Updated: Jul 8
Pam and I decided it was a St James’s Park day and to enjoy the glorious sunshine so we tubed it there and a quick 3 minute walk to the Park through Queen’s Gate. What a fantastic few hours we had, relaxing in deckchairs, eating sandwiches, ice cream while watching all the Canada geese waddle up to us! See our photos and you’ll get an idea of what a special place it is.
After relishing all that, it was time to head off to Soho to meet my lovely friend Nina Kristofferson at The Soho Hotel, Dean Street. It became the highlight of our trip. What an awesome place the Soho Hotel is tucked away but a regular meeting place for Nina and her musical theatre colleagues and clients, as she’s a very busy West End singer, actress, director, producer AND vocal coach to singers, actors and individuals.
What a delightful time we all had in their restaurant having tea and cakes and afterwards in the beautiful lobby area taking selfies and asking a gentleman to kindly take some photos of us together. Nina, you have the most wicked laugh! It was like having a school girl reunion except that Nina is a little younger than us two but obviously we shared the same spirit and humour! See our photos and you’ll understand how we got on.
I got to know Nina on LinkedIn over the recent years and I thought it was about time we actually met in person, so I was glad I texted her several days before our trip to organise our meeting up. She was delighted and so curious to meet me at last and I her.
We talked business and I ended up offering to help her promote her two London singing performances on 20th and 24th October at Art Deco supper club venues in Chelsea and Piccadilly. See details here and if you love smokey blues and all that jazz, you’ll be booking tickets asap to catch her perform. She’s a 5* Sell-Out critically acclaimed singer performer for her self-penned “Billie Holiday Story” both in London and Edinburgh, and national tours from 2011-2018. And New York is now beckoning!
NEWSFLASH! Just confirmed that I will be going to London on 20th October to see Nina perform at The Pheasantry, Kings Road, Chelsea!! Yay! Here’s looking at you kid...and all that jazz!
After our historic meeting, we both walked slowly chatting all the way to Tottenham Court Road underground, saying goodbye and hugging Nina, to head back to Victoria Bus Station and home.
End of historic London trip...and Sunday relaxing at my Beeston Rylands home. With excited thoughts of flying off to Dublin on Monday to see and stay with my best blarney friend and photographer Theresa Moynes!
Updated: Jul 8
We decided to visit the National Art and National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square so walked to the local tube station which in fact only took about 10 minutes in the brilliant sunshine, and a chance to see the busy high street. Central line is excellent and fast (though Victoria line is the fastest) and we made it in around 40 minutes with one tube change. We had a glorious time in the current Impressionist exhibition and then trotted off round the corner to the Portrait Gallery and Cafe in the basement. Yummy food and great ambiance.
I love the Portrait Gallery especially the 60s to Present section, and just wished we could have indulged in the current Michael Jackson exhibition but it was a bit expensive to enter. If anyone has been let me know your thoughts about it, maybe we’ll get another chance to visit.
After being fed, we tootled along by tube to Covent Garden as we hadn’t been there for ages, making sure we didn’t use the Piccadilly Line as Covent Garden station was shut! Some walking but we made it. The whole place had quite a few newly built old-style colonnades added with office space over since I was last there but still it shone with its old magic and bustling stalls. An opera singer voicing her arias from below in the main market building, a nice interlude and perfect pitch place acoustics.
Brought back lovely memories for me as I worked in Covent Garden in the mid 1970s first for Conran Associates/Habitat Designs Press Office on Neal Street, before I moved to BBC Publications (Marylebone High St) and then BBC Radio (Charlotte St and Broadcasting House) for more money! Can you imagine I actually timed records for the production schedules of Pete Murray’s Show with 5.5 million listeners daily! Now that’s a thought for you and how audio technology has moved on since then.
The 1970s were great times to be in London, loved it! Colebrooke House, Colebrooke Row behind the Angel tube station, Islington is where I lived! All Georgian terraced houses worth millions now as most converted back to individual dwellings in the 1980s. I shared our first floor flat with Polly Bayliss, my best friend from Lady Bay Infants school in West Bridgford, (she was a packaging/graphic designer) who persuaded me to come to the big city in 1973, so I got the Habitat shop Victoria Centre to promote me to their head office in Covent Garden. And the rest is history!
Headed off down Burleigh Street to the Strand and onwards to Charing Cross station to get home. Once there, we enjoyed the rest of our Indian meal and Shiraz, and watched Netflix. Lovely.
Updated: Jul 8
Had news that my son Sam and his girlfriend Jo were off to Finland for two weeks to visit her parents there and he kindly offered his flat in London to me while away, so I grabbed the opportunity and invited my Beeston friend and fine artist Pam Miller to come with me. Keeping costs down to a minimum, we decided to National Express bus it to the capital and back which turned out not bad at all - £18 return! I hadn’t bussed it for yonks as prefer the faster train using my senior railcard for my one day trips.
We arrived at Victoria bus station around 1.30pm on Thursday and tubed it to South Kensington to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and on arrival sat and basked in the sunshine in its courtyard for a quick coffee and sandwich. Then off to wallow and gasp in their Jewellery department - always an incredible collection on the two floors there - and a meander into their Miniatures dept and Sculptures, and then further into their Medieval architectural, wooden relics areas and medieval gothic paintings. More gasps!
Decided to walk up the road to Hyde Park and sit a while in the sunshine. Crikey, how busy it is nowadays with runners and cyclists! Good to see though and how fitness is key to the young and old. Pam and I took turns to use the exercise equipment in the garden park of the Bowls and Tennis Club…! Certainly something that Beeston parks should install in the near future. I know children’s play areas in our parks are being updated/installed but hey, remember us seniors wishing to keep fit outdoors will you Broxtowe Borough Council!?
Headed back down to Knightsbridge Underground to get the tube back but alas, we found that Knightsbridge station and all of the Piccadilly Line were on strike action and thus closed. We were stuck, so had some quick thinking to do in the rush hour. Pam looked on her phone for any red buses going to Oxford Circus and lo and behold, it was the No 22 we managed to catch by corner of Hyde Park and after much driving and cornering round different streets, we tumbled out near Oxford Circus and tubed it back home to Sam’s flat in East London via Central Line.
Then caught a taxi from his local tube station and were there in 6 minutes and £5 fare well spent! No, Pam and I hadn’t the strength to walk it there, goes to show how unfit we both are! It was 8.30pm by the time we arrived. What a great first floor flat in large semi-detached Edwardian house on leafy street they have, so spacious and comfortable with all mod cons, clean and big windows! Lovely park down the road for Sam’s daily run.
We unpacked and decided to order a take-away from Star of India, recommendations left by Sam on a handwritten note for me. Justeat.com a great app which Sam said to use, and he also told me to use Citymapper app while in London which was great, so no need to use London A-Z books anymore as I did in the 1970s when I lived in the capital. What a fabulous yummy Indian vegetarian meal we had, in fact too much for us so saved half of the portion to be eaten the following night. Thanks Sam for the bottles of red Shiraz wine you left, perfect! Mind you, Pam and I only drank half a bottle over the two nights… when you get to our ages wine gets to the parts quicker lol!
Sam had previously sent me a video tutorial on how to use their TV Netflix channel via their laptop there so thanks again son!