New years eve 2010, London. We, that is me and the wife, travelled down to Earlsfield in South West London to spend the new year with our eldest daughter, Emma, who lives there permanently. During the Christmas period, Emma had come back home to stay with us for a family get-together and had surprised her mum and me with a present of two tickets to see a show in the West End (Calendar Girls) on New Years Eve.
New Years eve started very early in the morning for us at about 7am. Emma was renting a private flat with her then girlfriend. and their flat was in the attic of an old Victorian house, with magnificent views across Southern London but unfortunately directly under Gatwick’s or Heathrow’s (Can’t remember which) flight path.
We wrapped up pretty early and walked down the long road to catch the train into Central London, disembarking at Waterloo to grab a cheeky McDonald breakfast by the side of Westminster Bridge. The cold early morning didn’t appear to have put off the sightseers, who scuttled around, shoulder to shoulder across the iconic bridge. I wondered if any of these tourists realised or appreciated the significance of the bridge or considered the historical personalities that had once walked across the river towards Parliament and beyond.
We strolled across the bridge casually, taking in the presence of Big Ben as the tourist boats passed by underneath us, the feint sound of the guide on the passing boat gradually fading away as the distance grew between us. I casually remarked to the wife that she would be an ideal guide for the tourists because she seems to know everything there is to know and she would save them the price of a loud speaker. (I walked very quickly in front of her at this point)
At about noon, we wandered into China Town for a bite to eat. I love this part of London because I am mostly driven by the aroma of exotic foods. In fact, every time we visit Emma, which is about 3 or 4 times a year, we very often go to the same Irish pub that stands at the edge of China Town, just so we can sit upstairs to get a birds eye view of the main colourful street that cuts its way through the centre. I love the vibrant colours and I get to use my authentic Irish accent on the people who serve in the pub (The wife doesn’t like me doing this. She finds it embarrassing, which only encourages me to become more experimental) Eventually, but I suspect begrudgingly, she laughs!!