Tower Bridge adn Avenue Q

London Travel Blog

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Merchant navy memorial

Saturday was a bright day.  After a considerable amount of nagging, I managed to get Iain up so we could explore a bit before my mother arrived into town. 


No, he wasn’t trying to hide.  They get on very well.


No, they do.  Really. 


Finally, and reluctantly, he got up and we went for a walk.  Between the hotel and the river lies the Merchant Navy memorial, which commemorates the brave, largely unarmed, civilian seamen who stopped Britain starving in both wars.

east london from tower bridge
  I always stop in because dad was at sea, albeit in peacetime, and I feel like someone has to remember to say thank you.  After that, we went to Tower Bridge.  The day before, Iain had been lamenting that they had closed the walkways at the top of the bridge.  “no they haven’t,” I said, “I’ve crossed them when I was tiny.”


Iain refuses to believe that I was ever any tinier than I am now (5 foot 2 is hardly that short…) but agreed I was right after I had pointed out the entrance to the tower bridge tours.  So, with about half an hour to spare before my mother arrived, we paid,  climbed up the stairs and crossed the walkways. 


I love crossing Tower Bridge on the walkways.  The views are spectacular but you don’t feel unsafe.

  There is an interesting exhibition too, and the engineering never stops impressing me.  So we were quite late to meet mum and my brother.


No.  He didn’t do it on purpose. 


Actually, by the time we came down from the bridge, mum and Douglas had got themselves mislaid and both their phones had simultaneously stopped working, so Iain and I spent about fifteen minutes (me) or hours (Iain) sitting next to the bright elephants in front of City Hall.  City Hall is the new building like a miniature of the gherkin across the river, built when London managed to get a mayor again.  There is a nice plaza in front of it and it’s seldom busy, so it’s a good place to meet people if you’re in East London and it’s nice weather.

  The elephants are an added bonus, popping up across London right now to raise money for Asian elephants.  At city hall, there were yellow ones and red ones and ones with lots of other elephants painted on them.  There is an even cooler one outside the bank of London, painted shiny black with taxi lamps for eyes.  As my mum loves elephants, that made it a really even better place to meet.


We finally met with the family and went off for lunch, stopping at Cote.  It was a really good lunch and we had a nice time.  Then we had a stroll along the river, and checked out the tenth birthday art fair thing in Tate Modern.  Hand on heart, all I could think of was the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  I like art.  I even like some contemporary art.  But I didn’t get any of the stuff on display – it was too crowded, and erred firmly on the side of being weird for the sake of weirdness.

  Lady wearing a crown and holding a blue chicken – this means you. 


After waving mum off to the station, Iain and I went and got changed to go to see Avenue Q in the Wyndham Theatre.  The theatre was gorgeous, but they are really fierce about taking photos so I couldn’t show you.  You’ll have to look on the website.


Avenue Q was very funny indeed, although Iain, who is used to the wilder stuff at the Edinburgh Festival, said it wasn’t quite as edgy as he would have liked.  I told him it was pretty bloody edgy for the West End and that you don’t have to be that offensive to be funny.  Of course, songs like “everyone is a little bit racist” and “the internet is for porn” are not standard West End fare, and if it is going to upset you to see two puppets having mad sex on stage (“you can be as loud as you damn well like when you’re making love”) this isn’t the show for you.  It’s like certificate 18 Sesame Street.  But actually, there is a nice sort of life affirming ending and I loved it.  We went home, via yet more noodles in Chinatown.  This is why I’m putting on so much weight…

sarahelaine says:
Vodka - keep trying, it's worth it! often has half price deals

John - I quite like the turbine hall, depending what's in it. I was really quite impressed with the giant slides. but I don't quite understand why most of it is art...
Posted on: May 27, 2010
vodkaphix says:
I am curently in London But working to many god damn hours to see it ATM! great blog thanks!
Posted on: May 26, 2010
londonstudent says:
I visited the Tate Modern again today, and increasingly feel that for me the problem isn't the art itself but the ambience and layout of the building, which I hate; it just feels all wrong, and that useless great turbine hall always annoys me, so that any visit gets off on the wrong foot!
Posted on: May 26, 2010
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photo by: ulysses