What has 10 eyes, 10 legs, 6 loud nostrils, one bed and a campsite?
With the arrival of the Mum, Dad and Uncle War into Heathrow a few days ago, it was decided that we would all share our one bed flat, mainly as it is cost effective, but also, as Sarah is the latest addition to the Larkin lineage, it was a good way for her to get to know everyone… intimately. Whilst they were upgraded in Dubai during their stopover on the way to visiting their favourite son/nephew, it was, unfortunately, going to be more of a downgrade for them as arrived at their Chiswick base.
Thankfully, the flat is not too small and we all fit comfortably enough, with Sarah and I making camp in the kitchen. The positive – you have a fridge full of beer next to your bed. The negative – you have a fridge full of beer next to your bed. Whoever’s fault it was, we didn’t get to bed until 2am, so it was a slow and steady start for (most) of us the next morning.
We managed to make it into London Town just in time for lunch on Friday afternoon, so it was straight to Borough Market for a look around and to introduce them all to the Salt Beef Sandwich. Before we knew it, it was beer o’clock so it was off to The Shard and up to the Aqua bar for a quick drink. Well, at least that was the plan. Due to someone being dressed in hip and happening trainers and not leather shoes we were quickly sent back through the revolving doors and out onto the sunny streets of London from which we came. I had been recommended a pub nearby Borough Market called The George Inn that is run by the National Trust and is the only surviving galleried London Coaching Inn. Thanks Wiki.
It’s a fantastic old pub that has plenty of character as well as great staff, some of who will randomly pop out of the floor to say hello. Well worth a visit. After a couple of pints we were in a black cab and heading to Cheapside so I could point out where I work and tell them my amazing tales of the Bow Bells, Cockney’s, a Cut Loaf and heading Ou’ Ou’! With the ‘oldies’ clearly mesmerized by my remarkable knowledge, I quickly led them to the top of One New Change where I continued my informative tour with the great view of St Paul’s and the Thames. It was either my invigorating story about the OXO Tower or that the sun was out (or both) but it was decided they needed a drink.
We had a quick look in at one of my favourite butchers, Barbecoa, before a quick look inside the incredible Cathedral that is St Paul’s. It was then back in a cab to Covent Garden, where we would meet up with Sarah for dinner at London’s oldest restaurant, Rules. Normally, I would book Rules the day after friends or family arrive from a long haul flight when we would sit down to eat just as their jetlag sets in. Not wanting to break from tradition, I did the same thing and while the food was as good as always, we managed one course before deciding to head on home. Thankfully, the drive from the West End to Chiswick heads past a lot of London’s landmarks, so we could continue with the Larko’s Tour of London as we went past Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch, Harrods, the Natural History Museum and the, er, Hammersmith Flyover before we all crawled into our respective beds/sofas/camp beds.
Highlights of the Day:
Mum: Salt Beef Sandwich/St Paul’s Cathedral
Dad: Barbecoa Butchers/OXO Tower Story
Warren: Barbecoa Butchers
Wade: Bow Bell’s Story (1st & 3rd Time)
Sarah: The sweets taken from Rules
The next day and we were out the door at the crack of noon where we left Uncle War to his own devices at our other favourite Butchers, Macken Brothers and the directions to the Lamb Brewery/Barley Mow at the base of our flats. Sarah was off making hats so it was Mum, Dad & I heading out to Westminster. As soon as we popped out of the Westminster Station at the base of Big Ben, I knew it was going to be a special day. The sun was shining and I believed we were going to stumble across something Sarah and I have only heard about but never seen. Without wanting to give this natural/man-made phenomenon away, we wandered away from Westminster Bridge towards Parliament Square and on to Westminster Abbey. We were three among millions so we decided not to join the queue and wandered back towards the bridge where my suspicions were confirmed. On the right day, at the right time, with the sun in the right position, Westminster Bridge casts a shadow that can only be described as…well, make up your own mind….
After what was no doubt going to be the highlight of our day, we continued across the bridge and along Southbank against the crowd before stopping for lunch. It wasn’t long until we were back on the Southbank and wandering downstream towards Blackfriars Bridge and the Tate Modern where we stopped to wait for Sarah and have a beer at the Founders Arms that my friend, Reuben, and I modelled at once.
With the arrival of Sarah, we all wandered down to The Globe and managed to jump on the last tour of the day (half price) that took us into the pit and up into the balconies. It is definitely worth visiting, pick your show though, we went once and I only found out at the end that The Tempest is a Storm… would of helped 3 hours earlier. It was getting late, so we wandered back across the Wobbly Bridge where we had a great view of the Thames at dusk before rushing back on the Tube back to tell Uncle War about the shadows upon Westminster Bridge.
Highlights of the Day:
Mum: Westminster Bridge
Wade: Penis Bridge
Sarah: Photos of the Willy Bridge
Warren: No highlights as he missed the shadow’s on Westminster Bridge
Sunday morning and the sun was shining so we, along with the other 8 million residents of Greater London, decided it was a good time to drive on out to Henley in our three door Polo. After a small traffic jam in Windsor, we decided, for some reason, to bypass Slough and instead, headed through the beautiful village of Bray, home to a total of 8 Michelin stars and on to Henley. Unfortunately after a 45 minute traffic jam heading into Henley, we saw all the pubs were full so headed straight out to find an alternative. We stopped in another nice village at a pub in Marlow called the Hand and Flowers… turns out there are quite a few Michelin starred establishments in this area, so it too, was booked out so it was back in the car and on our way back to Chiswick with the stench of Slough behind house. Thankfully everyone in Chiswick had either eaten already, or they were in the park enjoying the sunshine so we had a quick burger at the Crown & Anchor before settling in to what is now becoming a Sunday ritual – Happy Hour at Sam’s Brasserie. We quickly depleted their stocks of cold Corona’s before undertaking the arduous journey home next door. In the end it was worth the drive.
Highlights of the Day:
Dad: Happy Hour at Sam’s
Wade: Happy Hour at Sam’s
Sarah: Happy Hour at Sam’s
Warren: Happy Hour at Sam’s