It is half-term, last week was Liz's birthday, and it seems ages since we had seen the girls - and our present [cast iron cookware] was too expensive to post. So on Thursday afternoon, we drove down the M1. We knew we couldn't get to Steph till after 6, so we wasted a bit of time at the Westfield Shopping Centre.
Which seems like every other shopping centre, only Very Large. With Elephants!
There was one menswear shop which fascinated me - the window display was 200 redundant Singer Sewing Machines
I nearly went in and said "Can't you send those machines somewhere to be used?" [eg here]
Off to Steph's for the evening, and then up early on Friday and off to Borough Market. Unfortunately the Market did not get going as early as we had thought - so we went into Southwark Cathedral for a wander round.
Loved this inscription - sounds like a good chap!
William Winkworth's granddaughter was Catherine [1827 -1878] who translated a number of hymns. And her very elderly nephew belonged to my home church in Norfolk in the 1960's. When his widow died, I inherited her sewing basket - What a random connection!
Back outside to the market
The fish stall
Don't like the way he looks at me...
Look, other people put odd things on their heads too!
But we just bought olives, aubergine paté, salad and bread, for our picnic.
It was getting to be very sunny and quite hot, and we were going to go on the train to the Old Deer Park in Richmond.
So we strolled along the South Bank towards Waterloo.
Lots and lots to see en route. Cattle as well as elephants...
There is a wonderful sense of history - the copy of the Elizabethan Globe Theatre, The Restoration Treasure of St Paul's Cathedral and the Contemporary Millennium Bridge
Bob was exhausted and needed a rest
Then we came across some minor excitement - just near the National Theatre, they were filming "This Morning" Live. The TV chef Phil Vickery was demonstrating his "Fish'n'chip" ice cream to a crowd [presumably gathered from passers by and to the presenter Eamonn Holmes.
There was a lot of high class recording stuff to see.
EH obviously didn't like the ice cream very much, and said so! And neither did the OAP who was also given a taste...
On to Richmond Old Deer Park - surprisingly empty
After a lovely picnic, snoozing on the grass and reading our books, the three of us meandered along the High Street enjoying the Charity Shops, then back to Steph's to get ready for the evening.
Mark and Liz arrived and we went out for our meal [Jon is Sheffield, so missed this treat]. I was amused by this door we passed
Steph had booked a table at Belgo - the great Belgian chain of restaurants, in the middle of their summer Lobsterfest
None of us had lobster - Mark and I had beef carbonnade, Steph and Bob has moules et frites, and Liz had goats' cheese. It was all lovely.
Then Bob and I got the train back to Elephant'n'Castle with Liz. This morning we three visited the Geffrye Museum.
The museum is "The Museum of the Home" and shows all sorts of room interiors. The building went up nearly 300 years ago as Almshouses - but closed in 1910, when the residents were moved elsewhere- but opened again as a museum in 1914. For nearly 100 years it has been maintained as a museum - but they have restored one of the Almshouses. We all enjoyed it, and although the museum itself is open a lot, the restored Almshouse is only open briefly on the first Saturday of the month [an unexpected bonus for us]. Do check out the website [here] as it has excellent pictures.
As well as the rooms inside, we enjoyed strolling through the gardens at the back. These too covered "English Domestic Gardens" from Tudor times up till the twentieth century. The information signs were incredibly helpful, and in the herb garden I learned that the word "drug" comes from "dregge" the Anglo Saxon for "dried"
Then Liz took us for lunch - to a Vietnamese Place. I had not eaten Vietnamese Cuisine before.
The good thing was that the chili sauce, chili flakes, hoisin sauce, limes, herbs etc were all served as an accompaniment, so you could make your meal as spicy or bland as you liked. I hate spicy - Bob loves it, so it was brilliant for us.
Sorry family, it is hard to get a good photo of people eating!
There was iced coffee or Vietnamese beer to drink
It was an extremely filling meal, after starters - summer rolls [much lighter than Chinese Spring Rolls] and another pancake thing - we had 'pho' which are soft rice noodles, in a bowl of broth. It took us all some time to eat our way through the huge bowls, and we all had to admit defeat in the end - despite the encouragement on a nearby shop front...
We got the bus back to Elephant'n'Castle - and outside the Church opposite Liz's flat saw a wonderful bus which had just transported a wedding party...
The Used Ticket bin, and the poles inside, had all been decorated with flowers- the driver let me on the bus to photograph them.
We left Liz at 2.30pm and were home in Kirby by 5pm - a brilliant, if somewhat jam-packed 48 hours of eating, sightseeing, travelling, and spending quality time with the family. Thank you to both girls - for giving us such a good time, and for giving up your comfortable beds for us oldies to sleep on! Our Oyster travel cards were useful, and well used.
* "The Man On The Top Of The Clapham Omnibus" is a British legal term, dating back well over a hundred years, it is "a descriptive formulation of a reasonably educated and intelligent but non-specialist person — a reasonable man; a hypothetical person against whom a defendant's conduct might be judged in an English law civil action for negligence."
In case you were wondering, this is what he looks like...