09 February 2010

Knee trembler, guvnor?

Most weekends, for most people, most of the time, tend to be fairly relaxing affairs...pot of coffee mid morning, roast lunch maybe, perhaps a nap in the afternoon or a run into town for a little retail therapy. Occasionally though, it's good to break the mould and the last weekend fell squarely into that basket...

...we went to London for the weekend to see Gareth.

Saturday morning saw us on an early train to Waterloo, where we were met and then whisked off to a very well to do establishment for a vast platter of scrumptious breakfast fare, rounded off with fine English teas and aromatic coffee. We then made our way across town via the tube and the DLR to Canary Warf, exiting at Blackwall and thence a short walk to Gareth's flat, overlooking one of the waterways that comprise part of the old East India Docks. (Click on the pic below to see him, middle left!)

The main event of the afternoon was a guided walk through the City, following in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper, a very enjoyable though chilly (in more than one sense) experience. Although much of the area has changed hugely in the intervening years, narrow, grimy streets and alleys still abound, complete with original gas lamps. If you discount the sushi bars and bespoke tailors, the Ripper's ghostly presence of 1888 can still be imagined if you're quiet enough.

Life in that part of the East End during the late Victorian period must have been truly beyond belief...this one alleyway may have been home for 200 families sharing one outside toilet.

The 'Ten Bells' pub was a known drinking establishment for the ladies of the night, where they could get 'drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence, straw for nothing' Drink was the only escape for inhabitant's of the East End at that time and indeed, the carnal 'delights' of the ladies could be experienced against any blackened wall in a dark ally...

...the fourpenny knee trembler.

It's known that the last victim, Mary Kelly met Jack inside and then went back to her room in Dorset street, where she was hideously carved up. The photograph taken at the crime scene gives a graphic indication of how he got his reputation...

The day finished with a rather splendid meal at a very pleasant Italian restaurant next door to Harrods (one has to dine somewhere you understand and a MaccyD simply won't do....darling)

Sunday saw us having a look round Covent Garden with an abortive attempt to find the best coffee shop in London which was, unfortunately...closed. However Gareth, who you may have surmised is partial to a decent brew, has promised us a bag of their finest beans next time we see him.

The day was rounded off with a visit to the 'flicks' (remember them?) but this was no kids Saturday afternoon matinee...this was to see 'Avatar' (in 3D) which is quite possibly the most stunning visual experience that I've ever encountered...

We eventually arrived home exhausted at around 11 o'clock and collapsed into bed, fit...or so I thought for a decent uninterrupted nights sleep.
However, the best laid plans never go to plan as my atomic alarm clock decided to throw a wobbly and got me out of bed at three in the morning instead of 7.00am.



Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great time Rob, and very thoughtful of Gareth. Must mention the idea to my two for when they start earning their first pay packets !

All best, Paulm

The Village Carpenter said...

Thanks for the tour of London! I've never been there, but hope to visit some day. Looks and sounds like you had a fun time with your son. A well-spent Saturday. :o)

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