London – Goodbye Family

Damo and Michaela are in Italy.

Well…

Kinda. They are probably in the air by the time we actually surface from our sleep, but they’ll be landing back in London in just a few hours.

We decide to sleep in a touch, and kick around at the hostel we’re staying in till they have landed and are free again. We’ve arranged to meet Micky and Damo at the station closest to their old place in London.

One thing I didn’t factor into consideration was the fact that in NYC, there is free wifi everywhere in Manhattan. London has free wifi too, but you have to be a customer of one of the mobile service providers before it’s free. We weren’t hanging around in London for too many more days, so we decided just to bludge wifi where we could find it, instead of paying for a sim for only a couple days.

Inevitably, this would become an issue, and today, that would prove itself true.

We left the apartment, having received a message from Damo telling us that they had landed, and they were about an hour away. We left the apartment thinking everything was dandy. What we didn’t know was that we were sent another message not long after we left, informing us that they were going to be a touch longer than expected.

Being that we were no on wifi and the stations didn’t have easily accessible wifi, we just kinda waited. Nothing that we really could have avoided, but I can tell you that the station entry is no easy place to hide from breeze that could cool liquid nitrogen. It doesn’t matter which side you stand, you’ll get properly chilled.

Throw in the fact, that since I am not so accustomed to cold weather, I kinda just decided that a long sleeve shirt would do the trick. I mean, my brain tells me that if it doesn’t look cold, that is because it isn’t cold.

 

meeting-more-mates-1Is this accurate, you ask?

Nope.

Did I learn from this rookie error?

Nope.

Did I freeze my tits off?

Yep.

We were meant to meet at 11 at the station, and by the time 11:30 came around, I was certain that there was a message we had missed. None the less, I wasn’t so keen on sacrificing my warm body for the sake of Micky & Damo maybe arriving soon. We head to the bar, and there it is… A message sent half an hour ago to let us know they’d be a touch later.

Balls.

All that freezing for nothing.

I decide to just chill out at the bar and wait for them to make their way to me. Bec goes and collects them while I thaw out a touch more. No doubt, I’m hiding for only 5-10 mins before Bec is back with the entourage in tow.

The guys dont have too much stuff with them, but that was all about to change soon.

We reach the place where they used to rent. Its a pretty dope looking spot, in the middle of a usual british neighbourhood. Nothing out of the ordinary, except this place was oddly big for it’s area. They show us down stairs and tell us that guests got to use the floor space just outside their bedroom when people came to visit. That made me laugh, but it’s always handy to have a good story.

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We spend the next hour or so watching Micky & Damo decide on what they should off load to the charity shops. Damo keeps trying to flog this jumper to people, which I have no doubt is expensive and great value, but nobody seems to want it. I decide to nick it cos I am simply bloody freezing. It does more than a stellar job, and Damo is more than pleased that he isn’t biffing it.

Micky leans to me with a semi-whisper, “He’s been trying to give it to someone, but nobody seems to want to take it”. The tone of her voice almost has a hint of sympathy for him going through the ordeal of being generous, but nobody wanting to accept his generosity. I can only laugh inside. A smile creeps across my face, but I don’t laugh. Damo is still in ear shot.

We watch this mental remake of Alice in Wonderland, while the guys finish sorting their London lives out for the last time.

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We get everything that we need, and head back for the train station. These guys have got two massive rolling duffle bags (for lack of a better description), two backpacks and hand luggage. Micky is almost ashamed that she is carrying so much stuff they really only arrived with a bag each, and now they are leaving with more than double that.

Admittedly, though, they did live here for the past nearly 2 years. Bec keeps this at the fore front of their minds, but it doesn’t really seem console Micky & Damo all too much.

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We pile onto the tube, trying to maintain as least invasive as possible.

Which is literally impossible.

We head into London, and rock up to this place called My Old Dutch. Why? I will never know. It is pretty much a giant pancake place. And when I say giant, it is literally as big as a pizza.

Mental.

I pretty much just order whatever Damo orders. He is a savvy spender, and I have no doubt that what he orders is going to be super filling and tasty. By the time the food arrives, we are all starving, and Bec is the only one who doesn’t order the ‘My Old Dutch’ pancake, which, by the way, is savoury.

I want to say that it is like an omlette, but on a pancake, minus the egg bit.

Actually, now that I read over that again, it is a really bad description, but still, it gets the job done.

The conversation very quickly comes to a halt as we all tuck into our respective meals. Micky and my meals came our first, so by the time that Damo and Bec’s meals came out, I was a good 1/4 the way through mine already.

The best bit though? 5 pounds for the pancakes. They are usually more than 10 pounds, but on Mondays, 5 quid will do you just fine.

Its friggin brilliant.

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We keep talking and Bec and Micky are off chatting in their own little worlds, occasionally zoning back in to keep tabs on us boys here and there. Its seriously awesome being able to watch Bec with her sisters. Both of them. I love watching the way her face lights up and how she talks and laughs with them, like I dont see with many other people.

Naturally, there is that instant rapport and connection because of all the life and the laughs that they have had together, and I really don’t think there are any other ways to build really deep and long lasting connections with people. Seeing the sisters together is always heart-warming, and I love being able to know that Bec is going to have a great time catching up and chatting with Micky or Cill regardless of whether I am around or not.

Anyways.

We polish off a desert pancake, and make our way over to a pub, called Samuel Smith’s.

Sam Smith’s is really cool. Its got this almost colonial feel about it, and there are these booths that line the bar all the way around. It’s kinda like a less-posh version of a club, where you can just have your own little booth.

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Except there is no Djs.

Or a band.

Or music.

Nothing.

Just the sweet, sweet sounds of your friends voices to keep you company. This is definitely not the place you want to bring that 1/10 date to drown the sound of their voice out. Because you literally cant. Just in case you were wondering. Its a wicked little pub though.

The guys need to get moving to their flight.

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We have to meet with Gez, so we say our official goodbyes and see each other off, until another time. Hugs and kisses and we help carry their bags for the final time today.

We split from the area we were hanging out, and make our way to Gez, who has been kicking around in the city since around midday. We follow his instructions as best we can, but as it is no surprise, we end up sitting out the front of a pub with wifi, and just tell him where we are, as it would be easier than for us to head his way.

We’re literally on the edge of Trafalgar square.

Not hard to get lost, but we still did it.

Gez emerges from the sparse crowd with his half-smile and arms open. We are rescued. We get the warm fuzzies. Damo’s jacket that nobody wanted also gives me the warm fuzzies. Cheers mate.

We being walking through Trafalgar Square, being lead through with a commentary, which is a little bit patchy. For instance:
“Yeah. That is a statue of Admiral Nelson”
“Oh cool. Anything in particular?”
*half crunches face & lifts shoulders*
“Hmmm. Dont know”

Quality tour.

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I have a feeling as though Gez is a bit more of a short & sweet facts man. We wander through London’s iconic district, and as per usual, we are surprised at how small these incredibly iconic world icons are. Big Ben is more like Medium Ben, I thought that the London Eye was still pretty decent, but Bec had higher hopes. Actually, the longer I spent looking at the London Eye, the more impressive it became. It is really an engineering feat.

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Medium Ben

We wandered, and stopped, and the rest of the guys were nice enough to stop and wait for me to geek out and take the photos I wanted to take. This happens regularly, and Bec has the patience of a saint. We ended up walking from Trafalgar square, down to Big Ben, then along the river’s edge, till we reached Tower Bridge. For those who haven’t been to London, this is a decent sized walk.

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We stopped by genuine old wooden ships, and I mean some OLD wooden ships, and not paddle boats either. This is the real deal. And when I say ships, I mean ship. Awkies.

It was amazing the history that you would be able to walk around while you were in the city. The thing that blew me away is that centuries upon centuries ago, there would have been people kicking about in these very streets. I said to Gez that it just seems like London was always there. Like it just never really had a start date. It was just always there.

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Tower Bridge in the back ground yo

Its so odd for me to walk somewhere which is so history rich.

Its pretty much blowing.

Unsurprisingly, we tuck into a pub, I get Bec some free Mulled Wine, we share drinks and more conversation as we wrap the night up.

 

 

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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St Paul’s Cathedral

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