After returning from Manchester on 1st October, we kept ourselves busy. The analysis and reporting for Sutton Trust occupied most of our time until the report was submitted late last Friday. We have had problems with our Slough flat, and began to consider if this was a good time to sell. Discussions, research and meetings took up a lot of time. And Sandie got involved in a Young Enterprise event, helping Caroline with a presentation to the young people who are to be managing directors of their various companies.
Still, there were opportunities to enjoy ourselves, such as meals with friends, and visits to pubs or restaurants. We went to the local cinema twice, to see the film Kingsman: the golden circle (quite entertaining) and the NT-Live Encore screening of Hamlet, with Benedict Cumberbatch. We went to our folk dance club; the first time since May that we’d been able to go, and the last time for quite a while! And we had two days out, to celebrate special occasions.
Our wedding anniversary
On Tuesday 10th we celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary with a day out in London. It followed the usual pattern of our ‘London days’, with perhaps some extra treats along the way. We went first to Leicester Square and were amazed to find there was no queue at all at tkts. After coffee, and a visit to Stanfords, we walked the final stretch of the Thames Path (for the third time). In August we completed a short walk on the Isle of Dogs, so we started from there this time. Walking from Crossharbour DLR station to the river, we stopped for a drink at a pub called Pepper Saint Ontiod. We’d never heard of any Ontiod, saint or otherwise, but an online search next day showed that there was no such person. The address of the pub was Pepper St On The Isle Of Dogs – they’d decided to abbreviate to Ontiod and make him a saint!
We followed the Path to the end of the Isle of Dogs and then through the Greenwich foot tunnel, emerging by the Cutty Sark and the Royal Naval Museum. The painted ceiling was closed, but we had a quick look in the chapel and lunch in The Old Brewery, an interesting place which (luckily for Sandie) had some American-style IPAs. Then we continued our walk along the river. It was years since we were last in that part of London, and we were amazed at how much building was going on. We paused for a drink at the ‘Anchor and Hope’ pub, where we remembered stopping before. Having only discovered Aperol Spritz in June while in Italy, we now find you can get it anywhere – Gt Yarmouth, the east End of London…..
We reached the Thames Barrier at 5pm, and needed to get back quickly to the West End. The Underground does not extend that far, and there was no obvious bus. We asked a man to confirm that we were heading in the right direction for the nearest railway station, and he kindly gave us a lift. We reached Charing Cross with just enough time for a pub dinner and a cappuccino on the way to Drury Lane for the 7.30 performance of 42nd Street. It was brilliant – wonderful costumes, great sets, and fantastic tap dancing. It made Sandie keen to be back at her tap class in Sarasota, though she knows she will never be anywhere near that level!
A special birthday
Ellie’s 40th birthday was on Friday, and as part of the celebration we were invited to a family tea on Sunday 15th. Claire, Ant, Charlie and Oscar were going too, so they kindly detoured to pick us up on their way from Bussage to Faversham. It was a long journey for them, especially as there were hold-ups on the motorways.
We reached Andrew and Ellie’s house at 1.15pm. Ellie’s mother and sister, her brother and his family were already there, so 16 of us sat down to lunch. Ellie did a great job of seating and feeding us! Some of us had not seen Hope since her birthday last month, so there were presents for her too – and congratulations for Isobel, who just a few days ago heard the good news that she’s passed the Kent test, and will be joining Hope at grammar school next year.
After lunch was cleared away, we all went out for a walk at the Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park. The children enjoyed running around, and we all collected edible chestnuts – we’ve never seen so many! Sandie regretted having bought some the day before. Back at the house we had cake (made by the girls), and then Ellie’s family moved on to Rebecca’s house, leaving more manageable numbers for tea.
We left at 7pm, and (after more hold-ups on the M2) reached our flat at 9.15. Claire and co did not stay, as they still had a long way to go. We relaxed and watched TV – while eating plenty of roast chestnuts!