Our annual marital pilgrimage to London is over again. SWMBO and I took the nice car on a 1,200 mile round trip to London, Frimley and Bristol, catching up with some old friends and doing some London based things. Squid was supposed to come, but her double-degree work is starting to mount up and she worked instead.
So firstly, Warren Elsmore and I met up with Matt in the Urban Animal restaurant on Saturday morning for a quick cup of tea, a quick letch at the iPad, and a quick 'wow' from me on Matt's non-smoking, exercise '10 years younger' look. Then Warren and I drove to Newcastle for yet another #pdl. Scary stuff. Meeting the Leprechaun in questions' brothers was a hoot, and exchanging Leprecuan stories long into the morning was a blast. Newcastle was a zoo. Highly recommended if you like very drunk fancy dress.
Sunday SWMBO appeared at the station, after listening to some idiot compliain on his phone for two hours of a three hour train journey. She was ready to kill when she appeared, so I spirited her back to the Starwoods suite in Newcastle for a cup of tea. I have to mention that Starwoods suites are a new Holiday Inn brand, suite-based hotel and very nice. Recommended.
Then we drove to York and the Royal York hotel, which looked fantastic on the website but was complete crap in person. Think of a huge mausauleum to 70's decoration and amenties and add in some monty-python like service, and you have the Royal York. Class. Our bathroom sloped off downhill, and was last redecorated when flares were in fashion. No. Seriously. And the king-king sized bed had the topography not of a bed, but of a small range of mountains, fashioned out of old bits of ironmongery. Curse you, lastminute.com!
And then we drove down to see a very old friend, and had a lovely Chinese. Finally, Elephant and Castle, where I smuggled the car into Brendans' car-parking slot (beside a 30-year old Bristol!) and we retired for a very late evening on Monday.
Tuesday, bright and breezy, we hit the shops and I got some chocolate (from Hotel Chocolat - very nice!) and a new suit. We then hit the 'Lotusphere comes to you' at a very posh London Hotel, just as it was finishing. Just in time in fact to get Professor Brian Cox to autograph my iPad. And then - foolishly - I let SWMBO meet my workmates from the-client-that-cannot-be-named. Cue a very long night in the pub...
Wednesday broke painfully, and we just limped around, doing not very much, before getting ready for Chris' wedding on the Thursday - and what a corker of a wedding it was too. A registry office service in Chelsea, then onto Faten's folks place in Kensington for the muslim blessing. Amazing stuff - the Iman took good care of us 'muggles'.
Friday we headed off to Bristol to meet up with yet another old friend - unfortunately confined to a mobility scooter after a horrific mid-life-crisis fitness accident. And then on Saturday we drove the long and winding (and mostly clogged up around Birmingham and Manchester) road.
Of course, the big news this week was the Icelandic Volcano that resulted in all European flights being grounded. Thank god we chose to do a staycation, and could get home under our own steam.