Saturday, 10 February 2018

Catching up with Sisters in London

Our hotel was by The Tower of London

View from the Sky Garden

I haven't written a post for ages and so I thought I'd use this rather damp, grey but quiet Saturday morning to write a brief round up of the last month or so.  I was spurred into action by a lovely letter from my cousin in Northern Ireland who says she missing reading this.

So what have I been up to? Well except for one weekend in London when I met up with my sisters, it has been a quiet time here.  No more builders and we're getting used to our new kitchen which is no longer pristine but more lived in. And a big chunk of January was wiped out because both Paul and I had flu - the worst flu I've had in years.  I had to take a whole week off work and really it was over two weeks before I was back to normal.

So our weekend trip to London cheered up a rather grim month.  It was all a bit last minute - NI sister and husband coming over for optics conference and wondered if any of the rest of us living in England could come and join them on the Saturday evening.  Turns out all of us could  - we hadn't seen each other at Christmas so it was a good opportunity.  I took Kate with me, having promised her a weekend in London. We arrived on Saturday afternoon and before meeting the others went to the British Library, a wonderful building which was full of young people of all nationalities studying or writing on laptops, and had a look at some of the historical documents stored there.  Kate was interested in Chamberlain's letters and one written by Mary Tudor.  I discovered the original handwritten draft with corrections of Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the one that starts 'How do I love thee, let me count the ways', which I am currently teaching to year 11; they were not that impressed when I told them.

We got a good deal and stayed in a hotel with great views of Tower Bridge from its Sky Lounge where we met on the Saturday night for cocktails and were joined by the eldest nephew Matthew and his new girlfriend.  There was much talk of Matthew's recent TV appearance.  He was one of the engineers who was volunteered by his company to be involved in 'The Biggest Little Railway in the World,' a Channel 4 documentary about building a model railway track through the Scottish Highlands.  Then we walked to St Katherine's Dock and ate in an Italian restaurant.  There were 10 of us in total and I suspect we were a bit loud.  Thanks to the wonders of technology, the missing sister, Maureen, who was on a boat somewhere in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, was able to join in the conversation for a while via Facetime.

On Sunday morning we went to the Sky Garden which is at the top of a tall tower block in Fenchurch Street.  You can get in for free though you need to book tickets in advance.  I loved it: a tropical looking indoor garden with palm trees and spectacular views of London, even on a fairly grey, overcast morning.  There's a cafe and a posh restaurant and it wasn't too busy as they restrict the numbers up there at one time.  After that we went to the Covent Garden area.  Sylvia, who is still a child at heart, wanted to go to the Lego shop.  She was disappointed as it wasn't as big as she expected. By mid-afternoon everyone was getting weary and we went our separate ways.  Kate and I had an hour or so before the train so we went to Camden Market where we purchased a Turkish lamp for her room.

A lovely weekend (it's two weeks ago now) and a break from the grim, grey routine of January/February.  One thing I have been doing a lot of  recently is reading.  I am currently enjoying 'The Green Road' by Ann Enright.  So I'm planning a book post soon.  We have a new laptop too - it is faster and easier to type on than the old one which expired last week after Paul dropped it.

Coffee in the Sky Garden

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a lovely weekend away and it is really nice that you were able to catch up with family. We rarely do, I haven't seen Richard's brother and family in three years (at least)... Ah well. I am looking forward to your book post (no pressure!), I enjoy my fiction at the moment. I am listening to Will Self's "How the dead live", it is unmistakingly Will Self. Glad that you and Paul are better now and hope you stay health for the rest of the winter. x