As a see-how-it-goes-weekend in preparation for when my in-laws to look after our pup while we go away for a week in April, Dan and I took a trip to London last weekend and stayed over night in the capital.
You probably don’t remember, but our pup is not a normal pup. He has a condition called Megaoesophagus which we have been dealing with through trial and error, fairly successfully, for over a year now. However, what with all the variables that go around his condition he’s a bit of a handful to look after.
And because of this, finding anyone willing to look after him for any length of time has not been easy. Nigh on impossible actually. We can’t even pay anyone! As soon as we mention what his routine involves, any professional dog sitter runs for the hills. Even the ones with experience of looking after disabled dogs! I can’t believe Mike with his Megaoesophagus is harder to look after than an actual disabled dog, but there you go.
Now, quite honestly, the idea had been floated previously of Dan’s parents looking after him, but with knowing how time consuming keeping the little guy alive is – even on the good days, we didn’t feel that it was right to put that responsibility onto family. So we persevered in trying to find someone who would be able to dedicate their time to him. Obviously to no avail.
With a cruise date looming (a cruise that had already been deferred once for a year) in April, and no one seemingly able to look after Mike; we believed our only option to be to cancel it and lose our money.
But Dan’s parents were still adamant they could look after him for us. And as reluctant as we were to take them up on the offer, we thought a weekend trial would be the best way for everyone to see how they felt after that.
So we made a couple of plans for a last minute getaway to London.
The in-laws made it to us on the Friday night and we talked them through everything and made sure they were still happy to go ahead, before we left Saturday morning, saying goodbye and good luck, London bound.
We only had two certain things booked for our trip, one was our accommodation in Knightsbridge, the other was two tickets to the Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition at the V&A. The rest of the time we were free to go with the flow.
We caught the train to Waterloo and arrived late morning. We then walked over the bridge to visit Forbidden Planet, The Noble Collection and The House of Mina Lima. So much geekery, I loved every second. I got completely lost in the moment that I didn’t take a single photo while I visited these places. Now am wishing I had because there was some amazing stuff in all of those places that will now merely be lost to the black hole that is my memory. I am especially amazed I didn’t take any photos in The Noble Collection. That place was something special. It was my first visit and will certainly be a staple on my London trips from now on.
Next we headed towards Knightsbridge to the V&A through Green Park and the Wellington Arch. Spur of the moment, we decided to go up the Wellington Arch to look out over London, and paid £10.80 for the both of us to climb up to the top. While it wasn’t quite as high up as it seemed from below to get a great view from, the top did give us a welcome bit of peace in a busy city.
Soon it was time for our V&A visit. We headed straight to the exhibit as soon as we arrived, eager to hit our time slot exactly. Now…I don’t really know what it was I was expecting from this exhibit…I just know I didn’t get whatever that was. And so, I don’t really have much of an opinion on it. All I know is, 1. I wanted more stuff on the walls, it wasn’t which meant elbows abound as people tried to make space to see the stuff, 2. it annoys the HELL out of me when people don’t respect the queue system, and 3. I thought there’d be more in general…
Update* I’ve thought about this more since writing this piece and have come to the conclusion that what I wanted was more concept art. More behind-the-scenes stuff. *Update over.
Exhibit done, we were then famished so thought we’d head out to find some food and then go back to the V&A to have a look around the rest of it later.
Wanting to try something new, we, of course, ended up in the lesser known Pizza Express, for our usual of fiorentina and pollo forza pizzas.
Both aching and bag laden, we decided to find where we were staying and dump our bags. I’d found a cheap place on Airbnb close to the V&A, but what really won it for us was the concierge lounge area that we thought would make it feel like we were staying in a hotel. Without actually staying in a hotel…
Apartment found and bags dumped, we realised there wasn’t time to get back to the V&A before it closed. Instead we thought we’d try one of those half price theatre ticket vendors and see if we could get in to any shows that night.
We emerged at Leicester Square station and found such a vendor who had tickets to see Mousetrap or Woman in Black. We’d already seen Mousetrap (I saw it for my 21st birthday all those years ago!) but hadn’t ever seen Woman in Black. I said to the guy, I didn’t want to be too scared. His response was, “I’ve seen it three times and I haven’t died yet, so it’s not that bad’. So taking him on his word, that he wasn’t, in fact, dead, we decided to give it a go.
Tickets bought, we had a bit of time to kill so went in search of pudding. Caffe Concerto came to our rescue with a couple of strawberry and raspberry tarts. Yum. Sadly no pictures again.
Next we made our way to the theatre. But still with time to spare before the show, we took a slow walk around Covent Garden enjoying the orchestral music being played by buskers. I bloody loved it and now wish I’d bought one of their CDs. Hindsight.
Then it was time for the show.
It turned out our seats were right at the back in the corner, meaning I only had a wall next to and behind me. Something I was super grateful for with this spooky story, however, I still had a peek behind me every now and again making sure there wasn’t a hidden door there with a ghost poking out!
There wasn’t. Or at least not when I looked around.
Woman in Black, was AMAZING! Freaked me out no end, but was so clever, tense and gripping and all done with 2 1/2 actors (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean) yet so many characters and scenes were created through them and a box. I was in complete awe.
Back to the apartment for a very restless night’s sleep – not the apartments fault, I was still freaked out by the show (felt like there was someone stood there next to me) and I had a cough too that didn’t help – also didn’t help during the show either… really wishing we’d seen a musical at points, less chance of my cough annoying people.
The next morning, just before we vacated the apartment, we headed up to the top floor to see what the view was like from the top. It did not disappoint.
We then took a stroll through the Saatchi Gallery. Glad I’ve been there, probably won’t go back again. I read a review that said you need a good couple of hours to get around it all…we really did not need that long. Here’s a few pieces that caught my eye though.
Lastly, we headed to Harrods. We visited the department store once, many years ago, and vowed to not return until we could afford to buy something in there. We were very poor students then. However, not being much better off now, we went back anyway, but ignored everything on the shop floors and went straight to the Cafe for a spot of breakfast.
The staff were so nice. One thing I haven’t mentioned. When we set off the previous morning, we had to trudge through snow and ice to get to the train station, so were dressed ready for the arctic. When we pulled up in London, there was no snow to be seen anywhere! Our whole time in London was spent in snow boots, many many layers and wet weather gear. When we approached Harrods, we were convinced we were going to be turned away, chastised for not being dressed appropriately for the store. But no. The doors were held open for us to glide on through.
We were even seated in the big comfy green arm chairs at the cafe. We were the envy of later patrons who were seated on the plain old boring wooden seats you’d find in any old cafe. We loved it and it was hilarious. And at £5 for a cup of tea, we were going to enjoy the hell out of the experience!
We both went for the Braffles…I’d not heard of them before either, but are apparently brioche waffles. Dan went for the sensible option of the mixed berry one, I went all out with the salted caramel and chocolate one. A decision I only half regretted as my veins quickly filled carrying nothing but syrup. My eyes blinked with forceful purpose as they glazed over more and more with each sugar filled mouthful. Every now and again I would ask Dan for a berry to try and cut through some of the sweetness.
Would I do it again? You bet.
There was no rush from the staff for us to leave and give the table up, so I sat in my comfy green chair nursing my sugar coma for a while before we relented that our time was up and we would have to head back home to see how the many of the three we left behind, had survived.
Arriving home, we were brought back down with a bump as we were greeted by a vomiting dog. Ah. Terrific. More trial and error is needed to sort that one out but that’s a tale for some other time.
We were also greeted with cleaned windows, a cleaned kitchen and a delicious roast dinner prepared for us. I’d recommend those guys as houseguests any time!
The in-laws amazingly still not yet put off, we’re planning another see-how-it-goes weekend in a few weeks so hopefully we’ll get to do something exciting for that one too!
Until next time. x