Friday, April 8, 2011

London day one

We arrived in London Friday morning 8 April as the sun was rising on a perfectly clear, sunny, warm Spring day. Ray (of Ray's Airport Transfers) met us as arranged and provided us with a running commentary on everything imaginable (including his choice of four wives) on the one and a half hour GBP59 trip from Heathrow to our apartment opposite London Fields in Hackney.

He drove us past a lot of the London icons along the way: Buck Palace, Westminster Abbey, The Tower, Big Ben, the London Eye. The city looks brilliant: sparkling clean, prosperous, so many trees and parks, cyclists and Spring flowers everywhere; and everyone looked to have a spring in their step on this gorgeous London morning.

We were very excited to meet Cath and Eddie at London Fields. They'd collected our keys for us. Although Eddie was not as excited as we were at this stage as he had some sleep to catch up on. Cath and Eddie completed their morning walk while we showered and settled into the apartment.

First stop then was Climpson's on Broadway Market (literally, just around the corner from our apartment) for a wonderfully reviving coffee and our first chance to have a cuddle with Eddie, who by this time had woken up.

Cath is such a happy Mum, and she looks fantastic, glowing with good health and understandably proud of her beautiful baby Eddie. We loved catching up with all the changes to their lives in the last few months.

We walked together to their flat in Victoria Square. Cath took us the long way so she could show us the bus stops we'd need to know for exploring London later in the week. This part of London is lively, full of young people, buzzy cafes, character filled pubs, beautiful parks (filled with Mums and bubs on this beautiful morning), overlaid with a significant population of Bangladeshi's and Middle Eastern groups for whom the Hackney area was a drawcard for many years. It all feels very relaxed and laid back, not like I remember our Kensington, Notting Hill haunts of 30 years ago.

The approach to Davey & Cath's apartment above the Empress of India looked wonderful this morning. Davey had taken an early mark from work and met up with us on the street a few minutes after this shot was taken.

The street view from their balcony shows how lively (and stylish) this part of Hackney is (Friday lunchtime).

Eddie was very excited to see his Daddy of course and gave us all an excellent display of his smiling ability and all round sociability (as well as a view of his Bonds singlet collection - perfect apparel for a baby with a strong Australian connection on this warm English day).

Cath had some pre-arranged girl time scheduled for the afternoon so she left Davey and us in charge of Eddie for a few hours. Davey had chosen the wonderful Brittannia Pub on Victoria Park Road as our lunch stop. We settled in for a few hours and happily Eddie seemed to love it as much as we did, catching up on some nap and cuddle time in amongst the sun and flowers.

The perfect title for this shot would have to be "blokes babysitting". That 3rd beer (a lovely English ale served at cool room temp) is not Eddie's by the way, it's mine.

How civilized to be able to sit in this lovely lawn area at the back of the pub, surrounded by the gorgeous Victoria Parklands and other Mums and bubs (and some blokes too) and their well behaved English dogs, with lovely ale on tap and great pub food to order.

By this stage Rob and I had been awake for over 40 hours (apart from a few naps on the 23 hour flight from Oz) and we were starting to fade fast. We had to decline Cath's kind offer of dinner together and with a few last minute directions from Davey we made our own way back to London Fields catching some glimpses of this extension of the gorgeous Regent's Canal along the way.

Exhaustion and jet lag must have been kicking in because we took a few wrong turns on the way back and ended up walking about twice as far as we needed to. I guess it's all about getting acquainted with our area!

1 comment:

Maxine said...

What a great introduction to London. Rod and I lived it all with you. Can't wait to get there ourselves and meet our lovely little grandson. Lovely to see all the photos as well.