Sunday, July 13, 2008
"Going up! And round - and down..."
Saturday I took my 14 year old daughter and her boyfriend to London for the day. It was a surprise for his birthday. We drove to Cockfosters and then took the tube into Waterloo. Then began the queuing!! The London Eye is a huge wheel with 'pods' all round it. You have to jump on while it's still moving and then, over the course of around 40 minutes, you do a 'circuit'. One turn of the wheel.
OK, so queuing 45 minutes to go on a 40 minute trip in a glass bubble stuck on a wheel might sound a bit odd, but in fact it was terrific. Although my younger companions were perhaps slightly phobic of heights, in fact everyone was fine in the pod. You just looked out and there was a terrific view across London. St Paul's, the 'Gherkin', Canary Wharf, the Houses of Parliament... all could be seen. The higher we went, the more amazing the view. And close up there were strange sights too - in a central courtyard (which you could not see at ground level) was a weird octagonal building that looked like some weird secret headquarters.
When we reached the top, my daughter gave her boyfriend his birthday present - an engraved silver bracelet. Sounds girly, but it wasn't - it was very cool and he was very pleased indeed.
After our trip we headed into town for a pizza - but there was a problem with the trains. The Central Line was closed (body on the line...) and thus the trains were absolutely packed. My daughter and her boyfriend are both slightly claustrophobic so it wasn't the most comfortable of tube journeys. What made it worse was one fellow getting his head shut in the train doors. No serious injury, thankfully.
After pizza we did a quick bit of shopping. I took them into Selfridges but we couldn't stay in long - it was so hot! The shop was so warm we felt unwell. And then we went back into the underground and got squished and boiled even further.
By the time we got home it was gone 7pm and I sat down, exhausted but happy. We'd all had a good day. The phone rang. "Where are you?" came the cry - from a band expecting me to be there playing bass with them! My pal Cathy had mentioned the gig, I'd told her I was free but never heard anything more.
The worlds quickest change and loading of the car and I was off again. We were playing at a wedding in Harpenden and, as often happens, the speeches had overrun. So by the time the guests turned up for dancing I was nicely settled on stage, plugged in and ready to play.
They danced, we played, Adrian called the dances. At the break we looked at the remains of the buffet. Lots of things 'on sticks'. Prawns, reformed meat of some kind and a few other odd things like mini sausages. No salad, no cheese or stuff like that. Adrian looked crestfallen, being vegetarian. No problem! I was his official taster and found that some of the stick things were actually vegetables, and the odd looking ball things were onion bahjees.
We finished the dance and I drove home very tired, but quite happy. From up the in the sky on a huge wheel in the afternoon to playing at a very happy couple's wedding in the evening. Sunday would be a day to take things easy!
(In fact on I swam 24 lengths, went for a walk on the heath and did the ironing. I also tried an experiment with dinner - chicken stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. A success, thankfully.)