Friday, 8 November 2013

2013 - Day Out 11: We Will Rock London

Date: Friday 08 November 2013

For the last few years we head to London on Remembrance weekend to visit The Lords Mayors Parade and Remembrance Day service at Whitehall, its that time of the year again so we make our way for 3 days in the Capital.

Welcome to London
With the bags packed, I get a lift to Norton and text Mr UKBuses to meet me at his bus stop, he responds with "come around to his house", so I get to stay in the warmth for a bit whilst Mr UKBuses gets himself ready, his dad is on the computer and didn't realise I was there. After Mr UKBuses is ready we make our way to the bus stop and see a National Express West Midlands service 276 go past in the opposite direction, which we later find out is the one that we were supposed to catch so it was running late, but on it's return we board and make our way to Stourbridge Interchange to get the Stourbridge Dodger with no Mr Tonks in sight. We arrive at Stourbridge Junction with us having to catch a later train than planned, and we alight at Smethwick Galton Bridge to catch a train to take us direct to Birmingham New Street. We have a little time to spare in Birmingham so we make our way outside of Birmingham New Street where I get a "fresh air" break before heading to McDonald's for a bacon roll. Once breakfast is consumed we make our way back to Birmingham New Street to get our train to London.

No snoring in the quiet zone!

No snoring in the quiet zone!

Tilting Ale!
Mr UKBuses gets some liquid refreshment for the journey ahead before we make our way down to the platform to catch our 10.30am Virgin Train to London Euston. We find our seats and get comfortable and I remind Mr UKBuses that we are in the quiet zone, so no snoring, see picture above. As the train departs, it is announced that the shop is now open in Coach C, so I make my way there and buy a bottle of Tilting Ale, see picture right, a beer brewed especially for Virgin Trains, I do have to wait a while though as the shop had no bottle opener. After I get my bottle top off I make my way back to the seat and Mr UKBuses is still awake, but not for long as he soon nods off for a nap, and he took the advice of the poster by him and he didn't snore. Just before 11.55 our train pulls up at London Euston and we alight and make our way outside so I can get some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses takes a few photographs around the bus station.

Cheers from The Ten Bells
It is time to get our OysterCards out and we make our way underground where we catch our first tube of the weekend. We get on the Northern Line at Euston and we alight 7 minutes later at Charing Cross, passing through Trafalgar Square where we make a visit to J D Wetherspoons "The Lord Moon of The Mall" to have some lunch, with us both opting for a Beer and Burger, we do get served quite quickly and our food arrives very quickly too, we have a second pint to wash our food down, before heading outside to get our first London bus of the weekend. We catch Metroline service 24, which are now operated by Borismasters, alighting at Westminster where we make our way onto the underground and onto the District Line and after 15 minutes on the tube, we alight at Aldgate East, where as we are ahead of the plan and we can't check into the hotel until 3pm, we make a return visit to The Ten Bells, see picture left, and it is Mr UKBuses round. He pays a visit to the loo leaving me with a ten pound note (the Queen was blinking due to being out in the light) and upon return he nearly faints as he has his change given back to him, the round costs him £8.20. He takes his time in drinking his pint as he wants to savour the taste of the expensive Guinness. It is nearly time for checking into the hotel, so we leave The Ten Bells (in which we actually got a seat inside this visit) and catch Arriva London service 67 to Aldgate Bus Station where a few photographs are taken before catching our bus to the hotel, London Stagecoach service 115 is the bus we have to catch so we board and take a seat at the back on what would be a busy bus route, especially as the kids were leaving school.

We are on the bus for about thirty minutes and luckily we spotted the hotel just in time before going past the bus stop. We quickly run to the hotel as the rain has started to come down and check in at Travelodge Docklands in East India, Mr UKBuses isn't very happy as he is given a room on the fourth floor whilst myself has the pleasure of being on the ground floor. A quick change and freshen up before our evening entertainment, I decide to make a visit to the hotel bar whilst Mr UKBuses has a nap and with Budweiser being on draught at the hotel, this will be my chosen tipple whilst staying at the hotel for the weekend. After the first pint is finished, I make my way outside for a cigarette and then head back indoors for another pint of Budweiser before Mr UKBuses makes his way down from the fourth floor and with me finishing off my drink, we make our way to East India DLR station to catch our first DLR of the weekend, we tap in with our Oystercards and catch the DLR to Bank, where we change onto the tube and onto the Central Line for a short journey to Holborn, where we get some food before the show tonight.

Sir Freddie Mercury
We head out of Holborn and it is rush hour and staff aren't letting a lot of people into the station as it is overcrowded already. We make our way to J D Wetherspoons "The Shakespeare's Head", where it is my round which I order whilst Mr UKBuses tries to find a table. Drinks ordered Mr UKBuses is finding it hard to find a table so we have to have our drinks and make our way back out for some food, luckily opposite is a Burger King, so we have our burgers and after they are consumed we have to get to Tottenham Court Road and the Dominion Theatre, so I decide that we have a short walk and after about ten minutes (and Mr UKBuses frustrated as he sees two buses pass us along the way), we see the statue of Sir Freddie Mercury, see picture right, which means that we have arrived for our performance of We Will Rock You, the second time for Mr UKBuses and the third time for myself. After buying a We Will Rock You T-Shirt, and liquid refreshment, we make our way to the seats. Mr UKBuses has a good view of the stage and so do I until an eight foot man decides to take a seat two rows in front of me, which means that I have to watch the show at an awkward angle, I do hire the binoculars though so I can get a better view of Scaramouche when she comes onto the stage. We have a break halfway through the show, so I make my way outside for some "fresh air" and upon my return we decide to have a toilet break before the second half commences stopping off at the bar along the way for some more liquid refreshment to consume during the show.

After the final song is sung on stage (Bohemian Rhapsody), we give a standing ovation and get our coats on ready to make the trip back to the hotel, as we make our way into the Underground station I realise that I still have the binoculars in my pocket so we quickly return to The Dominion Theatre to hand them back in before making our way back to Tottenham Court Road Underground Station, getting on the Central Line to Bank before changing back onto the DLR and arriving back at our home for the weekend at East India Station, tapping out and heading back to the hotel, where upon arrival Mr UKBuses heads to his room and I have a couple of nightcaps in the hotel bar, where the barman remembered me from my last visit in April where he posed with my wrestling belt when I watched the WWE at the 02 Arena.

Our first day in London has got off to a good start, after a nightcap or two, I head to bed to feel refreshed for the day ahead tomorrow.

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