(Minus the pictures because I am all comfortable and warm with the puppies and the snuggie on the sofa and the camera is upstairs. When I move again – not anytime soon – I will add the pics!!)
My Bermuda Aussie neighbours arrived at Gatwick on the day of the hideous snow dump. There was no snow on the M25 or the M23 but as soon as I was exiting the M23 on the Gatwick turn off, it started and within minutes we were driving at a crawl as it was a near blizzard. Had the flight been on time, we would have been home LONG before it started.
I parked the car, ran through the terminal and got there just before they came out of arrivals. We paused for a cigarette (the one after you get off a flight is always the best!), went to the restrooms, went to WHSmith and stocked up on drinks and snacks, and dashed back to the car. When we eventually found the right level that I had parked the car on, I had been in the airport for a sum total of 30 minutes.
Apparently that was 30 minutes too long. The roads were white as white can be. There was only one lane most of the way home, and even then the snow was coming down so hard that it was covering the tracks of the car in front. It was like that, and worse, the whole way home. The journey from my house to Gatwick normally only takes 20 minutes. It took over 2.5hrs. Nightmare.
(This was the start of the journey. It got much worse, very quickly!)
We were snowbound that first day completely. Trains and buses were cancelled.
(My street. Snow had stopped falling about 24hrs before this pic was taken!)
The next day thought we were off and running! Well, kind of! The trains were still subject to huge delays and cancellations so we drove to the nearest tube station and started our journey that way. We eventually ended up in Piccadilly Circus and had a good old look around. After hitting MacDonald in Leicester Square (the one thing the Aussie Chick misses more than anything foodwise!) we found an open top bus tour and signed up!
It was two hours of tour. Fascinating. Freezing! It was -2c. And, of course, we sat on the top deck, outside of the shelter for the whole 2 hours!!
(Yes, it was still cold dressed up like this!!)
We learnt lots and had a great time, despite not being able to move very well at the end of the ride! What was worse is that we went to this lovely coffee shop in a book shop afterwards and the Hot Chocolate wasn’t! It was lukewarm. Even when we sent it back, they returned it marginally warmer, but not hot still. The shop was as hot as an oven though so we did warm up in the end!
After a brief tube journey to Oxford Circus, running down Oxford Street trying to find a shop open to buy tights to warm one of our party up a little more, finding the wonderful Accessorize still open and purchasing said tights (and nothing else which I was super proud of myself for!), we took a stroll along taking pictures of the light and some of the window displays. It was so pretty… although not as over the top as previous years which is a bit sad.
We got back on the tube at Marble Arch and headed back to Surrey whereupon my wonderful mother not only picked us up from the station, but had cooked us a roast dinner to warm us after our long, cold day! She really does rock!
The next morning we were up again and this time headed for Harrods and Covent Garden.
They need to put giant signs outside Knightsbridge Tube Station that point to Harrods. Stupid. Not everyone knows where they are going! The other place they need GIANT signs is at the bottom of the stairs at Covent Garden Tube Station. They need to read:
1. WARNING…. Climbing these stairs may cause loss of function in your limbs and potential heart failure.
2. WARNING… there are nearly 200 steps up to the top which is like climbing up to the 10th floor of a skyscraper and there is no pausing places.
I nearly died. I need to get to the gym!
Anyway, back to Harrods… I got me a rewards card! Not that I shop there very often, but it looks good in my wallet! We saw the Dodi and Diana memorial statue. It is good. Sad. The only complaint we had is that it wasn’t very festive. The window displays were good and the them was Peter Pan. Inside the store though it was rather dull. I remember going as a child and it being much more exciting. I guess the financial crisis hits every level.
Covent Garden was great. It always is. I did discover a whole bunch of shops outside the main market place this time though. I need to go again some day and have another look around. There is so much to discover off the tourist route!
All too soon it was time to head back to Surrey again, but this time not to a roast dinner… Mum had cooked a lovely casserole! She really is fantastic. It wasn’t to warm us so much this time, but to make sure the Aussies had something decent to eat before the next leg of their journey. The were flying out that night from Gatwick to Dubai, then four hours later, to Brisbane.
It wasn’t quite that simple though. Back at the Gatwick turn off on the M23, the snow started again. Their flight was going ahead as scheduled… until minutes before they were due to get on. It was then delayed, delayed and delayed again. It finally left around 2pm the next day.
I had such a great time with them and wished they had been able to come back to the house for that last night, but road conditions made that not such a great plan.
I look forward to hanging out with them again… whichever country it may be!!