Guest blog part 2: On to London, by Sue (Anji’s mum)

Well, the SGD report was well-received by the boss so I’ll continue….

Thursday 24 April
After our lovely day yesterday and with our ‘big trip’ to The Smoke looming large and for which we both needed to pack/re-pack , we applied ourselves to the task in hand and surprised ourselves by managing not to make our luggage too unmanageable. As a reward, we had an early lunch, left the meat for the evening meal gently cooking in the oven and opted for an afternoon of pootling around a shopping area not too far away by bus. Our meal didn’t need too much effort to complete when we returned so we opened a bottle of wine to accompany it (of course!) and afterwards settled down for a natter, laugh and a bit of tele-watching and enjoyed pitting our joint wits against the questions on some recorded quiz programmes. After all, we have to make sure our brains still work whilst we’re relaxing! … and so to bed in readiness for the next part of our adventure.

Friday 25 April
Oh dear, I’m not used to this early-rising lark now that I’m retired but we set our alarms and were ready at the appointed time for our taxi to the coach stop (both of us relieved by the fact that the nearby facilities would be open and available before our long journey). Not having travelled by National Express coach for a good while we weren’t sure what to expect but found the 5 hr journey comfortable enough and kept ourselves amused by reading, talking and generally enjoying the ride. It took us a little while to understand our friendly driver’s announcements as his accent was a mix of his native language and Liverpudlian, but he and a second driver did an excellent job and deposited us at the coach station in London on time. It was but a short walk to the train station from whence to continue to the suburbs and our ultimate destination. We’d chosen a hotel in which we’d stayed on a previous football trip as, though basic, it meets our needs of a clean, comfortable bed, a no-frills (but adequate) cooked breakfast and a good location from which to reach our targeted visiting places. The only drawback is that it’s quite a walk from the station up a very steep hill! Maybe we’ll do the Ritz next time – who knows? Anyway, we were happy with our room so, after settling in, we made good use of our Oyster card/free bus pass and made our way, umbrellas in hand, to the nearest Café Rouge restaurant for our evening meal. Thank you to Billy for the voucher which covered most of that.

Puddings 🙂

To round off the day, we acquainted ourselves with the bar back at our hotel for a nightcap and use of the free WiFi and that was the end of the beginning. We retired to our room to plan for the next day and have a good sleep…..

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