London Travel Blog› entry 31 of 37 › view all entries
The fact that I worked 6 days a week at the Mall now meant I wasn't able to see as much of the UK as I had first planned. As time progressed the Area Manager kept trying to coax me into a Relief Managers role which meant that I would travel all over the country filling in wherever the brewery wanted me.
I though this might be a very good way to see more of the place and be paid for doing it, couple of weeks here, couple there -whilst the proper Managers were taking a break. Nicole talked me out of the idea as she said Relief Managers often got the crappy pubs, poorly staffed, violent patrons -basically places no Managers wanted to run, so it could be long terms in each of the dodgy spots. The way she painted it wasn't too rosy.
So I took whatever opportunities I could to get around, making the most of my little time off and any transport opportunities created by my regulars who happened to be heading away from, or back to Bristol on appropriate days.
One such overnighter was to London. I had a friend Sue, who had flatted with me back in NZ and had been living in London for the past couple of years, that I wanted to catch up with. Darryn and I shot up to see her and took in some of the Capital's sights at the same time.
We met Sue at a pub near the Rock Circus wax museum at Piccadilly. I was impressed with the detail that went into the works and also the fact that so many of my favourite musos were there.
We had our picture taken with Feddie Mercury as we entered and by the time we had wandered about seeing everything we wanted to see the photo was available for us to purchase if we were so inclined -we weren't.
The way they had us positioned around Freddie, in his singlet with his arm raised, left Sue's face straight into his hairy armpit.
Next we caught an open-topped double decker and enjoyed a tour of the city sights. The weather was a little cold for a roofless bus and I found it very difficult to hear what the tour guide was actually saying to us as we passed each of the famous landmarks.
We ended up getting off near the Tower of London and taking a tour in there. I found it all very interesting.
I've often thought if Prince Charles is ever going to be a decent sort of a King, he would have to overthrow his Mother, crank the Tower's gallows up, and show all those Tabloid Editors the action end of the guillotine.
He and the rest of the Royal Family have been the butt of some pretty nasty tabloid journolism in the past 20 odd years.
By the time we'd finished the tour, by seeing the Crown Jewells, we had a monster hungry on. We got some lunch and then made our way to St Paul's Cathedral.
I found it very peculiar that such a fine building could be created with such intricacy when first built, but after being damaged by a bomb being dropped onto one of the domes in WWII, a more modern knowledge of construction has made a repair that is so much less ornate.
We continued our trip up to Trafalgar Square and arrived back at Picadilly Circus in time for the lights to put on a fabulous showing as dusk fell.
Sue took us for dinner at one of her favourite Soho eateries before we left her for the night as she had plans with other friends.
Darryn and I were staying at a Youth Hostel in North London and I'd arranged to catch up with one of my Mall regulars, Peter, who's folks lived in the area. He was keen to show us a few of the pubs and clubs he'd frequented.
We met him at his local and after a few pints there he took us to a club that he said was a regular venue for the likes of Dire Straits and The Cure. Sadly neither of them were due to play there that night but Pete said it was very popular for all the Nth London Au pair girls and we figured that might be nice.
The first shock I got when we arrived there was at being searched for weapons. I know I'm a small town boy but I thought going to a nightclub was all about dancing and having a good time rather than stabbing each other.
Inside it was dark and pretty much empty.
The next day Darryn and I checked out the War Museum for a taste of London during the blizt before we met Sue at Harrods and wandered back through Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch. It was lovely to see her again after the passage of a few years but we had to get back to Bristol as I was due to work.
We'd seen a lot of the sights of London at break-neck pace but we'd also managed to catch up with good friends over quiet pints and there's no beating that!