This is the dish I had in Belgium with potatoes, ham, wine, butter and all other sorts of naughty things.

It occurred to me that we had passed Tower Bridge Road on the bus and there was a pie and mash shop on that road somewhere that I had wanted to visit for years.  Google to the rescue and turns out it was a 6 minute walk - well make that a 12 minute walk for yours truly.


Memorial to a local war hero


M M Manze - purveyors of pie, mash and eels since 1902.  It wasn't something I had planned to do today but everything worked out well.  I am so glad I didn't find anything tempting to eat at the market!


Pie (only one kind..beef), mash and liquor (Parsley sauce - no liquor in it!)  For five pounds I got this and a can of coke - you can't get many meals that cheap in London!  I commented to the lady waiting on me that I didn't have the nerve to order eels and she said she would give me a sample..it was a tiny piece but was so disgusting looking and the taste was meh....not much of anything.  I had three bites and once was enough thank you very much!


Loved the tiling everywhere.



The line was out the door when I left.

And time to head back "home" to an afternoon of binge watching BBC iplayer programs in bed.  Ah, this is the life!

My laptop is staying behind so the next post will be next weekend...unless I get really inspired and do a post on Seville tomorrow.  But don't count on it.

Now, back to binge watching...


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