After our whirlwind trip to the magical Lake District with a side stop in Stratford-Upon-Avon, we settled into a hotel in Bexleyheath for the last few days before we jetted back to Australia.
Steve grew up in Bexleyheath and many of his friends and family still live nearby, so we were able to spend time with them during these couple of days, which was lovely.
On Friday morning when I woke up I had extremely bad vertigo, to the point that I couldn’t walk in a straight line and I felt very unwell. This put our plans to go into the City on hold (very disappointing) and instead we ventured to Blackheath for an ‘urgent care’ doctors visit. Whilst I may well have been able to see a doctor under the NHS, I preferred paying so that I could be seen quickly and be on my merry way!
I was attended to by a doctor and two nurses, which was fine but I did think it was a bit strange when there is a shortage of medical professionals in so many other areas.
We were both hungry and Steve spotted a bakery across the road, which we thought we would pop into for a bite to eat. Well, this was a good find as the bakery was gorgeous and sold so many delicacies! Gail’s Artisan Bakery was its’ name and having now looked it up, appears to not only be located in Blackheath, but also at other locations around England including Soho and Notting Hill – fancy!
We ventured back to the hotel and as I was feeling less dizzy and was now ‘on the mend’, we went for a walk around Bexleyheath – a ‘tour’!
Steve and I both share a love for curry, and as we still had our hire car Steve suggested we drive into Brick Lane to enjoy the delicacies of the area. The history of Brick Lane is quite fascinating and I will later paraphrase this, but in the meantime here is a Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_Lane
Our drive in was not too bad and it should be highlighted that driving into London isn’t usual, but this was the outskirts. It was so interesting driving in – we went via the Blackwall Tunnel, which runs under the River Thames and was first opened in 1897! Driving through the East end was a bit daunting and very grim. It was so dark, with massive apartments towering over the streets.
We were able to park on Brick Lane in a secure park and wandering up the street were offered free drinks in order to dine at the restaurants we passed. Steve had done his research and the restaurant we were planning to visit was not far away. It was called Curry Spice and the food was AMAZING. After a short walk along the lane, not venturing outside of the area as it is still not a particularly savoury place, we drove back to our hotel.
On Saturday we had a low key day. We drove to the Danson Stables (18th century stables converted into a pub/restaurant) for coffee and then a walk around Danson Park where we managed to spot some squirrels! The park was opened in 1925 and has an interesting history. It is 75 hectares and was once the estate of a wealthy man.
When we returned we started preparing for our night in the city – we were heading in to the West End Lyric Theatre to see “Thriller Live – In Concert” with a meal beforehand. The train journey in was smooth and took less than thirty minutes. We disembarked at Charing Cross Station and walked to Champagne Charlie’s, a recommendation of B’s. The restaurant was in a kind of underground cellar and had a medieval London feel to it which I found exciting. I had a mushroom risotto which was phenomenal and tasted like one that I make – a taste of home!
The Lyric Theatre was opened in 1888 and is now the oldest in the street. The Lyric Theatre still uses water to operate its iron curtain. The water was originally pumped from the river Thames to all West End theatres and hotels and used to hydraulically operate heavy machinery like lifts.
Our seats were on the balcony level, so quite high up. It was an amazing show and I enjoyed every minute of it. The choreography, dancing, and singing were all incredible. Whilst there wasn’t actually a storyline, the show did follow a timeline in a sense, starting with the Motown Years. I felt a bit sad at the start actually, as a gorgeous young boy got on stage looking exactly like a young Michael Jackson. It made me think about the life he had – an amazing one I’m sure, but so troubled at times. I remember the exact time I found out about Michael Jackson’s death. I was in Holland with my Mum at the house of some family friends and I heard Michael’s name mentioned on the radio a few times, but couldn’t understand what was being said as it was all in Dutch!
On Sunday Steve went to see his nephew’s football game and I spent time with his mum and niece. We visited Hall Place and Gardens which is a lovely Tudor house in Bexleyheath. Time was limited, so we had a drink then walked around the gardens. We did not have the opportunity to tour the Tudor house on the site.
“Hall Place is a fine Grade I listed country house built in
1537 for Sir John Champneys a wealthy merchant and former Lord Mayor of London. A rare example of its type, much of the house that Sir John built still survives today.
Sir John’s house consisted of a splendid central Great Hall crossed at one end by a service wing and at the other by high status family accommodation including a parlour and great chamber. The outer walls are a distinctive checkerboard pattern made of flint and rubble, a beautiful example of the masonry style popular in the late 15th and 16th century.”http://www.bexleyheritagetrust.org.uk/hallplace/historic-house/
We then had lunch with more of the family at a great restaurant in Bexleyheath, Delicios which lasted a good couple of hours.
Our evening was spent packing in preparation for the very long journey home in the morning. The journey started with a two hour taxi ride to Heathrow (during which I actually fell asleep!) then some time at Heathrow, trying to jam in some last minute shopping. The flight to Singapore was okay as we were on the upper deck so had two seats by themselves. I am not sure if the seats are wider, but there is a pocket under the window which does give a bit of extra space. During this flight I watched five movies. I have never watched so many movies in one sitting!
- Away We Go (hilarious and well worth watching);
- Me Before You (absolutely devastating – I was bawling my eyes out);
- Deepwater Horizon (well made and extremely interesting… also sad, though);
- Queen of Katwe (a great story about a young girl from Uganda who learns the game of chess, which changes her life);
- Cafe Society (strange. I also cannot stand Kirsten Stewart. She is the most awful actress. I could never do acting so it is a bit rich for me to judge, but she is just so painful to watch!)
On the Singapore to Brisbane flight I managed a snooze, which is surprising considering the Singaporeans in the row behind thought it was appropriate to talk (sorry, I mean yell) for large parts of the flight. They were so rude!
It was lovely flying into Brisbane. Night was falling as we flew down the coast, and as we were flying over the city I thought how beautiful it looked. The heat hit me pretty hard as we got out of the airport. I think the taxi driver could tell we needed air con (we were both dressed in long shirts and pants) so blasted it for the drive home….