This long entry is all about a special weekend with two amazing ladies in our capital city! As mentioned in previous entry, Sue Richmond had previously invited me down to London for a few days but this invite was received when we met at Sparkle last year. At long last, we manage to agree on a date which was Friday, 8th to Sun 10th March and Sue kindly offered accommodation too but also had ask if my good lady M.R. would like to come too! This was a lovely offer but I must admit I was not sure if M.R. would wish to come especially been with me for at least 60 hours as her special friend and more importantly out in the everyday world too rather than the normal confines of the Village in Manchester. The only way I was going to find out was ask and give her the choice. Much to my surprise but of great pleasure, M.R. agreed to come but I had put emphasis that Sue particularly ask if she wanted to come as it would be nice to meet her too. Anyway we confirmed with Sue that both of us would be coming and now looking forward to the visit. I must admit I was a little apprehensive how M.R. would be with me over the whole weekend, as it was a big thing for her to actually be with her soulmate in public but in different clothing attire! As things transpired, not sure why I was even worried about it as M.R. took things in her stride!
Anyway, Friday morning arrived, outfits already chosen and time for both of us to get ready with clothes / suitcase already packed previously in the car. I had decided to keep clothes simple with knee length skirt, top, and flatties as easier to drive for a long period. Midday arrived and we were on our way, letting Sue know accordingly. We headed down the M6, stopping off first at the M6 Toll road service station for a bite to eat and a drink with this being our first test together in public at this busy service station which was full of students heading home I assume. To be honest it was a non event, as everybody just thought we were just two women minding their own business which was in fact what we were doing. Being a non event was ideal and I’m sure gave M.R. that little extra assurance that things were going to be ok! We set off again traveling on the M6 / M40 stopping off at the Banbury service station for a short break, then we proceeded on to Sue’s via the road to hell or the big circular car park (M25) and M3 arriving at approx 6.30pm. Sue gave us a big warm welcome especially to M.R. and it was really nice to finally see her. We had decided in advance that we would stay in Friday evening, being a little tired and conserving our energy for the following day. While I unpacked the car, Sue and M.R. got to know each other a little better and by the time I entered the fray, it was clear to me that both of them were getting on like a house on fire - that was nice and made me relaxed straight away. Then again, it is no surprise really, as Sue is a lovely warm person and I knew she would make M.R. at ease. The rest of the night was just a girly night with Sue being the perfect host, laying on wine, excellent home cooked food and generally chilling out with catching up on news n stuff. Before we knew, it was bedtime and getting some sleep for tomorrow’s day out to West End, Covent Garden etc.
The following morning (Sat), after all getting ready (flat boots being the order of the day) and having breakfast, we all headed to the local station to get the train to Waterloo which was a first for me, as never travelled on a train as KD before, but yet another non event. By this time, it was clear that M.R. was in relaxed mood and taking things in her stride. Having arrived at a busy Waterloo Station, we then headed for the underground to Leicester Square, yet another first for me but this time it is full in your face public interaction, with no escape - not sure why I was bothered to be honest, as it felt natural. Sue had previously arranged an loose itinerary of things to do and see on our visit to the West End but it became very clear early on, she knew everywhere and kept us entertained throughout the day. Having arrived in the West End, we all went to Caffe Vergnano in Charing Cross Road for coffee and highly recommended too. We proceeded to meet Joanne, the barmaid at the Cambridge P.H. and one of Sue’s friends too. Joanne made us welcome but became clear to me, she was quite a character to say the least but a lovely person too. I suppose the best way I can put it, she is crackers! :-)) Shortly afterwards, we made our way to “Melanie” a fine Italian Restaurant, Old Compton St for a pre-arranged lunch with another friend of Sue’s, namely Petra, a charming lovely TS from Sussex. For the next 90 mins or so, we were served excelllent food and plenty of girly chat covering a multitude of subjects, then it was time to part our ways sadly. Hopefully, I will meet Joanne and Petra again, it would be nice.
For the rest of the afternoon, we visited numerous places including Seven Dials, Covent Garden which is always full of activity, with some very good street entertainers including some shopping too. Other places included Shorts Gardens, Neals Yard and numerous side streets with some unusual but interesting shops - it you want it, its there! In fact, without Sue, we would have no idea where we were and never come across these fascinating locations. We eventually arrived at a quaint but lovely cafe La Roche on St Martins Lane were tea and scones was the order of the day and more importantly to recharge our feet! After that we headed for the lights of Shaftesbury Ave, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square with its Swiss carillon. Eventually Sue lead to us a wonderful pub called Chandos near to Trafalgar Square which is highly recommend, as the atmosphere is solely created by people chatting and laughing - yes no music, fruit machines or TVs, but with nice open fires and booths an oasis in a mad city! I just wish there were more places like this! We had by now been out nearly 10 hours and time for more food. On this occasion, we visited Wong Kei (Wonkys as otherwise known), a basic restaurant with cheap but excellent Chinese food which is located in Wandour St on the edge of Chinatown. Not sure how Sue find’s places like this especially in London of all places. By the time we finished our meal, all three of us were a little weary and time to head home to Sue’s via the Underground and train to Twickers!
This was some day, out for over 12 hours, full on with Joe Public and not a single problem encountered by anyone, in fact we were treated (as expected) with courtesy and respect, what more could you ask for. More importantly, M.R. thoroughly enjoyed her day too and as she said later, it was being out with two lovely normal girls. What more could I ask for - mmmm “wow”.
The following morning (Sunday), got ready, had breakfast and went for a long but very chilly walk around Sue’s local area and Marble Hill Park near to the the River Thames. It was our intention to have a pub lunch but sadly the high tide of the River Thames put paid to that as the area in question was gradually getting flooded so we played safe and went to Orleans House Gallery for a warming coffee and cake! I must admit in hindsight, I’ve should of worn a longer skirt or even trousers for the walk as I spend some of the time, holding down my skirt from the chilly wind but at least I was warm (just) and had my over the knee leather flat boots. Afterwards, we went back to Sue’s for hot soup and snack before packing the car to head home. It was time to say our good byes to Sue who had been a wonderful host but more importantly made both of us feel at home especially M.R. In a lot of ways, although Sue would be the last person to admit this, but she made our weekend and one that neither of us will ever forget for numerous reasons - all “we” can say is a BIG THANK YOU for an excellent enjoyable weekend, hopefully we can do it again sometime.
Sue has also made an entry in her blog about this weekend, see - http://suerichmond.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/a-tourist-in-my-own-city.html and there are also some images of the weekend on my flickr site.
Finally, I cannot finish this story without an extra mention of my partner M.R. who also made this weekend extra special indeed and in my eyes what more could I ever ask for. In fact I never in my wildest dreams, that she would ever think about going out with me for a weekend as KD especially full in your face weekend jaunt in London! This say’s a lot about my lady indeed and proves that with a lot of love and understanding, that miracles can happen although to get this far has not been without numerous discussions, hurt, moving the goalposts, and most of all patience! As M.R. has said on a few occasions over the last 18 months, she has finally accepted her special friend K.D. and now I firmly believe her! Wow!!
Again, my personal thanks to two amazing but special ladies for a great weekend. xxxxx