Sunday, 18 August 2013

Experiencing Firsts in London (and was I sworn at in a posh retail store?)

Well what a weekend I've had. So much has already happened since my last post. All good, I hasten to add (well, Nick had his bike stolen outside a department store where we live which obviously isn't good but we're being pragmatic about it, no-one was hurt, no devastation was caused). So, yes. When I last wrote, I mentioned I was dropping in on London for the day.

The day started disgracefully early when my alarm clock rudely pulled me out of sweet slumber at 5.00am. In fact, as I walked to the train station, I just had to pull out my camera to capture the beautiful red sky as dawn was breaking.

The train journey down was wonderfully peaceful and I arrived in London at 8.00am, feeling like a little kid with the giddy buzz of being in the capital once more. First stop was King's Cross St Pancras station, home to the Eurostar trains, for a spot of breakfast at the oh-so-expensive but oh-so-delicious Le Pain Quotidien. Patting my stomach, where it was newly lined with scrambled egg and mint tea, I headed to Borough Market. There's no way I can go home unless I have paid a visit to Mrs King's and purchased a couple of her sinfully good stilton pork pies.

Next stop, was Laduree (well of course, you knew I would), where I experienced my first first of the day. Okay, I didn't experience it until later that evening to be strictly honest, but I opted for a selection of their new marshmallow flavours. The photo above doesn't show them as we'd munched them before I had the opportunity to grab my camera.

Opposite Laduree, was Fortnum & Masons, where I purchased a couple of boxes of my newest addiction, Smokey Earl Grey Tea. Now, inside my rucsac were a couple of very strong cheeses which had definite nose and I could already sense their pungency seeping through. I knew that people would be avoiding me by the time I sat on the train home and I could clear the underground out in minutes. I needed a plastic bag to wrap them in. So, when I went to the till to pay for my tea and saw the guy put them in a plastic bag, I asked ever so sweetly if I could have a spare one (which I was going to wrap my cheeses in). This is where I had another first.

I could be wrong but I'm pretty certain that as his head was bowed, pulling out another bag, he muttered just under his breath but ever so slightly audibly, words which were close to "for luck's sake". In a store renowned for it's overly polite staff too!!!! I hadn't told him my intention for the bag and I wonder if he thought I was just another oik wanting a freebie souvenir. I do hope I heard him correctly as it really made my day. Bless him.

Finally, at 11.30am, the real reason for going to London had come around. To meet an online friend, Richard Pettit,  whom I became acquainted with when we both did the 30 Day Challenge back in March earlier this year (do check out his wonderful vlogs). We have spurred each other on and become friends and we kept threatening to meet up one day. Well I impulsively decided to just book a ticket and do it. So there we were, meeting each other, in the flesh for the first time, in South Kensington.

And it didn't end there. Ordinarily, we could have met up, had a drink and some lunch and chatted the day away. But Richard had made plans already to meet up with a group of Illustrators and Artists. He offered to cancel or instead I could come along too. I chose to pack my pad and pencils.

So the next firsts are all linked in. Meeting a whole new group of people, sketching in a public place with them and visiting Christies. Yes the Christies. It's rather like visiting an art gallery with museum combined. Plus there's all sorts from vintage to contemporary to see. They had no problem with having a group of us littering the place and drawing away.

Finally, Richard & I headed around the corner to my favourite place, the V&A for lunch. Once again I was lucky enough for the weather to be warm enough and allowing us to eat outside by the water feature. Bliss.

Time ran on and I missed my allocated train home by 30 seconds. Thankfully, the trains run every twenty minutes and the one I eventually caught was virtually empty. So yet again, a peaceful journey.

Loved being impulsive! Must do it more often.

Thanks for dropping by and indulging me this wordy post. I do hope you had a fun weekend too with plenty of memories made.


alexa said...

That sounds such an action packed day ! Lovely that you had the chance to do so many new things and your sketch is looking terrific from here. And always nice to meet up with crafty people in person! Sorry to hear about the bike, though :(.

Neil said...

What a good time. Lots of interesting things to remember. Love the V & A but don't think I have been to any of the other places you mention. Wil have to rectify that one day. Hope you have a great week.

Michele said...

Wow - you certainly made the most of your day out! Sounds like you had a fab time - great photos too x

Neet said...

Wow Paul, what a marvellous day - and the tummy got fixed up too.
Love the F&M incident - a defilnite first!
Neet xx

Richard Pettitt said...

Hi Paul, thanks so much for visiting me in London on Saturday! It was great fun to meet you and sketch together in Christie's, and I loved our V&A picnic. Sorry you missed your train - proves there's no time for being polite and patient in London (sigh). The rhino sketch looks great! I went back to Christie's and finished my drawing of the dragon wood chair so I'll stick it on my blog tomorrow. Until next time... Rich.
PS: Cheers for the fancy chocolate!