Last Saturday was a better day. I spent it in London with a friend and our teenage daughters, catching the train early in the morning from Chester and returning at 10 pm. The morning was spent on Oxford Street, shopping. Not really my idea of fun, but it was one of the main objectives of the trip for the teenagers with Christmas money to spend. So we spend a long time in places like Topshop on Oxford Circus. Many years ago I used to shop in that branch as, before training as a teacher, I worked briefly for Alitalia, the Italian airline which has now folded, and its offices were just opposite. We also went to Victoria's Secret, on New Bond Street, a truly awful place, looking like a night club with chandeliers, marble staircases and doormen insisting we put our dripping umbrellas in specially designed plastic bags lest we sully the overpriced undies on sale there. My friend queued for 45 minutes to purchase a pair of the very ordinary looking knickers for her daughter, behind Spanish tourists spending £500! My daughter, who is thankfully less brand conscious, and I escaped and went across the road to Fenwick's, a much classier store which hasn't changed that much since I worked London.
The day improved after that. We walked down Regent Street, across Piccadilly and Leicester Square and ended up in Trafalgar Square. Better than taking the tube, even it was a bit damp, as we could admire the lights and window shop. Our friends had tickets to see 'The Nutcracker' at the Coliseum so they went there while Kate and I went to the National Gallery and the Portrait Gallery. She wasn't that keen but indulged me as I had endured Topshop. Got my Monet fix and then went next door and saw a fabulous portrait of Judy Dench who looked just like she was about to walk out of the frame. We rested our weary legs in the restaurant on the top floor for a fairly pricey but tasty afternoon tea. Great views over London though, as you can just about see in my not very good photograph. A good day out to mark the end of the holiday.