Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Winter's Tale

Hi all, here's a quick catch up on our recent activities here in ye ol' London town.

Jamie Oliver
After arriving back from our 9 day drive around the UK, we celebrated our anniversary in style at Jamie Oliver's restaurant 15. There we were treated to an amazing 7 course meal which included the likes of sweet potato ravioli, Snowdonia lamb ragu and the most amazing duck/meal we've ever had.... SERIOUSLY! Sorry A'sy your Gloucester efforts were beaten.... only slightly ;). It was all capped off with a chocolate cake, coffees and more chocolate!

Lord Mayors Parade
We also braved the cold, rainy weather to get a peak at the new bossman himself, the Honorable Lord Mayor. Planting ourselves just outside the Bank of England we watched as he rolled by in his fancy coach and greeted the military men of various outfits, complete with feathered hats. We ended up calling it quits halfway through the rain drenched parade and in true Aussie style made our way to the closest Walkie for a pint and feed. There we waited until 5:30pm to watch the "most amazing fireworks London had to offer".... not!

Liverpool vs Tottenham
After work one Wednesday, J and a few fellas headed out to Tottenham to watch a Carling cup match between Tottenham (obviously) and Liverpool. Bec opted out since her last trip to a Soccer match had been oh so successful, so Big Blue escorted young JJ to the game. Tottenham won 4-2 with some of Liverpool's biggest players missing.

Wallabies vs England
Late one Thursday I received a message from a friend informing me of 2 tickets to the Wallabies vs England in the rubgy, going cheap. Keen as I quickly snatched them up and the following Saturday J and I found ourselves ringside at Twickenham Stadium cheering on the green and gold. The stadium was chockers (with mainly English supporters) and although we felt slightly out numbered we still came out on top winning 24-12!

Portobello Rd Markets
The following Sunday we headed into Portobello Markets for a bit of a sticky beak. But the slight rain had kept some vendor's away. With a brief look around the stores that were open Bec still managed to come home with a knit dress, pair of boots, ballet slippers and a belt and J came away with a roast lunch (probably the worst ever) to compensate for Bec's impulse buying!

Ice-staking at Somerset House and Canary Wharf.
Well we have officially welcomed the festive season with a spot of ice-staking... so far we have visited Somerset House Ice Rink on opening night and Canary Wharf today, with a few more left to tick off. A little rusty at first and no stacks to report as yet, we can both now spin on demand... well sometimes at least ;).

We will let you know how our adventures continue.

Jamie Oliver 15 logo - so cool! I bought a hemp bag for 4 quid with it on it!

Bossman himself!

Liverpool vs Tottenham.

J, me and Pipes at the rugby.

I have no idea where this photo is taken - but i like it! :P

Us looking happy and wet on Portobello Road.

On the ice at Somerset House.

Watch him go!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Road Trippin...

Alright, so we're slowly and consistently becoming late with our updating of the blog. But life in ye old London town has been busy busy week in week out! I know we're constantly using that as an excuse but shockingly enough its true! So without further a due here is the update from our last trip, a 9 day drive around the better part of the UK.

We started off Saturday morning by heading to Windsor Castle, where we made it by the skin of our teeth to watch the changing of the guards. We then entered the Castle at an extortion price but were relieved to find that the tour guide walkie talkies that we are oh-so-fond of were free! YAY! We buzzed around the castle taking in the inner keep, the royal apartments, St Georges chapel (where King Henry the 8th is buried) and the most amazing dolls house you have ever seen! Afterward we took a very romantic stroll across the river into Eton to have a look at the college only to find that it was exam period and therefore shut to the public! We decided to push on towards Plymouth (our destination) passing through Salisbury, Berkshire and into Devon, whilst listening to our new favourite radio station BBCBerks! Weary from the 5 hour drive we fell into bed after a quick dinner.

Sunday saw us start out by exploring a rainy Plymouth by heading to the Hoe, Barbarican and Mayflower steps. The launch point for the famous ship that left for the Americas, as well as a little less know ship captained by James Cook that went on to discover Australia. We were deeply annoyed by the amount of propaganda in regards to the Mayflower and were even more annoyed to find that had we blinked we would have missed the Endeavour signage altogether! We promptly left Plymouth and made a been line for Lands End (Penzance) via a pub in Falmouth in Cornwell to watch our rival soccer teams play. There we treated ourselves to a Cornish ale and cider respectively. Once in Penzance free from pirates we had one of the most comfortable sleeps ever.

The next morning we made our way to Lands End via St Michael's Mount, to walk along some of the 'most scenic cliff faces in the UK'. Although Bec was more interested in a small Shetland Pony she met along the way and playing silly buggers with numerous photos at the over sized concrete letters that spelt out "LANDS" "END". We then backtracked slightly to visit the Minack theatre, an actual working theatre dating from the 1930s, that is cut into the cliff face and spoilt us with some of the most amazing views we'd seen thus far. We then kicked on in the pursuit of a Cornish pastry for lunch passing some ancient Celtic sights to arrive in Bristol just before dark. We took the opportunity to cross the famous suspension bridge of Bristol that night as it is amazing when lit up with all its fairy lights. We then spent the rest of the night searching out dinner and planning our next move.

Well fed and well rested we head off the next day in pursuit of some artwork by the famous graffiti artist Banksy, as Bristol is his home town. We ended up walking into Banksy Central where we found 4 artworks in 20 minutes, easily satisfied we piled back into the car and had a short drive to Cardiff. In Cardiff our hostel ran along the river bank shared with the Millennium Stadium so after a quick spin around that and a few happy snaps later we wandered up St Marys Street towards Cardiff Castle. At the Castle we were once again spoilt with a walkie talkie guide of the grounds and a real life tour guide for the apartments. From there we headed to the central markets to try some welsh cakes, before pulling into the Prince of Wales pub from some strong Welsh Cider and a steak!

The next morning we headed down to the beautiful Cardiff Bay for a stroll around before chucking a 180 in the car and heading out to Llandaff Cathedral, Castell Coch and Caerphilly. After purchasing some famous cheese at Caerphilly we headed to Liverpool. Once in Liverpool we battled the elements to make our way out to Anfield to watch the red and whites take on Portsmouth. While Liverpool came out on top, Bec did not! Cold and frozen we headed back to the hostel to warm up in a black cab driven by a funny man of which neither of us could fully understand!

Thursday we rose late and headed into town to start our Beatles fiasco! The initial stop was the Beatles story, followed by the Cavern Club and the Grapes for lunch. We then headed out of town to see Penny Lane, John Lennon's childhood home, Strawberry fields (which took) Forever (to find) and Eleanor Rigby's Grave sight. Before a late night dash to Manchester, where upon arrival we were pleasantly shocked at our accommodation we had swindled for the night. Manchester proved to be quite the bore, so we quickly exited (stage right) towards York stopping in at Old Trafford for a sneaky tour.

Once in York we fell in love with it straight away and were happy with our decision to push on despite our weariness instead of heading back to London. Being Halloween we thought we'd make the most of it and join the revellers in a ghost hunt, all 200 of them, with no luck. Our final day we joined a free (however long-winded) tour of York and were sad to discover that the Minster was shut. However, we did manage to stumble across Guy Fawkes birth registry documentation and the most amazingly quintessentially English pub! Happy to call it quits we drove back towards London and upon arriving home fell fast, fast asleep.

And so ends the road trip... but as always a few happy snaps for your perusal.
Us at St Michael's Mount

Playin Silly Buggers.

Minack Theatre.

Cardiff, Millennium Stadium

Cardiff Castle

Caephilly Castle, largest castel in Wales.

J "He'll never walk alone" at Anfield. in my heart

J at Old Trafford.

... and I think that'll do.... otherwise what photos will we inflict on you when we come home?