Monday, September 16, 2013

My Work'ation: Part Two - These are My Favourite London'y Things

I had been in London for five days before my weekend began.  During those five days, while traveling around the city working in parks with my little student and finding playgroups for him to attend, I was taking note of the sites that I might want to check out later.  Our driver, whom I’ll call Mr. N, was fantastic.  He called me darling every time I asked him a question.  “Okay, darling.” He would say when I asked him to drive us to a certain park.  “Yes, darling.” When I asked him if that was Queen Victoria’s statue. “The changing of the guard, darling.” When I watched, fascinated, as the Beefeaters marched towards Buckingham palace.  Mr. N. was more than happy to explain to me where I needed to go for anything I wanted to do.  So, when the weekend arrived I had my plans all set out.  Tower of London Saturday morning, St. Paul’s Cathedral Saturday afternoon, check out a London band at a nearby pub Saturday night, brunch with my old friend, Paul, on Sunday, followed by a bike tour of the city.  First thing was first, though.  It was Friday night and Bonnie wanted a beer.

St. Paul's Cathedral peeking out from a London Alleyway

I asked the doorman what pub nearby was a good one to visit.  I specified the need for some live music to give me something to do while enjoying my beer.  I wasn’t fond of the idea of looking like a lonely sap nursing a beer at the bar on a Friday night.  He pointed me in the direction of a piano bar, which wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for, but I figured that it couldn’t hurt to at least check it out.

While walking to the bar I passed by pub after pub, each one with a large group of loud and laughing Londoners milling about the front having a cigarette or, as with one gentleman in particular, urinating on the street light pole.  It was apparent that the local drinking begins directly after work hours; therefore I was four hours behind in the beverage-consuming department.

I found my target piano bar and was not disappointed.  The entertainment was talented and the crowd was happy and in a dancing mood.  I ordered my beer and leaned against the bar to watch the antics.  It was an interesting perspective as I’m usually part of the dancing and fun-having crowd.  I didn’t realize how entertaining it could be for on-lookers.  It wasn’t long, however, that a sweetly smiling guy came up to me,  stretched out his hand, and asked me to join him on the dance floor.  Off I went to become one with the London merrymakers. 

The dancer in question was named Ravi and our dancing soon turned into some great conversation.  A friendship was quickly bonded.  Unfortunately, Ravi’s carriage was turning into a pumpkin all too soon and he had to leave the revels early.  He promised to show me around London while I was in town and then was off.  It didn’t take long for me to get myself back on the dance floor, however, continuing to make new friends and insuring that my fun evening lasted early into the morning.

London Bridge
As it happened, the plans to be a true tourist in London did not turn out very well.  Since I was dragging my tired danced out ass back to the hotel only a few hours before the Tower of London tour was to begin, that idea was awash.  I did make it to a few cool historical places but I discovered that London was going to be a place of spending time with dear friends and socializing.  Yes, this may have been because my weekend socializing often meant I was waking up too late and in a state of health not conducive to touring around historical buildings for hours on end.  I think, however, that it had more to do with the fact that my heart and mind were filled with friendly connections and kindnesses that tour guides can’t quite give you.

Lichfield Cathedral in the English countryside

Afternoon tea with Emily
Something happened during the time I spent with my friends in England, both old and new.  Between my excursions to the lovely borough that Paul lives in; and a weekend jaunt to the English countryside to visit my friend, Emily, and her husband, Paul; and the post-work evening meanderings around London proper with Ravi I came to realize that London was giving me the feeling of familiarity that I get when I’m home.  I was given the opportunity to experience London, and England, as if I were a part of it and not just a visitor.  The connections with my friends allowed me to connect with London.  I no longer felt so overwhelmed by the crowds of people.  Instead, I learned where the quiet boroughs of the city were.  I also learned the benefit of the weekend escape to the country.  A little hustle and bustle in the crowds were bearable knowing that, when work was finished, I could find my happy place with Ravi by my side in the comfort of my friendship.

Yes, I fell in love with London.  I could spend three blog entries detailing each aspect of that city that makes me love it and another three to describe the beauty of the English countryside.  I will not do that but I will do something to give you a taste of what I love about England.  I transformed a familiar little “ditty” on my last day in London due to being giddy with the happiness that being in England had helped me to find again.  Please forgive me, as I was a tad sentimental. You will understand when you read on.

My Favourite London’y Things
(To the tune of The Sound Of Music's "Favourite Things")

Getting intimate with the locals
Buildings with gargoyles and gorgeous cathedrals.
Train rides and tube rides; public bikes to pedal.
Statues and monuments for all eyes to see.
They’re why London is my favourite city.

Hot men in crisp suits with great shoes and nice hair.
Parks filled with animals and bird songs floating through the air.
An accent that pulls at my fragile heart strings.
These are my favourite London’y things.

History that humbles my short existence.
Boroughs with green parks and fabulous substance.
English countryside and quaint towns so sweet.
This is why England has made me happy.

When the sandbox
Makes me crazy
I'll just get away,
By simply going online and booking a plane
To London then I’ll feel sane!

Stay tuned for "My Work'ation: Part Three - A Long and Luxurious Bath in French Culture" where I tell you about my experience with Paris...oui, oui...ooh la la!!

In Joy,

1 comment:

  1. You make us all want to be there too! Well done Bon.


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