Having moved to London over 15 years ago, I get back to Leicester a couple of times a year and Mum comes to London a couple of times. Finding new and exciting things to do with her in the city is now becoming more and more difficult.
Mum is young for her age and very active, a bad fall a few years ago however, when she broke her ankle, has meant that she cannot walk as far as she used to. Trouble with living in Zone 1 of London, everything involves walking. I have also always been accused of exhausting her out on her visits with a full on schedule therefore this trip, I was determined to take it easy while still giving her a good break away.
Wednesday 11th July – 16:30
Good old East Midlands Trains arrives as expected, 10 minutes late, but mum is in good spirits after having chatted to some other people on the training and having a good read of her book. Ordinarily she likes to have a coffee when she gets off the train however I had warned her that as she was on a later train than normal, it would be hitting peak rush-hour if we did so suggested we head straight home.
It always makes me laugh the first few days of walking with mum. In London there is a certain speed that things are done, not so true in my home village. I generally have to consciously half my pace and then usually half it again just to make sure she isn’t panting trying to keep up. I takes me about 2 days to get this down to perfection but then after that, it is fine. I also have to add a lot of time to each journey to make sure we have enough to get places. In the early days of living here I got that wrong more than once. Now, I think I have a good grasp on London travel.
Once back at the flat, just time to have that tea before we head to the local Indian http://www.chokhidhani.co.uk which is in our building complex. The food in this restaurant is unlike any other Indian restaurant. Serving only food from the Rajasthan area of India, it is simply delicious and we hoped mum would think so as well. They also have my favourite cocktail there, Chai Walla (masala tea infused belverdere vodka, lemon juice, and house made bitters shaken & served straight up). Never seen this anywhere before but I recommend anyone to try it if they do. I can confirm mum agreed with our recommendation on the food. Possibly the best Indian food she has ever had.
Food full of flavour, great waiters and peaceful environment. Oh wait, that’s because England were in the semi-finals of the world cup. Poor Jake, he had to entertain us instead of watching the match.
Every time I have been here before I have been stuffed (or pissed) before dessert and I just had to try their chocolate pudding. So I avoided the temptation to dig into the starters, though Jake and mum devoured them, didn’t eat too much naan or rice with the main and held off on too much alcohol. Finally it was time for dessert. And what a dessert it was. White chocolate sphere around a pistachio cake with ice cream on a honeycomb crisp, then they poured warm milk chocolate over the sphere. Quite possibly the best dessert I have ever had.
Thursday 12th July
Unfortunately Jake had to head to Birmingham early morning for some “training”. Or was it an excuse to get away and have a pissup with work? We will never know though all I will say is that despite the age-old sayings “I don’t want to drink too much” ” we have a big day tomorrow” “just one or two”, he was very hung over when he arrived home Friday afternoon.
The original plan was to go shopping in town on Friday and do something fun Thursday. Donald Trump was in town Friday and I wanted to be far away from the protests so that meant a switch around of day plans. Truth be told, if mum had not been here, I would have joined them but not sure it would have been mum’s thing.
After a chilled morning and breakfast at the local cafe, we headed into Covent Garden area. Plan was to upgrade mum’s phone, buy sisters present and get my birthday present from mum. In the end, two out of three was not bad. Mum was happy with her new phone, i was happy with my new trainers for my birthday and because of the difficulty I had deciding, I even bought myself an additional pair of trainers. The one problem was Jo’s present. I just could not get that happy feeling with anything I saw (happy to say though since then, I have found her the prefect present though not saying what in case she is reading this)
I only expected to be in town for a couple of hours but we were having a fun relaxing time and so had to rush home, drop our stuff off before heading out for dinner before the theatre. My housemate Lee was running late therefore we decided to just eat at the local pub which left a little more time. Remember, I am trying my best not to run mum ragged.
The evening’s show was Kinky Boots (http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk). Not knowing anything about it, originally the tickets had been purchased because Jake wanted to see it though since he was away
getting pissed having training, Lee stepped in and again, he knew nothing about it. What a delight this show was.
For a show which on paper has not basis for a good story (a grown man inheriting a shoe factory which was going under), they made it funny, emotional and entertaining. The drag queens were exceptional and I would pay money just to see them in a show on their own.
My tell-tale sign of how good the show is has always been whether mum stays awake. Despite being very tired, mum stayed awake through the entire show. Not an easy achievement for a show.
Friday 13th July
Another lazy start to the day meant that we headed over to Greenwich for around lunch time. First stop food as I was starving. Both in the mood for a baked potato but one that wouldn’t poison us, we were walking around when we came across Boenos Aires Cafe (http://buenosairescafe.co.uk/greenwich-restaurant/). No baked potato in sight but the food sounded interesting. Sadly we could not say what it looked like because after being seated we realised that we were the only patrons.
After a brief discussion as to whether we should leave or not (usually we would if there was no one else in there) we decided to stay. And what a good job that was too. I had an amazing beer, Alhambra Reserva 1925 which I gave a rating of 4.75 out of 5 on untapped and then a great spicy chorizo baguette. Mum had a great glass of prosecco and a chicken dish which looked amazing.
Will definitely go back and will recommend it to anyone going to Greenwich. I might even aim to go in the evening because I imagine the Spanish theme would be great in the evening.
The rest of the day was just walking around Greenwich, up to the observatory to see the space photography of the year exhibition and then a walk around the market.
To get back to home, we decided to take the Thames Clipper which I have only done once before and a long time ago so I felt like a tourist asking lots of questions. At nearly £7 a journey it is an expensive way to travel but was a relaxing way to get home and mum got to see London by river. It took me a while to get my head around how the change worked but before we knew it, we were in Vauxhall and back home.
Saturday 14th July
Jake can join us today but before we head out, I cooked a full fried breakfast to keep us going. We have been eating out a lot over the past few days and that really adds up in London.
Todays destination was Kew Gardens (https://www.kew.org). I took mum there a few
years ago however it was raining hard and Jake had never been so we decided to head back. What a scorcher it was. Seriously it must have hit 30 degrees while we were there. Mum was melting faster than her ice cream. Where previously we had slowly walked around the greenhouses to warm us, we had to move quickly through because of the humidity.
Always one for a bargain, I found a deal online whereby if we had a train ticket we could get 2-4-1 entry so we purchased a ticket instead of using our oyster cards, handed the printout the website said we needed to take and hey presto, £17 discount. Well worth it if
you ever go (https://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/kew-gardens).
So the intention of this holiday for mum was to relax and not send her home exhausted. I think I might have failed there. Walking to the pub for dinner after walking around Kew, mum looked a little frazzled. I am pretty sure she had a great time though. Only planning one thing a day was supposed to be relaxing. Unfortunately being 31 years difference and living in different areas of the country means that relaxing for one is not so relaxing for the other.
Will I do anything differently next time? Probably not. There is so much to do, it is be a shame to spend the entire time sitting at home. Maybe next time I can hire a car though and we get out of London each day like that. We will see