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Originally posted April 1 2009 at 23:04 (which was April Fool's Day) under Friends and Moments. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled. Last modified: 31 May 2012 at 09:21

A Week With Jan

So as promised, a further post. I was off work for a week while Janet visited and then we headed back to Newcastle for mothers’ day. So good it’s broken into bits…

Blessed with fine weather we were, blessed. Anyway, so long it’s broken down day by day… possibly quite boring to anyone else but that’s what such personal spaces are for sometimes: Moments and memories for yourself.


Jan arrived on Friday night so after recovering we decided it was probably an idea to head to the supermarket for supplies for the week (yes, I did—well, we did—cook respectable meals at various points). After that we just chilled and enjoyed being together.


Another chilling day, heading into Croydon town centre for a wander, followed by a pint in The Green Dragon which we think is pretty good (though why do I only seem to be in there when there’s jazz on??). Then we went the “wrong way” (deliberately!) on the tram for a rather nice wander in the Sun around Lloyd Park


Photograph of Big Ben

Ah Monday, and time to hit London proper, Janet working on her inbuilt dislike of tubes and ticket barriers. First, because she’d never been and I have a PhD, it had to be the Science Museum. We came to a conclusion someone there seems to be slightly over keen to stick cars to the ceiling. Perhaps at some point I’ll manage to get Jan to comment what she made of it, but I of course like the science museum. Oh, and having just heard two security personnel talking about it, I did manage to briefly set off the very sensitive alarms in the Fast Forward Exhibit.

After the excitement of science (TM) we wandered round the corner to sit outside the Natural History Museum for a bit of a rest, where we were kept amused watching a young boy attempting to chase every pigeon away from the frontage.

You can’t sit around in the Sun all day though, even when on holiday, and we decided we better head home. So we ended up at Westminster, where I forced Jan to have the obligatory photo on Westminster Bridge with the London Eye in the background and we then took a stroll along the south bank back to London Bridge. Along the way we saw someone dressed as a chicken dancing on the Millennium Bridge; the normal sort of thing.

Photograph of someone dressed as a chicken, stood on London's Millennium Bridge


View from Primrose Hill

If the Sun is out in the capitol and you have the freedom and time the place to be is the park. So Tuesday saw us head to Regent’s Park. It’s funny how little I’ve really spent appreciating such amenities since I’ve been here. Very pleasant walk around, even if Jan’s foot did begin to hurt. Of course we had to walk all the way to the top of Primrose Hill for that famous view (so good even a police car pulled up—I think so the occupants could have the view with their lunch). A walk back down and time for cool drinks in the funny hub thing they have set up. I quite liked the way they’ve got the surrounding circle of glass etched with whatever area you’re looking at. Probably not the best way to do strange stretching walk things like the two women outside decided to do mind.

There’s always onwards and more though in such a packed city as London. And one of those places that has to be done is Covent Garden. We had a beer (and I had chocolate fudge cake because you can’t have alcohol without food in that particular cafe—and we thought the licensing laws had been enlightened!). There was a performer on the main pitch trying to get attention but not doing very well. The acrobatic guy just inside had a better audience though. We watched him for a while as he collected children to jump over, then felt cheated when he finally had them crouch down to perform his somersault over. Still, I don’t suppose I could do that!

After the excitement of Covent Garden there was just time for a walk down the road and a touristy look at Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. It’s not that I don’t know the National Gallery is there, or that it holds some masterpieces, it’s just that the great works it does hold aren’t really my taste. So I haven’t really spent much time in there. We both liked the horse, but thought it’s neck or head looked a bit funny. Apparently I made some sort of “serious sad” face when turning away from Monet. I presume because I don’t much like Monet.


Brighton Beach

Brighton Pier

If there is one thing the British do more at the sight of the Sun than go to the park it is go to the seaside. So off we went, a little train journey away to the delights of Brighton. There’s a pier (and one now burned down). The beach is much rockier than I’d ever realised—I think I walked through more sand last time on a building site than I saw there. We walked down the pier, enjoyed the Sun, and then found a Lego shop!!! (a shop dedicated to selling Lego, not a shop made of Lego…) I was dragged out with only three minifigs from the build your own minifig bit. Everywhere should have such a Lego shop. Oh, there was a nice pub too, and a bookshop. I like second hand bookshops.


Photo of a squirrel eating a nut

After all the excitement of the seaside it was back to the park—to hunt for deer! I’ve been to Greenwich Park before—the Royal Observatory is there—but I don’t think I’d ever realised how nice it all is. We went there because it seemed the most immediately accessible of the parks to have deer (would you believe I don’t think I’d ever actually seen a deer in real life—still haven’t up close!). We had a quick wander round the observatory, with obligatory on the meridian line photo (taken on the path round just outside rather than the touristy bit—0° runs right around the world you know). The pavilion tea house seems to be the place to meet if you’re a mother with baby, which neither of us are, but the tea and cake was nice anyway. Then we made the mistake of wandering into the squirrel’s kingdom without offerings—where did everyone else get nuts from; is there some great secret of Greenwich Park I’m not privy to? So they threw us out where we started. [To clarify, the squirrels in the wildlife bit of the park are remarkably friendly, and it was obvious that this was mainly due to people feeding them nuts—we saw several couples with ready bags. We got a bit lost and ended up more or less back where we’d entered that area without knowing how. Obviously all the magical squirrels’ fault]. After we’d been so successful feeding the ducks too.

Ian Scott stood against a tree in Greenwich Park

We did try and see the deer but they were keeping their distance, so we sort of made them out vaguely. Ah well, always next time. Instead we looked at the Elizabeth Oak (fallen, fenced off, not, frankly, that interesting any more) and I made Janet climb one tree hill for the view. We didn’t bother with the maritime museum as Janet pointed out They’re ships. They float!

With a little time to the day left we made something of a dash across London to return to the Natural History Museum, this time actually going inside. Wouldn’t the earthquake simulator be much more fun (and dangerous) if it really accurately reflected what you see on the monitor screens?


Friday was a bit of an anticlimax because we knew we had to get a train, and had to pack Jan up (not her, but all the associated possessions!). So we wandered to the “village” as Janet inadvertently called it (Croydon town centre). Still, a week spent in the Sun with your girlfriend is a week well spent indeed, I must say.


As is often the case more photos are available in the gallerys:

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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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