Saturday, 1 October 2016

Just a few days with Sam

Tuesday 27th September to Friday 30th September 2016

There was a full few days of items on the agenda; places to go, things to see, people to catch up with.
First and almost foremost on the list was a trip up to Watford; timing was an issue and so we headed off bright and early – on the Tube around 8am; change at Queens Park to the Overground to Watford Junction and then the bus to Levesden – something to do with some tour around the Warner Bros. Studios – yes, it’s Harry Potter mania for those two.
There is no doubt, that when mother and daughter are together, the craziness is greater than the sum of the parts.

The tickets had been pre-purchased, so we were almost straight in; the thing about these tours is that having done them thousands of times, the organisation is pretty slick and efficient, but at the same time usually allow you time to explore at your own pace which is what were able to do.
Seeing many of the indoor sets as well as explanation about many of the on-screen things that were done.
In the main hall

with Hagrid

Off to witch school with her - student or professor??

The train in the background; these two scallywags in the foreground

Luckily not driving with them

her worst nightmare

Shopping? - hell yeah

It was a splendid way to spend a day but our legs and feet were starting to feel it a bit and we were glad at various times to have the chance to sit down and rest.
But we were not finished there and after catching the bus back to Watford Junction, we caught the train to Bushey to see Maggie and Paddy and most of the rest of the family there and have dinner there as well.
Diane (r) with her aunt Pam and cousin Lisa

Of course we always have Maggie

Jess, Nicki, Mia and Phil


Sam had not seen them all for quite a few years – the general consensus being that 2009 was the last time, so just a little bit of catching up to do, but by about 8pm we needed to be on our way back to the boat – and back on board we were before 9pm – with some excellent timings on the trains and the change at Queens Park.

It had been one busy day, so it was not long that we were up before bed, but after that it must have been pretty quiet apart from the snoring (definitely from the girls!).

I knew already that Wednesday would be a relatively easy day for me, but it was still another long day.
First up Sam had an appointment at the Post Office to get her UK passport renewed and after a little confusion from their side, it was all done and then we moved the boat down to the waterpoint outside the Subway – I tell you, this tap is so bloody slow – Sam and Diane were ready to go and headed off to the station – they wanted to see a show in London – Les Miserables was the top of the options – so I was left to wait for the interminable tap to fill the water tank – this time it was 2 hours for 470 litres, but with not a lot else to worry about, I could just relax.
Just about to go in.

In the meantime we had a call from CaRT and asking if we were returning to our mooring spot at Rembrandt Gardens – obviously they had noticed that we were not there.
Seems that they had overbooked the mooring spots there and were enquiring if ours was available – not much unusual with this – some of them are so very very good, others couldn’t organise a p__s-up in a brewery.
After explaining that I would be looking for a Padding Basin mooring if available, otherwise I would return to Rembrandt Gardens – I would call them with the outcome.
Fortunately for them and also for us, a spot was found and we moored up directly next to the “paddle-board” boat.

Later on I needed to catch the Tube to Piccadilly Circus to wait for them to appear from the theatre, from which we popped off for a drink before deciding where we would eat and when – but first some shopping on Oxford Street became a mini-priority – dodging around and between the rush-hour crowds was the fun part of the evening.
We made it almost back to the boat before stopping off for a pizza and another drink.
For a second day, we were all pretty-well exhausted, most of it from the last 2 hours.

Friday was our last day with Sam here in London and she particularly wanted to re-visit The Tower of London; we hadn’t been there since 2000 when we went there with Sam and Mitch.
It was a quite lovely day – weather-wise – we arrived fairly early but not excessively so – but first we needed some caffeine sustenance, but after this it was down through the gates and in the hands of the Yeoman Warder and being an army man (sergeant-major none-the-less), he had a remarkable way to control over a hundred people with his voice, his wit, his authority and just his personality.
…and he was very good at showing and explaining his way around the tower – I know that they have done it many many times but we were the concentration of his attention.
We had a great time throughout the whole day.

#billythebeefeater - absolutely brilliant

There was a pre-occupation with the sizeof the cod-piece,
but as we were told your head doesn't fill the whole of your hat.
Still, it can make you feel a bit inadequate

It was nice to see a tribute to my favourite mother-in-law

just a lovely view to Tower Bridge

Some of the apartments used by the 37 Yeoman Warders

The White Tower - where the crown jewels are on display

All of the yeoman were great and so easy to talk to


Having been there before does not change the grandeur of the palace; does not change the appreciation of the palace; did not change the enjoyment of the day.

We did have some time restrictions and after lunch we made our way back to the boat – Sam had a plane to catch and we waved her off at 5pm – she was off to Iceland (Reykjavik not the supermarket).

We would be seeing her in just two months but I was already missing her as she left.

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