It started with a plan. We were organised- brunch at Borough Market then the Shard. They were in the same area. We could go a little early and explore. Fine. Bus to Westminster, Tube on the Jubilee line to London Bridge. But of course plans don’t always work out.
Turns out that when you are waved through a ticket gate which is stuck open and even though you tap on, you could be charged for an ‘incomplete journey’ – eight pound fifty!! I had to call TfL. Of course the UK have done bureaucracy for 500 years so this was not going to be a walk in the park but then again when it comes to an injustice I just can’t leave it alone. So after just two calls I had my refund. Yes each call was extremely long with me hanging on and hanging on but be blowed if I was going to give in.
While John discovered how much he had idealised Borough Market, I played on the phone and by then it was a late lunch. It seemed almost sacrilegious to eat in a pub beside the market but that’s what we did. We chose comfort, quiet and eating with a knife and fork. OMG we are getting old!!!! So it was into ‘The Market Porter’ for a pie and mash followed by a coffee at Monmouth next door. Perfect!!!
Just a couple of minutes walk from Borough is ‘The Shard’. John had paid a fortune for us to go to the viewing platform so off we went. The views are spectacular but I would not recommend it as it is seriously overpriced at 28GBP per person and even the drinks are overpriced and there are now quite a few places in London to grab a great view.
So we weren’t feeling like the day had been a great success. ‘We could go to Seabird, for a drink,’ says John the Traveller who can ignore all obstacles – like exhaustion, disappointment and sore feet (mine of course – he finds even the complaints ignorable!)
The Seabird was stunningly beautiful but the highlight of our day was Darius. This is a very serious seafood restaurant on the 14th floor of the Hoxton Southwark. We had come for a drink so we sat up at the bar. Darius was shucking oysters. He was very good! We got into conversation and discovered he was a chef whose expertise was oysters and while the Seabird is described as having London’s largest oyster list, with choices ranging from delights like Essex Maldon Kumamotos to Ostra Regal shells from Wexford in Ireland, we learned that his expertise was definitely warranted. We should have ordered a half dozen but we were not game. Sometimes I regret not having a go. This was one. Darius was generous with his time, his knowledge and his stories and again demonstrated that a great city is what it is because of its remarkable local inhabitants.
It had been a long day when we arrived at Victoria. ‘Hamilton’ took our eye, after all it was just across from the station. It was after seven and the queue was huge. We wandered over to investigate. What were our chances? We waited patiently. At 7:25, five minutes before curtain call, we waltzed up to the box office and acquired the last two tickets in the theatre- L6 & L7. OMG! We looked at each other…really? Yep we were in. That impressed us more than the show and we were tired but we got to see what all the fuss was about and were able to draw our own conclusions. I can definitely understand why US citizens like it so much and the performances, the amazing orchestra and clever use of a rotating stage were all wonderful.
The day finally came to an end. ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Wicked’, in theatres almost adjacent, concluded, simultaneously expelling their audiences into the streets around Victoria. The place was abuzz with excitement as people dispersed to the trains, tubes, buses and into comparatively quiet well-lit streets. Our six minute walk ended with the click of the door lock and the crumple of two weary humans collapsing into an exhausted slumber.