Sunday, 16 February 2014

London Hour by Hour

6.30: Leeds station, in the dark. I am bleary eyed and holding a coffee, and it takes me back to my commuting days.


7.30: The sun rises somewhere around Doncaster. I have a magazine, a bag of crochet and the seat next to me is empty. Train travel is agreeable.


8.30: Blue skies in the Midlands. The forecast said wind and rain all day so this bodes well.


9.30: Hello Kings Cross station, hello London, hello my oldest and best friend, Abigail.



10.30: I am too busy shopping to remember to take a photo I'm afraid.

11.30 We leave John Lewis. Ah, how I love that shop. 




12.30: Lunch. An early birthday treat for both of us. I've never eaten lobster before but I very much want to eat it again; it was delicious, as was the Prosecco cocktail.


1.30: We walk through Soho Square. That old style Routemaster bus was carrying a wedding party who were aiming for the tall, thin church. We had fun speculating about how and why they built such a strangely narrow shaped church, and who might be getting married there.


Clouds gather over Bloomsbury. Abigail knows this area well and she's an excellent tour guide, which is just as well as I don't have a clue where I am.


2.30: Persephone Books. I've been ordering their books online for a few years but wanted to see the shop. It's lovely. Very small but perfectly formed, with a Charleston and Bloomsbury Group feel about it. Purchases were made.



3.30: We take a taxi to Postman's Park, a tiny public park hidden in the City. One of those places that is strangely silent when you step inside from a busy street, and home to an incredibly moving monument to acts of heroism. We are delighted to find one of these old fashioned Police Public Call Posts at the entrance.


We walk to St Pauls. We go inside, thinking we might have a look around. I've never been inside. Tickets are £16 each. £16! Neither of wants to see the inside that much so we leave and go for a walk along the embankment.


I love the views along here. The sun is starting to set and the the wind is brisk.



4.30: By now we're heading towards Strand in search of a coffee shop to sit down and warm up.


5.30: And now we're at Kings Cross, looking for somewhere to have an early dinner.


6.30: I am drinking red wine.

7.30: I catch my train back to Leeds. My phone battery has died so I can't while away the journey on facebook or instagram. Too tired to read, I crochet and eavesdrop on the conversations around me. 

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I wanted to take a photo an hour and I almost managed it, almost. Once a year Abigail and I try to meet in London someone around our birthdays, which are a few days apart. It's become a tradition and we look forward to it every year. Sometimes we go to an exhibition if there's something we particularly want to see. We'd hoped to go up The Shard but it was fully booked - we didn't realise you had to buy tickets. That's on the list for next time, along with possible a trip to the theatre. It was a long, long day but so much fun.

55 comments:

  1. Just wonderful. I'm so glad you got to have a great day out with an old friend, especially for two such special occasions.

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  2. Photo an hour challenges are a lot of fun... I like to do them and share photos on Instagram. Thank you for taking us on your London adventure!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your day, and Happy Birthday �������� for whichever day it is or was ��. Makes me wish for a London trip, but perhaps after the floods and storms have well and truly gone and the weather is friendlier. As for the lobster, snap have always wanted to try (although a little worried about how to tackle it)! I will aim to have some this year. Lovely Blogging

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  4. Oh what a wonderful post Gillian, thank you so much for sharing your special time with your dear friend! Love, Joy xo

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  5. I loved this. I love and miss London. It is amazing how much you can do in a day out and about in that wonderful city xo

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  6. Thanks so much for taking us along on your trip to London, Gillian! I enjoyed it! And Happy Birthday to you and your friend! The 17th is my birthday and I feel you are helping me celebrate it as well :)

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  7. I love this post! I love London too, you've inspired me to do the same and I'm going to arrange to meet a friend who lives down south there for a day x

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  8. Wonderful. What a fantastic tradition to have started

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  9. What a wonderful day and a wonderful tradition too!
    My birthday is next week and I was thinking of making smth similar - a little journey in the city, but all by myself. ;-)

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  10. Looks a great celebration day. I never remember to take a photo each hour but I thinks it's a good way to capture a day. I always like a day in London. I've got 2 planned next month. :) enjoy half term - assuming it's the same as here. Xx

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  11. Sounds like a wonderful day out and and real treat to look forward to each year.
    £16? ..... blimey!
    Have a lovely new week
    love Jooles x x x

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  12. What a fabulous day out with a particularly yummy lunch! My best friend and I always do soemthing each year for our birthdays but never something as grand as this. We both have a BIG birthday coming up soon but she is heading to New York for that ~ way above my price range for a birthday treat and if I had money like that I would much rather share it with my hubby and kids (my friend is a single girl!). Thanks for sharing and the photos were fab :O)xx

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  13. Enjoyed our day out with you! I used to live in London 24 years ago ... Great to visit but wouldn't want to live there now! Xx

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  14. Looks llike a lovely and long day out and glad the weather held for you. Not sure when your birthday is, so can I send my wishes and love now. Those photos were really good and glad you liked the lobster. I've not had it for years as it is so expensive here. Take care.

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  15. looks like you had a fabulous day, with loads of giggles too i'm sure! x

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  16. The early bird, catches the worm! Sounds like you had a lovely day out. Loved the blurry photo from the train. Just the feeling you get as the scenery, rushes by.
    Have a great week
    Jacqui x

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  17. So glad you had such a wonderful day, your photos are lovely. I think everyone needs a day like this every so often.

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  18. These photos has made me want to go to London too! Such a wonderful day to spend with your best friend and you got lucky with the weather too. I also love that big John Lewis in Oxford St, so much actually that we set up our wedding gift list there(we used to live in London). And I'm delighted to see a photo from Postman's Park. I used to go to St.Bart's Hospital for work and I'd always try to find time to visit the park. It's so peaceful there and It's always moving to read the names of all those brave people in the monument.
    Have a lovely week!
    Marion x

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  19. What a lovely trip to look forward to every year. Thanks for sharing this day Gillian! I feel as if I had been on a wee journey myself. Cx

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  20. What a wonderful birthday tradition - I love traditions and your day sounded perfect. Happy Birthday x

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  21. Oh I love London. I try and go as often as I can. I have friends there and nearby so it is always great to meet up and have a wander. My friend used a bus for her wedding and they are great fun.
    John Lewis is a fabulous store. One of my faves :)
    So nice that you shared your wonderful day with us x

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  22. Glad you had a lovely day - sounds lots of fun. You packed a lot in! Hope you had/have a great birthday! Jen

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  23. What a lovely day out and a great tradition too x £16 to get into St Pauls!

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  24. Thanks for the mini-tour. I was in London way long ago on a high school trip (so of course it was all about trying to find cute English boys). I hope to visit again with my husband and truly appreciate the city.

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  25. Great day out! Thanks for the pics of the Persephone bookshop, I'd love to go there whenever I get to go to London (rare!!) and love their dove-grey covers and domestic vibe :)

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  26. What a lovely treat, and such a good idea to take a photo every hour. Its lovely just to dip your toe into London life every now and again isn't it ?
    have a good week,
    Kate x

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  27. This so much reminds me of trips to see my sister who lives in London ... it is always wonderful to go to london, but wonderful to come home too x

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  28. Great day out, we have been talking about going to London for a day on the train..looks like fun.

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  29. What a lovely way to spend the day with a friend!! I am sure that it was nice for you to catch up in person and have a day just the two of you. xx

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  30. A lovely way to spend with a best friend. Hanging out, drinking coffee and wandering. Long day though!

    Leanne xx

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  31. What a great day out....such a lovely day to spend with a friend!
    Caroline xx

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  32. I love this post! Such a great idea - and what a fantastic day out. Lobster, cocktails, Persephone Books... sounds just about perfect to me. Glad you enjoyed it (and held on to your £16, that's a lot of money to look inside a cathedral!)
    Sarah :)

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  33. what a lovely day, I always head straight for John Lewis too! Nice to be on the train and have an adventure in February, Heather x

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  34. What a fantastic idea for a post. I so enjoyed it. I am from London originally so I loved seeing it again! I really want to go to the Persephone book shop, I have several of their books which have been both great reads and beautiful to look at. What a fabulous day out!

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  35. What a wonderful Best Friend Tradition! Hoping that someday I'll get a chance to visit London. Is it silly that I was expecting the Police Phone Box to be Tardis Blue?

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  36. What a terrific tradition, you always have some fun to look forward to! I spotted my old office building in one of your pics, 10 years ago and a lifetime away! So glad you had a lovely time! Chrissie x

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  37. Great post! I really enjoyed it. You must have been pooped at the end of the day though! (Lovely to 'see' Abigail making an appearance - have missed her on Instagram and Blogger.) x

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  38. A fabulous way to celebrate your birthdays. You certainly packed a lot into your London trip. Last time we went to London we sat and ate a picnic lunch of the steps of St Paul's, the weather was a bit warmer!
    Lisa x

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  39. Looks like you have a wonderful day what a great way to celebrate with a close friend.
    Clare x

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  40. Lovely post - looks like a great day! I also have a soft spot for Persephone books... Because my youngest daughter is called Persephone. We took a photo of her last summer in her buggy by the sign on Lamb's Conduit Street. One for the album,

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  41. Fabulous day out and well done you remembering to take photo's....I would, I am sure have forgotten!!! Sarah xo

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  42. Sounds like a lovely day out!! I go to Uni every week and our lessons are in the building where the Bloomsbury group used to live.... It does have a good vibe to it, I must say.
    Will definitely have to try and pop into the Persephone bookshop one day....
    Happy birthday!! Pati x

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  43. What a lovely day! I've been to some of those places - thanks for bringing back memories! And hoping you both had brilliant birthdays.

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  44. Terrific birthday tradition, looks like you had a lovely day. I love Postman's park, such a moving and haunting place.
    Happy Birthday to you both!

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  45. Happy Birthday, Gillian :)
    Kasia from Poland

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  46. What an absolutely lovely day!!! Thank you so much for sharing and allowing me to visit your beautiful country vicariously through you.
    Happy Birthday!

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  47. Sounds like a fabulous day. I may suggest the same to my old work friends who are now dispersed about the country. Glad you got to Persephone Books. I love going in there- it always feels like a real treat. Café next door is excellent value and really friendly- for next time!

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  48. Glad you had an excellent day. Happy Birthday. Celebrate all month I say!

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  49. What a fabulous day ... I love your Persephone photo ... I've just finished Someone at a Distance and can't wait to get my hands on another of their gorgeous books ... Bee xx

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  50. It sounds like an amazing day, one you will always have close to your heart in your memory.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  51. What a wonderful day spent with a dear friend. I love lobster and eat it any chance I get! The bookstore looks wonderful. I could have spent all day there. Happy early Birthday! Yes, celebrate all month long.

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  52. It sounds a fabulous way to spend a day with a best friend. Persephone books and prosecco cocktails ... you two really know how to live :)

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  53. You did so much in one day. Amazing! Sounds like you had a really good time.

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  54. How lovely for you to have this little tradition and what a great place to go and enjoy it. Yes with you on JL too, very difficult to get out without spending a little money. I am a big lobster fan, so pleased you enjoyed it. xoxo

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