I have realized I go home in a month and 5 days. Wow! Where has the time gone? Over the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to soak up my favorite things about London, see new places that are my list to see before I leave, and take in a couple of shows. Last week, my husband was here visiting. While he was here, we hit some stuff I had been saving for his visit. Pics will be posted later, I promise.
While he was here, we did quite a few things. He arrived Saturday late morning. That afternoon we went to St. Paul’s, and then went to the Freemason’s Arms for supper and met some really cool folks. We ended up spending about 4 hours there; it was great! On Sunday, we went to church services at St. Paul’s. It is such a beautiful building; I highly recommend a visit when you come to London. Sunday evening we saw The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe. Amazing! After the play, we went to a special thing at the Tower of London. They do a ceremonial closing of the Tower called the Ceremony of the Keys. It was quite neat. After that, we headed back to our hotel for some much needed rest.
Our hotel was in BexleyHeath, which is about 1.2 hours from where we wanted to be in London most days, but it’s what we could afford. On Monday, we slept in a bit and headed into London around 10am or so. We spent some time walking around the area my flat is in and then went to a classic afternoon tea at the National Gallery Dining Room. We both dressed up for the occasion – he was in a suit and I was in a nice dress. It was lovely and we had a great view of Trafalgar Square. On Monday evening, we met up with my fellow library intern, John, and wandered through Chinatown looking for a good place to eat. We found one and it was fantastic. Mark was thrilled and it was really good.
On Tuesday, we went to The Making of Harry Potter. It was a pretty good hike to it; three changes on train and tube. It was in Watford Junction, of course the opposite direction of our hotel. But it was so worth it! We had an amazing time. Definitely worth a visit if you are any kind of a Harry Potter fan. They have the sound stages they worked on, props galore, an a/v guide that gives you some neat behind the screen access, and some really cool concept art. We spent about 4 hours there looking at everything and taking lots and lots of photos. The gift shop alone is worth a visit. If you are from Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, bring your wallet. They have as much of those houses as they do of Gryffindor or Slytherin. We acquired birthday and Christmas presents for my best friend and my sister who are Hufflepuffs. After our full day there, we headed straight back to BexleyHeath, where we had supper and went to bed.
On Wednesday, we headed back over towards my flat so we could tour Freemason’s Hall. It’s the home of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and an awesome looking building. They do free tours during the weekdays at various hours. We had scheduled the noon tour. It was pretty neat. There were only 7 of us on the tour so we had no problems hearing anything the guide said. It’s a beautiful building and I recommend a stop there if you are interested in Masonic history or movies. It’s been in quite a few films, more than I could list here. Afterwards, Mark and I had lunch the Freemason’s Arms again where he had his fish and chips. You must have that when you come to England. He came back to my flat and put on his suit so he could go to lodge. There was one meeting at 5pm, and he was able to go. I worked while he was at lodge. Felt like old times. He had a really good time, but isn’t sure his liver could survive being a Mason in England.
Thursday, we slept in and left BexleyHeath quite late in the day. We went to King’s Cross because we wanted to take our pics at Platform 9 3/4. Warner Brother’s now has a shop there and they will take professional photos for you, and you can take as many as you like with your own camera. What made it really cool, was the face they had house scarves there so we got to take our pics pushing the luggage cart with our house scarf on. I bought a hoodie that has the Platform 9 3/4 logo on it. Touristy, I know, but I had to have it. After we did that, we went to Westminster to go by Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, they had Parliament blocked off so we couldn’t get very close. However, we still got some neat shots of Mark in front of the building. Westminster Abbey was also closed, but we were able to wander around the outside of the building and in the exterior courtyard. Very neat. After we left there, we walked down Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square. We took Mark’s pic with the guard at the Horse Guards Parade and continued down Whitehall. Once we got to the square, I remembered a place that a friend recommended for whiskey – Albannach’s. We went to the downstairs bar and Mark had a flight of whiskies, and he ordered a pour of the one he liked the most. It was a nice way to end the evening.
The next morning, he flew out from Heathrow to go to NYC. We did get to have breakfast together at the airport before he left and I was sad to see him go. I’m going to miss London, but I’m looking forward to being home with my husband.