Suddenly we only had a few days to go. John had organised tickets for ‘Mumma Mia the Party’ soon after we had arranged our flight from home. He was keen. Firstly some predinner drinks in Mayfair. I was very impressed with the Art Deco decor and John thought the cars were alright! Then on to the O2 for a night of fun and frivolity.
The party livened up even more when Nick and Lauren joined us. Apparently Lauren’s dad had been a couple of weeks previously and had enjoyed the show immensely. He knew Lauren was a major ABBA fan so seeing it was her birthday…dot…dot…dot!!!! (Sorry…that was a bit esoteric!!!)
Life was becoming more frantic but we were able to squeeze in another dinner and show. ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ was at the Duchess Theatre on Covent Garden so we chose a delightful French restaurant, Boulevard Brasserie which was near by. The play was a comedy, light-hearted slap-stick performed in a small egalitarian theatre – every seat was a good seat.
Sunday and we got to catch up with Rosie and Mal in North London. We had taught with them in 2005, and Rosie had visited us in Australia. Rosie had met up with a friend, Heidi, in London, and after drinks at the Nag’s Head, Covent Garden, we headed out to Arnos Grove on the Piccidilly line.
It is always important to have a couple of meeting places in London and this is a good one because it is just outside the Covent Garden tube station and if it’s just too busy there are loads of alternate watering holes in the area.
The selection of pubs in London is mind blowing. They range from intimate cubby holes to ornate and exclusive grand hotels. The thing was we didn’t find one that was not welcoming. The Arnos Alms was a series of spaces- outdoor gardens, semi-outdoor games rooms, secluded little corners and multiple areas for dining. It was ideal for a reunion of friends where we found a quiet space and we could chat and share a meal.
Monday and our time was up. With Victoria station being just minutes away, our ‘bolthole’ in Pimlico had been an ideal base from which to explore and reconnect with the people and places in this amazing city. As with every part of this metropolis, there will always be more to explore.
Victoria is a tube station, a rail station, a bus terminal and a coach station and the coach station is huge. We had seen what we thought was the station but was in fact a holding yard where about twenty buses would wait until their time came. In the coach station itself there were at least twenty gates. This was the central London coach station for the UK with connections to Paris as well. We thought it was close. Well it was really. It took us twenty minutes to trundle our luggage to where it was recommended we be thirty minutes early, which we were but the bus was running thirty minutes late. We still had plenty of time. Our flight was at ten.
It seems that our pattern of arriving at one distination and heading to another would continue. London via Singapore to Brisbane and then before going home, a little sojourn to Townsville.
Travelling at the time of Covid has been interesting. There are subtle changes. Whereas before a cough or a sneeze would not register, today it does. I noticed that if hand sanitiser was available people would often use it. I wondered too, if people are a tiny bit more friendly and helpful because we have lived through a shared experience. Wearing a mask is becoming more discretionary but it has become a travel item. Covid has made us more appreciative of our opportunities and capacity for travel. I wonder if and when we are off again.